Friday, April 2, 2010

Make Crack Like This

Thank you Dope Fiends for your support the last 3 months. Mad white people with money have taken notice that Baohaus gets paper and now I have bread for Crackhaus. LOL. You know my cheap yellow ass wasn't going to spend money so I had to wait for Mr. Moneybags to come through and pay the key money.

But not to worry. The investors just pay bills. The food, the vibe, the people will be the same goons that have been at Baohaus since day 1. The Voice had a funny post about it today after Feast broke the news. They had a line about the LES being a neighborhood "on the rocks" as a post-ironic post-collegiate amusement park. I couldn't have said it better.

I do hate the LES above Delancey and west of Norfolk. Ever since Libation and Spitzer's came it sucked. I mean, it started sucking a little before that, but spitzer's was extra sucky. Its a good bar and I go there when no one else is there, it just attracts really shitty people after 5pm. Clinton is still cool and I like the Baohaus block, but when we were looking for locations we wanted something below Delancey.

Then we thought, why not do a place above Delancey that we would want to hang out at? That's what all my homies have been begging for the last few years. I remember when BOB was dope (its still cool, just too packed) and there were random no name places like the bar on orchard with a fish tank full of dead fish in the front that played 80s mashups (around 2003, gone now...). I was never sober enough to remember the name, I just always ended up there. You could roll around and run into cool stuff and there weren't a bunch of idiots in lacoste shirts all over. Now, its a stampede friday, saturday, and sunday morning. I don't even work at Baohaus those days cause the people that come suck. Its not the neighborhood peeps. We honestly don't have anywhere to go to hang out.

Crackhaus, Im sure is going to attract a lot of people outside the neighborhood, but I'm trying to establish an abrasive enough vibe so that they come once, try the food, and feel uncomfortable enough not to come back. Like all those yelpers that complain about our music and service at Baohaus, they don't come back and its awesome! This is the goal! Could we be the Taiwanese Rao's (where regulars own seats) down the line? I hope so. If you like golden era hip hop, ABT (american born taiwanese) food, and over the top ridiculousness, you'll like Crackhaus. The restaurant, the neighborhood, we all on the rocks....

Lastly, if you're on the FOB (mailing list) or you're a regular, just let Ning, Evan, Emery or me know you wanna come to soft opening and we'll get you in. We love our regulars, we appreciate the support, and we'll always try to take care of yall. For the record, the name "crack" isn't about dope, its about the food. We're doing a stew that I make at home and people always said it was crack. SO that's what its about. Obviously i like puns, but its about food. We'll probably donate to "just say no to drugs" so old people don't shit a brick but any donation is 100% disgenuine (is this a word? the spell check says no, but i disagree) and purely for marketing purposes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Drunk Birds left the Car runnin'

The Villagers Strike Back

So, I was talking to Emery (my brother) about the difference between shitty asian fusion and the new modern Asian places we like. Its been going on for a while, but for the first time, I'm seeing good ones. For every shitty place doing tempura super orgasm volcano dragon eel surprise hand rolls, there's a Kyo-ya, Basta Pasta, or Bonchon. But, I don't see this as fusion and that's what people need to understand. Food is cultural and just like any movement, things have to evolve. Some evolve out of struggle and some are just random unexpected mutations.

If I have to break it down in simple lowest common denominator terms: 80s - consumerism, 90s - grunge/hip hop backlash-struggle stories, late 90s - puffy suits/boy bands/.com boom/more consumerism.. Early 2000s you see the hipster - someone who consumes identity and culture (its been done before, but now in a more literal ironic bullshit way). Everyone hates the hipsters and hipsters don't even know they're hipsters, but one thing I do know is that the hipster is dead (Can you really argue? your culture is so formulaic that people have sold it as KESHA LOL. Its like when Asian fusion was so bad subway came with the teriyaki sub). I feel we're in the midst of a turn with the economic crash. This period to me is about "The Villagers Strike Back". Very Edward Said-like... I know.

The 10s will be about second-generation immigrants or the gentrified turning the tables outside the ivory tower. Just look at the things that made waves the last few years: MIA, Obama, Asian Street Food (ramen, banh mi, pork buns), Slumdog Millionaire. For once, instead of being victims of appropriation, we will become the appropriators. The villagers strike back. We have now either grown up in America or consumed "Americana" as 3rd party viewers who are not totally accepted, not totally alienated. We weren't full participants and as spectators we have a different view.

Minority artists are now showing people how America looks to us. If one song sums it up, its Nas and Lauren Hill - If I ruled the world. We're finally getting to paint that picture and I feel its because of the recession. People are seeing the failures of corporate America, the false dreams that B-School, Law School, or any school for that matter sells us. Its all a ruse. Our parents worked their asses off to help us pay for colleges/grad schools that led us astray. They want us to think the Ivory tower is the only way. You have to go to college, then it became you have to go to grad school, you know what, I wish I just read more books in HS and saved my money as a bus boy instead of chasing Jordans that my mom wouldn't get me as a kid. Small business is what can turn the culture of this country around.

A lot of us have been doing this for a minute subconsciously and just out of necessity. A lot of the things I cook came out of an organic American experience. Cheeto fried chicken happened because I didn't have sweet potato starch and wanted to make Taiwanese fried chicken, so I used cheeto crumbs. Its authentic localized/modern Taiwanese food. My dad started making ketchup fried rice. Then I saw Korean people were doing it too. Its not some wack fusion attempt that some gwai lo who went back packing in Asia cooked up. The food comes out of a REAL experience. I'm sure in 3 years, it will be played out but I will never be bored of it because its my story. Others will probably see and consume it as a fad or write it off as just the new trendy thing, but take a look and let it sink in. There's something real going on right now.

We're as post-modern as the hipster, but without the self-referential bullshit and pessimism about where our culture is going. Hipsters make fun of the way their culture works, yet secretly continue to engage in it. Whereas, us second-generation immigrants take pride in our shit. Yes, Chinese culture has its flaws (AKA the belief you're dog shit if you're not a doctor/lawyer/stock trader) yet we want to evolve the culture rather than make fun of it and pretend it's not where we came from. We don't deny our roots, we use them to grow. We poke fun at FOBs, but those FOBs are our parents. They are a part of us. There's a reason being called a twinkie or an oreo is an insult. Post-modernism was supposed to bring an objective point of view so people could see the flaws and make improvements, not become a tactic for people to deny responsibility and try to look edgy/hip by being above all of it. Hipsters are cutting their own legs off and trying to replace them with peglegs from other cultures. That's where this need for cultural voyeurism comes from. They're trying to deforest our culture to build legs for themselves, and it's not gonna work. Now we're the ones building it on our own roots.

(This was my first post I wrote in collab with Emery!)