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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.

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.