Sushi from Mitsuwa

Today, for lunch, I dropped by Mitsuwa, a Japanese marketplace near my house, and bought some sushi.  The market itself is absolutely awe-inspiring, with Japanese products of all types imaginable, from hair dyes to rice cookers to shiitake mushrooms to rubber gloves for cleaning.  Their fresh produce just blows my mind.  I really need to go there with a large amount of money in my bank account one day so I can splurge on some new things to try.  Honestly, their food products intimidate me a lot.  I don’t know much about Japanese cooking, so a lot of the ingredients are unfamiliar at best, completely foreign at the worst.  I’m planning to learn more so that I can start exploring the place and taking full advantage of all the great things they have there that you can’t find anywhere else 🙂

Anyway!  I actually stopped there for lunch on my way home from my allergist appointment and getting my shots (two in each arm).  I’m rarely out that far, so I figured I’d stop in.  I was thinking I wanted something new to try, so I went in and looked at the sushi.  Now, I actually meant to be far more adventurous.  I really did.  I was gonna get some nigiri and some gunkan, both of which I have never tried before.  (See here for more information about different types of sushi.)  I’ll be honest though, the gunkan in the package of nigiri that I was eyeing looked just like the one on that website and those big, bulbous fish eggs are just kind of off-putting for me.  Maybe next time I’ll pluck up my courage and try some.  But this time I got a pack of California rolls (“inside out” norimaki with avocado, cucumber, and crab) and inari (fried tofu pockets filled with rice) as well as a pack of crab rolls.  [Hey, I like crab, okay?]   The crab rolls were a kind of shredded crab meat mixture wrapped in seaweed and rice and covered in tiny orange smelt roe (fish eggs), which have a minimal Ick Factor for me in comparison to the large bubble-like salmon roe in the gunkan.  I had had California rolls before, but the crab rolls and the inari were new to me.  The boxes each came with three little packets – soy sauce and wasabi, and pickled garlic to cleanse the palate between pieces.  I’m not a real big fan of wasabi since I don’t like spicy things and its flavor, even minus the heat, is a little harsh for me.  The ginger was nice 🙂 And a bit of the wasabi mixed with the soy sauce was kinda yummy!  I’m a sucker for sweet and sour sauce, but I’m not sure if dipping sushi in that is some kind of Japanese cuisine heresy or what…Kinda mixing culinary genres there, huh?  Oh well.

California roll and inari.

California roll and inari.

Crab rolls.

Crab rolls.

I took my sushi to the forest preserve and sat out on a raised bench, enjoying the sun, watching some guys flying model airplanes, sipping an orange pop, and wielding my fiendishly impressive chopstick skills.  (Just kidding.  I’m totally a chopstick amateur.)  Extra bonus: I totally had leftovers to snack on and tide me over until dinner 😉


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