It’s tiki time! Today I’m sharing tiki party ideas + a recipe for seitan bacon wrapped pineapple.
You know what they say about necessity… It was the mother of tiki parties. My landlocked state is severely lacking in tiki bars. Grass skirts, torches, coconut cocktails, and leis are MIA in IA. It’s too bad, because tiki bars are loads of fun – so kitschy and festive. I have fond memories of visiting vegan tiki bar, No Bones Beach Club, in Seattle last summer. (They now have a second location in Portland as well.) However, for tiki fun closer to home, ingenuity is required.
Tiki parties owe their lineage to tiki-themed restaurants of the 1930’s like Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber. I’ve written about Trader Vic’s before, when sharing my recipe for vegan crab rangoon. (The non-vegan version was first created at that Bay area restaurant.) But tiki really hit its heyday when mid-century modern became a thing in the mid-twentieth century. It’s what happens when Hollywood kitsch meets a Polynesian island paradise.
My friend, Ashley, is a fan of tiki bars as well. So she decided to take matters into her own hands and throw a tiki party at her house. We put our heads together on tiki party ideas for the menu. She invited 20 to 30 friends, bought a lei for every guest, which was given to them at the door, and some lucky cat cocktail mugs to keep things festive. She also cored whole pineapples, and then put the shells into the refrigerator or freezer to use as additional glasses. (She says that the hard bit down the center is a great place for sticking cocktail parasols. Plus, it takes up some space inside of the pineapple itself. Otherwise, that could be one very large beverage!)
Ashley made Blue Hawaiian & Mai Tai cocktails. She also gave her usual Moscow mule mugs an Island vibe with two fruity spins on that ginger beer classic – pineapple cilantro Moscow mule & mango Moscow mule.
Because tiki parties first became a thing in the 50’s and 60’s, the menu should feel inspired by that period with plenty of items on a stick or stabbed with a toothpick.
Ashley made a couple of fruity salsas & skewers. I made a big batch of the potato salad recipe I shared last week, and put dollops into individual cups for easy serving. (I finished each potato salad cup with a pinch of paprika, salt, and chives for garnish.) I also made a batch of seitan bacon wrapped pineapple. More on that in a second!
Tiki party menu:
- Strawberry avocado salsa
- Pineapple salsa
- Fruit skewers with pineapple, mango & strawberries
- Vegan potato salad
- Seitan bacon wrapped pineapple
Here are some other tiki party ideas to consider for your menu:
- Vegan crab rangoon
- Peach & black bean salsa
- Cashew cheese stuffed squash blossoms
- Vegan ceviche with hearts of palm
- Vegan fish tacos with chipotle crema
- Grilled banana splits
Seitan bacon wrapped pineapple
If you’re a fan of smoky & sweet things like pizza with vegan pepperoni and pineapple, you’ll love seitan bacon wrapped pineapple. The bacon gets a bit of crunch and chew from a long baking time.
For the party itself, I actually fried the appetizers, but as I discovered later, baking them in the oven is so much easier. I’ve made other seitan bacon wrapped appetizers in the past – cashew cheese stuffed dates & almond butter stuffed dates. In those instances, I’ve always just wrapped the dates well ahead of time and fried them just before serving.
What I didn’t consider this time around is that pineapples are juicy, and they release liquid when left to sit. Unfortunately, I wrapped the pineapple spears with seitan bacon a couple of hours before the party, and then they were juicy by the time I needed to fry them. Things are easier to fry when they’re dry (better browning and less splattering). So that was less than ideal. Plus, pineapple is more slippery than dates, and it can be hard to keep the seitan bacon from sliding off in the hot skillet.
So after the party, I perfected the recipe by doing an oven method instead. I recommend wrapping the pineapple just before baking, and even blotting the seitan before wrapping, so that the vegan bacon is able to crisp and brown.
Baking the seitan bacon wrapped pineapple means there’s less chance of the vegan bacon sliding off. Wrap the seitan bacon around the pineapple chunks, and lay them flap side down on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Pop it in the oven when guests start arriving, and they’ll be ready to serve once everyone has their parasol-laden cocktails in hand.
Before serving, I like to carefully remove the toothpick and flip the appetizers over, so that the brown flap is showing. Then I spear them with something a little more festive and serve on a platter covered with a bamboo sushi mat.
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