Topic: Seek and Ye Shall Find
Conditions: Delicious, Out-of-the-Way
COMMENTS: It's one of those early-spring days that makes you feel... well, really good. The sun is shining, the allergens are floating, and people are out in short sleeves smiling and talking--not just staring at the ground in silent anguish. I'm rolling around the south hill here in Spo-town with the windows down, drinking iced coffee; I call a good friend who I remember is in the neighborhood today for an appointment. He's typically a far-north-sider, so I jump at the chance to meet him for lunch.
The spot? Gordy's Sichuan Café, that tucked-away storefront bistro off Grand Blvd that offers hands-down the best authentic, unique Chinese food in town. You know: not some weird buffet with deep fried stuff and noodles sitting under an orange heat lamp. Instead this place cooks up fresh dishes with flavors you've never tasted before. But don't worry, there's some fried stuff too. As we sit under the works of local artists and sample the goodness of Ants Climbing Trees, with that crazy tingly-hot peppercorn sauce, my friend mentions something.
"You know, this is where Sarah and I had our first date," he says (note: they've now been married for a decade). "Living up north, I sort of wanted to impress her by knowing this really great little spot she had never heard of on the south hill."
It worked, apparently. While their successful relationship can't be completely attributed to family-style Sichuan dishes in a neighborhood near Manito Park, it certainly didn't hurt. Since then, Gordy's has become a go-to date night when they can find a sitter for their two little boys. Bigger than that, it's just a small part of their ongoing story. That's the simple power of a secret spot.
KEY FEATURES: At Gordy's, just tell your server what sorts of flavors you like, or trust by trying something different. They are very knowledgable, and they will help you select a great meal. Veggie folk: sub tofu throughout the menu for tons of options.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Find a neighborhood spot that isn't run by a huge corporation. Bring your friends, impress a blind date, get to know the proprietors, and make that place one of the settings of your life story. F&C's short lists exist to ensure those spots aren't too big of a secret to visitors and locals... so do your part to help us spread the word, too: file a field report, share a recommendation, carry our maps in your Airbnb. You know: support local.
As I hung out around Spokane and Coeur d'Alene this summer, I started asking more questions of the places I frequent. Questions like: What causes are you passionate about? How does your business try to make a difference? Scroll through some of the answers I received...
As the kids happily drop their hard-earned quarters in the Ms. Pac-man machine, we realize we haven't complained about the heat all day... the sign of a well-played summer day.
COMMENTS: When Jeremy Hansen and his team are cheffing it up, you know things are going to both look and taste world class.
COMMENTS: It's an uncommon night at O'Doherty's when the Lord Mayor of Limerick, Ireland stops by... sister-city love on Spokane Falls Blvd.
COMMENTS: ...Since then, Gordy's has become a go-to date night when they can find a sitter for their two little boys. Bigger than that, it's just a small part of their ongoing story. That's the simple power of a secret spot.
Carman stops to talk with me for a few moments. On Friday night, he hopes to fill the place, and begin to fulfill the mission of CHARTS (Child Humanitarian Arts): connecting local artists and art enthusiasts for the sake of children in the community.
For some of us, most of us, maybe all of us, Friday is a celebration for the end of a long, taxing work week. We count the days, hours, and minutes until our time belongs to us once again.