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What is Dirt Candy?

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What is dirt candy? Vegetables, of course. When you eat a vegetable you’re eating little more than dirt that’s been transformed by plenty of sunshine and rain into something that’s full of flavor: Dirt Candy. It’s also the name of my restaurant, which opened in October, 2008.

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Big Candy is Coming…?

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It’s coming the way anything large and slow approaches: it’s taking its time, it’s moving at its own speed, and I can’t seem to speed it up.

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Finally! Dirt Candy gets some good graffiti!

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The future office downstairs.

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Dumpsters! A sign of progress!

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Our VIP section. Surprisingly, this part of the restaurant is already finished.

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But it is moving along. Like a stoned elephant.

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“I’ll get there eventually, and have more fun along the way.”

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Enough with Tofu

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Sometimes dishes change because the seasons are changing, something they change because I’m bored, and sometimes they change because, like J.Lo, I’ve had ENOUGH.

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When I looked at tofu, I wanted to smack it in the head and shout, “I’ve had ENOUGH!”

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So I made this. Out of tofu.

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The Last Days of Dirt Candy

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This blog has been very quiet lately, and that’s because I’ve been up to my neck building the new Dirt Candy. And that’s why I’m here today to tell you…THESE ARE THE LAST DAYS OF DIRT CANDY!!!!

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Endtimes

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The sky is falling! The seas are on fire! The rivers run red with blood! If you want to eat at little Dirt Candy, the original tiny restaurant with the strength of ten diners, then Saturday, August 30 is the last day you can make a reservation.

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I’m going to do my best to preserve everything that made little Dirt Candy so special when we move to big Dirt Candy, but you’ll never again be able to sit next to the bathroom door and get bumped into by waiters while the people at the next table listen to every word you say. Truly, it is the end of an era.

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Tomato Cake is back!

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One of Dirt Candy’s most popular dishes is our Tomato! It’s a tomato cake with smoked feta and people love it. This is one of those dishes that surprised even me. When I was developing this recipe I knew it would be fun, but I didn’t know it would be this good.

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Because it’s mostly tomatoes, I can’t serve Tomato! when tomatoes are out of season, so it disappears after the summer. But for now, it’s back to replace the Spinach! You can read more about it, or just feast your eyes on its fruity red glory.

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Updates!

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Just a few updates because life is moving forward and Dirt Candy is moving with it!

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We’ve got an instagram account! I’m snapping pictures of stuff in the kitchen, dishes I’m working on, and the new space getting (hopefully) built. So if you want to see it all as it happens (or as it doesn’t happen) then that’s the best place to go.

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On April 15 (Tax Day!) Zagat closes the voting for last year’s restaurants, and then it uses the votes to assign overall ratings for their guide. Believe it or not, this kind of thing really helps Dirt Candy and it’s one of the ways that folks find out about my restaurant. So if you have a minute, I’d love it if you could head over there and rate Dirt Candy (good or bad – I’ve got a thick skin) and let Zagat know how your meal here was?

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Finally, Eater asked me to write a column for them, and the first one just went up. It’s called Dispatches from Dirt Candy and it’s my take on some of the current trends in restaurants and what’s going on in this industry. So if you’re interested in hearing me shoot my mouth off about stuff (alternate title we didn’t use for the column: “Someone, Please Make Amanda Cohen Shut Up!”) then it’ll be right up your alley.

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Future

The Future, here we come!

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The New Wine List!

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The wine list has finally been updated!

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That is all.

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The Potato Salad

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An unholy combination of three different dishes from three different countries, the Dirt Candy Potato Salad is the lightest, crunchiest, most delicate potato salad you’ve ever had in your life.

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The Original Moosewood

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One of the coolest things that happened to me while I was touring with the cookbook last summer, was going to Omnivore Books in San Francisco. The store itself was amazing and the event was packed which was great, but the best thing was finding a first edition copy of the Moosewood Cookbook on their shelves.

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If you’re a vegetarian, you have a copy of the Moosewood Cookbook. If you don’t, that just means you lost it. Moosewood is the training wheels to being a vegetarian home cook, the book that launched a thousand plates of brown rice and tofu. The New York Times claims it’s one of the ten best-selling cookbooks of all time. Just holding this spiral-bound, stained, faded, typewritten and hand-lettered cookbook felt like reaching back into the misty past of vegetarianism. But then, something crazy happened.

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The Moosewood Collective in all their world-changing glory.

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One of the people attending the event was Phyllis Boudreau, one of the original members of the Moosewood collective. Moosewood was a vegetarian restaurant operated under collective ownership in upstate New York. Earnest and committed to political change, this cookbook was going to be their big foray into the world. However one of their members, Mollie Katzen, took their name and style and recipes and started publishing her own Moosewood cookbooks without the collective. There was a falling out and the whole thing ended with Katzen getting rich and a lot of hurt feelings and bad blood.

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It was kind of awesome to get to experience some of this history first-hand because this was a major moment for vegetarian food in America, and it reminded me of how many stories in the food world there are outside the sphere of celebrity chefs and French cuisine, and how many of them haven’t been told yet. I wish more of them were getting written down before they’re forgotten.

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Meet Our Wine Zoo: Shooting Star Blue Franc Blaufränkisch

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Dirt Candy doesn’t have much room to store cases of wine, so rather than offering people the same old list of Syrahs, Cabernets, Chardonnays, Pinot Grigios and all the rest of the usual suspects I thought I’d make up a wine list of the strangest and most unusual wines I could find, sort of like a wine zoo for exotic animals.

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Blaufrankisch

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Blaufränkisch is a winemaker’s wine, a grape that folks in the know love and are willing to do anything to grow. If you ever want to impress a sommelier, order a Blaufränkisch if you see one on his or her list. They’re rarely ordered and that’s too bad, because they are red wine’s best kept secret.

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Meet Our Wine Zoo: Montenidoli Vinbrusco Toscana

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Dirt Candy doesn’t have much room to store cases of wine, so rather than offering people the same old list of Syrahs, Cabernets, Chardonnays, Pinot Grigios and the rest of the usual suspects I thought I’d make up a wine list of the strangest and most unusual wines I could find, sort of like a wine zoo for exotic animals.

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Dirt Candy has a tradition of serving forgotten and neglected wines, but it would be hard to find a wine more obscure than vinbrusco. My Oxford Companion to Wine doesn’t even have an entry for it, and yet it’s one of the richest, spiciest white wines I’ve ever tried.

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Vinbrusco

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menu


Menu

Snack

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Jalapeno Hush Puppies $6
served with maple butter
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Appetizers

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Mushroom $13
portobello mousse, truffled toast
pear & fennel compote

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Cucumber $12
roasted cucumber hot and sour soup,
black sesame, garlic chili oil, wood ear
mushroom, cucumber jelly

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Tomato $13
tomato cake with smoked feta,
yellow tomato leather, herb puree

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Potato $12
warm potato salad, crispy Japanese
yams, grilled sweet potato, olives,
bitter greens, apples

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Entrees

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Beets $20
salt-roasted beets, thai green curry,
beet gnocchi, whipped coconut galangal cream

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Pepper $18
fennel & pepper tofu,
parsley spaetzle, grilled
yellow pepper broth,
mustard crumbs

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Broccoli $21
smoked broccoli dogs,
broccoli kraut, salt &
vinegar broccoli rabe

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Corn $19
stone ground grits, corn cream,
pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche,
tempura poached egg

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- everything on the menu can be made vegan on request.

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Dessert

Rosemary Eggplant Tiramisu $12
grilled eggplant, rosemary cotton
candy, mascarpone

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Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar$11
sweet pea, mint, chocolate

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Popcorn Pudding$11
salted caramel corn

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Celery Cheesecake Roll$10
celeriac ice cream, peanut filling,

& candied grapes

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- vegan dessert selection changes regularly, please ask your server.

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Our wine list (and other beverages)

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Gift Certificates

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