If you're from Hawaii, I'm sure you heard Vegas called the "Ninth Island". I'm pretty sure that ore ex-pats from Hawaii live in Vegas than the rest of the United States combined. I'm not sure what the allure is, but I do remember folks I know packing up and moving back in the 90's, drawn by the gambling and the lower cost of living. Bozo told me that Vegas gets over 250,000 visitors from Hawaii a year and you really can't help but run into them. You'll run into them every which way you turn if you stay at the "capital of the Ninth Island", the California Hotel in downtown.
It was quite a phenomenon, how Sam Boyd and the California Hotel developed such a beloved relationship with local folks. In fact even been a book written about it. Cheap flights (remember "Didi Ah Yo and away we go?") and locals love of gambling sealed the deal. I still remember my first trip to Vegas with friends....of course we stayed at the Cali. I recall getting in at night...oh, the bright lights, oh the gambling! Then I got up in the morning and pulled back the curtains and I swear, all I saw was, desert, railroad tracks, and gila monsters.
I didn't think I'd get the Missus to the Cali; there's so much else to interest Her. I could have lured Her with the oxtail soup from Market Street Cafe, but they only start serving that from 11pm. So while the Missus was occupied elsewhere, I decided to visit for old times sake. The crowd and believe me, it was pretty busy, looks a lot older nowadays. But Market Street Cafe is still going strong with folks waiting in line at 915 in the morning.
I don't really gamble anymore....the Missus gets major chest pains watching me lose perfectly good money which could have gone to Her next pair of Christian Louboutins. But I thought I'd part with a twenty for old times sake at the slots. Two pulls later I was up over $550! You always get the better odds at these type of places. I played it down to $500 and cashed out quickly. The folks working here have always been very friendly....probably because of the Hawaii connection.
I took a quick walk down Fremont Street, which looked really depressed......
Then it was time to hele......
I headed back up to Spring Mountain Road. I thought I'd treat myself to two medium size lunches, the first was to grab some poke at Hawaiian Style Poke.
Now the thought of eating fish in the middle of Nevada might seem a bit odd to you, but with all the transplanted locals....well, I was curious. I initially thought of hitting up the popular Poke Express, but Bozo told me that this little, fairly hard to find shop near the corner of Wynn and Spring Mountain Roads was the way to go....so I did.
The shop is tiny, with a fish counter and trays of small batches of fish. There are different "seasonings" on the fish, but it looks like they pour on the same shoyu based "sauce" on everything. Fair enough, as the fish looked pretty fresh. I drove across the street to the plaza that holds 99 Ranch Market and had at my poke under this.....
Both the spicy garlic and shoyu poke were ok.
The spicy garlic wasn't very spicy and though there was some garlic flavor it was pretty salty from the shoyu. The shoyu poke was also on the salty side and you could tell the fish wasn't really "A" grade....though I gotta say, the prices aren't bad, $14.99 a pound if I recall. There were a couple of pieces with fibrous "sugi" and a few that were plain tough.
I think I'll check out Poke Express next time.
Hawaiian Style Poke
3524 Wynn Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89103
Mon and Wed-Fri 10am - 6pm
Sat-Sun 10am - 5pm
Still, I had 500 bucks burning a hole in my pocket and another lunch spot to hit!