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Back in NYC

Annnnd…we’re back. Dirt Candy re-opens tonight and resumes normal business hours.

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frenchface

A Parisian door expresses the joy

I feel over my vacation ending.

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In case anyone’s interested, Paris was great (duh). One of the highlights was a meal at Shan Gout, a Sichuan restaurant that was totally empty when we showed up and stayed that way all night. The meal, however, was amazing. We basically ordered the entire menu and it was just the cleanest, freshest most intense flavors. An amuse of sliced green apples with basil was incredibly simple but unexpected and  truly great.

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I also went by two of the inspirations for Dirt Candy. One was L’Arpege, which I’ve been excited to try for years. The chef, Alain Passard, has a fistful of Michelin stars and so everyone was all atwitter a few years ago when he decided to devote L’Arpege to vegetables saying that they deserved more attention. I remember reading a big profile of him in the New Yorker when I was just starting to really make vegetables the way I wanted and being incredibly inspired by what he was saying about the shoddy way most kitchens treated veggies, so a pilgrimage to L’Arpege was a no-brainer.

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By the way: vegetable terrine. These

were for sale all over the place. Gruesome.

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Apparently, Chef Passard had given up on his vegetable philosophy while I wasn’t looking and every single entree was centered around meat. Maybe I misunderstood his philosophy, maybe he changed it, but I’d been expecting to have an ultra-expensive wallow in the best vegetable cooking in the world and instead wound up eating the way I do at most fancy restaurants, ordering the fish and picking around meat. The vegetables, when they appeared, were really, really good but I just couldn’t get over my expectations.

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squashblossoms

Some of M. Thiébault’s squash blossoms.

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Joel Thiébault is the farmer who provides Alain Passard with his vegetables and fortunately I was able to swing by his stand at a Saturday morning market and see his miracle produce before it was cooked. It was a giant explosion of delicious insanity: heirloom tomatoes everywhere, tiny squash, intense colors, bizarre shapes, eye-watering reds, lush greens, solar yellows, beautiful enough to make you weep.

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heirlooms

Thiébault’s heirloom tomatoes.

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The second inspiration for Dirt Candy was Spring, a tiny restaurant in Paris opened a few years ago by Daniel Rose. He kept a blog that I used to love reading (and which is responsible for the one you’re reading now) and Spring was a very small restaurant where he and one server did everything. It’s the first time that I realized a business plan for a teeny, tiny restaurant could work. Of course, it was closed when I went by, but I still took a picture as a way of giving props.

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spring

It’s still bigger than Dirt Candy.

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And the third inspiration for Dirt Candy…ScarFood, the world’s only SCARFACE-inspired fast food restaurant. Somebody, please franchise this place.

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scarfood

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Now, back to work!

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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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