Birthday Week: Lupo

Now here’s one of the dinners celebrating my birthday! (If you missed the last post: there’s a slew of birthday dinners this week and I’m posting a few of them on the blog.)

We went to Lupo, where I’d been dying to go for over a year now. My parents go every once in a while, but without my sister and I. Date night, or whatever. Tonight was my turn!

But first… we spent our lunch break at the Art Gallery, catching the the Ai Wei Wei photo exhibit before it ended this semester.

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Raaaain.

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No photos allowed in the gallery, and we’re good kids so we perused sans camera. Over a hundred photographs detailed Wei Wei’s life in New York from 1983-1993, before his return to China. Interesting seeing some protests and movements going on at the time. Also the poorer parts of New York, many Chinese immigrants, and Allen Ginsberg peeing.

The place was relatively quiet and empty, so it was nice having all that space to wander, with no bodies clogging up any one picture.

After school and a club meeting, we headed downtown. We were early for our 6:30 reservation time, and I was hungry, so we decided to find something to snack on. If I had anything substantial, I wouldn’t have space for an appetizer and dessert in addition to my entreé, so I was wary of getting a hot dog or something. What’s light and not too filling?

Dessert?

Perfect.

(I love dessert, okay?)

We went to Faubourg, one of my favourite patisseries (the one in Kerrisdale is a bit better than the one downtown, but either do it for me). Their macarons are my favourite.

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Their tropical dessert. We both decided we loved it. Light, spongy, and perfectly tropical! Similar in flavour to the Signature macaron, if that helps.

Finally, 6:30 rolled around and we headed down to Lupo. It’s a restaurant in a house, so it makes for an interesting dining atmosphere. Dinner in a living room? Sure.

We quickly set about looking at the menu.

It was expensive. (Not a surprise. Just an FYI.)

Our waitress listed off the specials of the day–some of the antipastis were as much as the primis, which I wasn’t expecting. $18 for an appie? But it was my birthday… and I admit to going with an antipasti just so I could get as much deliciously prepared seafood in my body as possible!

The waitress had an accent and spoke incredibly fast. While the service was friendly, we both had trouble keeping up as she listed off the specials rapid-fire. What I usually do when wait staff list specials is keep my ear open for anything that sounds vaguely interesting, and hang on to that. I’m picky, so it’s relatively easy. If you find yourself interested in more than one dish in a very long list of specials, though… well, you’d be out of luck in this case.

After a while, we settled on our order and chatted while waiting for the food to arrive.

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Our antipasti. 

Our antipasti was the octopus carpaccio with pimenton and limoncello. Potatoes and octopus chunks topped with greens sat on top of the carpaccio. Peeling at the carpaccio and scooping it up into my mouth was fun–I was a huge fan of the dish. As much as I love trying different things, if I were to return to Lupo for another special occasion, I’d definitely choose it again!

Next were our primis. I chose the linguine, which was cooked in a citrus cream. Prawns, shrimp, and zucchini brought the dish together to create a zesty, tangy, crunchy lovefest!

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I’d never had a tangy, citrus cream Italian pasta before. This was such a treat!

He ordered the braised veal ravioli special. His thoughts? That as always, ravioli is more filling than it looks. More thoughts? “Really good, meat was perfectly cooked, the pasta part was perfectly fine.” Take from that what you will. (May have stripped that from a Facebook message, so it wasn’t some fine dining review on his part.)

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We were both fairly full at this point.

At least, I was full. He claims “he doesn’t really get full” and is a bottomless pit. Which, to be fair, sometimes seems to be the real, horrific truth of the matter.  He also says he “doesn’t have to eat that much,” but “can eat a lot” if he chooses to, which sounds like a cop out until you witness him pile food onto his plate whenever we eat at my grandmother’s house. It’s like he thinks he’s never going to eat again.

Back to Lupo, though. Dessert. I was full, but we ordered it, because dessert should never be skipped.

He went with the coffee tirimasu. He’s not a coffee fan but obsessed over it anyway. Apparently its not something he himself even understands.

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I ordered the meyer lemon tart. It was so perfectly sweet in the best way possible, and they bruleéd the icing sugar on top. It was perfect.

Accompanying the tart was a light fluffy ice cream topped with nuts, lemon & I think blackberry pureés, blackberries, and raspberries.

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To die for.

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A candle, because they knew it was my birthday.

Lupo is a place for special occasions. They offer good, high quality Italian meals in a comfy setting–I mean, it’s in a house, so the mood is set that way. Despite it being a restaurant, you feel the comfort of being in a cozy house, and that you can just relax and enjoy the food despite the price tag telling you it’s fancier than most normal dinner parties.

The dinner, overall, was lovely. Special food and special company. We were both a bit tired from a busy week, but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. What a day… I’m a happy girl.

–Miriam

PS: if anyone knows the recipe for that lemon tart… contact me ASAP. I’ll be forever in your debt. I’ll kiss your feet. Organize pagan celebrations in your honour. Be your not-Russian mail order bride. (KIDDING. SORT OF.) Whatever you want. I NEED IT!

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