Dinner at PF Chang’s

A Review

Having heard Chet Coppock talk about PF Chang’s on Chicago’s WMAQ for years apparently left an impression of me. I heard him waxing the many merits of his latest meal at this place called PF Chang’s. But somehow, I never got the opportunity to actually go and try it. Even when I was in Wisconsin, no PF Chang’s could be found.

After moving to Louisville last year, I have made it a point of trying new restaurants. I’ve done pretty well and haven’t duplicated too many of my choices. Recently, Todd Wilbur featured his attempt at replicating Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Having nearly drooled through the episode, I hit the web to check if there was a location nearby. There is! So I’ve been wanting to get over there and eat since then.

This week, I decided it was time. I made a reservation online, got a confirmation email in seconds.

Dear Dave,

Your reservation is confirmed at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.

Thank you for making a reservation. We look forward to seeing you as our guest.

Reservation Details:
Confirmation #: 238850
Name: Dave Emmons

Date: Friday, December 23, 2011
Time: 8:00 PM
9120 Shelbyville Rd.
Hurstbourne, KY 40222
Phone: (502) 327-7707

Party Size: 2

Special Occasion:
Special Request(s):

Thank you again for choosing us!


Dave Richards
Operating Partner

For a map and directions to our restaurant, please click http://www.pfchangs.com/locations/locationdetail.aspx?sid=9975

To modify or cancel your reservation, please click https://www.pfchangs.com/res/makereservation.aspx?rid=42842298781526&gid=1426982&sid=9975

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Thank you for your cooperation.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and Pei Wei Asian Diner

This was great! I could use this info on my iPhone when I was on my way. Having it all in one place, very nice! Only thing I’d suggest here s a link to the menu.

We arrived a little early, and were immediately seated. As we had discussed our dinner choices on the ride over, there was little time needed and we quickly placed our order. We had decided to get PF Chang’s For Two

To start we each had a bowl of soup. The choices were Hot and Sour or Egg Drop. I had the hot and sour soup, it was both. Delicious. The egg drop soup was hot and flavorful, you know it’s good soup when your nose start to clear up. I also love the soup spoons the Chinese use, the kind that let’s you get the soup cooled off to eating temperature quickly.

To drink we ordered mango and sweet iced tea with lemons and limes. I did not have to wait for a refill the entire meal.

Our server brought 3 sauces to the table, to be used throughout the meal The first was a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. The second was a very hot chili paste with oil. The last sauce was a traditional Chinese hot mustard sauce. Really opened up my sinuses.

Some readers might find this odd, but I always look at the flatware a restaurant gives me to use. I see it as a gauge for how they really feel about having me there. Cheap, cheesy flatware means they really don’t care. Nice hefty flatware means they’ve given thought to the dining experience, even something as insignificant as the flatware, and executed it perfectly. PF Chang’s has really nice heavy flatware. We each had 2 forks, a knife, and a set of chopsticks.

After finishing our soup, we moved on to Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps. The reason I’d ventured over here. The dish was hot, the lettuce was cool. I carefully took a lettuce leaf and put a couple of spoons of the chicken mixture on it, carefully rolled it up and took a bite. Let me say this: it was wonderful! I got that smoky sweet flavor the guy on Top Secret Recipe talked about so much. It was so good I completely forgot about the sauces. I ate 3 of them, each one as good as the last.

Now for the main course. My salt and pepper prawns arrived on hot serving plate. They were served with a bowl of white rice. I spread the rice out on my place and spooned the prawns onto my plate. A condiment cup of sweet mustard sauce accompanied my meal. I didn’t use that until I had a couple of the prawns without it, really wanting to savor the flavor. I was not disappointed.

Salt and Pepper Prawns

The almond and cashew chicken ordered was also very good. Very generously sized pieces of chicken, delicious green peppers, plenty of nuts and sauce. And it was served hot! So hot that some time was needed to allow for cooling before it could be eaten. I’ll never complain about food served hot. And like any good Chinese food, this was great as a leftover!

Included with out meal for two were choice of desserts. These were mini-sized versions of PF Chang’s delectable dessert selections. We chose red velvet and carrot cakes, respectively. Both we delicious and truth be told, perfectly sized after such a generous meal.

Hot and Spicy Pickles

OK, so this isn’t really a recipe. But it is something I am known to enjoy.

Hot and spicy pickles are incredibly easy to make and wonderfully delicious.

Most recipes presume you have or want to make a full gallon of these. While they are good, you don’t have to make that many. Up size the recipe as needed.

1 quart jar of your favorite store-bought sliced dill pickles
2 tablespoons of Tabasco Pepper Sauce
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup pickle juice

Open the jar of pickles and drain them well into a bowl or pan using a colander. With all the hub bub about pickle juice lately, you may want to keep the rest of this for other uses.

While they are draining, measure the sugar, pickle juice, and Tabasco sauce into a bowl and combine well. I use a fork for this. Ensure there are no unmixed patches of sugar in the bowl.

Once the pickle slices are thoroughly drained, put them into the sugar/Tabasco mixture. With clean hands, carefully mix the ingredients together. You should see a syrup start to form almost immediately. Keep mixing until there is no discernible sugar left.

Update, 24 November 2012
The last time I made these, I used a Tupperware bowl with a lid on it. I mixed the sugar, etc. in that, then put the pickle slices into the bowl, put the cover on, and shook it until it was mixed well.

Carefully place the pickle slices back into the jar. Then pour the syrup mixture into the jar with the pickles. Replace the lid and refrigerate.

The pickles will be good after a couple of days, downright delicious after a week, and to die for after 2 weeks.

Place some raw garlic cloves into the jar as you are filling it with pickle slices.
Measure a tablespoon of red pepper flakes in with the sugar and Tabasco.
Measure a tablespoon of dry onion flakes in with the sugar and Tabasco.
Try using Tabasco’s Worcestershire or Garlic pepper sauces.
Put a dry pepper or two in the jar.
Add a tablespoon or two of minced garlic so the taste is more uniform.