Waldorf! Waldorf! Waldorf!

Papua/New Guinea shield in lobby

With the Chipmunks movie closing down normal activity in the restaurants, Tiki bar, cabaret and club, the hotel was very quiet, especially at night. A good thing, as I’d find out. When the dance club, two floors below my room, reopened on the weekend, the music went straight to my room (the bass, anyway).

Carved wooden mask in hallway

If I’d been counting on a restful night because I had an early morning meeting or was travelling, I’d probably have been pissed. But I was on vacation and didn’t need to get up early, so I watched tv until after the music stopped at 2:30 in the morning. Here’s a helpful hint if you’re going to stay at the Waldorf and value quiet: Ask for room 131 – that’s where my friends M & M stayed and they say the music didn’t bother them (avoid room 125).

Beautiful painting in M & M’s room. Looks like velvet but it’s painted on wood.

This lovely lady was in my room. She creeped out some of my friends (the eyes are a little dead – they don’t have any whites or highlights). I think she’s a beaut. What do you think?

Funky chairs.

More original art.

Each room has vintage (70’s) stereo equipment. Mine had this gorgeous Marantz tuner amp. The sound was great. It’s hooked up to a dual cassette deck with mix tapes made by DJs in the Tiki Bar.

Comfy bed.

Not much of a view. The Waldorf is on East Hastings Street (not the scary druggy part, that’s further west), a few blocks away from the industrial docks (more about that later).

On the weekend there was a vintage clothing sale happening in the hallway right outside my door.

On Friday night the Tiki Bar reopened.

Atomic Al surveys the scene. Behind him is the DJ booth – the sound system is entirely analogue.

Pepino Magico – Tequila, cucumber, lime juice, agave sweetener, chili-salt rim.

Right now there are no classic Tiki bar cocktails on the menu. I was told they’ll be relaunching the bar menu soon with a Mai Tai, a Blue Hawaiian and some other drinks I forget.

Taboo Dan stuck with rum and coke

On Saturday night, M & M and I enjoyed a great meal in the hotel’s Leeteg Room.

Edgar Leeteg quote in restaurant: “My paintings belong in a gin mill, not a museum”

They bake their own bread. It’s wonderful.

Starters. Foreground: Pan Tomaca (crusty bread rubbed with garlic, tomato seeds, olive oil and fleur de sel). Middle: Manchego cheese and Serrano ham. Back: Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician stle octopus).

My main was Fabada Asturiana – a bean stew with bacon, pork shoulder, chorizo and blood sausage. Sort of a Spanish version of cassoulet. I didn’t like the beans much (no bean dish has ever measured up to the cassoulet I had in Spain in 1978) but I loved the meats.

The shining star of the meal was dessert. Marlena had this wonderful Arroz con Leche Quemado (caramelized rice pudding). Michael had a rich, dark molten chocolate cake with ice cream (Fondante de Txocolate).

My dessert was called Torrijas con Quenelle de Queso de Cabra – crsipy spiced cinnamon and red wine soaked bread with a goat cheese cream quenelle. Not so pretty to look at but intensely flavorful.

On Sunday morning we met Pepe le Tiki and Atomic Al for Brunch Mexicana in the cafe.

Heuvos Rancheros with Chorizo

The cafe has a beautiful, spare mid-century look.

After brunch, Marlena and I went downstairs to the Cabaret for “Day For Night,” an eclectic and ambitious Sunday afternoon film series.

This week they were showing a couple of NFB films – Claude Jutra’s charming Rouli-roulant (1965) about young skateboarders, and Don Owen’s feature length The Ernie Game (1967), a depressing film about a young man with mental problems. It’s probably best remembered today for a cameo appearance by Leonard Cohen singing a song at a party.

On Sunday evening before boarding the train back home, we had dinner at Café Nuba (in the same space we had brunch).

Najib’s Special (crispy cauliflower)

My Beef Tenderloin Kebab with pomegranate reduction was cooked perfectly.

I had a great time at the Waldorf, notwithstanding the whole movie thing (they gave me a special deal to compensate for the inconvenience – very generous and unexpected). The staff was wonderful to us, very friendly and endlessly accommodating. I’d stay there again, and I’d say go check out the Tiki Bar, restaurants, special events and gigs and so on, even if  you don’t stay.

Before I left, I asked for some hotel memorabilia with their new logo on it (matchbooks, postcards, etc.). They didn’t have any yet but they managed to find some really old ones for me.

click to enlarge

A vintage postcard showing the three theme rooms back in the day:

The Tahitian Cocktail lounge (top left), which is practically unchanged.

The Hawaiian room (top right) when it was a restaurant. Now it’s the Cabaret. The half moon window at the back houses a stage, the tables have been moved upstairs to the new restaurants, and the huge Hawaiian mural on the wall at the left has been covered with a curtain that can be pulled back.

The Menehune Room (bottom) was a banquet room, now it’s a club (a menehune is a little person, like a leprechaun, of Hawaiian folklore). The thatched ceiling had to be removed because it was a fire hazard. The carved wooden columns have been hidden behind bamboo for their own protection (one of the menehunes lost a nose).

And a vintage swizzle stick.

The figure is the drummer from one of the Leeteg paintings in the Tiki Bar.

Next time: Beyond Waldorf.

Happy Birthday To Me

December 7, 2010

A couple of booze related birthday presents:

A glass beaker for mixing an individual Mai Tai. Clearly a gag gift, since any Mai Tai purist knows that there’s no orange juice, Cointreau or grenadine in an “authentic” Mai Tai 🙂

A silicone tray for making Moai (Easter Island statue)-shaped ice cubes.

“Mo-ice cube”

Very cool.

I also got nearly 5 bucks in Canadian Tire money in my birthday cards! Rich! Rich, I tell you!


November 29, 2009

Pineapple Passion


Pineapple corer – 50¢ at a garage sale.


It works like a big corkscrew to scoop out the insides of a pineapple


Vodpod videos no longer available.

Easier than it looks in this video. I was aghast when she threw out the shell…


because my whole purpose in buying this gadget was to hollow out pineapples to make vessels for  tropical cocktails.

Pina Passion

1 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce passion fruit nectar
1/2 ounce peach brandy
3/4 ounce Demerara rum
3/4 ounce gold rum
1 pineapple slice
3/4 ounce honey

Blend w/a cup of crushed ice, pour and drink.


Peach brandy isn’t available here, so I used apricot brandy. As well, after searching all over town I couldn’t find any passion fruit nectar or juice, so I used a blend of tropical juices that had passion fruit in it (as well as mango, guava, pineapple, papaya and peach). Mighty tasty regardless.


Don’t forget to garnish.


Thrift Item of the Moment

January 27, 2009

Cocktail umbrellas


Box of 144 for $1.99 at Sally Ann. I think I’m set for life.

Birthday Week Day 4

November 29, 2008


Homemade sausage from Old Country Meat & Deli.


Homemade bannock (with lots of currants) from my kitchen. Before.


After. Not as good as the bannock at Fort Edmonton Park this summer. Something to do with lard and a campfire no doubt.





Sally Ann. Nothin’.


Value Village. Nothin’. The Lebanese bakery/restaurant next door is now called this:


which is a pity, because it used to be called this:


which was the best name ever.


This is where I wanted to go for my birthday.


This can’t be good.


Drinks before dinner. I finally cracked the bottle of Pisco (the one shaped like an Easter Island Moai) that I’ve been saving for a special occasion.


Rob samples a Pisco Sour. I used the recipe provided with the bottle (substituting lime juice for lemon):

3 parts Pisco
1 part lemon juice
Sugar to taste
Add ice and shake in a cocktail mixer


thasss one damn fine cocktail…

I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but I’m going to try it next:

Leche de Monja

One or more whole eggs WITH shells
Lime juice or lemon-lime juice to cover eggs
Sugar (to taste)
Pisco (to taste)

Place whole eggs, in shell, in a jar. Cover with lemon/lime juice. Seal the jar and refrigerate. Leave the eggs to marinate for 2-3 weeks. The shells should become soft. Place the eggs and juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain to remove egg membranes. Add sugar and pisco to taste.

So with the apparent demise of Churros King (damn, I was looking forward to sopaipillas, humitas, and torta mil hojas – and churros of course), my second choice was Tropika – delicious Malaysian food and Trader Vic’s style exotic drinks.


Brandon & Natasha share a Scorpion in a Moai bowl.


Cindy & Don suck on a Passion Punch.


Singapore Sling.


Tropika Sour.


Passion Punch.




Rob & Jill.


I forgot to take pictures of the food until it was almost gone.


My favourite cards have money in them (and play disco tunes).

Boozy Booklets

boozy booklets

Last weekend I got these four vintage cocktail recipe pamphlets at a garage sale for a quarter (20¢ really, but I’m such a big spender I didn’t want the change). Price is one of the things that makes collecting these charming little booklets attractive, another is that they hardly take up any space at all – a very important consideration as my cookbook cabinet fills to bursting.

Another charming aspect to recipe pamphlets is that they’re created to push the company’s products and so you get some really, um… creative recipes. For instance, Let’s Serve Cocktails published by Taylor’s New York State Wines and Champagnes features booze in most of its hors d’oeuvre recipes including tuna salad and chip dip. As a friend pointed out, you know you have a drinking problem when you put sherry in your chip dip.

Two of these pamphlets are the latest addition to my thrift store cookbook website Mock Duck. Let’s Serve Cocktails is in the Hors D’oeuvres menu, and Beachcomber’s Barguide is in the Beverages section.

Party Girls

Party Girl

Made from psuedo-ivory (sic).

Party Girls