préparation pour le grand désastre

I’m the type of person who spends a lot of time thinking about disaster, it is a woeful personality trait that really only serves me well professionally. I patrol an imaginary lighthouse on the lookout for heartache and greater doom. Do I have enough money to survive the next financial downturn? Am I emotionally prepared for unspeakable horrors to happen to my loved ones? Is something awful happening to them right now? This is the mental residue of my own traumatic experiences. I am well aware of the ways trauma teaches its prey to be ever vigilant. 

So when the NY Times released an exhaustive report on the plate-shift that will cause an earthquake, which will release a tsunami, which will take out a great swath of the Pacific Northwest – I was unmoved. I started researching such an occurrence in the late ’90s when I first heard Blatz sing their seminal classic, “California.” (“It’s stifling taking things for granted.”)

Who are the people who are unaware of these promised ghastly, yet earthly, phenomenons? Will they know how to treat their own water or cap a gas line? If stranded or trapped can they handle solitude? Do they live on the 5th floor of a brick building? The report seemed completely new to some people; what are the merits of being blissfully unaware?

Multiple. Turns out there are multiple merits, virtues, to choosing the present and the present only. As evidenced by my recent experience at a restaurant named C’est Si Bon. It’s so good to be blissfully…well, anything.

Located on the outskirts of Port Angeles, a length of land presumed to bear the most impact from The Big One, sits an idyllic outpost serving French food and no cares, not a care in the world.

A solarium filled with roses and carousel horses, plum trees in the back yard, C’est Si Bon is the only starred French restaurant in Washington that’s not located in Seattle. The owners are Norbert and Michéle, she’s the chef and he’s the maitre d’. They’ve operated this place for over 30 years, each year taking place in the promising present.

Let’s start with some snails. Escargots Curnosky.

Anything is better with garlic, butter, wine and parsley; even heartache. Even better on a hot baguette.

Sweet butter lettuce salads to enjoy before the entrée. Dressed in a light tarragon vinaigrette and pimentons.

I ordered the Sole Meunière, he ordered the Medaillon Beurre de Cassis on the assumption this wouldn’t be one of the last kind meals we shared. Me? See the first paragraph. I am always, always prepared for the inevitable. Though I will admit the air and ambience in C’est Si Bon quieted the doubts in me, for a moment, just for a little while.

The entrées are accompanied by small plates piled with steamed broccoli, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, and the most ethereal scalloped potatoes (Gratin Dauphinoise) I have ever had, creamy and crispy. Simply divine. I’ll never forget the way he kept ordering more and more scalloped potatoes; like an overjoyed child with a booming adult voice, always a true Catholic but now beyond the bounds of sinful gluttony, laughter emanating from the Confessional. Future be damned.

The interior of C’est Si Bon is difficult for me to describe. What does the belly of positivity look like? How many colors exist in a world without shame? If Dolly Parton ran a French Brothel would you hang out there?

In C’est Si Bon it feels as if every holiday, anniversary, holy day, election win, and birthday is being celebrated all at once. Easter eggs and Christmas lights. Wicker wedding bells and skylights filled with rain. A continuous joyful present, located on the outskirts of the great Olympic Peninsula – a place Mother Nature is willing to deal a mighty blow to keep for herself, and I can’t say that I blame her.

C’est Si Bon

23 Cedar Park Road

Port Angeles, Wasington

Dinner Served from 5-11



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