Peg and I had visited the Washington State Fair on Saturday. We really enjoyed the fair, but traffic was almost unbearable. In trying to return to Tacoma, we were forced to drive almost to Sumner. Since we were out in that direction my thoughts turned to my wallet. I had a gift card for Mama Stortini’s. I no longer knew what it was worth, but I knew we were driving to Renton on Sunday for a play. I thought driving back from Renton and visiting Mama might be a good idea.
Sunday turned out to be a horrible day to drive to Renton. We saw rain, mists, and results of two car accidents from the Fife curve of I-5 until we turned off at Federal Way for 405. We saw a friend’s directorial debut at the Renton Civic Theatre and only had a light rain driving from Renton to Puyallup. We were afraid we would run into massive traffic in Puyallup, which we had experienced the day before. This was the last weekend of the Washington State Fair. Mama Stortini’s relocated years ago from University Place to Puyallup (just across the Puyallup River from Sumner). They also have restaurants in Kent and Federal Way. We parked our car and stopped at the reception desk to ask about the value of our card. We had a one hundred dollar gift card and we were determined to use it.
Mama Stortini’s is an upscale version of Joe Stortini’s Joeseppi’s, which is located in Tacoma’s west end. Our waiter was Brian W., who did a great job for us. He had a great sense of humor and joined Peg in a silly photo Op. Brian chatted with us as we ordered. My two glasses of Shirley Temple had plenty of the ungodly sweet maraschino cherries that I love. Peg enjoyed a large glass of pinot grigio. I had a sip . . . it was good, but it was no Shirley Temple.
We had a table by the window and Mama was had a number of appetizer and plate specials to counteract the customers was probably driven away by the traffic to the fair.
The crab cakes were excellent. The orange sauce was a perfect counter point to the lemony/tarter sauce that accompanied the cakes. The curly Parmesan cheese on top made them extra special.
Our zucchini sticks would have been ideal with a glass of beer or two to sip while watching a winning Seahawks game. As it was, we didn’t have a beer, and the Seahawks lost miserably. To make matter worse, we had the sticks boxed up to take home and then forgot them on the table.
The last time we had French onion soup was during a lovely weekend in La Conner. The bowl we shared at Mama’s wasn’t quite as good, but darn close, and cost considerably less. When we sat down for dinner, a small plate of French bread was delivered with a tomato sauce and tiny spoon. The small slices of bread were perfect for our onion soup. We devoured the bread by dropping the chewy slices into the onion’s hearty broth. It was the perfect antidote for the dismal weather.
I ordered fettuccine with sautéed prawns, but was brought rigatoni. When Brian saw my confusion he realized there was an error. When I originally ordered I forgot to ask for whole wheat pasta. I asked a very young server to ask for whole wheat if they had it. She had no idea what I was talking about and translated it to “gluten free.” Brian soon returned with fettuccine. I was disappointed, but didn’t want to complain. For me the fettuccine was over-cooked. I like my pasta with some “tooth.” The prawns, however were very good.
I didn’t know that Italian restaurants serve as much salmon as is available on Mama Stortini’s menu. I checked out several Italian restaurants in New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco. Only one (Carmine’s in NYC) featured a salmon main course – SALMON OREGANATA. Peg chose a salmon appetizer that was way past excellent. I only had one bite . . . okay, two. It was crispy, but still moist. When we return I will have two of that salmon appetizer and forget the fettuccine. For dessert Peg had raspberry cheese cake, while I had key lime pie. Peg had requested pecans with her salmon and we still had enough left to pour onto our desserts.
It wasn’t a perfect Sunday, the Seahawks lost, driving in the rain was horrible, but we enjoyed the play in Renton and really enjoyed the service and dinner at Mama Stortini’s. With the tip our hundred dollar gift card was gone. But we will always have our memories of a wonderful Sunday in September.