Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 4, 2016

Fish in a poke

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:14 am

It’s been a while since my last “what’s coming to Alameda Landing” post.  A few businesses which were under negotiation didn’t end up panning out, like the “bakery” and the noodle concept store.  But a few storefronts have opened recently including Firehouse Subs, which is owned by a Alamedan.  The unfortunately named waxing joint the Lunch Box.  And a male (or sports enthusiast focused) barber shop called Sports Clips.

Recently Alameda Landing business Spin Pizza was honored after being opened only less than a year by the Alameda Education Foundation for their volunteer work in the community.  See, even chain type stores can be good community partners.

But this latest business in negotiations I’m really excited about. Earlier this year I read an article about the newest trend in fast casual businesses (think Spin Pizza, Chipotle, etc.) Poke, which is pretty ubiquitous in Hawaii, I mean you can get great poke anywhere, is not as big stateside unless you are getting it at a sushi joint or as an appetizer at somewhere fancy.

Why poke is a food fast casual candidate from Eater:

Another reason why poke is sparking the interest of the fast-casual set is that it’s so flexible. Customization has long been a hallmark of this newish breed of counter-service restaurants, and it turns out poke lends itself to this system well. Customers can choose their fish, mix-ins, and sauces and still wind up with something that feels, especially to those less familiar with the dish, like poke. This customization is on offer at many of the new fast-casual players like Pokéworks, Wisefish Poké, and Sweetfin. “The possibilities are endless with poke,” says Brennan. “You can do it with just about anything. I think what’s nice is that wherever you are in the U.S., whatever is freshest to you is wonderful to poke-ize, so to speak.”

Another added bonus: Poke, especially when diner can customize what goes into it, is healthy. “The way that we serve our poke really lends itself to the way that people are dieting or trying to eat healthy,” says Sweetfin co-founder Seth Cohen. “Whether it is the gluten-free soy sauces that we use or the different bases that are low in carbohydrates and high in protein.” At its core, poke is light and fresh, two very appealing adjectives for many diners.

So, as you can see, I was super excited when I saw “Poki Quick Service Concept”


Please, someone make this happen.



  1. I agree that a wax place named Lunch Box is a terrible name. I was expecting a food place when I saw the name…I guess you can get waxed at lunch time or something like that…I just don’t understand the connection which is usually how you choose a name.

    I pretty much given up on the BofA ATM. I am thinking about changing banks. I hate BofA in the first place and the only reason we use them is our mortgage is through them. They don’t seem to care about the West End which was oblivious when they closed the branch in Lucky’s a few years ago. There was always a few people in line there?

    Poke should be interesting although I don’t like fish unless it is tuna in a can (no accounting for taste). I am looking forward to Famous Dave’s. I haven’t been to Firehouse yet. I like Habit’s and think it is much better than In & Out. Got my hair cut at Sports Clip and liked the place but probably will go back to Webster’s Barber shop on Webster and Lincoln.

    Off subject but does anyone know what they are doing with the old Frosty’s? They have a fence off area in the parking lot. Peet’s seems to be doing well. With Crate and Barrel moving their offices to Marina Village it may a positive effect at Mariners Square? Mariners Square needs something.

    Comment by joelsf — May 4, 2016 @ 8:05 am

  2. While there is tako (octopus) and clam poke, most poke in Hawaii is made with ahi (yellowfin tuna) or aku (skipjack tuna). While I LOVE poke and poke rice bowls and poke with eggs, etc., tuna is unfortunately high in mercury, especially ahi (much less so with aku). Also, high demand for ahi poses serious concerns for the species (overfishing) and fisheries in general.

    Gosh, it would be so great to be able to get a quick bowl of rice and fish for lunch but I hope that the poke shops on the mainland are using other types of (sustainably caught) fish and shellfish to make their poke’s.

    Comment by Dya — May 4, 2016 @ 9:22 am

  3. Anyone know famous dave’s BBQ listed as coming soon to Alameda landing ? I had hopes for the BBQ at south shore but eating there I imagined digital smokers or crockpots and liquid smoke back in the kitchen (sorry; I did like the cornbread). It only lasted about a year. Famous daves is apparently listed on the Nasdaq and was down 10% today. That doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t make good BBQ but it puts one slightly on guard.

    Comment by MP — May 4, 2016 @ 6:23 pm

  4. The Bay Are is truly one of the world’s culinary capital but barbecue around here sucks.

    I *think* I know why:

    Barbecue, whether beef or pork or chicken, needs to be served when it’s ready or not too long after. Trouble is, it’s very hard to predict when it’s ready, especially for pork & beef (chicken is much easier to predict). Restaurants around here want to have a full menu and be able to serve any dish to customers when it’s ordered, the result being steam tabled leftovers in most cases.

    True barbecue shacks in the South and elsewhere just cook and sell fresh until it’s out. Some even raise a flag when things are ready so the town knows when to show up. They sell until they run out and then they are done for the day.

    I started barbecuing about 10 years ago and I like to think I’m pretty good with pork and chicken and lamb, my brisket needs work. It’s harder than you may think to get it right.

    Comment by dave — May 5, 2016 @ 6:38 am

    • There was a place in near San Pablo and 580 called Doug’s where I got barbecue lamb that I think was unrivaled by anything other than when I was in Michoacan near Patzcuaro where adding sauce can be unnecessary. I only think because I did not know my sister brought her dog over that day and thus I did not enjoy a statistically valid sample size. The dog got the better part of it.

      I try to do a pork shoulder, but it never comes out like it does around Memphis where they start early in the morning. My favorite there is Central BBQ, but there is good all over town.

      Comment by MP — May 5, 2016 @ 7:24 am

  5. Some would say that digital or electric smokers commonly used around here are an even bigger reason for the Bay Area barbecue fail. It’s a truism in barbecue country to never eat at a place that doesn’t have a woodpile out back. There is something to that, an open pit wood fire IS the best method, but I don’t think that’s nearly as significant as the freshness issue. I do baby backs sous vide & crust them in an electric smoker — that’s as non-traditional as you can get — and they are as good as any from Tennessee or the Carolinas. The timing matters more than the method.

    Comment by dave — May 5, 2016 @ 7:37 am

    • All true, but a digital smoker just sounds like something bound to fail, at least ideologically (and in more ways than one), even if the results are ok. Ideology aside, there will be times when for whatever reason you have to finish everything inside in the oven. Also, some cuts you start off with behave better than others.

      Something nice that doesn’t take all day and is of California is tri tip over oak a la San Luis Obispo / Santa Maria. Chicken can be good over oak too. I had the best at a Mexican place off 101 just past Soledad.

      Comment by MP — May 5, 2016 @ 8:15 am

      • It took some trial/error to refine the technique but I’m pretty happy with my Bradley smoker. I think one reason it works so well is that it produces a large amount of smoke, more than most electrics.

        Agree on tri tip, easy and delicious. I found a red wine barbecue sauce recipe on line that is prefect with smoked tri. Google it, I bet it’s still out there.

        Comment by dave — May 5, 2016 @ 8:47 am

  6. I haven’t done much sauce making but have made some simple NC style vinegar sauce, meaning basically vinegar and pepper and maybe a very little bit of sweet. A cousin from Birmingham sent me some Dreamland sauce which I liked. Tangy. I spent summers in Memphis where it was and is chopped/pulled BBQ pork sandwiches on big hamburger buns with slaw on the inside, with your typical sauce, spicy or mild , usually mild. Can’t beat that combo, but I like the vinegar sauce too.

    Ok Nothing wrong with electric smokers. My grandad in Memphis used to use one to smoke trout

    Comment by MP — May 5, 2016 @ 6:22 pm

    • Ever try a South Carolina style sauce?

      Comment by dave — May 5, 2016 @ 6:37 pm

      • yellow mustard, etc? yes. that’s good too.

        Comment by MP — May 5, 2016 @ 7:15 pm

      • there’s a good website you might have already discovered

        Comment by MP — May 5, 2016 @ 7:41 pm

        • Love the site.

          His grownup yellow sauce is world class. Try it.

          Comment by dave — May 5, 2016 @ 8:15 pm

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