I woke up craving kale and sunshine.

Luckily for me, I could satisfy both of these cravings by heading to Steveston for lunch. I already had a lunch date scheduled with a friend, so we went to Living Café which is right off of the water in Steveston. It was time for some rays and some healthy chow.

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Living Café is a newer restaurant in Steveston which is owned by a father and daughter with an incredible amount of passion. I have had the pleasure of dining at Living Café previous to this lunch and got to talk at lengths with co-owner, Amanda Kroetsch, about her history and decisions to open a restaurant. Amanda has a very intimate understanding of food allergies and has made it her goal to provide a dining experience completely free of gluten and peanuts. Along with being gluten and peanut free, Living Café also offers a variety of vegan, paleo and raw menu options.

Though it’s terrible to admit, I have been known to be one of ‘those people’ who turn up their nose at dining options that sound like rabbit food, though I am consistently impressed by the filling and delicious meals that I have had at Living Café. My friend is sensitive to gluten and allergic to dairy and also has a son with both those allergies and is always excited to find new restaurants that she can bring her son to. Living Café has also converted me to understanding that healthy food is not synonymous with gross food. You can actually have nutritious and wholesome food that tastes wonderful and is completely guilt-free.

We started our lunch off with selections from the popular drink menu. My friend went with a fresh juice; the “Sunshine” juice which had apple, orange, carrot and ginger. The juice was refreshing and had a strong ginger bite – perfect if you’re fighting a cold.

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I was a bit stuck on which smoothie to get, so I asked our server which one was her favourite. She quickly responded that the “TLC Super-Fruit Super-Food” smoothie was her go-to. So, I went with that! The smoothie consisted of: strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds and raw cacao powder. It was a delicious blend of berries with a hint of chocolate that made it feel like an indulgent treat instead of a super-food beverage!

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Deciding what to eat is always a challenge when a restaurant has a strong, concise menu. My friend decided on the Butternut Squash “Spaghetti”. This is offered as both a vegan and a paleo option on their menu, however, my friend added chicken sausage to her meal which eliminated the vegan factor. The “spaghetti” was beautifully spiraled butternut squash that was lightly sautéed and served with sweet peppers, spinach and a delicious coconut curry sauce. The spirals were delicate and were a great vessel for the mild and creamy curry sauce. The chicken sausage was a perfect addition to the meal as it added a savoury element that rounded out the dish nicely. The portion size was generous – enough for lunch and leftovers for dinner!

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I opted for the Chicken Salad sandwich that was served on delicious gluten free bread – perhaps the best GF bread that I have ever had. It was soft on the inside with a crunchy and satisfying crust. The filling of the sandwich was a house-made chicken salad with mayo, cranberries, apples, celery, green onions and lemon oregano kale. This sandwich, for me, was the star of the meal. It was perfectly dressed, the bread was fantastic and the kale was the perfect pairing with the chicken salad. I would go back to Living Café specifically to have that sandwich again.

I had a bowl of soup with my meal which was a tomato coconut curry soup. The soup was served as a very generous portion that I couldn’t even finish. I enjoyed the soup, but it took a back-seat to the sandwich.

dessert

Both full, but unable to deny dessert, we chose to try two of Living Cafe’s chocolaty delights: a gluten free, dairy free chocolate cake and a vegan chocolate mousse. Both desserts were incredibly rich and were full of chocolate. The cake was a unanimous favourite of the two sweets that we chose. It was moist and had a smooth icing that wasn’t too sweet. The mousse was also good, but seemed a bit bitter in comparison to the chocolate cake. It would be delicious paired with a cup of tea as an afternoon snack.

After our lunch, we decided to take a stroll in the sunshine and head over to Steveston’s newest coffee shop, Peaks Coffee Roast House on Bayview Street. The shop had only been open four weeks but was already full of people working away on their laptops at all of the tables.

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The shop had a neat atmosphere and the barista that helped us was fabulous. We couldn’t decide what to order so we asked her what her favourite was: a dirty chai. We laughed at the name and ordered it without another thought. A dirty chai, it turns out, is a chai tea latte with cinnamon and an added shot of espresso. They offer almond milk (and, it’s Almond Fresh!) as a dairy-free option which is always nice in a coffee shop! The drink was very enjoyable and we will definitely be going back.
Overall, both of my cravings were satisfied and then some.