By Denise Ortuno-Neil

It was love at first bite for me. As an avid sushi lover, I pretty much knew that it would be. With high grade ingredients and creativity, Pokehana in La Quinta offers ultra-fresh Poke, in a fast, friendly, efficient fashion, making it the ultimate in healthy fast food.

pokehana-1Poke has been become all the rage, and for good reason. It is basically a raw fish salad, but it is so much more, as the flavors of the ingredients used create a taste symphony. The components seem to blend together without effort, while still holding their individual spotlight. Pokehana delivers their Poke with the utmost of attention, it is undeniable. Honestly, Pokehana’s success is no surprise, as it was created by the owners of the super popular longstanding La Quinta sushi restaurant, Okura; so successful that they are already looking to open a Pokehana in Palm Desert in the near future.

I was very excited to try Pokehana, which only opened earlier this year. I had seen a series of posting from friends on social media, photographing their Poke bowls with glee, I had to try it. The set up at the popular spot has an open assembly line where Poke lovers can see their bowls crafted right before their eyes. On the occasion when I went, the owners were right there behind the line, helping to put the bowls together. Very cool!

There are different ways to get your Poke. Guests can either choose from their specialty bowls, or create their own from scratch. Since I was a first timer at Pokehana, I went for one of their pre-conceived creations, the Tuna Hana. The bowl came with a choice of White Rice, a Wild/Brown Rice or Spring Mix Greens (I went for the carb-less greens), Ahi Tuna, Cucumber, Onion, Hijiki Seaweed, Hana Sauce, Edamame, Crab Salad and topped with Masago, Avocado, Mango, Toasted Sesame and Crispy Garlic. It exceeded my expectations…I mean, my chopsticks were in overdrive. I ate every single morsel, making yummy sounds the whole bowl through. I’m craving it right now as I write this! Other specialty bowls include the Salmon Kai, Albacore Pahala, Salmon Tuna Maika’i and Tofu Lau.

If you’re more inclined to make up your own, there are plenty of awesome ingredients to choose from such as, Ahi, Albacore, Octopus, Salmon, Shrimp, Seaweed, Masago, Marinated Shitake, Ginger, Edamame, Hana Sauce, Chili Soy Yuzu, Wasabi Citrus and many, many more.

The bowls are plentiful and satisfying, without feeling sluggishly stuffed afterwards. Pokehana patrons can get their bowls for a reasonable price, just $11.95 for a specialty bowl, and $10.95 for a regular sized self-created bowl and $12.95 for a large. They make eating healthy not only ridiculously delicious, but affordable too. Pokehana is conveniently opened daily from 11am to 8:30pm.

Pokehana proves that fast food can be super healthy and filled with high quality ingredients. With their creativity and friendly efficient service, there’s no doubt that they will only grow in popularity. Now if they could only employ a drive thru.

For more information or to order online visit, www.pokehana.com.

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