This was the scene outside of our house yesterday morning before I headed into the city to meet a friend for brunch.
It’s May… come on now, is snow really necessary?
The white stuff made highway visibility really poor and slow-going, but it was well worth it knowing that there was a delicious meal at the end of the journey.
My friend, Shelby, and I decided to meet downtown at The Coup – one of the very few vegetarian, vegan, gluten-friendly restaurants in Calgary.
The Coup prides themselves in using as much organic and local food as they can get their hands on. All of their cheeses are rennet free and they make everything from scratch, right down to the ketchup (or at least that used to be the case). They recycle everything they can and compost all raw material. To offset their waste, they plant 36 trees a month and are 100% wind powered.
In a city nicknamed as ‘cow-town’ where you can get some of the best beef in the world and make a pretty penny on the oil rigs, a place like The Coup attracts all us green folk to come out of the woodwork… and eat great food doing it.
Having been a loyal customer since 2005, it’s rare that a visit to The Coup; around the hours of noon and 6pm, won’t involve waiting for a table. During the day, you’re asked to wait in a tiny closet looking space right beside the front door. In the evenings, they open up the other side of the restaurant; called the Meet Lounge, where you can hang out and order drinks and appetizers while you wait for your table. Wait times usually never exceed the 30-45 minutes mark, so it’s not too long.
The atmosphere is really laid back and comfortable. The staff are relaxed and easygoing, the other patrons are friendly, and the music is always good (but always a bit too loud if you ask me).
The bar is stocked with loads of tasty liquors and dairy-free milks for their extensive drink menu. Although expensive, The Coup has some of the best drinks in town! One of my favorites is their basil lemon-limeade which I reproduced into a basil lemon-limeade slushy at home last summer so I could enjoy it anytime I wanted in the comfort of my own home.
The tables are always decorated beautifully and simply. Today they had little yellow flowers.
Although not everything on the weekend breakfast menu is gluten-free, there is quite a bit to choose from like the Mediterranean scramble, green eggs no ham (also revamped with this recipe), el sombrero, messy janes, and beachfront hot pot.
Yesterday I decided on the el sombrero – a brown rice quesadilla of sorts with eggs, black beans, avocado, onion and mushrooms with a side of organic hash. Shelby went for the French-Canadian – buckwheat crepes with coconut butter, banana and maple syrup with a side of fresh fruit.
Shelby also ordered the drink of the day – carrot, papaya and kiwi juice. At least I think it was kiwi. Either way, she said it was delicious!
We had the perfect chat as we waited for our food.
Shelby’s meal came out looking sweet and delicious. I wish they’d make these crepes gluten-free. It’d be SO easy to do. Maybe one day?
The fruit salad was simple and a perfect size along-side her crepes.
I brought out all the savory stops with my avocado bursting, potato crusting, vegetarian meal. You never know what veggies are going to be in the el sombrero as it varies with the seasons and the produce that’s available that day. Yesterday’s batch had spinach and pea shoots. The avocado had more lime flavor than normal, which added a nice kick to the dish. I can only hope that this wasn’t done by accident and will be the norm when I visit again.
As always, it was all so darn good!
Our brunch hit the spot for both of us. The portions were perfect, our chat was lovely, and the bill was reasonable. It’s a bit more expensive at The Coup than other places in the city, but I feel good knowing I’m supporting a local restaurant that does their part in keeping our planet and community healthy.
Although I’ve had a couple of bad experiences at The Coup in the 7 years I’ve been visiting (everyone has their off days), it still remains my favorite place to grab a healthy meal with friends, family and clients alike.