{Food filled day: Lunch at Koi, dinner at The Living Room and dessert at Amato Gelato}

A jam-packed post today, first off, lunch at Koi, an intimate little cafe in the belt line area that serves healthy, nutritious asian inspired dishes. The place is owned by Philip Wong, former chef  at various Vancouver hot spots and the ever popular vegetarian restaurant, The Coup in Calgary. The restaurant has an overall charcoal tone with splashes of vibrant red throughout the space. The cafe is focused on supporting local art (they feature new artwork on their walls every month) and host various events that help promote local artist’s music.

At lunch the seats are filled up with hungry office workers in the area and on the weekends at night, it becomes a lounge that features live DJ’s spinning good beats.

Today me and the gals strolled over to have some lunch, I ordered my usual Lotus Bowl (2008 FastFwd Magazine Winner) maple chili veggies and seared five spice tofu sticks topped with fresh pea shoots, toasted almonds and served on a bed of jasmine rice.

This dish is the epitome of modern asian comfort food. The sauce is the perfect mix of spicy and sweet. I loved the variety in this bowl, every bite was a different taste experience. The tofu was crispy and rubbed generously with fragrant aromatic spices that flavoured the whole dish. This bowl did not even have a grain of rice in it by the time I was done with it.

Tonight also happened to be date night, so after a quick 10km run after work, we headed over to The Living Room on 17th ave, one of my old standby restaurants that never disappoints. A couple years ago, I used to come here twice every month to enjoy dinner before heading out for a night on the town. It was a packed house, but it helps to know the owner when you haven’t made a reso on a fully booked Friday night.

He got us a spot front row and center at the bar where we immediately ordered a couple of caesars served with a wedge of lime and two pickled beans, the perfect drink to wake up your palette before the first course.

We ordered the charcuterie board ($31)featuring Canadian and European cured meats and seafood, artisan cheese and house made chutney. *sorry for the bad pic, the restaurant was very dark

Tonight’s platter featured: 3 cheeses, a nice ripened goat cheese, brie and a really melty one that resembled the Dauphin I’ve had at Janice Beaton, but more tangy and salty. The seafood included some extra-large prawns, salt cured pieces of halibut and some smoked trout filets. Meat consisted of some chimney sticks, bunderfleish (air-dried beef from Switzerland), dried musk ox (my fave of all the items, like a tender smoky jerky), a pepper crusted salami, sliced spicy chorizo and smoked turkey. The feature chutney was a cinnamon rosemary apple chutney. Served with a side of sliced baguette with herbed butter and some crisp crackers.

For our main course we shared the fall off the bone tender Quebec milk-fed Veal short rib ($26) – served with house made truffled yukon gold gnocchi, a velvety sweet carrot puree and smoked cherry tomato chutney.

Me and the boy’s cutlery were clashing trying to steal the last bites of this dish. All the flavours worked very well together. I eat this and think.. yes.. this is why I could never be a vegetarian.. absolute perfection. (The gnocchi and veg were hiding underneath the huge short ribs). I enjoyed with a glass of their Syrah, as per the suggestion of our very knowledgable friend who happened to be working the bar that night.

Amazing service, amazing creative food, awesome cocktails (I usually ask the bartender to surprise me and it never fails to impress). Make sure to make a reso on the weekends as they are usually booked up very quickly.

The Living Room – 514 17th Ave SW

To satisfy my sweet tooth, we skipped the dessert menu and headed over to Kensington road to our favourite gelato spot, Amato Gelato, an italian gelato cafe known for its huge selection of flavours. It was 10pm when we arrived, but the parking lot was packed with cars. I got the cappuccino cookiea delicious coffee base mixed with chunks of chocolate oreo pieces. The boy had his “usual” maple walnut, his all time favourite flavour – a caramel coloured maple sweetened base flecked with chunks of crunchy toasted walnut pieces.

They also feature some unusual flavours including tomato basil, wasabi, cucumber and even Guinness flavour (which I’ve heard is delicious!)

Amato Gelato – 2104 # 7 Kensington Road NW

The perfect end to a long and busy work week. Gotta get to bed, getting up bright and early for a run and driving out to the mountains in Banff at 9am to go canoeing all day! (Perhaps we’ll have time to visit my foodie paradise Mountain Mercato too!) See you tomorrow.

3 Responses to “{Food filled day: Lunch at Koi, dinner at The Living Room and dessert at Amato Gelato}”
  1. Leah says:

    Wow. Totally a delicious food packed day! Have you tried the pretzel buns from Rustic Sourdough Bakery yet? Grabbed some today and posted about them — they are sooo good 🙂

  2. The Brother says:

    The brother thinks the boy would like Guinness flavor, it’s great. But the all time best is Cola Float.

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