Melding two cultures on a plate
Japanese-italian cuisine served at Carino Bistro
prawns. There’s bistecca alla Fiorentina topped with an oroshi ponzu (citrus juice, soy sauce, daikon) sauce. And a mozzarellaagedashi (hot tofu) antipasto with ume (plum) paste and basil tempura. There’s even tofu in the caprese salad.
While working together at Teatro, Karino and Kawashima — Karino as wine director, Kawashima as a cook — hatched the idea of combining the two food cultures. So, they took over AKA Wine a few months ago and converted it into a forty-seat bistro. They lowered the high banquettes, added some mirrors and a new wine list and Carino was born.
Situated kitty-corner from Diner Deluxe and down Edmonton Trail from OEB in the middle of Calgary’s Brunch Belt, its pretty much a requirement that they serve Saturday and Sunday brunch. So Carino has developed a list of brunch standards such as banana bread French toast, a croque madame sandwich, omelettes, and eggs Benedict. But they’ve also included chicken and waffles using confit chicken and organic quinoa waffles plus a dish of yakisoba (fried noodles) with eggs and pork belly.
Just look for the geisha on a Vespa. Or Carino’s other logo: a samurai on a Fiat.
For all the restaurants along 17th Avenue S.W., its odd that there hasn’t been much in the way of Thai restaurants there. (I should mention Chili Club at 1904 — 36 Street S.W. but that’s fairly far west of the major restaurant zone.)
But recently two Thai restaurants have opened within a block of the 14th Street intersection. Khao San Thai Kitchen took over the departed JaroBlue at 1314 — 17 Avenue S.W. (587-353-2668) and kept the space largely intact. They replaced only the large Sable Island horse photos with golden Thai dragons and brought in a pan-Thai menu of dishes. That includes Khao Soi, a hearty soup from Chiang Mai that’s packed with coconut milk, noodles, fresh herbs and chicken.
Just west of 14th Street, Thai Bistro has opened a second location at 1448 — 17 Avenue S.W. (587-887-7474) in what used to be Mt Everest Kitchen and more recently was O Shima. Thai Bistro does a robust central-Thai menu including a fine Pad Ma Kua Yao, a stir-fry of eggplant and vegetables in a soy paste.
Both restaurants bring more diversity and variety to an already culinarily interesting neighbourhood.
Ever wonder how Alberta’s and Canada’s great agricultural products are marketed to the world? Much of it is done through trade shows and international missions that take samples of our foods to other places. But recently the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada teamed up for a different kind of trade mission.
Titled Canada Brand Meat Ball, the initiative brought eight highly regarded chefs to Alberta from Hong Kong, Italy, Taiwan, Dubai, China and Switzerland to visit our ranches, taste our beer, tour our food processing facilities and enjoy our Alberta foods and Canadian wines at the dinner table.
Starting their whirlwind tour with dinner and a beer tasting at Big Rock Brewery, the chefs, accompanied by provincial and national agriculture representatives and a handful of interna- tional media, then set out for the Bar U Ranch. Ranching history was rounded out with a visit to Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump and then a tour of SAIT’s culinary school.
The tour continued with a visit to Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch where the chefs saw how bison and elk are raised domestically. Then a stop at Valbella Deli in Canmore showed how the meats are processed. A Canadian caviar tasting welcomed the group at the Banff Centre and was followed by sessions on the intricacies of Alberta’s and Canada’s meat industries.
Then the chefs were put to work in a cooking challenge where each chose a Canadian meat — beef, pork, bison or elk — to prepare in their own fashion along with any side dishes.
All that in about four days. Sounds like a great way to get our agricultural message across to an international market.
Kazu Kawashima, left, executive chef, and Toshi Karino, owner, of Carino Bistro hatched the idea of their restaurant while working together at another establishment.