Tuesday, April 19, 2011

PF Changs

I’m  Jewish and a foodie (Joodie?), therefore I love Chinese food. I mean, where else can I eat on Christmas? So I finally got around to going to P.F. Chang’s in the Westfarms Mall in Farmington CT.  Thanks to my wonderful niece and nephew who gave me gift certificate for my birthday, which was only five months ago.  Josh and Jen, thank you again for your generous gift.  Now back to the food.  We walked in around 5:30 and were lucky enough to get seated immediately.  They were having a dim-sum happy hour.  The place was fairly crowded.  Nice looking décor, reds, rich browns, and oriental symbols made for a very relaxing and cozy atmosphere. We decided to go with the prix-fixe meal.  For $39.95 you get a soup, appetizer, entrée and dessert.   I’m thinking, maybe add some noodles because for 40 bucks, how much food can there be?  I’m glad Sal talked me out of it because the prix-fixe meals are full portions, and a lot of food to boot!  Now, if you are on a diet or watching your sodium intake, run as fast as you can.  This stuff is NOT health food.  But if you want some great tasting food read on.  

Daniel, the waiter, introduced himself and then asked if anyone had any food allergies.  This was a first. Score one for PF.  He was exceptionally friendly and attentive.  I’m dithering away trying to decide on beer or water, like it’s my first time at the rodeo, and he recommends a Kirin Ichibahn.  Good choice, nice, light, with a little citrus, just the ticket to balance out the meal.  This Japanese beer is brewed in California and distributed by Anhauser-Busch the former American beer company now owned by the Belgians. Follow me?  Sallyanne liked the glass it was served in, a nice tall Pilsner.  Which was from Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic... 

On to the food.  I had hot and sour soup and Sal had egg drop. Mine was very complex, thick broth, nice chunks of tofu and a goodly amount of pork.  Uh oh, Jewish?  Don’t tell. It was sour but not as hot as I like, so I added a dab of hot sauce.  Perfect.  Sal loved her egg drop soup.  To the appetizer.  We went with their signature chicken lettuce wraps.   Crunchy, meaty, hot, cold, sweet and savory.  Did I miss anything?  Oh right, a hint of orange.  I could have stopped here and had a couple more Japanese/American/Belgian beers but more food was to follow.  This stuff is very good. 

For the entrees we went with the Mongolian beef and Crispy honey chicken. We also had the brown rice.  Maybe it would counteract the ton of salt and saturated fats we were about to consume.  Maybe we were just BS’ing ourselves. The Mongolian beef is thin strips (I’m thinking either flank or skirt steak) quick fried and served with scallions in a very savory, tangy sauce of ginger, garlic, brown sugar and soy sauce. Amazing flavor in this dish.  Crispy honey chicken is, well, crispy and honey flavored all white meat chicken. Pretty self explanatory.   Served with crunchy rice noodles all over healthy brown rice.   Sal and I are enjoying this meal immensely.  I’m complimenting the waiter, the manager, anyone who will listen.  For a chain restaurant to have this kind of food, it is absolutely fantastic.   

Dessert.  After an epic meal like this, the last thing you want is a big honking piece of cake to eat.  I mean, I’ll eat it, but hate myself after.  Guess what?  My buddy PF has dessert shots.  That’s right, little shot glasses with little spoons filled with chocolate cake, mousse, cheesecake and so on.  Just enough dessert without the self-loathing. 

Done!  I get that it is Americanized, Chinese style food.  I’ve had authentic Chinese, but sadly enough I don’t live near Chinatown.  The neighborhood Chinese restaurants by me are just so-so. I’d go back in a heartbeat, providing my heart is still beating after all of the saturated fat and sodium.  But I don’t go out to eat for the health aspects.  It’s flavor I’m after.  Check this place out.  Now I’m on my way to the other PF in my life. Planet Fitness.  Got to work off the 1780 calories I just packed away and I’m not even counting the Kirin!


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