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Friday Night is for Party

Glamour! Romance! Excitement! These are the feelings that come with running a restaurant and I offer up this thrilling tale of what happened last Friday night in the hopes that it won’t happen again this Friday night. Usually we get our bread delivery around 2pm and our produce delivery arrives around 10AM every day. Last Friday at 10AM there was no produce. 10:30AM: nothing. 11AM: the same. We called our produce people who implied that we were crazy, but said that they’d look into it in order to soothe our fraying nerves. Then…nothing.

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Time passes. We call our produce people again. They say that they’ve just dropped our delivery off at WD-50 but they’re sending the truck back for it right this minute. Now it’s 2pm and we notice that our bread isn’t here either. I call our bread people. “It’s on its way,” they say. “It’ll be there any minute.” I hang up the phone and look around and see that the produce still hasn’t materialized. More phone calls. Yes, our produce people say, it’s on its way right now. Please, stop bothering us. I hang up and decide to try the bread people again. Our bread people tell us they’re backed up but they’re getting to us. Now it’s 4pm. That’s 90 minutes before service begins, and we have no produce and no bread. More phone calls are made. We are stalled. Nothing happens. 5pm. We are now half an hour away from service and we have no produce and no bread.

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Pink Lemonade

Pink lemonade is an awesome concept, hobbled by the fact that it’s nothing more than regular lemonade dyed pink, which makes it seem like a bit of a fraud. Adding to its huckster association is the fact that it was invented in the mid-1800′s on the carnival circuit, one story claiming some cinnamon candies dyed the lemonade water by accident, another that pink-tinged water in which the bareback riders had recently washed their red tights was used in a batch of lemonade. Either story is kind of gross and makes pink lemonade seem as tawdry as a sideshow act.

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Our pink lemonade – not yet for public consumption.

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We’re baaaaack!

Dirt Candy has finished its secret summer mission and we’re now open on Tuesdays again. So, if you were feeling like only eating vegetables on Tuesdays but were down and blue because we were closed, or if you always wanted to try us but the only day you could leave your house was Tuesday due to your court agreement, then you’re in luck! So, just to review, Dirt Candy’s real hours:

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Tuesday – Wednesday we’re open from 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Thursday – Saturday we’re open 5:30pm – 11:00pm

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Go ahead! Make a reservation.

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“Heeeeeere’s veggies!”

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Oh, snap. It’s on!

The “Nanaimo Bars in New York Story” has grown, peaked and now sparked a backlash, all in a matter of days. Something Canadian comes to America and all the haters start appearing, spitting mad lies and disrespecting. Canadian paper, the Times Colonist, published a letter from Martin Barnett, a so-called chair of the  so-called professional baking and so-called pastry department at the so-called Vancouver Island University (located in Nanaimo) in which he writes of my Nanaimo Bars:

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…we must not be so hasty to celebrate this aberration of the classic recipe…We Nanaimoans must be vigilante and insist on true appellation for the delicacy (like Champagne or Parmesan cheese).

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My crew does not approve.

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Then, the paper itself runs an editorial in which they acknowledge that while I have “street cred” this time I have “gone too far” and suggest that because there is mint and sweet pea ice cream in my Nanaimo Bar, and because it is served on a square, rather than a round, plate that I am guilty of various Nanaimo “heresies.”

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Too gangsta? It’s just how I roll.

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For those who don’t know, Canada is like the hip hop industry in that there is a long-running East Coast/West Coast rivalry. It has rarely resulted in outright violence, but this is ill! And not in a good way. Are these haters trying to reignite an East Coast/West Coast feud? Do they really want to push me? Because I swear, I will get in my Barbie Dream Car and drive up to Nanaimo and I will begin slapping fools in the way that fools do not like to be slapped.

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When I get to Nanaimo, I’m going to get epic

on that editorial board.

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Nanaimo Fever

So I recently added a riff on Canada’s classic dessert, the Nanaimo Bar, to the menu. I put up a post about it and then, late last week, we got a phone call. Danielle, my daytime prep chef, answered.

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“Hello?”

“Hi, I’m calling from Nanaimo.”

Danielle: confused, not Canadian. Thinks, “Why is someone calling from our dessert?”

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“This is Nanaimo calling.”

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It was the Nanaimo Daily News (Nanaimo, British Columbia! Bathtub Racing Capital of the World! Home of the Nanaimo Bar!) and they wanted to talk Nanaimo Bars. So we did. And they ran a story about it (and, yes, it’s true what they say: in short order, the Nanaimo Bar has become our best-selling dessert). Then more Canadian papers picked up the story. Then more.

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Nanaimo means “excitement” in Canadian!

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So far, the fact that we’re selling a Nanaimo Bar for dessert and New Yorkers are loving it has been picked up by the Times Colonist, the Vancouver Sun and the Nanaimo Daily News. The story has gone out on the wire and appeared on Canada.com, GlobalTV.com, the Star Phoenix and more.

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The little bar that has caused so much fun!

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I’ve been described as an expatriate Canadian (something I’ve never thought of myself as, but it is accurate) and a “proud Canuck” and I’ve been in the Nanaimo Daily News talking about the Nanaimo Bar (very meta). I’ve never felt more Canadian in my life. Go Canada, go!

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It’s Easy Being Green

I’m really stoked that in the new issue of L Magazine, Dirt Candy was named “BEST GREEN RESTAURANT YOU COULD TAKE YOUR HAUTE CUISINE FOOD SNOB TO.” Despite ending their sentence in a preposition (which I don’t think is such a big deal these days), this is otherwise totally cool. I try hard to be green at Dirt Candy, and I try to be sustainable, but I really don’t want to brag about it or make it a big part of how I present myself. To me, it just makes sense to do these things but I’ve seen several places brag a lot about being organic and green and sustainable that aren’t, and it’s made me shy about it. So it’s nice when someone else says it for me! Here’s their write-up:

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“BEST GREEN RESTAURANT YOU COULD TAKE YOUR HAUTE CUISINE FOOD SNOB TO
Dirt Candy
If Candle Café is your Chanel-wearing stepmother, Dirt Candy (430 E. 9th St) would be your Westwood-wearing kooky aunt. They make no outward claims to any kind of ideological position (though they are very eco-minded, as a matter of course), but focus rather on how interesting, even experimental, a kitchen can get with vegetables (aka, dirt candy). Standouts include: jalapeño hush puppies with maple butter, grits topped with pickled shiitake, and zucchini ginger cake. The level of inventiveness (and risk taking) here is sure to impress even the snootiest haute cuisine enthusiast.”

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I’m also named with Birdbath, the Red Hook Community Farm, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm and Candle Cafe, which is pretty cool.

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Read the full list of award winners here.

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Best Restaurant Ever.

The award goes to A380 in Taiwan. Opening in November, 2008 it’s an airplane-themed restaurant (named after the Airbus A380) that serves airplane food.

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Taste the Power of Canada

The New York Times recently took a break from writing think pieces about Sarah Palin and pointing out that no one has money anymore to cover some actual news: Tim Hortons is coming to New York City. In Canada, Tim Hortons is like Dunkin’ Donuts, only good, or like Krispy Kreme, only successful. We Canadians gather in Tim Hortons at least once a week to worship their made-on-the-premises doughnuts, sandwiches and awesome coffee and now New Yorkers will get to taste the mighty flavor of Canada. This is the first major international relief effort undertaken by Canada to the United States and I can think of no better way to offer aid and comfort to distressed Americans than to let a thousand Tim Hortons bloom.

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Nanaimo

I was baffled when I came to the US and discovered that no one here knew what Nanaimo Bars were. With a cookie base, a cream filling and a chocolate top, they are a constant presence at Canadian bake sales, birthday parties and in the baked goods sections of supermarkets. Intensely sweet – maybe even a little too sweet – they are to Canada what the brownie is to America (although the brownie is also to Canada what the brownie is to America, so Canada wins twice) and they come in a lot of different varieties: grasshopper nanaimo (mint), peanut butter nanaimo, any flavor you can imagine can be nanaimoed. They’re distinguished by their creamy middle layer and their hard, shiny chocolate top.

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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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