Friday, July 18, 2014

It's back! Back to Edenz Vegetarian Restaurant

This past week I had a wonderful experience. I went into a restaurant, and started casually talking to someone in the line. We were discussing the different items on the buffet, and I asked if she was a vegetarian. Not only is she a vegetarian and vegan on many days, but we found out we both recently moved from Columbus, Ga. We then lamented on how we missed Country Life.

I miss the great buys in the bulk bins!

So while I had a captive audience, I casually mentioned I was trying to start up a veggie group in this area. She got excited and said I thought that was you! Yes she had heard of Heart of Georgia Veggies! It was an amazing moment for me to know that others are reading my posts, beyond just my family and close friends. Thank you to everyone who reads this post. A BIG thank you to the person I ran into at the restaurant, who had found this blog! It is great to know that reviewing the local resources, etc. is providing information for others. This has only encouraged me to post more and try to improve the blog and group.

If you have suggestions for the blog, the group, or ideas for meet ups please let me know. Also, don't forget to join the Facebook group.

I see the stats on this blog, and I know that people are looking at it, but I know the SEO (search engine optimization) isn't that great. This basically means that when I do a Google search the blog doesn't come up :(.  I am usually pretty good at these techie items, but I just haven't had time to devote to this page. I'll work on it, and if anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

Now for the review of the magical restaurant where I had this awesome experience while grabbing some yummy food:

After living in Macon for a year and hearing several people mention that there use to be a vegetarian restaurant in Macon, but it closed in 2008. Well, its back! Back to Edenz had a soft opening on July 7th, and will have a grand opening toward the end of the month. Right now, they are open Monday-Friday 11 am- 3 pm, but plan to offer dinner hours after the grand opening  now open Monday-Thursday 11 am - 7pm, Friday 11 am - 3 pm & Sunday 12-5pm. They also deliver 478 405-3336. 

As you can see from the sign above their menu changes daily and is sold by the pound. This is good for people who want to try a little of everything, but bad for those of us that sometimes eat with our eyes....


Starting from the top clockwise: collards, squash, plantain, veggie stir fry, scalloped potatoes, and pasta salad. Oh, my goodness I was so full afterwards!

I typically do not eat plantains, but these were very good. I particularly enjoyed the veggie stir fry, and scalloped potatoes. Everything was very flavorful and filling. The scallop potatoes were not ooey gooey, but they were very good. The veggie stir fry was basic rice and veggies, but I love fried rice so it was really good to me.

The only item I've seen so far that is not vegan is the vegetarian fried chicken:


My husband tried this, and said it was awesome. He said it was crispy, and had a good texture. This is vegetarian fried chicken since it contains egg whites.

So the food was so good, I went back the next week :)

Vegan barbecue 
Vegan Macaroni and cheese, and vegan black eyed pea casserole

I picked this up to go so the pictures are not that great, but the food tasted great! The mac and cheese again wasn't ooey gooey. It was more nutty flavor, and tasted more like a casserole. I really enjoyed it, but if you're expecting something like the blue box, this isn't it. This is more homemade casserole type mac and cheese. It was really good.

I was pleasantly surprised by the blacked eye pea casserole. It had an awesome flavor and texture. You can see some greens mixed in too.

Now for dessert!

Vegan Apple Pie

Vegan carob cupcake
I normally love apple pie, and don't get me wrong this was good... but the carob cupcake, IMO, wins hands down. It was creamy, chocolate, sweet but not too sweet, and just yummy.

I added Back to Edenz to Happy Cow (see previous post to learn about Happy Cow). Please add restaurants to Happy Cow in the Columbus and Heart of Georgia area. Adding items to the app, marking items on Yelp or Urbanspoon, etc. really help other veggies find good places to eat. It also helps these small restaurants. Vegans Unite! Oh, wait that's another website and another post for another time as this one has already turned into a book with tons of exclamation points.

For now, check out Back to Edenz and help support this local veggie restaurant. They post their menu on Facebook each day. I saw they even have vegan deviled eggs. I will have to try those soon! It is great to have a veggie restaurant back in this area. I look forward to going back to Back to Edenz again for many more delicious meals, talks with fellow veggies, and maybe even a veggie meet up at Back to Edenz. Anyone interested?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Tropical Smoothie Cafe Columbus, GA

Sometimes you just want something cool and refreshing especially when it is hot outside. So one morning my Mom and I ventured over to Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Columbus, Ga. I wanted to try the Beyond Meat sandwiches they recently started offering. 

It has been a while since I've been so I am trying to remember exactly what I ordered! It was part of the island combo deal. I ordered a half of a bistro sandwich and smoothie. 

Now, the beyond meat was not listed in the bistro sandwiches. I had to ask the cashier to substitute the beyond meat in one of the sandwiches, but it wasn't an issue.

The sandwich was basic. It was bread with beyond meat, minus the mayo add mustard, and basic lettuce and tomato. The sandwiches typically have mayo and some type of cheese. Make sure to let your cashier if you are vegan to leave out the mayo and cheese. The best thing is it was just enough to go with the really big Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie.

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie. Picture from Tropical Smoothie website.
The smoothie is what made this meal great. Yes the sandwich was good, and it was nice to have a savory item to offset the large smoothie but the smoothie was cooling and filling. I probably enjoyed the smoothie more due to the hot weather! 

A quick note about their smoothies, only certain smoothies can be made vegan. Each smoothie list next to it if it is made with yogurt and if it is then it cannot be made vegan (or at least that is what I found). Make sure to let your cashier know that you want a smoothie with no dairy, no yogurt, and no whey. The whey part is important. Some of the smoothies contain whey protein powder, which not everyone realizes is made from milk. It is always best to ask for the ingredient list in the smoothies and to see what can be substituted.

Really many items can be created from their menu. It is always nice to have a vegan smoothie option in Columbus, Ga. Plus, when you are traveling there are often Tropical Smoothie Cafe's around since it is a chain unless of course you live in Macon, Ga. There is no Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Macon, which means I will have to wait until I visit Columbus again for another smoothie trip!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: Mellow Mushroom Macon Georgia

It has been a while since I have posted a restaurant review, but that doesn't mean I haven't visited several restaurants. I have several pictures from previous visits that I will post with reviews soon.

Up first, Mellow Mushroom in Macon, Ga

The great thing about Mellow Mushroom is they have several options for vegetarians and vegans! The restaurant is often a welcome sight for people traveling through the heart of Georgia considering the limited veggie options. The restaurant has been added to Happy Cow, and I am excited to see someone else has posted a review. As the other reviewer notes, it is a great road trip stop. It is also great for veggies in town to have a veggie option.

As the menu states, they do offer vegan cheese, tofu, tempeh, and other veggie options. I have been here several times but as usual... I normally eat my food and then remember to take pictures.... opps! 

Sometimes I venture out and order the Portobello and Vegan Cheese Hoagie, or the Mega Veggie Pizza; however, I often order the House Calzone with vegan cheese. I mean look at this yummy goodness...

 This picture was from this past weekend in celebration of National Vegan Pizza Day. It was an excellent calzone that was packed full of veggies. See how they ooze out of the calzone with the vegan cheese.

So a couple of notes about this restaurant. While they do offer vegan cheese, tofu, tempeh, etc. you still must make sure to tell them not to include Parmesan or butter on the items. Then when the item comes out make sure to check it before digging in to the food. I have, on occasions, had the calzone come out with butter and Parmesan on top of it. The kitchen quickly remedied the situation, but it is no fun to get all the way home with a carry-out order to find out you cannot eat it. 

The atmosphere of the restaurant is nice and everyone is very welcoming... just be careful playing around the mystic ball playground...

So while Mellow Mushroom is not a unique pizza place since it is a chain that is found in many locations, it is still a welcome sight in a place with few veggie options. If you are driving through Macon it is right off I-75 and very accessible. Perhaps soon I will find some local pizza places in Macon or Columbus area to review. Anyone have any suggestions?