We checked in to our hotel a lot later than planned, and so were also delayed in getting to the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood. I still wanted to go shopping at Forever XXI so Mom and Dad went to Ross as none of us were really hungry. By the time we were done, the mall was closing and along with it, the many smaller restaurants. I would have suggested Panera Bread for dinner, but even they were closing. Our only options left in the area were Romano’s Macaroni Grill and P.F. Chang’s. We chose the latter, as we enjoyed our meal quite a lot back in Las Vegas. We decided to sample some different dishes, though. Actually, most of the items sound quite appetizing to me.
First, we picked the Mandarin Chicken. I chose this dish because the description said there would be quite a lot of vegetables in the dish. On that end, I was not disappointed. I quite enjoyed the crunchy snow peas, carrots, and onions. The broccoli, which I usually do not eat but decided to make an exception this time due to it being coated with tasty sauce, was somewhat soggy. It could have been more soaked up with the sauce rather than water from the steaming, I think. The bok choy that was part of the description – and the ingredient I was most looking forward to actually – was nowhere to be found. This was quite disappointing. The chicken breast slices were coated nicely with the sauce. They were also quite tender and in consistent sizes. However, they were bland on the inside since they were not marinated. Just being coated in the sauce is not always enough. Finally, the sauce was decent but not memorable. It was a spicy chili sauce with some black bean sauce mixed into it. It was not watered down, which I was glad of, but it had a bit too much oil on the top. There was a distinct layer of it on the top of the dish and I would much rather just have sauce and not so much oil, especially since nothing in the dish required too much oil to stir fry.
Next up was the Kung Pao Shrimp. The whole dish was basically just shrimp. They were thinly battered and nicely fried. The outside was crunchy when the dish was brought out. Naturally, it got soggier as the meal progressed, for the parts that were in the sauce or on the bottom. The shrimp were very tasty though! The peanuts were cooked through and natrually delicious, coated in the somewhat sweet soy sauce. The scallion bits were actually quite tasty as well, coated in the sauce but still retaining their own flavour. Overall, this was the best dish of the night, just because the shrimp were so nicely fried. The flavour was sweet and spicy from all the chili peppers that were in the dish. It may not be authentic kung pao style, but it was definitely a delicious alternative!
Finally, we ordered the Ma Po Tofu. Originally, we wanted the Crab Fried Rice, which was a new item. However, we realized the dishes came with brown or white rice, which made the fried rice unnecessary. Luckily, we realized that fast enough. This was the least authentic dish. That criteria was certainly thrown out the window. Not only did it not have chili peppers, it consisted of fried cubes of tofu on a bed of steamed broccoli. What kind of ma po tofu is cooked with broccoli and have fried tofu? It should be minced or ground pork with silken tofu in a very spicy sauce. However, this dish tasted good as a generic Chinese dish. Considering it was most likely made by a non-Chinese, it was very good. The tofu were fried nicely. The crispy layer on the outside was thin and provided a nice contrast to the soft inside. There was a lot of tofu. I would have like more black pepper on the dish, especially to have it on every piece of tofu instead of the few in the centre. The broccoli was actually nicely steamed and not soggy. The big pieces were cooked thoroughly but not overdone and the smaller pieces underneath the tofu soaked up the sauce nicely. The sauce was spicy, but I could definitely use more spice. Adding chili peppers would really help.
Once again, I am quite satisfied with the food at P.F. Chang’s. The service was good and I like the option of unlimited white and brown rice. The brown rice was actually quite aromatic, but slightly soggy for my liking. I did not try the white rice and cannot comment on that. The fortune cookies at the end were actually better than most that I have had, with a slight coconut aroma to it. The service was great and I love the nice ambiance and decor. It was a great blend of eastern and western cultures. I will certainly return and try some other dishes when I get the chance, especially their mini desserts and the chicken lettuce wrap appetizer. Everything looks so delicious, especially when I am hungry!