|Old placemat courtesy Bob and Leroy at Oceanic Arts.|
To that link, I will also add the following tale, of my first visit to the Royal Hawaiian -- long before it changed hands and long, long before it closed:
|The Royal Hawaiian's back bar, shortly before it closed.|
The menu was a time machine set for 1950s America. The food was about as Hawaiian as I am. The exotic "Wiki Wiki Platter," for instance, was simply a steak with a baked potato wrapped in tinfoil. The only island theming to be found in the food was the ring of pineapple on the edge of my plate. My dinner also came (as did pretty much everything) with a thinnish French onion soup and a small salad drown in blue cheese dressing and served in a laminated wood bowl. It was all perfectly good food at a rather reasonable price. Your grandparents would have felt right at home, and so did I.
The jaw-dropper was the house drink, the Lapu Lapu -- a faux-Polynesian drink named after a Filipino warrior chief from the sixteenth century. The drink was outstanding, and came in a glass the size of,.... well,... You know that enormous brandy snifter your great uncle used to keep on top of the piano? The one that held his entire matchbook collection? It was like that. Clearly, it was a drink for sharing with friends.
But I held out the greatest hope for dessert. I had spied an item on the menu called "Pele: Goddess of Fire." There was no description, and I asked for none.
It was impossible NOT to order any dessert so audaciously named. The anticipation grew. We waited. And then,... suddenly,... out of the plastic jungle came our waiter, carrying (drum roll, please),... PELE: GODDESS OF FIRE!
It was a small dish with one scoop of vanilla ice cream, surmounted by a sugar cube that had been soaked in umpteen-thousand proof alcohol and set on fire! My Mid-Century faux-Hawaiian dining experience was complete.
Oh, Royal Hawaiian, you will be missed!