Saturday, July 30, 2011

A salmon-bone to pick with IKEA

The trip between Hopkinsville, Ky., and Cleveland, Ohio, with two little ones in tow, is ardorous. The one bright spot had always come in the form of a cobalt blue building looming on the horizon of the interstate not far past the "Florence, Ya'll" water tower. IKEA. The land of modern but affordable DIY furniture, random houseware bargains and, a decade ago, an exciting Scandanavian cafe. The West Chester IKEA, outside of Cincinatti, is our half-way point and stopping point of choice because of the kid-friendly bathrooms, eating area and play areas. It has ceased to be an exciting stop for me, though, because I can only taste my memories of favorite dishes like Pittya-pana and Three Salmon plate.

They've still got the multi-colored carrots, Swedish meatballs, elderberry flavored drinkboxes, and maybe one overcooked fish dish on their menu, but IKEA's top-floor cafe has slowly slumped in my opinion from a destination ethnic eatery to a hum-drum cafeteria.

The rest of the store's offerings include chicken fingers and fries, mashed potatoes, soggy steamed vegetables, mac n cheese, dried out wrap sandwiches, a hockey-puck sized conglomeration of spinach and eggs and limp salad bar fixings.

It really depresses me!

Sushi Ya

I know I've written about Sushi Ya in Schaumburg, Ill., before, but I tried some new makis that I had to share :-). On my recent trip home, I ate here three times! The bento box was really yummy, but I didn't have my camera on me that first trip. We ordered sushi take out our next two trips.

My new favorite, "Green Turtle Maki," is shown in the lower half of the box. It has eel, cucumber and crunchy stuff at the center, with avocado, shrimp and green tobiko and some kind of light special sauce on the outside of the roll. Above is just the standard Spider Roll, with a tempura soft-shell crab at the center, along with cucumber and avocado.

It was so good that my mom and I returned a second time during my recent trip to get another Green Turtle and to grab Sushi-Ya's "Schaumburg Roll." It's fun to eat local-named makis. (Just realized I had tried this before back in 2009, though it seems like it had carrots then and not now. I didn't miss them!) We at our rolls by the duck pond in the town square before taking Stephen to the nearby splash fountain.

The Schaumburg Maki is also crammed full of my favorite sushi components: Soft-shell crab inside, with a generous crust of eel and avocado outside. I feel a little sad to be writing this post since I'm hundreds of miles from Schaumburg and its namesake maki.