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Going on Vacation

From August 28 – September 9, Dirt Candy will be on vacation. It’s been a hot, wet, sticky summer and we all need a break over here. In fact, Kristen has already gotten a jump on her vacation and she bailed out on us earlier this week! But don’t worry, dear customers, she’ll be soundly beaten for her disloyalty when she returns. Actually, I’ll probably just start locking her in the basement and paying her in kitchen scraps.

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I’ll be vacationing in Paris, and I’ve heard it’s full of French people, which is exciting.

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frenchfriend

My new friend. He is French.

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Dirt Candy will be open again for reservations starting September 10th. Have a happy rest of the summer!

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Dirt Candy wins StarChef Award

StarChefs just announced their New York Rising Star Awards and I’m one of the 16 winners. Yay! I’m one of the “specialized” nominees so technically I’m a recipient of the Sustainability Award, but still! Other folks in there are Jason Neroni from 10 Downing, Isao Yamada for Upstairs at Bouley, Harold Dieterle for Perilla, Brooks Headley from Del Posto and Claire Paparazzo from Blue Hill who gets a specialized award as a sommelier.

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There’s a big event on September 22 (you can get tickets here), and all us winners had to meet up to do a photo shoot last week at the Mandarin Oriental which was a little bit like the first day of school. Would everyone else already know each other? Would there be cliques? Who would talk to me? Would someone steal my bag and push me in a puddle?

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Photos and more on the next page.

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Read the rest of this entry »


Girl Scout Daisies

Dirt Candy is included in the new Girl Scout Daisies “journey” book called BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY and I don’t even think a James Beard Award would make me this happy.

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I was never a Girl Scout, which is strange because all my sisters were Girl Scouts. I think I might have been too lazy. But here’s the description:

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As they travel the country living the values of the Girl Scout Law, girls and their flower friends enjoy what’s local and learn why that’s important. They experience what is great about what grows near them, and they learn how their own special skills make the world a better place.

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It includes passages like this one:

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When Amanda makes a salad, she tops it with candied grapefruit pops. She takes juicy pieces of grapefruit and dips them in a sweet coating. Then she puts them on a stick. She also puts teeny-tiny grilled-cheese sandwiches in her salad.

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I do.

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They do suggest that the Daisies make the candied grapefruit pops themselves which is going to cause a spike in the number of emergency room visits for Daisy Scouts with third degree burns. Trust me, telling kids to boil sugar wasn’t my idea. But, hey! Burns are just another part of Scouting, right? Maybe everyone’s working on their Second and Third Degree Burn Badges?

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Food + Wine thinks I’m fat

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There’s nothing like getting an email in your inbox from Food + Wine calling you fat. First they say:

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Thank you for supporting the second annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure, benefiting the hunger-relief programs of Share Our Strength® and the Food Bank For New York City.

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That’s not so bad. Then:

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I invite you to join the first Weight Watchers ‘Chefs Lose For Good’ Campaign.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I will be the first to sign up and it’s much more fun to lose weight with friends!

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Wh-wh-what?!? I have to lose weight? What do you mean? What do you want from me?

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A commitment to losing between 5-10 lbs. through Weight Watchers by October 8th, 2009.

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You think I’m 5 – 10 pounds overweight? And then the kicker:

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Your attendance is also requested for a group photo shoot during the Festival weekend – exact details pending.

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So I’m fat, and you want to take my picture? Is this going to be one of those PE pictures where I have to wear spandex and hold a sign with my BMI on it?

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Orange you glad I’m not a banana?

It is with great sadness that we bid a fond farewell to our Crispy Tofu with Green Ragout. It was a great dish and one that did well for Dirt Candy, but now it’s gone to live on the Island of Retired Dishes (our memorial photo album of the Island of Retired Dishes is up on the Dirt Candy Facebook page). But with each end, there comes a new beginning and so please welcome Crispy Tofu and Broccolini served in an orange beurre blanc sauce. There is a vegan version that’s served in a coconut orange sauce, which is just as good only without the butter.

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And, yes, those are deep fried orange slices on the side.

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Wine List Updated

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We’ve just added a bunch of new wines, and so the wine list is finally updated. Admittedly, the Hugel Gentil is not as rare and exotic as what we usually serve, but I couldn’t resist adding a white wine that’s a blend of all the Alsace grapes: Gewurztraminer, Pinto Gris, Riesling, Muscat and Sylvaner.

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Go here to read the updated wine list.

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Kimchi Doughnuts are here!

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We’ve been talking about Kimchi Doughnuts since we opened. They were going to be part of the menu right from the start, but were too difficult for us to execute at first; we needed to be working in this kitchen for a while before we tried to pull off something as complicated and precise as kimchi doughnuts. But now we’re good enough, and they’re on the menu while the Greek salad goes on vacation.

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doughnuts

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Kimchi Doughnuts with watermelon radish kimchi, cilantro and wild arugula.


How Not to Open a Restaurant: Part 1

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The first in a series of posts about how Dirt Candy came to be built. Thrills! Chills! Evil plumbers! Mentally ill contractors! Shakedown artists! Ransom demands! If you’re thinking of opening a restaurant, then read these entries and avoid my mistakes. Plus, there is entertainment to be had in reading about bad things happening to other people, so I’m offering up my bad things to brighten up your day.

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There comes a point in a mountain climber’s life when they want to climb Mount Everest. There comes a point in a speed freak’s life when they want to get ripped out of their minds and drive really fast the wrong way down the highway. And there comes the point in a chef’s life when they want to open a restaurant; the mountain climber and the speed freak look pretty smart in comparison. A little over two years ago I decided to open Dirt Candy. I’d been working for other people for about ten years and I was dying to do something new with vegetarian food and I was tired of working really, really hard for people who didn’t work really, really hard.

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Viola marks the spot where Dirt Candy

will be built.

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A friend said to me, “You’ve opened so many restaurants for other people, opening your own will be a piece of cake.” And it was a piece of cake, if by “cake” you mean a cake with a spring-loaded sledgehammer in the middle of it that hits you in the face over and over again. And then, just when you’ve gotten used to the sledgehammer, it starts shooting razor sharp knives at you. That kind of cake.
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Read the rest of this entry »


They’re Coming…

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You’ve heard about them since the beginning.

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And now, they’re almost here.


Dear Turbo Air…

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(Updated with extra, gross story of quasi-sexual humiliation)

Dear Turbo Air,

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You’re the worst. No, really. The worst. When I called to let you know that my eight-month-old freezer wasn’t working properly you first accused me of lying, saying that my machine was 100% fine even though you hadn’t looked at it. Then you flat-out refused to send a technician to look at it even though I said that I would pay for the service call if necessary.

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My ice cream looks like soup, and although you told me that this freezer isn’t meant to freeze ice cream (something no one mentioned to me when I bought it) it’s been freezing my ice cream into a rock hard block of frozen ice cream for the past eight months. Suddenly, it’s not. Sounds like a problem to me.

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However, my favorite part of the conversation was when you told me that, according to the technician, the unit was working just fine. The technician who never came out to look at the freezer? Yes, that technician. Apparently, he turned invisible and came to my restaurant and somehow checked out the freezer without any of us knowing about it. Amazing!

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So thanks, Turbo Air. For your lousy freezer and your horrible customer service and your invisible repair technicians, you have earned the title of “The Worst Company I Deal With.”

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– Amanda

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Update: so a tech from Turbo Air showed up the day after this post went up. He did some things to the freezer for a while, but wouldn’t talk to me and then he left. That night, as service started, I checked the freezer and everything was soup. It was now ten degrees ABOVE zero. I called the company and was told that the technician had found nothing wrong, again. I told them he spent a long time working on the unit for nothing to be wrong, and was told to calm down.

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I told them we were going into service and I really needed someone to come out that night or first thing in the morning. They hung up on me. I called back and asked why they hung up on me. They hung up on me again. I called back and the guy I was talking to said, “Do you see who the boss is? Do you see? I have all the power, you have none.” I asked for a repair technician. He said he would maybe send one but I had to call him “The Big Boss.” I called him The Big Boss. Then he asked me to beg him or he said he wouldn’t put in the order.

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This was extremely humiliating and extremely weird, but what could I do? This is the guy who is running the service for Turbo Air. And so I took a deep breath and said, “Please, Big Boss, send a repair tech tomorrow.” He said he would. This is the grossest thing I’ve run into in a  long time, but when you need your freezer right away what choice do you have? Last night we couldn’t sell desserts except for the popcorn pudding thanks to Turbo Air and so we lost a couple of hundred dollars.

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Update to the Update: after a few more visits by the Turbo Air service people they still couldn’t fix my freezer. The solution? I paid $250 to another company who came in, identified that the problem was that the defrost cycle was incorrectly set, bought a tool to set it correctly, and fixed the issue in less than an hour. Thanks for nothing, Turbo Air!



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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