One of the most exciting and delicious things about California is the wide spread availability of Poke. If you are a sushi fan, or have had it before, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are unfamiliar, you should read this article by Eater. In short, it is a healthy rice bowl with raw fish and other fix-ins. Poke is originally from Hawaii, but the craze has spread to most major cities including Vancouver, where I am from. Back home, the bowls are pricier due to limited competition, but here, it is much more affordable. Think upscale Chipotle, but even more customizable and actually good for you.
A lot of students I’ve met have never had raw fish before, nor have they even heard of that way of preparing fish, nevermind sushi. I think poke makes a good introduction to sushi since one can opt for a heavier sauce, or create a more Americanized bowl (i.e. with mayonnaise based sauces and bacon toppings etc.). This makes poke so widely loved. Some of my friends are still intimidated by it and will refuse to eat it, but they are missing out. Anyways, it’s more fish left in the ocean for me to eat :D
I remember using Google Maps to locate all the poke places around campus to check out. There is Poke Mix by Flour and Tea, and Lemonade on Lake Ave which are 10 minutes away. Pokenoya is 15 minutes away, but the selections are much better in my opinion. Chandler also serves it on Mondays at the sushi bar. However, the Chandler version only features tuna. I, on the other hand, am a fan of yellowtail, scallops, octopus, and albacore. Tuna will curb temporary cravings, but I need to go around town to get my fix.
Since coming to Caltech, I have probably eaten Poke at over 10 different locations. Pokenoya is definitely my favorite Pasadena option, but Poke N Roll in Glendale is definitely one of the best! Sweetfin and Mainland Poke in Santa Monica are also amazing.