Friday, July 2, 2010

Baohaus x Nike @ 255

Saturday July 3 @ 255 we'll be serving Baos and Kim Jong's Ill Noodles from 2 to 3pm but def come out and watch the early games too! Argentina v. Germany at 10am and Paraguay v. Spain @ 2:30pm

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Day for da Books

Damn... I haven't had a day like this in a minute! I been stayin at Steve's lately lol. Long story. But, I got a early buzz on the crackberry. We finally cut a deal for a production thing we'd been working on for a minute so that was already a good day.

I roll over to Hyun's to make a new playlist and Taiwan Beer's CEO hit us up to inform that Xiao Ye will break Taiwan Beer in the Northeast! AND that our homies @ Palee Wong will be the exclusive distributor of Taiwan Beer in the area. A palette of Taiwan beer is on its way to NY so stay tuned.

An hour later, Hyun gets hit up from his homegirl at Nike about a Nike x Baohaus x World Cup event on Elizabeth this saturday. So boom, details later, but we be dat.

And then 10 minutes ago, Emery informed us all that the Xiao Ye is in the process of being licensed. The app is past the examiner phase and license is on its way!

Thrillist will be in for photos Friday and they'll have all the opening news for you guys soon! If u see me in the streets tonight, the kid will be obliterated. Defcon 5 steez.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NBA Free Agency 2010

I haven't blogged as much about sports on this blog, but i'm back. I used to cover the NBA Draft for and it was the shit! Fantasy Sports anyone? I was a beat writer covering NBA/NFL/MLB too but I just got too busy and only watch NBA/NFL now. There has been a lot of speculation about where all the free agents are going so I'm breakin' down here where I think they SHOULD go and also where I think they WILL go.

'Bron 'Bron
SHOULD GO: New Jersey/BK Nets. I think the biggest flaw in the Nets' pitch is that Bron's gonna have to play in Jersey for the next 2 years. But, looking at the roster, this is a great fit for Lebron. Of all the teams with cap space available, Brook Lopez is the best big man that Bron can play with. A lot of people are assuming Bosh is going to go wherever James goes and that he's the best big for Lebron, but I disagree. Lopez is a defensive force who can play any top center straight up. Bosh is a weak on-ball defender and doesn't rebound like Lopez. The Nets also have a 2nd tier point guard in Devin Harris who could make the all-star team any given year. The problem with the Nets is that they don't have a knock-down shooter who can space the floor. Unless they can add that piece, they'd have some issues. As a stealth option, the Rockets just re-upped Yao Ming and they wouldn't be a bad fit either. Of course, with Yao, health is always a concern and Scola is a restricted free agent, but if healthy, Yao is the most offensively dominant center in the NBA, he knocks down his free throws, and does a good job on the glass. Houston also has a ton of knock down shooters in Kevin Martin, Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier, and a great perimeter defender in Ariza. They would have to do a sign and trade so you probably lose a few of those pieces, but there are plenty of shooters. But, it seems Cleveland is taking a stance that they won't do a sign and trade.... could be a smoke screen though.

WILL GO: Knicks. I just have a gut feeling this is going to happen. Lebron loves NY. Yes, the Nets have Jay-Z, they will have BK, but 2 years in Jersey could ruin anyone's life. The problem with the Knicks is that they have no depth to surround Lebron with if they sign 2 max free agents. But, I disagree. Why sign 2 max guys? You don't need that with Lebron. Gallinari is the shooter you need. David Lee, re-sign the guy at about half the max, he cleans the glass, can pick/pop, and you get consistent effort every night. Marcin Gortat is being shopped by the Magic and he'd be a great fit with Lebron too. I think the press has it all wrong with trying to pair Lebron with another superstar like Bosh. If you're a GM, I think the best bet is to put Lebron with a PG who's a lights out shooter and doesn't need the ball, SG who is a strong perimeter defender/shooter, PF who can pick/pop/rebound, and a defensive minded center who doesn't shoot free throws like Dwight Howard. You don't need a do-it-all guy like Bosh alongside Lebron. I'd also like to see Lebron get some opportunities to work on his post-game, but with Bosh, they'd occupy similar space since Bosh also likes to face-up, play on the wing, etc. He's not a true low-post bang em up dude. Not having delonte west around to fuck his mom probably helps too.

SHOULD: Miami. The franchise is dedicated to him, they cleared space to sign 2 other max free agents and there's really no reason to leave. I'm sure chi-town is interesting cause its hometown but he's not a great fit with Derek Rose. I haven't given up on Michael Beasley either. Move him to the bench, let him be the 6th man and continue to develop on the defensive end. I'm not as quick as most observers to give up on players. Beasley is a tweener, but he'll find a role in the NBA if he gets his attitude right. The only issue with the Heat is that they need a point guard who doesn't need the ball. In this free agent class, I love Steve Blake for the Heat.

WILL GO: Miami.

SHOULD GO: Chicago. Hands down, this is the biggest no brainer to me. It doesn't matter what Lebron does. Bosh doesn't need to chase Lebron. Go play with Derek Rose alongside a guy like Noah who will do the dirty work and doesn't need the ball. Bosh/Rose pick and pop would be unstoppable and Bosh won't be asked to carry the load defensively. If they get Bosh, they need a shooter and I think Joe Johnson is a great fit here. If I were the Bulls, I wouldn't even go after Lebron. You don't win by assembling the most stars. You win by putting together pieces that fit.

WILL GO: If Lebron goes to New York, I think Bosh will follow. I don't think he'll regret it, but I don't think its the best fit for him. I think Bosh/Lebron/Gallinari puts you in the hunt, but good teams do it as a team. Will they have enough depth? Don't be surprised if Bosh goes to the Rockets either in a sign-trade. They have a lot of shooters who can spread the floor and a dominant center so he can play PF.

Joe Johnson
SHOULD GO: CHICAGO. As mentioned above, Joe Johnson can spread the floor and knock down shots. He's a legit #1 option on offense, but in the playoffs, when he has to matchup with other #1s for 7 games, he's not going to win his match-up every night and that's not what you want for max dollars. He is a better version of Rashard Lewis, but giving him max dollars is a mistake. He should come at a 20% discount. Johnson is a wing player and if he has a point like Rose who's responsible for penetrating/distributing and a big guy like Bosh getting buckets in the post, Johnson can do what he does best on the perimeter and base-line.

WILL GO: KNICKS. If the Knicks strikeout going for Lebron and Wade, they'll be the only ones that I think are desperate enough to throw max dollars at Johnson besides Atlanta. I have a feeling Joe's gonna go for the money. Lebron, Wade, Nowitzki, these guys need to worry about their legacy. There is no Joe Johnson legacy, just Joe Johnson money. The clippers got money, but why would you give Joe Johnson paper when Eric Gordon is basically the same player.

Amare Stoudemire
SHOULD GO: Rockets. They'll give him the money he wants. He'll fit in the offense, he won't be asked to stand around on the low-block and he'll be able to roam which plays to his strengths. The Rockets also have more pieces than New Jersey. Additionally, he can play off the ball on defense and get stats blocking from the weak-side. Miami is a player but I don't think he wants to play center.

WILL GO: I want to say Rockets, but I have a feeling he may fall into New Jersey if they don't get any of the above players. Again, Brook Lopez has his back there. Devin Harris is a nice sidekick and Amare will be the man there. Will they give him max dollars? I don't know. I think the Rockets are more likely to give him the cash because they have to convince him to do a sign-trade, but if its not the rockets, I say Nets.

Dirk Nowitzki
SHOULD GO: Miami. I don't think Dirk wants to go play with a bunch of young guys in Chicago. Not every one likes Noah and there's probably still some hesitation with how young Rose is. Wade is a proven vet who has a ring. Rose is the truth but I just think there's still a bridge he needs to cross as a star in the conference finals/finals/etc. Dirk and Wade would be a sick combo. Neither is a big ego guy. Dirk's a huge Hasselbeck fan so he likes layin out on the beach steez.

WILL GO: Tough call. Its hard to see Dirk leave Dallas, but if he's serious about winning a championship, why would he opt out? And if he is serious, its not going to happen in Dallas. But, I think Mark Cuban will chain himself to Dirk a la Jeff Van Gundy if he tries to bounce.

Paul Pierce
SHOULD GO: Rockets. This team would be perfect for Pierce. He loves to play inside-out, on the wing, and he wants to be the man. Yao doesn't mind deferring, nor does Aaron Brooks. Brooks is Rondo-Lite, Martin is a Ray Allen clone, Yao got the post on lock.

WILL GO: Chicago. He isn't going to cost a max contract. He would show those young kids how to win and they would be legit contenders, especially they could probably also get Bosh. It would be scary if Pierce goes to Chicago with Bosh. I like Pierce more than Johnson because he mother fuckin gets buckets! He aint a shook one like Johnson.

There are obviously other free agents but..... really, what's the use in predicting when it all revolves around these guys.

A yelp review I actually like.....

 Cecille C. from Yelp! thanks! reviews like this make it worth it:

This is a place I will try to avoid because eating while terribly missing beloved ones is not healthy for digestion.

Probably because of the neat warm family photos hung on the wall, and the bottles of Maotai on the table as decorations, I have already missed my home when sitting in this place waiting for my food. When the pork belly bao came, I thought it was a little fatty. But the first bite made me totally sentimental. I once thought this kind of flavor of the pork I could only find at my grandparents' place. When I was little and visited my grandparents on weekends, my grandpa would always cook dishes like this for me and he himself would always be chop-sticking too many pieces to my bowl. I couldn't imagine I'd reconnect to this kind of flavor again after so many years and 10 thousands miles away from home.

Even though the baos at this place are food from Taiwan and we never eat this combination of the wraps, pickled vege and peanut in north China, the flavors of the meat conquered me. Both the beef and pork are good. My friend liked the beef better but the pork is my favorite. I feel like with the help of a slow cooker and some condiments from Chinatown, the beef is not impossible to make at home, or at least you can buy the same from some places in Flushing. But the pork is not duplicable. The home-made flavor is just too penetrating.

This is a place you will get ripped off but can hardly complain. They are not expensive for nothing. One flavor is enough.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Frank Bruni on the Restaurant Scene

From Food and Wine

There was an article in Food and that interviewed Frank Bruni

"On changes in the restaurant scene since he stopped being a critic. (Or how Keith McNally is Hugh Jackman.)
So much of what is opening now reflects that moment one-and-a-half years ago when the economy was at an absolute nadir. Except for stealth, feel-good stories like Torrisi, it’s all big openings from well-known names. When you’re mounting a play, it’s hard to get investors if you don’t have a proven star. I think we’re seeing that now. If you can’t put on your marquee David Chang (or let’s say Nathan Lane) or Keith McNally (maybe Hugh Jackman), it lessens the chances that you can open for business.
It almost makes me wonder and worry that the NYC restaurant scene will become concentrated in just a few people. I worry about what happens to the George Mendeses of the world. He’s a talented chef with a great resume and no built-in audience. We need restaurants like his Aldea  now."

 I see what Bruni is saying and he's right. He also mentions Torrisi which I love. And, I hope they take this as a compliment cause it is. But there's no "secret" to what they do. Their food is just dope straight forward shit that someone put everything they have into. I've always said, if you are genuine and work hard, your food tastes good... when I opened Baohaus, I saw this article in Entrepreneur Magazine:

"Restaurateurs have learned that stripping away the layers of white linen and battalions of waiters leaves them with something that people actually appreciate: A restaurant that's putting its money and effort into what's on the plate.

Consumer psychology and spending habits always mimic the economy. And the restaurant industry is a sensitive barometer of how consumers feel about things. People may be willing to plunk down hard-earned cash for something great to eat, but they sure as hell don't want to feel guilty about it, or pay for any fancy trappings. Make the experience less about the show and more about the food. And charge a reasonable price."

When I read this, I had already decided to open a bare bones restaurant because I really don't know anything else. I don't carve swans with turnips or make dragons with carrots. This article gave me a lot of confidence knowing I didn't have to make food orgami to make a buck. Our food is all about keepin' it real. For anyone else opening their own spot for the first time, its hard to find people to talk to and bounce ideas off of so this article meant a lot. Whenever a friend tried to shit on my dreams by talking about how many people fail or how off my idea was, I sent them a link to the article.

People are dicks. They say to your face they are happy for you, that its cool you left your job, but then you hear from someone else they're laughing at you cause you left the law to sell buns... Those people aren't your friends and you remember that shit. And whenever you get a chance, you send them articles about how well you're doing. Yes, I do this. Not because its classy, but because I might be the only person that gets angrier when stoned. I got rejected from mad colleges in high school, had letters that guidance counselors wrote my parents saying I was a fuck up, and its still on my wall at the parents' crib.

On the other side, you got friends that come out of the woodwork to support. For instance, I got a buddy, Will Davidson. I rarely got to hang out with Will outside of school, but this mother fucker came almost once a week as soon as I opened Baohaus. Brought his family, friends, anyone and every one. Shit like that means a lot. Melissa, Jerry, and Steve bought us a lucky cat. Simon worked for free the first week. Baer bought corn chowder the first day when we did chicken soup haha. Stella bought a tip jar. George took all the photos. Lia wandered around all day waiting to buy buns Christmas Eve. It takes a village.

Unless you've spent significant time eating shit working in a restaurant, you just don't know what it takes. The concept/recipe/location is only part of it. Even with Baohaus, my set up initially was meant for a quiet, neighborhood place with a communal table, wifi, hot tea, etc. We grew out of it fast, my brothers all came up to NY to help, and we just adjusted on the fly. But, I'd be dead in the water if I didn't have two restaurant kids that were ready to fly up next day and throw down. I got lucky. So, in a way, both Bruni and Entrepreneur are right. You kinda need it all. Its always a good time to open a restaurant, but its never easy.

It doesn't take a "superstar" to open a restaurant, it takes a village. It got cut in editing, but during my Ultimate Recipe Showdown taping, they asked me what I'd do with the 25k grand prize if I won. I kinda laughed. Some people are like, "I'm gonna open a restaurant!" or "I'm gonna save the world!" I'm like, dude, 25k? really? Rome wasn't built with 25k. Nor was any restaurant. On top of the money, you need operators. Emery owns/operates Xiao Ye and Matt got investors, but I'm saving everything in between for the book haha. Yall know I hate titles so I don't have one. I'm Emery's brother. That's it. Now, if you have someone like McNally, who not only knows how to operate consistently, created a signature style, and the press likes him, well, that's mother fuckin blue magic. People like that just don't come around. You pay him what he wants. For us, it isn't one person, its family.

I think its cool Bruni cares still... The scene is getting taken over by a few big guns and you get bored of the food. He's a critic so he's gotta look out for the culture. But, for those Chefs/Restauranteurs, they earned it. If you don't like it, open your own. But otherwise, you can't say shit to them. There are a lot of restaurants that I think are over hyped, but if you get money, I respect the hustle cause this shit isn't an accident. Fatty Crab/Fatty Cue, not an accident. A Korean joint named Chop Suey... maybe? People don't just put a name on a restaurant and then dope food magically appears.

Opening Baohaus, I knew the odds were against me cause I had roughly 30k and if we didn't turn a profit week one, I was done. But, I think that's a good thing. When you open a joint, you gotta just Ride or Die. If you aren't willing to put in those hours, attention to detail, you're simply going to fail. A lot of people come to me with ideas now, but I tell them, is this the only thing you want to do right now? Are you going to give up your friends, family, hobbies for the next year? If not, do something else. Its like joining a cult. And its not glamorous. You stand around all day in crocs, you listen to assholes complain you have white employees serving Asian food, you get home at 3 am, you put some tinactin on your feet, and you do it again tomorrow. It fucking sucks unless you love it. Like birds that swallow ...

Restaurants are a man v. himself battle. I like it because I go in every day, I check the food, I check ticket times, if it's off, I bug out, I call Emery, I call Evan, we fight, then we figure out who put too much soy sauce in the braise. If you measure yourself against your competition, you'll lose. You compete with yourself and your food will be dope. I know when we have off days at Baohaus. And for real we have like 6 items, we shouldn't have any off days!?!?! Imagine a full sit-down like Xiao Ye.

I order delivery to my house all the time just to check quality. Its a constant battle and luckily we got dope kids at the shop that give a fuck too. If the flavor's off, Kate calls us all hours of the day. If the crazy lady upstairs tries to hit me with plates during service, V will tell the old bag lady to stop frontin. When people make racist comments about our staff, Asa pulls a treatise out of his back pocket and sets them straight. It takes a mother fucking village. Its not about superstars, its not about investors, its not about the economy, its about people who love what they do and care that you do better than the day before every single day. You can't learn about restaurants from a critic, a book, a magazine, or a mentor. it takes all of them! You gotta push yourself. And in the face of it all, there's always someone like Artichoke or Cheeky Sandwiches that succeeds without any of that shit people tell you they need. Cook food, get money, make babies.