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Dirt Candy Was in Idaho

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One of the fun things about owning Dirt Candy that I never expected is to wake up and find pictures in my inbox of Dirt Candy food that folks have made at home. It’s so awesome to see how people are taking what I’m doing and doing something totally new with it. But Andria Friesen in Idaho stepped up her game in October 2013 by holding an entire Dirt Candy dinner. She does these dinners as an annual event, always focusing on one chef, and after eating at Dirt Candy during a visit to New York, she picked Dirt Candy.

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And made a portobello mousse brain.

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Dirt Candy Birthday Toast!

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The last week of Dirt Candy’s 5th Birthday Party is here! This week, from 1/28 to 2/1 we’ll have Mushroom Toast on the menu. This is my riff on Hong Kong’s famous snack, Shrimp Toast.

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Born in Hong Kong, shrimp toast became an Australian snack favorite and a staple of Tiki-themed menus in Polynesian restaurants across America in the 1960′s. My version has replaced the shrimp with shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and Chinese chives (along with a bunch of other secret ingredients). The ingredients are chopped fine, spread on triangles of bread, then deep fried and served with a spicy chili garlic sauce. They’re the kind of thing I could eat about a dozen of at once, which makes sense. If doughnuts are just sweet fried bread for dessert, then Mushroom Toast is just savory fried bread for dinner. What could be better?

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Start Drinking at Dirt Candy This Week!

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Nothing makes dinner go down better than booze! And starting on Tuesday, 1/14, for one week you’ll get a free pour of our sparkling wine when you dine with us. It’s part of Dirt Candy’s 5th birthday celebration!

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Aw, yiiiiisssss! Meet our new sommelier

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Next week…back by popular demand: the return of the Kimchi Doughnuts!

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Dirt Candy Turns 5 Years Old…in January!!!

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This October, Dirt Candy turned 5 years old and I am a terrible restaurant owner who totally forgot about it until the last minute. In the future, Dirt Candy will write a hurtful memoir called Amanda Dearest full of horrible stories about how neglectful and abusive I was and I just want you all to know that it will be nothing but lies.

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Dirt Candy and me in happier days.

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But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate! So this January, 2014, I’m going to be celebrating Dirt Candy’s 5th Birthday all month long, and you’re invited. It’s in January partially because I forgot to put anything together for October but also because I think it’ll be a lot more fun to do some celebrating in January, traditionally a freezing cold month when not much is going on and everyone is all sad face after the holidays. So come get your spirits jump-started with the month-long Dirt Candy Birthday Party in January 2014.

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Week of January 1st - for the first week of January, we’re celebrating Dirt Candy’s 5th Birthday by giving free hush puppies to every table. Bury your face in delicious maple butter and jalapeno hush puppies, then sing happy birthday and let the crumbs fly out of your mouth!

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Basically, this. In a bowl. With butter.

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Week of January 13th – for seven days, we want you to drunk dine! All tables get a free pour of Dirt Candy’s sparkling rose’ when they sit down. There is no better way to start a meal than with a glass of something bubbly that picks you up and takes you to a place full of unicorns, and that’s what this will do. Or, at the very least, it’ll give you a nice buzz before you have to pick up your menu and make decisions like you’re still at work or something.

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It’s going to pretty much be like this. All the time.
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Week of January 20th – this week, the old dish is coming back. I asked you guys to vote on which old dish should come back on the menu, and first it got narrowed down on Facebook. Then I took that list of five dishes and turned it over to you guys to vote on. And the winner? Kimchi Doughnuts, by 76 votes (Chard Gnocchi had 65; Asparagus Paella had 55; Celery Salad had 22; and poor Spinach Soup had 7 – don’t worry, Spinach, we still love you)! So starting 1/20, come on down and get some Kimchi Doughnuts.

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Democracy in action!

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Week of January 27th – a while back I made a special mushroom-only version of the classic Hong Kong treat, Shrimp Toast. It was a lot of fun, so this week it’s back. For the week of January 27th, you can order two snacks, either the jalapeno hush puppies or Dirt Candy’s Mushroom Toast. Choices! We’re all about choices!

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Mighty Mushroom Toast.

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It’s a food fiesta during the glummest month of the year. So beat back the post-holiday gloom with Dirt Candy’s month of birthday in January, 2014!

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50 Shades of Doughnut

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Sometimes customers bring the kitchen crew at Dirt Candy treats, and treats are always welcome. But sometimes a customer goes that extra mile and brings us treats with a theme. So a huge thank you to Kelly who brought us Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream and donettes. Why? Well, if you were at packed, standing-room-only, Dirt Candy Food Porn-a-copia at GoogaMooga, then you know exactly what these treats mean. If you weren’t there, then realize that these foodstuffs mean that things are about to get very, very dirty at Dirt Candy.

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Happy 5th Birthday, Dirt Candy!

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Five years ago today, Dirt Candy opened to the public. I was terrified. I’d come out of some not-great restaurants where I’d learned a lot about all the things that can go wrong. I had money riding on this. I had my future riding on this. And I was at a severe disadvantage. I was a woman in a field where men got most of the press attention. I was cooking vegetables in a world where the height of wit was considered a t-shirt that read, “Mmmm…bacon…” I was cooking with electricity because my contractor had screwed me and I had no gas service. And, like every chef opening a restaurant, I was worried I wasn’t good enough or, even worse, I would be good enough but through some cruel twist of fate on the part of the New York City Restaurant Gods I wouldn’t find customers.

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Five years later, Dirt Candy is thriving. It’s done so much better than I ever could have dreamed. My crew and I have won awards, cooked at major events, published a comic book cookbook, and gotten more press attention than what is technically legal. The issue of women getting less press coverage has gone from something not mentioned very often to a topic that comes up regularly in interviews with chefs and editors, and I’d like to claim some of the credit for that (a tiny, tiny bit). And apparently vegetables are “hip” and “sexy” and “moving to the center of the plate.” So yay! First!

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But in reality, all of this is thanks to you. Sure, my chefs and I built this crazy camper van, but you’re the ones who took the steering wheel and drove it so far. You’re the men and women who spent your hard-earned money at Dirt Candy, who Tweeted its name far and wide, who recommended us to your friends, and who bought my cookbook. You’re the people who made Dirt Candy successful, and so on reaching our fifth birthday I want to say “Thank you.” This could have gone the other way, but you didn’t let that happen. And I am nothing but deeply grateful to all of you for making my restaurant a success. I’d never have gotten this far without you.

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There will be a celebration of Dirt Candy’s Fifth Birthday, so keep your eyes on this blog later this week when I’ll announce the details. But for now I hope it’s enough to say, “Thank you!” I think it’s fair to say that, without exception, Dirt Candy customers are the most awesome people on the planet. You guys ride to work on unicorns, you dress like royalty, you dance like rock stars, and when you sneeze you sneeze glitter rainbows.

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Dirt Candy Eats the New Yorker

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This nice weather is quickly coming to an end, which means there’s no better time to come sit in the garden of Roberta’s out in Bushwick and listen to me, Dave Arnold (Booker and Dax), Ariane Daguin (D’Artagnan), and Sean Rembold (Marlow & Sons) talk about food as part of the New Yorker Festival on Sunday, October 6 @ 1pm. It’s got the unfortunate name of “Foodies Unite” and tickets are $150 each (yikes!) but at least we’ll be serving lunch and booze while we yap, so if you get bored of us you can chew really loudly and get drunk. It’s a win-win!

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Also, I’ve always wanted to win the Caption Contest in the back of the New Yorker so I feel like this is putting me one step closer to living my dream!

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Guy on desert island. The third most popular New Yorker
cartoon set-up after king looking over battlements and
man sitting behind desk.

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Full info

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Let Us Eat Local is here again!

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On Wednesday, October 2 @ 7:30pm I’m going to be part of Let Us Eat Local again. I’ll be joining with restaurants like Balaboosta, Blue Hill, Parish Hall, Il Buco, and Gramercy Tavern to support Just Food, the NY nonprofit that brings food from local farms to citywide projects like their CSAs, City Farms, Fresh Food for All, Community Food Education, and many more. Tickets are still available, so head on over. I’ll be serving mini-broccoli dogs, so come find me!

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Coming to San Francisco! One day only! Only the strong survive!

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This coming Sunday, September 22 from 3pm – 4pm, I’m going to be at Omnivore Books in San Francisco doing the dirty Dirt Candy dance. I’ll be signing cookbooks, talking about the history of vegetarian food, dishing the dirt on running a restaurant, and serving free Portobello Mousse. This hour of food mayhem will go down at Omnivore Books (3885a Cesar Chavez Street – at Church Street) and everyone is welcome. It’s free!

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This is my attempt to put an end to the dangerous East Coast/West Coast hip hop war that has consumed the world of vegetables for far too long. I’m tired of young rutabagas dying in the streets, baby mushrooms chopped down in the prime of their life, squashes squashed before they can make a positive contribution to society. So let’s come together and bring positivity to the community and build a world where baby vegetables can grow up to become delicious dishes as adult vegetables.

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This’ll be my first event for the cookbook on the West Coast, and I’m nervous about it. So if you know anyone who might want to come, or if you’re toying with the idea of attending, come on down or help me get the word out. A world free from vegetable violence begins with you!

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Closed Tonight for Charity

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Dirt Candy is closed tonight, Saturday August 17th, because we’re all out in the Hamptons cooking for charity with a bunch of other lady chefs at the Pink Apron event for the Ellen Hermanson Foundation. Tickets are still available, I think, so if you’re in Southampton tonight and have an uncontrollable hankering for Tomato Cake, come on down.

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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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