I Love Poke Festival
Do you ever wonder if you were forced to eat one food for the rest of your life what it would be? For me, the answer would be sashimi or poke. You can imagine then how excited I was to be invited to attend the annual I Love Poke Festival at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California. The event was completely sold out. No tickets were available at the door. The I Love Poke Festival has become a tradition in Southern California. Chefs from all over compete in a poke contest to find out who makes the best poke. They're judged by a panel of judges for the coveted title. Aside from poke, the event had lots of other food and entertainment to celebrate Hawaiian food and culture. I got to try all the different poke stands while chowing down on other types of Hawaiian food and listening to some awesome live music! It was a good day. Can you tell?Chef Alvanette Pacheco of Specialty Produce made a Watermelon "Poke" with coconut cream, sweet & spicy Szechuan candied walnuts, smoked serrano sea salt, and arugula. Sneaky, sneaky! Poke is the Hawaiian verb for "section" so even though we think of poke as ahi tuna, watermelon can be definitely be "poke" too!
This was a poke with sriracha sauce. Poke with Taro Chips by Chef James Harris. Spicy Teriyaki Poke. These were the tasting portions. The portions they displayed for the judges was much more drool worthy!How gorgeous! Very drool worthy!I wish I was at the judge's table! *Ahem. Next year folks?The texture of the taro chips really made it unique. The juxtaposition of textures made this particular poke stand out. Spicy Aioli Poke Musubi. Jay at the judging panel. You can follow him here. There was also some Poke and Musubi Apparel. Being that we were right next to the beach, the weather was extremely cold so I skipped the shaved ice line and went for the cinnamon sugar malasada with strawberry filling from Dough Dough's Hawaiian Cafe. It was a good dessert to nibble on while watching the hula dancing and live entertainment going on. Hawaiian Springs Water was there to quench our thirst.After taste-testing so much poke, I was so happy there were egg rolls as well!There were also tasty Hawaiian Bread Sliders!And spicy chicken drumsticks!
Here's a quick video I made from the I Love Poke Festival below.