Summer means fried clams and chocolate malts. So yesterday I walked down to Gordo's on Seaview for lunch. Seaview Avenue looks like the main street of a small, Northern California coastal town; the sort of town where the private investigator in a 70s movie drives to question an obscure and reluctant witness. Restaurants, boatyards, and marinas line the water side of the shore road, and an assortment of shacks, beach cottages, and 60s-era commerical buildlings (stucco with bulbous brown-tinted windows) line the other side. No cross streets--a railroad runs behind the buildings.
Gordo's take-out is in one of the shacks, with wooden picnic tables on the front and side. Judging from the pop-art font on the signage (listing every item on the menu) Gordo's has been there a good long while. While the food is hardly health food, the portions are modest, and inexpensive. My little bag of clams and a medium-size malted came to under $5, and the clams were as close in taste (though not texture) as you get to Cape Cod style fried clams on the West Coast. The malted had a subtle cocoa taste--not sickeningly sweet like most of the soft ice cream that turns up at more commercial places.
Next to Gordo's parking lot is Abbondanza, an outdoor lot filled with concrete garden art surrounded by a chain-link fence. The art ranges from the tacky to the chic. They have dark gray Japanese lanterns, elegant green leaping fish designed as fountains, cross-legged Hindu gods, huge Buddha faces, elegant Greco-Roman pedestals, elaborate English planters, and New Age wall plaques of suns and moon. I saw bunnies and, I think, some gnomes and gargoyles in there as well. And some statues of the Virgin Mary. And some Grecian nudes. Every September Abbondanza has a huge 50-percent-off sale, advertised on with posters on phone poles all over North Seattle. Otherwise, it's rarely open. It's definitely where the private investigator would be snooping around, looking for the mysterious witness. Then he'd go next door to Gordo's and get some clams.