When I started planning the #dudediettour, I had grand plans to do some serious culinary adventuring in each of the cities on my agenda.
I envisioned taking myself on romantic solo dates all over the country (à la Paris circa 2010), sipping cocktails and sampling the best local fare, which I’d have discovered via extensive research/thoughtful recommendations from my trusty Internet friends. Perhaps I’d take selfies at notes on my favorite spots and compile them into a list to share here. Working title: Serena eats America! (I’d come up with a sexier/less alarming title later.) So fun and useful!!
Long story short, my “on the road” dining fantasy turned out to be just that…a fantasy. I quickly discovered that constant travel is pretty exhausting [insert “duh” emoji], and the last thing I wanted to do after wrapping an event was drag my ass to a restaurant and sit through a meal. Not to mention the fact that early morning on cam-ah-rahhhh appearances and/or flights kinda preclude reckless feasting and cocktailing. Sad, but true.
There were a few times I did make it out—most memorably for some killer sushi in Seattle, oysters in Charleston, and Mexican in Denver—but most evenings, yours truly could be found in her hotel room, eating a makeshift meal from the Snack Pack and drinking “anxiety tea” (aka calcium-magnesium powder mixed with warm water) in a bathrobe. If you watch your weird blog lady’s Instastories, you’ve likely witnessed this wild display of fanciness.
Truth be told, I kinda loved my “nights in” on tour (extroverted introverts, unite!), but one in particular stands out in my memory. Last month, I made a pit stop at Sweetfin Poké on the way back to my hotel in Santa Monica after a long day. I spend a lot of time in LA, and I’d been meaning to try Sweetfin forever, so I was pretty psyched to finally get my hands on one of their much-hyped poké bowls. The menu was mildly overwhelming—so many bomb options—but I ended up building a custom bowl with sriracha tuna with avocado and mango over a citrus kale salad base.
I ate it in bed while watching the season premier of The Bachelorette (I only started watching the Bachelor franchise two seasons ago and am now appropriately ashamed of mocking everyone’s obsession for years), and the experience was downright MAGICAL. The bowl’s insane deliciousness may have been partially attributable to the fact that it wasn’t hummus or a GoMacro bar, but whatever. The flavors were a mindblowing combo of sweet, spicy, savory, tangy, and creamy, and I kinda loved how the base of greens (instead of rice) kept things extra light and fresh.
The memory of that poké haunted me in the best possible way, and I felt the urge to recreate it at home ASAFP, which I did in the form of these Spicy Mango-Avocado Poké Lettuce Wraps….
These babies incorporate all the flavors of that Sweetfin poké bowl, just in a slightly different form. I folded the mango and avocado into the poké itself for the sake of convenience, and served it wrapped in butter lettuce leaves because I’m a heathen that loves to eat with my hands. I added toasted coconut flakes and chopped macadamia nuts for crunch, but those are just the tip of the potential topping iceberg. Don’t be afraid to experiment with all manner of creative additions, from seaweed and crispy garlic to pickled cucumbers and wasabi peas. You do you, friends.
Speaking of you doing you, there are endless ways to modify this recipe. Not into getting handsy with your food? Eat it bowl-style over rice, salad or noodles. I also like the idea of serving it on rice crackers or taro chips as an appetizer/small bite for warm weather soirées. Tuna haters can easily swap ahi for salmon, snapper, and even tofu. You can also play with your fruit choice—pineapple, orange, or grapefruit would all be great subs for mango. Honestly, you can’t really go wrong.
Spicy Mango-Avocado Poké Lettuce Wraps: (Serves 4)
¼ cup finely minced sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla)
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (or hot sauce of your choice)
1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (black or white)
12 ounces sushi-grade ahi tuna, sliced into ¾-inch cubes
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1 head butter or Boston lettuce
For Serving: (optional)
Toasted coconut flakes
Chopped macadamia nuts
Preparing your Spicy Mango-Avocado Poké Lettuce Wraps:
-In a mixing bowl, whisk the soy sauce, onion, scallion, sesame oil, Sambal Oelek, garlic, scallion, and sesame seeds.
-Add the cubed tuna to the bowl and toss gently to coat. Let rest for 5 minutes at room temperature before serving. (If necessary, you can also cover and refrigerate the poké for up to 2 hours.)
-Fold in the mango and avocado.
-Spoon the poké onto lettuce leaves and sprinkle with coconut flakes and macadamia nuts (if using).
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup finely minced sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (or hot sauce of your choice)
- 1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (black or white)
- 12 ounces sushi-grade ahi tuna, sliced into ¾-inch cubes
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 head butter or Boston lettuce
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Chopped macadamia nuts
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the soy sauce, onion, scallion, sesame oil, Sambal Oelek, garlic, scallion, and sesame seeds. Add the cubed tuna to the bowl and toss gently to coat. Let rest for 5 minutes at room temperature, then fold in the mango and avocado. (If necessary, you can also cover and refrigerate the poké for up to 2 hours, but wait to add the mango and avocado until just before serving.)
- Spoon the poké onto lettuce leaves and sprinkle with coconut flakes and macadamia nuts (if using).