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Fork in the Road: We love you back!

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The Village Voice‘s blog, Fork in the Road, just posted their 2012 Top Ten Restaurants in the East Village list and Dirt Candy is number 9. Squee, I say. And again, I say it: squee. I really love the Village Voice‘s food coverage, and Fork in the Road is a food blog that seriously attempts to do justice to New York City’s culinary scene, so this is a big honor. (And no, I’m not prejudiced. Promise!) No matter how you slice it, to be on a list with big name East Village establishments like Momofuku Ssam Bar and Prune is a blast.

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(Read the full list)

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Dirt Candy on Serious Eats!

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Serious Eats is one of my favorite food websites, and they do a Daily Veg series, focusing on how restaurants in NYC handle vegetables. Today they take a look at Dirt Candy and I have to admit, my food’s never looked so photogenic. If you’re bored, and the spring weather is making you antsy and you want to look at some safe-for-work food photos, head on over. It’s not my fault if they make you hungry.

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Roberta’s Radio Interview Today

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I’m the guest on Michael Harlan Turkell’s radio show “The Food Seen” today (Tuesday) at 3pm. The two of us gossip about restaurants, the business of restaurants, Dirt Candy and restaurants that aren’t Dirt Candy. If you don’t like restaurants, you shouldn’t listen. But if you do like restaurants you can listen to the show on Heritage Radio right here on the interwebs. Heritage is a radio station operating out of the back of Roberta’s restaurant in East Williamsburg, which is the only pizza place I’ve heard of that has a Michelin star.

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A photo Michael took of Dirt Candy the month we opened.

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I’ve known Michael for a long time and, as far as I’m concerned, he’s one of the best food photographers in the country. He did the first pictures of Dirt Candy way back when, and he’s long been a big supporter of the restaurant. My only complaint? I’ve wanted to go to Roberta’s for ages, and when I finally made it there I didn’t get to eat. Boo.

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His photo of Kristen carrying mousse and soup.

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Heritage Radio on Facebook

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MHT’s own personal website

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Michael’s photo of an early to-do list for one day’s prep.

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Best Vegetarian Restaurant in NYC!

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The Village Voice has singled us out as one of their ten favorite vegetarian restaurants in the city before, and they’ve previously put us in the spotlight for having the best grits in town, too. But today marks the first time we’ve been officially voted “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” in New York City by the Village Voice, and I couldn’t be happier. I know you’re not supposed to care about awards and praise, but sometimes it really means a lot. Dirt Candy is a very small restaurant, with a very small staff, and all of us are here every day. We bust our butts to deliver consistent, creative and fun food and, in some tiny way, all of us really want to change the way people think about vegetables. So it’s nice to get a pat on the back like this. Thanks, Village Voice! All seven of us love you, too!

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We are Bib Gourmand!

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This year, Dirt Candy again becomes one of only three vegetarian restaurants in the city to get Bib Gourmand status from the Michelin Guide. It’s a real honor and I’m very proud to get this. Bib Gourmand status is awarded to restaurants that offer great food, but that aren’t on the starred dining track. The first year we got Bib Gourmand I prickled a little at this — whaddaya mean we don’t give the starred dining experience?!? But then I realized that what this meant was that the food was good but that to their minds we’re not competing with those places that have white tablecloths, a sommelier and a super-expensive multi-course tasting menu. The Bib Gourmand basically means that Michelin considers your food above average, but you’re the chillaxed alternative to the uptight, uptown fancy pants places that want to go head-to-head with Eleven Madison Park and Per Se. So: good food, a fun experience, affordable prices and a relaxed, party down atmosphere? I’m proud for that to be what comes to mind when people think of Dirt Candy.

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“Dirt Candy, you relax me.”

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Also on the list are Fatty Crab, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar and a whole bunch of other restaurants. You can check out the entire Bib Gourmand line-up here.

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Fit for Foodies

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I’m as ambivalent about the word “foodies” as the next chef (I love people who are excited about food, but I feel weird that we need a special label for them) but one place I like seeing it all the time is on Open Table’s Fit For Foodies rankings. Their users rate restaurants across the country and one of the categories is whether it’s “fit for foodies” or not. Once a year they total up all the results and list the 50 restaurants which received the most votes as “fit for foodies” in the country. San Francisco rocks it this year with 14 restaurants in the top 50. Chicago comes in second with 6 wins. And New York City comes in third (bronze – yuck!) with 5 restaurants in the Top 50. They are:

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Aldea (George Mendes)

Annisa (Anita Lo)

Blue Hill (Dan Barber)

WD-50 (Wylie Dufresne)

Dirt Candy (Amanda Cohen)

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Here’s the full list.

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Thanks to everyone who voted. I’m extremely proud to be included on a list that prestigious, and it means a lot to me that this is based on votes from people who actually ate here. I really do think Dirt Candy is a special place, and my tiny staff* and I try hard to make sure that when people eat at Dirt Candy they have the best experience possible. It’s nice to know that it’s working.

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* – I don’t mean that they are leprechauns, I just mean that there are very few of them.

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Dirt Candy wins?

 

Every now and then one of these “Restaurants are getting tiny!” articles appear and the latest one is in the Wall Street Journal. They do mention Dirt Candy as they talk about restaurants that clock in at under 60 seats and 1,000 square feet, which means that they know what they’re talking about because Dirt Candy is only slightly large than three adult males standing side-by-side. But I read their stories of 800 square foot restaurants with 55 seats, and 700 square foot restaurants with 20 seats and I think, “Amateurs.” Because Dirt Candy? 650 square feet and 18 seats. Which means that I…win?

 

Actual size of the Dirt Candy kitchen.


TV Thinks I Am Fat….

 

Just when I thought I was prepared for the summer and couldn’t possibly be surprised by anything, Dirt Candy takes premature revenge. Yesterday morning I woke up, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, my insurance premiums were paid up, I checked my email and saw….

 

From the producers of Kitchen Nightmares & Celebrity Fit Club  COMES A NEW LIFE CHANGING WEIGHT LOSS DOCU-SERIES FOR ANYONE IN THE

CULINARY OR FOOD WORLD!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR JOB OR LIFE, WE ARE COMING TO YOU!

If you are 75+ POUNDS OVERWEIGHT or potentially unhealthy & have a job in the food industry, this is your chance to turn your life around!

 

Why couldn’t it be 60 pounds overweight? Why couldn’t it be 50? I mean, from some angles I can see that someone might think I’m 40 pounds overweight, but “75+ pounds”?!? Thanks for telling me I’m fat, TV. Somehow, I’m sure that this is Dirt Candy’s way of making me feel bad before I go on vacation.

 

“I am not 75+ pounds overweight. Maybe 40. Max.”


No Longer Fit

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Super summer bummer! I just noticed that my ranking on Open Table as “Fit for Foodies” has been removed. But it’s not some insidious plot or a sign of slipping standards. Open Table rankings operate in real time according to the reviews that are there and those reviews are updated approximately every 90 days. So if you have some bad reviews, they eventually slip further and further down in time and finally vanish off Open Table altogether so that when you read reviews you’re only getting the latest ones made in the last three months. What’s happened with my Open Table reviews is that no one’s left one for a while, so currently it’s as if I have no reviews on Open Table, which makes me feel sort of naked.

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If only these kittens had Open Table reviews….

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Don’t worry – I’m not asking anyone to go post reviews for Dirt Candy; you can’t write a review unless you’ve booked a reservation through Open Table. It’s just another semi-interesting look at the way these things work. Emphasis on “semi.” Even stranger, I notice that there aren’t very many recent online reviews for Dirt Candy at all. Have I reached some sort of strange unreviewable status? Is online reviewing over? Did someone break the internet?

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If you do eat at Dirt Candy, please feel free to post an Open Table review. Even the bad ones are genuinely fun to read. I got hours of enjoyment out of the person who complained that they had a three course meal and it took them one and a half hours. Way too long in their book! We’re like a restaurant run by snails!

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Dirt Candy on Food(ography)

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Sorry for the radio silence in these parts. Next week will see a lot more posting and an explanation of why it’s been so quiet on the blog and why that will change.

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But in the meantime, Dirt Candy is going to be on the “Restaurants” episode of Food(ography) that premieres at 9pm on the Cooking Channel on Sunday, April 17.

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Host Mo Rocca…looking sexy.

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Here’s the write-up and the day’s schedule
(it’ll air again at 1AM).

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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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