Beans for dessert

Illustration By Mark Stivers

I love mochi ice cream, but the real mochi deal, filled with red or, more rarely, white bean paste, has always been a little much for me. I just couldn’t get my all-too-Western palate excited about sweetened beans—that is, until I tried the mochi at Osaka-Ya. Not only is the mochi wrapping itself superlatively fresh and softly chewy, but the filling is scrumptious, particularly the smooth, sweet white bean paste. Plus, there are Japanese groceries to explore and buy (I picked up some toasted-rice green tea and a package of soba noodles along with my snack) in the store’s tiny space, as well as manju (bean paste enclosed in a wheat flour–based pastry) and other treats. If you still can’t get behind the sweet bean thing, though, never fear: Osaka-Ya has now opened its snow-cone window for the summer. (Weekends only for now; it’ll be open during the week when school lets out.) That’s something anyone—kid or grownup, Asian or Western—can get excited about. 2215 10th Street, (916) 446-6857.