“You are going to pay $75/- to eat vegetables? You are crazy!” exclaimed my father when he learned that I am going to Dirt Candy for a special event on Canada Day.
“They are not just vegetables dad. They are cooked in a unique way – in ways we could never imagine.”
“They are still vegetables,” he responded, still questioning my decision.
Well, I don’t blame him. I had the exact same feeling when I first heard of Dirt Candy which is is located on the Lower East Side of NYC.
I went there for the first time last year and was impressed by the chef’s creativity. When I heard vegetarian restaurant, I thought pasta, salads and grilled vegetables – but Dirt Candy is not that. I didn’t write about it back then and so my memory is flawed but the two most memorable dishes were:
Brussels Sprout Tacos
Brussels sprouts tossed in Mexican bistek sauce and served on a sizzling stone with iceberg lettuce wrappers and accompaniments so that diners can make their own tiny bites that are one part Chinese sung choi bao and one part strange Mexican tacos.
The accompaniments are usually: smoked avocado, pickled red onion, cotija cheese, radishes, crispy brussels sprout leaves, tortilla strips, pickled jalapenos, salsa verde, and crema.
Not in my wildest dreams would I imagine eating brussels sprout tacos and loving them.
Kale matzoh balls served in kale galangal broth with stir-fried shisito peppers and red amaranth. Topped with pickled okra seeds, micro cilantro, and a poached egg. Matzoh ball soup is supposed to be comforting, and there’s nothing more comforting to me than a poached egg slowly dissolving into a warm, rich, spicy soup.
This is the most insanely delicious soup that I have ever had and now you know what I mean by clever? I love matzoh balls and the other ingredients mentioned above, but never could I come up with these combinations or the techniques she uses to transform foods we are all familiar with.
Now back to my current meal at Dirt Candy which was last week. Amanda Cohen the brilliant chef is from Canada and so to celebrate Canada Day she organized a special meal where we would go camping indoors.
That’s where the aforementioned $75 for vegetables comes in. My mom made the reservation for me as a special treat and I went with a couple of friends.