Archive for 'Hawaiian'

Here’s Everything You Want to Know About L.A. Poke


If you follow me on Instagram than you are probably worried that I’m giving myself mercury poisoning know I’ve been obsessed with poke, the Hawaiian version of tuna ceviche that has been spreading through Los Angeles like it’s food trucks in 2010. Nobody knows exactly what has led to this #pokexplosion (see what I did there?) but it’s likely a combination of the ease with which poke can be Chipotle-fied, and the inevitability of the idea.  While nobody wants to officially confirm it, it’s likely that a lot of different people had been contemplating the idea of a modern, fast casual poke chain, and once one person announced that they were launching, everybody else kicked their concepts into high gear.  Since serving poke doesn’t require an enormous kitchen investment (no cooking = no hood) it was easy for all of these concepts to open in such a short period of time. So, there you have it. #pokexplosion.  As a lover of poke, it’s best not to think about it too much and just enjoy our good fortune!

When most people ask me which of the new places is the best, I usually answer “Whichever is closest to you.” I kind of love them all, for different reasons. And, surprise!  You do get what you pay for.  I made a map of all the new poke places for Eater so you can find the one closest to you. I pretty much haven’t met a poke I didn’t like, but if push comes to shove (and by that I mean “If DineLA is going to pay me money to pick my 10 favorites”), here’s a list of the 10 Best Pokes in Los Angeles, new and old, according to yours truly.

And if you're too lazy for all that reading, and would prefer to hear me talking about poke, I'll be on KCRW’s Good Food talking about all of this stuff on Saturday morning at 11am.

Pokey Truck Betting That L.A. Wants More Sushi Burritos


It’s no secret that the Jogasaki Truck is one of my favorite new trucks to hit Los Angeles in the past year. Their sushi burritos are not only the perfectly portable food truck treat, but they’re also a good value and delicious. If they parked outside my office, I’d probably eat one every day.  Most of the press they received (and it was a lot for awhile there) was of the “can you believe this truck is making sushi burritos!?” variety, but apparently there were others who saw Jogasaki for what it is… a genius idea, worthy of copying.

A few months ago The Pokey Truck hit the streets of Los Angeles, and if you thought their signature item was going to be Hawaiian poke (like you get at this great place on the Venice Beach boardwalk) guess again.  It’s another sushi burrito truck.

Read more »

Flying Pig Cafe’s Loss is Aloha Cafe’s Gain


Porno appearance with Ron Jeremy aside, I’ve been an unabashed fan of the Flying Pig Truck since trying them out back in August.  So when I heard that they were opening a “cafe” downtown with an expanded menu I got pretty excited.  Duck fried rice?  Yes please.  After all, anybody that can make tofu taste this delicious must be doing something right.  Sadly running a truck well doesn’t translate to immediate brick and mortar successquality…

When I stopped in on Monday at 1:45pm they were still in the weeds from the lunch rush, with practically ever customer in the joint angry about something (missing food, missing drinks, general slowness). On one hand I feel bad for the place.  Customers should know that a brand new restaurant needs some time to get things on track (especially during the lunch rush in a high density part of town like DTLA.)  On the other hand, the one thing I tried was pretty terrible, especially compared to the delicious food on the truck, and the portion was laughably small for the price.  I think I might give Flying Pig Cafe another week (or four) to get everything sorted out.

Thankfully Aloha Cafe is right across the street, and was ready to save the day!

Read more »

Poke Poke is the Healthiest Lunch on Venice Beach (But Don’t Let that Discourage You)


Finding decent raw seafood for under $10 is one of my favorite pastimes, whether it be a great chirashi bowl, hwedupbap in Koreatown, or ceviche from a food truck. The line between good and bad seafood is not something you want to be crossing on a regular basis, so finding that perfect balance between quality and price is pretty exhilarating. So when I read about Poke Poke, a newish Hawaiian tuna bowl stand on Venice Beach, I was pretty excited. Cubes of raw tuna, tossed in shoyu and sesame oil, and served over rice for under $10 at one of the (arguably) worst lunch strips in all of Los Angeles? Yes please.

Read more »

Rutt’s Cafe is a Little Taste of Hawaii on the Westside

Rutt's Cafe

3 weeks ago I put the call out for the best plate lunch spot in Los Angeles, and got more than a few great recommendations. Based on your comments, the South Bay is clearly the place to be for Hawaiian food. But for a weekday lunch, that’s not realistic (for me anyway). The consensus seemed to center around Aloha Cafe Downtown and Rutt’s Cafe on the Westside, so when I found myself looking for lunch in Culver City this week Rutt’s seemed like the perfect option.

Read more »

Where’s the Best Plate Lunch Spot in L.A.? (Because I’m Guessing it’s Not Ono)


Sometimes I feel like the only person who lives in this city who hasn’t been to Hawaii.  I know it’s not true, but there are a lot of people on the west coast who make Hawaii feel as mundane as going to, say, Pittsburgh.  Well, not this Jew from Miami.  Growing up a Hawaiian vacation seemed as exotic to me as going on an African safari. And the food?  Well, let’s just say my only encounter with Hawaiian food as a kid was watching Howie From Maui as a 13 year old (“Eat the fucking poi!!!”)

My first real taste of Hawaiian food came in NYC at a place called Hawaiian Island Grill, which for a plate lunch deprived soul like myself seemed awesome!  Korean style beef?  Hamburger steak covered in gravy? Rotisserie chicken and pork chops?  All served with rice and macaroni salad?  Bring it on!  Maybe it wasn’t the most authentic Hawaiian food in the world, but it taught me something very important:  plate lunches are my friend.

So, you can’t really blame me for finally succumbing to the siren sounds of Ono Hawaiian Grill.  (Insert your predictable groans here.)

Read more »