Monday, August 29, 2011

Mochi + Peanut Butter = All My Dreams Come True

Can you believe I grew up here?
Simply gorgeous. 
Growing up in Hawaii, a delicious cultural melting pot, Asian food was and is a regular part of my life.  While there's a sushi place on every corner in LA, my favorite Japanese treats can be a tad more difficult to find.

Which is why I'm obsessed with Mitsuwa, my local Japanese food court/ bakery/ grocery/ magazine/ toy/ beauty store.  I head here pretty regularly to get my fix, always dragging a few colleagues with me.  No matter what kind of day I'm having, the minute I walk in the door, I break into a silly little grin.  Feels like home.

The Torrance location is phenomenal.  Not only is it the size of a small country, it houses everything a girl from Hawaii could want-- good kine rice, chicken katsu, spicy hot ramen, the best shrimp tempura ever, tofu curry, fresh sashimi, and of course, my reason for living--treats.  Ohhhh the treats.

While I like food, the treats are my main reason for visiting.  And without fail, before leaving this glorious place, I always pick up some type of mochi.

Row upon row of marvelous mochi 
I've been a Fan of Mochi my whole life.  It may have started because of the Japanese New Year tradition to make and eat lots of mochi.  And New Years happens to be one of Hawaii's most celebrated holidays.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Another theory: my mom makes a killer butter mochi and I make a pretty good coconut mochi; I'll cover both another divine desserts another time.

So imagine my surprise when a recent lunch visit (edamame and tofu salad) uncovered a genius new offering I had never seen before:  Peanut Butter Mochi.

Wait, what?

I came to a screeching halt and got up nice and close to re-read--and take pictures of--the sign.  This is when The Mochi Lady started laughing at me.     
The sign that stopped me in my tracks

Could it be?  The combination of two of my all-time favorite treats in one?

I adore these sweet rice treats plain with no bells and whistles, but I especially love daifuku--mochi with a little surprise in the middle.  Red bean was my favorite, until now.  Peanut butter???  Holy mother of pearl.
The Peanut Butter Mochi in all its glory

I politely (perhaps creepily) asked The Mochi Lady to please hurry and wrap up two (one for me, and one intended for my friend Lisa, another pb fan--more on that later).  The Mochi Lady painstakingly--and slowly, I might add--wrapped each delectable ball of goodness individually in several layers of tissue, and then gently placed them in an adorable treat bag, and perfectly sealed them with a Mitsuwa sticker.  It's not Japanese if it's not covered in 18 layers of gorgeous packaging. 

I literally couldn't think straight as we drove back to work.  (Burton, next time you drive).

As soon as I got back to my desk, I ripped through the layers of tissue paper to get to my treat (sorry, Mochi Lady).  Staring back at me were two beautifully and perfectly made mochi balls.  I dove in.

So much peanut buttery goodness packed
into a tiny little package.
The yummy yellow mochi covering, decorated with a happy little sunshine, was sensually soft and gorgeously gooey.  But the star of the show was simply breathtaking: the unique peanut butter filling was moist, sweet, and slightly crumbly.  It was generously packed with wall-to-wall peanut butter, so you're guaranteed a peanut butter chunk in every bite.  Heavenly.

You're probably wondering if the second Peanut Butter Mochi made it to Lisa.  I'm not gonna lie, it was a difficult decision.  In the end, I gave it away.  Here's why: Lisa is my Peanut Butter Enabler, ie the owner of the jar of peanut butter that I tend to snack from every day at 4pm.  (I cannot be trusted to have my own jar of peanut butter, I am required to eat it under supervision).  To continue regular access to my pb supply, and since she's such a crazy pb fan herself, I couldn't deny her my newly found treasure.  So I shared.  

(Of course I will also be back to Mitsuwa very shortly and plan to order the rest of the tray).

21515 Western Ave
TorranceCA 90501
(310) 782-0335

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