On Tuesday Naoto took a rare weekday off. And miraculously, it coincided with my own day off. (That never happens.) We decided to head out to Mitsuwa because we hadn’t been there since February and we were out of our usual Japanese staples like Calpico, somen noodles and wasabi. Naoto treats Mitsuwa shopping trips like Christmas, so it seemed like the right way to pass the time on his day off. It’s lovely being married to someone who gets joy out of the simple parts of life, even if that means you might have to wait for him to read the labels of alllllll the soy sauce bottles in the aisle.
Our first stop is always the Kinokuniya Bookstore. Kinokuniya has a huge selection of Japanese pens and other stationery items. The selection on the stationery changes pretty often, but the pen selection is pretty stable. If you like pens with finer points (0.5, 0.4, 0.38) this is THE place to go in Chicagoland. They also have every color of ink in the rainbow and a large selection of mechanical pencils as well. There is also a small section with craft supplies like sumie brushes, origami papers, rubber stamps and ink pads. Remember when I talked about furu pote? Well, Rebecca from Hugs are Fun mentioned that Gabutto Burger in the Mitsuwa food court offered seasonings for their fries. Sure enough…there they were! We ordered a small fry and kind of went crazy with the seasonings. This is wasabi, nacho cheese and garlic butter. We liked the garlic butter the best. The wasabi was a little disappointing because it wasn’t very strong. We also added ranch dressing to the mix as we ate more. The other choices were original spice, corn soup, sour cream & onion and curry & cheese flavors. It was fun to enjoy furu pote here in the US and I think this might be my new second stop every Mitsuwa trip from now on. (It might be a toss up between furu pote and green tea soft serve from ReLeaf Cafe.)
After the fries, we filled our shopping cart with all of our usuals. Naoto gets natto (fermented soybeans) and other perishables. I mainly get snacks, beverages and bread from the Hippo Bread store. (It’s just plain white bread but the texture is lighter and better than American white bread.) This time we found fresh lychees and I wanted to try a sparkling sake from the refrigerated section. Luckily we came prepared with our cooler. We always bring our little cooler to Mitsuwa. In the fish section, you can fill a bag or two of ice to keep your perishables cold during the drive home. We always run a few errands and go out to lunch or dinner while we are out by Mitsuwa so this extra convenience allows us to buy cold things without worrying about them going bad.
After Mitsuwa, we went out to lunch at Ramen Misoya. Stay tuned for a post about that on Friday!
Mitsuwa is located at 100 E. Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights, IL.