Friday, December 12, 2008

Dirt Candy. Unless You Like Supporting Cretins, Stay Away.

Dirt Candy. What is it, and why does it sound so thoroughly unappealing?

Why, it's a vegetarian restaurant in the east village. Its egregiously stupid "trying too hard to be cool" name would be enough to turn anyone off, but there's more - it is owned by, from what I can gather, one of the most unpleasant and adversarial vegetarian chefs on the planet.

Now, I like supporting vegetarian places, even if they're NOT vegan. They generally have at least one or two things on their menu that will accommodate "weirdoes." However, after reading this self-important and just downright rude shit, I am turned off.

In several recent interviews, this woman, Amanda Cohen, has made it be known that she thinks most vegetarians are "weird" and that vegetarian restaurants are "terrible" (because, she claims, they don't have "real chefs" - they have people who are into "lifestyles").

To top it all off, she isn't even a vegetarian. She eats fish. Why not stay true to yourself and open a restaurant that openly and honestly does what you are doing under the guise of "vegetarianism"? Instead of insulting the lifestyles and ideals of the people you're attempting to cater to, why not just serve steak and get it over with?

Here are some questions and answers from her recent interview in The Feedbag:
Amanda, what’s the deal with Dirt Candy? What’s the difference between it and other vegetarian restaurants? Is there one?

Here’s the thing: these are real dishes in a real restaurant. I’m not trying to convince anybody not to eat meat. I want normal diners to come in say, you know what? I’m not missing the meat. I’m using plenty of butter, using plenty of cream. So maybe one night someone can eat without meat; it’s actually very traditional.

The thing is, though, that vegetarian restaurants are always terrible.

Always! They’re horrible. Horrible! And you know why? Because they don’t have real cooks. The people who cook there have no culinary background; with this kind of food, you really have to know how to cook. If you don’t, it’s going to be awful. And it is.

They’re more ideologues than cooks, the same way the people who eat there have philosophical baggage instead of wholesome appetites. So what’s the point? Is it a health thing at Dirt Candy?

No! Look, there are lots of vegetarians who don’t care about their health. Look at India. It’s partially religious, but mainly, it’s how they grew up. I’m not Indian, but it’s how I like to eat. I just enjoy eating it, and that’s how I cook.
So if you go to this restaurant, you can learn to be a self-important asshole and get fat at the same time! Let's go!

That doesn’t sound so bad! So it’s not only weirdos who come in to eat there?

Unfortunately, I get a lot of weirdos. But we’re not a weird restaurant.

And from another interview on Gothamist:
So taking the premise that most vegetarian restaurants are say, making menu choices based on a lifestyle diet instead of being adventurous with food, what is it about Dirt Candy that sets it apart?

I think there are two differences. One, we do use dairy. Cheese, dairy, eggs, all that. That’s a huge difference. And then, also, I think our food is much more focused. We have a focal point on vegetables. That’s what I’m celebrating here. Other vegetarian restaurants are much more international, all encompassing, all over the place. Their focus is vegetarian food, or I guess I would say vegan food. My focus is vegetables. I get to be a lot more eccentric because I only have this one thing I do; it gives me these parameters to work within. Whereas if I was at another vegetarian restaurant, I could be like, I’m doing some Chinese food, I’m doing Italian food and I can do anything I want with it, and it’s so much broader. It’s almost like the difference between a really good diner and a fish restaurant. The diner probably does do some fish but it’s not going to do it as well as the fish restaurant.
I know in this time of global warming, when we've discovered that raising animals for meat, dairy and eggs contributes immensely to the destruction of our planet through climate change and grain production, it's whimsical and witty and charming to "make fun of the weirdoes" - but guess what, lady. Like it or not, you're adding to the problem with your fatty butter-and-cream-and-eggs menu. 

Oh. And then there's that whole cute little issue of farm animals living in horrid conditions and being treated miserably for their entire lives while entitled creeps open quirky little bistros and insult those of us who are trying to do something about it...

Dirt Candy: this is one weirdo you can count on never, ever showing up at your shame barn of a restaurant.


Dexter "Jiggles" LaRue said...


ChloƩ Jo said...

This girl seems like a real douchenozzle. I think I'll stick with my Candle 79 and Blossom which are ABOVE ALL - animal caring. For all her yappin' - my gourmand friends said Dirt Candy was OKAY, and that the Waiter was a jerk about veganizing anything. BOO on her for being so anti-veggie.

Sarah said...

Just when it looked like vegetarianism was becoming more mainstream! Way to turn off your client base Dirt Candy.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I was thinking when I read about Dirty Candy. It's like, thanks, but no thanks. I'll get my veggie food elsewhere. And the weirdest thing is that their menu says they'll veganize anything. Don't insult me and then try to cater to me. I'm not buying it and I doubt any other vegans are either.

Arch Stanton said...

My favorite thing about this post is how it and all the comments completely justify everything Amanda Cohen said about most vegetarians and vegans. Namely, their self-righteous conviction that their restrictive, tasteless diet is the only moral one on the planet. Way to go!

By the way, the name didn't turn me off and I loved my meal at Dirt Candy. Which is surprising, considering how much I loooooove meat. Especially rare and bloody.

Dexter "Jiggles" LaRue said...

Oh, Arch Stanton: how many omnivores have insulted vegans by proclaiming their love of rare and bloody flesh...

You get First Prize for Originality.


Marky Mae Brown said...

Arch Stanton and assholes like him/her with their strident, smug and ignorant views and inability to accept basic scientifically proven facts that MEAT EATING IS DESTROYING THE PLANET are exactly why we'll never get anywhere.

Arch Stanton said...

There you go again with the vegan mantra: scientifically proven facts. If you want to start quoting science, start with human physiology.

Marky Mae Brown said...

You mean like the fact that our teeth and jaws weren't designed to be carnivorous?

Misty Snatchwrath said...

Human Physiology

Although many modern humans eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods, earning us the honorary title of "omnivore," we are anatomically herbivorous. Biologists have established that animals who share physical characteristics also share a common diet. Comparing the anatomy of carnivores with our own clearly illustrates that we were not designed to eat meat.

Teeth and Nails
To contrast human physiology with that of carnivores, start at the beginning of the digestive tract. Teeth, nails, and jaw structure indicate that nature intended for people to eat a plant-based diet. They have much shorter and softer fingernails than animals and pathetically small "canine" teeth (they're canine in name only). In contrast, carnivores all have sharp claws and large canine teeth capable of tearing flesh.

The jaws of carnivores move only up and down, requiring them to tear chunks of flesh from their prey and swallow it whole. Humans and other herbivores can move their jaws up and down and from side to side, a movement that allows them to grind up fruit and vegetables with their back teeth. Like other herbivores, human back molars are flat and allow the grinding of fibrous plant foods. Carnivores lack these flat molars. If humans had been meant to eat meat, they would have the sharp teeth and claws of carnivores. Instead, their jaw structure, flat molars, and lack of claws indicate that they are best suited for a plant-based diet.

Dr. Richard Leakey, a renowned anthropologist, summarizes, "You can't tear flesh by hand, you can't tear hide by hand. Our anterior teeth are not suited for tearing flesh or hide. We don't have large canine teeth, and we wouldn't have been able to deal with food sources that require those large canines."

Stomach Acidity
After using their sharp claws and teeth to capture and kill their prey, carnivores swallow their food whole, relying on their extremely acidic stomach juices to do most of the digestive work. The stomach acid of carnivores actually plays a dual role-besides breaking down flesh, the acid also kills the dangerous bacteria that would otherwise sicken or kill the meat-eater.

Our stomach acids are much weaker in comparison because strong acids aren't needed to digest pre-chewed fruits and vegetables. In comparing the stomach acidity of carnivores and herbivores, it is obvious that humans fall into the latter category. We can cook meat to kill some of the bacteria and make it easier to chew, but it's clear that humans, unlike all natural carnivores, are not designed to easily digest meat.

Intestinal Length
Evidence of our herbivorous nature is also found in the length of our intestines. Carnivores have short intestinal tracts and colons that allow meat to pass through it relatively quickly, before it has a chance to rot and cause illness. Humans, on the other hand, have intestinal tracts that are much longer than carnivores of comparable size. Like other herbivores, longer intestines allow the body more time to break down fiber and absorb the nutrients from a plant-based diet.

The long human intestinal tract actually makes it dangerous for people to eat meat. The bacteria in meat have extra time to multiply during the long trip through the digestive system, and meat actually begins to rot while it makes its way through the intestines. Many studies have also shown that meat can cause colon cancer in humans.

Comparing our anatomies clearly illustrates the fact that the human body is built to run on a vegetarian diet. Humans have absolutely none of the distinguishing anatomical characteristics that either carnivores or even natural omnivores have. Read author John Robbins' discussion of the anatomical differences between humans and carnivores.

Dexter "Jiggles" LaRue said...

My philosophy is less scientific: who the fuck cares what are teeth can rip to shreds? Personally, I believe in evolution and choice. Why not choose to do the most kind thing? What Nature designed us to do is one thing, what we choose to do with what we are given is another.

Humans have no need, at least in the vast majority of developed countries, to dominate animals. So, why should we? Because we are petty assholes? Because it makes us feel Big and Tough? Because we are solipsistic douchebags? D.) All of the the above?

Marky Mae Brown said...


Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time commenter. I totally agree with Chloe calling it the way she sees it: this douchnozzle should be taught a lesson! Reading her cretin comments in those interviews makes me totally support you guys when you say that this yapping little girl's big mouth should be shut up.

Maybe if she experienced the torture that MILLIONS OF OUR ANIMAL SISTERS AND BROTHERS experienced every day she'd think twice before talking like this.

Ye Olde, Chloe, if you want to take action against this uppity slut (and I mean that literally - she looks like a slut in those pictures) then I'm with you. She is a shit, a cretin, a douche, and an asshole - you guys go! We've got your backs!