Friday, July 22, 2011

A Pleasant Happy Hour At PF Chang's

It's not very often that I dine at chain restaurants, especially those that aren't entirely Vegan. On rare occasions, I do find myself with a carnivore friend or relative whom forces me to compromise my dietary preferences and dine at one of these restaurants. On even less occasions do I actually choose to eat there out of my own freewill. Last week, my friend on a budget once again decided to crash with me and we found ourselves contemplating a restaurant at which she could afford to dine. Moments into our conversation, a lovely email came from the PF Chang's E-club, containing a coupon for some free lettuce rolls. They had me at "free" and my friend and I immediately jumped into my car and journeyed to the PF Chang's by the Santa Monica Promenade. Luckily, we arrived in the middle of Happy Hour, which takes place daily from 3-6 pm, and were able to take advantage of even more deals.

We began with the free lettuce wraps, which we requested to be made Vegan (worth $8).

The lettuce wraps were delicious and came in a very generous portion. The tofu was well cooked and chewy to resemble a meaty consistency. The sauce was very scrumptious and perfectly spiced. There was a strong taste of soy sauce with a subtle bean flavoring. The vegetables were soft and delicate to patch the crunch of assorted cashews. There was a light mixture of crispy noodles, which added even more texture to the dish. The lettuce worked perfectly as a wrap, as it tasted very fresh and was crispy and slightly chewy. It also sopped up the sauce very well.

Next, we ordered some dishes from the Happy Hour menu. We first had the Edamame Dumplings ($3.25).

These were so tiny! We could not believe they cost $1 each. Nevertheless, they were so delicious. The dumplings had a light eggy taste and were very doughy. The interior consisted of an edamame mixture with a slight ginger seasoning and a delicate sweetening of agave syrup. The dumplings had a great savory and sweet flavoring and were truly unique from any dish I've had before. I only wish there were more dumplings.

Lastly, we had some spring rolls ($3).

These were really good. The outside was flaky and crispy and the interior was filled with a delectable assortment of soft, well-seasoned and spiced vegetables. My favorite part of the dish was the sauce, which was so sweet and succulent. It had a lovely plum flavoring.

Overall, I was quite satisfied with our late lunch. PF Chang's Happy Hour honestly is not the greatest deal and the portions are way too small.  Nevertheless, I've always found their food to be very flavorful and innovative, especially in comparison to other chain restaurants. I also love that so many of their options can easily be made Vegan with a few omissions or substitutions. The lettuce wraps were my favorite part of this meal and are definitely worth the trip. Make sure you "like" the PF Chang's facebook page to receive a coupon, which is good until the end of this month.

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