November 30, 2013

Eat This Now: Spring Lettuces Salad @ Strangelove's

Sometimes we just have that one killer dish that we want to share.  Last night we had a quick dinner at Strangelove's, which we've enjoyed previously.   After a lot of Thanksgiving indulgences, we were both in the mood for a serious salad, and Strangelove's has a few offerings on their "Greenery For Your Scenery" section of the menu.  I got a repeat dish- the Russian Kale Salad, which is still a really refreshing bowl of crunchy kale, sweet roasted beets, edamame, and lots of nutty farro and pecans.  A creamy dressing takes a little bit of the earthiness out of the kale.

However, we also tried the Spring Lettuces salad, and while seemingly out-of-season, it makes for a killer meal.

The combo of soft baby lettuces, crunchy fennel and radishes, cherry tomatoes, and green olives offers a ton of texture and flavor.  A sharp sherry vinaigrette adds that necessary acidity.  Although random, a perfectly cooked chicken breast slathered with cilantro-heavy guac is just... really darn delicious.  Eat this ASAP!

216 S 11th St

November 22, 2013

Fall Menu at P.F. Chang's

Remember a few months ago when we made a visit to our closest Pei Wei to try some of their new menu items?  The restaurants PR folks kindly sent us a gift card to try it out, and we were happy to do so-- they are still serving those delicious, fresh lettuce wraps too!  Although Pei Wei is a solid spot, it's more of a quick weeknight dinner kind of place.  P.F. Chang's represents the company's more upscale offerings, with 20 years of "Asian-inspired" eats across the country (and world!).  Typically found in or near a shopping mall, I think of P.F. Chang's as the Asian version of the Cheesecake Factory- seats hundreds, is just as friendly for a date, a group dinner with friends, or a family meal (kids meal included), and offers more options than you will ever be able to eat.

Not my picture (source), but those horses impressed me!
This has been a crazy year, so apologies if I haven't kept you up to date- my husband and I now live about 45 minutes from the city, significantly closer to NJ than Philly.  Thus, our nearest P.F. Chang's is in Princeton.  This restaurant also came with another Cheesecake Factory classic- a wait.  You can make reservations in advance, which I was unaware of, so we ended up waiting about 40 minutes for a table for 2.

The PR folks were nice enough to send us another gift card, this time to try the newest Fall menu additions.  These are highlighted in a special section of the enormous menu, making it easy to hone in on them- and they sounded so delicious that I hardly looked at the regular options.  We started with an order of Crispy Korean Chicken Wings ($10.95 at the Princeton location).  The menu picture of these is seriously irresistible, plus who doesn't like wings AND Korean flavors?

Korean Wings; P.F. Chang's Pic

Korean Wings, the real deal

Somehow the chefs finagle the wings so that the meat is bunched at one end, and the bone becomes a cleaner handle.  Great in theory, but somehow it made the amount of meat seem very small-- and the "crispy" portion thus took over a bit.  Although the batter:meat ratio was quite high, the flavor more than made up for it-- the sweet, sour, spicy mix that Korean food gets just right.  You also get 8 wings for the price- a great deal.

I also chose a Fall menu addition for my entree, the Citrus Mustard Prawns ($17.95).  Tail-on shrimp are very lightly battered and wok-fried with a mix of vegetables, including zucchini noodles, which kind of blew my mind.  I knew that you could make this magical vegetable pasta, but have never actually had it.  I honestly believed that my plate had noodles AND zucchini ribbons until I was eating the leftovers the next day.  It's all made from the green squash!

Although the plate wasn't the prettiest, I loved every bite.  The dish came with at least a dozen large shrimp. making it too much to handle in one sitting.  The mustard sauce might have been the best part-- made with a significant amount of that delicious nose-tingling Chinese mustard.

My date (also known as my husband) took his Sweet and Sour Chicken duties very seriously (he also ordered this picky-eater's-favorite at Pei Wei over the summer).  P.F. Chang's version is- not surprisingly- very similar to Pei Wei's, although you pay $4 more ($12.95 vs. $8.95).  I ended up eating the leftovers a couple days later, when it was probably even better (more time for the flavors to meld).  However, the dish came with many chunks of candied ginger, dyed red (a bit of a surprise to bite into-- I thought they were syrupy cherries at first!).  Although this wasn't a seasonal menu item, it's a good dish to try to get a feel for the basic talents of an (Americanized) Asian restaurant.

I wish we had more room to try additional items-- the autumn menu even includes dessert, such as Caramel Apple Wontons- hello!  P.F. Chang's does a good job at reinventing some comfort favorites with an Asian twist.  For you city folk, the nearest restaurant is probably in Cherry Hill, NJ, so next time you're at the Cherry Hill Mall, take the opportunity to satisfy your Asian cravings.

**Thanks again to Karwoski & Courage PR for the gift card.  This is not a sponsored post, and all opinions are our own.**