On our latest dining excursion in Spokane, Geo and I went wondering the South Hill area. We drove around some of the familiar streets looking around to see what might catch our eye as a place to dine, not knowing exactly what we were looking for. After driving around for a while and considering a few possibilities, we thought about revisiting and old favorite, (Kim's Korean Restaurant) but instead we ultimately decided to venture into completely new and unchartered territory and kept looking around. The whole South Hill Experience is a little foriegn to us and there was a lot to see and explore..
IT wasn't long until our attention was on a little restaurant we saw on the side of the main road, however, as we were looking for parking, another little restaurant caught our eye. I think it must have actually caught our nose, for the smell in the air was what really got out attention as did the name of the type of food, Sichuan. It was a new word to us, but it seemed oriental and since oriental food is something we enjoy, we decided to investigate the dining experience by inquiring of some passerbys who were just coming out from the restaurant.
They were smiling and happy and delighted in the food experience, at least those who were the guests of the one man who happened to be one of the cooks. With their hearty recommendation and their explanation that Sichuan is a type of Chinese food, we parked the car and entered the door of Gordy's Sichuan Cafe.
Gordy's is a small and very busy dining establishment. We did not have to wait very long and we looked at the menu while we waited. One group was waiting for seating and one person was waiting for take out when we arrived. People were definitely enjoying their food and when we took out seats, so did we. Mapo Tofu, Hot and Sour Soup and a Spicy Tangy Chicken was on our table in no time, as well as rice, lemon flavored water and hot tea.
The food and service was speedy and friendly and tasted delicious, though there were some unique flavors, even in some of our more familiar oriental dishes like Hot and Sour Soup.
I inquired about the special ingredient and the waitress told me that these were "wood ears" in my hot and sour soup. Wood ears, I thought, were a mushroom, but the item did not taste like a mushroom, nor was it shaped like one. More research makes me think that the item in my soup was a tiger lily bud, which I understand is one of the more traditional ingredients used in making this particular soup. Gordy's. though not run by Chinese people, is both delicious and authentic.
Gordy's is located at 501 E 30th Ave, in what seems to be an old shopping center, but it has the feel of a neighborhood restaurant, or cafe. I thought that part was great.
There is something special about small business owners serving others in the community and making a living that is just cool, and while people make a living in large restaurant chains, often these chains are not so much to serve the community as they are to make a profit. The waitress informed us that this restaurant had been there 12 years and they did no advertising. She said that most people hear about the place via word of mouth. Of course, maybe she didn;t know that some people, like us, simply just follow their nose.