309-4600-130th Ave. S.E., Calgary
Signature Dish: Hariali spicy chicken tikka
Signature Drink: Spicy mango lassi
Dinner & drinks for 2: $50
Unless you live there already, the trip to Karma in the deep south is almost as long as the journey Chinese workers took to work at the Calcutta port in the late 18th century.
OK, I kid. But the Chinese presence in India gave rise to some unique dishes known as Hakka — which confusingly has nothing to do with regional Chinese Hakka cuisine.
Karma has a lengthy menu of much-loved Indian dishes such as butter chicken, but it’s also a good place to expand your horizons.
The Hakka-style chili chicken ($15.95) is an intriguing blend of Indian spices and sweet and sour sauce.
Unfortunately, we were not told the chili paneer ($11.95), marinated with garlic and ginger, was pretty much covered in the same sauce, so we doubled up a bit.
Some restaurants tone down its spiciest dishes for North American palates but Karma truthfully declares its vindaloo ($13.95) as “very, very hot.” Potent chili seeds stared evilly back at us.
In contrast, the bhindi doplaza ($9.95) is a lovely mild okra dish.
The hariali ($13.95), or green baked chicken, had a great kick. Marinated in fresh mint and coriander, the tikka is then baked in the clay oven and served on a sizzling plate.
Prix fixe for the pocketbook
Blink (111-8th Ave. S.W.) has prix fixe menus for lunch (two courses for $26, three for $32) and for early dinner before 6:30 p.m. (two courses for $29.50, three for $35.50).
Sunday Safari Brunch
The Calgary Zoo includes admission before noon when you fill up at Safari Brunch every Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 403-232-9300 for more info.
French food for the office
Be the office hero at the next lunch meeting by ordering fresh baked baguette sandwiches (pâté, duck leg rillettes, smoked salmon), and divine macaroons from French deli, L’Epicerie. Their catering includes delivery. Call 403-514-0555.
• Get recipes and more great food content at www.metronews.ca/food