Saturday, September 8, 2007

Marukai San Diego Arrives -- Almost

I trotted over to the new Marukai San Diego Plaza in Kearny Mesa this afternoon all set to sample and compare the offerings of Marukai, a market chain based in L.A. with roots in Japan, with neighboring Mitsuwa (which has just undergone a bit of a face lift) and Nijiya (which I've written about).

All well and good but for one little thing. What just opened was Daiso, not Marukai. Daiso is their $1.50 store. It turns out Marukai won't be open for another couple of months.

Disappointed? Yep, but I stuck around and enjoyed Daiso enormously. Think Pic N Save from the good ol' days only with unique Japanese merchandise. Everything in the store is $1.50 unless otherwise marked. And, surprisingly, among the expected amount of cheap junk are some great buys.

They have a fun housewares section with all sorts of utensils, really cute and colorful serving trays, delicate porcelain espresso cup and saucer sets and handy plastic food storage sets.

For every plastic bonzai tree that made me laugh was something fantastically useful, like small florist frogs that are usually remarkably hard to find. Stock up here on gift wrap paper and bags. Pick up a pair of slippers or an apron or dish towels. You'll find lots of office and school supply stuff, mesh zip bags of all shapes and sizes and colors that you'll want to buy because you just know you can use them for something, eye glass pouches and dog collars and leashes. And, there's some food: cookies and ramen and potato chips and the like.

So, not so much a market write up since we'll have to wait a few months for that to open, but in the meantime, enjoy Daiso.

Daiso is located at 8111 Balboa Ave. at Mercury St.

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