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Business

BizHawk: PokeMee Fuses Hawaiian, Japanese Cuisine in Goleta

Loquita opens its doors in Santa Barbara, Touring & Tasting opens new Goleta location and The Hitching Post II celebrates 30 years in Buellton

PokeMee in Goleta revolves around poke bowls. “We felt that the local community would appreciate a fresh alternative for lunch,” said manager Chris Nguyen. Click to view larger
PokeMee in Goleta revolves around poke bowls. “We felt that the local community would appreciate a fresh alternative for lunch,” said manager Chris Nguyen. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

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While there is no shortage of pizza, sandwiches and Mexican food in Goleta, Hawaiian poke bowls can be hard to come by.

That was the primary reason for opening PokeMee at 7000 Hollister Ave., says the new fast-casual dining restaurant’s manager, Chris Nguyen.

PokeMee is centered around build-your-own poke (pronounced like “Poke-A”) bowls, and comes from the owners of Taiwanese-style Sno-Crave Tea House, a Bay-area chain. Goleta’s is the first PokeMee.

Bowls include a base of salad or rice, a choice of fish and a number of sauces, toppings and sides.

“The restaurant I would consider Hawaiian-Japanese fusion,” Nguyen told Noozhawk. “It is influenced by ahi poke from Hawaii and fish from Japan. Put that together and you have a deconstructed sushi in a bowl that’s fully customizable.”

The restaurant had its soft opening on Sept. 23 and will have its grand opening on Oct. 8. PokeMee also offers some of Sno-Crave’s more popular items, like hot and cold tea, boba bubble tea, smoothies and desserts.

Goletans’ restaurant options, Nguyen said, seemed limited in their variety, “and we felt that the local community would appreciate a fresh alternative for lunch.”

PokeMee opens at 11 a.m. every day, with closing around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., Nguyen said, as it gauges locals’ late-night meal needs.

Loquita is the latest Acme Hospitality establishment to open in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone

Loquita, a restaurant by Acme Hospitality, opened Wednesday in Santa Barbara’s downtown Funk Zone at 202 State St.

Acme is the company behind The Lark and a cluster of other high-end Funk Zone establishments.

The restaurant, on the corner of State and Yanonali streets, features hot and cold tapas, seafood, grilled meats and three types of paella, along with a collection of Spanish wines and some local wines.

Loquita also offers a full cocktail program and indoor and outdoor seating for over 150 total diners, according to Acme.

“Our city's rich colonial history has defined us in ways that span architecture, food, wine, and even informs our community celebrations,” Acme managing partner Sherry Villanueva said in a statement.

“It's the right time to dedicate our next restaurant to the incredible culture and food that Spain is known for, but interpreted by a contemporary California sensibility that is our company's signature.”

Touring & Tasting is cutting the ribbon at new Goleta location

The wine-tourism company Touring & Tasting is cutting the ribbon at their new Goleta location at 35 S. La Patera Lane on Friday at 4 p.m.

The ribbon cutting includes a tour of its new wine warehouse there, just down the street from the Goleta Amtrak station.

Touring & Tasting offers marketing programs to wine-country businesses and publishes a bi-annual magazine about the industry.

The 20-year-old business is holding its fall wine sale at its new location on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Hitching Post II celebrates 30 years with special menu offer

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Buellton restaurant The Hitching Post II is offering customers a special $30 menu until Dec. 15.

Patrons choose a soup or salad for the first course, followed by one of several different entrees and finish up with a chocolate tart. The restaurant is also offering a $10 glass or $30 bottle of pinot noir wine from Hitching Post Wines.

The Hitching Post II, at 406 E. Highway 246, is the second iteration of the restaurant; the original Hitching Post was purchased by the current owner’s parents in Casmalia in 1952, according to the restaurant.

The establishment’s claim to fame, which has become a central part of its identity, is an appearance in the 2004 film Sideways, when the characters take a trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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