Northside SF  

October '09

The Penny Pincher:
By Susan Dyer Reynolds

It’s sometimes difficult to find a healthful eating bargain, but Beautifull fits the bill. If $9.99 for lunch doesn’t sound like a bargain to you for a quick, healthful meal, consider that a Big Mac Value Meal at McDonald’s costs just a couple bucks less (and contains nearly 1,200 calories).

At Beautifull, fresh ingredients are sourced from local farmers committed to sustainability. (Even the food containers, made from potatoes, are 100 percent biodegradable.) Choose from more than 100 combinations rotated daily – a main and two side dishes cost $9.99 if you go vegetarian, $11.99 for turkey or chicken, $13.99 for beef or seafood, or try any three sides for $9.99 (and many of their sides are meals by themselves). You can also try a curry or Asian bowl for $9.99 or $11.99 (depending on the ingredients). The red Thai turkey curry with golden quinoa (or brown rice, if you prefer) is high on flavor, and, like all of the choices at Beautifull, low on fat and calories. The Asian spice bowl with veggies and tofu featured a clear  broth brimming with snap peas, shiitake mushrooms and bok choy seasoned with a custom blend of spices, ginger and kefir lime (and it’s vegan).

You can also answer your craving for American classics like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, burgers (made with ground turkey), roasted fillet of beef, grilled salmon, and tuna salad – all without the guilt. The mac ’n’ cheese was so decadent, in fact, that I wouldn’t have known it was a healthful version if I hadn’t been told. You can even trick your kids into eating more healthfully with organic spaghetti with Diestel turkey meatballs, chicken tenders, and almond butter with jam. For dessert, try the organic nonfat yogurt or fresh-baked whole grain cookies (I loved the chocolate chip walnut).

You can dine in or hit the grab ’n’ go section for prepacked items. Beautifull also offers delivery and curbside service (call in your order and they bring it right to your car).

Beautifull!: 3401 California Street (at Laurel), daily 10 a.m.–8 p.m., 415-728-9080; 816 Irving Street (at 9th), daily 10 a.m.–10 p.m., 415-664-2033,

– S. Reynolds

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