Best Organics 2014 | Mi Vida Cafe | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

Don't be surprised if Mi Vida Cafe has run out of what you'd like to order. It's simply a consequence of the vegan restaurant's ethos of using only fresh and organic ingredients (local when possible) and striving to limit waste. Mi Vida also doesn't believe in microwaves, frying, or preservatives; a huge chunk of the menu consists of raw and gluten-free items. Take, for instance, the tango-mango wrap ($14). The exterior is made from dehydrated mango, banana, sun-dried tomato, and flax seed, while inside there's avocado, tomato, cucumber, and sprouts splattered in a spinach cream sauce. It's light yet undeniably filling and tastes best when paired with a homemade smoothie ($6 to $8). There's seating outside along Biscayne Boulevard, but inside is a colorful oasis of calm. Come for lunch or dinner, but remember to silence your cell phone — there's a sign that reads, "You are here, so be here." Well said.

Kim and Louis Duncanson have been farming pure, organic wheatgrass in Miami for about 30 years. They started in an empty yard in Coconut Grove. Then they developed a supersterile hydroponic indoor system in Doral using desalinated seawater and mineral-rich nutrient feeds. Now they produce and distribute a variety of vital, raw, organic greens through every Whole Foods Market in Florida. They also distribute mung beans, sunflower greens, and sprouts through many retailers in Miami. But about a year ago, they opened their first juice bar, Green Garden Organics, where you can buy all of the above-mentioned products, along with traditionally delicious fruit smoothies, raw vegan pies, hummus spreads, and a variety of treats picked fresh from Mother Earth's supermarket — AKA the ground — and made fresh daily. With their dedication to healthy living, longtime experience with all that's good about the Earth, and commitment to clean, delicious excellence, the Duncansons' new juice bar is an amazing addition to the plethora of health-conscious establishments opening in the 305.

You're a cleansing pro. You've tried it all, from the Master Cleanse to the Candida Cleanse. But most have left you feeling hangry (hungry + angry) and less-than-refreshed. Luckily, Ten Fruit's Cleanse Professional is a less than painful way to give your bod a break. This is not a fast — just a chance to break your bad habits via an all-liquid meal plan. For $47.50 a day (a steal compared to most cleanses), you get six hearty juices in a supercute to-go carton. And truth be told, you might be too full to make it to the finale. From the early-morning Super Green to the evening Green Day, you'll drink your fill of wheatgrass, parsley, ginger, beet, lemon, cucumber, and kale. Add an impossibly delicious midday almond milk for good measure, and it's a palatable lineup for those seeking internal enlightenment. No stomach pains, no deprivation, no lightheadedness. For three days and $142.50, you'll feel like a million bucks. Your innards especially.

Alexandra Rincon

Odds are high that your meat-loving friend will have no idea that the "soy and wheatballs" he's just eaten at the Honey Tree aren't animal-based. That's because they're ridiculously comforting, as is most of the vegan fare at this lunch counter. Another equally deceptive and soothing item is the eggplant Parmesan. Its texture is so gooey you'd never know it's made using Daiya nondairy mozzarella cheese. Hidden inside a health-food store, the Honey Tree lets you compose your own plate filled with fresh and mostly organic hot and cold dishes that change each weekday. Everything is weighed and usually winds up costing $10 to $15. The fact that you can mix and match myriad foods and that you never know what will be available is half the excitement. The other half, of course, involves eating.

Once upon a time, there was a vegetarian burger that didn't pale in comparison to its meaty contemporaries. The hearty and protein-rich patty was made with forbidden rice, turtle beans, and shiitake mushrooms and topped with crushed avocado, goat cheese spread, and roasted tomatoes and red peppers. It was then placed on a fluffy and lightly sweetened bun that was delicious enough to eat plain. To savor this Miami Earth burger ($12), you would have to go to a restaurant called Umami Burger. The chain came to Miami Beach in May 2013 via California, where since 2009 it amassed legions of devoted fans. All the burgers were injected with a magic ingredient known as Umami Master Sauce and served in a laid-back dining room replete with TV sets. The term "umami" was defined as a category of taste that was neither sweet, sour, salty, nor bitter and had a mouthwateringly brothy and meaty flavor that lingered on the tongue. At this eatery, you could also get burgers made with meat, including the Umami burger. It featured shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, a Parmesan crisp, and house ketchup ($12). The smart folks would order it with a side of crispy thin fries ($3.50) and call it a very good day.

France isn't known for its vegetarian-friendly food. Neither is Miami. But la cuisine française with a meatless twist is an unlikely pairing that has found a cozy little love nest in the Roads. Founded by a family of French immigrants, Eden in Eden is a labor of love; its je ne sais quoi stems from brightly colored accents, French flags, and Eiffel Tower imagery. Instead of heavy French standards, the menu offers avant-garde, vegetarian takes on European tradition: baguette sandwiches ($8.50), quiche oignons ($9), crepes fromage ($9.50), and the timeless croque-monsieur ($8.70). Father Eusebi, mother Monique, and son Nathanael Guillaume happily serve these cruelty-free French favorites — artfully prepared salads, soups, sandwiches, fresh juices, natural (made with champignons) coffee, croissants, and sometimes vegan crème brûlée. Charming French accents come à la carte. Bon appétit and vive la France.

Bey: Baby, drunk in love was all well and good last night, but today, I'm hung-over and hungry.

Jay Z: Me too, baby. I need more than your breasteses for my breakfast.

Bey: Remember how trim and tight we felt after our 22 days of veganism? We need to get back on track. I've heard Choices Café UES is Miami's vegan HQ. They say bitches are crazy in love with their chicken's friend wrap ($12) and la pixsa pizza ($15).

Jay Z: I'm down. I got 99 problems, but heart disease ain't one.

Bey: Oh, and we need to snag a double chocolate raisin cookie and cocobliss smoothie ($12) for Blue Ivy. When it comes to my baby, I bring the best.

The view from Area 31, located on the 16th floor of downtown's Epic Hotel, is downright breathtaking. Luckily, the restaurant is familiar with the notion of sharing the love and allows Miamians to enjoy the skyline during breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch, happy hour, and dinner. What's more, the food doesn't play second fiddle to the cityscape. Seafood is the main draw at this eatery, which is named after Fishing Area 31, an ecologically sustainable swath of the western central Atlantic Ocean encompassing the coastal waters of Florida. For dinner, executive chef Wolfgang Birk (formerly of Casa Casuarina) offers excellent options such as swordfish with pea shoots, a Yukon gold potato, and a sweet corn and chorizo salsa ($30), as well as a vibrant crab salad plated alongside palm hearts, avocado, and coconut shavings ($17). Brunch at Area 31 is also a must. Pair the eggs Benedict with seared flounder ($21) and one of bartender Dean Feddaoui's unique bloody mary variations ($9 to $33).

Dear Trader Joe's:

It's not every day that I share my feelings, but I had to write to tell you how, like, totally awesome I think you are. For years, I looked longingly at pictures on your website in the hope that one day you would come to Miami. And then I heard the news — you'd be heading right to my neighborhood. Finally, I could walk your aisles and take in all of your colorful yumminess. At long last, I could taste the sweet, sweet nectar of your cookie butter, drink in your Two-Buck Chuck, feel your ripe produce, and inhale the scent of your fresh floral bouquets. I thought that maybe all of this was too good to be true, that maybe you were too cheap for me. But then you gave me a lei on opening day, and your thoughtfulness sealed the deal. You kept luring me back with your cranberry goat cheese and witty packaging. And I know our love is mutual. How else can you explain your generous gift of complimentary coffee every time I see you? Or the fact that you offer me non-genetically modified products? I'm letting you know I broke up with Publix. Now I can spend all of my time with you. Chill a few bottles of that $2.99 Pinot Grigio I adore. I'll be over around 6.

How many times have you shopped at a Miami farmers' market and discovered that the avocados were grown in Mexico? Sure, you won't find too many local apples, but it's a damn shame to buy fruits and vegetables trucked in from far-flung places when South Florida has some great family farms. Nick Bernal agrees. The local forager started this weekly market in the Coconut Grove Playhouse parking lot to give local farmers an opportunity to sell direct to the public. How local? Ninety-five percent of the vendors grow on land within 35 miles of the Grove. Every Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m., you can peruse the fresh veggies pulled directly from the ground or buy locally made products such as breads, jams, and treats. The items vary (so you'll just have to go back every week), but there's a treasure trove of goodies each time, such as piña colada preserves from Freakin Flamingo Jams, goat cheese from Hani's Mediterranean Organics, colorful beans (not magic) from Seasons Farm Fresh, and maybe even a giant emu egg that can make an omelet for a family of four. Free parking and live entertainment seal the deal.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®