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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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The Party’s Over

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Goodnight, little Dirt Candy. It was an amazing six years. Thank you for everything. You were very good to me. When November comes, you’ll be bigger and in a new location, but for now just get some rest. You deserve it.

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GoodnightDC

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation Part 2: Modernist Cuisine

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Before little Dirt Candy goes dark tomorrow (!) I wanted to make sure I put up the second half of my summer vacation, which involved three of my favorite things: lady chefs, lots of food, and plenty of booze. One of the biggest cookbook events of the last four years was the publication of Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine. Of course, the second biggest cookbook event of the last four years was me unwrapping my copy of Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine.

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The pea course involved super-punny placards.

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And in June, I got to go have dinner at their lab.

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What Dirt Candy Can Teach The World About Being Small

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Dirt Candy is small. Really small. Really, really, really small. Just look at this tiny kitchen:

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What does that have to do with you? Well, if you’re one of 35 million Americans who lives in an apartment, then you probably have a tiny kitchen, too. Or maybe you live in a house that was built without a kitchen for some reason and you’ve had to construct one yourself. In a closet. Either way, over the past six years of running Dirt Candy I’ve learned a lot about how to make the most of an absurdly small amount of space and some of my tips might help you.

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Coda di Volpe is back!

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A couple of years ago, one of my favorite wines on the Dirt Candy list was the subtle, salty, smoky, classic Vadiaperti Coda di Volpe. It’s been gone for a while, and that’s probably because wine snobs seem to hate the poor coda di volpe grape, and that’s a shame. This is a wine that pairs perfectly with food because of its sneaky saltiness that works just like real salt and causes the flavors in a dish to pop and sparkle. Customers loved this wine when I had it on the menu but distributors haven’t carried it in a while so I’ve been out of luck.

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Good news! As of today, the Vadiaperti Coda di Volpe is BACK on the Dirt Candy wine list. And wine snobs can kiss my grits. Here’s the original post about this Coda di Volpe so you can read it and see all the snobby potshots that the Oxford Companion of Wine takes at not only the grape but at the Campania region where it grows. To be honest, I’m surprised Campania never punched the Oxford Companion of Wine in the nose. Coda di volpe rocks!

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10 Days Left of Service

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Tonight marks 10 days left of service at little Dirt Candy. I’m so happy to be getting a bigger space, but surprisingly sad, too. I’m going to miss this little guy.

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Cranes! Cranes! Cranes!

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Maybe I am a four-year-old boy at heart, but nothing made me more excited than seeing a giant crane pull up outside the new Dirt Candy to lower our two massive air conditioning units into the back courtyard.

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“Boom down!,” they kept screaming every time it moved.

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This guy reading the newspaper needs to pay attention and respect my crane!

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One of the workers wrestling it into position.

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I love causing chaos and disruption, so this was deeply satisfying.

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Parsley, the salt of the vegetable kingdom

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I do a lot of interviews and that means press people are always asking me to state preferences that I would never think about in real life: what’s your favorite soup? Where’s your favorite toast? What’s your favorite kitchen implement? And the one question to rule them all, the one question that pops up in every single interview: what’s your favorite ingredient? I’ve never sat around arranging and re-arranging ingredients in a complicated but graphically appealing personal preference chart, but after getting this “What’s your favorite ingredient?” question five million times I’ve finally realized the answer. My favorite ingredient? The one I use more than any other? The one I use in almost every single dish? The one I find myself buying by the case every week? Parsley.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation Part 1: Mexico

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This summer, I went south of the border.

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No, not that South of the Border…

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…Mexico!

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What did I learn in Mexico? I learned that the Maquech Beetle is a bug that has gems and gold glued to it and is worn as living jewelry. WHAT?!?! GTFO! Nope, it’s a real thing.

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I couldn’t find my favorite earrings because they crawled away…

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Mexico, everybody!

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Meet Our Wine Zoo: Edelzwicker!!!

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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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Big Table Farm’s Edelzwicker is the newest addition to the DC wine list, which is getting more and more funky and biodynamic by the second. What can I say about this Edelswicker? Easy. This is the Voltron of wines

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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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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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