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Open Table Back Up & Running

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Yesterday, an Open Table guy came to Dirt Candy and installed a new Open Table system, so we’re back up and running. Initially, I was told that the new system would be Fedexed to me, and would “probably” arrive on Monday. I asked if someone would install it, since I remember when it was first installed it took the guy from Open Table hours to set it up.

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“There’s going to be a set of instructions in the box,” the customer service rep told me.

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I was extremely glad that a person came to do it because, well, even a trained Open Table service tech had to spend 3 hours to get it up and running. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have done it myself, no matter how great those instructions were.

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Open Table Fail

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Last night, my Open Table reservation system died. The CPU and screen in the restaurant just crashed and refused to restart. I called Open Table and they’re shipping me a new one…Monday? Probably Monday, but they won’t guarantee it.

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On top of that, here’s the message you get when you go to the Open Table system, since I can’t accept reservations via Open Table until they replace their crashed system:

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“Please accept our apologies on behalf of Dirt Candy. Online reservations are not available on this date at this restaurant.”

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I asked them to PLEASE put up a message that said, “The Open Table system for Dirt Candy is down. Please contact the restaurant directly if you’d like to make a reservation.” I was told that was impossible because – and this is my favorite part – Open Table does not want to encourage anything but online reservations. I pointed out to them that this was temporary and that it was only because their system had failed. Too bad, I was told. Open Table does not want to encourage anything but online reservations.

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So…if you want to cancel a reservation at Dirt Candy for tonight, please contact the restaurant directly by phone (212-228-7732). If you’ve got a pre-existing reservation for tonight, you’re good! But otherwise we have to do walk-ins. Thanks!

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Lady Chef Stampede: Sylvia Woods

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I’m holding a Lady Chef Stampede! For the rest of the year, and maybe beyond, I’ll be posting about the dozens of women who changed the history of food. Whether they’re chefs, restauranteurs, or writers, these are the women on whose shoulders we’re all standing. Today’s Lady Chef: Sylvia Woods.

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I got an email last week from a lady chef who was really in despair. After working in restaurants for 25 years she was sick and tired of watching less experienced men get promoted over her. She had searched and searched for investors, never finding ones willing to back her, while she saw her male peers find investors, open restaurants that crashed and burned, and then find other investors who were still willing to back them. It was a really depressing email, and it ended with her saying that she was packing it in. 25 years was enough and she was starting to search for another job, this time outside the food industry.

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Read the rest of this entry »


Lady Chef Stampede: MFK Fisher

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I’m holding a Lady Chef Stampede! For the rest of the year, and maybe beyond, I’ll be posting about the dozens of women who changed the history of food. Whether they’re chefs, restauranteurs, or writers, these are the women on whose shoulders we’re all standing.

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The first names that spring to mind when you think of “Lady Chefs” are writers rather than chefs: Ruth Reichl, Diana Kennedy, Elizabeth David, and the one writer to rule them all, MFK Fisher.

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What is there to say about a woman who is basically the most exalted food writer of all time? She was a food writer’s food writer; as Lester Bangs was to music writing, MFK Fisher was to food writing. There’s no better way to sing her praises than to drop a few of her quotes, because nobody said it better.

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“A writing cook and a cooking writer must be bold at the desk as well as the stove.”

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“People ask me: “Why do you write about food, and eating, and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, and about love, the way the others do?”… The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry.”

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“I believe that one of the most dignified ways we are capable of, to assert and then reassert our dignity in the face of poverty and war’s fears and pains, is to nourish ourselves with all possible skill, delicacy, and ever-increasing enjoyment. ”

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Joining the Mile High (Cooking) Club

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Back on Wednesday, June 13, I went out and cooked at Justin Cucci’s and Daniel Asher’s Linger Restaurant in Denver as part of the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour. It’s taken me forever to write about it because I’ve spent most of my time since then lying on the floor in New York, melting. But Denver was gorgeous, one mile above sea level, and cool and crisp despite the wildfires that were just starting.

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See! It’s all clean!

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Read the rest of this entry »


I’m a trademark!

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Now that Dirt Candy has a cookbook and probably a Happy Meals deal in the works (Dirt Candy matchbox cars, here I come!) I figured I needed to be all patented and trademarked. It took a while (and cost a lot) but it’s worth it because now I can go after all those knock-off, pirated Dirt Candy restaurants overseas! If there are any, which I’m not sure about, but there might be.

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Yesterday I got my official US Government Trademark registration papers:

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Look at that shiny gold star!
The US Patents Office understands the
upsell!

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See how it shines?

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Lady Chef Stampede: Eugénie Brazier!

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I’m holding a Lady Chef Stampede! For the rest of the year, and maybe beyond, I’ll be posting about the dozens of women who changed the history of food. Whether they’re chefs, restauranteurs, or writers, these are the women on whose shoulders we’re all standing.

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Alain Ducasse is such a famous chef! What a groundbreaker! So many Michelin stars! Yeah, yeah, yeah – we all know that, right? Part of his celebrity is that he had six Michelin stars for his restaurants and some folks have tried to make it seem like he was the first to do this, but that just ain’t so. Way back in 1933 another chef was actually the first chef in the history of the world to hold six Michelin stars, and her name was Eugénie Brazier.

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Brazier’s famous La Mere Brazier

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Born in 1895, orphaned at the age of 10, Eugénie Brazier grew up as a domestic worker on a farm. At 19, she headed for the heart of cuisine in France, Lyons, the center of the movement to elevate middle class cooking to the level of high cuisine. In Lyons, she again worked as a domestic, but soon wound up working in the kitchen of Mere Fillioux, a celebrated chef. The soul of the Lyons food scene was “les mères lyonnaises” (The Mothers of Lyons) who were transforming what had previously been regarded as simple food into the heart and soul of French gourmet cooking. Mere Fillioux and Eugénie Brazier were both rumored to be headstrong and fully equipped with well-developed senses of self. Legend has it that as the student grew in stature and talent, her clashes with her teacher were earth-shatteringly operatic.

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In 1921, Eugénie Brazier took her skimpy savings and bought a grocery store at 12 Rue Royale that she turned into La Mere Brazier, her first restaurant. She was only 26 years old. She later opened a second restaurant, Le Col de la Luere. La Mere Brazier was instantly popular, despite the fact that it served the same menu as her second restaurant and the menus never changed. The Los Angeles Times described it as follows:

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“Each meal began with a plate of local sausage. The fish course was quenelles de brochet, then came her famous poularde en demi-deuil (chicken in half-mourning) and, after, fonds d’artichauts au foie gras (artichoke hearts with foie gras), which was usually served with a young Beaujolais.”

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Praised by everyone, from the Prime Minister to food writer Elizabeth David, it was inevitable that Michelin recognition would follow. What no one anticipated was that in 1933 Michelin would give Brazier’s restaurants three stars – each.

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She went on to write a cookbook, and trained some of France’s best chefs, like Paul Bocuse who apprenticed at Le Col de la Luere. In 1968, Michelin took away one star from Le Col de la Luere and a few years later, Brazier retired. Her restaurants continue to this day, run by her granddaughter, Jacotte, who still offers her grandmother’s famous menu.

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Read more about Eugénie Brazier, and check out  some great photos.

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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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