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  1. Hula Girl Truck is parked, temporarily, in the space previously occupied by Pulpo, on Connecticut Ave in Cleveland Park. (Not literally. The truck is not actually in the restaurant.) The restaurant will be open Tuesdays through Sundays until mid March, according to the staff. A short menu of plate lunch staples--kalua pork & cabbage, huli-huli chicken, teriyaki beef/pork/tofu--anchors the menu. Served with two scoops of rice and your choice of mac salad or green salad. We started out with a fresh, slightly spice and gingered poke, served with sweet potato (or maybe taro, but I don't think so) crackers. The prices are decidedly not in the Rainbow Drive-in range--plates run around $16--but portion sizes are extremely generous. Our party of two adults and one preschooler ordered one kalua pig and one huli-huli chicken, and went home with leftovers. The huli-huli chicken is baked in the wood-fired oven, and comes out sticky and smoky and moist and delicious. The kalua pork is shredded and served with cabbage (and I could have used more of that cabbage!). We were seated under a poster of Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu, famous for its malasadas; little Portuguese yeast donuts covered in sugar. Apparently Hula Girl will be adding malasadas to the menu next week, and will be expanding other menu options also.
  2. According to this article in Washington City Paper, four poke restaurants have either just opened or will open shortly in D.C. Poké Papa and Abunai Poke opened this month. Poki District and Honeyfish Poke are opening soon. I enjoyed the Poke at Hula Girl Bar and Grill in Shirlington and was wondering if anyone had tried the two new poke restaurants or had recommendations for places to get poke in/around DC or NoVA?
  3. There's a new Poki DC on L st...btw Ct and 19. Couldn't find it on the web. Soft opening today was tasty. I found this Poke more than OK. Very nice people there everything was what it was supposed to be. Fresh, cold, warm, soft, crunchy...It is a bowl of rice with stuff on it but I pretty much love rice with stuff on it.
  4. Poke is fast-becoming a trend (or fad, take your pick) in the Washington, DC area - DC has about 4-5 Poke-based restaurants that have either just opened, or are about to open. New York-based PokéWorks opened in Korean-heavy Annandale, VA (about ten miles southwest of DC) early in 2017, and is also opening in The Heights (as well as in Dallas this Summer). So, brace yourselves, Houston: Hawaii is coming to you, and don't be surprised to see a few more - mostly using the fast-casual / quick-serve format. You know what? I still don't know if "Poke" has an <<accent aigu>> over the "e" or not - seemingly 1/3 of the places online have it, and about 2/3 don't. I'm not even sure if it's pronounced "po-kay" or "poke"; I just know that when it's done right - *with fresh fish* (refer to sashimi), it is a monster dish. The problem, of course, being "fresh fish" - which doesn't seem to be much of a problem in Hawaii.
  5. Nice lunch today at http://pokepapa.com Much better than the Annandale version of Poke. Similar to the California places I wrote about...choice of rice (brown, while or black) and/or salad, plus scoops of fish (tofu and chicken also) and toppings. Big difference they had 3-4 varieties of salmon and Ahi already tossed with dressing. A Korean spiced version, basic sweet with green onions, and a siracha mayo mix...plus plain Ahi and Salmon, cooked scallops, some ceviche, etc. I had 3 scoops trying the Korean, basic, and siracha. This saves the step of tossing the fish with your choice of sauce...but having 3 different flavors confuses things inside the bowl. Lots of choices of toppings, including fake crab salad, seaweed, ginger, etc. The crunchy toppings are self service, after you pay. Overall, very good. Would be a great place to have your first Poke! I left very satisfied.
  6. Where do you get nice Hawaiian shirts? Bonobos has them but are quite pricey
  7. My friend, who was born, raised and now lives on the island of Hawaii pronounces it po-kay. So that's what I have always called it. There is a fresh fish shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco that carries "poke mix" from Hawaii with recipes printed on the back. There is no accent over the "e" on their packaging. It includes Hawaiian salt, ogo (seaweed) and chili pepper. They recommend adding sliced green onion as well. I usually buy a few of these packets and keep them on hand, and when I get the chance to buy some nice, fresh fish, I am poke ready.
  8. So, a little birdy tells me that this past week, a couple of ex-telecom guys opened a scoop shop in Ashburn that specializes in some kind of Hawaiian ice cream that's supposed to be less sweet, but more fruity. "Hawaiian Scoop" is located at 20937 Ashburn Rd., north of Rt 640 (Waxpool Rd/Farmwell Rd). The ice cream is from Lappert's (in California?). Separately, they're also bringing in some kind of Dole fruit freeze that's supposedly only available in Hawaii and at Disney World. A friend of mine who used to live in Hawaii went to a pre-opening event and came back raving about it. That's all I know so far. Anybody care to take a recon pass?
  9. The Taste of Aloha has brought the taste of Hawaii to the border of Howard County, and it's worth the drive to bring a little sunshine into your winter. This is a small family-run restaurant in Arbutus that brings casual Hawaiian food -- with its mix of Asian and American influences, its range from light raw fish dishes through noodle soups to hearty burgers and "plate lunch." I don't want you to go with heightened expectations, but Taste of Aloha reminds me of R&R Taqueria. It's a guy who wants to cook authentic food. Bare-bones seating. A short menu that changes with the ingredients. And a real focus on making things from scratch. Let's just say that we left disappointed that we had passed on macaroni salad because lunch made us realized that we had probably underestimated it. Saimin and fish tacos First, you need to hit up Taste of Aloha just for the raw fish. Hawaiians make these wonderful dishes called poke where fish is cubed, then mixed with vegetables and often a dressing. There are endless varieties, and they were one of our favorite parts of vacation. Last weekend, Taste of Aloha was serving a poke cousin called spicy tuna chirashi zushi. A scoop of warm perfect rice surrounded by cubed tuna mixed with a spicy emulsion. A touch of creaminess, but mostly a bright, light spiciness. A dash of furikake gave a little salt and crunch. As a $6 appetizer, it was one of my favorite dishes that I have eaten this year. On a china plate, it would have been at home at a high-end restaurant. Second, you should come expecting authenticity. Hawaii has developed a unique culture with input from places like Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Portugal. During out single meal, we listened to two other tables exclaim about how the food tasted just like they remembered from their time on the islands. The menu included kalbi, chicken katsu, several burgers, and kahlua pig served as a hoagie or as a big plate lunch. My wife ordered mahi-mahi tacos that had perfectly grilled fish with a kimchi slaw and pineapple salsa. I tried saimin, a noodle soup that starts with a mushroom-vegetable broth and then lets you add spam, shrimp, tofu, dumplings or a bunch of other proteins to bulk it up. It was a cloudy broth and a filling soup perfect for a cold day. I jazzed mine with a dash of soy sauce and a squirt of hot sauce. Again, this is the vibe of R&R Taqueria where the folks take the food seriously even though they're cooking in a gas station. We heard folks talk about how the chef makes his own sauces and marinades, including his own teriyaki sauce. That's the kind of effort that we tasted in all our dishes and that makes me want to go back to try the kalbi, the roast pork, and maybe even the dishes made with spam. That was also when we realized that the macaroni salad side dish was homemade -- and probably delicious. Don't go with crazy expectations. This is a casual place with a one-man kitchen. But Taste of Aloha is really worth checking out because they're making an effort to do something special. Plus, it's a unique menu that will give you a little taste of the islands without even driving to BWI. If you're going to make a special trip, I recommend following the restaurant on Twitter or on Facebook to see when they announce poke, chirashi zushi or other raw fish dishes.
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