Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lucky Rice Night Market

Thanks Taiwan Toursism for being so gracious with the sign and writing baohaus off to the side in 8 point font LOL. What kind of Taiwanese manners are these? Its all good, tourism council was really nice. Next time, they should just show a brother some love for bringing free food, staff, and cooking everything. I mean, shit, I lost 5 lbs for this event, I went down to a b-cup, that's not what's poppin.

Please, please, no photos, I just bagged up a bird and I got powder on my shiiieeetttt.

Real nice venue under the archway, great weather, really one of the most fun food events I've ever been too. Danielle, Cindy, Barbara, and all the lucky rice people were organized, and we got everything we needed. If you are a restaurant, def work with them if you get a chance!

Uncle Jesse cookin' up a storm!

This was my favorite dish we did. I woke up early, chopped up the top layer of pork belly and then ground the bottom half. The top half of pork belly is AWESOME, great texture, snappy, and when braised, so soft. Then, the meatier part is good for sausage ground. This was for our Lu Roh Fan i.e. Taiwanese Pork Belly Gravy on Rice.

photo from metromix

Oh yea... taiwanese fried chicken

Oh whats good girl, can you get away? BRRRRR (bird call)

Cat gettin her shine on.

The fam was in attendance holdin' down BK. My bad I forgot to take photos of stinky tofu, if you got some put em up! My favorite part was definitely puttin out stinky tofu open air under the bridge. WHAT IT DO?

Lucky Rice Cocktail Party

This event was crunk. As crunk as crunk could be with the ill after-work-blazer-wearing crowd. They dropped "Paid in Full" and some other decent tracks so that was good and surprising. Unfortunately, they forgot to play a few appropriate joints like "My Drank and My Two-Step" and "The Humpty Dance" for the old heads. LOL. They love the humpty dance.

It was no Just Blaze @ Santos set, but come on, for a food fest, you aint gonna hear complaints from me! Plus, they had free bonchon! Bad news, mo fuckers were pushing old dudes and kicking geishas for a chicken wing cause approximately 30 wings came out every hour. But you know I threw them bows and got to the front so I could get busy! UGGGhhhhhhhhh

Our homies from WD-50 were there and had one of the best drinks of the night. As you will see though, I'm a sucker for coconut. I love coconut water and if I could trade my poland spring jugs for jugs of vitacoco I would. These guys had the Oishinho - sake, cachaca & coconut water. One of the more straight forward, simple, clean drinks of the night and I really liked that.

Evan got real excited finding the Daniel bar that had frozen 8-balls in martini glasses, but he wasn't sure if he needed to drink it in the bathroom or not. Ning loved this drink too.

This was B Flat - Kissui Vodka, sake, Plum Wine & Peach liqueur garnished with Yamamomo. This one was good even though the plum wine was a little sweet, again, more minimalist compared to the other drinks that tasted like herbal experiments. I'm not going to list any bad ones cause I'm sick of getting blog posts re-posted with headlines like "Baohaus Hates World Peace and Vitamins!" (cause honestly, i'm toe-up most of the time i write these things and its all a joke) But as a commentary on trends, I'm not into drinks that feel like you are tasting a confused spice racked with a liquor back. I know food nerds get orgasms reading descriptions of drinks with shit like cardamom, rhubarb, or chinese 5-spice, but its no fun when your drink resembles a recipe for chicken brine.

But back to your regularly scheduled programming.... By this time, we were double-fisting and 6 deep about 20 minutes into the event. Uncle Jesse looked a lil' hurt. As you can see, yours truly didn't get the memo and showed up in an oscar the grouch t-shirt. Ma bad yall!

Ning got twisted too and started making love to the En Japanese Brasserie - Warm Sake Strawberry Whipped Cream Dassai 50 w/ Strawberry Whipped Cream.

At this point, Uncle Jesse wandered off.... Do yo thang homie but I think shawty is taller than you LOL

I found mo dranks.

Cindy found us!

Spot Dessert Bar: Corn Cream (or, if you read the chingrish on the pamphlet "Corn Crema") with Tropical Fruit Salad & Condensed Milk Toast. This was AWESOME. I tried to go to Spot 3 weeks ago, but as I rolled up, the cops rolled on a guy and his girlfriend, pulled a 9 on the dude and shut down the block. Thanks guys....

I leave you with this, Happy Birthday Sparkz. It was my boy's birthday this week and an Elvis Short Person came through to the party. Best drink of the night at Lucky Rice Cocktail Party: Macao Trading Drunken Dragon's Milk: Green Tea Vodka, Coconut Puree, Thai Basil & Bitters. Was like a coconut milk tea with basil and drank.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Great Court Case

This is the case, below is the best quote in legal history

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, Cross-Appellant, v. DARRON J. MURPHY, SR., Defendant-Appellant, Cross-Appellee, and JENNIFER BAKER, Defendant, Cross-Appellee. 
Nos. 04-2032, 04-2293 & 04-2309  
406 F.3d 857; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 7695 

1   The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch bitch "hoe." A "hoe," of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden's response. We have taken the liberty of changing "hoe" to "ho," a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps "You doin' ho activities with ho tendencies."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stanky Tofu

Ooooohhhh baby i like it staaaannnkkkkk, oooohhhh baby i like it staaaannnnkkkkk!!!!!

Brooklyn, we here and we brought stinky tofu. Heads aint ready......

Xiao Ye Posters

A lot of people have asked what we're doing with the interior of Xiao Ye. I don't know how to explain what we're going to do but its going to feel like someone's funky outdoor patio in Taiwan where they have dinner parties. You have personal effects on the walls, funny signage, interesting things on tables, etc. We're going to have family items as usual, but I really like night market art and signs. So, I'm posting here some of the art/signage I liked that we are using as inspiration for the stuff we're creating for the restaurant. I didn't buy any signs because Ning is going to re-create/re-mix what I took photos of. The above sign says "Jioh" or alcohol. Its a sign for an old school watering hole.

If anyone knows what the current manifestation of this is, I will guarantee you a spot to soft opening.... I'll give you a hint, "He Sung Pai was a popular drink and it still is, I get more props and stunts than bruce willis."

Whuts really good ma?

I'ma andy warhol this jump-off and put it on the wall. all we do is win championships

A lot of the ads have a Japanese flavor due to the occupation back in the day. Even now, people in Taiwan love Japanese stuff and there's a lot of Japanese influence.

Simultaneously the most offensive and popular toothpaste in the motherland........ we probably won't be posting this at the spot, but its history that we should remember nonetheless. no mo ignance!!!

This is a famous Goose Meat vendor in Taipei. My mom's been going here since she was a kid and lived around the corner. I love the sign!

Pullman Bread Sandwich @ I-Mei

I love pullman bread sandwiches. In Taiwan, they take the outside crust off and serve it with all sorts of fillings. I hate mayo so I have to ask for it without mayo, but the one at I-Mei in Taichung was the best I ever had. A lot of places put big pieces of ham and I don't like it because the point of the sandwich is to taste the soft moist bread. I-Mei does a really delicate paper thin piece of ham, a paper thin piece of egg, and a third layer of ham, all separated by a piece of pullman bread. SICK!

Vivienne likes it too haha

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lucky Rice Night Market this Friday!

This is what we're bringing to Lucky Rice Night Market this week! Lu Roh Fan (minced pork on rice), Stinky Tofu, and Taiwan Fried Chicken, all of which will be at XY. In addition, we'll have the chairman bao and bao fries. Plus... for the OG blog readers, I'll bring a few cheetoh fried chicken patties since every one has asked about those. Cheetoh fried chicken is going public Shhhhhhhh! I'm only gonna bring 10 to 20 portions so HOLLA. There will not be a sign out for it. 

The chicken is going to be served sans-fried rice, but that's a photo of it from CNY.

This is what the stinky tofu will be like but we're gonna do radish/carrot pao tsai instead of cabbage.

And there you have it, cheetoh fried chicken MmmMMMmmmm


So these are the dumplings we'll have at the restaurant. Pork and Nappa Cabbage. In TW, people make them mostly with Gao Li Tsai, a thicker, snappier cabbage that gives more bite. I don't like the crunchiness it brings so I use Nappa. I picked it up from my mom who's family is from Shandong (Northern China) and they use Napa. Korea is close to Shandong and they use Nappa for mandoo a lot too. Funny note, Korean historians have tried to claim Shandong as a part of Korea so that's interesting haha.

I fold my dumplings by pressing with my thumbs. It gives you a nice thick outer rim, you get a chew that's reminiscent of thicker northern dumplings, but its still a think skin I use so you taste the meat. Best of both worlds. There's always a discussion/debate at the crib about whether thin or thick skin dumplings are better. I think pressing in this manner solves the problem. You also get a thick line through the middle of the dumpling (like in top photo) that is cool.

Here, you can see the outer rim of the dumpling. It has body, it stands up, there's a good chew.

But! It's still a thin skin where you'll taste the filling inside.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

General Tso's WHAAT?

There was a really good comment on the Village Voice blog Fork in the Road.

Seth Gordon says:
It's an admirable menu, and it seems like he's on to something as far as the price for the neighborhood... but when you look at some of the prices in a larger context (i.e. extending the radius a few blocks) they're not terribly good. The prices may be 30% lower than you'll pay for entrees at white-people owned establishments on the LES but they're 200% higher than you'll find for similar fare in Chinatown.
I don't know what will make his $18 Hainan half-chicken better than, say, Sanur's, which is $6.75, or any of the other Malaysian eateries a little further South. And a "dumpling" - singular - for $6 also seems a bit out of whack when they're four or five for a dollar elsewhere, but I'm going to guess maybe that should have been plural. Or it's a really big frickin' dumpling.
Also, it's a bit odd for someone who's gone on about "authentic" cuisine in the past putting "General Tso's" anything on the menu, which is only authentic to North America as far as anyone can tell. But hey, I don't give a crap where the hell something was concocted or how "authentic" (as if that even means anything) it is if it tastes good.
But mostly, it's cool to see someone making stinky tofu in the neighborhood - assuming that it's legit and not the jarred sufu (a/k/a "fermented bean curd") one can already find in every Chinese market.

So I responded:

general tso's was invented in taiwan. read Jennifer 8. Lee's Fortune Cookie Chronicles. Additionally, Taiwan's Tourism Board even put the recipe in one of its magazines. You're comparing apples and oranges when you compare this restaurant with the rent I'm paying to Chinatown. #1, does Sanur's use a free-range chicken? #2 can you get drinks and sit with friends there? #3 are they employing sweat labor? Have you been downstairs at Grand Sichuan on Canal? The waiters are sleeping on cots downstairs so you can eat cheap. I do appreciate the feedback. I think that the public just needs to be more informed about chinatown and why things are exorbitantly cheap. Look at the meat you buy there next time, its color treated red. We are going to be 30% less than comparable Asian establishments you can go have a drink at on a Friday/Saturday and don't employ sweat labor or color treat meats. I fully admit, I will never be able to compete with those prices because I am trying to deliver good Taiwanese/Chinese food while not employing Machavellian ideologies where ends justify means. FYI, dumpling is definitely plural haha. Its more than say Vanessa's (which I love!) or prosperity (which i don't), but again, I'm going to deliver a quality blend without being at minetta tavern prices. I hope this makes sense. It is valid for you to point out that my claim of 30% less does not apply to chinatown, but I don't recognize their prices because its not a sustainable business model if you value human rights. That said, I do respect the Chinatown system because its the only way a lot of us get over here. We have to eat shit to come up. I just don't want to perpetuate it. Its difficult to give a straight answer on Chinatown because there is so much good and bad. "There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so." - Big Bill haha

I like it a lot when readers respond. I will defend/challenge, but it makes you better when people give you feedback. They just need to be informed, but this guy Seth def knows his shit. I'm just a nerd about Asian food. I hope people can see that there is A LOT of value at Xiao Ye for the quality of food we're offering, the ability to bring friends, go on a date, and not feel like you just funded terrorism or sweat labor LOL. Lastly, restaurants may list the same thing on a menu, but as you know, its one thing to write it on the menu, its another to deliver. That said, I can't wait for June to put this out for you guys!

Xiao Ye Menu

As announced earlier on Fork in the Road

Here is the menu! We're going to do soft opening with a limited menu, but after a couple weeks, we'll be up and running with this whole menu. The only few items that are difficult to stock consistently are the baby bamboo and river eels. Whole fish will rotate. I'll be in there every morning making the master stocks because a lot of dishes spin off those stocks we make. For instance, we'll have homemade chili sauce that includes chicken stock, the dumplings get infused, I mean, think of any recipe you have that calls for water. Well, at XY, we're gonna hit it with a stock so there's more depth of flavor.

One of the things I like is that there are lots of vegetables. If I came with a party of four, I'd go for a big meat plate, several small veggie plates, a fried chicken, and dumplings. Then, the next time I came back, I'd get a different meat plate, different veggies, try some noodles/rices, etc. I think its a menu that you can keep coming back to as opposed to a restaurant you visit once or twice a year. Hope you guys like.

Xiao (Small)

Dumpling - $6 - boiled

Pot Sticker - $8 - long/street style/pork or beef

Stinky Tofu - $5

Fried/Grilled/or Brushed Rice Balls - $6

Lu Platter - pick 2 items - $8 - beef shank/tofu/duck wing/egg/tripe/bamboo/chicken feet/taro

Eel w/ Chives - $8 - eel/chives/beansprouts/sautee

Sweet Potato Leaves - $5 - sweet potato leaves/garlic

Taiwan Cabbage - $6 - steamed/pork fat/green onion

Fried Sweet Potato - $6 - sweet potato strips/fried/sesame

Bamboo - $6 - bamboo/chili/garlic/sauteed

Baby Bamboo - $6 - raw/mayo or chili soy dipping sauce

Pao Tsai - $5 - cabbage/carrots/pickled in house

Cucumber - $5 - cucumber/small chili/garlic/pickled in house

Bean Sprouts - $5 - bean sprouts/sweet vinegar/sesame seeds

Broccoli - $5 - broccoli/pureed garlic/sliced fresh chili

Tomato and Eggs - $5 - tomato/eggs/scallions

Bang Bang Chicken Salad - $8 - pulled chicken/spicy dressing/shredded cucumbers

Cold Chicken Noodle Salad - $8 - pulled chicken/sesame sauce/noodles/cucumbers

Zha Jiang Mien - $8 - minced pork/bean paste/cucumbers/beijing style

Dummy Noodles - $5 - noodles/seasoned oil/scallions/fish ball

Tofu Bricks - $8 - fresh tofu/sweet chili/peanut candy

Chicken Soup - $5 - chicken soup/shredded chicken/rice

Fish Ball Soup - $5 - half chicken stock/half water/fish ball/green onion/celery/cilantro/mung bean noodle/white pepper/salt

Zhong (Medium)

Salt Pork Belly - $12 - pork belly/salt crust

Red Sausage Rice - $13/16 - glutinous rice/marinated/steamed with smoked meat

WMDs - $13/16 - cold noodles/vinegar/peppers/cucumbers/shredded chicken

Taiwan Fried Chicken - $12 - marinated 24 hours/Taiwan batter/fried/peanut/chili powder

Taiwan Pork Chop - $12 - marinated 24 hours/Taiwan batter/fried/seasoned salt

Taiwan Fried Fish - $13 - cod/Taiwan batter/fried basil

Yu To Yo Fan - $13/16 - fried taro/scallions/dried shrimp/Chinese sausage/sunny side up egg

Chicken Rice - $13/16 - shredded chicken/chicken rice/sunny side up egg

Minced Pork on Rice - $13/16 - classic/Taiwan minced pork/rice/cilantro

Taiwan Mei Fun - $13/16 - mei fun/shredded pork/carrots/mushrooms/dried shrimp/onion

Da (Big)

Taiwanese Country Fried Steak - 2 cube steaks - $16

General Tso's Head on Prawns - $16

Hainan Chicken - $18 - half chicken/chicken rice/puree garlic/hot sauce/puree ginger

Hong Sau - $25 - pork belly/ox tail/beef rib/pork rib

Steamed Whole Fish - seasonal fish - $25

Seasonal Pancake - $12

Seasonal Waffle - $12

Drunk Fruit Platter - 8 oz assorted drunk fruit and 4 shots - $24

Xiao Ye is for the Children

The kid is back! While I was gone, the state turned down our LLC for Crackhaus, which is whatever. I thought the name was funny, but long term its probably not a good look to turn your work into a joke all the time haha. The spirit of the restaurant is the same, but during my trip, I focused it.

Our previous menu for Crackhaus was a more modern take on TW (T-dub = taiwan) Classics that I'd eaten growing up. Things like Cracksauce and Tarofongo (which will still be on menu), but other things like Tang Chu Grouper Cheeks (that fried fish with red sauce and pine nuts) that got axed. I would still love to do that restaurant one day, but traveling I saw a lot of young people taking a crack at the classics in their own way. Like how young cats down South used to always jump on that "Bout it Bout it" (LOL) beat when they came up or how people used to jump on "The Symphony" or how Pun and Fat Joe did "Deep Cover". No one had the same beef noodle soup or minced pork on rice. Every one had their own take, their own "secret", a story to tell... So that's what Xiao Ye is. Its my take on the classics. 88 BARS (88 is lucky lol.. remember "If you can't save money you useless, and all you gonna have is excuses!").

YOU KNOW IM IN THE HOOD LIKE CHINESE WINGS!!! But for real, what I like about TW, is that people were all trying to be original. People weren't peepin' each other's dishes and trying to shark bite, they all brought their own style. I feel in NY, with all these banh mi, ramen, and pork bun copycats, people aren't really trying to come provocative. I remember way back in the late-90s when my boy met ghostface, he told him, "Just come provocative black... come provocative." And I always remembered that shit. Don't shark bite.

The other thing that really stuck out to me about night markets was that its for the kids! Night markets are almost always next to colleges and youth culture hangouts. You see graf, you see mad people on scooters w/ sars masks, and every one is just out late tryin to get it in. I really felt that aspect. Its a little like St. Marks if I had to compare it to somewhere NY, but its less tourists and more local.

With Xiao Ye, we're gonna create a place that's youth cultural. I'll be blogging all the art/photos we create for the restaurant, the menu items as I write the recipe book, and we'll have a late night menu with drink specials. Most importantly, its going to be priced conveniently. It sucks that by the time you can afford the dope shit in life, you're old, ugly, and probably have diabetes. So, I don't want to perpetuate that. Jenny Miller has the menu and prices so she'll put it out later today. Below are some of the things that will be at the spot. I cook at the crib, not at the restaurant and I don't think about "plating" shit cause I'm about to eat it in 20 seconds so, peep it for what it is. I described crackhaus as abrasive before cause that's how I see youth culture, hip hop, etc. Its got angst and a story to tell, but people got wet between the legs so I'll call it "youth cultural". No more tears.

This is the oxtail based crack sauce. Emery and I were reading about the umami marketing hoax and did some research. Basically, umami is MSG. So then we started researching about what items create natural MSG. For instance, soy sauce has it naturally. We thought about the most addicting foods: spaghetti, hong sau, stews, etc. Tomatoes and meat when stewed for long periods release glutemates and basically create natural MSG. So, I took a classic hong sau and infused it with heirloom tomatoes. I probably won't use heirloom at the restaurant cause then I gotta tax people, but it tasted the same with commodity tomatoes.

This is my master stock of lu wei. In Taiwan, this is the champ, the taste of Taiwan. Everywhere you go, stinky tofu and lu wei. Its a soy based stock that everyone freaks out with their own blend of spices and random ingredients. I put beef shank, duck wings, and taro in this yesterday for lunch.

These are duck wings. Really dope with beer when watching the Durantula wreck shop on Kobe.

This is cold sliced beef shank that was in the pot

Lu Roh Fan in a big bowl for dinner on my beer pong table. Lol, day before I left, sparkz and baer came over to eat.

Lastly, just wanted to let everyone know the team. Like with Baohaus, its all family. Emery moved up here two months ago and manages all operations, Evan's been here since day one and does purchasing/training/manuals, and Ning is full time now as the Brand Manager. No outside press, no marketing/ad agency fools, plus, Matt Baer! My Jewish-Irish Catholic-Brother-from-another-mother. We've been friends for a while and he has been over for every Chinese New Year dinner, chinese christmas, etc. so he knows the deal. We really started eating together in Beijing a few years ago and its been a lot of fun. Xiao Ye has actually been in the works as an idea for years and after Baohaus took off, we felt it was time to do it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Taiwan Sour Sop

This was the hands down best fruit I've ever had in my life. Pineapple-sour sop fruit hybrid this guy was selling down the street. Sweeter than pineapple, texture like a coconut banana flesh, for real, i had my o-face on.

Mitsuri in Taiwan

Mitsuri is probably the nicest Japanese joint in Taipei. My parents love it and the quality of food is unparalleled, but its still not my type of place. I don't know why but I don't like super-restaurants. Either way, the live king crab was the shit.

I ate all the brains.

Everything was really fresh and good at Mitsuri, I just can't get used to Taiwanese style sashimi. The pieces of fish have a lot more chew, you battle ligaments, they cut them in bricks. They also hold the fish at a much lower temp than here in the states and it borders on icy.