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Check out my fat!

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Today, Dirt Candy heads over to Meatball Madness and I’m excited and nervous and psyched and scared about how my vegetable meatballs are going to be received by this hardcore, red-meat-chomping, meatball-noshing crowd. In the post about how I made these meatballs I talked about my journey to get “fat” into a vegetable meatball. Fat makes up so much of the taste of a meatball, but vegetables don’t have any whatsoever fat so this was one of my biggest challenges. The solution? I had to fabricate fat from scratch and I wound up using a modified riff on Dirt Candy’s portobello mousse. A couple of people emailed asking what it looked like, so I thought I’d let you guys see a photo of my fake fat in all its pasty glory:

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We are Bib Gourmand!

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This year, Dirt Candy again becomes one of only three vegetarian restaurants in the city to get Bib Gourmand status from the Michelin Guide. It’s a real honor and I’m very proud to get this. Bib Gourmand status is awarded to restaurants that offer great food, but that aren’t on the starred dining track. The first year we got Bib Gourmand I prickled a little at this — whaddaya mean we don’t give the starred dining experience?!? But then I realized that what this meant was that the food was good but that to their minds we’re not competing with those places that have white tablecloths, a sommelier and a super-expensive multi-course tasting menu. The Bib Gourmand basically means that Michelin considers your food above average, but you’re the chillaxed alternative to the uptight, uptown fancy pants places that want to go head-to-head with Eleven Madison Park and Per Se. So: good food, a fun experience, affordable prices and a relaxed, party down atmosphere? I’m proud for that to be what comes to mind when people think of Dirt Candy.

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“Dirt Candy, you relax me.”

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Also on the list are Fatty Crab, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar and a whole bunch of other restaurants. You can check out the entire Bib Gourmand line-up here.

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Meatball Madness

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Last year I sort of hit bottom doing the Grand Tasting at the New York Food and Wine Fest, which is sponsored by the Food Network. You can read all about it here, but as far as doing these massive events go it was pretty much the end for me. I felt like an animal in a cage being prodded with a chair to perform. It was exhausting, and sort of a bummer. After swearing, “Never again!” this year, I’m doing the Food and Wine Festival again. Say what?!? The difference is, instead of doing the Grand Tasting I was invited to participate in Meatball Madness, which is the big meatball cookoff and one of the major events at this year’s fest. Right now, everywhere you look, it’s meatballs, meatballs, meatballs, so my ego was flattered to be invited.

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The only problem? It’s Meatballs. I don’t cook meat. I only cook vegetables.

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Read the rest of this entry »


Fit for Foodies

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I’m as ambivalent about the word “foodies” as the next chef (I love people who are excited about food, but I feel weird that we need a special label for them) but one place I like seeing it all the time is on Open Table’s Fit For Foodies rankings. Their users rate restaurants across the country and one of the categories is whether it’s “fit for foodies” or not. Once a year they total up all the results and list the 50 restaurants which received the most votes as “fit for foodies” in the country. San Francisco rocks it this year with 14 restaurants in the top 50. Chicago comes in second with 6 wins. And New York City comes in third (bronze – yuck!) with 5 restaurants in the Top 50. They are:

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Aldea (George Mendes)

Annisa (Anita Lo)

Blue Hill (Dan Barber)

WD-50 (Wylie Dufresne)

Dirt Candy (Amanda Cohen)

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Here’s the full list.

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Thanks to everyone who voted. I’m extremely proud to be included on a list that prestigious, and it means a lot to me that this is based on votes from people who actually ate here. I really do think Dirt Candy is a special place, and my tiny staff* and I try hard to make sure that when people eat at Dirt Candy they have the best experience possible. It’s nice to know that it’s working.

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* – I don’t mean that they are leprechauns, I just mean that there are very few of them.

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Dirt Candy closed tomorrow

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We’re going to be closed tomorrow night because Dirt Candy is participating in Let Us Eat Local supporting local farms and farmers.

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It’s beer o’clock

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I want to thank the extremely nice customer who stopped by last week and brought us all a yummy six pack. He was really happy that we finally got that Health Department “A” and it’s this kind of positive reinforcement that will ensure Dirt Candy keeps its grades up. By the way, you don’t have to bring gifts to Dirt Candy, but if you do it helps if we can drink them.

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Also, this is as good a place as any to let folks know that Dirt Candy is going to be closed today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday). My niece is having her Bat Mitzvah and so I’m off to Toronto for the festivities. Have a great weekend, and see you all on Tuesday!

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Open Table Down

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If you’re trying to make a reservation at Dirt Candy for tonight via Open Table, no can do. The internet is down in the neighborhood right now and so I have no Open Table access here. So if you want to see if you can get in tonight, please call the restaurant at 212-228-7732.

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Thanks!
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Let Us Eat Local

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Dirt Candy is going to be closed on Wednesday, September 21 because we’re participating in the annual Let Us Eat Local charity event. This year it’s going to be at the Altman Building at 135 West 18th Street, and tickets are still available. We’ll be there along with folks from ABC Kitchen, Blue Hill, The Spotted Pig and Gramercy Tavern, doing our part to support New York City’s local farms and farmers.

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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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Spinach $13
spinach & grapefruit mille-feuille,
with smoked pistachios and ricotta

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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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