Wow, look at my sweet ‘stache!!!
My dreams of becoming the upstate J. D. Samson might not be dashed after all. (Don’t worry, that’s just chocolate on my hand. Or is it?)
Enough exhaustion-induced hijinx! I have serious news for you tonight, internet!
Breaking news, in fact, on the Dirt Candy front!
(Oh hey, also! Jacob and I [read: Jacob] built a lightbox photo-taking thingie! Thanks to blogreaders E and V for tips—it’s awesome. Super pro food photography is now mine! Oh, Jacob is making me say that these are just tester shots and are not truly representative of the greatness to come.)
Can I state first of all that I really want this restaurant to succeed? I do, truly: I feel not one bit of schadenfreude when reporting its annoyances (but I feel lots [for everyone else in the world] because I spelled schadenfreude right on the first try)—in fact, it’s because of my intense love of NYC veggie restaurants (and veggie restaurants in general) that I feel the need to hate on them in the name of making them better. I deeply believe in the whole a-rising-tide-lifts-all-boats idea, and I want there to be amazing veggie and vegan restaurants out there—not only so I can go to them on my infrequent jaunts out of my own kitchen, but more so that when I tell people my business is vegan they think of Hangawi (creativity and beauty), not Kate’s Joint (grease and hipster ick). Also, I like Amanda Cohen’s blog. And, as I said before, we have a mutual close friend, so I shouldn’t talk too much shit about her online.
But I’m going to anyway!
It is with annoyed sadness that I report that my sweetheart Jacob went to Dirt Candy tonight and was so incredibly rudely received that he didn’t even stay for a meal.
First, can I tell you about Jacob’s Palate? I feel the need to capitalize the name of his truly astonishing taste buds, because in our eleven years together I have watched his palate develop into a truly fearsome instrument. In addition to living with me while I was in cooking school/working in restaurants/launching my cooking business, his ramblin’ sound engineer/tour manager/band manager life has exposed him to amazing (and awful) vegan options (and lack thereof) in every single state in these here United States (he finally knocked down Alaska this summer), as well as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and pretty much everywhere else.
(Would you like to know the hardest time he’s ever had finding something to eat? I think it was the time when an unnamed beloved Americana singer-songwriter couple brought him to a certain festival in a certain state not only to be their tour manager and sound engineer, but also for the express purpose of enjoying seeing his Jewy vegan skinny “I-grew-up-in-the-Chelsea-Hotel* ass squirm at the backwoodsiness of it all. Their instructions to him were simple: “bring your own food, and be scared when people come up to you during our set and say that we’re not really country. If they use the word “folk,” bolt immediately.” He returned home wild-eyed and starving.).
In short: he’s sophisticated, and no bullshit veggie wrap will ever cross his lips. Jacob is not impressed easily. So, when he and our BFFs Black Gold (album out now! Show tonight in NYC!) sauntered up to a certain new veggie-but-decidedly-not-vegan restaurant at 8 PM on a frigid Wednesday night in the middle of a horrible economic recession, they did not expect the reception they got. When they politely (band boys are always polite, did you know that? It’s a little known fact.) said they didn’t have a reservation, but would be delighted if they could snag a table for 4, the hostess literally laughed in their faces. Literally! She then told them that if they wanted to leave their phone numbers, she would call them if a table became available, though it would probably be around 9:20-10.
Thusly chastened, they retreated to the neighboring bar to discuss tour routing (you and I would call this “what cities the tour should go to in what order”), and called the restaurant at 9:30. They were met with extreme haughtiness and told that if they wanted to come by in fifteen minutes a table might be opening. They traipsed over, and a different rude hostess said a table “might open up” in another fifteen minutes. Everyone understands about tiny restaurants having a wait, but not a single “I’m sorry” or token “thanks for coming” or anything was offered.
So they left, but not without Jacob peeking at the menu and reporting that nothing looked good.
Bleg, ick, and MEH.
I’m over Dirt Candy. (They went to Counter and it was perfectly fine.)
You could say that this attitude is the behavior of a few rogue employees, but I don’t buy that. When you own a restaurant, you are your employees—you know you will be judged by them, and you need to teach them how to act. Dirt Candy is getting a lot of press now, and I’m sure they are riding that wave of haughtiness that comes with quick success. What they have forgotten is this: NYC restaurant patrons are fickle, and new restaurants are opening all the time. Vegans, on the other hand, never forget a snub.
Behold! Isn’t it rad?
Update! PS: I emailed Than from Black Gold to get his take on the night, and here’s what he had to say:
Well I’d just add that when we first asked for a table, the super rude hostess laughed and huffed “NO!” Who says that? Then she said maybe 9:20. She had a tremendous cloud of bad energy around her that I think bummed everyone out. Yeesh.
When we called back she said “well it won’t be til 9:45-10.” To which I replied “u said 9:20!” she then gave a bs answer, admitted she was wrong but did not apologize. To cap it off she said, with an insanely disrespectful take it or leave it attitude, “well if u want a table you can come back at 945 and we may have it.” so rude. So unprof! I wanted to kill.
I told Jacob I hereby hex those idiots and await their demise. Veg karma is a bitch! Life Is too short to deal with people who have hate and neg energy in their heart, and consequently, in their food.