Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Stormy Afternoon Date

Today turned out to be a lot more fun than we anticipated considering the horrible weather!  By 2pm my husband was fed up with sitting around in the house and wasn't keen on returning to work tomorrow with no chance to get out and about on his days off.  So, off we went into the blowing snow.  When there are whiteout conditions within the downtown core you know the storm is bad!  

It is so bad out on the highways that many motorists have been stranded on one side or the other of the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border for the past 24 hours. The southeast portion of the TransCanada highway and all the south and central secondary highways have been closed since last evening.  At the moment the TransCanada is closed between Regina Beach and Moose Jaw.  Late this afternoon, prior to the closure, there was a 10 car pileup east of Moose Jaw closing down the eastbound lanes even before the rest of the highway had to be closed.  Here in Regina the city streets alternate between bare icy patches and ever growing drifts, particularly at the intersections.  We drove around quite a bit today but it wasn't in the most relaxing of conditions, that is for certain!

Our plan originally was to drive a few blocks to the post office to mail a couple of letters, then a few blocks farther on to the Value Village to look for several computer cords my husband needs for his home project.  We accomplished both those goals, but then as we were leaving Value Village my husband noticed that the Sears Outlet store that is part of a small shared mall complex is still open.  He decided we should take a quick peek at whatever was left for sale and get some exercise doing our "window shopping"...which turned into a prolongued look about and resulted in a purchase of 2 dress shirts, a sweater and a box of tea for him and 2 summer shirts for me.  We had so much fun...my husband only discovered his love for shopping a few years ago and it is such a great time going to the stores with him now.  With all the clearance sales we ended up with $180 worth of items but paid only $79.  How great is that???  The clothing items were top brand names and we would never have paid the original prices for any of them, wouldn't even bother to look at those brands, so we feel like we really got a great deal.

Since my husband was unable to find as many computer cords as he requires, we drove a few more blocks up the street to a computer store and found one more of them there.  By this time it was 4pm and my husband asked me how early I would be able to eat dinner, since one of the places on his list of restaurants to try was nearby.  I decided that by the time we got there and our meals actually arrived, I would just be at the early limit of allowance to eat again.  Off we went.

We had a very nice meal at the old Regina Italian food staple, Luigi's, on north Albert Street.  It is an old building that doesn't look that up and coming from the outside, but inside it was very clean and tidy.  It has an odd seating set up, but in the part of the restaurant the hostess took us to, each booth is very private.  It was quite lovely sitting there unable to hear what the other group in our area was talking about and knowing they were not looking at or overhearing us either.  

My husband ordered a spaghetti dish with a wonderful light olive oil and tomato sauce, filled with well cooked strips of roast beef, onions and red peppers.  The pasta was on the edge of el dente, just the way he likes it.  He went easy on the small loaf of very warm, fresh bread that came to our table ahead of our meal but still had to bring half his pasta home for tomorrow. It was a HUGE portion for an pretty good price.  I wasn't that hungry so ordered the appetizer sized portion of Italian meatballs and a small caesar salad.  Since the price of the meatballs was only $10 and came with a slice of garlic toast, I was expecting maybe 2 medium sized meatballs. O my...there were SIX of them!  The garlic toast was fresh, soft and chewy in the centre with a crispy crust, my favourite.  There was fresh chopped garlic in the butter and that was delicious.  I had a choice of sauces for my meatballs: a tomato and cheese sauce and a lemon garlic sauce.  I chose the lemon garlic thinking it would be less fatty than a cheesy sauce. I was so right!  The sauce consisted of olive oil and lemon juice, chopped white and green onions, diced tomato and a few feta cheese bits.  It was acidic and light and thoroughly delicious.  We learned that if you do not like fresh garlic cloves this is not the place to go. Fortunately we love garlic and I had at least a full clove of it diced into my meatball sauce.  It was not really a sauce...I do not know the correct name for the clear, warm soupy droozle surrounding the meatballs, but it was darned delicious! The meatballs were a tasty blend of ground beef and pork. The caesar salad was quite good, freshly put together, with croutons that were not on a par with jawbreaker candies..for a pleasant change....and just a few bits of anchovy. I could have used a bit more anchovy, but a little is better than none.  The dressing was not gooey and not overly abundant...perfect!  There was no parmesan or other cheese on the salad but the server brought the cheese grinder to the table.  I opted out to cut down on the fat intake, but next time I think I would take a bit.  It was rather delicious even without any cheese.

The menu is quite extensive.  For many of the pasta dishes you can choose your pasta and choose which of 3 or 4 listed sauces you would like to have on it.  There are chicken and pork entrees, lots of salad choices, a good list of appetizers, burgers and mixed entrees that 2 people can share...pick the meat together then each person gets a choice of pasta and sauces to go with their portion. There again the prices are very reasonable.

The dessert menu looked rather inviting, but we restrained ourselves.  I was a good girl on the bread carbs. I ate only 1 of the 4 portions our pre-dinner loaf was divided into and then gave half my slice of garlic toast to my husband.  

Is Luigi's food gourmet? No. 

Is it better than any other dishes here in the city posing as Italian food that we have tried so far? Definitely! 

Do the prices reflect the quality and quantity of the food?  No. The portion sizes are larger and the quality higher than many of their prices reflect.  We are pleased to find a restaurant here that serves freshly prepared and cooked Italian food.  For some reason there are few of them here and Greek food is nearly non-existent.

Our day out in the storm turned out to be a lot of fun.  It was worth putting on all our winter gear and slogging and sliding our way out to the car at home and in the shopping mall lots. Our CRV is certainly heavier and more competent on the ice and for drift busting than our little Toyota car was. Apparently it has one of the highest safety ratings for that type of vehicle and I "felt" it today.  My husband is now most content to return to work tomorrow. He doesn't feel ripped off that he had no fun at all on his days off, no break away from the suite.

I had a great time! OUT AND ABOUT!  That is my favourite "place" to be!  Please may I not break any more bones for awhile and be able to enjoy long walks, lots of socializing, singing, shopping and eating out for many more months to come! AMEN!

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