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Food Movies!

You know what America doesn’t have enough of? Food movies. Sure there’re a few movies like BIG NIGHT and RATATOUILLE but to get the hard stuff you have to go to Asia. All over Asia there are food comic books (Iron Wok Jan, Kitchen Princess) and television series dealing with cooking because, well, I’m not quite sure but if I had to guess I’d say that a lot of Asian countries take food way more seriously than we do in the States. So here are three of the best food movies you’ll see in your life, after the break.

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Summer in the City Photo Expose!

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Before there were people, there was an empty room

and one of us pulling up her pants.

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A table full of popcorn pudding.

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Pudding, pudding, pudding, pudding.

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The arrow is pointing at our publicist Philip Ruskin,

seen here playing drums.

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Summer in the City Tonight!

I didn’t post anything earlier because tickets sold out early, but Dirt Candy will be donating its services to City Harvest once more for their Summer in the City event tonight (Tuesday, June 23 from 7:30pm – 10pm) over at the Metropolitan Lounge (125 West 18th Street). We’ll be in there slinging hash to support City Harvest’s programs for the city’s hungry alongside restaurants like 10 Downing, Magnolia Bakery and Allen and Delancey.

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I’m not getting event fatigue yet, but I was feeling sick of serving the portobello mousse at all these events so I decided to do something a bit different this time around and it turned out to be a mistake. Instead of the mousse I figured we’d do the Popcorn Pudding with Caramel Corn for the event, and it wasn’t until last night that it hit me: I’ve got “candy” in the name of my restaurant and I’m serving a dessert so everyone’s going to think we’re a dessert restaurant. Plus, I’m a woman and most people assume women are always pastry chefs. So now I’m promoting Dirt Candy to a bunch of people who are going to think it’s all desserts, all the time over here. Sometimes my stupidity amazes me.

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What You Think You Know

Just when you think you know your business, something like this happens. I thought February and March were really busy months where we did a ton of business. April had a really slow week in the middle with Passover and tax time and while it picked up again,  May felt like the slowest month ever. Just pure torture with some really dead nights. This is the reason you keep records, so someone who’s not in the kitchen and dining room keeps accurate score, because I just put my sales taxes together to pay the bill for April and May and it’s $2,000 higher than February or March, so I guess I was wrong and April/May were great for Dirt Candy.

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An illustration of the dangers of trying to estimate sales with your feelings as opposed to Quickbooks.


Memories…

Approximately one year ago today was when I was convinced that Dirt Candy would never open. This was after Anthony, my first contractor, had called his mother during a meeting (“Mom! Mom! She says I’m a liar! I’m not a liar!” he whined), this was after he had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for three days and his foreman, Colin, tried to steal the job from him, and this was after he suddenly presented me with an extra bill for close to $100,000 in excess of what we’d contracted for including such interesting charges like $6,000 to level a wall (that still wasn’t level – after he left I measured with a laser thingie and saw that the top was three inches off from the bottom). But a year ago today (roughly) was when he walked off the job. As bad as a contractor is, you never want to have to get rid of one in the middle of a job, and so this was around the time last year when I started looking into selling the space and walking away.

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From what I understand, Anthony went into bankruptcy for his business to get rid of debts, and he and Colin are still out there working and doing jobs. If you happen to be thinking about working with a contractor named Colin or Anthony drop me a line and I’ll be happy to walk down memory lane with you.


The New Vegetarian Hero

Vegetarians have a new hero: Quick Gun Murugan. A character invented for a series of MTV India shorts back in 1993, Quick Gun Murugan is a singing, dancing, vegetarian Indian cowboy who fights the “non-veg” McDosa corporation and he’s onscreen in New York City during the New York Asian Film Festival (June 19 – July 5). The festival will be showing 2008′s QUICK GUN MURUGAN feature film in which Murugan fights the non-veg McDosa Corp. and their evil boss, Rice Plate Reddy, who wants to make all Indians eat beef. Quick Gun gets killed (oh no!) and resurrected by God (yay!) just in time to stop Rice Plate’s quest for the final ingredient for his Automatic McDosa Machines: a mother’s love. Yes, mother love is what makes food prepared by mom so special and Rice Plate is kidnapping all of India’s mothers to use them as his Secret Ingredient and it’s up to Quick Gun to stop his evil non-veg scheming.

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The film is playing at the IFC Center on Tuesday June 23 at 5:10pm and Wednesday, July 1 at 5:30pm. Anyone coming to Dirt Candy with a ticket stub from one of these screenings gets a free glass of wine! Why? Because, we are like this only.

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(You can buy tickets here and watch the QUICK GUN MURUGAN trailer)

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Cheer up, zucchini!

Poor zucchinis. I don’t know anyone who’s ever said, “Oh boy, I could really go for a zucchini right now.” Lots of us were victimized by over-cooked, mushy, flavorless zucchinis at some point in our lives, and even Wikipedia is harsh on them. “…the zucchini is an immature fruit,” it sniffs. “Being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower.” An immature fruit. Nothing more than a swollen ovary. Where I come from, those are fighting words.

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After our pastry chef, Debbie Lee, left a few months ago for family reasons I was feeling unloved and unwanted. I felt as overwhelmed and disliked as the humble zucchini, and so in a show of solidarity with my immature and fruity friend, I decided the first dessert I’d put on the menu would involve zucchinis. And lo, the Zucchini Ginger Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream (aka Cake & Ice Cream I) was born.

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Closed on Tuesday

Starting Tuesday, June 16 and then for the next several weeks, Dirt Candy will be closed on Tuesdays. Why? All I can say is that we’re working on a top secret project and need the extra time. Before the year is through the world shall know what’s going on behind these closed doors but for now, curious parties can only lurk outside and wonder at the strange grunts and screams that come from behind our window as we think the unthinkable and do the unreasonable.

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Dirt Candy: closed Sunday, Monday and now….Tuesdays. For secret ninja reasons.

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Strange

Every now and then you eat something so strange that you spend days talking about it but can never properly convey to others just how odd it was. That happened to me last weekend when I went to have drinks at a Mexican restaurant, El Parador, and got an order of their jalapenos rellenos. According to the menu I could have them stuffed with anejo cheese or with “chunky peanut butter.” In disbelief I ordered them half with anejo and half with peanut butter, and sure enough they arrived and they were…fried jalapenos stuffed with chunky peanut butter. The chunky peanut butter even had some char on it from the grill.

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Is this some kind of strange and traditional dish that I’ve never heard of before? Is it popular? Do people in Mexico enjoy it on a regular basis? These are mysteries that I don’t think I will ever be able to solve.

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El Santo is confused by your snack.

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Just in time: new wine

Our wine list has been updated and it’s about time. We’ve been selling out of some wines and adding others so fast that we haven’t even had time to get the new wines onto the online list. We added a Blaufrankisch and sold out all three cases before we could even write about it here, and it looks like we won’t be getting any more from our dealer. We also just sold out of the last of our Goldmuskateller and while we’re trying to locate more, it doesn’t look likely.

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Here’s the new list.

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Our new wines taste like kitten!

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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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