Recipes, products and tasty morsels that move me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hometown Gem

Let me be clear, I love where I grew up. Richland, Washington was the perfect place for a childhood. Big enough that you could avoid people if you needed to (think cops and annoying ex-boyfriends) and small enough that, once I was in high school, my parent's felt pretty safe when I was out until midnight running around with my friends. However, in the 15 years since I last lived there, things have changed. It seems every time I go home a new expanse of land that was merely sagebrush and tumbleweeds a few years back is now a mini mall or a housing development - or, often times, both. Each visit I am met with a new restaurant to try - unfortunately, they are all restaurants that I can try in any city in the country with a population of more than 100k people. Some folks take comfort in the fact that they can eat at any PF Chang's and their Orange Chicken will taste the same every time - but, I like something a little more original.

Generally, I don't get too excited for meals when I visit my family - but that might be changing. This past weekend my Mom took me to Monterosso's Italian Restaurant. This little gem is hidden behind a Mexican restaurant in the middle of Richland in, of all things, an antique railroad dining car. Original? Yes. Great food? Absolutely. And the service was good, too. After we politely asked the waitress to not seat us at the table directly next to the door I was a bit worried she might be irritated with us, but she hid it well if she was. The menu is small by chain restaurant standards but good sized when compared to local Seattle restaurant menu's. The wine list was decent. The ambiance leaves something to be desired, but it's in a railroad car so space is extremely limited and they've done what they can with it. It was also still daylight out when we ate so perhaps darkness and some candlelight would have made things a bit more picturesque. But, the food was spectacular.

Neither of us was very hungry so we skipped the appetizers and salads - which was great because I didn't feel guilty about eating all of the amazing house made bread they brought to our table. It is similar to a beer bread and each person gets their own little loaf along with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. For entrees I ordered the Lemon Pepper Prawns Linguine. I had a choice of a cream or white wine sauce - I chose the lighter white wine sauce. My Mom ordered the Cajun Seafood Saute, not a particularly authentic Italian dish, but it is her favorite thing and she can not stray. The food arrived and we ate every bite. The linguine was simple and delicious. It wasn't overpowered with a lot of different flavor elements. My Mom's seafood dish was outstanding - spicy and saucy, much more complex than my linguine, and just plain tasty. We soaked up all the sauce on her plate with the couple pieces of bread we had left. We left stuffed and happy and we might just have a new go-to restaurant for when I come to visit her.

Thanks, Mom!

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to try a bowl of this! But I have an ulterior motive to writing this comment - I want to read more posts! I love your voice and your writing. I keep checking back to look for updates. More DELICIOUS THINGS I ATE TODAY please! :)