In Hawaiian, kina’ole means “doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person, for the right reason, with the right feeling every time.”
Kanaloa Seafood Market and Kitchen, at 715 Chapala St., took that motto to heart by providing fresh lunches for Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital emergency room doctors and nurses working during the coronavirus pandemic.
Owners Randee and Dr. Don Disraeli filled their menu with fresh oysters, ceviche, Korean salmon tacos and even an eight ounce cheeseburger. Mrs. Disraeli said despite all their options, the hospital workers had one request: poke bowls.
“We just really started this recently, but we brought poke bowls only because the people we know that worked there…that’s what they suggested because that’s one of their favorite things on our menu. When I called and talked to the supervisor (Wednesday) I said, ‘You want me to send something else? I could do hamburgers, we could do Caesar salad with chicken on it.’ She goes, ‘Everyone wants to poke bowls again,’” Mrs. Disraeli said.
“We sent vegetarian and seafood versions of the poke bowls so we could feed and satisfy everybody that way.”
Kanaloa Seafood Market and Kitchen sent 28 lunches to the hospital on Thursday. A GoFundMe page is available at https://www.gofundme.com/f/feed-healthcare-workers-at-cottage-hospital to help keep the poke bowl deliveries going.
Poke bowls are traditionally raw seafood bowls made with ahi tuna and sushi rice with seasoning. Kanaloa Seafood Market and Kitchen offers ahi tuna, albacore tuna, salmon and crispy tofu versions.
The bowls come with different toppings like seaweed salad, mixed vegetables, cucumbers, sesame seeds, and scratch made sauces and marinades.
“We’ve been making deliveries (to the hospital) since the virus broke out. We have a couple of very good family friends that work there, and they were telling us how incredibly stressed and overwhelmed the staff was. So, we thought it was what we wanted to do that shows them support from the community…that we were here for them as much as they are there for us,” Mrs. Disraeli said.
In 1983, the Disraelis created Kanaloa, an environmentally responsible seafood sourcing, processing and distribution company.
Dr. Disraeli has a doctorate in coastal ecology and ecosystems management and was teaching at UCSB. Mrs. Disraeli researched the migratory patterns of tuna at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography before pursuing a master’s degree at UCSB.
The Disraelis opened the original Kanaloa on Gutierrez Street. It was the first seafood company in North America to receive the environmental management certification from the International Organization of Standardization: ISO 14001.
Five years ago, the Disraelis moved the wholesale part of the business to Oxnard and opened the retail location on Chapala Street.
Mrs. Disraeli said she wanted to expand the restaurant side because when customers picked up their fish, they would tell her they wished someone would cook it for them.
“I think a lot of people don’t always like to cook fish at home or don’t always know different ways of cooking it and so it gave us an opportunity to expand what we were doing because a lot of what we do is very educational as far as offering options and alternatives to the public for utilizing seafood in their diets. It was just a natural next step for us to be able to offer other alternatives,” Mrs. Disraeli said.
She added that the restaurant’s most popular items, like the poke bowls and salmon tacos, are challenging for home cooks because they don’t have the right ingredients.
Like many businesses in Santa Barbara, Mrs. Disraeli said the outbreak has cut into her bottom line dramatically.
“It’s been a terrible outcome for us because 95% of our business is selling to restaurants and hotels, so the market is only a small percentage of what we do, but our restaurant is closed for in-house dining. Our wholesale business is down 95%, so we’ve been majorly affected,” Mrs. Disraeli said.
The social distancing and stay-at-home orders have forced Kanaloa Seafood Market and Kitchen to find new ways to get their products to customers.
Fresh seafood items like Alaskan halibut and local white sea bass are still available, but the market is starting to offer frozen and vacuum packed portions so customers can stock up their freezers.
Mrs. Disraeli added that Kanaloa Seafood Market and Kitchen is on the Grubhub and Restaurant Connection delivery services.
“You can actually, on Grubhub, buy raw fish from the market as well. We’re just trying to think of how to help people so that they don’t have to get out and shop,” Mrs. Disraeli said.
The market remains open for takeout during normal business hours with a social distancing policy. Customers can also call in their orders and a staff member will walk the order out to their car.
Kanaloa Seafood Market and Kitchen also ships nationally. Mrs. Disraeli said customers have been shipping care packages to homebound friends and family in other parts of the country.
“We really are concerned about our community, making it through this and making it through together, and so we are just trying to do our part to show support for everybody. So we’re just open to any ideas people have of what we can do to be of support and help them through the crisis,” Mrs. Disraeli said.
For more information or to place an order visit https://kanaloaseafood.com/#welcome.