ORDER ONLINE

8 Healthy Restaurant Dishes in Miami That Are Also Delicious

By Miami Eater| Originally appeared on Miami Eater

In a perfect world, you could alternate between eating meatball subs and trays of loaded nachos every day with no repercussions for the planet, your blood pressure or the steadily increasing obesity rate in America. But sometimes we are troubled with the burden of "making good choices," especially when it comes to the foods we eat.

Misconceptions about healthy food include assumptions that it is tasteless, boring and not satisfying. Here are eight places in Miami that challenge those fallacies with dishes like creamy ice cream alternatives, healthy — yet delicious! — pizza, lightened up versions of Cuban classics, and other mouthwatering dishes that taste as good as they make you feel. Promise.

The below map points are listed in alphabetical order and are not ranked. Did we miss your favorite spot? Show it some love in the comments, send us an email, or start a forum thread in its honor.

DIRT

Dirt is one of the few eateries that break down the protein, fat and carb content of each dish, a calculation nearly impossible for the average eater. The lemongrass chicken wrap is one of the healthiest options with only 300 calories and 14g of carbs. Its free-range chicken thigh is paired with carrot kitchen slaw, avocado aioli and local greens. Pro tip: ask to have it wrapped in collard greens.

Best Place to Detox After a Gluttonous Week

By Miami Food Pug | Originally appeared on Miami Food Pug

After stuffing your face all week or drinking yourself into oblivion, there’s no better place to visit than DIRT. We’ve mentioned it several times in our past writeups, but it’s impossible not to leave this place feeling healthy AF. Their smoothies, fruit bowls, salads, wraps and hearty seasonal fare will help you overcome a food coma and/or hangover to become a functional human being again. Get a closer look at the restaurant’s latest menu here.

We’re Falling for DIRT’s New Autumn Menu

By Miami Food Pug | Originally appeared on Miami Food Pug

Our DIRT love affair is no secret. It’s one of those places that just makes you feel good when you walk in — and feel even better when you eat. Before discovering DIRT, our experiences with healthy(ish) places had been hit or miss. We usually ran into two problems:

1. We left the place hungry.
2. We left the place feeling cheated.

Not so with DIRT. The Miami Beach eatery fuses great value and great food for a great dining experience. That trend continues with the restaurant’s latest fall additions.

Chef Nicole Votano’s new menu items push your palate forward with fun twists on the season’s staple ingredients. One of our new favorite items: a Roasted Carrot + Sesame Dip. Topped with an almond dukkah spice, this small starter is the definition of “love at first bite.” Another seasonal item, the Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Toast is a worthy successor to summer’s English pea and goat cheese toast — it tastes like fall in your mouth; in case you can’t tell, that’s a good thing.

Our meal’s highlight, though, was the DIRT x Sun Fresh Farm & Ranch Breakfast Bowl: two Sun Fresh over easy eggs, spiced lentils, sweet potato, wilted wild arugula, roasted carrot puree, fresh herbs and shaved veggies. The Sun Fresh eggs are INSANE. How are eggs these good possible? So runny and perfect.

If you come in the afternoon, take advantage of the Autumn Plate, which is made up of caramelized Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato-banana mash, shaved vegetables and pomegranate molasses. You can order it as is or add your favorite protein. We opted for the latter, choosing the veggie burger at the recommendation of Chef Votano.

Full disclosure: We’ve always thought of veggie burgers as an abomination.

We had our doubts about our protein selection, but they were put to rest after we devoured the autumn plate in seconds. The burger looked like meat and tasted like meat, and it was delicious. If you’ve been on the fence about veggie burgers, give it a try; we would definitely eat it again, and we say that as die-hard carnivores. Should you want something lighter, there’s the Autumn Salad with local greens, shaved Brussels sprouts, sliced avocado, roasted carrots, cauliflower crumbles, spiced lentils, toasted seed mix, Parmigiano-Reggiano and honey sherry vinaigrette.

While it’s not on the seasonal menu, the Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich is another solid lunch choice that could easily double as dinner; it’s huge. Make sure to get it with the side of DIRT’s tomato soup, which is one of the best in town. Of course, you need something to wash everything down, and the Pumpkin Almond Smoothie and DIRT x Jojo Tea Chai Soda get the job done with refreshing autumn flavors.

When the seasons change here in Florida, we know it’s time to visit DIRT. And once you’ve had a bite of their fall menu, you’ll start doing the same.

Where To Actually Get a Decent (And Healthy) Meal During Miami Art Week

By Olee Fowler | Originally appeared on Miami Eater

DIRT

"Fine Food Fast" is the motto at this South Beach favorite, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with dishes like "create your own" toasts, seasonal veggie bowls, cold-pressed juices, smoothies and espresso-based drinks, all featuring nutritional information and ingredient origin right on them. 

A No Nonsense Guide to Doing South Beach Like a Local

By Shayne Benowitz | Originally appeared on Miami.com

The New York Times’ Frugal Traveler Lucas Peterson recently paid our fair, seaside city of South Beach a visit and like so many travel writers and first time visitors before him, he fell into the typical tourist traps of Ocean Drive and its surrounding streets, rattling off (for the most part) a list of bars that no self respecting local would be caught dead in. He even called Mango’s the “quintessential” South Beach club experience—uh, not quite, bro. See: LIV, Story.

To be fair, South Beach isn't the easiest place to penetrate with pockets of coolness hiding in plain sight amidst, well, a lot of weirdness. Having lived in South Beach for the last six years, I’ve created a no nonsense guide distilling down the best locals spots in the ‘hood. And, yes, they happen to be places that I personally enjoy frequenting.

So what makes a spot local?

First, it’s gotta have a good vibe. We like a place that’s both approachable and stylish with serious quality backing it up.

Second, the price needs to be right. It’s far too easy to drop $80 to $100 a head at restaurants of wildly varying quality on the beach (most places being just okay). We want to pay half that. Also, spare us the $18-$24 cocktails, please! We live here. We need a place we can go any night of the week and not feel totally ripped off and despondent when the bill comes.

Finally, we love anything locally owned and operated. That’s how we’re slowly, but surely building a community on this crazy, neon-festooned, tacky, tourist loving, melting pot of an island that’s slowly sinking into the Atlantic. We like a place where we might run into our neighbors that still feels somewhat undiscovered by the masses who live elsewhere.

Local Restaurants

We like healthy, organic food in South Beach, so we frequent the newly opened fast-casual Dirt for its super fresh and delicious menu of salads, bowls and sandwiches.

 

DIRT

Originally appeared in Munch Miami

The health food scene has been growing at a steady rate in Miami for quite some time now, starting slowly with the opening of a couple of hard to find cold pressed juice bars and farmers markets, to what now seems like an overabundance of options to choose from. With all these options suddenly becoming available, how do you know what’s good and who’s just trying to join in on the fad?  Well, if you’re the kind of person that cares about supporting local community and sustainability, DIRT is the place for you. The good folks at DIRT make sure the local farmers they partner with have the same standards for the type of food they serve, making sure most of their meat and produce are organic, and free of GMOs, antibiotics, hormones and other harmful substances. Dirt has a deep care for the way they impact their local community and even the environment, so much so that they made sure that the energy they use to power their restaurant is 100% pollution-free. With every aspect of what they do carefully thought out, it’s no wonder they’ve grown such a huge following, and the food really speaks for itself.

The menu at DIRT is seasonal and changes according to the availability of certain fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. The menu during our visit was filled with autumn classics like squash, pumpkin, and sweet potato, and almost every section included one of these star ingredients. They really did a fantastic job of curating each dish and made sure there was something for everyone; vegetarians and paleo dieters alike.

Recommended DIRT Dishes:

We started our visit with the Spiced Pumpkin Nut LatteSpice Tea Latte, and a classic cup of English Breakfast tea. The Spiced Pumpkin Nut Latte is part of their Autumn menu and is a definite must try, surpassing any prefabricated pumpkin spiced flavor you’ll find at your big name coffee shops.

Accompanying our coffee was another seasonal menu item: the Butternut Squash + Goat Cheese toast. Topping the list as one of our favorite menu items, the gluten free toast was generously spread with soft whipped goat cheese, chunks of caramelized butternut squash, and sprinkled with toasted sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds. If I could make this for myself every day I would, it was that good.

We followed that up with DIRT x Taquiza Tostada, which had vibrant green smashed avocados spread generously over intensely blue handmade tortillas from Taquiza. These two dishes are great starters to any brunch outing, and are easy to share with your friends.

Following the toast and the tostada, was a beautiful seasonal menu item: the Dirt x Sun Fresh Farm & Ranch Breakfast Bowl. This dish consisted of two Sun Fresh over easy eggs, spiced lentils, sweet potato, wilted wild arugula, roasted carrot puree, fresh herbs, and shaved veggies. Vibrant and full of color, this dish is the perfect representation of Autumn in Florida.

Next, we had the Dirty Steak + Cheese: an homage to the classic Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. This healthy version of the messy classic, is filled with layers of flavor and is probably the next on our favorites list. Two grilled slices of gluten free toast are the vessel of choice for the perfectly sliced herb marinated butcher’s cut steak, creamy jalapeño Monterey jack cheese, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, local tomatoes, sunflower sprouts, and horseradish greek yogurt “aioli” sauce. It’s delicious and makes for the perfect lunch dish as it is not overly heavy and doesn’t leave you feeling gross…unlike it’s cheesy brother.

The next dish is the star of their autumn seasonal menu. the Autumn Plate has caramelized brussles sprouts, roasted sweet potato-banana mash, shaved vegetables, and pomegranate molasses. You have the option of adding protein to your order, so we went ahead and added some chicken, but you can honestly do without it. It’s a great veggie dish on it’s own and the sweet potato-banana mash help make it a satisfying meal.

Next, we had the Chimayo Chili Bowl, found in the Globally Inspired section of their menu. This burrito inspired dish is filled with gluten free bamboo rice at it’s base and topped with sweet potatoes, heirloom beans, stewed tomatoes,  greek yogurt, sharp cheddar jalapeno jack cheese, and spring onions. This dish is filling, veggie friendly, and a definite must try. Lucky for you it’s not a seasonal dish, so you can find it in their regular menu year round.

If you’re looking for a quick post workout pick-me-up or you’re in the mood for an antioxidant boost, look no further than their Acai or Dragon Fruit bowls. Both are distinctly unique and are both sweet and tart at the same time. The acai bowl consisted of acai, coconut water, coconut meat, blueberries, mango and honey, topped with strawberries, kiwi, banana, and gluten free house-made granola. The dragon fruit bowl consisted of fresh dragon fruit, banana, pineapple, fresh almond butter, and local wildflower honey, blended with house-made almond and brazil nut milk, and topped with blueberries, bananas, kiwi, and gluten free house-made granola.

Last but certainly not least, is this large and in charge, gluten free peanut butter cookie. Not too soft and not too hard, this semi crunchy, thick, salty, and sweet cookie was the perfect end to our meal. If you’re in the mood for a quick snack, and you’re not interested in overly processed sweets, you should definitely stop by DIRT and check out their desserts; they’re constantly changing and they sell out quick, so get there early and get their quick.

All in all we had an amazing experience. The staff was friendly and attentive, making sure everything is clean and the ambiance is relaxed. If you’re looking for an environmentally conscious, locally sourced, and organic restaurant that serves really really good food, look no further than DIRT.

Get Your Paws DIRT-y with this New Fall Menu

By Hamilton Barkley* | originally appeared in Mitch & Mel Take Miami

I need to start off by stating the obvious. Yes, I am a dog and yes, I have a fabulous beard and a wicked sense of style. My name is Hamilton Barkley of HamiInMiami.com and I’m here to share with you my love of food. I’m recently got my paws dirty and am excited to be contributing to Mitch and Mel’s fabulous blog by reviewing DIRT’s new Fall Seasonal Menu. Remember how amazing everything looked the last time MMTM visited DIRT? I had to go check it out for myself.

On a particularly crisp morning, I headed to DIRT with my human. If the lack of humidity in the air was any indication of how the day’s meal was going to be, I was in for a treat. A fall menu tasting on an 86˚ Miami fall day…. Pawesome!

 

First up, a Pumpkin Almond Smoothie. Pumpkin smoothie, you ask? Hellz-to-the-yeah! You know how people go nuts during this time of year for #PumpkinSpiceEverything? Well, this is the only pumpkin beverage people should be going crazy over. A definite must try. What’s in this cold concoction? Pumpkin, banana, mango, local wildflower honey, almond butter, house-made almond + Brasil nut mylk, fresh ginger, orange zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It was smooth, creamy, and refreshing with just enough hints of fall spices. Only in Miami do we have the luxury of enjoying a frozen smoothie in the fall.

Up next? Butternut Squash + Goat Cheese Toast. Don’t worry, I will repeat that for you. Ready? Butternut Squash + Goat Cheese Toast. Oh. My. Dog! Just writing about it makes me drool. What made this toast a piece of heaven? Caramelized butternut squash, whipped goat cheese, spicy mustard greens, local wildflower honey, toasted pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and Maldon sea salt all beautifully presented on Zak the Baker toast. Let’s take a closer look at this deliciousness.

 

Do you SEE what I am talking about? Trust me when I tell you that it tasted even better than it looked! The toast, in true Zak the Baker fashion, was crunchy on the outside but sufficiently tender on the inside. The whipped goat cheese… Oh, that whipped goat cheese! Smeared so thickly on the toast that a goat cheese mustache is inevitable as you bite in. Absolutely divine. Then, on top of it all, a plethora of textures, colors and flavors that combine to create a true palate party.

I’d like to think of myself a rather macho dog. I have a beard and some intense chest hair. And in true macho form, I always go for a big juicy piece of steak if given the option. Or some bacon. Or a rack of lamb. Or some fatty oxtail. So when I tell you that the DIRT x Little Haiti Community Garden Bowl topped with a house-made veggie burger was as good as a piece of steak, you will understand the levels of delicious that this farro and vegetable bowl was.

Farro, an ancient grain that is gaining popularity among gourmet specialty foods, was the base for this delicious garden bowl. It was topped with spiced lentils, sweet potato, wild arugula, extra virgin olive oil, roasted carrot puree, fresh herbs, and shaved veggies. I added the meatless burger (aka: the BEST veggie burger I have ever tasted) because, why not? I wanted to attempt to be a vegetarian for a meal and I have to admit… Not bad at all! If this is what it is like to be a vegetarian, then sign me up. You can keep the steak, bacon, lamb, and oxtail. Just give me all the house-made veggie burgers and garden bowls from DIRT!

Something totally worth noting: I had gone to DIRT with the pre-conceived notion that it was a vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/granola hippie haven. But I was actually surprised to find out that the most ordered food item on the menu is the Dirty Steak & Cheese sandwich. I will have to go back and see how DIRT can handle the meats!

Another super cool thing about Dirt? In support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, DIRT will donate $1 from each sale of the restaurants new Rosewater Greek Yogurt parfait and BLUSH juice – a refreshing pink blend of watermelon, pineapple, lemon and mint – to Susan G. Komen, the charitable organization.

###

Hami’s take: Yes, the food at DIRT might fall more on the healthy spectrum, but it’s absolutely amazing and does not compromise on taste. You’ll never feel like you’re giving up a good meal for a healthy one and isn’t that the point anyway? Furry and foodie friends alike should hurry over to DIRT to try the Autumn menu, which will be available through the end of December. Don’t miss it!

Standout dish: Paws down, my favorite thing at DIRT was the Butternut Squash + Goat Cheese Toast. Trust me. Stop what you are doing right now and go. Go right away to DIRT and try this toast. You’ll thank me later.

Signing out. Paws & Love. Hami.

*A member of the #MMTM writing family, Sophia Costabal has already covered some delicious dining destinations in Miami and shared several of her foodie adventures with you. Her love of food runs in the family, as Sophia’s adorable dog has recently become a Miami Insta-celebrity in his own right. Hamilton Barkley (Hami in Miami, as we’ve all come to know him) is a Scottish Terrier that has some serious foodie notoriety under his belt. Recently, he took over the Miami Yelp Instagram account and our favorite ice cream shop, Azucar, coined an ice cream flavor after him.

Miami Miami's 10 Best Neighborhoods for Eating, Ranked

 By Matt Meltzer | Originally appeared in Thrillist

Sometimes in Miami, it’s just best not to ask too many questions. Like “How do you afford that new 7-series when you still live in a veritable shack?” or “Where’s all this water going to go?” But a question absolutely worth asking is “Where should we have dinner?” Our culinary options have exploded over the past decade, and neighborhoods that were once only dining destinations for feral raccoons now house some of the best restaurants in the country. Debate rages on about which Miami neighborhoods are the best, but when looking at variety, affordability, and creativity, these are our top 10.

1. SoFi

Essential restaurants: La Locanda, Big Pink, Izzy’s Fish and Oyster, Cibo Wine Bar, Lillikoi, Dirt

If you’ve been here long enough to remember, there was a time when all the cool, new stuff in South Beach landed north of Fifth St, and South of Fifth was relegated to being the set for Band of the Hand. But the tables have turned, and as NoFi fast becomes an urban wasteland, SoFi has become the best food neighborhood in the city. It’s accomplished this by keeping its great old standards like La Locanda and Big Pink, and adding some fantastic new concepts like Izzy’s Fish and Oyster and the sprawling Cibo Wine Bar. SoFi literally has something for everyone in every price range, from a European deli to slices to high-end steak at not one but THREE different restaurants. And even actually delicious healthy food at Lilikoi and Dirt. We’d say we wonder how everyone who lives here doesn’t weigh 500lbs. But this is Miami, and it’s probably best not to ask such things.

DIRT Supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Originally appears in Miami New Times | By Clarissa Buch

In partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Dirt has pledged to donate $1 from each sale of the restaurant's new rosewater Greek yogurt parfait ($7.50) along with its favorite "blush" juice ($11), which blends watermelon, pineapple, lemon, and mint. The yogurt is made with gluten-free oats and spiced with cardamom, and some layers of parfait include dried blueberries and goji berries, which are filled with antioxidants believed to prevent breast cancer.

Prism Tastes: DIRT’s Fall Seasonal Menu

Originally appeared in Prism

We were welcomed for an intimate preview of DIRT‘s Fall seasonal menu and it’s every bit as beautiful as you’d expect. But let’s take a few steps back. As part of our One Night Stay at the South of Fifth boutique hotel, Sense Beach House, we explored the surrounding local favorite spots and took a short one block walk to the clean-conscious outpost on everyone’s tongue. And once you enter the light-flooded and warm eatery, you immediately understand why.

Although Miami may be slow on the clean eating and locally-sourced uptake, in just about 10 months, DIRT’s presence has been overwhelmingly well-received into the daily lives of locals both on the beach and off. The collection of towering windows isn’t the only thing that’s transparent about DIRT, they happily shout out where they source their produce and other items with a handmade map of Florida and beyond right when you walk in. But it’s not just nutritional dishes that they’ve mastered, it’s the art of making health-conscious decisions second nature, without disrupting what we all love to do most: eat. As you dig into your chili or let the cheese ooze tenderly out of your sandwich, you might get so lost in the moment you may not realize you just made a dozen healthy decisions in one order.

Sitting down with DIRT’s General Manager – Jeff Latulippe, and Executive Chef – Nicole Votano, you understand why authenticity and unlikely pairings are high on the list of frequently used seasonings at the locale. A finance wiz and Philly native, Latulippe was brought to South Florida for work and eventually was inspired to call it home. Struck with the concept behind a produce-conscious restaurant that would turn fast casual on its head, serendipity brought Votano into the mix, a culinary nomad with big local names like Fooq’s already under her belt. They’re the type of kind-hearted souls dead set on doing what they love for the betterment of everyone else. The two are as down to earth as can be, just like the moniker they ultimately chose for their vision.

As the seasons change, so do the ripe plants and produce, following the rhythm of the rising and falling temperatures. At DIRT, although some staples may remain, a bulk of the menu is transformed for each harvest, infused with the flavors of the seasons only to ensure the best produce year-round. We were lucky enough to have a little taste (pun very much intended) of what’s to come. Autumn staples like pumpkin, carrot, cauliflower, lentils, and Brussel sprouts are transformed by (here it comes again) the unlikely pairing of sherry, hemp seeds, sesame, sunflower, and almond. Everything at DIRT is so simply delivered, making the quality of its produce and its relentless desire to incorporate local collaborations take center stage. That’s Zak the Baker bread under your Roasted Carrot + Sesame Dip, local arugula in your DIRT x Little Haiti Community Garden Bowl, and Jojo Tea in your DIRT x Jojo Chai Tea Soda (an absolute must try). We also had the DIRT Veggie Burger which sky-rocketed to the top of our list of favorite local burgers, unsurprisingly.

In an age of highly-processed meals and need for instant gratification, places like DIRT are an absolute treasure. It may be something that is already a key trait of living in places like the West Coast, but we love seeing creative people taking a risk and reaping the reward in heaping bunches. If the mixed greens and kale talk isn’t your thing, don’t worry. My sweet tooth was bright-eyed to discover that the absolute best peanut butter cookie in Miami is under DIRT’s roof, and guess what? It’s gluten-free. Congratulations to everyone on the DIRT team, the smiles are more than well-deserved. Even if there may be a piece of spinach in them 😉

Why Miami top chefs are working out together

Carlos Frías | Originally appeared in Miami Herald

Miami, Florida, AUGUST 8, 2016 Ten of Miami's top local chefs, including Food & Wine 2016 "Best New Chef" Brad Kilgore of Alter and DIRT'S Nicole Votano, will take part in "The Biggest Burn" Chefs Get Fit Challenge, a 12-week weight loss and fitness challenge, presented by Orangetheory Fitness South Beach. The chefs will have their first weigh in and workout starting at 10 am. Left to right, Chef Soraya Kilgore, Chef Brad Kilgore and Chef Jimmy Lebron on the treadmill during the first day of the challenge. José A. Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

 

Watching one of Miami’s top chefs churning on a treadmill in a soaked-through gray and black T-shirt, you wonder whether he’s thinking about all those cheeseburgers.

It’s usually past 1 a.m. when Brad Kilgore, chef/owner at one of Miami’s top restaurants, Alter, trudges up the street for his first full meal of the day — a burger from The Bar Next Door. His pastry chef, wife Soraya, joins him for a plate of fries.

Kilgore knows he really shouldn’t.

But after preparing expertly crafted cuisine at Alter all day, dishes that look like art on a plate, he barely has had a chance to eat anything beyond taste testing his dishes. All he wants is a simple burger he didn’t have to cook himself.

It’s easy to make excuses when you’re working long hours and have delicious food all around you,” Kilgore said. “It’s easy to let yourself go and not allot time for taking care of yourself.”

RELATED: Top Miami chef remakes Arsht theater cuisine

He’s not alone.

And that’s how the Kilgores and eight other Miami chefs would end up here, at the Orangetheory Fitness gym on South Beach, a drill instructor of a fitness coach urging them on over the gym’s speakers.

“You’re getting stronger with every step, I promise you!” coach Sandy Arellano calls out. “If you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re doing it right.”

Clearly, everyone is doing it right.

These 10 Miami chefs have committed to working out three days a week and eating meatless at least on Mondays for the 12 weeks leading up to the Nov. 5 SEED Food & Wine Festival in Wynwood, the only plant-based food event of its kind. The chef who loses the greatest percentage of weight will be honored with Miami Heat tickets and other prizes at the festival. The gift they all hope to share is a healthy lifestyle they can use to inspire others.

“We want people to take care of themselves and be conscious about what they’re eating,” said chef Nicole Votano of the clean-eating restaurant Dirt, which will offer the chefs discounted meals throughout their training.

Votano is not only here for moral support. She once lost more than 80 pounds by eating better and exercising before putting about 25 of those pounds back on. A month ago, she decided that was enough.

She contacted her friend, SEED culinary directory Julie Frans, and they quickly put together this fitness challenge. Ten chefs stepped forward to join Votano: the Kilgores, Paco Laszlo of Jugofresh, Jimmy Lebron of 27 Restaurant & Bar, Jeff Maxfield of Toscana Divino, Steve Santana of Taquiza, Venoy Rogers of Essensia at the Palms Hotel and Rose Flynn of Choices Cafe.

Last Monday, the chefs got together to weigh in at Orangetheory and work out together for the first time — and got a reality check. Those 14-hour days had caught up to them. They will post about their progress on social media with the hastag #OTFSEEDChefBurn.

“Man, I can’t work where I work and look like this,” Rogers, chef at the “natural gourmet” focused Essensia, said when he got his body fat results. Modest, he still cuts the shape of a former Oklahoma high school and college walk-on heavyweight wrestler.

Under the orange lights that are the gym’s trademark, the group sets off for its first workout — cardio training on a treadmill mixed with hand weights and resistance training such as squats and situps.

Shirts began to sweat through. After about 20 minutes, no one is smiling anymore.

Rogers’ heather gray shirt has gone almost completely black. 27 chef Lebron is pushing hard, looking down the line at his fellow chefs, wiping sweat out of his eyes. It’s no surprise that after the hourlong workout, they have burned more calories — more than 1,000 each — than any of the other chefs. The workout triggers the chefs’ natural competitive tendencies.

“I know these guys don’t give up,” Lebron would say later.

Rogers trots from the treadmill to the weight room and gives high fives to Votano and Flynn before settling in for a round of squats next to Kilgore.

“Trying to beat this guy in something,” Rogers says, nodding over to Kilgore, who was named a semifinalist for two James Beard cooking awards this year.

Kilgore somehow manages a smile through burning muscles as the chefs approach their final minute of the most intense part of the workout.

“We do not slow down, we do not stop in our final minute!” Arellano yells and the speakers crack.

After an intense hour, they look up at a flat screen displaying their workout stats, measured with a heart monitor.

Soraya Kilgore is actually smiling after her workout. She has been doing CrossFit for several months since her job as a pastry chef often requires her to eat “30 spoonfuls of sugar” in an average day. Her husband isn’t so lucky.

“Brad looked like he was going to topple over there for a minute,” Soraya Kilgore says.

So how was that? someone asks Jugo fresh’s Lazslo.

“[Expletive],” he wheezes.

Only 11 more weeks to go.

 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/living/food-drink/article96444977.html#storylink=cpy

A Chat with Chef Nicole from DIRT

By Patricia |Originally appeared in Miami Nice

it's not every day that you can get me to drive from my comfy corner of Coral Gables to Miami Beach - just for lunch. But yesterday I did just that. I had no other reason to be there. I just needed that lavender latte again after first tasting it about a month before. 

And it wasn't just the lavender latte that brought me back, I could list you every single thing I tried on my first visit and each one weighed equally on my mind every day around lunch when I couldn't have it again. So I went back. Just for reference, here are the dishes Chef Nicole, a friendly, warm personality who doesn't talk about food like a 'chef' but like a cool friend who's seen everything on the Food Network and then took it to the next level and bought a smoker and a sous vide for her kitchen  - that is to say, she can talk about food like a friend. She helped us suss through the menu of delicious and healthy looking dishes to find the perfect order for us. In this case, that means one thing from every section of the menu: 

- Avocado Toast 

- Goat Cheese and English Pea Toast 

- Dirt x Jojo Tea Spring Salad by Tico. The Seasonal Salad was a collaboration with our friends, who also turn out to be Nicole's friends, at Jojo Tea. So we had to have that. It features a matcha vinagrette made with Jojo Tea. 

- Dirty Steak + Cheese Sandwich. 

- Curried Cauliflower Bowl

- The aforementioned Lavender Latte

- Dragon Fruit Lemonade 

That's right baby, these girls don't mess around. We needed a well rounded first taste. I can't pick a favorite, it would be impossible. I can tell you that it was a wonderful eating experience. Each plate beautiful, colorful, layered and tasty. It made me feel like I was in California without having to leave Miami - well, I did leave the mainland and drive back to the beach for my second visit. 

Below is  a chat with Chef Nicole:

 Hi Nicole! First and foremost, tell me who you are and what you do at DIRT?

Hi Nicole! First and foremost, tell me who you are and what you do at DIRT?
I'm a wife, and a Mother of two amazing kids. I'm an operating partner and executive chef at DIRT. What I do, well, that's a more complex answer . I do a little bit of everything. I write the menu and test the recipes for all our food, drinks, pastries, and packaged products, I do my fair share of events, I work on our social media and scout new locations with my partners Jeff and Matt, and I have a lot of fun doing all of it!

What I do, well, that's a more complex answer. I do a little bit of everything. I write the menu and test the recipes for all our food, drinks, pastries, and packaged products, I do my fair share of events, I work on our social media and scout new locations with my partners Jeff and Matt, and I have a lot of fun doing all of it!


What were you up to before this, very sweet, gig?
Before I started at DIRT I opened a restaurant called Fooqs in Miami's arts and entertainment district, where I developed a very eclectic menu that reflected both my culinary experience and my international upbringing in a small cozy restaurant in an up and coming neighborhood. Before that I worked with Michelle Bernstein for three years running her cafe Crumb on Parchment in the Design District, while also working with her on all of her events and catering, it was an awesome experience, I learned so much and really got to work with an awesome group of people who became my family.


The food at DIRT is beautiful, it's colorful, fun and artful - with a name like DIRT, that might not be what people expect...
Thank you! When I create each dish I think about it's appeal to the guest on all levels, flavor, texture, and beauty, really staying true to our mission to serve fine food fast. We work very hard to source amazing ingredients, they all have natural beauty, and I feel my job is to make those ingredients really shine. The name DIRT can definitely leave people not knowing what to expect, but to me, it makes all the sense in the world. We serve all natural, clean food that comes from the earth.


How would you sum up the philosophy of DIRT's menu?
DIRT's menu should show people that you don't have to give up anything to eat in a way that is good for you. I want people to know that the definition of "healthy" food doesn't have to mean plain, or boring. At DIRT our dishes are well sourced, inventive, and satisfying. They are influenced by flavors and trends from around the globe. You can get a great salad or bowl, or if it's a steak and cheese sandwich and a brownie that you are craving, you can still get it. The bonus is, at DIRT, you don't have to feel guilty about it because you know where it all came from, and that it has been made responsibly.


You mentioned to me when I was eating there that you bring a "girly" aesthetic to the food. Where do you see that on the menu?
My food does have a "girly" aesthetic, and I love that about it. It has happened organically over the years. As a young chef, I was so concerned about being categorized as a woman chef, that I really tried to hide the feminine side of my cooking and myself. But as I matured and got more comfortable, I realized that being a woman is a huge part of who I am, it's something to be proud of, and I should embrace that in every aspect of my life, including my career. I LOVE flowers, and color. Growing up my Mom always kept a colorful house filled with flowers, and it always made me feel happy and brightened my day. I try to make the guest have that same feeling through my food. Every dish is filled with color in all different forms, whether it be shaved vegetables, pea shoots, flowers or spices.

What's your favorite thing on the menu? Ok, I know that's hard, so you can pick one thing from each section if you'd like.

You're right, that's hard. It's like asking me to pick a favorite child, I can't do it!! Right now a few of my favorites are our Santorini Salad, which is our take on a Greek salad served, it has tomatoes, cucumbers, golden peppers, sprouted chickpeas and lentils, farro, Cerignola olives, and French feta on a base of harissa hummus.

I am also in love with our Spring Plate. It reminds me of a comforting Sunday dinner. Red and Yukon gold potatoes are smashed with garlic and shallot confit, Greek yogurt, olive oil, dill and tarragon, they are served under grilled broccolini that has been tossed with chili flakes, lemon juice, and olive oil, topped off with your choice of protein. My choice would be our marinated beef tenderloin. Steak and potatoes, "the DIRT way".


If you're not in the kitchen at DIRT, where can we find you?
When I'm not at DIRT or working on DIRT projects, you can find me at Orange Theory, I just started working out there and am loving it (I go at 530 am because that is the only time I can find in my day!!) Or hanging out with my husband and my kids at the beach or at home watching Netflix ("Chef's Table" and "Orange is the New Black" are two of my favorite shows).


What's your everyday breakfast?
When I first get to work I dial in the espresso machine, and make myself a cappuccino with whole grass fed milk. Around 10 AM I eat grapefruit and orange with sliced strawberries - I love fruit!

 

Current cocktail of choice?
The Trapper Keeper from The Anderson (definitely the coolest bar in Miami, and an industry hangout). It's made with Effen Vodka, Jasmine tea infused Mandarine Napoléon, Lemongrass and Club Soda. Under the description it says If you don’t have one you’re a loser. It's super refreshing and delicious.

Do you have any secret Miami spots you can share with us? It can be food, drink, a beautiful tree, anything.
I love Hialeah Park, the race track. It has a feeling of old Miami when it's filled with people, but when it is empty and quiet, it is so serene. It's one of the few places in Miami I can go to find some peace.


Is there anyone on the scene in Miami that you want to share with us? A friend or just someone you think is doing something mega-nice?
I have really fallen in love with a new coffee shop/ cafe called ALL DAY which is in the arts and entertainment district of Miami. The owner/ creator Camilla Ramos is committed to her really serious about coffee and her craft. The place has such an amazing vibe, an impeccably curated coffee selection, and delicious baked goods and food. I also LOVE what Diego Oka is doing at La Mar in The Mandarin Oriental! He does Peruvian food in such an inspired and modern way.... and his videos on

I also LOVE what Diego Oka is doing at La Mar in The Mandarin Oriental! He does Peruvian food in such an inspired and modern way and his videos on Instagram are so awesome!

Tagged in: food healthful food and markets miami beach only in miami restaurants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 10 best vegetarian restaurants in Miami

By Virginia Gil | Originally appeared in TimeOut Miami

Skipping Miami steakhouses for occasional meals at the local salad joint is one thing, but it would take a carnivore Herculean effort to embrace vegetarian restaurants. Miami eateries have made the meat-free proposition less heroic by tapping into the local Latin you’d find at a Miami Cuban restaurant and sourcing produce from nearby farms. The result? Nourishing food that’s good for you and the beach body you’ve been sculpting at a Miami gym

DIRT

Farm-to-counter doesn’t get as much play as farm-to-table, but the reality is that most of us don’t have the leisure of time at every meal. That’s where new South Beach restaurant Dirt comes in, serving healthy, locally sourced dishes all day long. Much like other fast-casual restaurants, you’ll place your breakfast, lunch or dinner order at the counter. Liquids rule the breakfast menu, from espresso-based drinks made with Dirt’s own private-label coffee and house-made nut milk to cold-pressed juice and chef-blended smoothies. Lunch and dinner feature veggie-forward offerings that pair well with a glass of sustainable wine.

Miami Where to Find Miami's Most Delicious Vegan & Vegetarian Food

By Clarissa Buch | Originally appeared in Thrillist

Vegans come in all shapes and sizes. There are die-hard vegans, Instagram-only vegans, religiously raw vegans, and just about everything else in between. But what all Miami-based vegans and vegetarians share (hopefully) is a craving for a plant-based, animal-free diet sans meat, dairy, and eggs. But even the most dedicated vegans get frustrated when it comes to where to eat and what to eat, especially when grabbing a bite with bacon-loving and cheese-doting friends.

Leave it to us for the perfect solution. Here are 16 Miami favorites serving up no-meat-eggs-or-dairy dishes that are ridiculously delicious and will probably up your Instagram game as you munch (because colorful #foodporn always wins).

Vegans come in all shapes and sizes. There are die-hard vegans, Instagram-only vegans, religiously raw vegans, and just about everything else in between. But what all Miami-based vegans and vegetarians share (hopefully) is a craving for a plant-based, animal-free diet sans meat, dairy, and eggs. But even the most dedicated vegans get frustrated when it comes to where to eat and what to eat, especially when grabbing a bite with bacon-loving and cheese-doting friends.

Leave it to us for the perfect solution. Here are 16 Miami favorites serving up no-meat-eggs-or-dairy dishes that are ridiculously delicious and will probably up your Instagram game as you munch (because colorful #foodporn always wins).

DIRT

Miami Beach

Don’t let the name turn you off -- DIRT is probably the cleanest place you can eat in the 305. Watch fast, farm-to-counter food come alive in the form of curried cauliflower bowls, harissa hummus wraps, and almond butter and jam toasts. Menus change seasonally, using only organic and mostly local ingredients. Vegan and vegetarian-specific menus are available, making a meal at DIRT tasty and ridiculously easy.

Ten Miami Chefs Take on the Biggest Burn Challenge

By Laine Doss | Originally appeared in Miami New Times

A chef's life isn't easy. Long days on their feet in the kitchen, along with the stressful running of a business, can take its toll. Many of Miami's chefs spend far too little time staying healthy as a tradeoff for keeping a steady eye on their restaurant.

Julie Frans thought the mindset of putting oneself last was counter intuitive to operating a successful establishment.

The chef and culinary director of the annual Seed Food & Wine Festival joined Orangetheory Fitness about a year ago. She, in turn, recommended the workout studio to Dirt's Nicole Votano about a month ago. Together, they decided to challenge some of their peers to participate in the Biggest Burn, a 12-week weight-loss and fitness challenge.

"We needed to get chefs into this, and now is a good time of year for us to do it," Frans says. She decided to incorporate chefs who participate in Seed to tie in all aspects of a healthful life. "I wanted us to look at the whole body. These chefs all do different styles of cuisine and have different fitness levels, but they are all committed to being more healthful."

Ten chefs have accepted the challenge, which consists of working out at Orangetheory at least three days a week and eating cleaner. They've agreed to also motivate one another to lose weight and get fit. In addition, they will post weekly "meatless Monday" recipes on their social media accounts to share their healthier ways with their followers.

Yesterday, chefs Brad Kilgore (Alter), Soraya Kilgore (Alter), Darren "Paco" Laszlo (Jugofresh), Jimmy Lebron (27 Restaurant & Bar), Jeff Maxfield (Toscana Divino), Steve Santana (Taquiza), Venoy Rogers (Essensia), and Rose Flynn (Choices Cafe), along with Frans and Votano, met at 10 a.m. at Orangetheory's South Beach studio for their first weigh-in and class.

Here's Where to Find the Best Açaí Bowls in Miami

  By Greyceli Marin | Originally appeared in Miami Eater

Health forward restaurants are on the rise and DIRT is ahead of the pack. It's only been open a few months, but there's already a lot of buzz around its quinoa and veggie bowls, cold-pressed juices and sandwiches, all delivered in true farm-to-counter fashion.

Best Inexpensive Restaurant

Originally appeared in Miami New Times

There's so much to love about Dirt, not the least of which is that no single item costs more than $16. Such prices are rare in South Beach, especially when you consider Dirt isn't serving just run-of-the-mill fare. Indeed, this fast-casual concept is committed to offering clean food that's locally sourced whenever possible, and best of all — it tastes amazing. That's largely because the restaurant's director for culinary operations is Nicole Votano, a classically trained chef who was the top toque at Fooq's, where she garnered praise for her comforting yet chef-driven cuisine.Dirt has four menus: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and Paleo, but most dishes are built around vegetables and allow for a choice of protein. A favorite is the nourish bowl ($12), starring quinoa, sprouted chickpeas, lentils, roasted curried cauliflower, caramelized onions, roasted red pepper, golden raisins, shaved carrot, mole vinaigrette, and cucumber-mint yogurt. Throw in some orange-basil chicken, and call it a very healthy day.

Readers' choice: Batch Gastropub

232 Fifth St., Miami Beach, 33139

MAP

305-239-3000

dirteatclean.com

The Ten Best Healthy Restaurants in Miami

By Nicola Haubold | Originally appeared in Miami New Times

3. Chef Nicole Votano offers fast-casual dining in a bright and airy environment at Dirt in South Beach. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, customers can order from Paleo-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-sensitive menus depending upon dietary restrictions. Dishes change seasonally, but some crowd favorites are almond butter and jam toast ($6) and the nourish bowl ($12), which is made with farro, sprouted chickpeas and lentils, roasted curried cauliflower, and caramelized onions.

Neighborhood Guide: Where to Get the Best Iced Coffee in Miami

By Mallory Evans | Originally appeared in Ocean Drive

Lavender Ice Tea Latte

Lavender Ice Tea Latte

Miami Beach: DIRT

After enjoying a lavender iced latte during a trip to Napa, California, chef Nicole Votano knew she had to recreate this "perfect and delicate" drink at her Miami Beach café, DIRT. "It’s the [ideal] drink for summer, as lavender grows like wildfire this time of year," Votano says, noting that the flavor profile is amplified when paired with one of DIRT’s house-made cherry crostatas or rosemary-spiked rice crispy treats. 232 Fifth St., Miami Beach, 305-763-8548