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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Food’

The Mai Kai has been on my “To Do” Retro Roadmap list for ages, and I’m proud to say “We DID”! This east coast tiki temple has been wowing visitors to Fort Lauderdale Florida since 1956, and it certainly wowed us. Definitely on our top list of Retro Roadmap Recommendations!

Mai Kai SignI am quoting that great tiki resource Critiki when I let you know that “The Mai Kai is perhaps the last of the grand Polynesian palaces still operating from when tiki was at its peak in the late 50s and early 60s. That the Mai Kai not only still exists today, but is vibrant and thriving, is something we should all be very grateful for–but not take for granted.” – I could not say it any better!

Mai Kai Entrance

The Mai Kai is a sprawling Polynesian paradise on a busy commercial strip in Fort Lauderdale, and takes on a look of mystery once the sun sets. Included in this time warp of wonderfulness are 8 dining rooms,  a fabulous sunken ship inspired bar, waterfalls, bridges, tropical foliage, and more tikis and idols than I could count.

This tribute to tiki is currently owned by Mirielle (the wife of one of the original owners) who also runs the Polynesian review dinner show- and was once a dancer in it, herself! She also makes sure all new dances added to the dinner show are performed properly according to the people who live on the island on which the dance originates.

We pulled the rented Retro Roadmapmobile over the bridge, left it in the trusty hands of the valet,  made our way into the darkened interior of the Molokai bar, and into another world.

Mai Kai Bar

Our waitresses were a bit goosebumply in their sarongs on this unseasonably chilly day- too bad they couldn’t have a Rum Barrel to warm themselves up, as I did!

IMG_1415

The bar is a wonderful recreation of a sunken ship and turn of the century seaport saloon, replete with tiki music and underwater effects:

No matter what window you look out of, you would never be able to tell that the busy street is just outside, as each porthole and ship window reveals a lovely tropical scene:
Mai Kai Waterfall IdolsWanting to get a good seat for the floor show, we left the bar promptly at our reservation time and proceeded into the inner sanctum of the restaurant.

Mai Kai Gardens click here to see the inside of the Mai Kai!

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While enjoying some donuts from the Colonial Do-Nut Shop don’t forget to admire the vintage signage of China Kitchen, their next door neighbor:

Neighbors

My gut feeling tells me that the round Restaurant and Orders To Take Out signs could’ve originally been Coca Cola “button” style signs. I also am charmed by the hand painted “Oriental” style lettering of the logo and metal awnings. Why the sign painter felt the need to put a period after Kitchen, I’ll never know!
Restaurant

China KitchenSince I’m usually there in the morning for donuts I’ve never seen China Kitchen open. Web accounts note that the place carries a regional delicacy known as ” Fall River Style” chow mein, that has flat brown crispy noodles and dark sauce with celery, sprouts, onions and ground pork. I’ll try some next time I’m up home and let you know how it is!

Downtown Taunton is changing, and while it still has a lot of character left in it, “improvements” are being made to the retail district. If you’re a fan of old signs, ghost signs and vintage retail design, you might want to head to Taunton sooner rather than later, and snap a photo or three while you still can. Here are a few snaps from my past visits:

St. Pierre's Shoes - Taunton MA

Roma's Hair Fashions - Taunton MA

St. Pierre's Shoes - Taunton MA

I will do my best to continue to bring you the highlights of this cool old New England city!

China Kitchen
89 Broadway
Taunton, MA 02780

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