We Went to Chicago to See Lots of Food ~ 1

 
On Saturday we went to Chicago (OK, it wasn’t exactly Chicago.  It was Schaumberg and Skokie and Arlington Heights.  Satisfied?).  We were in the company of a "foodie" named Peter, and his friend Kim.  By the way, I’m not a huge fan of the term "foodie."  In my day, someone like Peter would have been called a "gourmand."  I like that term much better, really.  Anyway, Peter and Kim have made this trip many times before, and they have a system.  The system begins with lunch as close to the markets as possible.  It’s important not to shop on an empty stomach.  Knowing we were vegetarians, they chose a soup-and-salad-bar restaurant called Sweet Tomatoes.  Apparently it’s a chain, although I’d never heard of it.  This place was enormous!  After a long salad bar line (that had, basically, everything), you exit into the dining room, where you park your salad and head for the bread/soup/pasta/potato bar.  Out of eight or so soups, I found two that were vegan: a vegetable-bean soup, and a lentil-spinach soup.  I had a small bowl of each, and a baked potato in addition to my salad.  There was also an ice cream sundae bar for those who had just not eaten enough salad.  In fact, it was quite possible for anyone to drastically overeat/fill up on carbs/gorge with the several pastas, breads, muffins, cheeses, and desserts (including brownies) and not eat any salad at all, although I suspect it made people feel better to eat at least one plate of salad!

After lunch, the trip began in earnest.  Our first stop was Mitsuwa, a mainly-Japanese market with attached (mainly-Korean) food court. 

This place was enormous!  Aisles and aisles of sushi-makings, mainly of the very-recently-killed variety.  ("This is not a vegan trip!" we were warned.)  However, we found much to see, and some things to take home to try.  (Although we saw lots of intriguing Asian produce, our guides cautioned us to hold off until a later stop, and we weren’t disappointed.)  We bought a persimmon, some enoki mushrooms, and a bit of other produce, though, because we just couldn’t help it.  There were many, many kinds of miso.  I couldn’t resist this instant convenience food, thinking it might be great at school  – if I only boiled some water I could have a cup of miso broth, without resorting to powdered mix!  It had no artificial ingredients or preservatives, so I bought it.  

There were all kinds of soy and noodle products, and many preserved things…..

and an almost irresistible bakery.  I mean, I could resist it, but Pete couldn’t.  He was totally intrigued by the yakisoba sandwich….

and the potato salad sandwich!

Back out in the store, I browsed the bodycare products.  You’ve got to love this one; I almost bought a bottle to go with the Sexy Mild brand I purchased in Hong Kong!!!

But here’s the best find at Mitsuwa – no, I didn’t buy it, although I now know where to get some instant Pocari Sweat if I ever need it!  And I’ll admit, there was a day in Hong Kong when it must have been 100 degrees F out there, and I couldn’t turn my nose up at it anymore, and drank a can of the stuff.  

Mitsuwa was cool, but we had two more stores to go!  (More next time.)

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2 Responses to We Went to Chicago to See Lots of Food ~ 1

  1. wei_k says:

    ooh I like the look of Miso & Easy!
    Is it a strange sign that I think those sandwhiches don’t really look too weird??
    The other day I saw–but couldn’t bring myself to buy– a product called “Egg Graham Biscuit: Body Loves Roughage.” Maybe I’ll go back and take a pic!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I’m finally able to see your blog again. I didn’t want to miss the vicarious Chicago trip. You know, Sweet Tomatoes was the place my father always took us to eat in Florida, and we were just reminiscing about it Sunday night. We loved it there. They always had a vegan soup along with all the salads and potatoes, and everything seemed very fresh. (Probably stuffed with freshening agents, but, oh well.) Glad you had fun. If you ever come to visit us we’ll take you to Uwajimaya (or whatever it’s called). Fantastic!

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