Universal Orlando Resort recently made three announcements that should make for some very excited fans of Harry Potter and/or the Today Show.
When you’re traveling, it’s not always easy to determine when, where or even what time you’re going to have dinner. There may be a place you’re going to make it your business to visit (like when we went to Sedona specifically to eat at a particular restaurant) but if you’re anything like us, for the most part, you decide to eat on a spur of the moment basis. That’s all well and good, except for two things…
If the Walt Disney Company is anything, it’s protective of its many brands, to the point where, for some aspects of the company, they’re downright self-isolated (and don’t get me wrong – it’s with good reason). Case in point, for years, the only way you could make a reservation at Walt Disney World (WDW) restaurants was through their reservation system. At first that meant calling them, but eventually the convenience of online reservations also came into play. Either way, it was still directly through Disney.
However, in early 2018, we wrote a post about how, in a surprise move on Disney’s part, you could suddenly use a common worldwide restaurant reservation system to make meal reservations at select restaurants at WDW. What’s more, they weren’t only at the ones owned by third party companies like Levy Brothers (owners of Paddlefish) or House of Blues (self-owned), but even some Disney-owned restaurants, such as Grand Floridian Cafe, Sanaa and Olivia’s Cafe. But apparently, that’s not quite the case anymore…
Airplane food is nothing like it was in days gone by, but it’s still something we (kinda sorta, sometimes) enjoy. Maybe it’s because it’s a welcome break while spending hours on the plane, or because it’s food you won’t find on land (and most of the time that’s probably a good thing), but whether it’s something from the snack cart or a full meal with real silverware in first class, it’s still something people generally look forward to, even when you know it’s usually not going to be very good. I guess that’s why the website that can tell you what will be served on your flight is so popular.
On the rare occasions that Joe and I fly business or first class, we almost always take a picture of the meal. We’ve been doing it for much longer than we’ve had this blog – usually just for the memory of what we ate. A lot of people were apparently doing the same thing, so Henry Wu, originally from Chicago, took that one step further and started an Instagram site devoted entirely to what’s served at 35,000 feet.
The Tiki culture (the theme used in Polynesian-style restaurants, clubs and bars) in the United States started in the 1930s, increased after World War II (when solders would return from the South Pacific) and hit its peak in the late 1950s, around the time that Hawaii became the 50th state. Riding on that wave (do you see what I did there? ☺), the Mai-Kai, a Polynesian-themed restaurant, bar and, a few years later, live Polynesian Islander Revue, opened in Fort Lauderdale in late 1956 and has been feeding and entertaining guests ever since. An OpenTable winner in 2014 and voted Best Tiki Bar in the World by Critiki in 2015 and 2016 (and second best in 2017) (because, let’s face it…they would know, right?), it is, as per Wikipedia, the last restaurant/bar in existence carrying on the traditions of service and serving the original drink recipes of Don the Beachcomber (the very first tiki bar, which opened in Hollywood in 1937), and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And yet I, a lover of all things kitschy, Polynesian/Hawaiian and off-the-beaten-path, somehow had never heard of it, never mind never been to it???
Continue reading “1950s Kitsch Is Alive & Well: Our Visit To The Mai-Kai”