Sushi… A Love Afair
If you’re like me, you think about sushi way too much. Like, to the point where it becomes a serious problem. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night. Hands clammy. Heart racing. Covered in beads of sweat, after narrowly escaping a carnivorous vicious spicy tuna handroll! Ok, maybe not like that. At least I don’t think I’m that far gone yet. But who knows. When it comes to me and sushi, anything is possible.
But to be real for a moment, I freaking love sushi. Hardcore. With a passion! I swear I could write about it all day. I’ve been eating it since I was about four years old I think. Now, yes, it was grocery store sushi… the funky wannabe “California roll” with imitation crab, white rice, the little pink ginger, and plastic green grass in it. Ya, it was hardly real sushi, but we can’t all start at the top. And give me a break! I was four!
But something was brewing inside me. It was a slow burn at first. However, it wasn’t really that big of a surprise now that I think about it. I loved seafood pretty much from the get-go. After all, I was born and raised in San Diego so it’s no surprise I gravitated to the delicious little critters hanging out all around me. I even lost my first tooth at the age of five while eating a squid sandwich. I loved fish. And I adored sushi. A love affair was forming. A bond. It was destiny.
The Saga Continues
So, years later when I went to a sushi restaurant in San Francisco with my aunt and uncle, let’s just say that was a game-changer. That was the first time I was able to try the real thing. And I was in love. Then, a few years later, my cousin took me to all-you-can-eat sushi over at Sushi Club off of Moana Lane in Reno. Say What!? ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT!? Another night I’ll never forget. And one that would change my life forever. No joke. From that point on, I would go to Sushi Club regularly. I even became a member. And I was starting to eat there every week.
Then, a few years later, the Reno sushi boom happened. And the quality and selection around the Reno area exploded! It was incredible. And I started going to get sushi two or three or four times a week. To be realistic for a moment, it really was too much. But my mind and body were hooked. I loved raw fish. We were meant to be. I loved going to sushi in Reno so much!
However, the extravagant deep-fried rolls with mayo and cream cheese and whatever other weird crap they decided to garnish them with started to catch up with me. And while sushi is considered to be pretty healthy by many people, it’s a myth. At least when you Americanize the crap out of it. Add on all the empty calories and heavy carbohydrate content in the white sushi rice, and it’s quite literally a recipe for disaster. I had to come to terms with the fact that I needed to dial it back a bit. I needed to find a sushi alternative. But what? How? Would I ever be satisfied again?
Finding a Sushi Alternative
After starting to bulk up after the age of 20, I knew the sushi was to blame. It was the damn rice and I knew it. Even when I started to cut out all the really bad stuff like the breading, mayo, and cheese, the rice was still there. And when you eat as much sushi as I did, you end up eating a LOT OF RICE! And unlike the protein-rich fish and vitamin and nutrient-rich vegetables, the rice will start to take its toll. The pounds were packing on me but I needed my sushi.
I may have not been getting enough protein elsewhere during the times my cravings were really bad. But if my brain told me to go get sushi, the rice came along with it. And you have to eat the rice, or you’ll literally pay the price. After a while, I knew I need to find a sushi alternative that would still satisfy my cravings. So, I turned to sashimi.
Now, I’m not about to start talking crap about sashimi, so don’t expect that. It was great. But wow, it was so much more expensive than sushi! There was not an all-you-can-eat sashimi restaurant in Reno for quite a while. At least not as far as I was aware. So if I wanted to get enough sashimi in Reno to mildly satisfy me, I was looking at dropping around $30 just for a small plate. And I wasn’t a bigshot so that was getting to be expensive. Even when Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse in Harrah’s began serving all-you-can-eat sashimi, it was still like $40 and $50 with a tip. it was killing me. I needed to find a better sushi alternative. But as far as I knew, I was running out of options.
The Poke Dilema
Then, with some luck, I traveled to Hawaii for the first time. It was there that I was first introduced to poke. Oh sweet, sweet poke… crap I’m getting really hungry now. I know I’m skidding out of control writing this, but man, every time I write about raw fish, I get hungry. My brain starts to buzz. It’s worse than going shopping on an empty stomach. I’m telling you. NEVER WRITE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH! At least, not about sushi, sashimi, or poke. Hang on a second. I’m going to go grab a Vacation Bowl. Ah, much better. Now, back to business!
So, now that I had discovered poke, there was only one issue. There wasn’t much of it to be found in Reno. You could find it here and there. Maybe at higher-end grocery stores like Whole Foods, but as usual, it was extremely expensive. After all, there’s not much of a difference between straight poke and sashimi. Consequently, a small little tub could top $10 or more… for a light snack. And that was not what I was looking for.
I needed a real, no BS sushi alternative. One that would ensure I could get my raw fish fix, but something that would also allow me to keep the calories as nutrient-dense as possible. Lucky for me, things started to change around the reno raw fish scene again. This time, poke bowl restaurants like Pola Poke Bowls began to open up around town. Suddenly, I had found the potential sushi alternative I’d been searching for! Now all I had to do was give it a try. And I was more than eager to do so.
Poke Is the Perfect Sushi Alternative
Again, I had enjoyed straight poke-style fish before, but I’d never tried a full poke bowl. So, upon first visiting Pola Poke, I was pretty stoked about a number of things. First off, the selection was pretty incredible when it came to fish options. I don’t really know what I was expecting. Possibly some spicy tuna. Fake crab. Salmon. You know, the basics. However, I had no clue there would be so many ingredients to select from. I suppose in my mind, a “poke bowl” was just a bowl full of some fish that was precut and portioned out. But it was so much more.
Pola Poke in Reno offers fresh-cut (yes they do it right there in-house) salmon, ahi, spicy tuna, and octopus. They even offer REAL deep-sea crab, as well as shrimp and chicken for the less adventurous poke newbies. And oh man, how excited was I to have the chance to get spicy ahi tuna, fresh-cut sake salmon, and REAL DEAP SEA CRAB! More than I can probably express here with written words. And that’s not all! I may have been excited about the fish selection but there was so much more.
While they did offer a base of white rice, greens, and kale, for once, the white rice wasn’t mandatory to consume. SCORE! I could just fill the base of my poke bowl with fresh kale and assorted greens! Talk about a great sushi alternative. Just skipping the rice was going to be a huge paradigm shift. But there were so many other things to be excited about. There were toppings galore. Avocado, tobiko, cucumbers, scallions, purple onions, tofu, edamame, pineapple, mangos, seaweed salad, ginger, and more! Talk about healthy! Then you could even top your bowl off with some delicious macadamia nuts, rich in healthy fats and vitamin E.
Why I Gave Up Sushi and Chose Poke
Poke bowls truly were the perfect alternative to eating sushi – a fixation that led to so much weight gain for me in the past! It really was one of the best things that could have happened to me. As I said before, I love sushi. I always will. But I know that sushi comes with some serious baggage. And frankly, as sushi restaurants come and go, the fish quality can swing wildly as well. And in the end, that’s what I’m here for… the fish.
At Pola Poke, the fish is always top-notch. As I said, they cut it fresh right there in their restaurant. Yes, even the octopus, which was pretty cool when I saw it on their Instagram page. The fish at Pola Poke truly is some of the best in Reno and I’ve never had a bad experience with it. It’s always rich in flavor and has a pleasing texture. And if you’re laughing at me right now, just know I’ve had some very sad salmon at some of the Reno sushi restaurants around town. Pola‘s consistent quality is always something I can rely on. And all in all, everything is just superbly fresh and delicious.
Even after eating a bunch, which I do, I don’t feel bogged down. The portions at Pola Poke are plentiful to say the least. The large bowl is enough for two meals, and that’s coming from someone who used to sit at all-you-can-eat sushi for 90 minutes or more. Yet, I never feel sick. I never feel like I’m in a daze or that I’m going to be non-functional for the next couple of hours. Never have that “sushi coma” feeling because of all the rice. I’m telling you those empty rice calories and carbs just weigh you down mentally and physically. At least they did for me.
Pola Poke – The Sushi Alternative You’ve Been Searching For
So, in the end, finding a sushi alternative that allowed me to cut out the carb-heavy rice while still getting the proteins, fruits, and veggies that I craved really was the best thing I could have hoped for. I don’t really miss sushi at all anymore since I found Pola Poke – my go-to Reno sushi alternative. If you’re like me and you’re tired of consuming all the extra carbs and calories they force-feed you at Reno sushi restaurants, I highly recommend you drive yourself over to Pola Poke Bowls and see what they have to offer. I promise you won’t regret it!
Get Your Fresh Food Fix!
Pola Poke is proud to bring fresh poke, acai bowls, smoothies, and craft coffees to Reno, Nevada! We’re a locally-owned business created and operated by a Reno native. Furthermore, our palate-pleasing sustainably sourced bowls offer the perfect combo of healthy and tasty.
Customize your bowl to kick start your wellness and nutrition for the day. Choose from our menu or make it your own poke bowl with a variety of fresh, delicious ingredients. Our menu offers the perfect selection of healthy lean meats, veggies, and toppings to satisfy every fish-lover. Additionally, we’re the perfect choice for keto and protein-rich diets.
So what are you waiting for? An invitation? Well, here it is! Come join us and see why everyone in Reno is raving about Pola Poke Bowls! And if you’re too busy to come say hi, we also offer online ordering for your convenience. What more could you ask for?
Enjoy Fresh Poke in Reno
Pola Poke Bowls
3594 W. Plumb Lane Ste A
Reno, NV 89509
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