Excellent | Worth a Detour
Review by: Michael Stern
Columbia, South Carolina, is a city of succulent whole-hog barbecue, outlandish pimento cheeseburgers, and wipe-your-hands-on-your-jeans southern-fried chicken. It also is home of the Rosewood Market, which has been a beacon of health food since it began in 1973 as the Basil Pot Restaurant. Basil Pot gradually morphed into a full-fledged grocery specializing in items that nutrition-conscious people seek, including nuts and seeds and sprouts, local raw milk, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats and eggs, fresh produce, artisan cheeses, and everything you need to make your own yogurt. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, if you are gluten-free or lactose intolerant, Rosewood Market likely has the groceries you seek.
It also has a little deli off to the side of the market shelves. Here are sandwiches, hot meals, salads, soups, and smoothies sold to take out or to bring to one of a handful of tables inside the store or to a covered porch at the side of the building. Most everything is made to order, so if you have particular dietary needs or desires, the kindly folks behind the counter will do their best to accommodate.
All of what’s sold reflects a passion for today’s vision of a healthy lifestyle. That means a very fine banh mi sandwich that is made with seitan — chewy flaps and a more unctuous pate both made from wheat gluten, aka wheat meat — along with jalapenos, cucumbers, and sriracha aioli. It also means vegan versions of dessert: a moist and flavorful blueberry chocolate (pseudo)-cream cheese cake, a fully satisfying gluten-free cheesecake, and a somewhat leaden pineapple upside down cake.
The Greek salad is extraordinary, crowned with a large scoop of bright, creamy feta cheese sprinkled with toasted nuts; and I must admit that I also enjoyed what’s billed as “Southern-style chicken salad,” which is just-right chunky and remarkably luxurious considering it is made not with mayonnaise but with something known as veganaise. I was less thrilled with odorous Japanese seaweed salad, which I assume is an acquired taste … one that I am not all that eager to acquire.
It’s fun to browse the grocery shelves after eating. (You pay for everything as you leave.) I came away with a bag of yummy dark chocolate-covered organic apricots and a creamy crustless quiche.
As you might expect, the operation of the store and its deli is designed to be earth-friendly. Whatever can be recycled or composted, is.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|