When pondering what to do for dinner on Sunday night, Michael decided that nothing sounded good but Chinese food. And for us, Chinese food means pretty much one thing only: Chiang's.
We couldn't remember the last time we'd been to Chiang's, which is a sure sign that it had been too long. Chiang's is something of an institution in north Seattle, the funny place with the red vinyl banquettes stuffed inside a former A&W Root Beer joint, the sign proudly proclaiming "Chiang's Gourmet", even though it looks more like something you'd find adjacent to a truck stop than a dining destination. But for Chinese food in north Seattle there's no place finer, and everyone knows it.
We decided to branch out a bit and try some new dishes, the problem being that we tend to get the same items each time we go. But I knew that we hadn't really mined the depths of what Chiang's has to offer, and we were more than pleased with what we found: leek dumplings, bursting with an herby, woodsy mixture of... what? leeks? leeks and...? Michael declared he didn't want to know; he knew they were darn tasty, and that was all he needed. We also went for the spicy Szechuan pan-fried homemade noodles, the hotness of the red peppers melding with the numbing quality of Szechuan peppercorns. Wanting to be sure we ate our greens, we also ordered an old favorite, the sauteed pea vines, which come in a brilliant green puddle, wilted in a mound of garlicky goodness.
Of course, these dishes are all pretty pedestrian compared to many of Chiang's other offerings; their Chinese menu (they have two dinner menus: Chinese and American) also includes such delicacies as the tofu of strong odor, jellyfish, and pig intestines. We have not tried any of these items as of yet, and I have to admit we probably won't any time soon, but it's somehow reassuring just to know they're there.
But I still have a few spicy Szechuan noodles leftover for my lunch today, and that is definitely something to look forward to.