Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Read Pete Wells at Night... with no pants on

Over the last 12 hours, every one has read Pete Wells' review of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar. I first caught the review from Kat Kinsman's tweet containing a list of her favorite take downs. Then, Papa Drew blasted it to every one with a restaurant in NYC sans-BCC which was extra entertaining since I'm pretty sure every one on the email from Emeril to Tony to Daniel Boulud was reading it with no pants on at 1am... or at least I was.
But pants or no pants, we can't ignore the gravity of this review. I guarantee in 2 years, we will look back at this review and say "This was the moment." This was the moment where an essential voice in the food world went on the record and said fuck you food network, fuck you guy fieri, fuck this system of big box restaurants with Cheesecake Factory food propped up by people who can't cook. In a world where half these food writers take free meals in exchange for positive press, where people think yelp has any credence, LUCKILY, we have the NY Times. Thank fucking god for the New York Times because you can trust them. Do I think Michael White got the short end of the stick with the Nicoletta review? Yes. Do I think Danny Bowien is the cutest chef in NYC serving extreme amounts of salt in a myriad of metaphysical Chinese forms? Yes. But do I think the NYT is a source you can trust for honest reporting independent of the "industry"? Yes. It is the ONLY source I know of that you can trust for food critique INDEPENDENT with no strings attached.

*added these 2 paragraphs after reading some other reviews of review*

I've been reading a lot of reviews of Pete's review and just wanted to add this thought. This is a RICO case. We ALL knew Guy's restaurant would suck just like the Neely's sucked, just like every one in the hood knows who's running game. It's not a secret. THE MAN allows things to exist. Hustlers: from the dude with vials to Guy Fieri are ALLOWED to exist. You see them every day. You see vials on the street on the way to the train, you see billboards for the Food Network, Fieri, etc. We walk by every day hoping someone will stunt their money. And that's why I disagree with @wearyourfek (Foster Kramer) about how the article needed more advocacy, satire, or nuance. Why? These people don't deserve that. Liberals have such a problem shooting something in the face, but in life, that's what some things deserve. Guy Fieri doesn't deserve some nuanced, lightly complimentary, back handed critique.

He got exactly what he deserves, a shot in the face. And, it puts people on notice. It draws a line in the sand. ANYONE can get it. Why should the NY Times live in this vacuum only reviewing "industry" restaurants? Food needs to be democratized, but to have an efficient democracy, you need an educated populus. This review should be remembered as the moment we all recognized "Dumb Rappers Need Teaching". We THINK every one knows Guy Fieri sucks or that you should vote Obama, but every one does not know that my g. This was the ill McNulty moment when Wells finally indicted all the people who've been eating off the proliferation of hot trash. It tells us anybody can get it. If Justin Warner is gonna go all big hair and karmaloop clearance rack, this is a review of Do or Dine in 5 years. If I decide to watch bangbros 5 times a day instead of 3, this is a review of Baohaus next week. You push hot trash on the people, you will get dealt with, Scripps can't protect you from THE HAMMER. This indicted Fieri, Scripps, and anyone else opening some sort of celebrity Cheesecake Factory. Just Say No to Hot Trash America. #RICO

*this was the ending previously. it doesn't work anymore but its there cause i don't erase anything from the blog*

I feel this way as a cook, restaurant owner, gremlin, whatever the fuck I am. If we're friends, we're friends, but as a friend, I didn't sign on to support your food unless I really fuck with it and I don't expect you to support mine either unless you really fuck with it. When you shout someone out on twitter, interviews, shows, ect. you should mean it. People TRUST US. They spend money based on our recommendations. It's not nothing. Why can't chefs tell each other "hey dude, the turmeric in the catfish is different than last time?" I love when Andy Ricker comes to Baohaus and tells me that dude with the Cincinnati Reds hat totally flumboluxed the noodles. He is the best "friend" I have in food and I've improved as an owner/chef because he gives it to me straight. I want to tear out Raphael Brion's eyes for giving me that stupid Marcus Samuelsson Fameball Award but I get the irony on the surface even though I disagree. I'm pissed but it's well within his right and I talk to him about it. As an industry, if we kept it real with each other, developed thicker skin and told people what we really think we'd all be better.

The best thing that ever happened to me in my life was that Sifton review. I probably didn't respond the way he wanted, but he'll probably tell you I did the right thing. I speak with words, with video, and Baohaus, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stand behind a stove 60 hours a week. Who told every one that that's what a chef does by the way? Because I don't know one successful chef/owner with multiple restaurants that works the line 5 days a week. Why don't we dispel that myth? Why don't we tell people that's unrealistic given the sub-10% margins at most places? I want the new Lebron X's and I'm not getting them by standing behind the stove at a 500 square foot restaurant every day. I RESPECT the work line cooks do and did it for years, but I tell them all the time, you SHOULD want more for yourself. Would you tell Andy Warhol: A REAL ARTIST PAINTS, stand here 60 hours a week with a paint brush? Why can't we keep it real in food? Why do we constantly reinforce myths about this culture? If you can't stand by your work and need someone to protect you, life will disappoint you in other ways. People telling the truth are not your problem.

Whether you're a new food magazine or a cook or a yelper or a chef or a restaurant owner, don't take free meals for false praise, don't protect "friends", and keep it real on the job because you've CHOSEN to be part of this great culture. If you want to be friends, you want to be liked, and you just want every one to get along, be a customer. We need those. But if you choose to play, respect the game.

Monday, November 12, 2012


It's here... the mofuckin Taiwan episode.

In part 1, you'll see Taiwan is a culturally strange island with really idiosyncratic humor. If there's one thing I tell people about Taiwan it's that the place is mad funny, but people are in on the joke. They aren't oblivious. All the time, I laugh at bathroom or public signage and the locals laugh with me. They know it's ridiculous that there are signs that say SAUCE MOISTENING AREA, they just figure it's as close as they're gonna get and they're easy going. Multiple times I pointed out how signs weren't saying what they were supposed to and owners would laugh hysterically, wave the white flag in defeat, and go back to eating whatever pig parts were on a plate in front of them. It has a lot of the hustle that Japanese occupation and Chinese immigration must have brought with them, but at the end of the day it is an ISLAND and people are chill.

Growing up, people always asked "What is Taiwan? Is it China? Is it Asia? Is it Pacific Islander?" Taiwan is Taiwan. It's weird, it's hysterical and loveable. I think it's the pound for pound greatest eating city in the world, but tons of shows take you to night markets but don't capture what it's like to kick it with the people of Taiwan and for me it's non stop spit your soy milk out funny. The most under appreciated aspect of Taiwanese culture is the humor. The island isn't oblivious or stupid, a lot of it is intentional and the awareness is charming.

Oh yea, here's David Laven the producer eating chocolate dillz. We didn't even have to ask him to do it. This dude was like "YO, camera A, you ready? camera b? camera c? Eddie with the instagram? Alright, someone fuck this up cause I'd love to swallow another three chocolate penis cakes if we have time."

P.S. @thekidmero shawties shop exclusively at SWEET CAMEL

Locals with that bbq hot trash flow

This was my favorite hot bar lunch spot. Nothing fancy, but it really felt like eating at home because this one Ah-ma just put out 15 to 20 dishes of random stir fried vegetables, lu wei, red cooked meat, a fried chicken leg, soup, pan fried croaker, etc. You picked and choosed and paid by weight. Whole Foods need teaching.