Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheap Bites

Check out the Promo that Cooking Channel has been running in between Cindy Crawford Skincare Commercials for the new show. I may not be able to tighten up your pores and erase black heads, but I love Marion Barry and tell a good Ike Turner joke. Both dudes get shout outs in the show cause we about that. It airs Sunday New Year's Day at 8pm! Tune in, tivo, tell your friends, nurse your hangover, and watch Chinese people NOT do gymnastics on T.V.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

D'Antoni... You're still a problem

Every one in New York is drinkin' the Tyson Chandler Kool-Aid these days. Luckily, your boi boi is keeping his mind right sippin' this Coconut Ciroc. What up Diddy?!? Recently, I've been hearing a lot of talk about how Chandler is the next KG destined to single handedly make the Knicks a defensive minded team. I'll say it one time: the Knicks are not the '07-'08 Celtics. There's no Kendrick Perkins on this roster, there's no Tony Allen, there's no Rondo, shit, there's no KG! Further, what's more important than not having KG is that we don't have Doc Rivers! Is it lost on people that Doc Rivers is one of the best defensive guards of the last 25 years? Additionally, the C's had Tom Thibodeau on the bench for the championship years. You simply can't compare the Knicks to the Celtics or Chandler to KG because that '07 Celtics team was the reflection of an entire organization committed to defense. What we have in New York is a team of big names with one defensive minded player who's never made an all-star game and a European style coach who refuses to coach defense.

Let's start with the Chandler-KG comparisons. As a 31 year old in Boston, KG pulled 9.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 blocks, 1.4 stls, and scored 18.8 points with only 2.3 fouls in 32 minutes. Chandler's best statistical year was as a 24 year old in '06 - '07 where he averaged 12.4 boards, 1.8 blocks, and 9.5 points with sub-1.0 stls and assists per game plus 3.3 fouls in 34.6 minutes. While Chandler in his best year out-rebounded an aging KG, you see that Chandler he's never played the passing lanes like KG nor can he initiate offense through the high-post. The comparisons are ludicrous. Even comparing a 24 year old Chandler to a 31 year old KG, you realize that he's half the player DMX, err, Garnett is. ARF, ARF, ARF, get at me dog! Chandler may be a better rebounder than KG, but he's also doing it from the center position and has no other advantage over KG. The block differential is minimal and over his career, KG has better averages in both rbs and blks.

The better comparison for Chandler is Marcus Camby. Both are rangy centers with injury concerns that excel at defending weak-side and rebounding. When the Knicks had Camby in '98, we also had Patrick Ewing, Kurt Thomas, and Latrell Sprewell. I mean, come the fuck on! Not only was Sprewell an All-Defensive talent, but he invented spinning rims! Kurt Thomas played solid D, hit 15 footers, and cleaned the glass. I mean, even Chris Dudley could get 15 minutes a game with the 2011 Knicks. That dude was a hockey enforcer with a tank-top on. Shit, even Allen Houston who played little to no defense showed up to work every day with the illest caesar cut I've ever seen. Forget finding the next Tom Thibodeau, could someone hold me down and find Houston's barber? That dude was NICE!

But let's forget for a second that we aren't the '07 C's or the '98 Knicks, but that it is possible for the second coming of Marcus Camby aka Tyson Chandler to turn the Knicks around. A 29 year old Camby in '04-'05 pulled down 10 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3 blocks, .9 steals, and 10.3 points in 30.5 minutes with only 2.7 fouls for the Nuggets. Tyson Chandler in his best year as a 24 year old in '06-'07 only bests Camby in rebounds per game by 2.4. With Camby, we see again that defense isn't just rebounds and blocked shots, but playing the passing lanes and capitalizing on boards by starting the fast break. The really great defensive centers all know how to turn their efforts into easy buckets and it's not something Chandler has shown with a career .8 assists average. The only advantage Chandler has over Camby and KG is that he is a better on-the-ball defender against 7-footers. KG's got him with anyone under 7', but Tyson has bulked up over the years and does a good job on the block.

All that said, the biggest problem with the Knicks is the overall organizational philosophy. Last year, we had a problem with defense and we're finally understanding to address it, but one guy doesn't change the culture. KG didn't single handedly make the C's a defensive team. You had an entire organization from Danny Ainge to Doc Rivers to Tom Thibodeau to Kevin Garnett to anyone besides Brian Scalabrine that bought into defense. The C's were intimidating on and off the court from top to bottom. Does anyone realize the Knicks don't even have someone like Delonte West to smang Lebron's Mom or strike fear into people's hearts with herpes outbreaks! Who's gonna bring Carmelo doughnuts? "Planes, trains and automobiles yall better have my doughnuts!" - Delonte

What up Veal?!?

The three biggest misconceptions in the hood are that Saigon popularized Entourage, 50-Cent made Vitamin Water, and that KG single handedly made the C's a defensive force. Doc Rivers throughout his career showed a commitment to defense and in his first gig as head coach took a band of misfits in Orlando to the playoffs. Prior to becoming the Magic coach in 1999, Rivers was mentored by Chuck Daly who we all know as the illest defensive coach of the late-80s. That first year in Orlando, Rivers had the vision to give a 6'9" Ben Wallace his first starting gig as a center. There was Darrell Armstrong running like a mad man around the perimeter and Bo Outlaw patrolling the base-line and high-post. With Doc Rivers orchestrating the defense and those three guys building the foundation a last-place team almost made the playoffs and Rivers won Coach of the Year without a single big name. Most Coach of the Year types walk into the award after being gifted someone like Lebron, Durant, Shaq or Penny. I'm always surprised why people don't call out the Mike Brown and Brian Hills of the world for getting those awards, but reality shows its face in the playoffs. Would a real NBA Coach of the Year type fumble around and fuck up the Russell Westbrook situation as badly as Brooks did?

More importantly, let's take a look at our own former Coach of the Year, Mike D'Antoni. This guy is the Mike Martz of the NBA except he hasn't even won a championship. He has an extreme view of the offense with little to no disregard for the repercussions of his offense. In the way that Mike Martz neglects the running game, D'Antoni neglects defense. The fact that numerous players have anonymously dropped quotes like the below, should cement the fact that D'Antoni should have never been a head coach in the first place.

"Coach knows offense... It would be nice to set plays, control pace and not jack up shots just because you're open. But that's what Coach does. You could live with it if we played defense. But obviously, we haven't done that much. Good, bad or otherwise, all I can say is that I've never seen anything like this." - Source, Stephen A. Smith

This player nailed it. You can't coach one side of the floor and expect to win games. Second, if you are going to go all-out, not control the ball, not look to take the best shot possible and just run-n-gun, then you HAVE to emphasize transition defense. D'Antoni teams don't. If they miss shots, they give up buckets, and then quickly in-bound the ball to try it once again. D'Antoni is literally coaching the Knicks like they're hookers at the point turning and burning tricks. But even the dumbest hookers play defense! Every one of those hos has mace, pepper spray, and a get away... The Knicks just have Tyson Chandler.

What we should look at is the 2000 Orlando Magic. Instead of continuing down the path that Doc Rivers carved out, the Magic blew up the team, traded Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins for Grant Hill. The Magic also signed Tracy McGrady and we see how that turned out. Despite Hill's injuries, McGrady led the Magic to 3 playoff appearances but never made it out of the first round with an explosive offense and non-existent defense. By year 3, Rivers was fired and landed in Boston. On the other hand, we all know what happened with Ben Wallace. He went to play for the anti-D'Antoni: Larry Brown. We've all heard the joke that the only person who could could keep MJ under 20 points is Dean Smith, Brown's mentor. Coach Brown's mentality has always been to start with defense, own the glass, execute in the half-court, and get back in transition. Simple, basic, basketball fundamentals that every one has heard since JCC Summer Basketball Camps. I went to Dennis Scott's but even his fat ass knew this shit. D'Antoni for some odd reason thinks that he's figured something out that the basketball gods haven't and we're dumb enough to ride this close to the sun with him. #Icarus. I'll tell you this now. I'd love to see the Knicks win it this year, but it's not going to happen if D'Antoni doesn't change his coaching philosophy. You simply can't win chucking shots early in the clock and not playing transition defense. We could have KG, Camby, Ben Wallace or Tyson Chandler. Take your pick, but the fact of the matter remains, basketball is a team sport and defense is played as a unit. There are rules to this game and D'Antoni simply doesn't respect them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

RIP Danny Chen

First of all, RIP Danny Chen. There's nothing else I can say so I won't even try. Condolences to the family and community. Stay strong. Ah mi two fwo, ah mi two fwo, ah mi two fwo, ah mi two fwo, ah mi two fwo, ah mi two fwo, ah mi two fwo...

Second, props to the military for stepping up and charging these fools. This has been happening to Gay people in the military for years and now Asians. It's entirely un-fucking acceptable. If this is a country that still considers itself the "City on the Hill", this absolutely can not happen. People wonder why Asians don't join the military or don't consider themselves American at times, it's things like this. The military failed in not preventing this, there is no way to get Danny back, but do right by the family and throw the fucking book at every one involved. This is an opportunity to show Asian Americans and any other group whether it's race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed, that we as a country do not stand for this fucking bull shit. There is no pretty, elegant, or classy way of saying this. It's disgusting, vile, and unacceptable. US Military, you already fucked up, there is no way to make this right, but you can get close by prosecuting the convicted to the fullest extent of the law. They have not been convicted yet, so I won't say they're guilty, but if they are... BURY THEM.

I grew up for years hearing ching chong jokes. If you read eater, you still see ching chong jokes in the comments. I get emails from people calling me a chink. If you go to Chik-Fil-a or watch Rosie O'Donnell, they're still telling ching chong jokes. For some reason, people think this shit is ok. Luckily, in NY, the papers cover these stories because we as a community and city can see that it's wrong. We understand not to call Black people "N", we know not to call Gays "Fs", we know not to call Lations "S", but why is it ok to call us chinks or ching chongs? Why was it funny to make a Tsunami song? Why do we even have to explain how fucked up that shit is? What would we be saying now if Danny Chen took other peoples' lives, instead of what military prosecutors seem to suggest happened, which is his own? No one wants something like that to happen in the future...

I ask that Americans see the consequences of Bullying and stop it. Every one grows up telling fat jokes or your mama jokes, but the racial/sexual/religious shit is on a different level and yall know it. We all know why people think they can pick on Asians, it's because no one thinks our neighborhood will strike back. If Rosie O'Donnell pulled a Kramer, she'd be black listed right now. Pun intended. African-Americans FOUGHT for that protection. They fought for that respect and knowledge that if someone attacked them on the basis of race that the entire community would stand up. Growing up, I wanted to be part of a community that had that power and respect. Ditto for the Jewish community and how they stand united. Respect!

ASIAN AMERICANS, it is your duty to stick up and say something when people fling racial epithets at you, your friends, your community, your fellow Asian people. You can't hide in a cubicle from this shit! A JD, MD, CPA is not going to protect your kids from some assholes who want to jump him after school. Luckily, I have parents that told me to defend myself or don't come home at all. I got two assaults on my record, but people know not to call me a chink. Stand the fuck up yall!

This shit is not a game. People aren't just going to give us respect. We can fight on our streets, we can fight in court rooms, we can fight with our votes, we can fight with our money, but most importantly we should stop fighting ourselves. Stop hating on people because you're Taiwanese and he's Cantonese. There aren't enough of us in this damn country for Mandarin speakers to not fuck with Cantonese speakers and vice versa. I hear Chinese people all the time clown on Vietnamese/Korean people. News flash you fucking bozos, Americans can't tell us apart, we're all chinks to them!

Cast down your buckets and accept that we are in this together right now. We should understand our distinct identities, cultures, and societies, but right now these aren't just crimes against Chinese people, they are crimes against ASIANS. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Kim Jong Il's Son, unfortunately we all fam now. As much as it pains me to say it, I guess I have to be friends with Fukienese people and their super buffets... :(. Trust me, I'm less thrilled about it than you are, but it's the truth: we are stronger together. Spend money in Chinatown/Ktown/Nonya/and that street where one Japanese dude owns Rai Rai Ken, Terriyaki Boy, and Curry Ya. Ok, not trying to be funny, but that kinda made me laugh. My bad... Be conscious, be active, and be strong. Every neighborhood, ethnicity, religion, gay, lesbian, trans-gender, literally had to fight for protection and respect in this country. It's sad but true. We can't run Asian people. It's time to put an end to this shit. Punch ignorance in the fucking mouth and DO NOT ACCEPT HATE CRIMES!

P.S. Anyone who wants to call this post un-American can kiss my Chinese-American No-MSG Dick. I just fed 200+ needy people in Orlando from all walks of life. I fux with America but sometimes Americans let me down... I hope you understand.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


#6 - Do The Right Thing - This blew the roof off African-America, hip hop, street fashion, and sneakers for every one outside NY. If you grew up in NY, you already know, but for a kid in Orlando who's only connection were Puerto Ricans who moved South or Jews that relocated and a subscription to The Source, Do the Right Thing was it... There are so many memorable scenes: love/hate, brothers on the wall, bird fan smudgin' buggin' out's Jordan's, Rosie Perez's intro, WLOVE, johnny pumps, etc. The Martin-Malcolm dilemma that's played out through the film is super ill and a question for the ages. It's something there's no answer to but the discourse is the purpose. I'm a sucker for films that capture neighborhoods, an era, and a people, Spike done did it with this one. Live from Bed-Stuy...

#5 - Rear Window - Like DRT, Rear Window captures a neighborhood. But, no one moves a camera quite like Hitchcock. Besides maybe Citizen Kane or Breathless, I think Rear Window has the most interesting framing and movement to the camera. I'm no expert so I'm sure there's better or more obscure, but I just like this movie. The thing that gets me with Hitchcock films is how well he integrates and consistently applies themes throughout the film. Whether it's doppelgangers in Strangers on a Train or "gaze" in Rear Window, it's dope. Truth be told, watching Rear Window and then reading feminist criticisms of it are pretty dope. The idea of "gaze" in the film is really cool because you think about it, what better set-up to explore social hierarchy than to see a neighborhood in the context of apartments through Jimmy Stewart's window. Classic white man in cat bird seat steez. It's interesting on a lot of levels.

#4 Good Will Hunting - It'll make more sense when the book comes out, but growing up a reluctant "gifted" kid who was bussed to schools and then caught 2 assaults... This was my movie. It was always fun to walk around with my Mecca shit on, having people assume I was a dumb ass, and then son the shit out of them. The Howard Zinn shout-out is super ill too. For anyone that lived on one side, but understood another... this is your film. It's all about duality and finding happiness on your own terms regardless where you're from or where others want you to go...

#3 Royal Tennenbaums - Yo Wes Anderson has been shark bit to death, but this is my dude. I FUX WIT THIS SHIT. It might be the whitest thing I've ever liked, but in a way, it's the least white thing as well. It's mad honest about being dysfunctional and from the minority perspective, I think that's one of our biggest beefs with white people. We feel like we're always being judged for the way our families operate, but they're just as fucked up. That's why we all fuck with Kenny Powers too. He's real and white haha. Rachel Ray, Kelly Ripa, these other chicks are Stepford wives. We want to see the real, which is why I kinda didn't mind Martha so much after she did a bid. I mean, damn, she just trying to get her paper, I can't hate on that. I write about my boy, Warren, a lot and this was pretty much the first film we both agreed on.

From a filmmaking perspective, Wes Anderson, like Hitchcock is a master of creating themes, looks, mis-en-scene and then sticking to it. It's not half assed, it's not a ploy, it's not a gimmick, and actually supersedes every thing else in the film. The tone, the voice, the image, are all enhanced by the mis-en-scene and it's arguable that Anderson is the father of hipster fashion, culture, and voice... When I read about the Ronsons, I just imagine them as the Tennenbaums. I think they might have even done a spread framed as the Tennenbaums. Anderson deals with childhood/family themes in a lot of his movies and I'm a stuck in the past type too. I like red sauce italian, chinese restaurants with lazy susans, and the mcrib. What can I say? I don't want to grow up.

#2 Annie Hall - I'm a huge fan of Manhattan, but Annie Hall is it for me. Manhattan is a better looking film visually, it captures the city, but Annie Hall has these insights into the human condition that fucking kill you! Woody breaks shit down and explains things you think about in fucking circles. After it all, you're left with an "egg" joke that pretty much explains every thing you need to know about women and men. As a neurotic Asian who went to a Yeshiva and loves Brooklyn, I had no choice but to love this film.

P.S. Pay attention to the jump-cuts. Woody likes French films and you can see the Godard influence... Thanks Dr. Boles

#1 - There is no name to this film. If someone says the "Greatest Film Ever Made" you know, what it is. If this isn't #1 on your list, we can't be friends. It's that simple. Greatest film ever made and it's not even up for debate. I watch this easily 3 times a year. Especially when negotiating deals haha. It's Sun Tzu for the West.

If you got a top 5, put it in the comments!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Top 5 Dead or Alive...

I get asked a lot, "Right now, don't think about it, top 5 restaurants". Problem is I already done thought about it cuz. I'm always ready with the favorites. Music, movies, sneakers, and food, I got chu. I already did my favorite rappers so I'ma do the food, sneakers, and movies at some point. Here, I got you 25 of them food joints cause I couldn't keep it to 5. I hate lists where it's titled the "Best". These aren't necessarily the "best" but in my book they are MY personal favorites and I ranked them for fun. The only criteria I used is "like" how much do I like dinner there. It really shouldn't ever be more complicated than that...

1) Peter Lugers

Unstoppable. I grew up in steakhouses and besides Chinese food, this is what I know. You can't beat these cats. Anyone who brings up another steakhouse needs to be taken out your phone b. People bring up Striphouse or god forbid, Del Frisco's. Those restaurants use wet aged steak that comes out of a bag dun. Look, Willy-b is extra soft in the middle, but you can't stunt on Luger's. It's what they need more of in Williamsburgh. Un-ironic, real grown man, B.I. AHHHH, rare, dry aged, broiled at the highest heat possible, laid to rest for 10 minutes, and then sliced for two. Stop fuckin' around, Luger's is the champ.

2) Szechuan Gourmet

That's striped bass with miso chili. Go to the one in flushing. 39th st is passable but the one in flushing is the megatron don. Ma Po Tofu, cumin lamb, chili intestine casserole, cold plate, water braised beef with nappa, water braised fish with nappa, oooohhhh they gettin' paper! My Pops loves Szechuan food more than me. I'm more into Shanghainese, Taiwanese, and Cantonese food cause I like balance, but this place is so on point it's #2 even though it's not my favorite style.

3) Imperial Palace

This is my favorite Cantonese restaurant all time. Best dish in all 5 boroughs, steamed crab over sticky rice. They DO NOT PLAY here. Lamb with red onion and shallots is good too as are all the Cantonese classics: beijing pork chops, pan fried noodles with seafood, shrimp with walnuts and mayo, etc. The chefs love Oriental Garden and it's good, precise, well executed, but there's much more of a soul to Imperial Palace. Same high quality ingredients and more warmth to the food. It's like the Frankies restaurants, there are more expensive, probably more precise, Italian restaurants, but nothing that transports you home with the quality that they do.

4) Nanxian Xiao Long Bao

My favorite place for a Shanghai-Taiwan style breakfast. Soy milk, crullers, radish pastry, beef in pancakes, soup dumplings. It is my favorite style of food and Nanxian is the best place to get it. Grew up on this stuff and if I got a last meal would have to be soy milk, cruller, beef pancake with soup dumplings.

5) John's on 12th St

My boy Kenzo and I have a real problem with John's. We try to eat two vegan/vegetarian meals a day so we go to Angelica's a lot. But mother fucking John's is right next door! We see that carbonara in the window and it makes us want to shoot ourselves for eating vegetarian chili with vegan corn bread. I mean, Angelica's is prob my favorite vegetarian restaurant but come on... John's is classic red sauce in the East Village. I'd go as far to say it's a poor man's Rao's but I don't own a table at Rao's and only got to eat at the Vegas location so it's John's for me and I got no complaints. Just no matter what, by no means, ever, ever, ever try to take a shit in their bathroom. It is nearly impossible.

6) Kuruma Zushi

I sat at the sushi bar with this dude and had the best sushi experience of my life. Do the Chef Omakase and he'll just cut fish until you tell him to stop. They fly fish in from Japan twice a week, perhaps even more and it shows. There are breeds and species of yellowtail that you just can't get here. The kanpachi, jack fish, golden eye snapper, and yellowtail toro are beyond anything you've ever tasted. True story, first big paycheck I ever got from working as an attorney, I brought my girl at the time here for lunch after coppin' a pair of Barker Black's (shoot me it was '06, the shits were aiite then) around the corner. The omakase for 2 people with a bottle of sake ended up $420... it wasn't even 2pm. Even then, I gladly paid and returned the shoes. Come on, $420 for the sushi of your life? I'd do it again if I could get paid from another law firm.

7) Bar Boulud

Ohhh shit! Peep my Damian Sansonetti trading card! Not only is Damian the Head Chef at Bar Boulud, but they got Mike Madrigale who is one of the best Sommeliers in the city. He is the guy every restaurant needs. Someone who's genuinely happy to be there on his feet 10 hours a day, never gets sick talking about food, and fucking cares. Telepan said something to me today that I fully agree with. No matter what industry it is, you need a team and every one needs to care/buy-in. You look people in the eye and sometimes there's just nothing, they're dead. But then there are the guys that are alive. Even if that guy doesn't have experience, Telepan was like "I can make a cook out of him." and he's totally fucking right.

Lately, Mike's been at Sud, but Damian, the Dipset Goonie Server, Michelle, and the other Sommeliers are on top of it. You got Damian in the kitchen killing it with the best charcuterie in NY, great specials all the time, and a petit fours that never fails. I hardly ever get dessert, but at Bar, I do champagne, charcuterie board, Damien's pasta special, a protein, and petit fours. Anyone who's been to Bar Boulud with me knows... it's not just food, it's HBO.

8) Frankie's 17 Spuntino

Frankie's is special to me. When we first opened Baohaus, one of my first post-shift meals was at Frankie's with my brother Evan and my girl at the time, Ning. We were tired as shit and I still remember my order. Cavatelli with red sauce, meatballs on the side, broccoli rabe, and house red. I don't like cavatelli with the sausage, I just want it plain with red sauce. Every culture has that thing. Whether it's minced pork on rice, rice and beans, or cavatelli with red sauce, you just want it plain and simple. Frankie's has the best cavatelli I've ever had, it's homey, perfect lighting, and great people. You talk to Italian people like Madrigale and they'll tell you, "This place is just like eating at my Grandma's with one country rib in the red sauce type shit." Restaurants like this that capture an era, a culture, and family are a treasure... I've never really met these guys but would love to. They are doing great things and deserve all the accolades they get.

9) Baohaus

Look, it's cheesy to put your own shit on a list, but I'm not a liar. Baohaus is my 9th favorite place to eat in the city and if I didn't eat here 7 days a week, it'd probably be higher up. My order is always a bowl of minced pork on rice with a fried chicken patty on top, and two small pieces of chairman pork belly and haus beef on the side with no bao. Baos are cool, but I prefer braised meats on rice. I think the fried items like birdhaus, oyster, tofu, and broccoli are actually best in the bao cause you get textural contrast. Braised meat in baos is soft on soft.

Come to think of it, maybe I should put a "manager's meal" option on the menu so people can eat it this way too haha. I mean, when you're at home with your family, you get a bowl of rice and throw a bunch of shit on it. It's how we eat Chinese food.

10) Shopsin's

Kenny and Zack put on the best show in the business. People talk about "watching the masters" at chef's tables or open kitchens in 4 star restaurants but I don't want to watch a bunch of bozos with top hats wander around with elevator music on in the back practicing the art of how to complicate cooking in an effort to justify the price tag. I've never had fun eating at a 3 or 4 star restaurant besides Kuruma Zuahi, but every single time I go to Shopsin's I have a good time. It's probably the most NY restaurant you could go to. The food is on point: sliders, ABC, mac 'n cheese pancakes, nutella milkshake, etc. It's one of those restaurants that you can take anyone to and they'll love it. White, black, yellow, purple, I've never brought anyone to Shopsin's that didn't enjoy it.

Kenny will hate me for putting them in this post because he actually doesn't want customers, but he deserves all the praise he gets. He's fucking hilarious, Zack keeps the food consistent, and Luke is my favorite waiter in the biz. It's really a special place and even if you get thrown out, it's a story to tell.

11) SriPraPhai

Worth the trip to Woodside. Right now, it's the best homestyle Thai food in NY. Get the kao soy, fried whole snapper w/ sweet chili, green mango salad, larb, green curry, honestly, every thing is fucking good there.

12) Yemen Cafe

There's only one thing to get here and it's the yaneez. The owner roasts whole lamb all day long with a special blend of Arabic spices. You don't get to pick what cut, but there isn't a bad one in the house. Some like the chops, but I prefer neck and shank. I love the cardamom dessert tea jump-off at the end too.

13) Great NY Noodletown

Eddie Huang, "Tales from Canal Street" from Eater NY on Vimeo.

Come on, you already know... oyster and sausage casserole, wonton noodle soup with roast duck, fried squid jump-off, steve likes the beef and egg joint. Steve also walks around town with glasses, a blue tooth, an abacus, and a side kick. Dude is all retro, all the time.


POW, there is absolutely no question this is the best fried chicken you'll ever have. There's a lot of good fried chicken in the city, but this is my spot. I've converted half the hood with Bonchon and they won't admit it publicly, but the Koreans GOT EM! The skin is crispy like on peking duck, it separates from the meat ever so slightly, the sweet soy garlic glaze is perfect and the hot is really hot after two drumsticks, but you need both. One's the fastball, one's the change up. SO fucking good with soju. And please, don't even bring up the Korean fried chicken at that Momofuku fried chicken dinner. It's for yuppies who've never been to Bonchon and have no concept of the standard... like my twinkie cousins. LOL. The DMV style is dope though, I fux with that.

15) Katz

Pastrami, climax, done...

16) Harlem Cake Man

I get the three flavor slice: coconut, pineapple cream, red velvet. they known for red velvet, but true story all of us that lived in the neighborhood and ate there every day fux with the pineapple cream cheese. They'll also make you custom cakes with any fruit you want. Like, I used to go to the Chinese grocery store, get funky canned fruit and they'll put it in a cake. RIP to the trap spot on S. Oxford that got shut down. What up Twinz? Keep Ft. Greene funky!

17) Russ and Daughters

Every one loves the lox, but I make my own super heeb. If you care enough about your shit, this is what you'll do. Go to R&D, get a lb of whitefish and salmon salad, 3 oz of wasabi infused flying fish roe, then take the F train up to the 20s, go to Ess-a Bagel, and make your own super heeb. Dirty secret... R&D got horrible bagels. Out of the lox, I like sable. They also got good gefilte fish.

18) Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Got this photo off a blog. Don't know if Nom Wah serves that titty buffet consistently, but every thing else I've had. Hands down best dim sum I've had in a long time. I used to always pass by going to the post office when I lived in Chinatown, but it was extra funky inside for years. Like, so gutter that no one in the hood under 60 was eating there. It was the joint for old heads who smelled like moth balls. But, they re-did the interior, kept the food the same, and it's back like cooked crack. Get the shrimp rice roll, shrimp dumpling, shu mai, xo turnip cake, chicken feet, damn, for real every thing is undefeated. The texture of the skins and dumpling wraps make the dishes, but the fillings are generous, fresh, and every thing is hot since it's made to order not sitting in carts.

Funny thing, it's become a critical darling of late and you see MAD white people in the joint. I actually do a lot of dinner dates in Chinatown cause you get privacy, there aren't as many industry heads, bloggers, etc. The waiters don't want to talk to you, no one looks you in the eye, every one leaves you alone and I like it. Tried to go to Nom Wah a week ago so I walked by the window and saw mad food writers I recognized so we had to bounce. Can we have a industry night so yall don't blow it up? I swear, once something is on an eater heat map you can't go for 90 days. Why does every one have to be at the same restaurants at the same time???

19) BCD tofu house

Eh, do it just like that! Kalbi cooked in the kitchen and seafood soondoobu. Best korean bbq in manhattan. I usually don't eat bbq, but i really like theirs and the soondoobu is very good too. For gam ja tang or kalbi tang, i'd rather go to kun jip. for haemul goojang, i need to find name of place in k-town that does it best. For the record, why the fuck do you want to cook the food at the table? They do it perfectly fine in the kitchen, your girl don't come out smelling like beef, and it frees your hands up to drink soju. I mean, dun, when have you ever liked a girl that smells like beef fat? It's gonna take a lot of CK One to fix that HAHAHAHA. Playin, if you wearing CK One these days, you might as well just shower in vanilla extract and throw on some gap.

20) Cotan

Chef here is great. Every day he's in the same spot doing his thing. When there aren't orders, he's there taking the blood lines out of the fish. Nothing pisses me off more than when I'm paying $5 a piece and get yellowtail or tuna with the blood line in it. I understand you're keeping food cost down, but it's just disrespect for the customer and product. Charge what you need to charge to do it fucking right. Cotan doesn't even charge much at all and you NEVER get a piece with tendon hanging or a blood line. Get the sushi deluxe, for $21 you get uni, toro, and kanpachi, you can't fucking beat it. The tuna dip is good too. Raw tuna tossed in soy, wasabi, served with a bowl of rice.

21) Sandy's Lechoneria

Mofongo and Rabo Guisado aka oxtail on rice, they got pickled hot sauce too. Fux wit it. Then, get 1/2 lb of pernil to take home. If you have time, hang out in the neighborhood. Lots of good Mexican food, other lechoneras, and Original Patsy's on 1st ave between 117 and 118th. I also adopted P.S. 112 so if you have kids in that school they gonna eat GOOD! I mean "well" haha.

22) 456 shanghai

I have to admit. For 6 months, this was the best soup dumpling in all 5 boroughs. Even over Nanxian, but ever since their NYT review, it's been slightly off. I'm sure they're back on track since I haven't been in about 2 months. It always takes a few to absorb the new business. The photo above is the cold plate which you MUST start with. I like it with the kau fu, beef tendon, wine chicken, jelly fish, and green veg. I don't know the american name for the veg but it's like a baby mustard green in Chinese. Other hits are xiao long bao, pork and pepper stir fry, 8 treasure sticky rice dessert, liang jing yi soup, beef in egg pancake. For stir fried small eels with leeks, Shanghai Cuisine still has the best version.

23) Arturo's

My favorite pizza joints are always in rotation. For a margherita slice, it's still Di Fara's. For Sicilian, I actually like Artichoke. But for sit-down, in the city, I fux with Arturo's. It has that coal oven flavor, but a lot of NY Coal oven slices are too soft in the middle and soggy at the point. My order at Arturo's is a white pie with clams and garlic on top... very underrated pizza in the city. It has a slight crisp to the crust and while it's thin, not too thin, and retains some snappiness. Pizza nerds don't rate Arturo's all that high, but I don't care. I'm not driving out to New Haven every time I want a clam pie. Go to Arturo's, hang out by the piano, watch the Mets game, you'll love it. You'll see my taste in Italian food is red-sauce, family restaurants, old school. I'm addicted to that style of service, food, and family. Can't beat that shit. When you go to restaurants, just have a good time yall. Don't pick the place apart...

24) Ganh Mi Oak

Ox bone soup, done. Don't order anything else. they also have some of the best kim chi in k-town. You have to season yourself so add the salt, white pepper, and scallions, but careful with salt. Add it, stir it, let it sit 20 seconds, then taste. Otherwise, all your salt sinks to the bottom and the last 1/3 of the soup is way too salty.

25) Ukrainian National Home Restaurant

True story, I actually eat at Veselka more cause it's convenient, I like the big glass windows, and late night, it's fun. Josh Ozersky also swears by the burger there. For classics though, the food is better at Ukrainian National Home. Get the potato pancakes, beef stroganoff, stuffed cabbage, beef goulash, i love this style of food. It's like Korean food for white people in the winter haha.

Bonus: Sammy's Roumanian for Passover with the Marks Family aka Hip Hop Moses aka Romey-Rome. Happy Passover O-Beezy!

Lastly, if you got a top 5 or 10, put it in the comments!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Helping Homeless in Central Florida

On Sunday, Nov 27th, 60 Minutes aired a follow up to their segment on homeless families in Central Florida (Watch it here) that they originally aired in March. This new piece profiled a few families who no longer could afford temporary housing in motels and were now living out of their cars. The statistics they cited were shocking.

> ⅓ of families without shelter in America are in Florida

> 16,000,000 kids in America are living in poverty, the most since 1962

> Almost 25% of kids in America are considered homeless. One out of four...

I had no idea the problem was this bad, especially not in Orlando where homelessness is not obvious or apparent by any means. There are homeless downtown but you don’t see families or kids, and it doesn’t seem like an epidemic. What myself and most people didn’t understand is that homelessness has many faces. Most children and families who fall into this demographic are normal hard working families who are in a tough spot, you won’t find them on the corner asking you for change, yet. Most of the parents are hard working and employed in some way but can’t seem to make enough money or get enough hours to feed their families.

What We're Doing
After the show, I told my family about what was happening and we decided to do something. On December 21st, we will be donating our restaurant, Cattleman’s Steakhouse, and hosting a free holiday dinner for over 400 Orange County Public School students from 8 different Southwest Orlando schools. We chose to focus on Southwest Orlando because that is where we grew up. Between the three brothers, we went to six of the eight schools in our area. My brother Eddie will be cooking dinner with Chef Van and the fam at Cattleman’s while our friends, neighbors and volunteers from the community will be serving families, accepting donations, and providing entertainment.

For More Info Visit The Facebook Event Page
To Donate Visit Our Donation Website

We are working with the Orange County Public Schools McKinney Vento Program (about McKinney Vento)to identify students in need and invite them and their families to the dinner. We began reaching out to people on Wednesday and in just the first two days, we have received a tremendous amount of responses from people who want to help. Some great businesses have reached out to offer gift cards and free services but we are still in need of securing our food donations for the event (if someone knows the homies at Sysco or US Foods, tell em to get with it :D) as well as grocery gift cards for the families.

How To Help

If you can and want to help, the best way to do so is to donate funds so we can buy these families grocery gift cards. School administrators have told us food is the greatest need and our goal is to send each family off with at least $25 in grocery cards, which is very conservative. To donate, go to our site at , all proceeds will go to purchasing grocery cards to be given directly to the families on December 21st.

If you or someone you know is interested in putting together a similar event or simply looking for ways to help, feel free to hit me up. We are also looking for ways to grow this beyond one night, any and all ideas or suggestions are welcome. I can be reached at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Congrats to the Big Homie John Jay!

If you don't know who John is, GOOGLE the brother. He is the godfather of advertising!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank You Mrs. Neilson

That's my best friend, Warren. We grew up across the street from each other, but back then, he didn't have monkey friends, just a Chinaman. Every Thanksgiving, I think about someone I'm thankful for and this year, it's his Mom, Mrs. Neilson. Warren’s family was a big influence on my taste in food. I used to hate Thanksgiving and Christmas at home, but the Neilson’s taught me how to celebrate and in a lot of ways, what it was to be American.

It began with Warren eating at our house most week days. The kid was so damn hungry all the time, he'd eat at our house around 6 and then at his house around 9 cause they ate later. My mans never rang the door bell, we gave him the garage code so he just walked in the side door and right into the kitchen. Every time like clock work, it'd surprise the shit out of my Mom, but we’d set him up a plate, a chair, and some chopsticks, which he got really good at cause he actually followed instructions unlike myself. My Mom used chopsticks the wrong way holding them with her knuckles instead of fingers so I picked up the bad habits. Warren learned from my Dad and those red chopstick paper instructions though so he was pretty ill. I remember my brothers or Mom mumbling in Chinese, “This guy is taking the food so fast!” Me and my Dad loved it though. Warren was the only American that'd come to our house, try our food, understand, and appreciate it with gusto.

Before meeting Warren, I remember Thanksgiving at our house would consist of hot pot or some strange spread of sauteed Chinese items, cranberry sauce cause Mom liked it, sweet potato casserole from Boston Market, and sushi from Publix cause I guess it really made the table pop. A lot of friends I talked to like my homegirl, Kassie, STILL eat hot pot every year for Thanksgiving. You go girl. These days my Jamaican friends have turkey but it’s flanked by ox tail, beef patties, rice and peas, cabbage, etc. Simon and Kenny, the Fukes haha, have turkey with lobster steamed over e-fu noodles, salt fish fried rice, and dumplings. But at the time, I felt left out of the American experience and really didn’t like Thanksgiving until I went to Warren’s. Every Thanksgiving, I’d walk in through Warren’s garage door and get hammered by the smell of roast turkey, chicken cacciatore, biscuits, boudin balls, and of course Mrs. Neilson’s green bean casserole with fried onions on top. That was her dish. I remember seeing it come out of the oven with golden fried bits of onions on top, covering this stack of fresh green beans mixed in with cream of mushroom. It was a simple dish, but somehow just perfect. The savory, meaty, umami like flavor coming from the mushrooms, the body from the cream, texture from fried onions, and the snap of the green beans. I took an entire plate home to my Mom that had a bit of every thing.

“Mom, look it’s Thanksgiving!”
“Oh, I don’t want American food.”
“Try it! It’s really good! I promise.”
“No, no, no, American food makes me feel funny. Too much salt and cream.”
“Mom, come on, you are missing out! I ate it and it’s awesome.”
“Fine, fine, fine, what’s this?”
“Green bean casserole.”
She was sitting at the kitchen table just drinking tea so I put the plate down and she picked around the green beans with her chopsticks. Lifted it to her mouth, took a whiff, and bit it carefully.
“Oh! Oh! Oh my God! What is this?”
“I told you! Green bean casserole.”
“Casserole, mom. Like when Cantonese people put stuff in clay pots. That’s a casserole.”
“What’s it mean though?”
“I dunno, it’s just casserole.”
That was me with cooking terms to this day. I can identify a casserole, but I still can’t tell you what it actually means and I’m too stubborn to look it up.
“We need more! How do we make this casserole?”
“I don’t know, I’ll call Warren.”

Later that day, Warren came over with a huge dish of green bean casserole for my Mom. He was so happy she liked it since she was so picky most of the time. For the first time, my Mom was eating food from a non-Chinese home and she loved it. After that day, I started taking over Thanksgiving and Christmas cooking at our house. Every other day of the year it's Mom, but on those days, it's my kitchen thanks to Mrs. Neilson and her green bean casserole. Every year, we make her dish and every year we think of her. Wherever you are Mrs. Neilson, I hope Warren is there to tell you the Huangs love you, and we're thinking of you.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Things on Eater usually don't bother me. I've been called a chink and they've taken it down even though I told them they should keep it up. Racism is every where and the only way to deal with it is to see it. I don't mind people who talk shit about me, Baohaus, Asians in general, etc. If we were to keep count, I spit more fire than anyone so it's part of the game. But, humor is only really good when there's truth to it... Tragedy is easy, comedy is hard. So, if yall are going to come correct, let's get a few things right.

It's blatantly unfair for people to expect individuals from a certain race to speak a certain way and any deviation from that speech pattern is an attempt at being something else. Language is 100% learned and conditioned behavior. The way you speak, if it's real, is a collection of your experiences, the people you've met along the way, the people those people met, and the things you've seen and heard. Without YOUR language, what do you have? The reason we don't have a National Language is because there are a few good men/women still out there who understand this is an immigrant country and language is at the root of it. You are fool to think that you are SUPPOSED to speak a certain way. Language is your opportunity to be yourself and represent the things you stand for. If you read military history or strategy, one of the first things conquerors do is convert the natives to their language. It's a disgusting, nasty, imperialist technique but it cuts right to the core and rips your native tongue out. When you tell people to "speak" like they're supposed to, that is what you're trying to do. Luckily, I'm not a basic bitch who succumbs to it.

When I write, I am cognizant of my word choice. Every thing is done with malicious intent, other wise I'd just be throwing darts and you best mother fuckin' believe, I'm shootin' every time I write. If you aren't cognizant of word choice, you're a fool and you should stop writing. I have gone so far as looked up the root and history of words and if I don't like what it comes from, I won't use it. If a certain word is something that has been "claimed" by a reference group I don't subscribe to, I don't use it. I'm fuckin' word certain.

I left the law because I didn't want to work in an industry I couldn't culturally identify with. It had every thing to do with social strata and corporate conditioning. White shoe firms break you down as individuals and make you a robot in their world using the words they've reserved for that industry. There are entire books on "Legal Writing" and how you're supposed to write. I refused to work in a place where there was no room for artistic expression, shit was just cold. Before you know it, you move the way they move and think like a hooker with a corner office. I met a lot of good people and there wasn't anything wrong with individuals, it was the rules of engagement in that business that I couldn't get down with.

The only reason I'm saying this and giving you any sort of insight is because it's blatantly unfair to people in general to suggest that there is a prescribed method of action because of skin. Anyone who made it to 10th grade got a lesson on nature v. nurture. I'm sure a lot of you can understand how tattoos or clothing are the things you show the world to identify yourself, but, nothing you do says more about you than the first time you open your mouth and say a word. From Pygmalion to My Fair Lady to the first time we heard Nas say "Straight out the fuckin' dungeons of rap..." we understood that the first google maps were your mother fucking words. Yiddish, Chingrish, Ebonics, Boricua, whatever it is you speak, sing that shit. The next time you come to me with this rotten banana/twinkie bullshit, put your computer on death and come to 238 e14th St so I can show you where the fuck I'm from.

Now, if you have nothing better to do than make fun of the kid, here are a few good ones

1) I have large aereolas

2) I love the McRib

3) I sing Justin Bieber at karaoke

4) I still want to fuck Lil' Kim

5) I'm a Knick fan

6) I thought Jin was going to go platinum

7) I think Cam'ron is one of the top 5 rappers of all time

8) When I sweat it smells like orange chicken

9) I once bought these boots and thought it was a good idea

10) I'm convinced there's a shawty out there for me who has pussy that tastes like red and green gummy bears... where you at?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The NCAA is weighing $2000 grants to help student athletes with the actual cost of attending college. I like it, but to me, it's still not enough. The athletes playing football and basketball bring so much revenue to top-50 schools, it's straight robbery that they don't share in it. But, schools are balking because its a significant investment since every single student athlete is being included in the proposal. You've seen those commercials they run during Saturday College Football games "I'm a Student Athlete" and it shows a bunch of random olympic sports no one pays attention to trying to convince us that all athletes are created equal. They're not. And if you disagree, please tell me how many Javelin throwing meets you've been to this year.

I understand that there are principles and ideals involved with college education and that you don't want to show students that some sports are valued more than others or some individuals are more important, but it's childish. In four years, when these people go into the real world, it will become very apparent that there is a social hierarchy when the only cross country running this athlete's going to do is down 10 floors to Starbucks and back. If under water basket weaving doesn't bring in TV revenue, well, they probably shouldn't get the $2000 grant.

Colleges are a business. Why is it that colleges want to pretend they aren't business when it comes to student athletes? It's business when they negotiate with faculty, it's business when they bring Chick-Fil-A into the school, and it's business when they ask alumni for cash. But, it's all about the moral high road when explaining why the school should reap the benefits of TV Revenue but the athletes should be happy they get a "priceless" education for free. Look assholes, this is propaganda. Education is NOT priceless. Any parent or kid on loans can tell you there is a VERY tangible price tag to school. And there is a very REAL collection agency that gets on your ass when you can't pay it. Stop fucking around and keep it real. Every one with a US News and World Report magazine knows how much each college costs. How is it that the media gobbles up this Hallmark Card defense about how education is priceless?

I don't even use most of my educations. Yea, my educations, cause I got more than two of them joints. "Boise State president Robert Kustra urged supporters of the plan to look at the support that Division I student athletes receive, and compare it to 'the rest of our students, who are making minimum wage, collecting tips, trying to find their way into their next semester at the university ... Go back and examine the life of a student athlete in intercollegiate sports in America today, and see how privileged they are to be where they are and the opportunities they have.'"

Yo Kustra, I'm going to use my legal education for a hot second and make a few distinctions for you:

1) Your bus-boy student makes money collecting tips for HIMSELF. No one is broadcasting his 8 hour shift at Shoney's refilling ketchup bottles just like no one broadcasted me stealing sweet potato casserole at Boston Market. You get no revenue from people buying Denny's jerseys cause no one fucking wants a Denny's jersey with some kid's name on it from Creative Writing 101.

2) Your student athletes ARE directly making money for your school through ticket, jersey, memoribilia, tv, radio, and ad sales amongst a myriad of other things. They are also indirectly making money for your school by raising attendance because no one fucking heard of Boise State besides Matthew Barney before you cracked the top-25 a few years back.

3) I went back and examined the life of a student athlete at Boise State and I'm pleased to announce that it is an entirely unprivileged position and their are no opportunities. What the fuck are they going to do after they stop playing football? Pick potatoes? If you google the words: "Boise Job Market" the second hit is a link to the discussion "BOISE JOB MARKET DEAD?"

So yea, Kustra, eat a bowl of blue pubes.

Lastly, if none of my appeals to logic strike a nerve. Just watch the video of De'Sean Butler at the top blowing out his knee for his University. He got paid ZERO for that game and saw his future go down the tubes. Don't tell me that he "got an education" dude should have gone to the NBA when he was 19 and got paid.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Complex Article!

Peep the new article up on Complex. I hit 3 restaurants in DC: Peking Gourmet, Fast Gourmet, and Toki Underground.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Blunted in the Walk-In

I woke up two weeks ago and thought to myself, why don’t the magazines or websites I read have restaurant reviews? And if they did, what would I want them to look like? Would Benzino want a review of No Pork on My Fork for the Source? #SantanaMoment #AlliterationHomie

So, I hit up Noah, Jack, and Ross at Complex. By 3pm today, you'll see our new column in Complex’s City Guide: Blunted in the Walk-In. I’m going to break a lot of the rules. It’s probably not possible to eat in the city anonymously at this point so that’s out the window. I will be quoting dining guests, and I’ll also ask other diners in the restaurant for their opinions. In essence, you'll hear the room.

It has a different purpose than other restaurant reviews. In fact, it’s not really a restaurant review. It’s more a recap of a night out. First, like all writing should, it will seek to entertain. Second, it will inform our generation. If you don’t get the references, that’s your problem. A lot of us grew up reading shit that referenced actors and movements that we have no connection to, so, it’s our turn. Third, it will give you a blueprint to navigate a night out at that particular restaurant. The goal of the column is to show people how best to enjoy a meal in that space. Going out is supposed to be fun. I think a lot of people go out on a quest to do their best impression of professional critics. They pick, diagnose, and at the end forget what they came for. I know what I came for: jokes, money, cash, hos. We have no idea where this exercise ends up. It could last 3 weeks or 3 years, but there’s no agenda and we’re gonna let it ride.

Stream of conscious raps, yes
Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Lil’ Wayne, T.S.
If you thought terror squad, then I’m sorry, God bless.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Andy Ricker Coming to 137 Rivington St

I told yall I was gonna find you some dope shit... A few weeks ago, Andy Ricker came in to eat and kick it at Baohaus on 14th st. I'd never met him before and he turned out to be one of the coolest dude's I've met in a minute. No bullshit, straight shooter, doesn't even like being called a chef. His food is authentic, true to its roots, and honest. There are a lot of shortcuts people can use when making Thai food, but Andy keeps it real and it shows in his food. Despite his best efforts, you probably know Andy for his wings aka Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings named after a Vietnamese guy that worked with him when he was a contractor and then a line cook. Dope story, he keeps it in the family.

Andy had been to 137 before so when I told him we were putting the property on the market, he told me he was looking for a spot that size to do a wing shack. I made him an offer, we shook hands, and within three weeks, all you gonna hear is bitches screamin' 2 Pok. If Faith had twins, she probably have 2 Poks, get it? 2... Poks...

NOTE: Name of restaurant is not 2 Pok, just a nickname/joke

I'm glad we were able to put something with integrity at 137 Rivington. The spot means a lot to us. Numerous customers brought me chronic on the last night sad that they lost their favorite munchies spot. I told you I'd hold you down and I did. We gonna be seeing a lot of blunt wraps and chicken bones on Rivington St soon. Put it in the air yall...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

BAOHAUS in the DMV Playlist

Find it HERE on Spotify

It jumps off with a Black Uhuru track Jesse Serwer passed me last year. It has cuts off the new Mayer Hawthorne, Rick Ross, Wale, and my favorite NY singles floating around like Peso by ASAP Rocky and French Montana. Rounded it out with 45 minutes of old school from tribe, de la, gang starr, snoop, and of course there's a dipset block... Play it loud.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Once in a lifetime groove...

Yo! So, there's going to be news about Baohaus Rivington closing. Don't be sad. It's part of the plan... When you see what we have coming at Baohaus 2 next month, you will doodie your pants. It may or may not involve beef noodle soup and soup dumplings, I'm just sayin... Evan and I had to make some choices about where to devote our time because right now it's just the two of us and staff at BH2 running the business. We're looking to build the team but we have so many things on our plate, we have to focus.

If you ask people, it was a really special run at that subterranean spot. Every thing about it was unique from the brick on the right side, the weird steps going down, the music, the food, the style of service... I don't think there was a restaurant that did things quite like we did. For better or worse, I hope people look back on it and say: "That kid brought a whole new hustle to the neighborhood." Red tops, yellow tops, Baohaus blue tops. I don't expect people to always like or support what I'm doing, but you can't say I don't keep it provocative. From the first days with Asa, Kate, Simon (who now owns Macaron Parlour), Ning, Victoria, Joy, and Sarah, it was poppin'. We were a bunch of kids with minimal experience who made it happen and I'm proud of what we did.

This is probably the worst blog post I've ever written, but I just don't know how to encapsulate every thing that's happened there in 20 months. It felt like yesterday was Christmas Eve 2009 and Lia Bulong was waiting outside to be the first customer. Thank you to every one. John Todd, Ryan Kalaith, Lia, Huskyg upstairs, the pregnant chick that threw green tea at me, i fux wit you. There's so many people I can't remember every one's names but THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. None of this happens if you guys didn't choose to support a non-traditional business that tried to flip the script on these mother fuckers. No matter where we are we gonna keep it funky for yall, believe that.

Sunday night, after the Redskins game of course... Evan and I will work the last night shift at Baohaus starting at 6pm. We'll be doing beef noodle soup as well, so come by for that. Noodles are good luck. For us, it's the end of an era... Once in a Lifetime Groove.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


WHAT UP DMV? What up Southeast Jerome? Why the fuck did you take that sack Rex Grossman? If Rex Grossman comes to the pop-up, I'ma refuse service and tell him to go deep. WHOAAA PAUSE son, no homillz!

aNYway, we bringing Baohaus to the District. Why? Cause Evan and I were going up for the Skins v. Eagles game anyway. Toki Underground was kind enough to loan us the fryer and 6 burner so we gonna get it poppin and sell these baos like gobstoppers. I heard they got the best ramen in DC too so peep that. What else? Oh yea, I'm comin' home...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

10 Resto Critic Commandments

I originally posted this in my sifton gong xi fa cai post, but it's a separate post and I just realized it 16 hours later. Awesome. I need an editor...

Sure... do it with class, do it with dignity, blah blah blah, but most importantly you better fucking know why all these bitches are ordering fish filet. #ThatShitCray. In fact, I'ma help out the next critic and drop knowledge like Polonius to Laertes. Or maybe more like BIG on Ten Crack Commandments since Polonius is basically the white Confucius and you know I can't stand that fool... So here goes:

1) Please be aware of what's going on outside the restaurant world. Preferably, watch some sports center, sucka free, game of thrones and spankwire. P.S. my shawties would also like you to watch gossip girl because Serena is like Sam Sifton for people with vaginas.

2) Be aware of every one's opinion, but don't be afraid to refuse service to certain masters. If you try to please chefs, restauranteurs, food hobbyists, the common man, and jenni from the block, you're going to fail. #BillCosby-ism Just do you. The Chef and the Critic are both artists. If you respect your mind, we will too. Define your era like Sifton did and serve those groups that you value. The rest aren't your problem.

3) Don't be a fan of chefs. We're your marks. Don't get it twisted.

4) I better be entertained - Please remember that writing should be entertaining. Sifton's writing was at times biting, sarcastic, ironic, witty, and certified hilarious. His style was overly figurative and I loved it. That was his shit. I hope that the next writer has a voice, a character, and understands that this is motion picture shit. #Vogue #Stunt #Smile

5) Spiderman Shit - You will be the most powerful dude in food, hands down. I talked to David at 456 Shanghai since his review, I mean, the guy can't believe it. I peeped the kitchen and he went from having one woman making soup dumplings to 5. Not only their fortunes, but all of Mott St. The people below Canal see now that customers want THE REAL. The co-owner Helen told me, "I knew something was up with this 'foreigner' when he ordered the eel. 'Foreigners' never order the eel." If people of color understand that the rest of America wants the real, they'll serve it up. I'm constantly tweeting about small restaurants like 456 or Cotan because if they win, we all do. People are going to go to The Dutch regardless, the reviews that really change the game are the ones like 456 or M. Wells. I mean, Sifton and M. Wells made the fucking G-Train relevant.

6) Embrace the Interwebs - Internet writing is different than print. I love the Diner's Journal previews to the print edition and I frequently like them more than the actual article. Don't forget to use internet gold like "hide your kids hide your wife" type shit. My favorite Sifton moment was when he linked "Popular Demand" on his Xiao Ye Diner's Journal post.

7) Just to follow up on that, the next critic needs to be the type of dude who eats at Obama Fried Chicken. Absolutely necessary.

8) Twitter - Not only do you need to murder it in Diner's Journal and print, but you better have that 150 character game on smash. That's how we get our news these days, accept it and fux wit it. He killed it on twitter.

9) Have fun and don't be precious. At the end of the day, it can't be that serious if you're putting it in your mouth (pause). Remember the greatest restaurant review of all time:

10) Know your shit, be factually correct, but don't be condescending. Unless you are being condescending to people who still think sushi is futuristic and Lavo is worth waiting in line for.

Sifton Gong Xi Fa Cai

For the first 1/3 of Sam Sifton's tenure at the Times, I didn't know who he was. Why should I? As a kid who would watch critics fumble around and fuck up reviewing ethnic food, why would I pay attention? I remember seeing rating plaques or local newspaper reviews framed at the worst Chinese, Lebanese, or Vietnamese restaurants in the neighborhood. Most of us don't read the Times to figure out where the best place to get ropa vieja or soup dumplings is. We ask people at pot lucks, Church, barber shops, and karaoke. I remember in the 90s when people actually thought asian-fusion was the hardest shit since MC Ren. My family would go back to East Asia in the summer and when I got back, I really didn't have much respect at all for American food. It was bullshit, watered down, compromised versions of the realness. It was like kids who sweat transformers when East Asia was already on that Dragon Ball Z and Gundam-ish. The only things I wanted from America were Eddie Murphy Raw, Barbecue, and shawties with pink nipples.

Even as owner of a NYC restaurant, I only mildly followed $25 and Under. But, one day a friend sent me this link to a Diner's Journal post about Wo Hop so I wrote this. I didn't know who Sifton was, but I did think he missed the point at Wo Hop. So, I wrote a faux-letter not understanding his role in the "industry" but I quickly figured it out. Mad customers came into Baohaus asking why I wrote that post and wondering if I knew what it meant to be the NYT Critic. I didn't care. But, I went home, read more of the man's shit, and loved it. I didn't jock him cause he was a gatekeeper, but because he referenced things I understood and cared about. Like a shitty movie with Coolio on the soundtrack and a teacher breaking through to kids, Sifton got it. As Prodigy would say, he spoke the dun language.

I didn't give a fuck whether there was a table cloth, two forks, and maitre d, I wanted to know who was in the God damn room, what music they're playing, is it a ill date spot, what are my odds of smashing after Fat Radish? Things people who are still alive care about. He understood that dining extends beyond the plate. I give a fuck who's sitting next to me. I give a fuck what scene I'm buying into by patronizing the restaurant. As a kid who still has ideals, aspirations, and a tribal mentality, I needs to mother fuckin know. I don't want to know how xyz French restaurant compares to abc French Restaurant from the 80s. I want to know that M. Wells "recalls the moment when Greg Ginn, of the punk band Black Flag, wore a Grateful Dead shirt onstage." And in the same vein, Sifton's time at Dining was like Snoop rockin' Tommy Hill on Letterman for hip hop heads. We had a vote.

Additionally, I still didn't go to the Times or any newspaper for that matter to decide where the "best" restaurants were. I think that's an unrealistic concept. Is it REALLY possible to create a system to determine the BEST restaurant? I'm not trying to pose an existential argument that doesn't apply in reality but I truly believe that it is impossible to rank restaurants across genres. The Times rating system understands that. The stars have more to do with the room than it does with the food. And restaurants get stars when their food, room, and service meet the standards and expectations of a restaurant of that "ilk" or that star rating. Del Posto might or might not be the best restaurant in the city, ditto for Per Se and all the other usual suspects. They aren't objectively the best, they just happen to meet the requirements for restaurants of that nature. If you ask 10 people where the BEST meal they've ever had was, 9 out of 10 will say their Grandmother's house and the odd man out will say his Mother's. Only some asshole from the yelp generation is going to say Per Se. For lack of a better comparison... Some of your friends like tall skinny meatpacking types who look like geometry problems #PerSe. Some of your friends like strange Asian women from Williamsburg who wear men's shoes #FattyCue. Then there are the guys like myself who like girls with the 40 oz bounce #PiesnThighs. 4-star, 1-star, $25 and Under... Like Pokemon, I just want to catch em all.

Either way, I peeped old Eater articles about how Pete Wells threw a curveball tabbing Sifton. I started to read all the old Bruni and Reichl reviews. I liked them, especially Reichl, but there didn't seem to ever be anyone like Sifton. While other people knocked the decision because he wasn't a "food guy", I thought it was the perfect choice because he wasn't. While Sifton clearly has an expert level of knowledge in matters of food, his real contribution is that he saw food in it's proper cultural place as a part of the STYLE section.

What people need to admit is that Dining is the ugly step child of the Style Section. I've always felt that people need to embrace restaurants like we do the rest of the Style Section. It's theatre. Yes, Food TV, Big Homie Tony Bourdain, Top Chef, and all that other shit had a effect, but in print, I don't think there was anyone who had a bigger effect on the culture of food as lifestyle in NY like Sifton. His reviews recognized that food in NY shares a space with art, music, fashion, and film... and he rep'd it.

People love Jonathan Gold and I do too. I've shouted him out numerous times cause he does the damn thing. But he's perfect in LA. A place where people have cars and venturing outside their neighborhoods isn't like going to another planet. People in LA love loving things and their urban sprawl shuts down at 2am. Dinner IS the event. This is NY... I need to know if it's worth going uptown to Boulud Sud and if there's a place to hang afterwards because the Girl and I must hear Rick Ross yell "Tupac Back" after seeing Mike Madrigale and his '76 Cristal tonight.

Sifton was the perfect guy at NYT because he WAS New York. He told inside jokes, understood stigma, used code words that we would get, and became someone we could trust to steer us away from scenes that weren't for us. He was able to applaud a restaurant for one group while warning those that wouldn't fit in to pass. He had a genuine interest in sub culture. He could see food in relation to things that other writers/chefs/restauranteurs can't. Look at the culturally relevant guys like Roberta's, Frank's/Prime Meats, or RuthBourdain, they understand their place in food in relation to other sub cultures. I mean, have you guys chilled with some of the chefs and food writers out there? THEY ARE FUCKING HERBS. Did you see that bullshit G-9 food summit in Lima? It reminds me of the time KRS-One decided to form a Temple of Hip Hop. Once it's academic, it's over.

Sifton is the first to really integrate and rep for youth culture in the Dining section. Old people just keep shit copacetic. For the first time in a while, food is holding it's own in the style section and kids are paying attention. Hypebeast is covering Hainan Chicken, Entourage got Don Pepe's, and Fashion's Night Out is as much about food as it is halloween for 15 year old wanna-be "it girls". No one sums up Sifton's era like Pusha-T:

"Who else could put the hipsters with felons and thugs? And paint a perfect picture of what sellin' it does. This is for the critics who doubted the chemistry, two different worlds same symmetry. In this black art, see the wizardry, when you at the top of your game, you make enemies..."

Pete Wells-Sam Sifton had the game on smash and ran 'tings the last 2 years. #TroubleOnTheirMinds They had every one talking about restaurants, take-downs, and double-downs. All I can hope for is that the next ninja recognizes the ground work that's been laid and understands food's place in American Pop Culture today. To the next critic... "Come on homie, we major..."

Lastly, Sam... Mom wanted me to say: "Gong Xi Fa Cai" Congrats homie, the kids will miss you. But on a positive note, does he have to be anonymous now? Can he come get lifted at Baohaus 2? LET ME FIND OUT.