Setting foot in the foodie realm of Instagram is bound to leave you hungry, desperate, and volatile. Nearly every day, I see these pictures of beautiful Poke bowls from Calgary’s Po-Ke location waiting for me to eat them, and every day, I don’t. I was so desperate for a Poke bowl that I told Chris that we were going for our Friday date night, and that I didn’t care what he wanted for dinner (Chris wanted tacos, FYI).
If you can imagine my excitement for a Poke bowl, then you can imagine me bouncing off the walls of my car when I saw the black and white “Po-Ke” sign on Calgary’s Centre Street. Just up from the Lion’s Bridge, Po-Ke is a relatively small, quick eatery, with few chairs and tables, and many to-go containers.
We ended up not eating at Po-Ke, but bringing our containers to a nearby park just down the road along Centre Street. We set up shop on a picnic table, and enjoyed the sunshine and the quiet of each other’s company as we wolfed down our food.
I ordered the Special Po-Ke Bowl, a pre-designed bowl including a bottom layer of your choice (white rice, brown rice, or greens), and a collection of ingredients on top. The Special bowl includes marinated tuna and salmon cubes, crisp masago eggs, chewy seaweed salad, avocado, mandarin oranges, and a sprinkling of nori, sesame seeds, and sweet unagi sauce.
The ingredients are so fresh. You can tell with every bite that the salmon and tuna are well-marinated, and kept at the same quality as sushi restaurants (none of that terrible grocery store sushi). My favourite part of the bowl was the seaweed salad, which is called wakame in Japanese. Wakame offers a slight chewiness, and a subtle sweetness, which pairs perfectly with the earthiness of the brown rice, and the stronger flavour of the unagi sauce.
The only element of the Special bowl I would change is the mandarin oranges. While they were delicious on their own, I think I would have preferred a different fruit in the mix. Mango chunks would have been perfect for this bowl, and the tropical flavour always pairs nicely with salmon and tuna chunks, but alas, mandarin oranges it was.
Overall, the flavours of the Special Po-Ke bowl blended so well together that every bite was near perfection. Obviously, you should mix up the bowl a little bit before digging in (but after you take an Instagram shot), but regardless, each ingredient is so fresh that the drive or trek is well worth it.
Chris ended up ordering a sushi burrito to try something different. It was as delicious and fresh as the Po-Ke bowl, but ultimately, the Po-Ke bowl wins in terms of overall yum factor. Chris actually ordered a “spicy” burrito, and though the burrito was good, the spiciness was hardly present.
The price wasn’t too shabby at all, either. Considering the freshness of the raw fish, the quality of the ingredients, and how full I was after, I would say this location is total gem in Calgary.
After stuffing ourselves with Po-Ke, Chris and I went for a walk along Calgary’s Bow River walkway. I’m trying to be more active in my day-to-day life, and I love walks around neighbourhoods, parks, or anywhere really if the weather allows.
The Bow River walkway is always beautiful. The rushing water, the gorgeous bridges, and even the walkway itself which is embedded with bright, sea-green pieces of recycled bottles. Our walk extended from Prince’s Island Park, to St. Patrick’s Island, near the Calgary Zoo.
Walking is almost a form of meditation for me. It’s the perfect way to practice mindfulness, to breathe fresh air, watch the world go round. The people you come across (we saw a man with a turtle in a wooden box), the bits of nature you see (there was a woodpecker at St. Patrick’s Island), and reflection (what do I want to do after I graduate!?!) – seriously, I love walking.
I really can’t think of a better date than eating delicious food, and exploring the natural and engineered sights of our city. Let me know if you’ve tried Poke bowls before, and which locations are your favourite! They’re popping up everywhere lately, and I’m determined to try them all!