I often say one great thing about living in Buffalo, NY, is the close proximity to other larger cosmopolitan cities. We are within easy driving distance from Cleveland, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, and Toronto, Ontario (Canada) -- we actually have a lot of customers who drive in from Canada.
The popularity of TIKI and Polynesian Pop culture seems to come in waves (pun intended) and we have lots of customers visiting from Toronto recently that have been raving about the new tiki bars and restaurants there. So as tikiphiles we decided to do our duty and investigate, and here is a quick account of our fun weekender!
Our Saturday Getaway!
Getting to Toronto from Buffalo is normally about an hour and a half minute drive (just ask me about my club days). Although we closed early to get a jump start on driving, we got stuck in two hour traffic on the way in... only three highway exits from where we needed to be. We made the best of it and took in all the hustle and bustle of the construction going on and the new condos that never used to be there, (while trying not to think about having to pee).
The Gladstone Hotel
We finally got off the highway, and arrived at one of our favorite local boutique hotels, The Gladstone. We've stayed there before and it was very nice. As an added bonus it is only a minutes walk to the tiki bars!
Once checked in, we changed into our matching vintage barkcloth outfits, and donned our B.U.T.T. (Buffalo United Tiki Talk) fezzes... Now on to food and drinks!
The Shameful Tiki Room
Since reservations aren't accepted at The Shameful Tiki Room, we were planning to get to our first stop as soon as they open, at 5pm. But alas we were running two hours behind!
This tiki room was perfect--dark with plenty of bamboo and thatching, puffer fish and lighted fishing glass globes on the ceiling. Being prime time Saturday it was jam packed. The greeter was very nice and said we could wait for a table or just head over to the “standing bar” (aka the wall). We opted for the standing bar, since we did have reservations at Miss Thing's later.
I ordered the Jet Pilot and Andrew chose the Three Dots and a Dash. Both were delicious and garnished with drunk cherries. The décor and drinks were so good, dare I say, the drinks didn't need to be served in a tiki mug?
We'll be back for sure, and next time early enough to get a table!
We were delighted at how close both restaurants were to each other. (Need I remind you, dear reader, tiki drinks are strong!) The two establishments are practically across the street from each other. So if you go to one, you really should go to the other.
In a lot of ways Miss Things is a nice compliment to The Shameful Tiki Room. Where the Shameful has lots of kitsch-tastic tiki decorations on the walls and ceilings, Miss Thing's is minimalist steampunk speakeasy with a hint of tropical.
We had a reservation and while we waited for our table to be cleared we were happy to sit at the bar and chat with one of the bartenders. I ordered a very pretty coconut drink called the "Fuzzy WaWa" that was served in a real coconut. Andrew ordered a hot sauce drink called "The Jerk". (Andrew always likes the idea of a spicy drink but never seems to like it.) my drink was tasty too, I'm not used to lemongrass as a mixer, but it added a good flavor.
For our 2nd round we ordered daquiris and requested the bartender to use his favorite rum, which was Mount Gay XO. He was excited to relate his travels and tour of the distillery where it was made. When someone is so excited about rum I get a good feeling about his recommendations -- the daiquiris were delicious!
For food we first ordered nibbles that included Spam Pintxo and Blue Cheese Dumplings. The Spam appetizers were out of this world, and I could have eaten a whole plate of them. For a main dish we split Sweet and Sour Jackfruit Pineapple Fried Rice. Not only was it delicious, it was served in a real pineapple! Yes, I'm impressed by the little (Miss) things!
Later the owner came to our table to meet us, because he was told there were Shriners in the restaurant! We explained that, no, we are just part of a bigger group of tiki weirdos that like to wearing matching fezzes.
Until Next Time, Toronto!
Once stuffed and a little tipsy we headed back to the hotel. All in all it ended up being a fun trip, but it always seemed a little rushed. Next time we'll take a full day to explore all the tiki Toronto has to offer, including the fairly new The Shore Leave Restaurant.
The Best Daqueri Recipe
- 1oz. Feshly Squeezed lime juice (do not cheat, only fresh)
- 1oz. Simple syrup (1c. sugar 1c boiling water, mix, chill beforehand. Or just buy it)
- 2oz the best rum you can find. No Bacardi or Capt. Morgan. Try Cruzan Black Strap (if you like molasses), El Dorado 8, Mount Gay XO...
Mix with ice in a shaker, shake, and serve. Delicious!!