Lately I've been collecting a list of fantastic specialty grocers in the Chicagoland area. On the list is Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese grocery store, fresh market, and food court. Even though Dave and I used to live literally two blocks away from it in Arlington Heights, we have never been there. My friend Tiffany's boyfriend Nick noticed that they were having a sale, so we decided to go for it: SUSHI.
We went to Mitsuwa this afternoon and picked up some Gabutto burgers in the food court. Then we plunged into the hectic grocery area for some sushi fish, nori (seaweed), and other sushi accoutrements.
It was kind of hard to shop for stuff, considering that none of us speak Japanese and most of the labels were in Japanese first, and English second (maybe). However, I liked that aspect of it, as it kind of brought me back to Europe. However, I was a little overwhelmed at all the intense, bright, wide-eyed packaging, which tells me maybe I need a little more acclimation to Japanese culture before we go on our trip to Asia.
In the end, we found everything we needed. We picked up two beautiful cuts of salmon and another two cuts of ahi tuna, along with some crab sticks, of course.
We set up everything on our dining table, including sushi mats, cutting boards, and, of course, a gigantic bowl of rice. I used Alton Brown's recipe for sushi rice, which I enjoyed greatly.
In our system, I made the rice, Nick made the rolls, and I cut the rolls. (Tiffany and Dave are self-professed non-cooks.) It was great having Nick there to make the majority of the rolls, because I think with something like making sushi, you really need someone there to show you the way. I had received a lot of useful tips from friends and websites, though.
We made a bunch of rolls:
Then we happily ate them with wasabi soy walnuts and wasabi peas. Oh, and Kirin Ichiban beer, hard cider, and green tea.
I'm really excited to go back to Mitsuwa anytime I want to make sushi at home! The fish was fresher than most places I've gone to buy sushi, and the rice was easier than I expected. I usually avoid the fresh fish sushi rolls due to an overwhelming fish taste, but this fish was wonderful. I'd like to try sushi with brown rice sometime, as that's my only issue with the nutrition of sushi rolls.
Yay fish, and yay learning how to make new stuff!