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Where to Get a Healthy Meal That Feels Like You're Cheating

By Alejandra Torres | Originally appeared in Ocean Drive

DIRT is making clean eating an easy (and appetizing) lifestyle. Their full menu offers vegan and vegetarian selections, as well as paleo-friendly and gluten-sensitive choices. The best part? Every ingredient is sourced locally for the freshest flavors. And as a farm-to-table restaurant, the menu is modified as the seasons change. This month try the spring plate, which includes Greek yogurt and olive oil smashed potatoes, spicy grilled broccolini, herbs, and shaved vegetables along with your choice of protein. 232 Fifth St., Miami Beach, 305-239-3000

David Beckham comes back for more coffee

By Lesley Abravanel | Originally appeared in Miami Herald

After stopping in to DIRT once Monday morning for an energy-boosting Bulletproof Coffee, David Beckham returned to the healthy SoFi hot spot for three more joes to go — the Double Barrel Coffee, made with DIRT Black Label Coffee, Bulletproof XCT oil, and butter from grass-fed cows, for $8.50. Must be some intensive soccer finagling going on.


The 13 Best Vegan/Vegetarian Spots in Miami

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 13 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).


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.

Clean eating in South Florida

By John Dangaran |Originally appeared in the Palette Magazine

Photo: ©Brett Hufziger / Courstesy of DIRT

Photo: ©Brett Hufziger / Courstesy of DIRT

Today the American diet is as diverse as ever. Whether following a trend, embracing a lifestyle or making changes for health reasons, people have increasingly picked up alternative eating practices. And restaurants are following suit. Whether you’re eating a vegetarian, vegan, paleo or gluten-free diet, there are a number of options that can help you become — or keep you — a healthier and happier diner.

Normally, when you think of a restaurant that is farm-to-table, images of fine china, white tablecloths and small portions come to mind. DIRT, on Washington and 5th in Miami Beach, is taking the fresh ingredients, health consciousness and environmental awareness to a fast-casual setting. The place feels more like a juice bar than it does a traditional, sit-down restaurant; especially since there is no table service. Seating is available for those looking to dine in, but orders are made at the counter.

They make it easy for diners with preferences and restrictions — from vegetarian and vegan to full paleo and gluten-sensitive — by providing each group with a dedicated menu. The concept is simple: Provide local, healthy, sustainable food that won’t just benefit the customer but also the community. One fine example is the juice menu. All house-made, cold-pressed juices are served in custom glass bottles that are fully recyclable. Patrons are encouraged to return them with a $2 bottle deposit refund. 

Things to try: Build your own breakfast sandwich starting with cage-free eggs; have a shot of the Refresh cold-pressed juice with ginger, apple and raw honey; try the proprietary fair-trade espresso with house-made almond mylk (or grass-fed dairy milk); or dig into the DIRT X Jugofresh Winter Bowl with winter squash, cashew puree, toasted quinoa and zucchini tossed with cranberries and pumpkin seeds in a roasted shallot vinaigrette.

232 5th Street, Miami Beach

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/palette-magazine/article69848612.html#storylink=cpy

Here’s Where Miami’s Hottest Trainers Are Fueling Right Now

By Tim Menerd | Originally appeared in Observer

Reed (yes, like Madonna and Adele, he’s iconic enough to be on first-name basis with everyone), who I caught up with at SoulCycle’s new South Beach studio at the 1 Hotel, recommends eating DIRT to stay fit.

“On Fridays after a double I sometimes go to DIRT in South Beach. It is one of my favorite places to refuel; they have  an array of organic, clean options,” he said. “When I go I usually get their açai bowl—it always comes with super fresh granola, banana, kiwi and strawberry. The açai is always chilled right to the perfect slushy temperature, which is great for the dish’s overall texture.”

Reed. (Photo: SoulCycle)

Reed. (Photo: SoulCycle)

The Five Greenest Restaurants in Miami for Earth Day

By Julie Harens | Originally Appeared in Miami New Times

The Dirt team, including former Fooq’s chef Nicole Votano, built their mission around three things: people, food, and planet. They are strong believers in the benefits of supporting local farms and elevate responsibly grown ingredients in light, satisfying dishes. The menu changes seasonally, with plenty of options for vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and paleo diners. In other words, feel free to bring anyone from a committed carnivore to a die-hard vegan. The restaurant itself features energy-efficient lighting, a 100-percent pollution-free energy source and recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable packaging materials.

South Beach: Your Personal Spa Retreat

By Rona Gindin | Originally appeared in Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine

Clean food, massages and outdoor yoga rejuvenate even the weariest travelers in Miami.

Face it. South Beach is intimidating. The models, the fashion, the sizzling hipness of it all. Are Central Floridians too schlubby to fit into Miami’s hottest district?

Dismiss those concerns and think about this: wellness. Health-oriented endeavors like yoga classes, bike rides and meals at nutrition-oriented restaurants abound among the wide sandy beaches, bikinis and boutique hotels. Plan strategically and South Beach can be a place to recuperate from everyday life. Here’s how to pack a wallop of rejuvenation into your tropical getaway.

For starters, situate yourself right on the beach. That way you can meander, or power walk, up and down the boardwalk and sand at will. The people-watching along the sand is so entertaining – studly millennials, monied matriarchs, homeless people with costumed dogs – that you may keep your Nikes moving an extra mile or two just because.

The Palms Hotel & Spa is a fine choice for accommodations for four reasons besides location. The property has an Aveda spa with treatments such as Journey into Relaxation, it offers yoga under an outdoor pavilion every Sunday morning, it hosts Nature & Nurture packages and periodic Sanctuary yoga and mediation retreats, and its restaurant, Essensia, serves creative fare from farm-fresh ingredients, some of them homegrown.

Bring a bicycle or rent one from the nearby Citi Bike Miami station for a private or group tour of the neighborhood. The quirky, personable and super-knowledgeable Frank W. Schena of Royal Palm Tours of Miami will lead you around South Beach with a fascinating banter. The self-appointed historian shares in-depth facts about architecture, history, cultural diversity, nature and landmarks.

While you’ll probably start each day with a hearty breakfast at Essensia’s buffet or with a nutritious grab-and-go option at the hotel gift shop, be sure to venture out for your midday sustenance.

Think green for lunch. One option is Dirt, a spiffy counter-service restaurant that’s all about putting only thoughtfully sourced and prepared foods into your body. Organic salads, bowls and sandwiches are menu basics, and options are spelled out on a traditional menu as well as on dedicated paleo, vegan and gluten-free versions. Pretty much anyone can fill up on items like the Autumn Bowl, filled with quinoa, roasted curried cauliflower, arugula and pomegranate seeds, adding chicken or shrimp at will. Need a boost? Sip the Double Barrel, a coffee drink made with Bulletproof XTC oil, butter and protein powder.

Another day, embrace the organic juice options at JugoFresh, a four-unit chainlet where beverages are labeled with their diverse ingredients. The Mimosa Detox, for instance, is made with orange, grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, cayenne extract and ginger. For a bigger food fix, consider the bowls, which are surprisingly filling with ingredients including acai berries, pineapple and coconut.

Area restaurants are so creative that you might consider after-hours indulgences as part of your reboot. Hand-crafted cocktails are ubiquitous in town. Start an evening at WunderBar in the lobby of the homey-chic Circa 39 hotel. Try the Vanilla Sky, a spicy rum libation laced with ginger and serrano pepper, plus a vanilla-infused ice spear. Nibble on housemade curry-fried chickpeas with rosemary.

Try two of Miami’s newer restaurants for dinner. At GK Bistronomie, chef Rafael Perez takes creative license with South American standards. You might have a somewhat classic ceviche or, maybe, a playful tuna foie gras variety followed by grouper with yellow chili pepper, lime and sweet potato. Make the finale a crème brûlée with pickled blueberries and ginger marshmallows. GK Bistronomie is in a one-time welding shop in the newly popular Wynwood district, an up-and-coming area known for its street art.

If you can handle a hardy noise level, you’ll like the impish The Gang, a midtown spot that mixes grunge and gastronomy. The entire dining room is subway-esque, and you have to giggle at the food bar. It’s supported by a line of washing machines that are handy for storing your handbag while you eat. Within the edgy space, chef Bogdan Niculae, a Romanian native who has lived in Thailand, sees few culinary borders. He makes crab Rangoon with green tea and lamb chops with both Malaysian flavorings and truffles.

Cap off your South Beach adventure with dinner at The Palms’ signature restaurant, Essensia. Here, chef Venoy Rogers III bring a southern California sensibility to Florida foods, some grown in a small garden just past the hotel pool. Forget your wellness pledge and begin with the tempura-fried avocado with tomato jam. Chili-dusted snapper with carambola chipotle salsa and cilantro lime cream is a fine entree.

Wellness by day, daring dinners by night – follow that recipe and you’ll return from South Beach refreshed.

Fresh Finds

Eating local at DIRT is no problem at all, as the casual eatery strives to use fruits and vegetables cultivated in South Florida-area farms. As far as the menu goes, the B.B.A.T sandwich ($13) tops our list thanks to its mix of burrata, free-range turkey, bacon, avocado, Teena’s Pride tomatoes from Homestead, extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic.
232 Fifth St, Miami Beach, 305.573.5458, dirteatclean.com

DIRT named Best New Concept

Originally appeared in STARCHEFS


Jeff Latulippe has a passion for healthful, nourishing, clean food. But he hasn’t always. Several years and 60 pounds ago, Latulippe was a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He was focused on international studies and business, and studied abroad in Barcelona. Before graduating in 2007, Latulippe also completed an internship at the Executive Office of the President at The White House. As an ambitious post-grad, Latulippe worked as an investment banking analyst on Wall Street for three years and then spent five years rising to senior associate at Harren Equity Partners in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

Then a shift occurred (or maybe more of a drop). Call it enthusiasm, fanaticism, obsession … Latulippe discovered healthy living, lost 60 pounds, and wanted to share the benefits of his new-found lifestyle with anyone with an appetite. Latulippe wanted South Florida diners to have delicious, intriguing, healthy options every day and at a reasonable price. It was also important to him that this type of cuisine be backed up by a fresh, local, sustainable ethos and infrastructure. 

Latulippe’s physically fit brainchild was born: DIRT. The simple, convenient, nutritious concept serves fast fine food from early morning until 9pm, very day because healthy living doesn’t get a day off. DIRT, as it adds stores across the region, strives to support local farmers and to make South Florida a more healthful place to eat.

Dirt Does Affordable Organic Cuisine Without Sacrificing Flavor

By Valeria Nekhim Lease | Originally appeared in Miami New Times


Many health-driven restaurants omit meat from their menus, but Dirt is all about inclusivity. Yes, the eatery offers açaí bowls ($12) and cold-pressed juices, but, as cofounder and general manager Jeff Latulippe puts it, "this is a place where our dads can go." And it's true — at this fast-casual South Beach spot, you can order a steak-and-cheese sandwich ($14.50); the difference here is the steak is grass-fed, the tomatoes are locally grown, and the nutritional information is visible for all to see.

Indeed, Dirt has four menus: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and Paleo. But for director of operations and chef Nicole Votano, accommodating myriad dietary restrictions is relatively simple because most dishes are built around vegetables. Furthermore, a bulk of menu items allow the consumer to choose their protein from a list that includes quinoa crusted day-boat fish, free-range orange basil chicken, cage-free eggs, and sprouted chickpeas and lentils.

"Our emphasis is on where the food comes from and we do local as much as possible, but while at a lot of healthy places the health comes first and the taste comes after, we're the opposite," Votano says.

She's right: Dirt's mission to serve clean, affordable food doesn't stand in the way of flavor. For instance, the seasonal plate ($16) — featuring a root vegetable mash, spicy grilled kale, shaved carrots, pomegranate, and, on a recent day, orange basil chicken — is bright, light, and surprisingly hearty. If you didn't just go up to the counter and order it, you'd think you were eating at a fine-dining establishment.

That's because Chef Votano is a classically trained toque who attended New York City's French Culinary Institute. Her previous position was the top chef at Fooq's, where she earned great reviews for her comforting yet chef-driven cuisine.

Speaking of her new role, Votano says it's not as drastic a change as people assume because the core of what she does is still sourcing local ingredients and building relationships with farmers. However, at Dirt she's also director of operations, which she says allows her to grow as an entrepreneur and spend more time with her children. Other perks, she says, have included losing 15 pounds and seeing noticeable improvements in her hair and skin. Now who said Dirt isn't good for you?

DIRT: Eating Clean Just Got Way More Delicious

Eating healthy isn’t something that comes easy for us. As food bloggers, it’s especially difficult to follow a “clean eating” plan when we’re bombarded with unhealthy delicious creations left and right. Who has time for fruit bowls, smoothies and wraps? No, thank you.

It wasn’t until we came across DIRT last month that our mindset made a 180-degree turn. The team behind the new healthy eatery on Miami Beach has figured out a way to make eating clean a satisfying and tasty experience — and one worth repeating. In other words, DIRT makes us wish all healthy food tasted this good.

Located on 232 5th Street, DIRT’s kitchen is led by a familiar face in the Miami food scene: Chef Nicole Votano, formerly of Downtown Miami’s Fooq’s. She’s developed a seasonal menu full of variety and flavor that perfectly reflects the restaurant’s goal of delivering innovative, delicious and healthful cuisine — all in an uplifting environment. You can’t help but feel healthy the second you set foot into the place, and that feeling is amplified a hundredfold once you try the offerings.

When we say the menu is full of variety, we mean it. The extensive selections span breakfast, lunch and dinner; there’s everything from light bites such as toasts and bowls to heartier fare like seasonal plates, sandwiches and wraps. Looking for vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free options? They have all those bases covered, too; they’ve left no stone unturned.

In our experience, restaurants that offer so many different options have a tough time maintaining quality across the board. It sometimes feels like certain things on such an extensive menu are really well-thought out while other selections are put on the menu just to offer them — they’re afterthoughts. That’s not the case at DIRT, where everything on the menu has a rhyme and reason. Chef Votano has put a lot of effort and love into the menu, and we’re sure each plate tastes as good as it sounds. How do we know this? We ate a lot.

Like we mentioned earlier, not only does the food taste good, but you just feel good, too. After starting our meal with two tasty smoothies — the Recover and Defense — we were ready to seize the day with new-found energy. The former with its strawberries, cucumber, watermelon, lime and Bee Free Honee made for a refreshing thirst-quencher that we could have day after day. Despite its description, it was perfectly balanced — it’s not as sweet as you’d expect but just enough to appease your taste buds. The Defense smoothie with its blueberries, pineapple, mango and acai was equally awesome and perfect for the South Florida heat.

As for food, the dragon fruit bowl is a vibrant, colorful dish that’s a satisfying portion size; it’s so flavorful and filling that you could totally have a bit for breakfast and save the rest for later. There are so many components to the bowl: Dragon fruit, banana, and pineapple, blended with almond & Brazil nut mylk, and topped with blueberries, banana, kiwi, granola. Not one ingredient feels out of place, though. It all mixes together so well.

A quick word about toast: toast isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to eat, so you may be tempted to skip this section of the menu. Under no circumstances should you do that. At DIRT, the toasts are mind-blowing. Yes, we just used mind-blowing to describe toast. Yes, you may have a hard time believing that, but trust us.

One bite into the almond butter and strawberry jam toast, and you’ll be singing its praises, too. An all-around excellent light bite, this unassuming spread on Zak the Baker bread paced a flavorful wallop. We couldn’t believe something so simple could be this good.

Our heartier fare was just as impressive. The crispy fish po’boy with quinoa-crusted fish and zucchini jalapeno slaw will fill you up without filling you out while delivering an appetizing kick and crunch. We still think about the crusty bread all the time.

Since the menu changes seasonally, we had to order the winter plate before it got swapped out. The dish — root vegetable mash with grilled kale and your choice of protein — tasted like winter. There was really no other way to describe it. If winter tasted like something, it would taste like this heavenly creation. We opted for grass-fed butcher’s cut steak, and holy crap that was some good meat.

We walked out of DIRT with full and happy stomachs. But although we were full, we didn’t hate ourselves like we do after other meals. We felt good and energized for once. Chef Votano and the DIRT team have changed our minds about healthy food — it can be nutritious and tasty. We’re pretty sure DIRT will convert you, too.

The Cleanest Sandwich in Miami Beach is At a Place Called DIRT

At the end of 2015, a new little eatery opened in South Beach called DIRT. The concept was simple: serving up clean, nourishing food designed by a serious chef in a fast, casual environment. A bastion of healthy food amongst many delicious, but not conscientious options in Miami Beach, DIRT offers meals free of pesticides, hormones, and unnecessary grease. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and cater to the discriminating omnivore as much as vegetarians.

Ordering in the small but chic resto starts casually at the marble slab counter. Select a beverage, which can range from a hand-crafted espresso-based drink made with DIRT’s private-label coffee, cold-pressed juice, homemade kombucha, hibiscus and raspberry tea to one of four local, craft beers on tap. See… something for everybody.

Depending on what time of day it is, depends on what happens next. Breakfast will look something like this:  local eggs from Sun Fresh Farm and Ranch on crunchy Zak the Baker multigrain toast or herb farro drizzled with olive oil with avocado, kale, caramelized onions, or roasted fennel. Topped off with organic pepperjack cheese or house-made chicken apple sausage, you can see why weekends have breakfast lines going down the block.

If it all sounds amazing. It is—thanks to real chefs in the kitchen. The Executive Chef is Jonathan Seningen and Chef de Cuisine is Nicole Votano who both work on making the food as good as it sounds, and sometimes better. Lunch includes veggie-centric potions like bowls.

“I am really loving our seasonal bowl right now,” says Chef Nicole. “It starts with a butternut squash cashew ‘cream’ which is topped with roasted vadouvan curry cauliflower, quinoa, and arugula. It’s then finished off with pomegranate and spiced pumpkin seeds for some crunchy texture. It’s the kind of dish that even a carnivore can eat without missing the meat.”

Of course, proteins are on the menu and are of the highest quality available, and can be added on to most dishes (instead of subtracted), which makes both vegetarians and meat-eaters happy.

“Guests will know exactly what they’re eating-nutritional information and ingredient origin will be displayed in the restaurant, online, and on printed menus. A focal point of the restaurant will be a large display used to inform guests about the origin of our ingredients. It will also highlight local vendors and partners with whom we work closely,” says Co-Founder and General Manager Jeff LaTulippe.

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

By Greyceli Marin | Originally appears in Miami Eater

Raise your hand if you know what an açaí palm is. Now raise your hand if you love açaí bowls. You can remain anonymous, but it's safe to say your hand only went up once.

But to be fair, and much like the indigenous people of the Brazilian Amazon, açaí is a staple in your diet, right? But unlike them, you might not always know where to get it.

Here are 9 places in Miami where you can get your much needed açaí fix, and other things you'll order on the side because you always underestimate how full the bowl alone actually gets you.


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.

Linda Gassenheimer Eats at 'DIRT' /Eat Clean/ Restaurant

By Linda Gassenheimer | Originally appears in wlrn.org

01/14/16 -1:30- Syndicated food columnist Linda Gassenheimer, Special wine correspondent Fred Tasker and WLRN hosts Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman interview DIRT (Eat Clean) Restaurant General Manager Jeff Latulippe and Chef Nicole Votano.  We hear tips on how to spice up our resolutions to eat right and lose weight this year. Are we losing resolve two weeks into the New Year?  They give us tips on how to create great food that happens to be healthy, too. The restaurant serves fresh “farm-to-counter” food quickly and affordably. 

Listen to full interveiw HERE

Eat Clean @ DIRT on South Beach

Originally appears in Lifestyle Miami

DIRT is a new restaurant taking over Miami Beach.  Having opened their doors just a few weeks ago, they’ve acquired over 2000 followers on Instagram, a large customer base, and strong ties with the community.  DIRT is located between Collins and Washington Avenue, and provides a healthier, more refreshing way to split your time between land and sea.  They are committed to telling you the truth about your food, whether it’s about the ingredients, the way it’s processed, or the locations of the farms themselves.  With a positive concept and a dedication to working with locals, DIRT is more like a welcoming community than just another fast-casual restaurant.  

Their most popular dishes include their vegan seasonal options (Autumn Bowl, Autumn Plate, DIRT x lululemon Autumn Salad), as well as the Nourish Salad and the DIRTy Steak + Cheese.  Jeff LaTulippe, the Co-Founder and General Manager of DIRT, says of these, “the Nourish Salad comes with sprouted chickpeas and lentils, roasted curried cauliflower, house-made mole vinaigrette and cucumber mint yogurt.  The DIRTy Steak + Cheese is a very hearty sandwich made with grass-fed steak, jalapeno Monterey jack cheese, caramelized onions, sunflower sprouts, and a horseradish “aioli”.  Eggs or a protein can be added to any of the vegan options.  In order to accommodate growing dietary preferences, DIRT includes vegan, gluten-free, and paleo menus.  

DIRT works hard to get local ingredients.  They want to be sure of their product’s source before giving it to the customer.  “Some of the relationships with farmers have developed over years of working in the Miami culinary scene. Others have developed more quickly as farmers and other local vendors have heard about our concept and said, “I have a farm. Can I have you come check it out or send you some samples?”  DIRT’s transparency helps us to make more informed decisions about our food, without feeling like we’re in a lecture.  

One example of a relationship DIRT has developed with farmers, is that of their egg purveyor, Sun Fresh Farm and Ranch.  “Chef Nicole met the owner, Jeremy, at a farmers market in Pinecrest. He was not selling wholesale yet, but she supported him by buying small amounts of kale, tomatoes, and green beans until he was ready to sell his amazing eggs.”  DIRT now uses these eggs exclusively.  

Hosting community events is an important part of DIRT’s mission.  Currently, they partner with Feeding South Florida, which provides snacks and other food items to children in need.  This “Backpack Program” aims to increase children’s access to food when school is not in session.  DIRT donates 1% of their sales to the cause.  DIRT has also worked with local yoga instructors who run “Transcend Miami Beach”, a yoga, meditation, and life coaching event.  LaTulippe says, “We created a new cold-pressed juice called TRANSCEND for everyone who attended the event [ingredients: watermelon, beets, coconut water, lime, vanilla bean, alkaline water] — we’re now selling the juice in stores.”  

Just recently, Chef Nicole participated in Swank Specialty Produce’s “Swank Table Farmer’s Market Dinner”.  This event benefitted Season to Share, an organization that provides financial assistance to local families in need.  In the near future, DIRT is planning to serve a multi-course dinner with tea pairings by Chef Nicole and JoJo Tea.

LaTulippe says, “Each season we will continue to have a new seasonal plate, bowl, and salad. For Autumn, we partnered with Cristina Ramirez, lululemon’s local community ambassador, to develop our seasonal salad.  Going forward, we will continue this type of collaboration with other members of the local health and wellness community.”

DIRT- Where Clean Eating Coexists With Great Taste

 By Katy Patao | Originally appears in Rando Miami

I have to admit, I was extremely excited when I found out about DIRT several months ago. Even though there are a ton of great restaurants in Miami in every corner, there wasn't really a spot where I could go for really good for me type of food that wasn't overpriced, and in a sit-down setting. Well, that is, until DIRT opened its doors last month.

DIRT is focused on bringing “fine food fast” to South Beach. They are a farm-to-counter eatery that is offering healthy, chef-driven, modern American fare to Miami. Even though you may you look at my Instagram feed and not believe me - I am actually pretty health-conscious. DIRT is catering to those consumers who are into feeding their body the good stuff - locally-sourced, vegetable-forward and in a fast pace environment.  

Let’s talk about the menu, or menus in this case. When you walk in you are going to have several menus to choose from, depending on your diet. You will have a paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free menus to choose from.

When I visited DIRT I knew I wanted to try a few items that had previously caught my eye. The first dish I knew I needed to try was the DIRT Autumn Bowl, which I decided to add grass-fed beef tenderloin to. 

Then I decided to make my own salad, which was a lot of fun. I went ahead with the nourish salad, which comes packed with chickpeas, lentils, roasted curried cauliflower, caramelized onions, roasted red pepper, golden raisins, carrot, mole vinaigrette, and cucumber mint yogurt. So much yum in this salad. Oh, plus I added free-range orange basil chicken.

Lastly, the Crispy Fish Po’Boy. So incredibly amazing I wish I could eat it everyday. This quinoa-crusted day boat fish is absolutely perfect when mixed with the flavors of the zucchini jalapeño slaw and Greek yogurt remoulade. 

If you aren't a regular at DIRT yet then you are missing out.

Make Breakfast Better and Get a Hearty Start

Four experts give their takes on the most important meal of the day.

From Bloomberg Businessweek by Evan S Benn

Your Main: Dark Cocoa Almond Oats Topped With Espresso Yogurt

For a quick, make-ahead breakfast that’ll get you through the work week, mix 2½ cups rolled oats with 2½ cups unsweetened almond milk, 5 tablespoons cocoa powder, 5 tbsp. maple syrup, 1¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ tsp. vanilla extract, and a pinch of sea salt in a Tupperware or other covered container. Stick it in the fridge, and in the morning you’ll have a creamy, no-cook oatmeal. For the topping, stir 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 shot espresso (about 2 ounces), and 1 tbsp. maple syrup in a separate container until no lumps remain.

“The richness of the dark cocoa is brought out by the espresso yogurt,” says chef Nicole Votano, who serves a version of the recipe at her new restaurant Dirt in Miami Beach. The fiber and healthy fats will keep you full and productive all morning.

Your Booster: Blueberries

“My breakfast of champions is yogurt and blueberries,” says Lee Schrager, co-author of the forthcoming America’s Best Breakfasts. Blueberries add vitamin C and other antioxidants to whatever you’re planning to eat. And don’t be skimpy: They contain fewer than 100 calories per cup.

Your Side: A Perfectly Poached Egg

Eggs deliver protein, vitamin D, and assorted essential minerals. Chef César Vega at Chicago’s new Café Integral gives his eggs a 60-minute bath in a sous vide cooker (such as the Anova precision cooker, $199; anovaculinary.com) for thick, runny yolks and yielding, quivering whites. To get similar results the old-fashioned way, bring a pot of water to a simmer, then turn the heat to low. Break an egg into a small bowl and carefully tip it into the water. Cook, swirling water occasionally, for about 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and serve.

Your Indulgence: Blood Orange Olive Oil and Tarragon Bread

Typical pound cake is too dense and sweet for breakfast, says Los Angeles pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith. Her alternative? Lighten up the old standard with fresh tarragon, which she calls “the new basil,” local blood oranges (bought at Southern California’s fabulous farmers markets and “picked this morning”), and peppery olive oil. Order a loaf online ($28; sweethedy.com) and have it shipped overnight—the oil keeps the bread from drying out.

Dirt Offers Miami Diners “Clean Eating” With a Chef-Driven Twist

Article by Keri Adams | Originally appeared in Foodable WebTV network

Even though Miami is a city filled with thousands of diverse culinary options, the city isn’t necessarily known for an abundance of health-focused concepts like you would find in, say, L.A. As a whole, the local restaurant scene has catered to the health trend with increased healthier options available on menus. But what about restaurants with completely guilt-free menus?

In many cities on the west coast, veggie-centric eateries are sprinkled all over, but not so much in Miami. Enter: Dirt, which set up shop in South Beach a few weeks ago. This brand new concept — with a mantra to “eat clean” — aims to deliver healthy, farm-to-table, fine-dine quality food, with faster service at a more approachable price point. (Aside from bottles of wine and factoring in add-ons, the most expensive thing on the menu will run you $16.)

The Real Meaning of “Eat Clean”

Words such as “fresh,” “local,” and “quality” have popped up on menus at restaurants where these terms don’t even belong. They are vague, have become trendy, and are being used to sway consumers.

But these words are more than hot button words at Dirt. The co-founders Jeff Latulippe and Matt Ernst, along with chefs Jonathan Seningen and Nicole Votano, have spent a considerable amount of time sourcing the best ingredients, while preparing a locally seasonal menu that offers options for diners with dietary restrictions of all kinds.

Dirt offers separate menus for paleo, vegan, and gluten-free eaters. Diners can pick up one of these menus and not be concerned about finding limited options for their needs. Instead, they have an array of options that they can trust to fulfill their dietary requirements.

“One of the other big differentiators for us is transparency,” says Jeff Latulippe, co-founder and general manager at Dirt. “We have this big copper wall that shows where a lot of our food is coming from. So, we wanted to take the chalkboard list that you see in a lot of places and bring it up a notch, and show you a map of Florida and the world, and show you where we are getting ingredients from, not only locally but nationally and sometimes internationally, and what exactly we are getting from those suppliers.”

With the changing landscape of fast-casual and good-for-you restaurants, new concepts must not only find ways to differentiate, but also be able to evolve amidst an ever-evolving landscape driven by consumer habits and demands.

“The merging of fine-dining, chef-driven food with healthy food is a unique aspect of what we are doing,” says Latulippe. “We’re not trying to be like a generic healthy place that just serves brown rice and chicken.”

Just because the concept stresses “eat clean” doesn’t mean Dirt serves boring and bland meals.

“You can come here if you are not a person who is consumed with just health and you’re not digging down into that nutritional index of each product we serve,” says Matt Ernst, co-founder and operating partner at Dirt. “You can still come in and get a Dirty Steak & Cheese and it’s got really well-sourced and well-prepared ingredients in a unique way.”

Co-founders Matt Ernst and Jeff Latulippe Kerri Adams for Foodable WebTV Network

New Restaurateur Challenges

Starting a restaurant is no walk in the park. The two founders used Danny Meyer’s book, “Setting the Table” as a guide, but there were still some hiccups in the restaurant startup phase.

“The biggest challenge was definitely the fact that we are in a historical Art Deco district and there were tons of restrictions on permitting, construction, and all sorts of approvals we needed on our design, particularly our exterior design,” says Ernst. This delayed the opening of the restaurant for months.

Besides construction and permitting challenges, both co-founders are new to the restaurant business. “Jeff and I are both new restaurateurs. While we understand business, branding, marketing, and systems, we’re trying to do something new that really hasn’t been done down here before, and figuring out all the challenges that make that work — from sourcing to getting food out fast enough, while bringing up a new set of employees from all walks of life,” Ernst says.

Restaurant Technology

Just because Latulippe and Ernst are new restaurateurs doesn’t mean they didn’t do their research or have background in important operational sectors. Ernst’s background is in technology, so Dirt is using the latest restaurant technology to make their operations easier in multiple ways. “The level of sophistication in software and analytics that has come from the restaurant space in the last five years is impressive,” Ernst says.

Some of the many vendors they’re using are Revel’s iPad POS software, LevelUp’s mobile loyalty and payments software, Swipely’s analytics software, and HotSchedules, an online employee scheduling software. Dirt is also jumping on the delivery bandwagon with third-party services like Delivery Dudes and Postmates. “We are really trying to use restaurant technology as much as possible in every way,” says Latulippe.

Dirt's exterior with outside seating Kerri Adams for Foodable WebTV Network

The Location

Why did the co-founders decide on Miami as the first Dirt location?

“We saw it as a huge market need here in Miami and a lot of people travel to South Beach. We hope to take this in other markets and it will have a little bit of brand recognition,” says Ernst. “We already have had people from New York, L.A., and Paris say ‘can you bring this to our cities?’ We think if we can prove it here, it has life to go other places.”

Partnerships With Wellness Brands

Latulippe and Ernst are cleverly aligning themselves with wellness brands, such as Lululemon with the Dirt x Lululemon Salad by Christina.

“We met Christina in the process of opening the restaurant and she is the community ambassador for the Lululemon on Lincoln Road. So we said, ‘Christina, what’s your favorite fall salad, tell us the ingredients.’ So she gave us a really awesome list of ingredients and then our chefs made up this awesome salad. It’s actually our best-selling salad,” Latulippe says.

With every new seasonal menu, the restaurant plans to offer a collaborative menu option like this.

So with this new health-focused concept paving the way in Miami, will we be seeing more restaurants like this in the area soon? Are we on the brink of a veggie-centric culinary revolution? Only time will tell.

Food and Beverage Magazine: DIRT Bringing “Fine Food Fast” to South Beach

The farm-to-counter eatery will offer healthy, chef-driven, modern American fare

Located on Fifth Street between Collins and Washington Avenues, DIRT‘s mission is simple and straightforward: to create innovative, delicious, healthy cuisine that you can feel good about putting into your body. DIRT is committed to serving up its local, sustainable food with an emphasis on personal, warm hospitality. The environment complements the food perfectly-it’s bright, sleek, and uplifting.

With Executive Chef Jonathan Seningen and Director of Operations and Chef de Cuisine Nicole Votano  leading the kitchen, guests can enjoy DIRT’s chef-driven fare at any time of day. Breakfast will offer a wide variety of options, including savory or sweet market-run oatmeal. Chefs Jonathan and Nicole will collaborate to create each day’s flavors based on what is at peak quality each day: picture black truffle-scented oatmeal with English peas and Parmigiano Reggiano topped with a fried egg, or sweet oatmeal spiked with honey-roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, and dried cranberries. Mornings will also feature a “create your own” option: start with local eggs from Sun Fresh Farm and Ranch on crunchy Zak the Baker multigrain toast or herb farro drizzled with olive oil; then add avocado, kale, caramelized onions, or roasted fennel; and if that’s not enough, you can top off your sandwich or bowl with organic pepperjack cheese or house-made chicken apple sausage.

Lunch will include a vast assortment of vegetable-centric options, as well as a few classics with a healthful culinary twist. “I am really loving our seasonal bowl right now,” says Chef Nicole. “It starts with a butternut squash cashew ‘cream’ which is topped with roasted vadouvan curry cauliflower, quinoa, and arugula. It’s then finished off with pomegranate and spiced pumpkin seeds for some crunchy texture. It’s the kind of dish that even a carnivore can eat without missing the meat.”

DIRT has also carefully planned its beverage program, starting with highly skilled baristas who will handcraft espresso-based drinks using DIRT‘s very own private label coffee (house-made nut milk available at no extra charge). Not a coffee drinker? Start your day off with a chef-driven smoothie, cold-pressed juice, or a cup of JoJo tea instead. For a nightcap and during weekend brunch, DIRT will serve a very unique selection of wine and sake cocktails created by Chef Jonathan, in addition to 4 local beers on tap.

Transparency is also a vital part of DIRT‘s core values-all ingredients have been carefully selected by the two chefs. “Guests will know exactly what they’re eating-nutritional information and ingredient origin will be displayed in the restaurant, online, and on printed menus. A focal point of the restaurant will be a large display used to inform guests about the origin of our ingredients. It will also highlight local vendors and partners with whom we work closely,” says Co-Founder and General Manager Jeff LaTulippe.

“We’re offering our guests a vast array of options,” LaTulippe continues. “There’s something for every dietary restriction or personal preference-paleo, vegan, pescatarian, gluten-free, you name it. But the best part is it’s all delicious, approachable, and clean, down-to-earth cuisine…that’s why we call it DIRT.”

“We want to elevate the idea of what a counter-service restaurant could be, and we want our guests to enjoy themselves no matter what they choose to eat or drink,” says Chef Jonathan. “We’ve put just as much care into selecting our sustainable wines and crafting refreshing cocktails as we’ve put into creating our salads, juices, and breakfast bowls.”

Prior to co-founding DIRT, Chef Jonathan spent nearly 25 years crafting inventive, sustainable cuisine. He was most recently Executive Chef at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, Washington, D.C.’s premier vegan eatery, after cutting his teeth in some of the finest kitchens in New York City (Atlas, Artisanal, and Chanterelle) and Washington, D.C. (Le Paradou, Hook, OYA, and SAX).

Chef Nicole began her career at Bradley Ogden’s One Market Restaurant in San Francisco before moving on to the Biltmore Hotel, Michelle Bernstein Catering, and the fast casual Crumb on Parchment, where she was also Executive Chef. Chef Nicole most recently helmed the kitchen at Fooq’s in downtown Miami, which she helped build from the ground up, during which time she was included in Modern Luxury’s 2015 “5 Chefs to Watch”.

Beyond its sustainable approach to food, DIRT has already embraced a charitable approach to the community. The restaurant has established a relationship with Feeding South Florida and has pledged to donate the equivalent of 1% of its sales to the non-profit organization from the day the doors open. DIRT will donate healthy grab-and-go items to support Feeding South Florida’s Backpack Program, which provides food packs for children who don’t have access to meals over the weekend.

In addition to DIRT‘s commitment to delicious food and philanthropy, the eatery is the only restaurant south of Orlando to earn certification by the United States Healthful Food Council’s Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership (REAL) program, a nationally recognized mark of excellence for environmental stewardship, high-quality sourcing, and holistic nutrition.

DIRT opens on Monday, November 23, 2015. Its located at 232 5th Street (between Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue), Miami Beach, FL, 33139. DIRT will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.