Fusion · Italian · Japanese · Restaurants

Carino – COVID-19 dine-in edition

Cheese Pull called and wanted to meet for dinner. She asked me to bring L but he declined as he dislikes being the only dude out with a group of chicks. For this post, let’s listen to “Just a Girl” by No Doubt.

Cheese Pull and I wanted to check out Carino, specifically for the gyozagna – a fusion blend of gyoza and lasagna. Carino has moved a couple of doors down the street into spacier, fancier digs. The room is filled with natural light and has a fresh, airy feel to it.

I asked our server for a glass of wine that would pair with the lasagna. He recommended the Barbera ($11). Cheese Pull doesn’t drink. I noticed that kids nowadays don’t consume alcohol, perhaps because they have better coping skills than my generation did.

For my appetizer, I choose Chicken Karaage ($8). Each piece of chicken was bite-sized and juicy, with a light, soft batter. The taste of basil in the mayonnaise was prominent. Cheese Pull commented the batter wasn’t as crunchy as Sukiyaki House‘s karaage.

The Gyozagna ($24) was so good that Cheese Pull let out a low growling sound as she ate. If that isn’t a compliment, I don’t know what is. Each dumpling was so plump, stuffed with a pork filling that burst with its hot juices. The wagyu meat sauce was so rich and heavy it just melded into the lava of melted mozzarella.

I enjoyed everything about this dish. From the delicate dumpling wrapper to the fresh flavour of the tomato sauce to the crunchy bits of caramelized cheese that crusted onto the top corners of the dish. The portion was also very filling.

Cheese Pull packed half her pasta away while I ate my entire serving. I was planning on bringing L half my pasta but it was so decadent I couldn’t stop eating. Cheese Pull said it was his fault for not coming. Our server was surprised I crushed my plate.

 

I was too full for dessert but Cheese Pull ordered the Hassun ($12) – a trio of sweets. Cheese Pull said the lemon flavouring in the shooter glass was subtle with a consistency like apple sauce. Her favourite of the trio was the creme brûlée. I could hear her tap on the sugar until it broke. She described her creme brûlée as a fancy pudding. The tiramisu was deconstructed – with the bottom layer tasting strongly of espresso.

I plan to return and get L to order the gyozagna so I can order the Alberta Beef Tenderloin with Seared Foie Gras Ravioli ($49.99). If you haven’t been, you have to check Carino out. The food is unique and delicious. Hitting the Sauce gives this Japanese Italian fusion gem two fat thumbs up.

Fusion · Japanese · Restaurants · Sushi

Shokunin Izakaya – The Final Table

For our five-year wedding anniversary, L took me out to celebrate at Shokunin. The owner and chef – Darren MacLean – recently competed on the Netflix show – The Final Table.

Shokunin has changed since Darren was on the show. Without reservations, it’s now difficult to score a table. When L and I got there on an early Monday evening, his restaurant was packed. For this post, let’s listen to Jidenna – Chief Don’t Run.

Darren switched to fatty yellow chickens for his yakitori. He informed me that yellow chickens are ridiculously expensive but he feels it is worth the extra cost. Whole chickens are butchered daily. New to the menu are: wing flap, skin on thigh, skin on breast, sweetbread, knee and rib. The price ranges from $3-5 dollars a skewer.

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Taken from Shokunin’s Instagram account @shokuninyyc without permission.

The difference between the fatty yellow chicken and the previous chickens used is noticeable. I thought the taste of the charcoal was more prominent. The chicken was silkier and tastier. I also prefer the addition of skin on the meat because it adds a contrasting texture and the skin soaks up the charcoal smoke.

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We ordered the Alberta Bison Tataki ($19). I’m not normally a fan of tataki but this version was a pleasing combination of insanely delicious flavours and textures – the bright sauce, the succulent meat, and the tang of the pickled onions. The portion was pretty generous too. This is a must order dish.

The Roasted Duck Breast Udon ($19) is my current favourite bowl of noodles in the city. I’ve never had duck so flavourful and satiny. The meat was served rare and cut thin. I ate as slowly as possible in order to savour the tender morsels. The noodles were fat and chewy. The egg had a rich, intense flavour. The broth was delicate with a touch of sweetness.

L and I ordered the Grilled Rice Ball ($5, + $2.50 egg) after we saw another customer order it. The eggs were so good it made me want to come by Saturday morning and ask to purchase a dozen. I’ll also take two fatty yellow chickens while I’m at it.

I buy great produce but the eggs here are next level. Just because I’m on an egg roll, take a look at the yolk from my bowl of udon.

I always find a new sake at Shokunin and then I’ll hunt it down for my parties from their supplier – Richmond Hills Wines. There’s a new warm sake I’m crazy about – Aizuhomare Premium Dry Honjozo.  I loved the hint of melon and the general mellowness. For a 5 ounce, it’s only $10! Dreams do come true! The only issue is L saw that Shokunin monitors the temperature of the sake. If I run out and buy this one, I’ll probably screw up the temperature and it won’t taste as good at home.

L was a fan of the draft beer – OkamiKasu – ($10) a collaboration between Ol’ Beautiful and Shokunin. Clean and refreshing, I much prefer Ol’ Beautiful’s version than the previous collaboration between Big Rock and Shokunin, the latter being a bit sweet.

I don’t want to spoil the show for those who haven’t watched The Final Table. I’ll just say that Darren put Alberta on the map as a food destination and did Calgary proud. I’ve said this before but I feel the need to repeat myself. If you are looking for big portions at a cheap price, don’t come to Shokunin. This place is not for you and that’s fine. Not everyone gets what the restaurant is about.

Taken from Shokunin’s website without permission.

I met my family doctor – Dr. Quinn – at the now closed Il Sogno. Her husband is a chef and when she does eat out, she frequents fine dining establishments – five-star restaurants, Michelin star, etc. As she’s use to a high standard at home, she has to seek out places that offer a more exceptional experience when she dines out. I told her to check out Shokunin. Dr. Quinn went and said the sushi was the best she has ever tried. I think she would prefer Darren’s special dining events because it would be quieter. She doesn’t like how loud a restaurant can get when it is busy. She can also experience what Darren likes doing best –  Michelin Star collaborations and his Omakase Sushi Experience.

Shokunin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fusion · Italian · Japanese · Restaurants

Carino Riserva – L’s birthday dinner

For L’s birthday dinner, he picked Carino Riserva. In past visits, I noticed that you must have a reservation or you won’t get into the restaurant. Despite being popular with locals and Japanese guests, I don’t think Carino gets the accolades in magazines and social media that it deserves.

I think that new restaurants get covered by food writers for one or two articles, but then it seems to be back to the same rotation of restaurants that show up in the ‘best restaurants’ category in Avenue Calgary.  I’m not knocking the restaurants, writers or the magazine. I’m just saying I don’t want to read about the same restaurants year after year. I have a good memory and the articles on the same restaurants gets redundant. Edit- I stand corrected. Avenue Magazine rated Carino best fusion restaurant. My bad! My memory isn’t as good as I thought.

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Last night, L and I had the best meal of 2018. For this post, let’s listen to one of L’s favourite bands – Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, GT400.

 

We sat by the window. I would recommend requesting this table if you have out-of-town guests. We enjoyed people watching and recognizing familiar faces walking the trendy streets of Mission.

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I appreciated our server’s food and wine recommendations. She also prevented us from ordering too much food. If you like your wine, but don’t want to pay a fortune, this is the place for you. I’ve never tried a wine I didn’t like at Carino. The owner Toshi was Teatro’s head sommelier for years. Wines by the glass range from $9-12.  I ordered a flute of prosecco ($9.00) and L stuck with Sapporo ($7.50).

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A feature appetizer was the pork gyoza ($7.50) with basil dipping sauce. The dumplings were plump with juicy meat. The wrapping was beautifully pinched and grilled to a crisp.

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Look at the fresh basil in the filling! L thought the gyoza showed the best of Italian and Japanese cuisine. Freaking fantastic. I would order this again.

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We shared a second appetizer – Steamed Clams and Mussel Hot Pot ($18) with Italian sausage and fries. The flame burning underneath the black cauldron added a mystique to the ambience of our table. The sausage was sweet and I could taste fennel. The broth was so tasty, we kept drinking it. I would buy this broth if I could- it was like a seafood bisque.

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The absolute star of the show was the Alberta Beef Tenderloin with Wagyu Meat Sauce and Aglio Et Olio ($35). I can’t believe pasta with so few ingredients can taste that good. The noodles were served piping hot and al dente. The flavour of the oil was incredible – it must speak to the quality of the olive oil and the chef’s cooking technique. I want to compare Carino’s version to Cotto Italian Comfort Food, the next time the latter restaurant has aglio et olio on their weekly pasta feature.

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L declared Carino’s steak the best he’s had in his life. The steak was charred on the outside and cooked to a medium rare in the middle. The beef was tender and juicy. The mix of arugula and bitter greens acted like a palate cleanser in between bites of steak. We both ate as slowly as we could to enjoy every morsel. I ordered a glass of Liberta ($11) to go with my steak.

This entire meal with three alcoholic drinks cost only $92 dollars! Just goes to show you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a fantastic meal in Calgary. In fact, the best meal we had all year. I’ve already booked Carino Riserva for my birthday dinner with L and Beep Beep.

Carino makes it on Hitting the Sauce’s Phat Picks – which is a list of my own favourite restaurants in the city. I’ll take my own advice and try to keep the list fresh by trying new restaurants. I’m the biggest culprit for revisiting the same old restaurant instead of trying something new. Next on my list – Big Catch’s new restaurant, OMO Teppan & Kitchen, Raj Palace, Han Maru, and Namsam Korean Cuisine.

Carino Riserva Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Comfort food · Japanese

Jinya – Ramen Time

I was pumped when I found out Jinya was opening up in Calgary. To date, the best bowl of ramen I ever ate was at Jinya in Kerrisdale, Vancouver. Asian Persuasion and What’s Up Hamsup and I arrived ten minutes to 11:00 a.m. The restaurant opens at 11:00 a.m., so we had to wait outside until it officially opened.

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I like the interior of the restaurant. It’s a hip space. The prices are reasonable too. I did get the sense that this is not the place to sit and linger. I could feel our server’s urgency for us order and to leave after we finished our meal. If I was a customer waiting in for a table, I would absolutely support Jinya’s efficiency. We ordered a couple of appetizers before Asian Persuasion’s friend arrived.

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The fried chicken ($6.00) was tasty. The batter was light and crackled on your tongue. The sour note of the ponzu sauce and the taste of the pepper seasoning was noticeable. The size of the pieces was more than decent for the price. However, best fried chicken in #yyc still goes to Shokunin.

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We each ordered a Jinya Bun ($4.50). The steam bun was soft like a marshmallow. The slow braised pork was tender and fatty. I liked the addition of Japanese mayo and Jinya’s special sauce.

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When Asian Persuasion’s best friend Son showed up, we ordered our ramen. I noticed his necklace because it was jade and a buddha. My parents also have a penchant for jade.

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Son has the same birthday as me and he mentioned to Asian Persuasion that he found the perfect gift for her to buy for him.

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He wanted a diamond encrusted buddha. Damn, that’s some Chinese bling! The only thing that would make that piece even flashier is if there were diamonds in his belly button and grill.

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Back to the food, cuz this ain’t the shopping channel. We all ordered the same thing – the Chef’s special,  Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen ($13.25). I was pleased how relatively quickly our bowls of came out.

Look at all these goodies! I received two fatty pieces of pork, a whole egg, green onions, kikurage and onions. The amount of ingredients in this bowl was generous and filling.

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The thin noodles were firm, just the way I like it. The egg was creamy and poured out into the broth like thick lava. The pork practically melted on your tongue. The broth was thick, rich, and heavy. Too heavy, it was actually greasy. I think because the broth was served lukewarm. If the broth was hotter, the fat in the broth wouldn’t cling onto your tongue. I tried not to drink too much of the broth.

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Jinya would be a fun place to check out late at night. I plan to bring L here for dinner. The prices for booze is downright cheap. $5.00 for beer (Big Rock, Village Wit, Lazy Mutt Alberta Red Ale) and red and white wine (Oyster Bay Merlot/Chardonnay).

Welcome to Calgary Jinya!

JINYA Ramen Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bars/Lounges · Happy Hour · Mexican

Anejo Restaurant – Happy Hour

I’ve heard good things about Anejo Restaurant. My boss Tread Lightly told me Anejo makes the best chili coconut margaritas and guacamole. I know What’s Up Hamsup frequents Anejo for happy hour. So when it was time to meet up with some of my husband’s work friends for drinks, we picked Anejo.

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Every day from 3-5 p.m., Anejo offers $5 margaritas and beers, and half off tacos. I don’t particularly care for Mexican food, but I do love tequila and a strong margarita.

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Trojan ordered the Guacamole ($14). Three avocado halves, diced white onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, sea salt and a squeeze of lime were all mixed up together at our table. L and Trojan enjoyed the guacamole. I thought the chips tasted stale.

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Trojan and I ordered our margaritas half sweet. Trojan was partial to the Mango Margarita, which is made with blanco, triple sec, mango pulp, agave, and lime. I tried the Guava Margarita, which was very tart. My favourite was the Coconut Chili. The coconut syrup was subtle and the heat from the habernero was intense. I could really taste the citrus.

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Trojan ethusiastically and authoritatively informed us that Anejo has the best looking customers and staff. He would know, he’s dated half the city. Trojan makes What’s Up Hamsup seem almost monk-like.

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Robin and Batman arrived late due to their work schedule. Our server came up to our table to warn us that happy hour was coming to an end. Both doubled downed on drinks and tacos.

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I tried the chicken, bison, pork and fish tacos. I thought the fish and chicken tacos were the tastiest. The bison was a little dry. Each taco was packed with filling. At $2.50, this was a great price. Sour cream is extra. I noticed we didn’t get the bottles of condiments, perhaps because ordered the happy hour tacos.

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Our server Chad should be commended. He was professional and offered excellent suggestions for tequila, margaritas, and tacos. I wanted to discretely find out his name so I looked at our bill, which stated our server was Estrella. I asked Chad if he is Estrella. He said no, that’s the automatic name which shows up on the bills and it means “upstairs floor”.

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If you love tequila as much as I do, the entire list is 50% off during happy hour. So if you want to try some premium stuff, there is a time and a place for it. Anejo, between 3:00-5:00 pm.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Anejo Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bars/Lounges · Beer · Japanese · Special Occasion

Shokunin – Guest appearance with BottleNick and J-Thug

The older I get, the harder it is to find a venue that plays music from my era. I know Modern Steak does a hip hop night on Fridays after 9:00 p.m., but that’s an hour before my bedtime. I recently found a restaurant that’s exactly what the late 90s/2000’s doctor ordered. Whenever I’m craving a night out with my favourite foods and tunes, I head over to Shokunin.

My husband L just came back from a week long conference, which meant I could guilt trip him into taking me out for a late night dinner. Moments after we sat down, two of L’s colleagues stepped inside. Imagine this song came on when we first saw J-Thug and BottleNick, two ballers entering the restaurant.

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J-Thug and BottleNick invited us to sit at their table. As they have never been to Shokunin, I suggested all the food.  I ordered J-Thug and myself a glass of sake, Kaiun “New Fortune” Iwaizake Junmai Daiginjo ($20/3 oz), while BottleNick and L stuck to bottles of Asahi. Unfortunately, the restaurant was again out of the Shokunin/Big Rock collaboration, Okami Kasu ($8/16oz), which is made with Canadian grown rice from the Fraser Valley in B.C. and sake lees from Vancouver. Poo! If you want some, you’ll to wait until June.

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BottleNick is a pescetarian, so I ordered him shiisito ($3) and mushroom ($3) yakitori, Japanese style potato salad ($8), rice ($3), the daily maki roll (scallop $16) and an octopus appetizer. The rice in the maki was a little hard. Looking back, I should have ordered him the scallop isoyaki (market price), which is a large sweet, still sashimi-like scallop roasted over charcoal, butter and soy. Next time.

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I ordered J-Thug the most expensive cocktail on the menu, this cool glass sphere filled with fog ($20). I think the main ingredient was a costly Japanese whiskey, and as the fog lifted, it would change the taste of the drink. According to J-Thug, it was worth the price tag. I tried a sip and yes, it’s out of this world.

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I also drank a lovely cocktail, the Remonado ($12), which is comprised of Beshi sake, Oolong tea and Yuzu lemon sake. Then I drank another sake, the Mikotsuru “Majestic Crane” Junmai Pink ($11).

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For food, J-Thug tried the chicken karrage ($11), which he thought was amazing. He also ordered thigh ($3) and skin yakitori ($2.50). The restaurant was sold out of gizzard, which J-Thug wanted to try.

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All of us except for Pescetarian BottleNick tried a piece of a handmade crispy braised beef tongue gyoza. Our favourite guy at Shokunin, Moto, highly recommended this dish. While I enjoyed the gyoza, it’s not one of my favourite dishes here. Rather, it was a complimentary dish presented by Darren MacLean, the owner and chef of Shokunin, that wowed us.

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Darren brought over a plate of four fresh Japanese Kabura turnips with the greens still attached. The turnip was sweet, crunchy and unbelievably fresh, while the rich saltiness of the red grainy miso and garlic dressing was just incredible.  J-Thug didn’t finish the greens and I really wanted to eat it but since we just met, I held back.

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L and I ordered our usual yakitori picks and Shokunin’s perfect steamed rice. We enjoyed dipping the chicken into the soy cured egg dip, which I’ve never seen before at any other izakaya. I tried chicken neck ($3.50) which was the softest meat ever. I also ate chicken skin ($2.50) which tasted like delicate crunchy fried chicken skin. To date, my favourite skewers rank in this order: chicken neck, chicken skin, chicken thigh (best value/flavour), chicken ass and chicken heart.

J-Thug said he couldn’t understand why this restaurant was getting such poor reviews on Zomato and Yelp. I can’t speak for when Shokunin first opened. However, I will say this place is not for those looking to get stuffed for cheap. It’s not possible with the top quality ingredients and the techniques employed here.

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After our feast, we decided to head over to Milk Tiger Lounge, J-Thug’s favourite bar. While service was very good and the crowd was fun, it was so loud I couldn’t even hear our conversation. All I could see were pictures of tang. I would have preferred to stay at Shokunin for drinks, as the prices are the same (if you avoid the crème de la crème sake and the more extravagant cocktails). Milk Tiger does have a larger and more varied beer list than Shokunin.  

This was my second time in Shokunin in two weeks. I might be in later this week for late night ramen if I can manage to stay up past 10:00 pm. I’m actually not a big ramen fan, but I’m curious to see what all the fuss is about.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Shokunin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mediteranean

Aida’s Mediterranean Bistro

For my birthday, Jaime took me out for dinner. After our usual pilgrimage to Espy and then to the new Gravity Pope store, we strolled along Mission looking for eats. My first pick was Carino Riserva, but at 7:00pm on a Saturday, the place was packed. Every single seat was occupied. The gracious server there told me there would be seats opening in 2o minutes. However, I was hungry and wanted something to eat NOW.

Lucky for us, some customers just left Aida’s Mediterranean Bistro. I felt bad for the two servers manning the restaurant. They were running their feet off, trying to accommodate the entire room. Our server, despite the chaos, was patient as we hemmed and hawed over the wine list. She kindly let us sample her favourite white wine before we decided to ordered half a litre of it.

Jaime peppered our server with a few questions about the mezza platters. We decided on the Vegetarian Mezza ($35). This was a feast. We received endless pita and a large array of food.

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Of the three dips we tried: hummus, baba, and mouhammara, the mouhammara was my favourite. Most likely because it’s the most decadent tasting, made with red pepper paste, walnuts and pomegranate juice dip. I liked it because it was sweet and nutty and the sticky texture was delicious with pita. The baba – broiled eggplant and tahini, came in a close second.

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The fatayer – pita pastry filled with spinach was simple and easily dolled up with the side of yogurt and mint dip. The rookaak was heaven in my mouth. A cigar shaped phyllo stuffed with a piping hot blend of cheese and olives. The grape leaves were well done as well. The leaves weren’t rubbery and the filling was a tasty blend of perfectly cooked rice, tomatoes and onions. The fattoush salad was fresh and bright with lots of romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a ton of radishes.

The food at Aida’s was even better than I last remembered it. The food is refreshing and plentiful, a good value in the Mission district. Thank you Jaime, for taking me out for my belated birthday dinner.

Aida's Mediterranean Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Italian · Special Occasion · Steakhouse

Mercato -29th (wink ;-) Birthday Dinner

I’ve been wanting to try Mercato for years. I was hesitant to book a table because everyone I knew kept telling me that Mercato was very pricey. I’m usually leery of expensive restaurants because with higher prices come greater and perhaps (my) unrealistic expectations. After consulting with my ex-neighbour, a wine distributer and overall man with excellent taste, I decided to book my birthday dinner at Mercato. I went with my childhood bestie, Beep Beep, as my husband had to work late that night.

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Our server that night was Mike. A long time professional server at Mercato, he impressed us with his recommendations of wine and his thoughtful suggestions for food. Throughout the night, we sipped on lovely glasses of white, then red and then tasted some dessert wines. I wish I wrote down the names of the glasses we tried but I couldn’t catch the pronunciation of the wines we sampled. If we were at a pub, I would do what I normally do, point at the menu and say, “That one?”.

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We ordered the Caprese Salad ($23), Gnocchi ($17), and Bistecca ($49). The portions were big enough that we took home some of the steak and gnocchi for my husband. Of the bunch, my favourite dish was the gnocchi.

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The caprese salad was worth the price. I really enjoyed the mixture of toasted pine nuts, various tomatoes, and the smokiness of the eggplant. The fresh buffalo mozzarella and olive oil was killer. The temperature of all the ingredients was perfect. Cool but not too chilled.

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The 20-ounce steak was cooked to a medium rare. The meat was juicy and tender. I did find the steak to be a fatty cut. Beep Beep and I liked the addition of citrus we got from squeezing the grilled lemons all over the steak and arugula. We didn’t find the steak or any of the other dishes over-salted like other reviewers on Zomato and Yelp. I noticed the salt for our steak was served on the side.

The potato gnocchi was out of this world good. I tried gnocchi before but it never tasted like pillows of perfection. The shaved Reggiano and Romano was plentiful and added a luxuriousness to every bite.

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Beep Beep insisted on ordering tiramisu. The dessert was large, not too sweet, and light. I would have preferred a more boozier version, but hey, I am HittingtheSauce. Lately though, I’ve been thinking about changing my blog’s name to HittingtheSack. Old age will do that to you.

I’m also glad Mercato finally put up their menu with prices on their website. I won’t set foot inside a restaurant until I know if I can afford it. Yes, Mercato is spendy but the food was delicious, the portions ample, and the service was excellent. If I had an expense account or didn’t care about having a retirement plan, I would eat here every week. Thank you bbf, for taking one restaurant off my bucket list.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Mercato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Italian · Japanese · Seafood

Carino Riservo

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L wanted to go to Carino Riservo for his birthday. We sat at the front of the restaurant. The front window afforded a view of 4th St. We watched the snow fall and people scurry back and forth from their vehicles into the nearby restaurants and bars.

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L ordered a Sapporo while I drank a glass of Collazzi Liberta, a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese from Italy ($10). Our server told me this wine would go with everything. I love trying wines out at Carino, as they always have a selection of wines that are new to me and all affordably priced.

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If you love Ahi Tuna Poke ($15), you must order it at Carino. You could tell the tuna was high quality. Cold and creamy, with no Calgary fishiness to the dish. I liked that the avocado wasn’t used as filler. This photo doesn’t do the food justice. The pretty purple garnish, radish, the slivers of green onion and occasional avocado made this dish sing (with my high praise).

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Next up was a Healthy Seafood Hotpot ($16). The portion was large for an appetizer, not that I’m complaining. The broth was rich and deep. The fish, prawns and shellfish were perfectly cooked. Gnocchi, bok choy, snow peas, and mushrooms completed this bowl of delights.

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L ordered the Proscuitto Wrapped Tenderloin ($25). He went crazy for the onion sauce and the juicy meat. There was quite a bit of garlic in the mushroom risotto. L doesn’t care for garlic, but I do.

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I would order the Scallop and Prawn with Mushroom Risotto ($28) again. The big scallops were silky smooth inside, sweet and tender. The prawns were crunchy and delectable. The portion of risotto was large enough that I could have easily taken it home. However, I couldn’t stop eating the risotto. I wish the portion police was there that night, as self-control was absent.

Service was stellar. One table was waiting for a cab after dinner. Our server told them to wait inside while she waited outside to flag the taxi down, which took at least ten minutes. Did I mention it was a cold, snowy night? Who does that? It was refreshing to say the least. Lately, at some of my favourite restaurants, service has been less than pleasant. Not that I would bother to blog about it. Lousy service deserves an appropriately mediocre tip, but it isn’t worth writing about. Lucky for me, Carino Riserva has it all. Excellent service and amazing food. I’ll go as far to say that Carino Riserva in Mission is the most under-rated restaurant in the city. If you haven’t already, check it out. The experience won’t disappoint.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Carino Riserva Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato