Saturday, February 21, 2009

Candy, candy, candy, I can't let you go

Tonight, the photo assistant and I joined a friend for an early dinner at Dirt Candy. I am already trying to figure out how to recreate their carrot risotto.

But before I go into that, here's the shopping:
1/3 lb. baby Swiss chard
1 lb. white mushrooms
4 lbs. carrots
6 lbs. yellow onions
1 lb. Italian red torpedo onions
1 bag shallots
2 lbs. carola potatoes
2 lbs. Empire (?) apples (the bins weren't labeled!)
1 4-lb. bag mixed "bargain" apples
Total spent: $37.50

Dirt Candy, as you may have heard, is a restaurant dedicated to vegetables - so naturally, I wanted to try it. I'm no restaurant critic (though perhaps I qualify as a vegetable critic?), but here's the summary. (Photo is from their website. I don't take photos anywhere outside my house, really, but especially not in tiny restaurants.)

I loved: carrot risotto (my favorite thing I ate there by a long shot - I do love carrots); jalapeno hush puppies w/ maple butter; the fact that they offered an upscale pinot grape juice along with the wine list (delicious, and I got to drink out of a wine glass just like a real grownup).
I liked: Greek salad (but I thought the fried mushrooms made the feta a bit too much); popcorn pudding (a little too sweet for my taste).

All the food was delicious, though I do think the menu relies a little too heavily on fried food. But frying is certainly a good way to make vegetables decadent, which is obviously one of the goals of the place - and I have to say, they succeed admirably. The place is tiny - 20 seats - with a two-chef line, chef Amanda Cohen expediting, and one server. I'm sure they felt a bit frantic back there, but the compactness and efficiency of the setup made me romanticize the idea of opening my own tiny restaurant.

And dinner was early (it's not easy to get a reservation for 3 there - 5:30 was our only option), so I had time to make granola and hummus, start a batch of yogurt, and sharpen my knife when I got home. Earlier in the day I made vegetable stock, but I didn't get around to the applesauce I had planned to make out of my bargain apples. Luckily class ends early tomorrow.

In semi-freakout news: next week is our Friday Night Dinner!! Tomorrow I'll make brown stock (using carrots, onions, celery, and the pound of white mushrooms) and post the recipe, which I invented to use for our borscht. It is fantastic for soups!


Jen said...

yum, that risotto looks like heaven...

anna said...

It was really fantastic - the only weird bit were these carrot dumplings on the side that were shaped to look like carrot slices. Nice idea (and they were tasty!), but not necessary since the dish is already so starchy.

More important: Jen! Hi!!! I like your site! It's so good to hear from you!!

Jen said...

I know...we never saw each other when I was in NY!! I thought I saw you one day but wasn't sure...hmmm