dc5
Dirt Candy Header Side Image

Ode to Soy

Most of the dishes at Dirt Candy are designed around a specific ingredient, and the Crispy Tofu with Green Ragout is our tribute to soy.

.

.

Since 220 AD, China’s been turning out tofu and soy milk, and the soy bean is used in everything from Crisco to vodka. It’s a go-to vegetable (actually a legume) for a lot of processed food and it’s mostly associated in the US with tofu, which doesn’t do it any favors*. But don’t let its down-market associations and industrial uses fool you. Soy is one of the staples of a lot of different cuisines (Chinese, Korean), it’s full of protein and, despite claims to the contrary, it won’t make you gay. Soy beans have a smooth, lightly nutty flavor and our Crispy Tofu with Green Ragout contains more soy than you can shake a stick at.

. Read the rest of this entry »


The Horrors!

The weirdest thing about running a restaurant is how much time you spend dealing with a million horrible things that have nothing at all to do with cooking. The day before yesterday I was wondering why my laundry company hadn’t made a delivery of any dish towels, chef’s jackets or any of my other linens, so I called them.

.

“Sorry,” they told me. “Your laundry is on fire.”

“What?”

“One of our dryers caught on fire and it burned up all your laundry.”

.

So my laundry died in a fire? I’ve worked in restaurants for over ten years and it’s nice to know that I can still be surprised.

.

My laundry.

.


Kiss My Grits

The first time I met grits I thought they were disgusting. It wasn’t really their fault, it was how they were dressed. Like most people, I first encountered grits at a diner, a glutinous pile of ooze sitting on my plate and glaring at me with an evil-looking pat of greasy butter melting on top of its head. Gloopy and gluey, it tried to grab my fork with its rapidly-congealing body every time I took a bite. It wasn’t until I was in South Carolina that I made my peace with grits.

.

.

Read the rest of this entry »


Why I’m Not a Vegetarian

I can’t remember why I stopped eating meat. I’d been an enthusiastic carnivore up until the age of 15 and then suddenly…nothing. No meat, no seafood, no chicken, no pork, nothing. It wasn’t because I cared about animals, in fact I’ve always given animals a wide berth. At an early age a goldfish had gotten out of its tank and chased me around the kitchen and ever since then I figured that if a goldfish wanted my blood then I wasn’t about to try my luck with anything that actually came equipped with fangs and sharp claws. So I’ve avoided animals both as friends and as food and hopefully, when they take over the planet and enslave humanity, they’ll remember that and cut me a break.

.

Read the rest of this entry »


Meet our Wine Zoo: the Orzada

We just added a new wine to our list, a 2003 Orzada Carignan from Odfjell Vineyards in Chile. You have to buy wine by the case and we don’t have much room to store those cases, so rather than offering people the same old list of Syrahs, Cabernets, Chardonnays, Pinot Grigios and all the rest of the usual suspects we thought we’d make up a wine list of the strangest and most unusual wines we could find, sort of like a wine zoo for exotic animals.

.

.

At a recent tasting this Orzada reached up out of the glass and smacked us in the face with its big, juicy fist. The winery was founded by a Norwegian ship owner who fell in love with the Maipo Valley in Chile, and this Orzada tastes like what a Viking ship would taste like if you could drink it. There’s some creosote or tar to it that keeps it lively and gives it an agreeably tough edge, but there’s also a woodsy, thick, tannic quality to it that grips your mouth. It’s stuffed with juicy berries, some mint and licorice, but the most remarkable thing about it is its absurdly peppery finish that feels like you just chewed up a mouthful of peppercorns. In a good way.

.

Read the rest of this entry »


One Month Down…

We’ve been open for just a little over a month and, surprisingly, no one’s dead or injured. I thought for sure we wouldn’t make it this far, but people have been coming and they seem to be having fun. Still no gas (although there may be light at the end of that particular tunnel) and the construction is still dragging on (no heat, the menu box hasn’t been fixed yet, the sound system is still out of commission and we’re running on a Bose sound dock, other boring problems, blah, blah, blah) but as far as the food and how people are receiving it, we couldn’t be happier.

.

Hey, look! It’s grits!

.

The Amateur Gourmet did a super-nice video piece on the place full of snazzy Video Toaster effects and he really loved the food. The Feedbag did an interview and then came in to eat and I couldn’t be happier that a committed carnivore like Josh Ozersky is enjoying what we’re doing here. And there are more happy diners writing at the Pink Pig, and at Yelp and on Menupages.

.

It feels really, really rewarding that people seem to enjoy what we’re doing so far. Jesus (sous chef), Debbie (pastry),  Kristen (waiter) and I have worked really hard to make this place exactly what we want it to be, and while it’s not quite there yet (I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like it’s perfect), and we’re not planning on relaxing anytime soon, it sounds like we’re at least moving in the right direction. And just wait until the gas is on and we become an unstoppable volcano of food.

.

That’s when the kimchi doughnuts and the paella crisp are going to officially go on the menu – we just weren’t able to make them as good as I want them to be without gas. Not because you need gas to cook them, but cooking on countertop appliances is slow and taking those two dishes off the menu for now really frees us up to make everything else as good as it should be. Fingers crossed that the gas will be up before the holidays, the construction will be over and I can stop arguing with contractors over HVAC systems and upholstery because I am sick and tired of having to manage a construction job and I really want the freedom to play more with the menu.

.

Also, I’ve been behind with this blog. I really wanted it to be more active than it’s been so it’s going to step up its game in the next few weeks. We’ll be doing a special holiday series on “Death By Contractor: How a Restaurant Gets Built” focusing on how this place got put together. Our wine list is pretty weird, so we’ll be writing more about our wines so that people can meet them and learn that they’re nice wines who won’t stab you in the back and steal your wallet if you encounter them in a dark alley, we’ll be writing about the other people who work here and more about the food after the gas is on and the menu starts morphing like a mighty Transformer.



menu


Menu

Snack

.

Jalapeno Hush Puppies $6
served with maple butter
.

Appetizers

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

.

Entrees

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

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

.

.

Dessert

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

.

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

.

Popcorn Pudding$11
salted caramel corn

.

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

& candied grapes

.

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

.

Our wine list (and other beverages)

.

.

Gift Certificates

.

.

FacebookButton

.

twitterimage