On Sunday night, friends and regulars of Showa gathered up to bid a bittersweet farewell to the Fremont izakaya. For Jason Harris, the man who ran the kitchen, the end also means a new beginning. Harris is launching a pop-up enterprise called Bloom Bento, which will fashion farmers-market produce and local proteins into composed lunchboxes.
Starting (tentatively) in mid-March, Harris will set up shop at Kylie’s Chicago Pizza in the heart of Fremont. Wander in Tuesday through Friday during lunch hours and pick up one of his bento boxes, which might contain portions of braised kabocha squash, pickled carrots, and miso-marinated grilled chicken breast.
“The Northwest is really big for Japanese food because there’s so many ingredients that we have in common, being on the same latitude,” says Harris. He’s also working on a bacon made of pork belly cured with koji, a rice inoculated with bacteria (the good kind). A long, low smoke and subsequent pan fry gives it a crispy texture and amazing umami flavor, he says. Vegetarians might like the cold soba noodles and dipping sauce option.
Bloom Bento, now officially kick-started by Kickstarter, is aiming for a spot at the Fremont Market, though Harris is at the mercy of the long waitlist for food vendors. Harris wants to use nicer boxes, so he will likely require a small deposit to encourage people to return them. He's making just 40 lunches a day to start and will build from there. Stay tuned for details on an official start date, social media, etc.