Sunday, December 21, 2008


Hello Boiled Meat and Vegetable Lovers,

As our puffy white clouds and dreams of construction and of an opening date becomes more of a reality, so does our need to start thinking of all our day-day-activities. It's been quite overwhelming how much (wo)man power is needed to run our restaurant, but we'll get into that in another post. On that subject, though, we realize that we are going to be in serious need of some seriously good help, seriously. In all seriousness - if you are interested, or if you know any serious individuals who are seriously fun that might be interested, we are now looking for servers!

For a copy of our employment application, take the plunge here:

All the general blah blah requirements apply, but speaking Japanese is a big plus. You can toss questions and applications my way here:

Seriously yours,

Friday, December 5, 2008

Go Go Gadget Hot Pot!

I just wanted to let you guys know that the city inspector swung by our location yesterday and we passed our rough plumbing inspection!

As I'm typing this out, the workers are packing the dirt back in the ground and spilling concrete all over the place. We'll pop on by sometime next week and take some more pictures to keep you guys updated.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Like it Rough?

SUPPLIES!!!! You see? We did come back not long after our last post, as promised. So...some time has passed since we were freaking out about all the bad juju that was flowing our way, but it seems like we have managed to stink palm some of the obstacles and have finally been making some progress these past few weeks.

One thing out of our control was the remodeling for the facade of our little shopping center. We were initially told that this would be finished by the end of August. Here we are, dipping into December, and we are finally seeing some semblance of the architect's rendering of the re-facade (click on the following image to see a gallery of the facade and restaurant interior construction):

After much back and forth blabber blabber with Shark Club, we finally submitted a signed parking arrangement agreement, in which both parties were satisfied, to the city of Costa Mesa. Then, it was just a waiting game, as we had to sit around for about a month for the agreement to come across a hearing with the city. Imagine our frustration due to the fact that we were told parking was not an issue when we laid down the ink and scribbled our names on the lease agrement. It has been over two (2) months since this whole parking fiasco began, and we finally have it all passed and signed off on. Once that was completed, our contractor was able to nab the permits from the city and, drum roll please *rat tat tat tat*:

As for what is probably of more interest to you, we have also made some progress on building out the inside of our restaurant (again, go ahead and click on the following image to take the plunge and peep at our construction)!

At this point, we're at what's called "rough" plumbing and framing. Now what this means is, the framing for all the walls have been created, but no actual walls are in place. As for the plumbing, all of the underground plumbing has been finished, but we are awaiting on an inspection from the city. The inspection is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday, December 4th, 2008 A.D.), in which they will pressure test water in the tubes - making sure we aren't going to do an impersonation of Katrina (is it too soon for this?) in our restaurant. Please keep your fingers, toes, and eyes crossed for us, for the quicker we pass inspection, the quicker we can resume construction!

As you can see, we still have a ways to go, but we are definitely started to build up some momentum and hopefully we can crash through a wall soon, scream "OH YEEEEEAHHH!", and have everyone yell "KOOL-AID!"


Monday, December 1, 2008

Webby Webby Website Finally Up!

So Like,'s been over two (2) months since we've put up a post, but we assure you that we're still chugging along! First things first, after considerable time, we finally have version 2.0 of our website up and running. You can visit the site by clicking on the preview image below:

or you can take the leap of faith at and poke around when you have some time. I'm still tweaking with the site and finishing up some coding, so please bear with us for the next few weeks as we tidy up the content.

Things are actually moving at a very brisk pace right now, so hop on back in a couple of days for an update on our construction and, we suppose, everything else progress!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Coming out of the Dark Ages - The Website Edition


This is just a quick little post to let you guys take a sneak peek at the initial phase of our website redesign:

We're still fiddling around with the background and the colors, but I think we're in the home stretch...FINALLY (you can smack the image with your mouse to see a larger version of the design)!

For those who may be curious, pop on over to to take a look at how we ran our contest for the website. This is crazy idea and you get to see how the minds of artists work from all different parts of the world. Our eventual winner came from Espana of all places. Take a leap here to see all of the artists who submitted designs. It was definitely a tough tough decision.

Hopefully, we will have the new site up soon (as long as I get off my lazy butt and start coding this bad boy). As always, thanks for stopping by to say "hello".


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coming Soon? Uhhh...Maybe.

So after some fumbling around and sitting on our "COMING SOON" signs for about a month or so, Ash, Tina, and I finally decided on stringing the suckers up. After three (3) trips to our location and two (trips) to Home Depot, we finally had the correct weapons and ammo to hang up the signs. We thought that it would be a good time to get the notice out to people since it seemed like things were moving at a pretty quick pace. Boy were we wrong.

What you will find absent from this post is the usual light humor we bring around due to the major hair-yank-inducing frustration I have been faced with for the past few weeks. After we had continued to demolish the space and start framing out the kitchen, we have now hit a few snags that have caused more delays, including but not limited to: a minor conditional use permit application to ensure that the Shark Club does not gobble up all of our parking spaces during our hours of operation, the need to now install hood vents over each Shabu station rocketing our build-out expenditure by a large amount that I would not like to repeat because it makes me weep uncontrollably, and delays from our property management company with changes that we were told were already approved of months ago - again I will spare you the details so I can refrain from grabbing the plastic knife from my take out lunch and raking it down the length of my arms repeatedly. There is much more to cringe about, but we'll just leave it at that for now. I think you get the idea, though.

Regardless, we are plugging away at finishing up our final design touches with the help of our good friends Tania and Jen and making last round changes to our soon to be newly updated website! We should be making a decision on our website within the next few days, so drop back in for a visit soon and let us know what you think. If you do not see a post in more than a week, just know that my plastic knife is pretty darn sharp.

Please throw some good karma and vibes our way so we can hurry and get this fella up and running soon!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Drunken FroYo - Thank You, Come Again

Greetings Earthlings!

I'm asking whoever is reading this to please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors as I woke up at 5:30 AM this morning, after going to bed at around 2:30 AM, and my grey matter has yet to recover.

I realize that it has almost been a full month since our last post, but things have been going pretty crazy in Shabuland. I will get to that in my next post, though (shut it! It won't take another month!). For this entry, I simply wanted to thank all of our friends and family members that came to enjoy a night that filled our heads and eyes with amazing artwork and our bellies with alcohol infused frozen yogurt along with beer and wine. For those of you who were looking for me at the end of the night at Proof Bar, please accept my sincerest apologies for not bidding you adieu, adieu, to you and you and you. My brother, thankfully, noticed that my swagger had turned into a stumble and navigated me back home in one piece before I could spray anymore people with my saliva.

We had a great turn-out - high fives go out to Steve, Howard, and Spence for putting this together and letting us utilize their space and yogurt machines. Constance, as always, thank you for being our resident paparazzi for the night (please click on the image above to see more pics from the night). We hope everyone had as great of a time as we did. For those of you who missed us that night, some of the artwork still remains at Cantaloop and is still available for you to start or add to your collection. So, stop by for a peek or just to get some tasty yogurt. If any of you local artists are laying your pupils on this post and are interested in showcasing your art, feel free to poke me at any time!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Art Exhibit @ the 'Loop!

Hello Everyone!

Most of you who are coming to visit this blog probably already have the eVite sitting in your e-mailbox, so this could just be redundant, but for those of you who never received it for whatever reason (most likely bad e-mail address, we promise we don't hate you), California Shabu South Coast and Cantaloop will be co-hosting an Art Exhibit Friday, August 22nd, 2008 AD @ 9:30 PM PST.

My brother, Ivan Chan who you can meet at the exhibit, has created two crazy awesome finger paintings based on two (2) of my favorite monsters of all time for this event. Both paintings will be on display at the exhibit, but here is a sneak peek for you guys (for full details, hit up



Here is our original invitation that was sent out:

--Begin Original Message-

"I'm sure alot of your are wondering what art, yogurt, and shabu have to do with each other...well we are planning to have a private event at Cantaloop in Santa Ana, to celebrate all of the above. =)

We will be displaying original art from local artists and most of it will be for sale. And as far as the yogurt, the kicker is that it will be spiked by your favorite liquor! So we will feature our famous Pina Colada but served the way it was meant to be served (with rum haha! Weeeee!) and chocolate yogurt smothered with Kahlua. Of course, you can have the other delicious flavors like mango, plain, pom-blueberry froyo too. Red and white wine will also provided in case any guests need further inebriation.

We are asking guests to RSVP early so we can better plan ahead. Admission to the evening's fun and festivities will be $10 which includes a free yogurt, spiked or non-spiked. So come out, bring your friends who enjoy or would like to support art, California Shabu Shabu, and our special froyo ;)


Check out some of our featured artists:
Emily Miles -
Jeremiah Ketner -
Marisa Haedike -
Stef Choi -
Ivan Chan -

--End Original Message-

Who: Everyone and Anyone Interested in Art, Forzen Yogurt, or Shabu
What: Art Exhibit from Local Artists
When: Friday, August 22nd, 2008 AD @ 9:30 PM PST
Where: Cantaloop OC
1935 E. 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Why: Who doesn't want to get drunk off Frozen Yogurt?!

I hope to see you all there!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wine and Design

Woah, It's been a few weeks since my last post. Things have been swirling around for us at whirlwind speeds and I have had barely enough time to get our own things in order, let alone sit down and dedicate some time to writing. Either way, please accept my apologies for the delay (DARA)!

After about a week of prepping all the documents, gettings things notarized (big thanks to Tina's mama who notarized everything for us), and calling the California Alchoholic Beverage Control (ABC) about a gazillion times - I finally was able to take a trip to a branch of the department in beautiful downtown Santa Ana a little while back to submit our application, license type forty-one (41), to sell Beer and Wine at our location. There was much rejoicing in the land of alchoholphiles (and here you guys thought I was kidding all this time and that it wasn't a real word - so nee ner nee ner nee ner *tongue sticking out*).

I ended up spending about two (2) hours with a lovely Vietnamese lady, by the name of Kim Hong, who was super helpful and patient. Just a little side funny, I was talking to Tina and Ash about using thick, premium paper so that everything seems official. We kind of laughed it off, but thought, "Better safe than sorry." The first thing Kim said to me after sitting down was, "Nice paper!" Ha ha, so seriously...better safe than sorry. Anyhoo, Kim and I went through a bunch of checklist items, went through all of our paperwork, paid the government a nice little chunk of change, and was handed a Notice of Application to Sell Alcoholic Beverages - which I posted up almost immediately after leaving the building:

So here we are...our fate in the hands of ABC representative Nora Amante...officially in the running to sell Beer and Wine. For those of you fidgeting right now, don't worry, included with the Beer and Wine license is Sake and Sochu *Drooooooool*!

Once we had all the ABC mumbo jumbo kicked off, since it takes approximately three (3) months to process, we have been more free to focus our energy on the design of our restaurant. Tina, Ash, and I have been kicking around ideas for a couple of months now and sketched out as much as we could how we wanted the layout of our space to be. Once we were relatively satisfied with what we came up with, we passed along all of our scribbles to our restaurant architect, Bob Parr. This is what he ended up putting together for us:

As you can see, our space is much bigger than Wayne's location (18908 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708), on his recommendation. Due to the popularity of Wayne's spot, he has trouble with refrigeration space, counter space, space, space, and space. Even with this in mind, our joint was much bigger than we first anticipated, so we decided on setting aside a lounge area (it's pictured above where the sofas are, but we will not be furnishing it that way). This way, we would have a dedicated waiting area and a lounge for our friends and customers who want to come by for a drink or to relax before or after a meal. We initially had forty-seven (47) seats, in comparison to Wayne's twenty-eight(28), but decided to cut this down to forty-one (41) seats in order to enlarge the front waiting/lounge area. This was going to create a very long counter.

Did you guys notice the space between the two (2) seating counters? This popped up in Ash's head so that we would be able to keep the same amount of seats while providing a walkway for people to cut across the restaurant instead of walking allllllll the way around a full counter to get to the other side - where the restrooms will be located. We also wanted to keep lines clean and crisp, so we opted for straight cuts on the bar counter instead of the typical round cut. Because of this, we were able to carve out the two handicap spots without changing the design of the counter much at all.

With the layout finished, Ash, Tina, and I were left with our favorite part of the process - interior design. We thumbed through countless magazines and books and stopped by many restaurants since we first agreed to venture into this gig together. The three (3) of us have similar tastes in design, but we lacked a true focus. We had way too many ideas to fit into one restaurant. Dan, luckily, brought us down to earth by helping us trim down our thoughts and to try and come up with a single design theme. While this was going on, we enlisted the help of my good friend Tania, to help us sharpen our focus even more. The four (4) of us bounced around to different shops (Milk + Honey, Zipangu, Old Vine, Shabu restaurants, Izakaya Wasa, and plenty of other places) in order to find some inspiration and really hone in on what we wanted to convey. This is what Tania came up with after hearing an earfull from us:

This is not our completed "look and feel", but it's a good big step in the right direction. It's still a wee bit difficult to tell from the picture, but what we wanted as our theme was to be natural, open, and simple. Since the only windows are at the front of the store, we wanted to open up our space with lit cut-outs along one wall and creating a faux storefront window along the other side. Hopefully these, along with washing the walls with light, will help soften the length of the restaurant and give the space a more unconfined feeling. We are also planning on incorporating as many natural and organic materials as possible - wood, glass, plants, etc.

Welp, that's about where we are at this point. Check back soon for an update on an art show collaboration we are hosting with Steve, Howard, and Spencer's Cantaloop OC (!

Boogers and snot,

Big shout outs to two people making our ideas fly while keeping our feet planted:
Tania Soo - Interior Architecture & Design

Bob Parr - Restaurant Planning Services

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shabu Day One - Arrested Development - Part Two of Two

If you have just joined us, please read the previous post to catch up. Previous as in the next one, errr..the one below this one. OK, yeah.

So where was I? Oh yeah, my exploding thumb, which after a little over two weeks has just about healed. So after we washed up my thumb, we finished off the rest of the glass, which pretty much looked like this (feel free to click on any of the pictures to be redirected to the Kodak Gallery album which pretty much sums up these two posts with pictures and captions):

Ash and Ryan Getting Ready to Chuck Some Heat
After spending some time marvelling over our glass masterpiece, Dan arrived on the scene, soon followed by Charles and Davis - just in time to start helping us rip out the carpeting. We spend some time cutting the carpet with razor blades and then attempted to pull it out by hand. The carpet barely budges, so we all dig in and really give it a pull and realize that whoever laid down the carpet before, decided to get a little happy with the glue. After five (5) minutes of tugging at the nasty woven mess, we manage to pull back about four (4) feet to reveal *drum roll* LINOLEUM. Ugh...tile after tile after tile of linoleum. They never bothered to tear it all out, instead, the carpet was glued right on top of it. In a nutshell, we were getting nowhere trying to get all of the carpet off. *DING* Ash comes up with the bright idea of yanking it all out with the carpet tied to the hitch of his Jeep. We swing open the double doors and (**warning, there is some minor cursing in this video**):

Before we really get going on the carpet, Ash, Ryan, Dan, and I decide to climb up to the roof to check out the air-conditioning unit and to check for any leaks. We swing around the back of the building and find out that none of the keys we were given opens the lock to gain access to the ladder which leads to our roof. Ash and Ryan, being the climbers they are, survey the situation and within thirty (30) seconds Ash is already on the roof with Ryan right behind him. Dan and I shrugged our shoulders and followed suit.

We pop on the roof and survey out our spot. Everything looks good so we start goofing around on the roof. Ryan and I end up messing around with some of the hardware up there:

Antics that Lead to...Well You'll Find Out

On our way back down, Ryan notices this little black box sitting on top of a little black pole. Ryan guesses it's a motion detector. So I get in front of it, bend down, wave my hand in front of it a few times and guess that it could be a camera. The four (4) of us give it no thought and begin to make our way down the ladder after a few more minutes. This:

was the last thing Ash saw, my arse in his face, before turning around to a female police officer with her gun drawn, screaming, "FREEZE! GET ON THE GROUND!"

Nice way to start off our restaurant.

At this point Ash and I are already at ground level, Ryan's on the ladder, and Dan is watching in disbelief on the roof. I hear "I SAID GET ON THE GROUND!" and I look over to Ash and he is already on his stomach with his arms stretched out to his sides (it seemed so natural). So I listen to her and sit down Indian style.


I start laying down on my back.


Ryan is already on the ground looking like Ash, so I finally get it right. Dan hops off the ladder and lies down to the right of me. In. The. Sun (mind you it was over ninety (90) degrees that day). The officer proceeds to call for back-up with her Glock pointed at us. As she, and I guess we, waited, Dan is fidgeting around so his chin and cheek don't fry on the black top and he let's out a little "I wish I was in the shade..."


Someone hasn't been spooned in a long time. We laid there sun tanning for a couple more minutes before another cop showed up. Another few minutes, four (4) more showed up and a fire truck with two (firemen). They grab all of our wallets and phones and stack them in a little pile as they run all of our identification cards, by now, two of the police officers are laughing because they can tell we're no harm to anyone. Still, they feel the need to cuff us and pull us to the wall. Ash and I kindly ask them to take a couple of pictures for us. Here is one officer's artistry:

Jail Bait

Dan's Tan - Check Out The Officer to the Right

Oh man, I realize that I am ranting on longer and longer with each post, so I will just give you a quick run-down of the final couple of hours there.

After they uncuff us and apologize, we tell them that we understand how bad it looked being up there with our shirts off, ripped jeans, a baseball bat, etc and that we know they were just doing their jobs. We find out that the pharmacy next door has been broken into a few times, hence all the security. So they hop in their squad cars, their motorcylces, and their firetruck and take off after we let them know that they'll all be invited for a dinner when our doors open up. We walk back into the mess that we've made and see that Ivan, James, Hae Jung, and Q have been hanging around front talking with some of the cops.

The rest of the day consisted of:

James, Ivan, and Ash Helping with the Carpet (check out all the crap flying around in the air and into our lungs)

Hae Jung trying to crowbar out the linoleum tiles

Q sitting on his arse twiddling with the drill (Hae Jung really likes that position)

Me hopping around knocking down the ceiling

Ash and Hae Jung Doing Their Thing

The Aftermath (and Dan Talking Design)

Now that we've torn down the walls...all there is now is to do is what we've been taught throughout our whole lives to do...BUILD.

Boogers and Snot,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shabu Day One - Arrested Development - Part One of Two

For those of you confused by the title and the few who came across my facebook status and wondered what the heck happened, please continue to read. It's the only way I can have you first suffer through the little words and letters that are dribbling out of my mouth and off my bottom lip.

I believe that throughout most of our lives, we have been taught to build, not to break. I think that, after finally getting the keys to our location dropped into our grubby little hands, the thought of obliterating the failed business that once resided within our four (4) walls lured us in like Godzilla to Tokyo city. That and smashing stuff

July 6th, 2008 A.D., the day started off normal enough - with Ash showing up to my place with handyman extraordinaire, Ryan, and a Jeep full of necessities to start the demolition:

Sledge hammer - check
Face masks - check
Drill - check
Work gloves - check
Razor blades - check
Baseballs (I'll explain later) - check

What kind of construction (destruction?) site is complete without beer? So we head straight over to Mitsuwa market, pickup twenty four (24) cans of whatever Japanese beer is on sale (Sapporo for $12.99, in case you were wondering), two (2) bottles of Hakutsuru, a seven (7) pound bag of ice, and a Kold to Go bag to keep everything nice and chilly.

Beer - check!

Steppin' In
The Calm Before the Storm

Our Bar
Ash - 'Nuff Said
Woah WOAH, ok now. I started getting a little too happy with the pictures. On to movies, ha ha. After a cheers and a few chugs of our beer, our first official video was:

The Ceremonial Dropping of the Sledge Hammer

Soon after that, the three (3) of us dug in and really started tearing into the space. Ryan and Ash were pounding away at the back walls as I was knocking down our drop-ceiling. A quarter of the ceiling, two walls knocked down, and probably a few too many beers later I glance at the glass window on one of the walls and kind of muttered "Too bad we don't have any baseballs". Ryan then gets up and thirty (30) seconds later, drops a baseball bag next to me complete with balls, a glove, and an Easton bat. We end up going to town on the window, first batting balls through the glass and then doing our best to win the Cy Young award by throwing fast balls while watching the glass explode around the room. All fun and games, right?

Wrong. Cut to me on one side of the glass, Ryan and Ash on the other, all of us after a few more beers. We start throwing balls through both sides of the glass when I chuck a ball towards the glass. As I'm following through with my arm going full-speed I see a ball quickly approaching and WHAMMO! It tags my the thumb, think car going seventy (70) mph into a wall versus two (2) cars both going seventy (70) slamming into each other. I quickly grab my thumb in pain, look down wondering why I'm not bleeding, and notice there's already a little puddle of blood forming in my palm due to the explosion of my thumb. Ash and Ryan help me rinse the little guy off and notice that the left side of the nail was ripped completely out. Luckily this was the only injury, except maybe to our egos. OK, my ego.

Yowzas, this is getting long already, so I will split this puppy into two (2) posts and finish up another day. I know we didn't get to the whole arrested development thing. It is completely my fault and I am taking full responsibility for it. Thanks for stopping bye for a peep, and I promise we will get to the juicy stuff next post. So, click on over to us soon!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Friends, Meet Shabu. Shabu, Meet Friends. Now Play Nice!

I'm a little new to this whole blogspot thing, so you guys will have to bear with me as I crawl around the nooks and crannies to figure out all the whistles and bells to smoothen out the initial roughness. Enough of that, though...

Welcome to the first entry for California Shabu Shabu South Coast!

First off, for those who don't know already (I'm assuming most of you do since you are here and running your eyes left to right and top to bottom), my friends Tina and Ash and I are opening up a California Shabu Shabu in Costa Mesa. After hearing about us crooning and squawking about this for a bit over 9 months now, you'd figure we'd have a drool producing baby or something to show for it. Instead, we finally have a signed lease, a location, and, as cornilicious as it sounds, a dream to fulfill.

To give everyone a wee bit of insight into why it has taken us so long, we had initially signed a letter of intent with a location at Bristol and Sunflower in the plaza inhabited by Red Robin and Cost Plus. We endured through an obstacle course worthy of a Beat Takeshi game show including, but not limited to: two (2) plumbers to survey the location to see if we would be able to put in a grease interceptor (, (2) contractors with their HVAC ( guys come along to see if we could even vent our restaurant correctly, a move two (2) doors down and incurring a much larger space and lease, a crook of a commercial real estate agent (feel free to send Tom Gioa hate mail at who jerked us around for four (4) months and kept reneging on promises, giving up on the crook and that location, and finally scouting out another location to find out that a different Shabu had already signed a letter of intent our HOOD! HOW DARE THEY?!

After a slew of phone calls, email messages, and Wayne lighting them up, since he is doing some other work with the same retail real estate group, we have secured our location at 801 Baker Street #A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626! This spot is pretty much in the lungs of what is called SoBECA, South on Bristol Entertainment, Culture, and Arts. Most of you will recognize this location because it is right next to Shark Club ha ha, I know I just heard a collective "Ohhhh yeahhhhh, therrrrreeee!" The location looks rather shameful at the moment, but we have been promised that a remodelling of the facade should begin around the beginning of August lasting six (6) to eight (8) weeks, meaning twelve (12) weeks. In light of our shame, here is an architects rendering of our space after the face lift (go ahead and clickety click on the picture to be redirected to a Kodak Gallery album with even more pictures for your viewing pleasure):

I see that I have already rambled on much more than I intended for our first post, so I will end things pretty much here. I hope that you guys, now, have a better understanding of where we are at the moment. Check back with us soon to read what Tina, Ash, and/or I have to blab about and find out how we kicked off our first official Shabu day by busting down some walls and tearing down a ceiling!


Here's a shout out to some fellow bloggers, make sure to poke around on some of the ads when you have some time to help them pay a few bills:

For my brother, Ivan's, ridiculously talented art:

For some daily inspiration:
For some foody goodness:
For some ramen madness: