Back in the day when I first discovered sushi (that epicurean wonder of the world), you would find me (feeling very internationally cultured), piling a mountain of pickled ginger (aka: gari) up all over my (fancy and adventurous) California roll; dipping it into a pool of soy sauce (carefully combined with a dab of that pale green wasabi paste…no lumps allowed!!), and then shoving the whole thing ever so delicately into my face. Mmmphhfffffffp.
Hopefully I have learned a few things about proper sushi etiquette since then and one of my most obvious faux pas of the past (you already know … I know you do) was the fact that I was seriously abusing the gari! Like…wait, this is meant to be a palate cleanser? As in, between bites of sushi…not ON TOP of? Seriously?
Dang. I sure don’t want to offend anyone (or embarrass myself for that matter) but I really do like that stuff. Now that I know better I can’t bring myself to treat it like it’s ketchup – at least not in public. Doesn’t mean I don’t still want to.
So…If your favorite thing about going out for sushi is nibbling on that crazy, pungency packing pickled ginger that comes in a pretty pink pile on the plate, then this clean and crunchy mix of taste-bud tingling happiness is for you.
Behold…my take on the poke (pronounced POH-Key, just in case you needed that) bowl.
A traditional poke bowl is both cooked and raw, hot and cold, all at once, sort of like a burrito bowl meets The Little Mermaid. Rice serves as the cooked portion of the production, a blank canvas to hold up the rest of the more assertive supporting cast. A staple of Hawaiian cuisine since, oh probably the dawn of the volcano, the poke bowl has found itself a place in mainland-style foodie trendiness, right alongside acai bowls, power bowls, and cereal bowls.
Yeh, I’m kidding about the cereal bowls, wink wink. Let’s not get crazy about what sort of vessel you serve this up in/on. This is so beautiful, so amazingly delicious, so easy to assemble together on the fly (NO COOKING INVOLVED AT ALL no lie), that you would probably eat it out of a shoe if I gave it to you like that. I know I would.
Okay … make that a brand new, super clean, very fancy, really nice shoe.
I’m finally fessing up, Tostitos. I’m just not really that into you.
Yeah, you heard me right, although I hid it well for years. Being from New Mexico and all, where they practically invented chips and salsa (I am pretty sure it’s an official “food group” there), I plowed through my fair share TO BE SURE. But what choice did I have? You gotta have the salsa, right? And fresh guacamole? Puh-lease, there is nothing better on this planet………so what could I do? I couldn’t use a spoon (oh, I thought about it, I did), and double dipping in public is completely out of the question….so I jumped on the bus and I ate all the chips. But you know . . . I had to.
It was that or no salsa. No guacamole. No joy.
Ever. (cue the teardrop running slowly down the side of cheek)