So shut up already, every jerk ever.
"Beautifull!" open in the Inner Sunset »
If you haven’t been acquainted, “Beautifull!" is a semi-recent addition to the Bay Area’s "fresh, healthy" prepared foods scene. I’d had their stuff before, since they’ve catered some work-related events and also sell to-go foods in the Capay Organic store in SF’s Ferry Building. It’s decent stuff for pre-packaged food; it’s clear they use quality ingredients and make it as wholesome and appetizing as cold prepared foods can be. I think their main kitchen is in Emeryville, but they also have a retail store/restaurant in Stroller Heights, at 3401 California St. That is a genius location for them, as they no doubt do gangbusters business selling kombucha, quinoa/edamame salad and salmon filets to busy
rich skinnies with nannies moms-on-the-go.
So, this new location, 816 Irving St. between 9th & 10th Avenues, is mostly of interest to me because it is half a block from my house. The thing is, there are about 100 other things to eat within a one-block radius, and in light of this, Beautifull! (don’t forget the exclamation!) is pretty-good-to-OK, for the price.
Let me break it down for you: the format of the store is basically an exact replica of Whole Foods’ prepared foods area. The main menu features are pizzas (whole wheat crust, natch), sandwiches, curry/rice bowls, and cold-case things like fruit salads, couscous salads, and a lot of meat and fish choices (so relevant, right?). It’s priced very similarly to Whole Foods, and there is a wall of cold prepped dishes for you to heat & eat at home, soups, and bottled kombucha. They also have some baked goods like big cookies and muffins. (None of the baked goods are vegan, just FYI. But if you’re vegetarian, try the blueberry ginger muffin or spelt peanut butter cookie.)
On the plus side, it’s good to have a place that is at least conscientious of the ingredients and wants to help you find something nutritious and veggie to eat, and I think it’s good to have these places penetrating the mainstream and opening new branches. The ladies working there are SUPER-friendly, and it is completely wack that their POS system doesn’t allow you to add a tip to credit card purchases. Seriously, that is a bad management decision. But anyway, they were very informed on what was vegan vs. vegetarian, and very helpful with choosing menu items. You can sample anything, as much as you want. Other positives: they deliver orders over $50 and their catering menu has a few more vegan options—I’ve gotten their catering at my office and had great experiences with it.
Many things you will want to eat are vegetarian but not vegan. I could see this being very frustrating for you, the vegan. However, I can attest that the Moroccan Butter Bean Tagine and Thai Vegetable Curry would be delicious choices for you or anyone.
The cold case is a good place for vegans, too. I got a half-pint of the kale and arame salad for $2.40, and considering that eating cold kale is a bit like going into battle, it was a decent price for a side dish that lasted me two meals. Beautifull!’s Red Quinoa & Edamame salad is a signature for them, and very enjoyable as well.
So fundamentally, if you’re a fairly well-versed home chef or a very strict vegan, you might not really have much use for it. Their food is pretty simple, and not beyond the capabilities of your average food blogger, but they use good ingredients and it could be handy for a night you don’t feel like cooking. I wouldn’t call it a “destination” or sit-down restaurant.
And I feel slightly nervous for them, because their menu is huge and varied (not really sustainable from a cost-containment standpoint, for most restaurants), and a lot of what they’re selling is duplicated in existing, well-loved neighborhood places. Often, as with the thai curries, you can get these elsewhere in the ‘hood for cheaper at ethnic dives (although maybe without such explicit access to the ingredient list—every item at Beautifull! lists all the ingredients in plain sight.) Some of us in the ‘hood had hoped for a replacement option for the now-closed Cafe Gratitude, and this isn’t exactly it, though you can get a bowl of veggie curry over brown rice, quinoa or couscous, for about $10 (which is admittedly less than Gratitude’s, with a lot less fanfare involved in procurement).
Vegansaurus predictions FOR THE DECADE AND BEYOND. »
Well, not really and beyond but you know, we talk big. And we back that talk up with fists so don’t even play. Now that that’s out of the way.
We’ve compiled a list of things we think will most likely happen in the ten-teens (um, what are these years called exactly? besides depression 2.0?) and now we will share them with you because we’re all generous and good looking and stuff. TA-DA!
WILL MOST LIKELY HAPPEN
King Oprah brings a lot more veggie guests/products/etc. onto her show. He is a benevolent god. We also expect to see many more celebrities “come out” as vegan, as well as lots more veg news from Ellen and Martha. Ladies, we loves you.
Fast food restaurants and national chains are required to offer vegan options on their menu. Let’s say all pizza places are required to have Daiya on hand. A GIRL CAN DREAM I MEAN THIS IS MOST LIKELY TO HAPPEN. Actually, we do think it’s likely that the majority of pizza places will be carrying vegan cheese by 2020.
Lab-grown meat replaces all (or most) ground beef and filler meat sold in the USA. (Please see: Chicken McNuggets, hambugers, etc). This will probably happen when it becomes cheaper because all these fuckers care about is money DON’T MATTER THOUGH BECAUSE IT’S A WIN FOR THE ANIMALS!
A standard “vegan” mark appears on food labels, as ubiquitous as the kosher parve mark. We’re already seeing this at Trader Joe’s; luckily it’s turning up on their most delicious products, like Candy Cane Joe Joe’s! Thank you, god!
A public advertising campaign against vegans and vegetarians, like “Got Milk?” but on the “fuck communist grass-grazers” side. It’s OK; this just means we’re really pissing them off. Good.
Cheese Whiz becomes vegan. Not sure if this is a win? Whatevs, we’ll take it!
MIGHT COULD HAPPEN
Oprah comes out as vegetarian! We immediately start going down on her. Actually, the latter is a MOST LIKELY WILL HAPPEN if the former occurs.
We’d love to see KFC go out of business. With it’s focus on fried foods and MSG, this is a serious possibility. We’d love to see colonel effigies burning in the streets across the United States. Or is that too creepy? Whatever.
Factory farms going out of business! Seriously, there is some MAJOR backlash starting and this shit is just gonna keep moving forward. Laws are being passed and people are noticing. This cannot stand. Hasta la pasta, assholes.
Michael Pollan resolves the omnivore’s dilemma by going vegan. This would really help him seem less crazy.
A Rosetta Stone of different animal languages is developed, allowing us to have conversations with dolphins and other species using a special device. OH MAN SO FUCKING AWESOME.
SUPER UNLIKELY BUT IT’S FUN TO DREAM
Oprah comes out as vegan and turns her show into Vegan Oprah and everyone follows suit because we are all sheep for the big O. That is why I am currently wearing jeans that Michael Jordan’s wife made and reading Angela’s Ashes. WHATEVER YOU SAY OH MIGHTY ONE.
Cats and dogs granted status as legal dependents and covered under health insurance. Cat ladies the world over weep, push for legal marriage.
Dr. Dean Ornish is named Surgeon General by President Al Franken in 2017 (or whatever veggie/vegan health person we’re liking this month). Of course, the Kuch has a place in the cabinet; he paved the way after all.
What are your predictions? What did we miss? Are we dead on? Or way crazy? Don’t answer that last one.
Vegansaurus Wants You! »
But only as a friend.
No, seriously. Vegansaurus is looking to expand and take over the world and dominate in every way possible. We’re looking for writers.
Specifically, we’re looking for people who are way into vegan food. We are especially interested in people who are really into cooking, baking, and creating amazing recipes. Also, someone with a good eye for current events, especially (obviously) vegan news. Certainly being a witty genius is a plus because we need more of that. this could be one person. or it could be two. You don’t have to be in San Francisco as we’re looking to expand our reach. But we need people who can contribute two to three times per week.
If you’re interested, send a couple samples of your writing to laura @ vegansaurus dot com, even if it’s just your blog or some scanned-in poetry. Actually not that second thing. Please god.
Vegans, vegetarians, and yes, even omnivores are invited to apply. And maybe your dog too if he can use a computer.
Product review: the Amy’s black bean burrito! »
You might be thinking, “What a boring product to review. I am so tired of looking at Amy’s frozen foods in my local boutique grocery freezer case. I don’t even eat frozen foods; I only eat meals prepared from farmer’s market ingredients and Veganomicon recipes.” Nice life, snob. Also, marry me.
What I’m saying is that for regular people with busy lives, desk jobs and no money, frozen food happens and Amy’s is generally one of your better options. Specifically, the Black Bean Vegetable Burrito is where it’s at. I ate these twice a day in college, and have recently rediscovered them as the perfect food, after a long (sad) accidental hiatus.
This delicious creation is made with a whole wheat tortilla, a bunch of organic vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, it’s totally vegan, and it tastes like one of those junk food refried bean Taco Bell burritos from the ’80s that tasted SO GOOD when you were a kid and never allowed to eat them. Actually, I wasn’t allowed to eat them so I could be remembering that incorrectly, but you know what I mean? The delicious taste of junk food chemically engineered to addict your brain?
(OOH speaking of that, Eric Schlosser was at Herbst Theater last night and I would totally have gone if I could! He’s not talking about fast food though, he’s talking about our fucked prison system. Still very interesting.)
Anyway, to recap, Amy’s black bean burrito is full of good stuff but it tastes conventionally delicious. Also it’s about $3 and rocking 9 grams of protein and no cholesterol, so I recommend you keep several in your office freezer. Find it in the freezer case at your local spot (if you live in San Francisco or a comparable city where your vernacular grocery markets are full of things like organic produce and the Hain-Celestial family of products.)