Mai Kai Grotto – Picture

When the family comes in from out of town, get off your high horse and do some touristy things.

Here in Fort Lauderdale, there’s a One Of A Kind gem of a restaurant called Mai Kai.  It’s one of the last few large scale Polynesian themed restaurants in the nation.   They were all over the place in the years after the Second World War, but faded away.  Tastes changed, and it’s labor intensive to do it right.

Mai Kai does it right.  Complete with stunning Polynesian dancers in grass skirts.   The food is simply put, amazing.   I have a speed bump on their menu since I always get their Pork Tenderloin – I just can’t get past that pork!  I also have a rule that I will not order a meal in a fine restaurant that I can make at home as well as they can.   Their pork melts on my fork which is why I have it.

When Cousin Bill arrived from Nebraska, we were sitting around debating where to go for dinner that night.  We wanted to go somewhere that you just can’t find anywhere else and absolutely no chain restaurants.   Mai Kai absolutely fit the bill.  Or the Bills since there were two of us. 

The thing is that when you are in a restaurant that has tropical gardens that are strewn around water features, tiki torches, icons and statues, and a “Chinese Oven” that cooks your food in a wood fired chimney you will want to bring your camera. 

When we go, we always sit outside.   The show is amazing, but the idea of being able to sit next to a waterfall and watch the skies go from blue to black over the palm trees is a rare show that you should not pass up.   It’s also much more private since the gardens are not what the place is known for.

It is easy to get obnoxious with a camera.  To get the pictures “right” in low light you really do need a tripod.   On the other hand, since it’s dim in there half of the challenge is seeing the scene and setting up the shot.  That makes the actual picture secondary.

After all, your dinner will be waiting once you get back to the table and that is why you came.   Try the pork tenderloin.  It’s amazing too.

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Happy Birthday Kevin

How would you like to have a dinner outside in a tropical garden next to a waterfall?

Would you mind if the waterfall was a “prefab” and from a fountain? 

You probably shouldn’t mind since the place is absolutely gorgeous and lush and unlike anywhere else I have ever been before.

This weekend we celebrated Kevin’s Birthday.  It was another trip to Mai Kai, which is a Polynesian restaurant near me over in Fort Lauderdale.  It’s about 3 miles from the house and a world away.  They have their shows, and I have never seen them except by passing through the building on my way in or out.  Being as tall as I am, the building’s decor which can best be described as below decks meets Polynesian kitsch, I walk through ducking my head through the beauty of the indoor waterfalls and out to the Lanai. 

The Lanai is open to the elements with a bamboo railing and palm frond accented roof.  The view we get is the one you see in this picture, and luckily for us they seem to seat us at the same table each time we go.  Coincidence of our habit of liking an early dinner and getting in just as they open.

I had the barbecued pork tenderloin that was cooked in the Chinese Oven.  It’s a method that seems to be as if you have skewered your main course on a metal pike then hung it in a chimney.   The pork comes out amazingly tender, unlike anywhere else that I have ever had.

Have a “Barrel of Rum” to drink with, but don’t drive home.  It actually lasted me through the meal and well into the evening after we had dessert of Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Redundant, yes I know,  someone with the long time nickname of Moose having a Mousse cake and so forth.  It was excellent and absolutely worth the calories.

Thank you Kevin for allowing me to share your uninterrupted company at the restaurant.  I truly enjoyed it.

One more week to the 20th Anniversary.  Wow!  I had better start baking!