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Pepper


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As much as I like to experiment at Dirt Candy, there are some things I’ve learned that people prefer and I need to deliver them or I’m going to wind up with unhappy customers, and that stinks because then I have to hunt them down and kill them before they can post anything on Yelp. One thing I’ve learned is that people like their pasta creamy. That doesn’t mean that I have to use actual cream, but people seem to want comfort and richness from their pasta dishes, not wild experimentation and astringent flavors. I’ve had a few pastas that used broths as their sauce or that used deconstructed sauces, and while those dishes had fans the pastas that pleased the crowd always had richer, more luscious sauces.

 

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The other lesson I’ve learned? As much as I love making the complex, layered broths I’ve been using for a lot of the recent soups here (like the butternut squash soup and the pea soup), the soups that find wider favor are the purees. The broths have cult followings, but it’s the thicker purees that please a greater number of palates. With that in mind, I needed a summer soup but I’ll be damned if I’m going to put yet another iteration of gazpacho on my menu. It’s a great soup, but it’s too easy to go for gazpacho when the temperature climbs. What else do people like eating when it’s hot? Spicy food. And what’s the spiciest food of all? Peppers. So behold: Pepper Soup!

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We’re All Going to Die!!!!

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I just want to let people know that Dirt Candy will be closed tonight (Saturday, August 27). Frankly, I’d rather be open and let the people who want to go out, come out. Also, I don’t think it’s ultimately going to be that bad and that this may all wind up being 60% panic and 40% real weather conditions. However, ultimately it’s not my choice. I have employees who live way out in Brooklyn and the Bronx and not only is public transport shut down, but all car services are either booked up (and the ones that are open sound a bit deranged) or not taking reservations. Which means that while my employees may be able to get here, I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to get them home tonight around midnight. And I can’t, in good conscience, ask them to walk.

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“Back in my day, we would have walked home!
Ten miles uphill! In 150 mph winds! No questions asked!”

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I hope everyone understands. And thanks for being patient with us. New York City is in total panic mode right now.

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Climb Every Radish

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People climb Mount Everest “because it’s there.” They run triathlons. They collect rabid weasels. Why do they do these things? Because they love the challenge. And that’s what this new dessert is all about. The Beignets with Watermelon and Watermelon Radish Jelly, Sour Radish Sugar, Watermelon Jellies, Radish Sherbert and Watermelon Sorbet is my Mount Everest. It’s my triathlon. It’s my rabid weasel collection.

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What was the thrill I was seeking? What was the danger? I wanted to make a dessert out of a vegetable that no one wanted to eat for dessert. I had made a broccoli dessert for Iron Chef America and it had worked out better than I’d anticipated. Now I wanted to really push myself. Besides broccoli, what was the one vegetable that would never appear on a dessert menu? What was the unlikeliest vegetable to be ordered at the end of a meal? What was the insurmountable challenge for vegetable desserts. The answer came to me almost immediately.

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The radish.

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We’re Number A! We’re Number A!

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Getting a B from the Health Department was a huge bummer for me. Partly because I was a good student who has a Pavlovian drive to score high on any test and partly because the new letter grades are a deeply subjective process that seems designed to increase revenue to the city. I was too naive to hire a lawyer right off the bat (which is what smart restaurants do) to fight my B and so it hung around my neck like a Hester Prynne’s scarlet A (which was sewn on her dress, but you get the picture…). Then, last week, at 9pm, right smack dab in the middle of a busy service a Health Department Inspector came barreling into Dirt Candy catching me totally off guard. I was ready to get physical and drive her away with my tiny fists, but she was relentless and conducted an inspection of Dirt Candy against my will, bringing the dining room to a screeching halt. And the result was…an A!?! It was a really nice surprise for me since I fully expected to get a B again.

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Photographic proof!

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So the next time you eat at Dirt Candy realize that I’ve been studying hard and brought up my grades. You’re dining in an A + establishment now! I’m sure everything already tastes better!

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More Deli Art

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The ketchup genius at the deli a few blocks from Dirt Candy has been hard at work again. Check out their latest masterpieces!

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Hell, yeah! Love! Love is awesome!

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Love…USA? Okay, sure. Patriotism! I can dig it!

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Love 275? 275 heart? What is 275? This one is baffling.
I can’t unpack the symbolism. But still: Ketchup Art!

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Group off!

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I know that everyone loves a deal, and I’ve spent my fair share of time watching in awe as eXtreme Couponers get $640 of groceries for $5.41 on TV, but I am really, really getting tired of being cold called almost every single day by phone bullies from sites like Groupon, Living Social and Blackboard Eats. The calls always go exactly the same way. They recite some rote boilerplate about all the amazing things they’re going to do for my business, I tell them I only have 18 tables and don’t want to use their services but thanks for calling. Then, inevitably, they get angry and confrontational and say, “Why? That’s not very smart. We can make you a lot of money.” I tell them that business is great, and I don’t want to use their services, but thanks for calling. They say, “Then you’ll probably fail,” or “Everyone uses us and you should too,” or “You’re just throwing away money,” or some variation thereof. Again, I thank them for their concern and ask them not to call me anymore. They hang up (or I hang up on them at this point) and, inevitably, I get a call from them one week later, trying to shake me down again.

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I have nothing against these companies, and I bet they work like a dream for a lot of businesses, but mine’s not one of them. And yet every day they wear me down and wear me down and as much as I try not to hate them I think that if I met someone who worked for one of them at this point I probably could not resist smacking them in the face with a hot pan. I could just hang up on them, I suppose, but I guess I don’t have it in me to be rude like that on the phone. Seriously, if you work for one of these companies and you happen to read this, please let your people know that the more they call me the greater the chance is that I will eventually seek out an old witch to put a curse on them so that their tongues grow thick, furry mold so they can never talk on the telephone again.

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“Ooo…50% off full body waxes? I am so there!”

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Ketchup Loves You

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On my way to work a few days ago, I spotted this fine food art in the window of an East Village deli:

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Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite: condiment graffiti!

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Love!

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Steak!

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And….

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…Lois?

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Dirt Candy wins?

 

Every now and then one of these “Restaurants are getting tiny!” articles appear and the latest one is in the Wall Street Journal. They do mention Dirt Candy as they talk about restaurants that clock in at under 60 seats and 1,000 square feet, which means that they know what they’re talking about because Dirt Candy is only slightly large than three adult males standing side-by-side. But I read their stories of 800 square foot restaurants with 55 seats, and 700 square foot restaurants with 20 seats and I think, “Amateurs.” Because Dirt Candy? 650 square feet and 18 seats. Which means that I…win?

 

Actual size of the Dirt Candy kitchen.


The Price of Oil

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One of the most popular and misunderstood oils in cooking is truffle oil. Here are a few fun facts about it:

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Fun Fact! It’s not actually made with truffles. Not even a little.

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Fun Fact! It doesn’t actually taste like truffles. Not really.

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Fun Fact! It’s pretty much just an artificial additive bound with olive oil (or grapeseed oil, in some cases).

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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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