Meld­ing two cul­tures on a plate

Ja­panese-ital­ian cui­sine served at Carino Bistro

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life -

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.

Stu­art Gradon/cal­gary Her­ald

Kazu Kawashima, left, ex­ec­u­tive chef, and Toshi Karino, owner, of Carino Bistro hatched the idea of their res­tau­rant while work­ing to­gether at an­other es­tab­lish­ment.

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