Just before 6pm yesterday I got looking at my calendar and realized that if my husband and I didn't go on a short date night last night, we would not have another opportunity for more than another week. Hmmm....something had to be done about this, so when my husband arrived home from work a few minutes later I told him we should go out for dinner. Certainly did not have to twist his rubber arm to get him to agree!
As we were driving out of our parking lot, naming the names of various possibilities for restaurants, he decided we should make our second visit to Life is Good Korean on Victoria Ave. To be honest I was relieved we were NOT going to Da Pizza and Curry House again. Their food is fine and so inexpensive, but enough is enough all ready!
We were certainly not disappointed in our meal last evening. My husband ordered a sizzling tofu stew and I ordered the braised chicken stew. O my....SO DARNED GOOD!! My husband couldn't finish his completely, there was so much along with the bowl of rice. There was so much tofu in his boiling hot pot, plus an egg, plus the marvellous stew broth.
My chicken stew was equally delicious and nourishing. Sizzling away in the midst of the spicy broth filled with grated cabbage, carrot, zucchini and onion, were 5 small chicken drumsticks and I also had a bowl of sticky rice on the side. My broth was a bit sweeter than my husband's and I suspect one reason he couldn't quite finish his was because he kept stealing spoonsful of mine to top his rice with. hahaha
These people know how to make proper sticky rice!! While it is missing the rice vinegar flavour I am used to in Japanese sticky rice, at least this rice is actually properly sticky! Ordering rice at most of the local Japanese restaurants here in Regina is the best way to discover if the chefs and cooks are actually Japanese, because non-Japanese do not generally capture the process and techniques of making sticky rice properly. We enjoyed the rice at LIG because it was true sticky rice...perfect for picking up with those rather frustrating, slippery, metal Korean chopsticks! My skills with non-textured oriental chopsticks must be getting better because I managed the drumsticks with only one small spill down the front of my shirt....my friend Patty would consider that a near miracle as I don't think we have shared one meal together in the past 10 years where I have not slopped a big daub of SOMETHING all over myself! (Also, in her absence but also in her honour, there WAS a screaming child somewhere in the place last night, so she must have been present in the back of my mind....sigh....me, Patty, restaurant, spills on my shirt, screaming child...every time!)
The food took a long time to arrive at our table. All the entrees are cooked fresh there and so it is not a great place to go for dinner in a hurry if you are eating a full meal, but it is worth the wait. The service is fairly good between the actual server and the hostess who enjoys hovering over us older folk for some reason.
We were loathe to go home as we were having such a great time together so we decided to order dessert. We opted for the feather light Korean cheesecake and although I don't think it is made there on the premises, it is still very good. The menu advertised 2 pieces for $7.50. Both of us assumed they would be teeny, tiny pieces for that price, but we were wrong. They were 2 full sized pieces so we had to bring one home after sharing the other. There are no toppings on the cheesecake, it is very plain and not very sweet....perfect for us. It is quite different from the heavy cheesecakes neither of us is a big fan of.
The bill seemed a bit high after the low cost of the food at Da Pizza and Curry House, but the increase in food quality and care of preparation means it was worth it. The prices at LIG are not that high, it is just that my husband is so enamoured of the cheap prices at the other place. hahahaha Okay, me too...but I have exhausted their smaller menu of things I can eat. LIG has a bigger menu, far more choices and there is a good range of prices as well. Next time I am going to try their chicken salad.
The ambiance and menus take a bit of getting used to at LIG. The space itself I have described before after our first visit there and it is very nice, but what we love most is the quirky sound track playing as we eat. Old hits by the Eagles were sandwiched in between Amazing Grace, Korean opera arias, '70's top ten pop and early 90's grunge. Eclectic does not begin to describe what we were listening to. hahaha We also discovered that the dessert, alcohol and salad selection are listed in a separate menu. Not sure why, but it reminded us so much of Japan in that there is likely some sort of reasoning for the Korean proprietors that would be understood only by other Koreans. Next time we will look more carefully at the smaller, second menu. We discovered the large salads available after stumbling across the desserts that were deposited between the specialty teas and the cocktail list. What fun!
It was a wonderful date. We didn't get our meal until after 7pm, so it was a long wait for me between lunch and dinner, but that was okay. I ordered a glass of the house red wine, a shiraz that tasted like watery shiraz Koolaid, from a winery I have never heard of before, but with the uber spicy chicken stew it really was just fine. As a proper wine it is a joke, but finally I have found some kind of "wine" that actually pairs with spicy oriental food very well! hahaha If it hadn't paired I would have been extremely ticked off at paying $8 for a glass of such tasteless coloured water, but it was so perfect with the stew that I got over the outrage rather quickly.
We will go back to LIG again sometime and try one of their interesting salads. Hope this place is able to buck the poor economy and remain open because it really is a marvellous restaurant.
PS Still awaiting an update on Lee and family but will let you know what is going on as soon as I get news.