Bacon may bring the sizzle, and tofu will often act as a veggie stand in, but you'll find neither at a new Calgary brunch spot.

That's because Roni Zaide, who recently launched the city's first pop-up brunch on weekends at Cafe Koi, offers strictly vegetarian fare — without the fermented soy.

"I feel like serving tofu to vegetarians is a bit insulting, because there's so much other great things that you can work with and be creative with," says Zaide, who has been cooking for more than a decade in kitchens around the world. 

"I just wanted to challenge myself and say I'm going to do something that's totally tofu free."

The kitchen takeover started after a conversation with the owners of Koi, who are friends of Zaide.

"They came over for dinner and we were just talking…and all of a sudden we started joking about sharing the kitchen, because they do lunch and dinner and I want to do breakfast," she says.

Soon the joke was over and the group was talking seriously about launching a new vegetarian brunch spot for Calgary's eager morning eaters.

It provides Zaide the opportunity to learn and understand the business without jumping into the deep end. 

"It's a very risky business," she says. "See how it goes and then it can grow from there."

For those looking for something outside the norm, Roni's Kitchen offers chickpea scrambles, maple rose granola, hand-crafted popsicles and bourekas, a savory Mediterranean-style puff pastry. 

There's also live music to keep you entertained while you eat, but like the missing bacon, death metal isn't on the menu.

"Not yet, maybe in the future if there's a demand for it," says Zaide.

This summer, the Calgary Eyeopener is featuring people contributing to the "cool factor" of our city. If you know someone who is making Calgary cool, send an email to