Hopefully by now you’ve all heard of Youth Week. Seriously, it’s a week of discounts, celebrations, and activities for YOUTH in CALGARY. Yep, that’s right. Those little cards we get from school with our picture that most of us loathe, a.k.a. your student ID, can essentially get you VIP access to the city.
When I discovered that The Coup (924 17th Avenue SW) was participating in Youth Week, I knew I had to go. For a long time now I’ve wanted to try this ethical, organic, local-based restaurant known for satisfying even carnivores, vegans, and regular foodies alike with their vegetarian fare, and so this week was my chance! After all, with a 10% discount just for being a teenager, why wouldn’t I go.
Even though it was a Monday night, the place was still filled with people. The majority of the crowd seemed to be in there 20s or 30s, and I felt like I was in a very hip place. In fact, when I walked in it smelt good, and not just in a “oh there’s food, yum” way. All the decor is modern, but it definitely still had a comfortable, sociable feel.
Unfortunately for me, I’m pathetic when it comes to spicy food, so that limited my options quite a bit. Beyond that, not only did it all sound yummy, it all sounded so interesting. Few places serve anything along the lines of “hazelnut & spice crusted eggplant, natural pastures cheese, shredded carrot & spicy kimchi loaded on ciabatta with a chimichurri aioli & hot sauce” or “spicy coconut tomato lime broth loaded with seasonal vegetables, lotus root, edamame, lemongrass and rice vermicelli noodles”.
I ended up sharing the falafel quesadilla, so that I could also have the soup of the day, which was some combination of yam and mango and goodness. Unknown to me, the soup was spicy, but I was able to still slurp up some of it to taste the complex, vivid flavours. Any disappointment about the spiciness of the soup was shadowed by the quesadilla, which successfully made my tastebuds happy. The grilled sprouted tortilla was satisfyingly crunchy and grainy, but not at all in a too-healthy, seeds-in-my-teeth way. Instead of being a generic falafel like so many these days, the pieces in the quesadilla were well-spiced and tender. I loved the rich burst of flavour provided by both the sundries tomatoes and the sheep feta. Long story short, it was really yummy, and I knew it was good ethically, nutritionally, and environmentally too.
We couldn’t pass on the dessert. After all, we’d heard about the chocolate torte, and wouldn’t be satisfied until it was ours. Since by then the restaurant was quite busy and a bit louder than was comfortable, we chose to savour the dessert on a bench in the park by Tutti Frutti instead. It was richer than I’d expected, but when it comes to chocolate, I have no problem with that. Knowing that the bottom was a chickpea brownie crust, I was curious to taste it, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Both the mousse and the bottom part were moist, rich but not over-sweet, and texturally they were contrasting but equally satisfying. My one regret is not using more of the fruit preserve sauce.
There’s no “perfect” restaurant, but The Coup provides both a culinary and cultural experience that would please any foodie in Calgary. My message for you: GO EAT AT THE COUP! Don’t you DARE tell me you’re turned away by it being all vegetarian. As the saying goes… don’t judge a book by its cover. Besides, The Coup is a place where people who are looking for vegan, gluten-free, or lactose-free options can dine easily.