Zoey's Dinner Party

I love hosting friends at my place. My go-to formula for a good time is: a sparkling punch + delicious array of snacks + people I like. Foolproof! The only downside is the inevitable scramble to tidy up my condo (AKA hide my laundry and mop the floor). Enter a solution: The condo lounge and courtyard.

The second floor of the Evolution condo where I live in East Village is a total treat for residents. Not only does it feature two fitness centres (and a steam room and sauna), but it’s got a newly opened lounge with a full kitchen and pool table, and a sprawling terrace courtyard with a pair of full-size barbecues, a picnic table and plenty of seating areas.


This week I hosted my roller derby team, the Calgary Roller Derby All Stars. With our first international playoffs just days away, we were eager to raise a glass to our achievements so far and talk strategy for the future.

I’ve been in condo common areas before that are basically extra space with a few wall sockets and an old TV. Not here. No way. As I walked my teammates from the elevator to the Evolution lounge, more than one person couldn’t hide their delighted surprise. “That’s us? Fancy!”

A typically blustery Calgary evening meant the courtyard was a little too breezy for dinner, but we couldn’t resist some fresh air and a test of the lounge chairs. As the summer days wane and warm nights get even more precious, I bet residents will take advantage of this space. And when it comes time for Calgary’s mid-winter Chinooks, I have no doubt the courtyard will prove its year-round allure.

For most of our evening, we hung out in the lounge. Having a kitchen right there meant it was easy to top up the punch bowl. The dozen of us got cozy on the couch and chairs to sip drinks and schmooze. Our chefs for the evening, Chad & Sam from charbar, made use of the gas grills to cook up meat and fish. At dinner time, we all loaded up our plates with the delicious barbecued salmon and chicken plus salads, roasted squash and beets. Seconds (...and thirds) definitely happened. There was only one battle over cheese. And then there was the chocolate mousse! Throughout dinner I couldn’t help but think how easy Thanksgiving dinner or a birthday shindig would be in this space. I mean—there’s a gym right across the hall if you need to make room for more turkey or cake!

What better way to put an exclamation mark on our night than lighting up some sparklers out in the courtyard? It was the perfect send-off ahead of our team’s biggest game ever.

Now, I still love having people into my home. Even if it means I have to mop. But for the times when the weather begs us to grill for a crowd, or we want to set a communal table to break bread with friends, the lounge and courtyard at Evolution are going to be awesome.