My introduction to Gilbert & Sullivan goes back years and years. I remember as a Cub Scout entertaining on the stage at Stanley Elementary School with my pack headed by Den Mother Mrs. Pardini. We scouts were dressed as pirates performing a satire of Pirates of Penzance. I played the cook. Pirates is one the three most widely performed Gilbert & Sullivan satiric operettas: The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and HMS Pinafore.
In 1960, Tennessee Ernie Ford presented a condensed version of HMS Pinafore on his weekly TV show. I remember his version of Sir Joseph Porter as the "ruler of the Queen's Navy" and laughing. He also did a show on The Mikado. Gilbert & Sullivan productions are often updated with slings and arrows of outrageous puns and jibes at politicians and famous people of the era.
Peg and I have seen local productions of Gilbert & Sullivan from Bremerton to Tacoma. I've never regretted any performance. The plots are silly, usually turning on mistaken identities, babies lost or switched at birth, and stations in life. No one is ever really killed . . . even when there is a Lord High Executioner with a humongous sword. HMS Pinafore this time was performed by Tacoma Opera.
The orchestra was conducted by Bernard Kwiram in his tux with gray cowboy boots. The operetta played to an almost full house when we attended on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in February. It was really nice seeing seats filled from the front row on up into the balcony. What was really nice, though was seeing young faces. I would have liked to have seen some Cub Scouts, however.
We didn't think reservations would be a problem at the Adriatic Grill on late Sunday afternoon, and they weren't. We were seated within seconds. Our server was Christine, who kept my Shirley Temple's coming . . . always with plenty of cherries. Peg had a nice red wine with dinner.
We always ask for butter in addition to the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table. The restaurant provides focaccia bread, that is excellent and the best we've ever tasted. I'll switch oil and vinegar with buttered bread to give me a little variety in taste. When food is served we always have something that needs fresh cracked black pepper and Parmesan cheese. If they had offered Sherry for the mushroom soup that Peg ordered we would have taken that as well.
We hadn't had a meal consisting completely of appetizers for quite a while, so it seemed like a good time to try it out, again. Otherwise we have simply ordered the Pesto Steelhead dinner for each of us.
Peg ordered the Creamy Porcini Mushroom Soup (Italian porcinis, cremini and shiitake mushrooms are simmered in a rich vegetable stock with cream and fresh Italian herbs.) and crab cakes (Fresh Dungeness crab meat and pepper cakes are seared to a
golden brown, served atop smoked Roma tomato butter sauce and sweet balsamic reduction.). Although tasty, the crab cakes are about the size of a silver dollar. There are three of them, but that allows for more coating, and I like thicker crab cakes to allow more of the crab taste. However, the tomato butter sauce makes up for much of the crab cake short comings.
I ordered the Ahi with Black Truffle (Premium grade tuna is flash seared with Italian herbs, sliced and served with a black truffle vinaigrette and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.), which is a little misleading. You actually get a whiff of black truffle and nothing more. However, the tuna is excellent, especially with a little lemon juice squeezed on top.
I also ordered a side of meatballs, which were served in a wonderful tomato sauce. In addition I ordered a side of creamy polenta. I usually only eat a few forkfuls of polenta during a meal at the Adriatic, but this time we ate a bit more. Polenta added as a dollop to the mushroom soup was excellent and we had the same results with additions to the crab cake sauce and the meatball sauce.
We passed on dessert and took a container of the left-over polenta home with us. As we drove away we talked about Gilbert & Sullivan and the food at the Adriatic. Back home Peg had I both had quick naps before we watched the latest episode of Downton Abbey. What a wonderful Sunday. Monday morning was made better with a breakfast of warmed up polenta!