The Place: Whether you adhere to a vegan, vegetarian or Paleo diet, there is something for all at Dirt Eat Clean in South Beach. It’s a hip café with all-day smoothies, housemade juices and nut milks flavored with cocoa powder. Most of the menu is plant based with vegetables the star. Sit outside at a sidewalk table or take a seat inside by the cases of baked goods and produce in the white space with wood trim. Orange plastic plaques on the giant sculpture map of Florida near the entrance pinpoint farms such as Swank in Loxahatchee and Teena’s Pride in Homestead that provide ingredients.
The History: Dirt is owned by Jeff Latulippe, who grew up near Scranton, Pennsylvania. Back when he was working on Wall Street, he was overweight and felt unhealthy. Transferred to an office in Fort Lauderdale, he lost 60 pounds through diet and exercise and educating himself on nutrition. He opened Dirt last November with chef Nicole Votano, who worked as Michelle Bernstein’s corporate chef for three years. She is from New York City but grew up in London. She went to the French Culinary Institute in New York and then worked at One Market and the Grand Café in San Francisco. The duo basically opened a place that they wanted to dine in — from an acai bowl with pureed dragon fruit, blueberries, kiwi and bananas with grain-free granola made from roasted seeds and nuts to house harissa-spiked hummus served with toast.
The Food: Start the day with two eggs, a slice of baguette or multigrain bread and chicken apple sausage or slurp down a glow smoothie with mango, spinach, coconut and Himalayan pink salt. The B.B.A.T sandwich features burrata, turkey bacon, avocado and tomato with olive oil and balsamic dressing. It can also be had as a wrap in a collard leaf. The quinoa-crusted fish po’boy changes with the catch of the day — could be salmon from the waters around New Zealand or local red snapper with zucchini jalapeno slaw, tomato and fresh basil. Veggie bowls change by the season, but there are always salad bowls like curried cauliflower with arugula, cucumber, herbs and butternut squash and cashew “cream” on a bed of quinoa, and one with baby lettuces, herbs, sunflower sprouts, kale, spiced lentils, green apple, avocado and roasted sweet potato in apple cider vinaigrette with fig and oat crumble on top. After grazing healthfully indulge in a cranberry-orange-pecan muffin or pineapple upside-down bread with nutmeg and vanilla.
You Didn’t Know This: Himalayan pink salt has been preserved and remained pure for more than 250 million years. Volcanic action pushed an ancient ocean into a high plateau in the northern range of the Himalayas, where the salt water was compacted into fossil deposits by magma from deep within the earth during the Jurassic era. The pink color comes from iron content, and the salt is naturally fortified with 84 trace minerals.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami-based food writer.