Had it not been for two very special patients of mine in Wisconsin, I may have never known that this wonderful market existed. It’s located in Arlington Heights and worth the short drive from the city. It has large selection of Japanese groceries, fruits, veggies, waygu beef and and most importantly sushi grade fish, and that’s just half of it! The rest of the market consists of about 15 vendors including multiple restaurants, a book store and my favorite pastry shop.
The restaurants are situated like a food court in the mall, but with a lot more people in little less space. Week-end lunches can be busy. So come prepared to search out your vendor, identify food item, execute purchase, grab your order number, and glance toward your potential table. Since the week-end is busy we tend to divide and conquer. My fiance does the ordering and I turn scout to stake our claim. I identify the slowing movement of chop-sticks, the swift napkin to the face, and the eye flicker towards the garbage before I grab my table. I have also seen the hover and strike technique successfully executed. Oh and the udon noodle bowls are good, but make sure you save room for dessert. Pastry House Hippo has one of my favorite things at Mitsuwa. Sweet coffee bread. And if you are not a fan of coffee try one of the other eclectic pastries or other bread selections.
On our past trip we had a mission. Goal: Donburi. So we carefully selected our fish. Salmon and Kampachi. I grabbed some wasabi tobiko too. Easy enough, but then we were seduced into the aisles where I snatched up some sweet dried crabs, seaweed, and sweet sesame candies. Unnecessary? Yes. But far too intriguing to pass by. Near the fresh produce we spotted some fresh wasabi and the vendor persuaded me to try some prepared dried fishes. Then home to create our dish.
My bowl consisted of some fresh grated wasabi, salmon, one part dried seaweed, one part fresh seasoned seaweed to the left and some small prepared dried fish to the right. Oh and sushi rice! I added some additional wasabi tobiko and a splash of soy sauce and suddenly achieved the elusive fifth flavor… Umami… Well… not quite. I think it may have just been MSG.