You probably haven't been here since college. But...you know this place.
Yeah, that Polynesian themed island getaway bar that serves up some serious drinks in kitchy goblets and steins up on Broadway and Swan. You know, Kon Tiki. Remember? You 'member.
In college you most likely came here because the drinks were huge and strong and they had a happy hour that dished out some free grub. You were young, you were broke, you wanted to get faced so this was the place you probably ended up in.
|The free happy hour buffet...um, thanks but no thanks, although the meatballs were good|
But now you're all grown up and you haven't been back since you graduated. You have a real adult job, you drink real adult drinks, you eat at real adult places with white linen set tables or tolerate locations that have jungle gyms and Whack-A-Moles for your kids to play with as you talk about adult things with your adult friends as you sip those adult drinks.
Why should you go back to Kon Tiki after all these years? That's, like...college era you. Right?
So why a feature on Kon Tiki, a bar most Tucson residents have been to at least once, be it voluntarily or talked into by ne'er-do-well roommates?
Uh...because of the food, dude. It's good.
|Real adults drinking, um...well they're drinking all right|
Honestly, we kind of forgot about Kon Tiki too and the fact that they actually served food there. No, seriously.
A few years back, when the Homeskillet was just a once in a while / if we felt like posting 'blog lite', we did a feature on Kon Tiki as part of a short lived series where we buy a Groupon for random places, eat there and talk about it. We did like one or two, maybe three, Groupon article things then just moved on, or forgot about doing it all together. Anyway, even back then we were all "Oh yeah, the food here is great."
So you're probably reading this going, "C'mon, the food can't be that good. Kon Tiki? It's a weird drunky bar and that buffet kind of sucks. Even if it is free."
Work with us here people.
|Monkeys On A Stick, a classic and oh so tasty|
True. The gratis fare isn't the subject here. That happy hour buffet is just free vittles for folks that need a bit of a buffer when it comes to quaffing much of their hell grog and it's cool that they do it in the first place. Its just chips, veggies, some dip...stuff like that. But they do put out some of their BBQ meatballs and those are pretty tight. Honestly its just some bits of bites, cheap as free, to keep you going and that's that.
No, you gotta order off the real food menu here kids. Trust us.
Okay, look...check this out.
|Hawaiian fish tacos...just like the god Tangaroa used to make|
If you can recall Homeskilleteers, a few weeks back we ended up eating the self-proclaimed "Best Burger and Burrito in Tucson"...and they sucked. So bad in fact that we needed booze immediately. Just a few blocks up was Kon Tiki, so we got ourselves a large vessel filled with all of the alcohol and some well needed tasty food.
"Oh wow," we all sort of said as we bit into our nibbles. "The food here is good. Maybe we should write about it."
And here we go!
|The Loko Moko, a delicious burger with an egg on it...so tropical!|
So in true Tucson Homeskillet fashion we gathered up some of our closest and bravest friends and decided to order, oh, one of each from the menu.
Both the drink and food menu. C'mon, what else would you expect?
Anyway, here are the results:
|JB looking concerned as Rizz slurps down another sacrificial mind drink|
First, yeah, the drinks were really strong, as expected. Probably just as strong as when Kon Tiki first opened in the '60s and when you used to come here with a fake I.D. once finals were over with.
We got something called the Pele, named after the pissed off goddess of volcanoes and, boy howdy, did that thing live up to its name. Fiery, powerful and sort of lava like as it went down the gullet. Another called the 'Greenpeace' which felt like washing down a fine lawn mulch but with a distinct fruity alcohol kick to the cajones. Then there was the Fog Cutter, something called Lights Out, the Creepy Tiki, Maiden's Downfall and so forth, all of which did not list ingredients (which is probably for the best) but instead came equipped with brief descriptions of just how you might feel after you finish one:
"If strength you need, drink and it shall be granted!"
"The original drink was intended for a sacred ceremony until some white man found the recipe!"
Stuff like that. You get the picture.
|Moa Nui chicken in coconut sauce...amazing|
The crew was getting a bit tipsy but then the plethora of food arrived.
The ton of appetizers was daunting, but oh so delicious. The egg rolls were deep fried yet filled with a garden of vegetables and served with a mighty teriyaki and a sweet and sour sauce so there was a fun balance between decadent and sort of, kind of, "healthy". The BBQ ribs were hearty and sticky and fall off the bone tender. We got our pot stickers steamed which counter balanced the amount of weighty fare that was spread before us. Really good, stuffed full of savory pork with a good chew to the dumpling casing.
Then, of course, there was the classic: The Monkeys on a Stick. Tender, marinated bites of perfectly cooked medium rare steak served mini kebab style. This is essentially what saved us after eating crap food just a few blocks away. Accompanied with a stout viscid dipping sauce this dish is what you need on a daily basis.
|Angry volcano deity sized pile o' rings|
As people were queuing up for the free fare at the buffet, we were getting looks from all sorts; bug eyed at the amount of food we had on the table.
"Wait, they serve food here?", I overheard a portly guy ask his doppelganger wife as they glooped ranch dressing on mini carrots and ruffly potato chips atop their drooping paper plates.
Well, we hate to say it buffet jockeys, but you are officially eating food here, so, yes, they do serve "food". But if you mean like burgers, steaks, ribs, shrimp and lobster tails? Yes. Yes, Kon Tiki serves food.
And not just any kind of food, really tasty food with a distinct tropical influence.
So what are you waiting for? Do what we did and dive in!
|Possibly some of the best egg rolls in town|
The Loko Moko is a half pound burger of good ground beef, seasoned and cooked to order with a nice runny egg on top; it was really hefty, juicy and delicious.
There was also an order of fantastic fish tacos that were tangy and flaky with a crisp slaw and finished with a spicy aioli drizzled over. The house club sandwich could feed about three people but one of us took it down in no time flat. Piled high and served with piping hot fries, this one made us want to join whatever club they had going on, one where we would look like that Israel Kamakawiwo'ole guy in no time flat if we kept eating the way we were.
In fact, all of the plates were generous and all of it really yummy.
|Jana happy/nervous about the size of her chef salad|
More drinks, more food, more weird looks from bar patrons.
There was ten of us, but the feast on our tables mashed together looked as if we were on some sort of medieval gorge feast, one that would encourage many trips to the vomitorium so we can continue with the eat-a-thon.
"What did you order?"
"Oh, this is the Moa Nui."
"It's, uh, a big chicken breast served with this amazing coconut sauce with a side of perfectly cooked rice and a ton of seasoned grilled vegetables."
*not responding because of shoveling more food in face*
|The Tucson Homeskillet eating all of the foods|
Alright, here is where we have to give some kind of critique.
Our server was amazing, but she was the only one on the floor so sometimes our orders took a bit longer than expected. Big whoop, it happens.
But here's the clincher:
Kon Tiki does not have a modern computer POS ticket service, something that like 90% of busy establishments utilize because, oh, we don't know, it's the 21st century and efficiency is as easy as pushing a few buttons. Sure it might cost a few extra (thousand) dollars but in the end it is so worth it. Our poor but awesome server had to divvy up the five separate checks BY HAND, doing the math, tax and all that using her brain and a small calculator, all the while juggling other demanding tables. So, yeah, we had to wait a while for the bills to arrive seeing as the place was jumping but not totally full and chaotic...enough to keep her very busy let's just say. It wasn't a big problem with us because we ordered more drinks straight from the bar and we were happy to do so, but if this was a table of people that didn't know how hard it is to be a server in a busy restaurant or empathize with a young person, probably in their like first or second job, ever, doing all they can to make things right, it could have gotten ugly.
So, Kon Tiki, this is the Tucson Homeskillet advising you to get a POS system for your servers. It'll make it easier on them, on you in the long run and you'll thank us and your patrons will thank you because of this.
|Metal Mark just had to get in on Jack and Chili's third Scorpion Bowl|
Other than that, yes...Kon Tiki serves food. Not just bobbles of celery and broken pretzel fingers on the buffet table, but real authentic and fantastic food.
When you were going to the U of A you probably ate nothing but ramen or crap corporate pizza when you scored a coupon from the bookstore and, at the time, couldn't afford the "adult" prices from the Kon Tiki menu. Not that we're saying Kon Tiki is pricey, oh no, not even close, but when you are 19 with nothing but loose change in your pocket and school debt piling up, a $12 steak might as well be a Bugatti sports car. Thing is, you can't eat a Bugatti sports car. So...where's the fun in that?
Yeah. We don't know either.
|Now you know, you gotta go|
Now that you are all grow'd up and adulting like a mofo, you should go back to ye olde stomping grounds of Kon Tiki, get yourself a proper drink and order up some really grand food. It's fun, it's local, it's kind of a Tucson tradition and most importantly it's really scrumptious.
Unless you're still in college and are broke as all living heck so you just might have to wait a while. If you ask us we suggest dropping out of school, selling all of your text books and then just blowing it all on a drink and food fest at Kon Tiki. If you do decide to do this, just call us up and we'll show you how its done.
Just kidding. Stay in school kids.
Forget that. Have you had the Mahi-Mahi here? Oh my gosh, so good.
Whatever. You're an adult, you make the decision. But if we were you, we'd just eat Monkey Sticks all day and drink Zombies till we start walking like one. That, of course, is up to you.
Uh huh. Just what we thought.
See you here...
|Thanks Kon Tiki!|
Camera, Typing and Eating
"Metal" Mark Whittaker
At the Summer Solstice, 2016