Saturday, February 13, 2016

Who’d a thunk??

Sometimes in life we are presented with an opportunity to experience something totally, completely, and unabashedly unique and unexpected.  I believe this is the definition of serendipity, and I truly love serendipitous occurrences!

Cheryl and Casey are a couple who are among our best friends.  Last night we were invited to join them for dinner and an evening listening to a local jazz musician, one by the name on Joe Baque who plays a keyboard with two others…one with a cello taller than he, and the other an acoustic guitar.  The dinner and concert was at a place called Jeremy’s Farm to Table, in Chehalis. 

Now, I must confess to some preconceived notions about the I-5 twin cities of Centralia and Chehalis.  All of us have whizzed by on the freeway, usually on our way to Seattle or Portland and glanced through the car window at the cluster of buildings, small strip malls, gas stations and car dealers spread out over the Chehalis prairie…and perhaps not thought much about it.  It is also true that Lewis County, in which the two towns lie, has a reputation of rednecks, roughnecks and meth heads… not an appealing combination to tempt us off the freeway.  When I was told that is where we would dine, my expectations were not high.  Nevertheless, we always have a good time with Casey and Cheryl so I wasn’t too worried about an enjoyable evening.  After all, it is what we make of it. 
Just a half hour drive from our house in Olympia, we took Exit 77 off of I-5 and pulled into the parking lot just 4 blocks east of the freeway.   We were seated at a table fairly close to the stage and were indeed treated to some lovely music that Joe and his musicians played completely from the heart.  Pieces such as “As Time Goes By” and “New York, New York” filled the rafters amid the din of diners and the clatter of the kitchen.  It was lovely.

However, the surprise came when a gentleman stood on the stage during a break, and sang “Nessum Dorma”, one of my favorite opera pieces that will always bring tears to my eyes, and it did.  I was stunned!  Was I really in Chehalis, or did I enter some time warp and find myself in a performance venue off Broadway?  He also sang it without any musical accompaniment.  It was amazing!
After he was done he mingled among the patrons and finally came by our table, where I caught his attention.  Who are you, I wanted to know?  It turns out he is Jeremy, who’s namesake is the restaurant.  It also turns out he went for voice lessons when he was young man and his teacher told him he should sing opera.  His reply was ok…what is opera? 

Cheryl and Casey, and Joe is playing in the background

Yes, I know.  It is increasingly impolite to post pictures of food, but since this is about a restaurant it felt right.

It wouldn't be a complete blog without a pic of my darling.

We also talked about his restaurant, which it turned out had only been open for two years.  He shared his vision of opening a local farmer’s market and supply network so he could always be assured of a supply of local and organic foods.  Three of us had Prime Rib, and Karen had the Macadamia Crusted Halibut…delicious!

Wow!  The times they are a’changing, and so is my impression of Chehalis.

I have attached links to Jeremy’s restaurant, so if you are travelling the I-5 corridor here is a wonderful alternative to the fast food and chains one always finds at the exit ramps (and no, I’m not getting paid for this plug!).  I’ve also provided links to Joe Baque and a performance of Nessum Dorma (by Pavarotti, not Jeremy of course).

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