EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival

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EdSails
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2011/04/14 23:21:51 (permalink)

EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival

In Hawaii, roadfood consists of two main things----Poke and Plate Lunches. Over the years, I've hunted down a few providers of each here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. I've even made my own poke a few times, buying the ingredients from my favorite Asian Market, Marukai. There was no better way to get my mouth salivating though then to attend the I Love Poke Festival April 12th in Huntington Beach. I was going to Hawaii------by car!
The event, located at Don the Beachcomber's Restaurant in Huntington Beach, brought several local restaurants, catering companies and Chef's together for a sampling of Hawaii's best.
 

Don the Beachcomber started off as a small Tiki Bar in Hollywood in the 30's and the present reincarnation in Huntington Beach certainly maintains that fun look. In between then and now, Don invented a bunch of rum drinks and escaped to Waikiki Beach. As a stop on Pacific Coast Highway, it certainly fits the atmosphere of the area, with surfboard shops, tattoo parlors, swimsuit and dive stores, shell shops and other beachy places in the surrounding area. Tiki torches told me that I was now on Island time.
 

The first place I headed was the the musabi room. There. We sampled Spam Musabi, an Island staple, along with a variation using Japanese Chicken Katsu. Hawaii's roadfood legacy combines many foods from different ethnic cultures.

They do love their Spam in Hawaii--especially when you combine it with rice and seaweed! I also had a chance to sample some of the other Pupu appetizers---including lobster meatballs. There was this awesome appetizer with roast pork on it.

Noh, a Hawaiian distributor, was even selling packs of Poke mix which included the seaweed, chili and Hawaiian salt. All you needed was the fish. They sampled coconut pudding, Hawaiian iced tea, ands some tofu with a seaweed topping on it.

I wandered around, trying to decide what to try next. Another room beckoned, with some of the plate lunch delights in it. By this point I had already given up trying to remember who had what. It all looked so good! I had pork ribs and saimin noodles, white rice and King's Hawaiian Bread.

 

Primo Hawaiian Beer was available as well as plenty of rum drinks. I got my first poke sample from Santa Monica Seafood. Then it was time to get serious.
The poke was divided between two huge rooms. In there, they had the 15 poke competitors sampling different types-----some with as many as two or three different types of poke at their tables. Poke has a lot of different interpretations. Some places did the traditional type------cubed ahi or yellowfin \tuna, a seaweed called limu, soy sauce, chili pepper and sesame oil. Some had various additions to it-----Maui onion, candlenut, tomato, Sriracha sauce, jicama and other items. Some used yellowtail, octopus, flying fish eggs or salmon in place of the tuna. One delicious one used bigeye tuna for a slightly different texture. At this point, I'm not going to try to explain what is what-------the photos should give enough of an idea of the variety.

 

 

 

 

 
With the variety, it was pretty much this----go get poke from two table------return to your own table-----eat poke----repeat with next table. My favorites were from the House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer and RA Sushi and Da Kine Hawaiian Grinds and Royal Hawaiian and...........I thought they were all delicious so I gave up trying to keep track. The portions were generous so I was absolutely stuffed by the last few poke tables.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
I barely had enough room for the fresh fruit samples and the capper-----Hawaiian Shaved Ice. The shaved ice looked so good, it wasn't until I got halfway through it that I remembered to take a photo.
 

 

 
Judging was done by a table in the main room. The judges included the Kalbama Brothers, a Hawaiian Band, who also provided music later. Maori Dancers also provided entertainment. The purpose of the Festival (besides all the good food) was a benefit for the Rell Sunn Educational Foundation.
For all you roadfooders near San Diego, they are doing this in SD on Wed. April 20th. Let's see, Hodad's for lunch and Poke for dinner.......
 
I Love Poke Festival
 San Diego April 20th
www.ilovemusubi.com
 
 
post edited by EdSails - 2011/04/15 15:00:51
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14 Replies Related Threads

    MiamiDon
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 09:10:19 (permalink)
    Fantastic, Ed!
     
    I became interested in poke a while back, and tracked down a hard-to-find book on it.  I more or less determined that the real thing couldn't be had outside of Hawaii, particularly because of the limu, not to mention the 'inamona.  Did anyone use fresh limu?
     
    I've been following Don's (great name, btw) since it opened.  I wish it had been there when I was in Huntington Beach 3 years ago.
    post edited by MiamiDon - 2011/04/15 09:15:23
    #2
    brisketboy
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 09:32:36 (permalink)
    After being stationed in Hawaii for six wonderful years I would gladly wallow in anything poke. That and Kiniki's Kahlua pig on the north shore of Oahu.
    #3
    kland01s
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 10:01:50 (permalink)
    I would love to send this to friends who just moved to SD but the link doesn't work. Looks like a great event!
    #4
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 10:36:27 (permalink)
    Upon seeing "I Love Poke" I couldn't help be a bit startled. I'm always startled when someone tells me they even like poke, let alone love it, because the poke I know is pokeweed, poke salet or Phytolacca americana. I hate the stuff, and I cannot understand how anyone can like it. Not only is it poisonous if not prepared properly, it tastes bad.
    #5
    pnwchef
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 11:12:41 (permalink)
    Great report Ed, looks like a great way to enjoy a wide assortment of Poke. I figured if I could look a Raw clam and oyster in the eye, I could eat just about anything. We used to serve Lomi Lomi Salmon and Sashimi at a Hawaiian Restaurants I managed in Hawaii.  I don't remember Poke being popular back 30 years ago, it was more of a local thing. There are many Poke places now, I like a few of them but I am selective..............Great report..............pnwc
    #6
    mar52
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 13:01:12 (permalink)
    Ed. Poke me the next time it's close to Los Angeles!
     
    San Diego is $100 away these days.
     
    Amazing report, idea and presentation!
     
    Does King's Hawaiian really qualify?
     
    (I would have skipped the Spam)
    #7
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 13:11:31 (permalink)
    mar52



    (I would have skipped the Spam)

    Spam's the only thing I'd have eaten.
    #8
    EdSails
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 15:02:27 (permalink)
    kland01s

    I would love to send this to friends who just moved to SD but the link doesn't work. Looks like a great event!

     
    my misspelling:
    www.ilovemusubi.com
    that will work
    #9
    Greymo
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 15:28:50 (permalink)
    I would love to try this!  A fun report.
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    EdSails
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/15 18:17:05 (permalink)
    mar52


    Does King's Hawaiian really qualify?



     
    King's does have a big following. From what I understand, they are swamped on Saturdays when they make a traditional donut-type Hawaiian-Portuguese item called a malasada. 
    #11
    EdSails
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/16 02:57:09 (permalink)
    MiamiDon

    Fantastic, Ed!

    I became interested in poke a while back, and tracked down a hard-to-find book on it.  I more or less determined that the real thing couldn't be had outside of Hawaii, particularly because of the limu, not to mention the 'inamona.  Did anyone use fresh limu?

    I've been following Don's (great name, btw) since it opened.  I wish it had been there when I was in Huntington Beach 3 years ago.

     
    Don,
    I wish I could have known if the limu was fresh. To the best of my knowledge, it's dried-----at least that's the way I've seen it at Marukai and the other Asian markets that sell the Noh Poke Mix. 
    Don the Beachcomber was there-----it was just called Sam's Seafood at the time. I do understand the menu is much better than the old Sam's. Sam's was not great food, but the bar drinks were good. Three years ago, huh? I could have met you there!
    From what I have reead/heard, Don the Beachcomber's menu is pretty good. I suppose I'll have to try it sometime. 
     
     
    Ed
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/20 11:04:23 (permalink)
    So now is the only unifying thing that poke is always raw fish, dressed in some way, or you need those specific ingredients in the mix to make it 'poke'?  It's gorgeous food, however you feel about it.
    #13
    MiamiDon
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/20 12:17:22 (permalink)
    Nowadays it is a range of raw (usually) seafood (mostly), cut into cubes and dressed with a broad range of sauces and spices.
     
     Sam Choy's poke book says that "Straight Hawaiian-Style 'Inamona Poke" has raw aku or 'ahi, limu kohu (a red seaweed), 'inamona (crushed kikui nuts), a Hawaiian red chile pepper and salt. 
     
    But there are endless varieties, and I've discovered that some cooks stretch the definition to cooked seafood and sausage and steak and things.
    #14
    EdSails
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    Re:EdSails Does the "I Love Poke" Festival 2011/04/20 14:05:52 (permalink)
    The contest actually had two categories, Traditional and Non-Traditional. The variations stuck with the main ingredients MiamiDon described------the difference was their prep, presentation and flavor, usually from different portions of the main ingredients. Non-traditional did variations of types of fish, addded different peppers, avocado and even fruit and other items such as Sriracha sauce. Just showed what poke could be when you think outside the box.
    #15
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