TrioViolanjo, A Delightful Surprise

Salzburg in summer

Salzburg in summer

Lisa and I recently had the pleasure of visiting our son and daughter-in-law in Germany and seeing our new twin grandsons. That, of course, more than justified the trip and ranks as one of the great experiences of life, but we also made a side trip, a sentimental journey really, to Salzburg, Austria, where I served a portion of my mission fifty years ago, described in my memoir, All Enlisted. It is still the most beautiful city in the world–more of that in a future post!

koniglicher-kurgarten

The Kurgarten in Bad Reichenhall

A short train or bus ride over the border into the Bavarian alps lies the small, picturesque health resort of Bad Reichenhall. We did not have time to search out the actual place where I used to live, but we did stroll around the garden and spontaneously attend an afternoon concert, not noticing at first that the trio we bought tickets for was an unusual one: violin, cello, and banjo. Banjo?

trio-violanjo-2-e1396328832972

Trio Violanjo

To our great enjoyment, the Trio Violanjo consists of three brilliant young musicians whose style and repertoire cannot fail to entertain and inspire. The program that day consisted of pieces by Nash (“I Can See Clearly Now”), McCartney (“Eleanor Rigby”), Bach, Mozart, Joplin, and others, including compositions by the banjo picker himself, Manuel Stocks. Each song was a pleasure to hear, with excellent harmonies, ensemble, and chord progressions. The banjo itself was reminiscent at times of a harpsichord, so the overall impression ranged from solid Classical to Celtic to Bluegrass. For this American in the audience it was a perfect blend of Old and New worlds.

Be sure to watch for these performers: Manuel Stocks, Tanja Kronheim, and Rita Mascaros. Several of their pieces are available on YouTube. They cannot fail to please the ear. Learn more about them on their respective Facebook pages, as well as the group’s website, https://violanjo.wordpress.com/trio-violanjo/

Best Wishes.

 

p.s. I anticipate posting large portions of my mission memoir here and on one of my Facebook pages. Watch for them. Also available at Amazon in softcover or kindle edition: https://www.amazon.com/All-Enlisted-Missionary-Austria-Vietnam/dp/1516911288

p.p.s. Here is a link to a very nice sample of their CD:

Colors of Grass

 

Mama Stortini’s

It had been several years since last we ate at Mama Stortini’s, an Italian restaurant on the border of Puyallup and Sumner, Washington. It is a very good restaurant with a great menu, though we were a little disappointed to find the entree Sampler Platter no longer available (there is a sampler of appetizers); it was a large dish and one suspects it was not cost effective. We also noted the menu includes a number of non-Italian items now, including hamburgers and other sandwiches, no doubt a competitive necessity.

No matter, the individual entrees are delicious. I had one of my favorites, chicken marsala on a bed of risotto and mushrooms. It could have had a little more sauce, but the flavor was just right. Other members of our party enjoyed lasagna (one of Mama’s best items), lobster macaroni and cheese, and seafood fettucini in white sauce. Our appetizer was the cheese bread with housemade tomato feta relish–a great choice which could have made a whole meal. The dessert menu includes cobbler, ice cream sundaes, the obligatory tiramisu, and otherĀ  delights. We had spumoni, a chocolate sundae, and an exquisite little individual “Italian Style” cheesecake.

Service was excellent–there was no waiting–and the dining room is comfortable, not over-crowded the way so many restaurants are. Overall, a very satisfactory night out. If you are in the Puyallup/Sumner area, consider Mama’s next time you are in the mood for Italian. Additional locations are in Kent and Northgate (Seattle).