Carne ‘Street Meat’ had opened earlier this month in the Olympic Plaza kiosk spot that used to be home to Ca’puccini, which was a seasonal cafe run by the upscale Teatro Ristorante. This summer, Teatro Ristorante has relaunched the seasonal outdoor cafe as an “immobile food truck for the enthusiastically carnivorous”. Carne is usually only open on weekdays from 11-3 but is open on some weekends when there are festivities happening at Olympic Plaza.
When I learned on the local Chowhound board that Carne was serving up porchetta sandwiches, I wanted to check it out right away. Ever since I tried the porchetta sandwich for the first time from Meat & Bread in Vancouver last year, I’ve been frequently craving it. Unfortunately, there are very few places in Calgary serving up porchetta sandwiches. Besides Carne, the only other two places I know of that serves porchetta sandwiches is Boxwood Cafe and Lina’s Italian Market.
The sandwich menu at Carne really reminded me of the original Meat & Bread location in Vancouver as the sandwich offerings also happen to be porchetta, meatball, and grilled cheese. In addition to sandwiches, Carne also offers hot entrees such as mac & cheese, chili con ‘carne’, and bbq ribs as well as sides such as apple-bacon slaw and house fried potato chips. Like Meat & Bread, the sandwiches are freshly prepared to order.
Of course, I opted for the Roast Porchetta Sandwich ($9.75), which consisted of a half pound of slow-roasted heritage berkeshire pork belly that’s been seasoned with garlic, parsley & rosemary and was topped with apple slaw on a ciabatta bun. On paper, this porchetta certainly sounded delicious. The pork was flavourful but compared to the version from Meat & Bread, I didn’t think this version had any wow factor. I really wished that the porchetta had the crispy crackling interspersed throughout the sandwich like the version from Meat & Bread. Sadly, there was no crispy crackling at all, which was the part I was really looking forward to in a porchetta sandwich. Also, I missed the salsa verde in the Meat & Bread version which really help to brighten flavour of the sandwich. I could taste the apple slaw in this version but found the flavour to be rather mild. I did, however, enjoy the freshly baked ciabatta bun. Comparatively, I enjoyed this porchetta sandwich more than the version that I had from Boxwood Cafe previously.
I had high hopes that Carne would be Calgary’s rendition of Meat & Bread. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are in the same league. Meat & Bread’s porchetta is truly amazing and keeps me going back again and again every time I visit Vancouver. Carne’s porchetta is still good but not quite a substitute for Meat & Bread’s in my eyes.
Carne ‘Street Meat’