Sometimes the universe just wants you to do things its way. That’s what happened today. I made plans with Julianne to go to Tangerine restaurant after my workout at the YMCA. When we got to Tangerine it was closed for the holidays. Bummer. We really wanted to go there. Oh well… plenty of fish in the sea, right? We haven’t been to the Fainting Goat in a long time. Lets go there. Nope. That was closed too. We decided to drive to the East end and have Lunch at Moxie’s. That should be open. Along the way we saw the new Korean restaurant Life Is Good (438 Victoria Avenue, Regina) and immediately changed plans. Boy are we ever happy we did.
The decor is clean and fresh. The design reminded Julianne of the Seoul airport. Simple materials used in a unique way. Julianne and I set about finding the perfect dishes to try for our first time. I picked the dolsot bibimbap. I’ve had it at other Korean restaurants and it’s kind of a guage to test the quality of a Korean restaurant. Dolsot bibimbap is a rice dish that’s served in a hot stone bowl. It stays hot for the whole meal and the rice gets a little crispy. Julianne went for the Jayuk Guksu. It’s a sweet and spicy noodle dish. She ordered hers with pork.
Our first surprise came when they served us a bowl with muscles in a light broth. This was accompanied by kimchi and some intensely yellow coloured vegetable. Neither Julianne or I caught the name of it. Julianne was not a big fan of the kimchi but the yellow vegetable were a big hit.
My bowl of dolsot bibimbap arrived first. What can I say… It was a thing of beauty. Somebody obviously cares about how this food looks. I’m pretty sure this is one of the best food photos that I’ve taken so far. It wasn’t hard considering the thing is just so gorgeous. This is by far the best dolsot bibimbap that I’ve ever had. My only quibble (and this doesn’t even count) is that I really like the fried egg that comes with this dish at Orange Izakaya. There’s so much other tasty stuff on this dish that it’s hardly missed.
Julianne picked the Jayuk Guksu noodle dish for the opposite reason that I chose the bibimbap. She wanted to try something new that she’s never had before. She was a little nervous that it may be a bit too spicy, but was delighted with the sweet and spicy balance of the dish. The fat shanghai noodles were just the right consistency, and the pork was thinly sliced and full of flavour. The thinly sliced cabbage with a thousand island style dressing was also a perfect cool counterbalance to the heat in the dish. Absolutely delicious!
Another surprise came when a woman that I assume is the owner brought us a dish of thinly sliced beef brisket and some salt with sesame seeds. Her English wasn’t very good but it sounds like they’ve heated and cooled the salt a number of times so it turns into clumps that break down into a fine powder. It seemed like the idea was to dip the beef in the salt but when we tried to do that we were met with a “no, no, no, no!!!” and directions to maybe not get that much salt on the beef next time. We blotted on top of the pile of beef to spread the salt around and that seemed to ease her outrage about what we’ve done to her tasty beef creation. It tasted awesome for something so simple. Nice work and completely unexpected. As she left our table she stopped and turned around to offer an emphatic “Happy New Year” to us. That was really nice.
I’ve read the reviews for LIG Korean BBQ restaurant and they seem to be fairly polarized. People either love or hate this place. The two biggest complaints were the time it took people to get their meals and the amount of meat in their pricey dinner entrées. Maybe we dodged a bullet by showing up on a lazy Saturday afternoon between Christmas and New Year’s. Maybe lunch is better than dinner here. I’m not certain but the two of us were thoroughly satisfied… so much so that we found ourselves saying “that was an awesome lunch” more than a few times that day.