Life Changing Magic of Poke Bowls: Ohana Poke Co.

Ohana Poke Co

#Becausepoke. Endearing hashtag grammar for an endearingly named bowl. (It means family.)

I cleaned out my backpack this morning. This was something that I don’t think ever done before. I’ve been lugging this thing around for years; it’s been getting heavier and heavier every week but for the life of me I couldn’t find any excess stuff in there. I would occasionally peek into every little pocket and say, “Well, I need that and I need that, too.” Everything in my backpack was critical. Most of it, if I’m being honest, was just in case of an apocalyptic scenario: In case of zombies that can only subsist on people’s shoelaces, I have 6 spare laces in all colors; if the zombies are just feeling a little “nippy” then I have all sorts of Band-Aids in all shapes and some Neosporin.

Having recently read Marie Kondo‘s “Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” (courtesy of my not-so-subtle wife), I decided to take her philosophy of full-bore tidying by category and simplify my daily luggage situation. Each type of contents was evaluated and completely appraised for spiritual value. One category of item in my backpack was in overwhelming abundance, but due to its size and usefulness I never really paid much attention to it. I’m not kidding—there were at least two pounds-worth of sriracha and soy sauce packets scattered throughout my bag!

It didn’t take long to realize how I’d conjured so many condiments. This accumulation was the result of an intense love affair with the poke bowl shop across the street: Ohana Poke Co.

Ohana Poke Co

Some of the packets in question.

This poke revolution is something that has taken my neighborhood by storm. Raw tuna has never tasted so good. Just in the course of the past year, we got Ohana Poke (“‘ohana’ means family” a sign states condescendingly), Whole Foods offers their “Nagasaki’s Revenge” bowl (not really the name, but holy shit is there an aftermath!), and Little Tokes has installed additional raw fish bowl outposts in the Woori Market (review to come later). The bowls are addictive for anyone who loves sushi but abhors the dainty single-serving portions and delicate artistry involved. Basically, if you’d rather have your raw fish battered and bruised and mixed at a Cold Stone, and then slopped together in a bowl—you may want to do the hokey poke.

Ohana has a few things going for it. For one, they really spell out the process of ordering this Hawaian delicacy. I prefer to think of it as “poke for dummies”: there’s a slight slant of a learning curve and you decide whether you’d prefer salmon or tuna, but in the end it’s all the same. Secondly, the decor and atmosphere is fairly reminiscent of a sterile fish market. The employees have all been very cordial and warm every time I order. “Here comes the Big Kahuna,” I like to imagine them whispering to each other.

Every bowl—and there have been many—that I’ve ordered has been utterly perfect. And quick. I splurge on a Spam Musubi (sweet OR spicy, go for sweet and add sriracha to it) every once in a while, but I’m looking at $16-$19 dinner when I go crazy so I normally restrain myself. Is there such a thing as “celebrating with a Spam musubi?” I think that’s what I do.

Back to my backpack. This is probably the first place where I’ve seen a sriracha packet. And I like to think of myself as someone who DOES get out much! Needless to say, I always grab a few, just in case. The problem with this is that “rotating my stock” is virtually impossible when I throw them in my backpack. What am I supposed to do? “This zippered ripstop pocket is for sriracha from March 2015, and the carabiner clip marks the beginning of winter. Do not use anything past that point!” The worst is when you bring your lunch to work, squeeze out a little disturbingly chunky, brown sriracha.

Ohana Poke Co

Spam musubis in the background. Made to order.

Ohana Poke Co. has two locations. This one is 130 e. 6th St, Los Angeles, Ca 90014

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