BEST EATS: Sushi, katsu and acai during Nicole Gitzke’s Hawaii vacation

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Returning tanned and jet-lagged (she may have rested her eyes during a commercial break while anchoring), 17 News’ Nicole Gitzke had plenty of stories to share about her recent trip to Hawaii.

Many revolved around food, especially the abundant fresh fish she ate that had been swimming off the shore of Maui just hours earlier. She also had a towering roll from a sushi restaurant in Redondo Beach, a construction of rice, soy paper and shredded potato that would make an architect proud.

The “Pornado,” Flying Fin Sushi and Seafood, 1727 S. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach

There are the usual teriyaki and tempura combination specials at Flying Fin, a hip sushi bar a short walk from the beach. An entire section of the menu is dedicated to “basic rolls” like spicy tuna, salmon and the ubiquitous California roll.

But why be basic? Let’s live a little.

Try one of their wild specialty rolls, maybe the “King Cobra,” grilled eel and avocado stuffed with shrimp tempura and covered with sweet and sesame sauces. Or the “100 Degree,” a potent spicy tuna, jalapeno and cucumber roll.

Gitzke went all out with the scandalously-named “Pornado,” a lightly-fried behemoth stuffed with spicy tuna, crab meat, avocado and onion. The lengths of shredded potato, assembled with a deft hand, somehow maintain the shape of a tornado that has touched down and looks as if it’s about to send the rest of the roll flying off the plate in a gust of carbs.

“It’s a meal and a half,” said Gitzke. “So much food.”

Acai, katsu chicken and sushi in Maui, Hawaii

The rest of Gitzke’s submissions are from the island paradise of Maui, where she spent her vacation catching rays on the beach and cooling off with an occasional dip in the ocean. Not that we’re jealous or anything.

The island has one of Gitzke’s favorite acai places, Choice Health Bar. She got a refreshing acai bowl topped with granola, bananas, strawberries and almond butter.

She indulged in more than just acai, though.

“While on the trip, we stopped at a food truck to have some authentic Hawaiian food,” Gitzke said. “Pictured here is spicy and sweet pineapple katsu chicken with a tuna macaroni salad and corn.”

“Finally, you can’t go to Hawaii without enjoying lots of fresh fish!” Gitzke said. “We have a Lahaina roll on the right, a sunset roll on the left (topped with lemon!).”

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