The Special: Can You Say Hawaiian Kale Salad Delivered?

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Healthy and convenient aren't two words that typically go together. Although your stomach might not agree, fast food is easy and cheap, two highly valued qualities in today's fast paced, expensive world.

Maybe you should follow the advice of your cardiologist and stop shoveling pizza and French fries down your gullet. But who has the time or energy to chop vegetables and wash dishes after a long day? Or the money, for that matter, since organic broccoli costs about $8 at Whole Foods?

Imagine if you had your own personal chef who did all of your grocery shopping, chopped all the vegetables, and then combined them into a tasty balance of savory, sweet, and tangy. That is where the Special comes in, It provides a completely different way of thinking about lunch.

Instead of having a chef using your kitchen and charging $60 an hour, lunch is delivered to your home or office for $14 to $16. Simply order online the day before and that's it. Well, except for the chewing. There is a lot of crunch in the meals.

But this isn't a lettuce binge or bland lentils you'd find at a hippie potluck. We had the Hawaiian kale salad, which was light but substantial, and combined the sweetness of mango chunks, cranberries, and walnuts for an extra kick of protein. It was served with creamy hummus and homemade pita. Each meal comes with a side, which is usually a dessert. The chocolate granola brownie was just sweet enough and garnished with a slice of strawberry.

Chef and owner Andres Orjuela is passionate about healthy cooking but also the big picture. In the land of plastic bags, Styrofoam, and 3 mpg Hummers, Orjuela's approach to the restaurant business is a refreshing departure from business as usual.

Orjuela uses degradable containers and utensils and although it costs more, he believes it's worth the extra effort for a sustainable future. "I definitely want to go against the current. I want to have a business that really makes an impact on the food industry," he explains.

When Orjuela was living in California, he was inspired by the cooking philosophy of Alice Waters and the slow food movement. "I realized that the less processed food is, the more the real flavors come through, the healthier it is as well," he says.

The Special also hosts free healthy lifestyle classes once a month in Coral Gables. Go to cancerpreventionandrecovery.org for more information. Lunch delivery to South Beach is $14 and $16 for Downtown, Brickell, and the Design District. Visit thespecialmiami.com or call 305-586-4077 for delivery.

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