Oct 21 2013

An evening filled with art and fondue

My Saturday started with house chores and ended up being lots of fun. We met Aaron and Carolyn at their place and headed to J Street in Sacramento to attend an artist signing at Dragatomi.

store

Aaron started collecting dunnys years ago. I had no idea what they were and have had many a lesson from Aaron as to how they came about and the artist’s history, etc. I’ve probably asked him a million questions, LOL.

A dunny is a blank canvas (basically a curved bunny with a smooth face) designed to be repainted and reinterpreted by artists from all different backgrounds and produced by Kidrobot. I first stumbled upon a Kidrobot store in Las Vegas. I immediately was drawn to the food creations… completely skipping over the dunny designs. Then Aaron took us to Dragatomi a few Summers ago and I was beyond fascinated. I started up a collection of Pop! Pups which grew to Pop! Unicorns and Pop! Super Shinys. While they aren’t dunnys, they are vinyl balloon animal figures that make me smile every time I look at them.

pop

Dunny and Pop! Pups/Unicorns 3″ minis are sold as “blind boxes” – the figures are packaged inside a sealed foil wrapper, so the buyer isn’t able to see which mini fig. they are buying. Sealing the figure prevents people from opening and peeking in the boxes and buying only the figures they want. Blind boxes are sold as individual or in cases. Cases normally include anywhere between 18 to 24 boxes and each is approximately $9.99 depending where you get them. Dragatomi lets you switch out with the displayed one – so if you like the display figure better than what you purchased, you can make the switch right then. I’ve done that several times. I’ve also bought them on eBay and Dan got me some at the Kidrobot store on his last Vegas trip. I have yet to visit the Kidrobot store in San Francisco, it’s on my “to do” list.

boxart

I decided it was time to get myself a dunny – especially with two of the Evolved series artists making themselves available for the Dragatomi store signing. The Dunny Evolved Series features five artists total –  Huck Gee, Frank Kozik, Kronk, McBess, and Scott Tolleson. They tackled the theory of dunny evolution. Each artist delivered a series of 3 dunny designs, making 15 newly evolved 3-inch vinyl figures. The official series roll-out was Thursday, October 10.

signing1

Scott Tolleson was the artist behind the dunny I got. It’s beautiful! Thanks to Aaron and Carolyn I also got the first in the series. I now have to get my hands on the vary rare 3rd to complete the series. Carolyn has it and the detail is amazing. 

signing2

 Dan’s dunny was designed by artist Huck Gee.

artists

Dragatomi had a great turnout, I’m so glad we decided to join Aaron and Carolyn in attending the event. I will always be an artist nerd and the geekery involved in learning about the artists and series suits me perfectly. We left Dragatomi with food on our mind… Aaron suggested a “new to all of us” restaurant and it was awesome.

shabu

The restaurant was Shabu Japanese Fondue at the corner of 16th and R street in Midtown Sacramento. According to the Shabu website They opened at the end of 2009. “The first of its kind in Midtown Sacramento, Shabu provides traditional Japanese-style hot pot, serving only the finest ingredients, quality meat, fresh seafood, and vegetables. Broths and sauces are house-made and made daily.” Not sure why it took us this long to explore this gem. 

shabu-collage1

We checked out the menu and got drinks while deciding what to order. The ice was amazing… it came piled 2-3 inches over the glass like shaved ice. I missed the photo opportunity when they were first delivered to the table.

menu3

All photos are courtesy of my iPhone, so quality isn’t awesome, had no idea I’d be blogging about my evening – guess I’m back to blogging about my daily life too.

We started with some edamame and sunomono – my favorite Japanese starter (Cucumber, carrots, and seaweed marinated in Japanese vinegar topped with sesame seeds.) The sunomono was excellent. I pretty much get it at every sushi place I go to and this was some of the best I’ve had. We decided as a group to go with the shabu-shabu portion of the menu by sharing some of the large meat platters. First we had to choose a broth – you have the option of two per pot – so we could have up to four different broths at our table.

  • Shoyu – a soy sauce based broth
  • Miso – soybean paste broth
  • Chicken broth
  • Kombu – salt, water and seaweed broth.

We chose Shoyu and Miso in both pots – I liked them both, but preferred the Shoyu for the tofu and mushrooms.

shabu-collage2

Then we chose the meats – beef, chicken and pork. All shabu-shabu entrées come with assorted vegetables (cabbage, carrots & spinach) tofu, enoki and shiitake mushrooms, udon noodles, rice and ice cream for dessert. – The veggies were the perfect amount, I especially loved the Napa cabbage, spinach and enoki mushrooms.

We also received individual dishes of house-made ponzu and goma sauce and garlic, green onion and daikon to add to our sauces as part of our meal.

table

The table was filled with quite the beautiful meat and veg display – true artistry on a plate. The slices were shaved very thin and took on average 1-2 minutes in the boiling broth. We had a blast trying different combinations, sauces, cooking times, etc.

It should be noted… I felt WAY LESS pressure than I do at Korean BBQ or regular oil based fondue places. I’m generally not a huge fan of cooking my own meal, but this time around I was NOT worried about under-cooking or making myself sick from “doing it wrong” – Ha-ha! A few swishes in the broth and you were good to go –  it really did take the stress out of the cooking part.

greentea-icecream

I finished my meal off with green tea ice cream. We had the choice between that or chocolate chip. Our table was divided… I definitely made the right choice for me. I drink green tea daily (3 to 5 mugs/day) so the flavor is something that appeals to me and in a sweetened form, it didn’t disappoint.

We will definitely put Shabu in our restaurant rotation. Great idea Aaron… keep ’em coming!

foo   

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1 comment

  1. So cute! Love all those cute toys and YUM to all the food. I’m going to Japan next month, and this definitely made me think of it!

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