Meatless Monday...& Tuesday...& Wednesday.....

The Coup, 924 17th Avenue, SW

True confession (if you haven’t figured it out already): I am a meat eater.

That’s not to say I won’t have a nice crispy, fresh salad with super greens and a bright rainbow of vegetables or fruit and maybe some….cheese….oh….or chicken…..ummmm….

Or maybe a nice onion soup, super rich and made with…uhhhh…beef broth…and…super gooey Emmental or Gruyere cheese….hmmmmm….

OK, deep fried mushrooms or corn fritters?  Cooked in vegetable oil? Not exactly healthy, but vegetarian, I think…unless the batter is made from….never mind.

Stop snickering at me, you non-meat eaters.

You can see, I most definitely am not a vegetarian.  I can’t even really identify what it is.

My best friend Judith is one; she tells me won’t eat anything that has a face. Except maybe Goldfish crackers, gummy bears, or bread that has the image of a squirrel toasted into it (it’s a miracle!).

Judith lives in California where I am certain they’ve perfected the art of meatless cuisine. 

But here in Calgary?  I’m not so sure.

Nikki is a vegetarian, and in a perfect coincidence, there’s a place right down the street from me, on the Red Mile, that specializes in vegetarian cuisine.  It’s called The Coup (as in coup d’etat, you Americans…just sayin’), and they call themselves “ethical vegetarian” and specialize locally sourced organic food.  So we set a date to go and check it out.

Guess what?  Nicest, most patient, non-judgemental group of people you’d ever want to meet.

And the meal?  Fantastic beyond anything I could imagine.

Once we're seated, Nikki gives me a rundown on the types of vegetarians there are, and there are quite a few   (I hope I get this right):

Vegetarians basically don’t eat meat or by-products created with or by meat; for example, broths made with bones, and, in some cases, things like eggs and cheese (what?! No cheese?! Arrrggghhh.  Could not do this!);

Ovo-lacto vegetarians: Will usually eat eggs and dairy (I believe this is where Nikki and Judith fall in);

Pescatarians: Meat, no; fish, yes.

Vegans: people who do not eat—or even use—animal products.  That’s really a tough one to commit to.

I’m sure there are more, but that’s a quick overview.

This is, from what I can tell, for the most part, a personal choice—and I truly admire this. 

But am I going to find something I’m going to like in this place?

The menu is large and varied and Nikki orders a spiced almond satay bowl, which consists of broccoli and spinach with grilled tofu and nuts over rice noodles, and I go for the special of the evening:  Curry steam buns, two of them, served open-faced, filled with curry marinated tofu, carrots, sautéed onions, celery root and deep fried ramen noodles for some crunch (note to self: remember to try and make fried ramen--really unique, and good).


It was delicious.  I ate both buns and would have had a third if they had offered it.  There wasn’t one flavor in the dish I didn’t like. Nikki did a good job on hers too.

We decided we had room to split a dessert.  The one we chose was stunning to look at.  

Called “In the Weeds” (and both vegan and gluten free, I might add), it was as delicious as it was beautiful.  Almost a shame to eat, but we did.  There was a scoop of lemon sorbet floating in a pond of rosehip curd, dotted with these amazing little meringue puffs, and decorated with a range of wild flowers.  

OK, I’ll say it—there was one flower in there—I think it was a little daisy of some sort—that I will never eat again (imagine how you think a marigold would taste—you got it).  But that’s a personal taste thing—I’m sure someone else, or a deer, would like it.

Joking aside, would I eat at the Coup again?  Absolutely.  Am I still going out for a hamburger in a day or two?  You bet.

It’s always great when you can have it both ways, don’t you think?