Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Restaurant Review: Dirt Candy

As a vegetarian it's really hard to find good food that is not overly doused with flavor. Most chefs think that vegetables are too bland and need traditional Asian or Hispanic seasonings to kick things up a notch. Every restaurant has almost the same exact menu with subtle changes once in awhile. Personally, I generally don't even like those kinds of cuisines (much to the disappointment of my husband who loves Indian and Mexican food), and I really need to be in the mood to have them even if I did eat meat on a regular basis. Ao I really don't want to go to any more restaurants that force tofu with vegetables and curry, cilantro, or soy sauce on me. When I found Dirt Candy all that changed.

Run by Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy's motto is, "Anyone can cook a hamburger, but leave the vegetables to the professionals." That is so true. I can't even tell you the number of times I have gone out with friends and had to bat around several restaurant ideas always concluding with me saying something along the lines of, "ok, I can eat something here." Sometimes I really love the restaurant and sometimes it's just a compromise and I'm stuck watching everyone order amazing food while I am less than enthused by steamed vegetables, or just plain pasta with sauce. At Dirt Candy, though, everything is vegetarian and anything can be made vegan too. They are on my turf, but at least they have great menu options!

Now, before you click on to the next entry because you're not interested in rabbit food, let me just show you some pictures from the website. Like the jalepeno hush puppies with maple butter. I am not a fan of spicy food and even I could not stop eating the appetizer THAT MY MEAT EATING FRIEND ORDERED. My appetizer was a pumpkin salad with several types of winter squash. Normally I think of pumpkin with ravioli, pie, or as a side, but here it was with some spice and blue cheese croutons. Again, not your typical way to eat vegetables. Not your typical vegetarian food.

During our meal, I also ordered Parsnip Gnocchi with Creamy Root Vegetable Slaw, Sour Red Cabbage and Carrot Cake Crumbs. It much lighter than regular gnocchi, and the vegetables had a sweet and sour tug of war going on that was really satisfying. And Carrot Cake bread crumbs on top? Undoubtedly delicious, and whoever said dessert had to come last never had Parsnip Gnocchi from Dirt Candy.

By the time my friend and I left the restaurant, we were both sufficiently stuffed and I even had a free dinner (a mistake was made and my leftovers were thrown out instead of put in a doggy bag). The only reason I've never gone back was purely because of lack of time. Like Spring Street Natural menus, just like vegetables, are seasonal. If you go, just make sure you make a reservation ahead of time. The restaurant is very tiny and fills up fast on date night. They can seat you, but you will have to wait awhile, and with the colder weather quickly approaching wouldn't you rather be enjoying those warm hush puppies and glass of wine and not outside freezing your butt off?

Here's a few other pictures of some of the amazing food:

Now doesn't that make you want to eat all your vegetables?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I saw her on Iron Chef and wanted to see more of her creations. These dishes look delicious!

Jen said...

I also saw the chef on Iron Chef and was intrigued. My 14 year old stepdaughter is a new vegetarian and I'm trying to get creative in feeding her so that she doesn't live on mac and cheese alone.

Young, Broke, and Married said...

Hey blog has a lot of great pictures about how she makes her food. You might find some good tips on there. And I'll definitely have vegetarian recipes on here.

Marty said...

Great review. I too hate to dine on rabbit food. I have also said, "Oh, OK, I'll probably be able to find something to eat here," oh, maybe 2 or 3 thousand times too. I am a vegan and that doesn't translate directly into being a vegetablearian. I can't wait to eat here. I was trembling when I saw Chef Amanda on Iron Chef ... The Butter Lady. I thought she was going to give Paula Deen a run for her money.

Marty's Flying Vegan Review

Young, Broke, and Married said...

Marty- Thanks for the props on the review! It's very frustrating finding a good place to eat and I am so accommodating of my friends who eat meat so as not to force my ideals upon them (I get local meat so at least know where it came from and don't feel bad eating it), but it'd be nice if people paid the same courtesy. No worries at Dirt Candy, everyone is happy! I need to learn how to cook like her. Maybe I should look up that Iron Chef episode everyone keeps talking about and pick up some tips!

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