Monday, January 16, 2006

Trader Vic's @ Beirut

While I was doing my, ah, research for that last post, I discovered that Beirut, Lebanon has its very own Trader Vic's outlet. We're told that, there by the shores of the beautiful Mediterranean, every Wednesday is Waikiki night. Which begs the obvious question: Is anything real anymore? I mean, it's great and kitschy and ultra-postmodern and all, but how far should we really go in celebrating the tastes of timid western business travellers? I guess it'd briefly be kind of fun doing karaoke in front of a crowd of nervous Texans who've never been outside their own county before, and who eat pineapple-slathered "teriyaki steak" because they're afraid to try that crazy foreign "falafel" stuff. On second thought, no, that wouldn't be any fun at all. I certainly wouldn't take audience requests, anyway. I don't know any Toby Keith, and if I accidentally learned any, I would surely die.

What makes me mildly sad is that Beirut, and Bangkok, and Bahrain, and Taipei, and London can all support a Trader Vic's outlet, and Dubai has two of 'em, but the chain's Portland outlet closed years ago. It's now the swanky El Gaucho steakhouse at the Benson hotel, although if you look at the part of the building facing SW Stark St., you can still see a display of "authentic" Polynesian cinder blocks. Someday, an architectural historian will get tenure writing about this, explaining how we ended up with a block of pseudo-Pacific decor right here in the least Polynesian corner of the entire universe.

Perhaps you've noticed that this post is even less logically organized than most, and most sentences don't follow logically from the previous sentences. For this creative blessing, I'd like to thank the nice folks at Fish Tale Brewing, and I'd like to wish them a happy 10th anniversary. Cheers!

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