Poke (pok-eh) Date @ The Lab – Costa Mesa

Eddie and I always make sure to go on dates at least once a week to keep life fresh and our dates are usually initiated by the question, “Where do you want to grab lunch?”. This day was no different. Sunday morning, we had the luxury of waking up later than usual. First thing on our mind was food. We checked Yelp to see where we can go eat and decided on driving up to The Lab in Costa Mesa to check out this poke restaurant called Calipoke.

For those who’ve never had poke, let us give you a brief description of what it is, curtesy of Wikipedia: “Poke /pˈk/ is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Pokē is the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut”. Ahi poke is generally made with yellowfin tuna but in modern poke recipes raw salmon, smoked octopus, to various shell fish and generally any bite size appetizer seasoned with the common “poke” seasonings can be considered Poke.


Calipoke did not disappoint. The entire experience was pleasant and tasty. The restaurant serves their customers in a “Chipotle” fashion where you line up and tell your sever what you want in your poke bowl. For $11.95 you can have a big bowl of poke with 5 scoops of fish, or $8.95 for a small bowl with 3 scoops of fish. You can choose a base of rice or brown rice if you want carbs, salad if you don’t, 2 kinds of additional sides, 6 different kinds of sauces and 8 different kinds of toppings including crab meat, avocado, seaweed, fried onions and more. Are you hungry now?


At the end of the line, we were beaming like two Pokemon masters who’ve just created their poke bowl masterpieces. And they look a little something like this. (Warning: unexpected drooling may occur when looking at the pictures below.)


The fish was fresh. The rice was sticky and sweet. The ginger offered the right amount of balance. We cannot express our excitement to have found a good poke place in Orange County. Seriously. This is Asian food gold mine. After finishing our poke meals, we decided to walk around The Lab and window shop. This hipster shopping plaza is such a relaxing place to have a quiet date, hangout and to look around. We always find interesting things here that we don’t usually see in other parts of Orange County. Below are only a few of the many interesting things we found there.

  • Cute, shiny metallic trailers are a thing there. We saw three little stores (one sells baby clothes, one sells jewelry and one sells vinyl albums) that are set up in a shiny old fashion trailer. This set up somehow made their products more appealing. I had the sudden urge to purchase a bunch of baby clothes even though we don’t have any kids of our own yet.


  • You can find small elements of your childhood there. We saw a colorful hop scotch area near the back parking lot. There were giant swing benches for people to sit and hang out. We can totally see ourselves chilling on the swing on a slow day, read a book, listen to music on our phones and enjoy the day.


  • This is a great place for fashion bloggers to come and take pictures for their social media accounts. Eddie volunteered to be a model to demonstrate how to be a cool fashion blogger in front of these colorful wall panels. (The jacket is from Uniqlo, t-shirt from HM, pants are from Uniqlo and shoes from Nike). He’s now officially a fashion blogger. Good job, honey.


No date is complete without dessert. We headed to the well known coffee/tea drink station, Milk & Honey, for something sweet. Not only are they known for their delicious drinks, they’re also well known for their shaved ice. We ordered the Spanish Latte (iced) and their signature M&H Shaved Ice. It was a chilly day (for Southern California) but the tasty drink and shaved ice dessert were totally worth it. They also have the most adorable outdoor seating area which we didn’t get the chance to take pictures of. Check it out for yourself to see why we love that place.


So that’s it. Our simple Sunday Poke Date at The Lab. Dating doesn’t have to be complicated. Dating after getting married doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is get a good night’s sleep, wake up, ask “honey, what do you want to eat today?” and let the rest of the day unfold.



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