Friday, July 14, 2006

P.F. Chang's; A Friday Lunch

I usually go out for lunch a couple of times a week. On Fridays Edward tries to round up a bunch of people on the floor for lunch. A natural consequence of increasing the numbers in your lunch crowd is the limitation it imposes on your choices. Hence P.F. Chang's China Bistro is a place that gets picked often due to the fact it is fairly inoffensive to the tastes of a larger group of people.

I also recently got this little point and shoot camera, the Fuji F30 primarily so that I could take a camera anywhere (and in particular times when I don't want to either lug around my dSLR or don't want the attention a dSLR invariably seems to attract) and to help with the pictures for the PhotoBlog. Hence this is my first post with pictures entirely from the F30.

So like many other Fridays Edward and I went around rounding up people (Edward got really excited when he saw the camera, or was it the prospect of going to Chang's? I forget, he can tell you...).

As we walked out onto the street we were quickly reminded that the San Jose Grand Prix is just a couple of weeks away. I am told the grand prix is an interesting time; the downtown is almost completely blocked off and its hellish getting to work; gee I can't wait! The concrete barriers started going up last week and soon they will start covering the manholes and smoothing the road surface.

One of the signature P.F. Chang's elements is the 'Chang's Sauce'. I forget everything that is in it but I believe soy sauce, chili oil, vinegar and mustard are all ingredients. Usually your waiter will mix all the ingredients to you taste for you at the table but I guess ours today was slack (and we don't really care since I don't think any of us like the sauce all that much).

One of people's favorite appetizer are the shrimp dumplings which people usually order deep fried even though it isn't an option on the menu (steamed and pan fried are). Today Adam ordered the dumplings, but he got them pan fried. I didn't try them but I didn't hear anyone complain either. One of my favorite appetizer is the 'Chang's Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps' which is this incredibly tasty (but a little salty) wok seared tofu with a bunch of other vegetables served with lettuce cups; definitely try it if you are ever there.

The Chang's menu has many inoffensive items and especially considering it is a chain the food is quite tasty. I've been getting the same dish the last several times I've gone there; the Kung Pao Shrimp and Chicken. The curious thing is it isn't an item on their menu (they have Kung Pao Shrimp and Scallops and Kung Pao Chicken though); so I guess their kitchen is flexible which is something I really like about the place. The dish also has one spicy pepper beside it on the menu (indicating it is a spicy item). Sadly it isn't even close to spicy by default; however if you instruct your waiter to 'push the hot button 4 times' then it comes out a totally different color (hot red) and finally has a good amount of spice. The cool thing is that by asking to make it spicier they actually cook the food with more chilies instead of just douse it in Tobasco sauce.

Another fine dish that Edward ordered is the Chengdu Lamb which is cooked to have a really minty flavour. Oh yea they're also cool because they don't charge for rice (and brown rice is an option).

One of the other things I like about Chang's is the decor. Its very open and the decor is modern. Also as Adam put it today 'any place with a giant horse in it is ok in my book'.

Overall it was a pleasant lunch with some really cool folks (Edward, Adam, Russell & David). I like these Friday lunches (especially when they're at Chang's :) )

Technical Specs: Fuji F30.
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