Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GUIDED BY THE SUN...

Guided by the sun....
Ahoy Crew!
We've just docked in our home port after an adventure in paradise (ie, the Hukilau event in Florida!) As always, it takes several days -or even weeks- to recover from the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale. If you have not had the sheer pleasure of experiencing this authentic vintage Tiki-temple, start booking a voyage now!

Mai Kai Restaurant Foyer, Fort Lauderdale, FL
As soon as you enter through the heavy wooden doors (with portholes in them!), you know you are in for a treat. The Mai Kai's interior is sumptuous. Spots of colored light from fixtures of every shape and construction are reflected in the flagstone floor polished to a shine from decades of foot traffic. Chinese lattice tiles are used to create partitions between dining room spaces, and museum-quality artifacts behind glass give the curious guest much to appreciate.

Molokai Bar Detail, Mai Kai Restaurant
The details are staggering here.
Nautical artifacts abound, from a suspended ship model to lanterns, ropes , chains, and tackle. The mossy green volcanic rocks and ferns glimpsed through the window are actually an indoor diorama complete with swirling waterfalls. The effect is dazzling, even if you aren't enjoying one of the Mai Kai's potent cocktails.


Pu Pu Platter, Mai Kai Restaurant
Nothing goes better with your cocktail (Cobra's Kiss? Deep Sea Diver?) than a hot dish of deep-fried deliciousness. Isn't this gorgeous?
Here's what we have here: Vegetable Egg Rolls, bacon-wrapped Szechwan Chicken, Crab Rangoon, and Cheese Tangs. Dipped in hot Chinese mustard and cocktail sauce, you've got something to write home about.

Gift Shop - Restrooms, Mai Kai Restaurant
An incredible interior - anywhere you look. Here we are at a crossroads: You may turn left and enter the Gift Shop, turn right and enter the restrooms (also themed beautifully), or head straight to the Mai Kai's private offices. The tiki pole railings in the foreground were made by Oceanic Arts in Whittier California.

Watch Your Step at the Mai Kai, Florida
One of the pleasures of a visit to the Mai Kai, is an after-dinner stroll through the restaurant's indoor and outdoor gardens. Along the way you will cross bridges, encounter blue-lit pools and waterfalls, duck though caves and grottoes, and enjoy an incredible display of Tiki artifacts. Watch your step! You don't want to anger the gods by stepping off the path into the water.

Mai Kai Restaurant, 2008To get this view, you must get down low on your hands and knees and look under the footbridge in the indoor garden. The inner-explorer in me wants to wade waaaay back in there!



Main Dining Hall
Originally uploaded by chipandandy

My friends Chip and Andy have posted some incredible vintage photos of the Mai Kai on Flickr. Check them out! It's really surprising how little has changed over the years.

11 comments:

The Evil System Administrator said...

Great shots Kevin. I'm missing the Tiki Room event this Sunday by two days so please take plenty of photos if you get the chance!

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, that looks like quite a place! Now if only I could have a house that looks like that....

Matt said...

Very cool place, hope I get to see it someday...

jedblau said...

Super cool!

outsidetheberm said...

Oh man... now I've got to go see my travel agent again! What an incredible place.

James Shaw said...

I'll have to add the Mai Kai to my list of must-see places. Wow, that looks pretty cool and the food sounds great too. Neat handrails..

Viewliner Ltd. said...

Great job Kevin. I love the Tiki stuff. Are you going to post any pictures from last Sunday's event? Would truly love to see some.

Joggerblogger said...

Hi from the UK - listened to you on the podcast this morning, what a fantastic distraction from the 2 hour traffic jam I sat in on the way to work.

Love your work - SWEET! I love to draw and sculpt as well.

Keep up the fantastic work.

See Ya.

Critifur said...

LOL, I have lived near the Mai Kai for more than half my life, and I love it. Though I cannot tell you the last time I have been inside. I just appreciate it being there. That being said, I REALLY wish they would spruce up the exterior. It is in a real slump out there, especially since Katrina and Rita.

Critifur said...

Oh and my Mother was taken there by her parents for her high school graduation in 1964.

Beta Mike said...

Kevin, I have always wanted to visit this place. Now I think I'll commit to doing so.

Have you ever been to Julian's in Ormond Beach, Florida (just off A-1-A)? You would love it as well!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/skinnytie/sets/72157603996702213/