Thursday, October 16, 2008

PF Chang's

Wednesday I had to go into Baton Rouge for a food show. I took the opportunity to go to this upscale chain Chinese restaurant. I have heard good things about it over the years. From these interior shoots you can see it is quite spectacular.

This is their condiment tray. The server asked that interminable question you usually get asked at an upscale chain. Is this your first time? Then they impart the mysteries of how and what to order. In the ramekins are chili paste, soy based dipping sauce, Chinese mustard. You are suppose to put the chile paste and mustard in the dipping sauce to accommodate your taste. As this was my first time and of course I am assumed to be ignorant the server asked how spicy I like things and mixed it for me. Duh. In the cruet in the back row are chile oil, soy sauce, and a sugared vinegar solution. I got the explanation of each use as if I had never eaten Chinese in my life. These proved useful during the meal as I like to experiment with different flavors and levels of heat. Barring the lecture this was a great addition to the table.
This was a egg drop soup that I did not order that got dropped at my table. I took the opportunity to photograph it. It smelled wonderful and seemed to contain more vegetables and stuff than most egg drop soups I have encountered.
This is what I had ordered . Hot and Sour soup. According to the menu it contained chicken whereas most I have encountered contain pork. The other ingredients were pretty standard tofu, bamboo shoots and wood ear mushrooms. The specified that white pepper and vinegar provide the hot and sour. The texture was of a gelatinous nature and the dark soy gave it a deep rich flavor. The balance here was perfect and needed no adjustment.

This was the Salt and Pepper Calamari. Menu said tossed with scallions, kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Wrong. I love this dish and get it an any Chinese restaurant that offers it. This is the most Americanized version I ever had. Without the condiment tray it would have been like any other calamari I've had. They had made rings and then cut them to make strips. They were very tender. They provide the salt and pepper on the side along with a warm mild chile dipping sauce with a ketchup base. The salt/pepper was welcome but I did not care for that dipping sauce. The dipping sauce on the condiment tray was good. I eventually doused the strips with the salt/pepper, chile oil and vinegar to achieve a flavor that made it more like I was use to

For my entree I got the Chengdu Spiced Lamb. Marinated lamb strip wok caramelized then tossed with cumin, onions, mint and tomatoes. This was wonderful. Tender strips of lamb with a rich flavor and medium spice. I ate about half then doused it with the vinegar which added a different dimension. I then had a balance of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour which I seek after in any oriental dish.

This came with steamed white rice which I prefer to fried rice
For dessert I got one of their Mini Desserts. This one is Tiramisu. It was delicous and just enough for 4 or 5 bites which is plenty for me. I just want a little sweet to top the meal off
If you have a chance to go to one of these establishment take it especially if like oriental food. Here is the website

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