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Johnny Carino?s Country Italian

1 rating: 5.0
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1 review about Johnny Carino?s Country Italian

Ah, The Cheesology of Edible Existence!

  • May 16, 2009
  • by
Pros: You would rather dine here than travel abroad. This is a fact.

Cons: My last meal was not as lavishly bedecked with parmesan as I might have hoped.

The Bottom Line: Your intellect depends upon two vitamins available only at Carino's--Vitamin Cheese and Vitamin Delicious.

Scientific Inquiry

     Why does Nicole become agitated when she has not been exposed to French or Italian cuisine for several hours?

     There exist two elements without which the body becomes deprived and the mind emaciated. These micronutrients are known as Vitamin C and Vitamin D, but bear the scientific names of Vitamin Cheese and Vitamin Delicious. This paper explains the theory that the intellect becomes severely impaired when not exposed to such nutritional elements.

Experiment: Time, Place, and Philosophy

     In order to determine the levels of Vitamin Cheese and Vitamin Delicious needed for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Nicole traveled to Carino's, a relatively authentic Italian restaurant whose cuisine is rich in both cheese and flavor. Upon being asked, the subject explained that Carino's is far more authentic than the Olive Garden. For purposes of clarification, Bethesda Lily's words are produced below:

     "The Olive Garden has long, pickle-shaped breadsticks sprinkled liberally with garlic salt and a dose of sogginess. Carino's actually serves bread--with real garlic and olive oil, no less. The Olive Garden's tomato sauce is at once tangy and flooded with watery food coloring. Carino's? Why, you may be shocked to know that the chefs actually use tomatoes! Even the calibre of the noodles is substantially higher at the latter restaurant, but I suppose that all of this is to be expected. Vitamin Cheese, Carinoamin--they both sound nutritious and necessary, do they not?"

     The experiment took place on 3 May. After church, Nicole made the arduous journey through honking horns and impatient drivers, rushed into the restaurant, and cried, "I will work here for free if you will only provide me with a bit of garlic bread, please!" Or perhaps this hitherto unbiased work has momentarily fled to the realms of fancy.

     As members of a control group, Nicole's sister and a friend of the family accompanied our subject on her dining excursion.

Experiment: Materials Used

     By this time in the experiment, it was evident that Nicole was suffering from an acute Vitamin Delicious deficiency. Her cure revolved around glossy pieces of paper handed to her and the control group at the outset of the experiment. These pages of ingredient after ingredient, commonly known as menus, provide a solid representative of Nicole's overall experience.

     The menu consisted of a number of excellent appetizers, many of which featured that most essential of ingredients. Here were present Italian Firesticks with a strong blend of cheeses; stuffed mushrooms, complete with both cheese and spinach; Italian nachos, equipped with both la fromage and a foolishly inauthentic name; and fried mozzarella. Obviously, the chefs had obtained a delectable degree in cheesology.

     Next to grace the menu were salads of all varieties, including a chicken Caesar salad. For space conservation, it is unnecessary to indicate what Nicole's sister generally orders. Chicken. Caesar. Salad. For Sister: Are there any other elements in truly fine dining?

     Nicole and her friend, however, were somewhat at a loss. The menu featured a plethora of savory satisfiers, including classic lasagna, spaghetti, and parmigiana. Tortellini, chicken milano, bow-tie gorgonzola extravagance, chicken penne, and a number of wraps and paninis completed the main-dish items.

Experiment: Subject Notes

     Through careful observation and note-taking, Nicole's words have been faithfully preserved. The reader may best reach a decision concerning the experiment's success if he is acquainted with Nicole's own perceptions:

     "Upon being seated in a comfortable booth, we were served the most extraordinary garlic bread. The large loaf tasted as if it had come directly from the kitchen of a benevolent great-grandmother, but the bread would have been diminished beyond recognition were it not for the garlic seasoning provided. Real garlic, genuine olive oil--not margarine or garlic salt. If you do nothing else this summer, I mandate that you order twenty loaves of this bread. Not one will make it home--even if you live but five minutes from your house.

     Stuffed mushrooms--ah, the joy of them! Ironically, I love foods rich in Vitamin K but cannot generally eat them due to a severe medical condition. Oh, but exceptions must be made for this loveliest of appetizers. The cheese-covered mushrooms enfold small amounts of spinach. This land of sautéed greatness is so perfect that I ought to have ordered this appetizer as a meal. The spinachosity of it all!

     While Friend of Mine requested the cheese tortellini, I found myself pitying her somewhat. I once experienced the tortellini and detected a slight hint of Greasoline in the pasta shell itself. Greasoline results when gasoline and three-year-old margarine combine. Although the six excellent cheeses within the pasta shell are worth relinquishing your diploma for, the oily and inauthentic element in the tortellini renders this meal somewhat less than devourable.

     Not wishing to make the acquaintance of Monsieur Greasoline, I ordered the timballo in starved tones and awaited that palate-pleasing combination of spaghetti, olives, mushrooms, and pepperonis. Knowing that the entire course was baked with mozzarella and parmesan, I breathlessly anticipated the delight of all things gustatory. Although a sausage option was available, I ordered the Chicken Timballo. For reasons I can never fathom, Italian sausage has gone to war with my innocent digestive system.

     Certainly, we could have investigated the Italian pot roast, grilled salmon, and sirloin. However, none of these contained the micronutrients we sought. Vitamin Cheese, I tell you, Vitamin Cheese.

     We could and ought to have ordered family-style platters; they are both more economical and more plentiful. However, Carino's food is of the addictive variety and none of us can afford to eat our way toward extreme over-stuffification. Had we ordered family-style dishes, not one of us would have been capable of exercising wisdom.

     You have two choices: Either you may enjoy years of fame, or you may enjoy twenty minutes of timballo. I suggest you choose the latter; no amount of celebrity status would be worth ignoring such perfection in the culinary arts. Although I felt that my skillet of pasta and mushrooms was not fully bedecked with cheese, the chicken was perfectly grilled and the olives were beyond words. By the way, do you know where I hope to go for National Excellence in Food Week? Or were you even aware that I plan to fund such an occasion?

     I do believe that I would rather encounter a grizzly bear holding in its mouth two abridged books than make the acquaintance of overcooked pasta. To my relief, no growling bear metaphors were necessary at Carino's; all pasta, whether it be bow-ties or spaghetti, has been perfectly prepared each time I have visited that scrumptious land.

     "Desserts?" you ask without bothering to complete your sentence. Yes, dear reader, "desserts" spelled backward is "stressed". I was stressed that day, having recently attempted to weave a tangled web around Adobe Framemaker. So, yes, I should have tried one of Carino's desserts--if only to prove the validity of a word masquerading as a half-palindrome. As it was, my friend enjoyed a tiramisu, but neglected to comment upon it. Hmm. Was she overcome with the lavish luxury of that decadent dish?

     What of those nagging, negligible elements known as dollar signs--financial figures that sweep all entertainment from the landscape of adventure? First, allow me to suggest that no Braille menus are provided. Shame, shame! Hence, I do not know the prices of most dishes. I can only make the unhelpful remark that appetizers range between $5 and $8, and that most main dishes range between $10 and $20. Of course, one bow-tie pasta noodle is worth $50, so you should not allow this to put you off. Three meals, one appetizer, and one dessert cost approximately $52--a relatively reasonable price for a meal of this calibre.

     Was the service good and attentive? I am sure that my sister could not tell you, though she could say emphatically that the waiter was "cuuuuuuuute!". I, on the other hand, observed that he was friendly in a detached, professional sort of way; that he returned to our table only once to inquire unobtrusively as to how our meals tasted; that he refilled beverages quickly; and that he topped my timballo with a satisfactory amount of parmesan. Note: If you ever visit an Italian restaurant, the wait staff's helpfulness is directly proportionate to the amount of cheese they are willing to sprinkle on your food.

     Certainly, no self-respecting reader hopes to dine in a cafeteria-like establishment with greasy tables and burlap-upholstered booths. Happily for you, Carino's is far from fitting that description. Although I could not see the decor to describe it, my sister indicates that Carino's resembles the Olive Garden in style. I did note that Carino's exhibited a far more open atmosphere. While gentle music coaxes the senses into tranquility, cheerful chatter from patrons and wait staff encourages diners to recall the excellency of what they are eating. Although the ambiance is nowhere near as ferociously obnoxious as that of Applebee's, this may not be the best restaurant to visit if you intend to tell your best friend a fifteen-year-old secret."

Experiment: Results

     Following the sojourn at Carino's Italian Grill, Nicole was less agitated and presented experts with a plastic to-go container of timballo. This she ate the next day, much to her evident delight. It is apparent to this team of scientists that Vitamin Cheese and Vitamin Delicious are true nutrients without which the mind is incapable of speaking coherent French, Italian, English, or ancient Greek.


     As this study shows, Vitamin Cheese and Vitamin Delicious are valid micronutrients that improve intellectual health. Therefore, it is recommended that all wishing to remain mentally engaged ingest three to four doses of these vitamins per week. Carino's is a rich source of both nutritional elements.


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