Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pinky Taking Over the World (Well OK, Cal Shabu South Coast)



Pinky Taylor in the house!!! Pinky has been at our location the last couple of days painting a crazy mural. For those who aren't familiar with Pinky, he was a featured artist for Volcom, Lost, Burton, amongst other projects (click here to check out his site). The pic up top is a quick look at what he's doing, but once he's all finished, Ash and I will toss up more photos for you guys to take a peek at. Better yet, everyone's welcome to come on by tonight or tomorrow to see how thigns are coming along.

Check back soon for an update on the mural and some nice pictures of us getting blitzed at a Sake Expo ha ha.

Smoochies,
Len

Monday, August 31, 2009

Suckas!!!



Julie bamboozled Jason and Matt, well, mainly Jason to the left of her. They thought that we only walk about 1.5 - 2 miles per lunch shift. I was guessing 4 or more. Julie clocked in at almost 5 miles on her pedometer on a semi-busy lunch. What did she win? A bottle of our best sake, Mizbasho Junmai Dai Ginjo. Thanks for all the shots, suckas!!

Smoochies,
Len

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Things are Finally Settling Down...PSYCH!



Does that hole look like it's supposed to be there? I think not. This blog entry is a bit behind schedule, bear with me a bit. So a couple weeks back, Ash and I are in the office, we sit back in our chairs and finally agree that things are finally settling down. Things are fnally running smoothly. We can finally take a deep breath and relax a bit. In comes one of our employees, drags us out to one of the drains and points out that we're backed up. Thinking that our grease trap has somehow filled up, we walked outside and noticed there was a putrid stench outside. Uh-oh.

We called OC Plumbing down to pump the grease interceptor and guess what they found. MUD, YAYYYY! Not so much. There should be nothing but water and food waste in our 1200 gallon Honda Civic sized grease trap. They snaked a camera in and just found more mud where there should have been clean pipes. Joy. Right as this is all going down, who ends up coming by for a random stop? None other than our lucky charm:

Shaun in Galoshes Ready to Get Dirty



In a nutshell, we had to jackhammer out around the entire grease trap to find out that the Ogre had screwed us once again. They never filled in the space with gravel, nor did they pack the dirt underneath the pipes. Once the concrete was poured on top of the grease trap and we rolled our cars on top *SNAP* the connections to the pipes go bye bye. Shaun and his boys had to reconnect all the piping and refill the entire hole. It was a lot of work and stinky time, but we're back in business! I'll spare you guys the details, but you can click on either of the images to check out some more pictures of what went down. Say "Goodbye" to moolah. Welcome to the world of owning your own business, I guess. Le sigh.

Smoochies,
Len

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Between Shift Siesta



Ash and I were messing with some of our employees while they were napping between shifts ha ha. That's all!

Smoochies,
Len

Sunday, August 9, 2009

HEY! LOOK AT US!



So after only six (6) weeks *ahem*, we finally have our signs up! This was supposed to minimize the calls from people who drive by and have no clue where we are, but the day after the signs went up, I still had to go to the street corner like a hooker and flag down two (2) groups of customers. Maybe we should have made the sign flash or something, any suggestions?

Steve's pants are crawling into his bunghole:



Ok ok a serious picture of Steve finishing it up for us:



Big ups for Steve Wang helping us get the signs printed and posted up (by himself because we ditched him to take care of customers ha ha).


Smoochies,
Len

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monster Munched



I just wanted to drop a quick note and let you guys know that Elmomonster swung by incognito style and threw down a review on us!

http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2009/08/california-shabu-shabu-costa-mesa.html


Smoochies,
Len

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sake Fest - One Buzzed Friday Lunch



So we're carrying a bunch of new sakes - bringing the grand total, including the original ones, to a eleven (11). I'll follow up with a post soon letting you guys know of our special sake and beer offerings. The true reason of this post is to show everyone that the group above took down all eleven sakes in about an hour and a half (with some help from our staff, too ha ha). This may not seem like a lot, but we threw down multiple bottles of almost each sake - and some of the sake bottles were the 720ml fatties, not just the 300ml or the 180ml ones, mind you. So let's all give them a nice round of applause when you see them, yeah?

One last thing I wanted to show you guys. Below is a picture of Ash, a bit fearful before slicing Kobe for the first time at our spot:



Smoochies,
Len

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Do You Like Your Meat Massaged?



FINALLY!!! We have Kobe beef in stock to explode your taste buds with. There is some weird cattle shortage going on lately, so we were delayed about 3 weeks on this shipment and our prime beef shipments have been slowing down, too.

Anyhoo, we're not sure how long this stick is going to last considering people have been poking our ears for it and we've been making excuses about not having it in stock for far too long, but come on in and let our meat melt in your mouth *ahem*!

Kobe flavored smoochies,
Len

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pierrick Le Cool



So we had our first official "event" at our restaurant this past week. As odd as it may sound, we did a French Wine pairing with our food. We were lucky enough to have Pierrick Bouquet, SoCal French wine specialist, come host the event with us. Pierrick stopped in a few weeks ago with a good friend of ours, Evelyn, to try out our food to see how he thought it would pair with French wines and came out of the dinner as excited as we were. Click on the pic above for some more photos of the night.

What we came up with was four (4) wines to be served along with fresh vegetables and a sampler plate consisting of beef, chicken, salmon, and shrimp. The event was a lot of fun, and by fun I mean buzzed, stuffed, and happy campers. It was a new experience for a lot of us to have French wines with Shabu, but we're hoping to do this again every few months with new pairings!

Our internet spies also caught us on the following sites for our event (OK, so we didn't headline the event section, but just scroll around and you'll see us there somewhere in tiny font):

http://www.greersoc.com/oc-weekend/23/
http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2009/07/02/shopping/dpt-bestbuys07032009.txt
http://www.pierrickbouquet.com/wine/Agenda/Entries/2009/7/7_French_wine_tasting_and_Japanese_food_pairing_at_California_Shabu_Shabu.html

Also, please take a peek below for Pierrick's site for more upcoming events and Evelyn's site for eye blinding jewelry design:

http://www.pierrickbouquet.com/wine/Home.html
http://www.evelynh.com/


Smoochies,
Len

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Assure You, We're Open



For those who didn't get the reference, do yourself a favor and watch Kevin Smith's first movie, Clerks.

Do you see how desolate the restaurant looks? This was our first Sunday that we were open for lunch (June 21st, 2009 AD). Most of our normal customers don't know that we are open on Sundays for lunch since Wayne's OG California Shabu Shabu has Sunday lunch off. Anyhoo, now you guys know we're heeeeeeeerrrrrreeeeeeee!

FYI, our hours are:
Sunday - Thursday : 11:30 AM - 2 PM / 5 PM - 10 PM
Friday - Saturday : 11:30 AM - 2 PM / 5 PM - 11 PM

OK, I have to go set up the front of the restaurant while Ash preps meat for the day. See you guys soon!


Smoochies,
Len

Monday, June 22, 2009

Soft Openings (Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter, Son!)



I would like to start off this entry with a big "WOOT WOOT!" for all our friends and family that made time out for our two (2) little shin digs (especially my brother, Ivan,and Alex who drove down from Santa Cruz on Saturday afternoon and drove back up Sunday morning). Also, we'd like to apologize if we weren't able to chit chat too much with everyone who came, we were just so slammed and trying to make sure everyone was fed!

On Friday - June 12th, 2009 AD, our family and a few close friends who couldn't make it out for Saturday, swung by to act as our first set of official guinea pigs! Things were a little chaotic since we were still finishing up construction and cleaning up. We had initially planned on getting people seated at about 7 PM, but that rolled into about 8 PM, ick. It was melee when we first started, because it was the equivalent of having twenty-five (25) customers all sit down at the same time to order. Needless to say, there was a bit of a lag getting everyone their orders, but Ash manhandled the pressure and flung down the plates of meat to our stomach growling guests. Right when we thought everything was going to run smoothly, our induction cookers decided on switching on and off the entire meal, causing much confusion to us, the staff, and our family (we later tested it out and found out that the burners weren't being properly vented and have since cut large vent holes out of our counters. It looks like complete @$$ right now, but Morgan is working with us to brainstorm out some ideas to cover the holes with mesh). As wonky as the night went, it all turned out pretty good in the end. On to Saturday...

Funny as it may sound, we had about five (5) or six (6) times the amount of people on Saturday, and things went a lot smoother! It may have just been jitters on the first night or maybe just the overwhelming amount of people came forced us to get all tunnel vision with the restaurant and servicing our friends. We ended up using a makeshift solution for the cookers by propping up the back with little 1/8" nuts (again, get your mind out of the gutter) to allow for better ventilation. That seemed to do the trick since the burners were on the entire night to accomodate everyone that came in. I'll let the pictures do more of the talking for our little event, but just imagine what happens when beer and sake is flowing for free an entire night. Mayhem *cough STEVE cough CHUNG*.

We've been open now since Thursday - June 18th, 2009 AD, so if you haven't come by yet, SHAME ON YOU, I mean, hope to see you soon!


Smoochies,
Len

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our Lucky Lepra-Shaun



So our Irishman has managed to save our buttocks big time - we officially passed all of our inspections on Thursday - June 11th, 2009 AD! After much heartache, affliction, sleepless nights, and holes burning through our stomach linings, Shaun pulled through for us.

Again, I'll let the photos (which are not in the correct order, but give me a break, I'm running on three (3) hours of sleep and its approaching 3 AM again) tell the story for us. Though we've been signed off on for all of our inspections, we still have some loose ends to tie up. So, we will be popping open our doors for the public at 11:30 AM Thursday - June 18th, 2009 AD, so come on by for a visit and let us stuff your mouths silly with food!

We went through a couple of soft openings this past weekend, come say "Hi" to the blog in the next couple of days to check out all the chaos from those nights. We look forward to seeing you soon! Need sleepy...

Smoochies,
Len

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bamboozled: A Story of Epic Failures

Yikes, has it really been about four (4) months? I don't know why it's taken so long...all right, ALL RIGHT, I know why. It's partially because we've been crazy busy, paritally because time just flew by, but most of all, it's because it's absolutely shameful how delayed we are in getting our restaurant up and running. First off, let me apologize to all of you out there who have felt duped over and over again by my empty promises of a shiny new Shabu restaurant opening up (especially to those who kept receiving those cursed automated eVite messages before I could change the date *shaking fists in air*). I know I'm wasting my knock out punch right in the beginning, but I feel like I owe at least this to every one who reads our little blog - we are finally going to open next week to the public! We're going through our final inspections this Wednesday, so please keep your fingers, toes, eyes, hair, legs, etc. crossed for us. Now that that's out of the way, I can explain the title of this post.

You guys will have to bear with me, though, as the story is a bit long. Actually, click on the photo below and you'll be bounced over to an album which will delve into more details on just how badly we were put in the tree chipper, but I'll give you a few of the lowlights.


We Thought We Were Flying High - Not So Much


My eyes are feeling droopy, but it may be due to all the epoxy fumes I've been sucking into my poor lungs the last few days (I'll explain that in the next post). Man, I am all over the place today...let me reign myself back into this thing. Let's see, where was I? Ah, ok. So, around the end of March, our Ogre disappeared on us. That's right, he up and abandoned the project - please pick up your jaws from the floor. For those of you who want to know the story, it's pretty crazy, but I don't want to air out someone else's dirty laundry all over the dub dub dub, so you'll have to come in and ask Ash or I =). After the Ogre pulled his best impersonation of Lance Burton on us, Ash and I were sent spiralling into a Twilight Zone state of mind. We ended up going almost two (2) weeks hitting up contractors that we spoke to in the past and some new contractors that were referred over to us. There was literally a parade of contractors coming in and out of our doors for a week straight. All we needed were some flashing lights and furries and we would have been lit up like Disney's Main Street in Costa Mesa.

As the fire flamed out, from the ashes arose...Shaun Gallagher - our little Irish phoenix.

The Man


Look out really REALLY soon, cross my heart (my eyes are getting watery just thinking of Pixar's UP - you guys all need to watch this and you'll know what I mean), for an entry on how Shaun has saved our collective rumps in the past month and a half from all of the Ogre's epic failures. Have you realized I can't even speak his name? From this day forward, that who we do not speak of shall now be known as the Ogre.

See you all on the site super soon and at our restaurant soon after that!


Smoochies,
Len

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chug Chug Chugging Along


Ok, ok, OKAY I KNOW! The picture makes it look pretty bad, but I assure you, we're getting really close to opening up our doors. I hope every one reading this had a great Valentine's Day! We were hoping to open by February 14th, but alas, all the delays from the last post have piled up nice and high and have caused yet another excrutiatingly painful, bile producing, and stomach wall eroding delay in our opening date.

Our induction cookers have finally arrived, we had a marathon meeting with Red Mountain to figure out our plumbing issue, and construction has actually been going at a relatively brisk pace. We're still handcuffed by some of the subcontractors for our walk-in refrigerator and our hood vents, but those suckers are supposed to be delivered and installed by the middle of this upcoming week. If you can sense the lack of enthusiasm in my tone, it's because I feel like we've let a lot of people down, including some friends (sorry Charles and Catherine) whose birthdays are coming up this weekend and a wedding rehearsal dinner party I am going to have to notify tomorrow that we won't be able to take care of them anymore. We want to get this right before, we open, so we're trying hard to remain patient and focus on finishing up everything we have left.

Just a quick update...our servers have been training at the current Fountain Valley location, so if you've seen some new faces in there, BE NICE ha ha. They're actually all doing a really great job, and should be ready to rock da house once we open.

I'll keep this sucker short since we still have many many loose ends to tie up within the next week if we are to get our pots boiling for you guys soon! I'm scared to even blurt out another date, so please check back with us soon for an update and more construction pictures. Take the jump and click on the picture above to see where we are with the inside. Bear in mind that these were taken about a week ago, so we've already made a good deal of progress since then. Any positive chi you want to push our way would be greatly appreciated!


Smoochies,
Len

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ogres Have Layers

Meet John, Chinese Shrek/Ogre, AKA our Contrator
That's John doing what he does best...chain smoking. That is but one simple layer of John. Underneath that is hair that hasn't been groomed for god knows how many months. Below that, are teeth that a jackhammer couldn't clean. Peel another layer back and you have his enormous pot belly hanging over the top of his jeans that have a pocket ripped half way down his thigh - to which I pointed at and he quipped in Mandarin, "You think you're over budget? I'm broke then." This, my friends, is our beloved Ogre. Even beyond all these layers, lies the core of John, who after much poking and prodding, is coming through for us.

I'll rewind for you guys a bit, we were just starting to pick up some steam with our construction and it seemed like we would have no problem getting things done for our intended soft opening weekend of February 6th/7th. For fear of me weeping like a little girl from how depressing it is to run into even more delays this late in the game, I'm simply going to ramble everything off in probably very poor English and grammar. *Deep breath* We were *this* close to ordering all of our induction cookers from Dipo since we were told they were NSF certified just to find out that they weren't so we were back to the Mr. Induction ones that are backordered and won't arrive till February 4th (yes two (2) days before our intended soft opening), finding out that the plumbing coming into our restaurant was inefficient and we couldn't get a hold of our plumbing engineer to help recalculate everything leading us to have Wayne and Ash go through everything with Virgil from Red Mountain and now we're waiting for the great *cough* City of Costa Mesa to install a new meter for us, our walk-in refrigerator was ordered over a month ago and we still don't have doors for it making it very counter-productive in keeping it cold, our stainless steel hood vents have been in fabrication for over a month now due to the holidays and maybe just all around apathy, our grease trap installation was delayed from the rain storm we experienced last week, Ash and I drove around San Gabriel Valley trying to find an affordable Shabu pot only to find cheap ugly ones and then finding out that the pots are going to be $10 more for each one now and it's going to take about a week to get them, our Point of Sale system showed up on our doorsteps missing a cash drawer, our ABC representative has decided to pull a Keyser Soze on us right as she was supposed to come in for our inspection, the list of setbacks goes on and on (I'm sure you would rather rake your finger nails over a chalkboard than listen to me complain more) but us ramblers have been ramblin' to get everything into place as soon as possible.

Even with all these crazy hurdles, John and his crew has been working hard to get us open by next weekend. It looks like Mission Impossible, but we are all burning the midnight oil during the last remaining days before Ash and I are buried neck deep in meat, pots, water, and vegetables.

Poke John's belly to take a peek at what's been going on with construction lately. We also decided to post some movies of the grease trap excavation, because well, we like big machines making holes.

Bobcat Tearing Up the Blacktop
video

Caterpillar Looking for Dinosaurs
video

I know I said we were going to post up photos of our new staff, but that will be coming soon!


Smoochies,
Len

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Training Day, Part 2

Ash and I have decided to part ways...in regards to our duties at the restaurant. OK, maybe I exaggerated or mislead you guys a bit to bring you guys to the edge of your pneumatic desk chairs. Did it work? Did it? Did it? Oh well, I tried.

After our crash course on all kitchen duties, Ash and I discussed what our individual functions would entail for the restaurant. We came to the conclusion that Ash would focus primarily on the meat slicing and prep while I would focus more on managing the service and back-office. Though we have been (actually, this is a continuous work in progress) cross-trained on each others duties, we both have relatively comfortably slid into our respective roles.

We still aren't quite at where we should be in terms of truly running the big show, but I'm not at all ashamed to say that Ash is kicking some serious tail on the slicer:

Ash Kicking Some Serious Tail on the Slicer

We have to get a few pictures of the meat he's been plating, but it's darn near tear drop inducing. Ash has been getting a good mix of things by watching how Arturo and Satoshi go about preparing, slicing, and plating differently. As a result of this, Ash has developed his own style, technique, and procedures as well as coming in early in order to perfect everything that is involved.

I, on the other hand, haven't been able to put in quite as many hours honing my skills since I have my day job. Still, working 8 AM - 4:30 PM at my soul draining office job and then popping in to work at Shabs from 5:00 PM - 11:oo PM and sometimes later hasn't been a walk in the park. It's been quite an adjustment for me, especially trying to juggle around any free time I have to run my errands, see mi mama y familia, spend some time with good friends, and SLEEEP! As rough as it's been, time flies by when we are working there. Kenny has taught me how to run the waiting list over the last couple of weeks, which is pretty much managing people's expectations and wait times as well as a complicated game of human Tetris (cue theme three (3) on Gameboy Tetris) trying to squeeze in the maximum amount of Shabu lovers given the amount of seats we have available in the shortest amount of time possible while still maintaining a high level of customer service. I always thought it looked so simple, just yell out the next name on the list. Man O man, if it were truly as easy as that.

Making Sure People's Tummies are Smiling

As with preparing the vegetables and kitchen duties, there is so much going on behind the scenes in the dining and waiting areas that no one notices. The way Wayne put it, "Everyone who comes in here is so spoiled. They may have to wait to get seated, but once they sit down, they are eating within five (5) minutes. What other restaurant do you get that?" Wayne didn't mean this in a bad way at all, but he was merely reinforcing that everything we have learned boils (pun intended) down to learning the method and routine for every customer that comes in. Ash and I just have to perfect that, maintain communication between the person who runs the list and the rest of the servers, and keep our customers happy, we'll be good to go!

I Just Like this Picture, it Looks Like I'm Kung Fu Rice Boy
The Two (2) Hour Dining Culprits and Photographers

As always, great seeing you guys stop by for a peek into our chaotic lives. Thanks to Linda and Chandra for taking many unflattering photos of us which I will post in the near future.

Come feed our egos again soon to catch a glimpse of the new staff for Costa Mesa!


Smoochies,
Len

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Training Day

** Not to be confused with the Antoine Fuqua flick starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke of the same name. **

About a month ago, in early December, Ash and I started to oil our squeaky Shabu sprockets and began our training. From day one (1), Wayne has stressed to us that we have to learn absolutely everything that is involved in running the restaurant from open to close and kitchen to service. Since he did not want us bumbling around like idiots in the front, we started off in the back...from ground zero. Plus, Wayne only had these large t-shirts that we were swimming in, so we didn't mind hiding a bit from the public eye *ahem*.

Though it was long hours and we had to put in a lot of elbow grease, the first couple of weeks actually flew by really quickly. I won't go too much into detail, but here are some of the things we've now perfected (Yeah, right. The guys who work in the back are exponentially faster than us):

1) Washing stainless steel pots. Yes, this sounds trivial, but everybody who washes has a different technique and rhythym - one person bobbed up and down like one of those girls making lemonade at the Hot Dog on a Stick stands (We'll call him Worker X - who has since been trimmed from the staff for underperforming. Lesson learned, no matter how laid back of a boss you are to your employees, they have to respect you and their work).

Scrubby Scrubby Scrub Scrub

2) Washing and prepping vegetables. You can't imagine how much potential "food" gets dumped because customers expect the highest and freshest quality plants on their plate. Ash and I have been toying around with a few possible recipes for some stews which we may donate once or twice a week to soup kitchens, the animal shelter, and/or any other organizations that can benefit from perfectly edible, yet offensive looking vegetables.

Ash the Cabbage Picker

3) De-veining (*cough* de-shitting) shrimp. It was a mess. When is feces not a mess?
4) Massaging and rubbing giant breasts...of chicken.
5) Chopping and plating vegetables. This was the hairiest of all hairies. The way the workers arrange the vegetables, they look like little sculptures on display. When we first tried, Ash and I were infinitely slower, while the plates looked infinitely uglier. With some more practice, we started getting quicker and our plating, if I may say so myself, looked only a bit unattractive.

Not as Easy as it Looks

God, Look at My Hair. It has Since Been Repaired

This is a very condensed list of what goes on in the back. I never realized just how much work goes into making those little nine (9) inch plates of vegetables look so magical. There is no wizard in the back waving his wand around, just a bunch of very hard working guys who made time melt away with their humor and happy-go-lucky attitude. The crew, for the lack of a better description, really does work like a well-oiled machine. Hi fives go out to Sabino, Ricardo, and Oscar and an "Adios" to Worker X.

Check back soon for an update on the divorce of Ash and I in the drama filled sequel to Training Day.

Smoochies,
Len

Friday, January 2, 2009

BOBA - Blog On Blog Action

Let's start this off with a big HAPPY NEW YEAR! My new year's resolution is to put in an honest effort to try and update this sucker more often (fingers crossed). Things have been absolutely whirl-wind crazy lately, though, so please accept my sincerest *cough cough* apologies if you feel neglected. I still love you...yes i do, YES I DO...ISHUBUBU there there.

Some...scratch that, most of you have probably picked up a copy of the OC Weekly some time or another to check out new restaurants, upcoming shows, yadda yadda yadda. Some of you might have even hopped on to their site and poked around a bit. My old friend and fellow blogger, Ed Wu, happened to be bouncing around on the OC Weekly food blog and...wait for it...wait for it...came across an entry about us! If you're interested *shaking fist at face* take the leap on over and check it out here:

http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforkinit/things-to-look-forward-to/california-shabu-shabu-to-open/

The blog is pecked out on keyboards practically daily by Edwin and Gustavo. For all of you closeted and outed foodies out there, do yourself a favor and drop on by their blog. There's an ease to their writing, almost as if they were friends telling you about the restaurant they tried last week or ranting about how terrible service was during a night out. Guys, if you're out there and are reading this, slap me at leonard@californiashabushabu.com, we'd love to extend an invitation for you guys to come out for our grand opening which should be coming up in (oh please oh please) about 3-4 weeks.

A few of you guys know that Ash and I have been putting in some ridiculous hours lately training at Wayne's shop in Fountain Valley. Some of you have swung by to partake on a tasty meal and throw a few back with us while we're out on the floor. One of you even came just to see me hustle and to point and giggle at me (YES YOU, LINDA). We've had a few photos of us snapped while we have been schooled by headmaster Wayne and will post them up for you guys soon!

It's been a rough few weeks, Ash and I are heading out to Mesa tonight for a few drinks. Anyone want to buy me a Kettle Tonic and tell me everything's gonna be all right?

Smoochies,
Len