DC: Since our original post, I have revisited Country Life quite a few times, and have a few new experiences to share with you! I took LC’s advice and decided to pop in on one of Country Life’s famed soul food Wednesdays. On these days, you can expect collard greens, rice, sweet potatoes, corn bread, the bean of the day, and soup or a side salad! I happened in on black eyed peas day, and boy was I lucky that I did! The meatless collards were very flavorful and tender. The black eyed peas were tasty, and I sprinkled on some cayenne pepper for a little fire. I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes OR cornbread (I know, I know… I’m a weirdo), but I decided to give both a try anyway. Unfortunately Country Life didn’t change my mind on these items, but I’m sure others might appreciate them just fine. I did think the texture of the corn bread was a bit odd, but I realize that this is vegan food, so the lack of dairy products will probably change the texture somewhat. Sometimes when I think of vegetarian food, I foolishly doubt that I can be fully satisfied without the meat, but I can assure you that this meal was definitely filling, hearty, and appetizing.
Anyway, on to more exciting things, like the Country Life’s DELICIOUS chili… This stuff is seriously sensational! When asked if I wanted cashew cheese, I was a bit taken aback, BUT living on the edge and keeping an open mind, I said yes…… Best decision of my life! Surprisingly, it tastes just as good as “normal” melted cheese, doesn’t taste like cashews at all, and is a lot better for you. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed everything about this chili, and it’s probably my favorite thing about Country Life.
On a different day, I came in and wasn’t too excited about the way the food looked on the serving line. (At a place like Country Life, where the menu changes daily, it can be REALLY hit or miss. For example, Persian Dill Casserole Day is probably not as exciting as Veggie Burrito Day). That being said, I would advise you to check their Facebook calendar. Also, go during the lunch rush when they’re busy; otherwise, you risk the chance of encountering food that’s just sitting there, neglected. Anyway, on one particular occasion, I opted for the Taco Salad, which you can order any day at any time! They used the chili and cashew cheese on this, with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and tortilla chips. This thing was HUGE and I could not finish it. It’s a really great value, and I enjoyed it. Overall, I like the idea of Country Life and have had good experiences. If I’m not liking what’s on the serving line, I know I can always fall back on a salad with a bowl of chili, or a Taco Salad, so it works out for me either way. In an effort to eat healthier, I’m trying to eat here at least once or twice a week instead of the Burger King across the way. All in all, I am glad that I gave Country Life another chance. It’s quite affordable, and for a carnivore like myself, I am amazed that I can thoroughly enjoy a completely vegan meal! My only issue is that at times, my servings have been inconsistent. Watch out for the stingy cafeteria lady, or become best friends with her. Maybe that’ll help.
*Update ends here* We still stand by our previous opinions about other items on the menu, so we are keeping that information on the page.
DC: Who am I kidding? No matter how I try to slice it, I am a meat ‘n potatoes kinda guy. In actuality, I’m probably even MORE of a burrito and pasta kinda guy, lol. Either way you put it, the words “vegan” and “vegetarian” sorta give me the heebie jeebies. It’s not that I don’t enjoy veggies; in fact, I’m actually quite fond… but to eat them alone (and/or swear off meat) is absolute sacrilege to me. Needless to say, when it comes to veggie restaurants, I don’t tend to get all that excited.
LC: Out of the two of us, I am definitely more so the “vegetarian.” With my father having high cholesterol, and my mother suffering from hypertension, a plate of veggies, legumes and fruit was almost always the main dish. So, I find some sort of comfort in a place like Country Life.
DC: As I perused through Columbus restaurants, I came across Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant, and I can honestly say that I was genuinely intrigued. As I spied around online, I noticed several kudos from fellow foodies, and options like Spinach Lasagna and Jamaican Beans & Rice really piqued my interest. So surprisingly, I can wholeheartedly say that I went into this situation with an open mind and a certain amount of anticipation. LC & I decided to go on falafel day. I’ve never had falafel, so I figured what better opportunity to try something new! So during my lunch break, we boogied on over.
LC: I decided to be bold, and for the sake of a thorough review, I tried the meal of the day. I was served two disk-shaped pieces of falafel, a spoon of the Tabouli salad, hummus, and a piece of pita bread. I also ordered a side salad, which I was able to construct on my own at the salad bar. Falafel is one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes (I am used to them being served balled-up like a croquette or a meatball) and was anticipating my first bite. Unfortunately, I was not a fan. The falafel was pretty cold and dry. I was happy for the side of hummus; as it was absolutely necessary to have with the falafel. The Tabouli salad was good and traditional. No complaints. All in all, I was more excited about my side salad than anything.
DC: Country Life is set up cafeteria-style, so you grab your tray and utensils and make your way down the line to order the meal o’ the day, OR opt for the salad bar. Upon first glance of the day’s offerings, I knew that it would be the salad bar for me. I can’t say (with a straight face) that it looked appetizing. The falafel looked dry and unwelcoming, and I suspected that the soup of the day (corn chowder) was the last remnants, dryly clinging to the pan for dear life. My suspicions were later confirmed, when I overheard the servers informing people that they were out of soup. Eek! If you’ve read our Sun In My Belly review, you know how I feel about restaurants running out of crucial stuff.
LC: You’re right, DC. Based on my last visit, I can say that the food was unusually sparse and unappetizing. We were there during the typical lunch hour (12:30ish) and it looked like we got the last of the pickins. I was shocked to hear that they were out of soup!
DC: Total bummer. But alas, what did it matter to me anyway? I was salad-bar-bound! Woohoo! When it comes to ingredients, I can truly say that this place offers all the fixins, from a couple of types of greens to corn to peas to pasta salad to everything earthly delightful and veggie-licious. Upon seeing the options, I wanted some of everything, so I piled it on. Everything was going fine, until it came time to drown it all in salad dressing. To my dismay, none of the dressings were labeled… just could-be-ranch or could-be-God-knows-what. I assumed one was ranch, and drizzled a bit on one side of the salad to taste. When I did, it was clear that this was no ranch that I’m used to having. None too pleased, I went back to the salad bar and added a vinaigrette type dressing, and that worked out much better for me, phew! Another thing I noticed was some stuff that might’ve been cheese, but maybe not.
LC: Was it tofu (which…I’ve never had)? I don’t even know…
DC: Tip to Country Life: label your schtuff. But, all in all, I generally enjoyed my salad, especially the pasta salad. Next time, I’ll be piling that up to high heavens, mmmm. For the sake of giving a well-rounded review, I tasted some of LC’s falafel. The flavor was not exciting to me and it definitely needed to be warmer. However, I did appreciate the little dollop of Tabouli salad on the side. Unfortunately, I think my first shot at falafel was an unjust representation. Oh well, maybe next time at a restaurant that actually specializes in that.
LC: Unjust representation, indeed! I know of a few spots where I can swear by the falafel, and this did not measure up. Though I’ve eaten several “to go” meals from Country Life, this was only my second time dining in. The menu changes daily, and is updated on a calendar on their Facebook page. Thinking back, ALL of my to-go meals were from the typical Wednesday menu of collard greens, black-eyed peas and corn bread, so going on a different day was a new experience for me. When I reminisce about previous visits, I recall the smell of warm corn bread and the flavor of the (meatless) well-seasoned collards! Hmmm. I may need to keep my visits reserved for Wednesday.
DC: Country Life is nice, charming and homey, with its old-fashioned general store at the entrance of the establishment, which offers a plethora of natural foods. This is the kind of place you’d expect to be greeted with a smile and a “hey y’all,” but during my first visit, I don’t know what was more blah, the staff or the falafel meal. On subsequent visits, I have had better experience with the food, as per my updated write-up at the top of the page.
LC: Based on prior visits, I expected something a little more welcoming and appetizing, but on falafel day, that was not the case. By no means was it terrible…just less than what I expected. I have enjoyed Wednesdays here, though, and can vouch for those!
Score: 3 / 5
Have you eaten at Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant? What was your experience? Give us the dish, in the comments below!
Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant is located at:
1217 Eberhart Ave
Columbus, GA 31906
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