Peaches and I met up for a lunch date at Carino Japanese Bistro and Wine recently and I was really excited to try their mentaiko pasta. I’ve always been interested in trying their lunch menu since it’s priced very reasonably but have never actually ventured out on my own to do it. Why? Because the restaurant itself is very small and since I was there for brunch back in January and didn’t see a high chair in the establishment it just didn’t seem like a good place to bring a baby. I was really surprised and ecstatic when the server asked me when I walked in with a baby if I’d like a high chair. I must’ve had a shocked expression on my face at first, followed with a huge smile – yes please! It turns out they have a compact foldable one tucked away in the back.
All of Carino’s lunch entrees are served with a Baby greens salad with yuzu vinaigrette. The salad was a great starter and the yuzu vinaigrette was really refreshing.
I was set on trying their Mentaiko Pasta $15 and was not disappointed. The pasta and seafood was all cooked perfectly and I loved the salty brininess of the mentaiko. It was so good that I probably could’ve consumed twice the given amount. I really have to source out some mentaiko so I can recreate this dish at home because I have been craving for it ever since.
Peaches went with the Loco Moco $14.50. Carino’s version of the Loco Moco is a kobe beef patty, teriyaki sauce, mushrooms and a sunny side egg served on a bed of rice. The beef patty was quite tender and flavorful but the dish was missing a key component – gravy. Loco Moco really needs a gravy to bring everything together. We were both wondering what those red shreds were on top of the egg and turns out it’s dried red pepper flakes. Neat.
Service was friendly and pretty attentive as usual but I always find that the portions are a bit on the smaller size so we were not completely full after our meal. Not a problem since we were planning on hitting up another place afterwards anyways.
I’m sad to hear that as of April 14th Carino is no longer serving brunch. They now serve lunch during the weekends so I’m looking forward to trying some of their new menu items.
709 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB T2E 3J6
We planned on making a stop to the bakery that was located beside Diner Deluxe but it turns out they closed about 9 months ago. Too bad! A quick searched turned up Cerezo Cafe and Bar and since it was on both of our wishlists we decided to stop in. One can easily mistake this cafe for a house on Edmonton Trail because it is basically a house that got converted to a cafe. It’s a quaint little place where you can relax, have a bite to eat and catch up with friends.
Since it was our first time there we decided to try some of their small bites and dessert. I went with the Braised Pork in Soy Sauce $6 – thinly sliced pieces of pork belly topped with slivers of onion, ground sesame and a side of chili oil. The pork was quite flavorful but I longed for bigger cuts and wished that it was served hot so it had that melt in your mouth quality to it.
Peaches went with the Miso Cheese Puffs $6. We both thought this was a pretty interesting dish and was intrigued to see what it was all about. To our surprise it was tofu puffs topped with a slice of brie cheese served on top of a miso sauce. It totally wasn’t what we had pictured in our heads. I’m still on the fence about this dish because it just doesn’t seem to meld together very well and I don’t know if I like the combination of brie cheese with tofu. Perhaps this dish is just too fusion for me.
The Strawberry Shortcake $4.95 really good. The cake was light, fluffy and the strawberry flavor really shined through. I would be happy to order this again.
The lemon tart $4.95 was pretty average. The lemon curd in the tart was a little too light – I prefer my lemon curd to have a bit more punch to it.
We enjoyed our quite bite at Cerezo and would be happy to return for dessert.
Cerezo Cafe & Bar
1002 Edmonton trail N.E.
Calgary, AB T2E 3K2