I just got back from the Tiki Dinner with cocktails designed and mixed by Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry and Wayne Curtis. A last minute and little advertised change of venue almost saw me miss the thing completely, but after a little running around I eventually got there only slightly late, and just in time for an excellent meal. I meant to pinch a copy of the menu for reference, but since it somehow got lost in the last minute confusion of leaving, this account is a little cursory.
We had four tiki drinks and a succession of tiki inspired dishes. The stand-out drink was the ’Luau Coconut’. This was served in a coconut shell, and the combination of rum, lime, coconut water and coconut milk made for something ‘more coconut than coconut’. This was a totally exceptional drink, and as luck would have it The Bum himself came past to give us a refill. Generally I find coconut water drinks a little austere and coconut milk drinks a little creamy. The mixture of coconut water and coconut milk in this drink struck just the right balance.
The second high point of the meal was the desert, a massive rum-soaked merangue, served in a ring of flaming rum. A common weakness of booze inspired deserts is a light hand with the actual booze. This desert suffered no such issue.
Besides those two highlights there was Kahlua flavored pork belly, a subtle and interesting fish, bitters, maraschino liqueur and mashed parsnip dish (weird sounding but really good), poison cru, sashimi, and a bunch of other delicious things. At the end we also tried some 10 year old rum from the New Orleans rum company. This stuff was very enjoyable – a little rough around the edges but packed with intense flavors. You could almost have mistaken it for a scotch there was so much going on. I could have sworn it was overproof, but it turned out to be just 40%. Great stuff.
After dinner I had a bit more of a chat with a few bloggers – from Gumbo Pages, Kaiser Penguin and Trader Tiki – then headed back to the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone where I ran into Edward Hamilton. We headed up to to a party in one of the hotel suites where there was some dutch Genever on offer from an obscure company I had never heard of. After all the Tiki drinks it was a little hard to give a comprehensive assessment of the genever but no doubting it was interesting stuff. The weird thing to me was that their ‘XO’ genever was aged jongue style genever (i.e. a light style with a high ratio of ‘vodka’ type spirit), while their more heavily malted oude styles seemed less aged.