September 20th is National Punchbowl Day!
The word “punch” allegedly comes from the Hindustani word “panch,” which means “five.” In the early 1600s, sailors and employees of the British East India Company brought a new exotic drink from India to England. The beverage was made with
five ingredients: spirits, lemon, sugar, water, and tea.
In ancient Polynesia ceremonial luau drinks were served in festive communal bowls.
We offer our interpretation of the time honored custom in our punch bowls. Celebrate with a Scorpion Bowl, Kava Bowl or a Tiki Bowl!
If you Google the word “Mai Tai”, you’ll end up with almost 75,000,000 results. Some where, somehow on the internet June 30th has been declared National Mai Tai Day. We want to set the record straight! The real “Mai Tai Day” is August 30th! We even have a proclamation from the City of Oakland confirming the official day!
The Trader himself could not have predicted the Mai Tai’s worldwide popularity on that fine day in 1944 when he made history by simply creating a concoction for some friends at his Oakland bar. The Mai Tai is everywhere! Even a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes have been called, “Mai Tai”. That will set you back about $895, of course, but we prefer the real thing – sipping an Original Mai Tai® in its original setting, Trader Vic’s.
When you think of a Mai Tai, the iconic Tiki drink, the taste of aloha, Paradise In A Glass®, you assume it must have been invented by some thirsty beachgoer after a warm day on the sands of Hawaii. Beach imagery aside – and yes, you can still envision yourself propped up on a chaise lounge, Mai Tai in hand, relaxing under the tropical sun (we do) – the Mai Tai was actually invented in Oakland, California at The Trader’s small restaurant on San Pablo Avenue. The story goes as follows…
“I was at the service bar in my Oakland restaurant. I took down a bottle of 17-year old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, added fresh lime, some Orange Curacao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle flavor. A generous amount of shaved ice and a vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after. Half the lime shell went in for color, I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Tahiti, who were there that night. Carrie took on sip and said, “Mai Tai – Roa Ae”. In Tahitian this means “Out of this World – The Best”. Well, that was that. I named the drink “Mai Tai”.
As Trader Vic’s expanded, so did the popularity of the Mai Tai, reaching Hawaiian shores in 1953 by way of The Matson Steamship Lines when they asked Vic to develop menus for their bars at the Royal Hawaiian, Moana and Surfrider Hotels. When Trader Vic’s became an international brand in the early 1960s, the Mai Tai’s fame spread like wildfire and quickly developed into one of the most ordered drinks throughout the world.
But with the sweet comes the sour. Many imitators popped up attempting to lay claim to Vic’s perfected island creation. Vic was quoted as saying, in his usual gruff manner, “There has been a lot of conversation over the beginning of the Mai Tai, and I want to get the record straight. I originated the Mai Tai, but many others have claimed credit. This aggravates my ulcer completely! Anyone who says I didn’t create the drink is a dirty stinker.”
What is summer without BBQ?! Since the beginning, barbequing has been a Trader Vic’s tradition.
The origins of the word Barbeque date back to the 1600’s, but the various cooking methods associated with the word have been employed since the beginning of time. Some say that the word Barabicu from the Taino people of the Caribbean translates as “Sacred Fire Pit”. Other lore for the origins of the word are from French Pirates landing on the shores of South America. There, they found the natives cooking animals whole over hot coals. The French pirates called this cooking technique de Barbe a Queue, literally translated as, “From beard to tail”. This expression was brought back to France and England then later returned to America by the Spanish Barbacoa.
The food menu at Trader Vic’s has evolved over the years. In the very beginning, the menu was limited to sandwiches and lite fare. In 1937, The Trader wanted to expand the menu by serving Chinese food along with his tropical cocktails. He visited Chinatown in downtown Oakland with his bartender Paul Young. Together, they studied the preparation and cooking of Chinese food. It was Paul’s uncle who built the first BBQ ovens behind the restaurant, using only a rock and string as a plumb line for measuring. He became the cook for all the barbequed food later on.
The design of Trader Vic’s Chinese wood-fired ovens can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 b.c. to 20 a.d.) and are built onsite in our restaurants. The ovens are encased in glass so that our guests can see this unique operation. One might say that exhibition cooking began with Trader Vic’s!
Chinese BBQ Oven Points and Cooking Tips:
– The process of high heat smoking involves high heat (425 to 500) degrees and a small amount of smoke.
– The main difference between barbecue in the Chinese oven and on an ordinary char-grill is the lack of carcinogen developed from direct contact with the flames from dripping fat.
– It is important to use a good hard wood such as; white oak, hickory, almond, or maple. These woods are dense and enable the production of the high heat necessary for cooking, make sure they have been dried and are not fresh cut.
– Because the Chinese oven is a dry heat cooking method it is important to use meats that contain a good amount of fat to prevent drying out.
– Although not necessary it is good to marinate the protein to enhance the natural flavor.
– As with any oven or Barbeque make sure to let the initial fire burn down to coals to heat oven, then continue to add wood as needed.
“The best ingredients for a Barbeque are friends and family!”
Trader Vic’s Corporate Executive Chef Michael Broderick
Now you can enjoy the flavors of the Islands and Taste The World® with our Trader Vic’s Polynesian Style – Barbeque Glaze. Made with sweet potatoes and plum puree, this thick, but light tasting, tomato based glaze provides the perfect coating for beef, pork, ribs & poultry.
Having written the book on bartending in his Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic, Vic “The Trader” Bergeron single-handedly, although sometimes with two, concocted international notoriety as a mixology master with creations like the Original Mai Tai®, Samoan Fog Cutter and over 200 signature tropical creations. At Trader Vic’s, we continue the tradition with a bar staff as savvy as The Trader himself. We are proud to congratulate Bar Manager Anjula, General Manager Eric Fabie and the rest of the Trader Vic’s Madinat team for winning Best Bar Team of the Year at the Caterer Middle East Awards!
Read article, here.