A Grand Day Out

I’ve often found that Adventure is where you find it. The LGA proved that in spades a few weekends ago when we went in search of a tiki-related event ostensibly taking place in a part of San Diego called Shelter Island. Shelter Island is a man-made peninsula consisting largely of hotels, piers and seafood restaurants. Although we didn’t know much about this tiki-centric celebration beyond its rumored existence, with Shelter Island measuring just over half-a-square-mile in area, we were confident (overconfident as we would find out) of our ability to find it.


Upon arriving at Shelter Island, we secured parking and, in desperate need of a cocktail, started looking for anything tiki-based. Nothing jumped out at us, so we went with our second plan, listening for anything remotely Polynesian. At this point we heard music and the sounds of people mingling and so we wandered closer. As we drew near, we found people who were dressed not in Polynesian finery or even beachwear, but in suits and cocktail dresses. The music we’d heard, far from being ‘tiki lounge’, could only be described as ‘wedding singer’. Confused, we resolved to explore further. After a cursory once-around of the event, the keen observational minds of your intrepid heroes determined that it was NOT, in fact, the tiki event we sought so much as it was a wedding reception into which we’d stumbled. Unfortunately, we didn’t know anyone in the wedding party. Worse yet, there was no open bar. As we unobtrusively made our way out of the post-nuptial merriment, we took notice of a pool table being signed by guests near the entrance. Apparently, it was to be a gift for the (presumably) happy couple. As we had already crashed the party, we decided it would be rude if the LGA didn’t at least congratulate our inadvertent hosts… and so Gentleman Jesse and I offered words of wit, wisdom and well-wishing via the lost art of felt pen on pool table. (With that said, let me again pass along to Brian and Tami congratulations from all of us here at the League.)

With our first attempt at finding our tiki celebration an abject failure and in an even more desperate need for cocktails, we decided to press on to the next site and see what else lay in store for us. Although there was no sign of anything especially “tiki” going on, we set sights on the Bali Hai, a popular Polynesian-themed restaurant. We wandered into what we thought was the first floor bar, but discovered that once again, people seemed to be remarkably overdressed for a beach bar. This time, people were in formal wear.  As we began to realize that we had wandered into another wedding party, an even more perplexing sight presented itself: our already-married Gentleman friend Jeff (who you may remember from the Mt. Laguna Adventure podcast) in full formal wear. Our flabbers thoroughly gasted, we quickly greeted Jeff and learned that it was in fact his brother getting married that day. Jeff wisely steered the now, almost dangerously dehydrated Gents to the upstairs bar and we enjoyed an acceptable Old Fashioned (after a quick explanation of how to make a proper one). We began to relate our search for the fabled “Celebration of Tiki” to our companion, and were soon interrupted by a couple who had, in fact, just returned from said celebration. Sadly, it seemed the event was now sold out and there was no chance of us getting in. Also, it seems it wasn’t even being held on Shelter Island, but about five minutes or so from stately LGA Manor. Still, the couple had some wonderful pictures of the event, so I took pictures of their pictures, which is really just about as good as being there, right?

The Gents bid Gentleman Jeff adieu and set off to find dinner and drinks elsewhere. After a hardy day of Adventuring, we decided it was time for pizza and headed for an excellent Italian place here in town called Filipe’s. Upon seeing the ever-stretching line for it though, we decided that it was actually time for steaks and headed to The Turf Club instead. Once dinner was complete, we met up with Gentleman Lee at a little hookah bar called Excalibur. One of the best things about this place is that it serves beer and wine, which means that you don’t have a lot of the under-21 hep kids hanging about. As you can see, there was an excellent hookah, good beer and (once all the Gents had been pulled up to dance by the belly dancer) awkward dancing enjoyed by all present. I would like to point out though that I was the only Gent that was tipped during my dancing… unfortunately it was by some man and not one of the ladies, but still…

It would be here that we would end our night and wish Jesse the best as he leaves us to start the LGA Los Angeles chapter. So remember fellow adventurers, always be open to the adventure presented to you. It may not be what you had planned, but it’s almost always bound to be a good time when shared with good friends, good food and good booze.

Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu!

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