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Talk to Me

I was reading an article about a big famous chef recently, someone whose restaurants I’ve eaten at and enjoyed, and at one point he begins to talk about his amazing palate and how only he understands the “true” taste of food. His attitude throughout was, “My food is perfect, and if you don’t like it then you do not understand the ways of a great chef such as myself.”

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“You can tell we are Great Chefs

by our silly hats.

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This kind of thing always gets up my nose. You cook food according to your taste – that’s it. There is no “true” taste of food, no “One True Path” of cooking, no Platonic ideal of the way a Great Dish should taste. The problem with this attitude – I’m a Great Chef, taste me and learn – is that it turns food into an argument where there’s a right answer and a wrong answer and frankly I got enough of that in school. If someone is deemed a Great Chef you’re wrong if you don’t like their food. Your taste isn’t up to par. You don’t understand what you’re eating. Your palate is uneducated. You suck.

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Canadian War!

Maybe I’m just extra-sensitive to anti-Canadian sentiment in New York after learning about Chuck Schumer’s dastardly plan to undermine the Canadian maple industry (Can’t he just let us have this one thing?) but I was shocked to learn that the United States does actually have a plan to conquer Canada. Gentle readers, meet War Plan Red.

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“First, a joint army-navy force is to capture port city of Halifax, thereby cutting the Canadians off from their British allies. The next objective is to seize Canadian Power Plants near Niagara Falls. Then, the plan is to invade along three fronts: from Vermont to take Montreal and Quebec, from North Dakota to grab the railroad center at Winnipeg, and from the Midwest to capture the strategic nickel mines of Ontario.”

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Red Pepper Velvet Cake

Originally it was supposed to be a cobbler. A pepper cobbler to be exact. I wanted to do a vegetable dessert and I wanted to use red peppers because of their sweetness and their mild spicy bite. The first idea was to do a pepper cobbler but that worked out about as well as a rain hat made of cake. I was arguing with Danielle, who does daytime prep, over whether we should just ditch the idea of doing a red pepper dessert entirely and we were trying to think of all the possible things you could do with cake to make it red and suddenly it just popped up: red velvet cake…red pepper velvet cake.

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PepperCake2

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Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving comes late in America (up in Canada we do it about 6 weeks earlier) but you guys do it up big (in Canada we barely notice it). I’ve always had bad luck with Thanksgiving – whether it was making a ton of food for a guest who decided not to show up, or being trapped at a dinner table where we were supposed to go around the circle and give a sentimental speech about what we were thankful for. This year, however, I do have something to be thankful for: a day off. Dirt Candy will be closed on Thursday, November 26.

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thanksgivinggreting

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Also, just a quick note to let people know that I’ve been asked to be part of Salon’s “Kitchen Cabinet” which is a panel of food folks who have been asked by Francis Lam (formerly of Gourmet) to consult on cooking questions and food issues throughout the year. There are a bunch of people on this panel including Grant Achatz (Alinea), Tara Thomas (Wine and Spirits magazine) and Wylie Dufresne (wd-50) and our first question is what we recommend for a Thanksgiving drink. My answer: Wild Turkey. A bottle of it.

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happythankgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Why does Chuck Schumer hate Canada?

Senator Charles Schumer is taking on my people, vowing to unseat Quebec as the biggest maple syrup producer in the world with his Maple Tapping Access Program Act of 2009. He’s going to be socializing all the maple trees in NY State and tapping them in his first blow against my homeland. Parents, be warned! Chuck Schumer wants to check out your maple trees and if they meet his criteria he’s going to tap them. This is Not Suitable for Children. And he wants to build a state syrup bottling facility. It’s like the Cold War all over again, only delicious.

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canada

Canada: we lick everybody!

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Did a Canadian hurt Chuck Schumer? Because he’s got it in for my country. From blaming Canada for the collapse of the Long Island potato industry, to making Canada build a big nasty truck inspection station on their side of the border up at the Peace Bridge, he’s out to stick it to America’s peaceful neighbors to the north. Coming hard on the heels of the New Yorker‘s hit piece on poutine I’m starting to think a culture war is heating up. And when it comes, will you just stand by while Senator Schumer’s minions machine gun the amiable beaver, the noble moose and the friendly caribou of my country?

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gocanada

We ride awesome motorcycles!

We pop wheelies! Are you SURE

you want to take us on?

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Slumming at Saveur

If you recall, Dirt Candy had two top secret missions going on over the summer. One has finally (finally!) come to fruition and can be revealed: we’re blogging over at Saveur. Yes, Saveur, the ultimate food porn magazine. I remember shoplifting my first issue of Saveur and then sneaking it home inside my jacket and hiding in the bathroom reading it for hours (“Leave me alone, I’m brushing my hair!”), and then my mother found it and she got all angry and she and my dad sat me down and gave me “the talk” about urges I might be having about food and how they were perfectly natural but that magazines like Saveur were exploiting the food who appeared in the photographs and that it was unhealthy for me to look at those pictures too much and they might make me sick.

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saveur

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Anyways, once every other week, I’ll be putting up a post over at Saveur about some vegetable or other: where to find it, what to do with it, whether or not it likes long walks on the beach. I’m trying to focus on vegetables that folks find at the farmer’s market, or just hanging around on street corners, that aren’t always the easiest ones to cook, giving a little guidance and maybe linking to some recipes that send you in a fruitful (get it? Fruitful?) direction with them. So let me know if there’s a vegetable that always flummoxes you that you want to hear analyzed (the best place to do that is on the DC Facebook page).

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Read the first post about radishes and Fraggle Rock!

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Hitachino Nest White Ale is here!

We only have room to serve one beer at Dirt Candy and since the beginning it has been Peak’s Organic, but now there is a beer I love so much that I must serve it and now we are serving it and it’s like all my dreams have come true. Ladies and Gentlemen, please meet the amazing, award-winning, unbelievably cute Hitachino Nest White Ale from Japan’s Kiuchi Brewery.

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hitachinoowl

The Hitachino Owl has a message for you.

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Roasted Potato Soup

Potato soup. Not anyone’s idea of sexy, and it most often resembles a grainy kind of papier mache goop that at least has the advantage of being warm. People try to hide subpar potato soup by distracting diners with bacon, garlic, leeks or sometimes even clowns, but Dirt Candy doesn’t have enough room to house a bunch of¬† rodeo clowns. If we’re going to make potato soup it has to be a recipe so ridiculous that it might as well be wearing a hubcap-sized gold belt buckle that reads, “Go Big or Go Home.” And so we’ve gone over the top.

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PotatoSoup1

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Lachanophobia

Vicki Larrieux is 22 years old and she has a problem.

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“I have always had an irrational fear of vegetables, even as a child I used to properly freak out if some carrots or a few peas were on my plate,” says this Portsmouth student, speaking to The Telegraph in her strange British way.

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Bright and Shiny and New!

Now that Dirt Candy is one year old we’re changing some things and making some upgrades.

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First off, we’ve updated this site’s press page to include links to reviews and interviews and we’ve also added a link to buy gift certificates in our sidebar. We get a lot of requests about gift certificates and sell a ton of them, but we figured rather than making people¬† jump through hoops to get the info we’d put it all in one easily-accessible place.

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We’ve also changed the lighting at the restaurant. When we put in our lights no one thought to make sure there was a way to dim them. The only solution was a $1000 control box, but we got a friend who’s a lighting designer to come in and they lowered the light levels through a handy little hack and now the amber lights are slightly less in your face. It’s subtle, but it really changes the mood of the room and makes it more intimate and romantic. Oo la la.

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Also, we’ve added links in the sidebar of this site that take you directly to some of our most popular posts and categories of posts. You can learn “How Not to Open a Restaurant,” read about Canadian things, hear why your food costs money at all or even just see what holidays we’ve been celebrating.

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None of this is perfect and all of it is a work-in-progress, so if you see a technical glitch or something’s eating at you, email us and let us know. Thanks!

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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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