Sunday, January 6, 2008

Swishing Around

I realized last Thursday that this past weekend was my last here in LA before I took off for Shanghai, China next Saturday night. It's a work trip, which means a business class flight with almost 180-degree reclining seats, offers of champagne before takeoff, great hotel, and generous meal allowance. It also means hard work and long hours, so I guess it all balances out.

Rene and I spent Saturday afternoon visiting the Tadashi Murakami exhibit at the MOCA David Geffen Contemporary our friends Erin and Jeff. I've been wanting to check out this exhibit since last year, when it was mentioned in an issue of Dwell magazine. Murakami popped into my radar a few years ago when he collaborated with Louis Vuitton for a series of limited edition handbags, which are probably worth more now than when they were first sold. For you designer bag fiends out there, these LV bags are featured in the exhibit and you will have a chance to purchase a limited edition Murakami bag for the low, bargain-basement price of $875.

I liked the exhibit - to me, it was like seeing Hello Kitty characters on crack. The little creatures portrayed in his art were sinister versions of Hello Kitty, My Melody, and that penguin character (can't remember his name). I liked the composition of the work and the colors Murakami used throughout, so I'd highly recommend a visit if you are interested in contemporary art infused with Japanese Anime.

After the exhibit we visited a shabu shabu restaurant in Little Tokyo. Shabu shaub (which means "swish-swish" in Japanese) is a dish prepared by submerging a piece of thin meat into a boiling pot of water infused with sea kelp and other vegetables. The meat cooks very quickly and is dipped in sauce before eating. We had a blast:

Four orders of all-you-can-eat beef shabu shabu please

Ingredients for shabu shabu: thinly sliced meat (check), hot pot (check), four orders of Japanese beer (check) (just kidding). Off to the other side are the vegetables and the sauces.

Erin swishing a piece of meat in the hot pot. It cooks amazingly fast!

Rene and Erin

The restaurant gave free champagne to people who were celebrating their birthday (within 10 days of birthday with photo ID). Since Rene's birthday was on January 1, we got a free bottle of Andre champagne.

A picture of my plate after we quit eating so much meat! We averaged about two plates per person, but I think Jeff and I ate the most. I hung in there until the bitter end.

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