Sweets are elevated to an art form at That Takes the Cake Sugar Art Show & Cake Competition. Bringing together expert bakers and sugar artists from across the country, the two-day event lets visitors stalk through an armada of colorful pastry masterpieces shaped like dragons, cheetahs, or cartoon characters. The competition breaks down its entrants into dozens of divisions and styles, all of which are judged according to creativity, theme, and artistry. A separate tasting competition includes entrants in the categories of time twisted cakes, pastries, canned fruits, cookies, and candies..
Admirers of the sucrose arts can also learn at the feet of celebrity bakers by purchasing one of several group lessons in subjects such as fondant inlay, figure modeling, and how best to conceal a hacksaw inside a bundt cake.
It's not uncommon to see diners lingering at The Dojo’s simple wooden tables after they're finished eating. In fact, the staff encourages them to take their time while enjoying their food and company. This casual, low-key ambiance, along with the communal bench-style seating and hanging paper lanterns, draws inspiration from the izakayas—pub-like eateries and sake bars—that line the streets of Japan. Remaining open late into the evening six nights a week, The Dojo keeps spirits high with drinks and a menu of classic Japanese comfort foods. Just shortly after opening, Eater Austin already honored the fledgling eatery by placing it on the September 2013 Heat Map of the city’s most buzz-worthy restaurants.
Executive Chef Moto Seto oversees the majority of the menu, staying true to the izakaya cuisine he remembered from growing up in Nagoya, Japan and working in Oaska eateries. Although Chef Moto eventually immigrated to the United States, he continued to cook in Japanese restaurants. He grew tired of the surplus of sushi and Japanese steak-house fare, however, and began longing for the authentic street foods of his home. At The Dojo, he recreates this classic comfort cuisine, filling the menu with dishes such as tempura-fried shrimp, grilled pork cheeks, and spicy edamame. The Dojo also remains true to its izakaya roots by featuring a broad selection of Japanese beers, sakes, shochus, and even Yamazaki Japanese whiskey.