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Bangladeshi Ambassador at Khaabar Baari

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Team Vitality

Khaabar Baari
37-22 73rd Street
Jackson Heights, Queens 11372
(718) 639-6868

I celebrated Memorial Day by participating in the Bangladeshi Ambassador Program organized by Jeff Orlick of Iwantmorefood.com, and hosted by Bangladeshi Ambassador Mr. Rashid Mohammad and the owner of Khaabar Barri Restaurant Mr.Kaysar Halim.

The Ambassador Program, as described by Jeff Orlick on Iwantmorefood.com:

“The Ambassador Program has one expert of a culture lead a group of people for their own dream meal… This allows us diners to let go, eat well, and expand our boundaries for the city, the world and our palates.”

It was no surprise that Mr. Mohammad chose to showcase Bangladeshi cuisine at Khaabar Baari. On this Monday afternoon, Khaabar Baari was a bustling hub for the community – filled with families, as well as groups of men socializing both inside and outside of the cafe. On the main floor are savory snacks, and sweets, along with a buffet of hot foods. The downstairs dining room offers Bangladeshi Halal Chinese fare.

After an introduction, Mr. Mohammad led us into a private party room that is available for banquets and meetings. We were invited to sit in the audience of 100+, who came to meet the candidates running for election in the Bangladeshi Business Association of Jackson Heights. We got a sneak peek into the organization and leadership of an active community in Jackson Heights.

Brought back to the dining room, we were greeted with an abundant and varied buffet. Appetizers included chotpoti, a popular snack of chickpeas in tamarind tomato sauce, topped with slices of boiled eggs. The rest of the appetizers consisted of deep fried savory snacks: singuara (samosa), samuchaaloo chop (giant potato croquette), moglai (stuffed naan), vegetable oakora (pakora/battered fried veggies).

The main course consisted of grilled king fish seasoned with fish masala, a spicy beef bihari kekbab, and a stew of mixed vegetables. Though there are commonalities between Indian and Bangladeshi food, according to Mr. Mohammad, Bangladeshi food can be summarized as simpler and homier. He also pointed out that fish is major staple.

There were three types of polao (biryani/rice pilaf): mutton, chicken, and beef. Since Islam is the majority religion of Bangladesh, the food reflects the religious customs. At Khaabar Baari, alcohol is not served, all meat are halal, and pork is nowhere in sight. Mutton and beef are more commonly served.

When there are so many flavorful foods, it’s nice to cool the mouth with something refreshing like a green salad. And when eating dry food, like fried snacks, bread, and rice, it’s nice to put season with relish, chutney, or what the Bangladeshi are known for – bharta. A bharta is essentially cooked mashed vegetables seasoned with onion, garlic, chilies, and spices. Many varieties of vegetables can be made into a bharta. The bharta is like a spread. We had two varieties: tomato and eggplant.

At the end of the meal, the chef, who has over 30 years of experience, greeted us and explained the process and ingredients that went into our meal. Common seasoning consists of garlic, onion, ginger, cilantro, coriander seeds, fresh chilies, and a blend of spices.

No meal is complete without tea and dessert. We enjoyed rich, hot chai tea with rosmalai, soft patties of cheese curd in sweet milky cream; rogolla, a dough made with semolina flour and cheese, soaked in syrup; chom chom, a cube of milk and sugar; and gurer sandesh, a packet of moist fudge like sweet make with milk and molasses. Mr Halim proudly explained that gurer sandesh is unique to Bangladesh and made out of all natural ingredients. The desserts were intensely sweet, and a perfect finish to our feast.

Mr. Halim and his staff showed warmth and hospitality. After serving folks at the buffet line, Mr. Halim personally went around the tables, asking “More? Here, eat more,” as he filled up our plates with extra meat, fish, and rice. There was plenty of food leftover, which we were encouraged to pack and take home. Not only did I leave with a full belly, but I left with a snack for later. Mr. Halim and Mr. Mohammad enthusiastically shared with us their warmth and hospitality, culture and lifestyle, as well as their love and aspiration for the community.

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Sony Acquires Queen’s Catalog for $1.2 Billion

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sony music

Sony has made a massive acquisition in the music space, acquiring the catalog of legendary rock band Queen for a whopping $1.27 billion, according to a report from Hits and later confirmed by Variety.

According to Variety, the only revenue not covered in the deal is for live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still actively tour with singer Adam Lambert, will retain.

The bidding came down to Sony and an undisclosed player who was said to be very close but stopped short at $900 million, allowing Sony to walk away with the catalog.

There is no denying the iconic value of Queen’s catalog, which includes such memorable hits as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “39,” “Somebody to Love” and “You’re My Best Friend” as well as the iconic “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” which have been globally integrated with major sports leagues especially during games and during championship celebrations.

Furthermore, the success of  the 2018 biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” demonstrates the potential for the group’s name and likeness rights and could also hint at a potential musical presentation for Broadway or in London in the future.

It is worth noting that the catalog, which has been in play for the last several years, is complicated by the group’s recorded-music rights for the United States and Canada, which were acquired by entertainment juggernaut Disney, for an undisclosed price, at some time during the 2000s following an initial $10 million licensing deal back in 1991, with those rights remaining with Disney  in perpetuity, although certain of the bandmembers’ remaining royalties from them will go to Sony once the deal officially closes.

Queen’s distribution deal is current with Universal, but will go to Sony in all territories outside the United States and Canada when it expires in 2026 or 2027.

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Pixar CCO Pete Docter Excited About Future

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Disney

The latest smash hit in theaters is Pixar’s ‘Inside Out 2’ which had a stellar opening in theaters grossing $295 million globally in its first weekend, and the film is currently this year’s highest box office debut.

Naturally, that success has many people excited, specifically Pixar who feel that the numbers, which are similar to pre-2020 numbers, indicate an incredible future is upon them.

“I feel like we’re in a really golden place where, after a lot of turmoil, every project we have is exciting to me for multiple reasons — both from new looks and technology, but more importantly, original stories and storytellers,” Pixar Chief creative officer Pete Docter said, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Docter also spoke about the recently announced ‘Inside Out’ series that will land on Disney+ and stated that the project is already completed and will be arriving to the streaming platform sometime in Spring 2025.

“But in the first film, remember we go to Dream Production to see how Riley’s dreams are made? It semi-explains why they’re so weird. We’ve continued the exploration of the power of dreams and how they affect us in our waking life, as well. So it’s pretty cool,” Docter said.

Docter discussed how the company decides which content lands on Disney+, which was announced just before the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, or gets a premier release in theaters, which seems to be making a comeback in the market.

“But that was really before anyone had an understanding of the economics of how it all works. How much can you spend on a show, and how do you even track what it made? A box office is super easy. Three people came in, I know I can count the money exactly. With streaming, depending on how you divide it up, do you get more money to do something that’s new or that attracts new viewers? It’s very squirrely,” he explained.

With Pixar basking in the limelight of their latest success, the future is exciting for the company and it will be interesting to see how far their new success can go.

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Joe and Anthony Russo’s ‘The Electric State’ Gets Massive Budget

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Netflix

Netflix is opening up the bank for the latest film from Joe and Anthony Russo.

According to World of Reel, Joe and Anthony Russo’s ‘The Electric State’ movie, which is going to be exclusively for the entertainment streaming platform, Netflix has topped the $300 million budget mark, costing $320 million to produce.

The cast for “The Electric State”, a sci-fi movie based on Simon Stålenhag‘s 2018 illustrated novel, includes Millie Bobbie Brown, Chris Pratt, Ke Huy Quan, Giancarlo Espostito, Anthony Mackie, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Brian Cox, and Jenny Slate.

According to the official synopsis: ““The Electric State” is a coming-of-age tale that mixes sci-fi and western genres in a retro-futuristic past. Brown plays an orphaned teenager who traverses the American West with her robot friend and an eccentric drifter in search of her younger brother.”

Netflix won the bidding war for the rights to the film back in 2022, and now we will see if the ROI on the investment will reward their massive investment.

 

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