Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tea Places: Mitsuwa Marketplace

I saw an ad for Mitsuwa  in Chopsticks NY Magazine some time ago and have been meaning to check it out. I’ve had some surprisingly good tea finds in local Asian markets so I figured it was worth a peak. My first impression was, this place is HUGE! Not only was there a supermarket with several kiosks and a food court but several specialty stores and a restaurant just outside the main building. The tea selection in the supermarket was decent but nothing special. If you are looking for an appliance like rice cookers, be aware that Bergen County has a blue light law which means that no appliances can be purchased on a Sunday. Weird, right?

My main reason for wanting to go is that Ito En operates a kiosk inside. Their green tea ice cream seemed very popular despite the freezing weather we had that day. The store in NYC is a much better option if you are actually looking to make something other than an impulse purchase. I was hoping to get a good cuppa oolong after dinner but was a little disappointed to see that they served bagged tea. It wasn’t terrible but I was at least expecting loose leaf in a filter bag. While I was there I picked up a tin of lavender sencha, a review of it will follow soon.

I loved the housewares store here and drove my boyfriend crazy wandering in circles with a silly grin on my face. Amazingly I managed to resist the urge to buy any teaware, though there was a lot to choose from. If it was Japanese they had it, kimonos to Hello Kitty. They also had some really nice furniture. If I ever win the lottery I plan to return with a bucket full of money so that I can finally convert a corner of my home to a mini tea house. The book store didn’t have too much for me since most of the books were in Japanese but I did find a book on Japanese tea ceremonies (again, review on its way).

All in all I am glad that I finally made the trek. It wasn’t mind blowing but it was still pretty awesome. It’s actually closer to home than I thought it was so I may become a more frequent shopper, much to the chagrin on my wallet.