Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Trip to Marukai

As with any major metro, the LA Basin is just teeming with food adventure. We have a slew of food trucks constantly tweeting out the nearest location where we can pick up a plate of Bulgogi beef tacos. We have highly rated eateries where we can "experience" dining and there are also those local breakfast joints that'll serve up a powdery, sugared German Dutch Baby on the fly, any old Saturday morning.  On just about every street corner we can find some little jewel box restaurant where our favorite Thai curry or Cuban beans and rice are just minutes from our fork. It's something I marvel at, something I appreciate so much about where I live. You do realize that we aren't that far away from a time where an exotic dinner consisted of that new craze called "the enchilada"...

But sometimes I just want to eat in and realize a trip to the regular grocery store just isn't going to cut it.  I want to fill up my shopping cart with stuff I've never seen or heard of before and do a little taste testing. Other times, I'm looking for a very special ingredient that my local grocer would never regularly stock. You see, those local eateries are pushing the envelope and even from my own kitchen, I'm now seeking a little adventure.  Color me spoiled.

Lucky for us we also have specialty food stores like Marukai that allow us to take a little walk on the wild side and get out of our homemade food rut. There are several of these Japanese-centric markets in the area that feature everything from Shiseido cosmetic counters, to housewares, freshly baked bread and freshly caught fish just flown in from the Andaman and Sea of Japan.  We had a hankering for fresh poke recently, the kind we had in Hawaii several months back, the kind that wouldn't be satisfied until we made a bowlful that we could pick leisurely on throughout the whole of a Sunday afternoon. Marukai came to the rescue. Of course, along the way, I found a few other goodies to fill the basket and it occurred to me that I shouldn't hoard this fantastic little resource, but share it with you all.

Let's start with the ceramics.

Now, let's dish on the fun food found here.

I snapped a peek at our cart as we walked up to the check out counter so you can see what made the cut on this trip.

Marukai is technically a "membership" store. But you can pay a $1 fee and snake a day pass. I warn you. I wouldn't go hungry- or maybe you should. The place smelled like a fancy dinner house the other day and the samples they were handing out would give even Costco a run for their money.

1 comment

elissae said...

You've totally demystified the food isle for me! In a good way. Always wanted to try some of the more daring tasty treats or stock the pantry with more exotic ingredients. Now I know where to go for inspiration.

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