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Monday, January 23, 2012

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR AT P.F. CHANG'S PHILIPPINES!


In case you're new to my Blog, I just wanted to let you know that as of today (January 19, 2012), The first ever Pickiest Eater In The World Contest Giveaway is underway, and you can find out the details on how to join by clicking out the post HERE. Get a chance to win Gift Certificates for P5,000.00 worth of services from CATHY VALENCIA SKIN AND BODY CENTER! Guys, if you need pogi points with your girls, this could be your chance! (Unless you wanna use it yourself of course.. Umm.. We're not here to judge)


The only reason why she looks so tall is cuz she's wearing heels. 
And umm.. I'm wearing "flats". 


              My sister Raquel and I made plans during the Christmas break for me to visit her over at the South. I hadn't been to Alabang since my trip to The Wooden Horse Steak House so I thought it would be fun to find a place to eat over at the other side of the metro. At first I was targeting one of those hole in the wall restaurants around BF, but I found out through Rina's friend that there was a restaurant that was opening in Alabang Town Center (Not at The Fort, as I originally heard through the grapevine) - one that I had seen and heard about quite often, but never got to try. Wouldn't it be a cool way to celebrate the Chinese New Year weekend at the newly opened P.F. Chang's? 

       And as a lover of the Chinese Cuisine, I swore to myself that as soon as P.F. Chang's opens its doors in the Philippines, I owed it to myself to finally get a taste of what the fuss is all about. So on January 19th, 2012, P.F. Chang's finally opened for business at Alabang Town Center. 

       Two days later, I found myself speeding down South Super Highway on my way to Alabang. 





              I never fail to get lost whenever I'm at Alabang Town Center, but as I think eating at P.F. Chang's was really meant to be, because Rina and I found it immediately even without asking for directions. On our way there, we bumped into Julio and Raquel, so I asked them if they already knew where it was. Raquel said, "Of course, you can't miss it. Just look for the soldiers!". Lo, and behold, as we turned the corner, the imposing statues of the Terracotta Warriors were lined up right before the structure, helping hype up your P.F. Chang's experience. Also present, was the famous 11 foot statue of the majestic stallion that guards the door of the restaurant.

        The horse symbolizes the forbidden city in China. (I don't know why, but that's what their website says.)







             
        The interiors were simply breathtaking. Naturally, the area had the strong influence of the orient in its decors, most noticeably the beautiful tapestry on the wall, however the robust wooden finishing gave the place a strong stamp of the Western world. Considering that they had the whole building to themselves, the place was huge, and could fit approximately 245 guests. 


       In my own, humble opinion, P.F. Changs was successful in transporting you into a world of their own. 



            I'll be honest with you. Since they had only been fully operational for two whole days, I was expecting the service to be terrible. But nothing could have been further from the truth. Our server, the lovely Aira, was a delight to have around (and quite easy on the eyes, so that kinda helped), as was all the other members of the front of the house. They were all pleasant with a cheerful disposition, and kept things casual. You had your usual, "maa'm and "Sir", but they were more than willing to engage you in conversation, and playful banter which made you feel so welcome. 


      The American staff was noticeably present to train the local crew, and were unafraid to get in on the action. But the Pinoys really did a great job in implementing everything they learned. I hope they keep it up when the American staff leaves in Feb.

       Aira showed us the different types of condiments and seasonings that is served with the food, which included chili paste, chili oil, soy sauce, hot mustard and vinegar (did I get it right, Aira?). 


         Then she came up with her own concotion for us which she called "Aira's Bliss Sauce" (or something to that effect) which Julio enjoyed because of the spicy kick it had, courtesy of the generous helping of hot mustard.




        So, we had all our condiments in place, so it was time to get our game face on and see what this P.F. Chang's was really all about. 



THE FOOD


STARTERS





                    The first dish to arrive was the Crab Wonton (Can't remember the price, sorry). On a normal day, I wouldn't have even bothered trying this because I abhor crab, but my sister said to me, "You keep talking about wanting to try P.F. Chang's, now that it's finally here, you won't try all the dishes?". That made perfect sense, so I said to her, Rina and I will share a wonton. 


         Then I closed my eyes and took a bite. I opened them up again, turned to Rina who was waiting for her half of the wonton and said, "Get your own, woman!". 


  

              This is perhaps the ONLY crab dish that I have ever eaten in my entire life. And I LOVED it. 


        In fact, just last week, my cousin Paolo took me to a Chinese restaurant and I even refused to eat their Cream of Corn and Crab soup, even though the crab meat were actually just tiny little bits.

         But this was gooooood. The crab meat was mixed into some sort of cream and spices, rolled up into a little pocket and deep fried beautifully. Basically I liked it because it didn't taste anything like crab. It came with a sweet plum sauce, but I enjoyed it more with the sweetish soy sauce. 




           Of course, you CANNOT go to P.F. Chang's without trying their signature dish, Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wrap (around P285 I think). This is the dish that put P.F. Chang's on the map. Although my request for them to replace the lettuce with bacon was rebuffed, I said I was going to try it anyway. 


       The ground chicken was laid out on a bed of crispy rice noodles, and was mixed with shitake mushrooms and minced water chestnuts.  




             Perhaps the only thing that was giving me apprehensions was the lettuce. Although in the scope of the vegetable world, lettuce is the lesser evil, but it's still a vegetable nonetheless. Before Raquel could give me the same speech she did with the Crab Wonton, I filled up my lettuce cup with chicken and prepared myself for consumption. 


    
                Again, despite it being wrapped in lettuce, it was actually really good! The meat had a nice harmony of sweet and saltiness that balanced each other just right, and you got the crunchy of the lettuce and noodles in every bite. I can't imagine any other situation in which I would be eat lettuce so willingly. 


        But truth be told, in the end, my dislike for vegetables got the better of me and I found myself eating the delicious chicken meat with rice.. Speaking of which...



              P.F. Chang's fried Rice (P209 w/ chicken) is pretty darn awesome. It was soft and sticky with a nice blend of spices and soy that gives a touch of flavor that won't overpower your entrees. It's actually really good even just alone (but eating it alone would mean missing out on other great dishes hehe).  




           Something that was proven to me during my visit to P.F. Chang's was- When it comes to the Sweet and Sour Pork (P265 good for 2) department, we totally smoke the Americans. The dish had a nice sweetness to it, but the meat itself was a bit too chunky and the coating easily peeled off. 

         By no means was this awful, but I've had far better from other local restaurants. I actually enjoyed Harbor City's legendary sweet and sour and even North Park's version more. 




   
         


        Due to his high cholesterol, Julio has gone on a diet, so he chose a dish that he felt would be the most "healthy" for him. I don't know if this is healthy or not, but.. He chose wisely. 


     I loved the Ginger Chicken with Broccoli! First off, they used thin slices of chicken breasts that were so moist and juicy, you wouldn't notice that it was white meat. It was bathed in a lightly sweet thin ginger sauce that help the chicken meat come alive in your taste buds. If you mix the sauce with the rice, you're golden!


    The broccoli.. well.. The Broccoli was there. Julio said it was good. *shrug*





         Even though we had a pork dish already, we decided to go with the Mu Shu Pork (P385 to P400 I think) as our second dish. Its basically minced pork with shredded scrambled egg, mushrooms and bean sprouts, served in a warm Chinese Pancake. 




              The waiter asked us if we wanted him to wrap it for us. Since we had no clue how it was supposed to be wrapped, we were game. He started off by placing hoisin in the center than spreading it out. 




      He dumped the meat inside, folded the sides, spread more hoisin, and viola! You have a neat pocket of meat on your plate!

It looked easy enough, right?




             Then he let me try it. 


          As you can see from his reaction, I got the very first step wrong. Being the carnivore that I am, I went for the meat instead of the sauce. 




             So I thought I was getting the hang of it, and started becoming cocky. Of course when I started to try to fold it, I realized that I may not have gotten everything exactly the way it should be. 



           In the end, it was nowhere near as orderly as the first one the waiter made, but Rina was still proud of my efforts! 


                 Raquel, on the other hand, asked me to get the hell out of there already and let the waiter do his job so she could eat the darn thing! The Hoisin gave it a sweet touch, and the mixture of different flavors brought on by the chicken, egg and vegetables were a delightful combination. 

           Something we realized after devouring most of the dishes was that, everything we ordered had a tinge of sweetness to it. Maybe next time we should take that into consideration hehe.



         Oh, before I forget, Julio ordered the "Buddha Feast" (P195 good for 2), which was basically stir fried vegetables with some baked tofu in it. He seemed to really like it a lot (He's my brother in law, and I love him dearly, but I often worry about poor Julio).


                   
          He bet me that I couldn't down a forkful of the vegetables. I must admit it was a valiant effort on my part, but in the end, Julio won. 

(But only because I was already really full!)




Ground Floor Dining Area


            Because we were so excited just to be there and engrossed in our conversations with Raqs and Julio, Rina and I completely forgot to take pictures of the menu! But as soon as they update their website or post it on their FB or something (Or when I go back, because I plan to again), I'll post it.  


Second Floor dining area

           "Chili's" rate would be a good price range, with dishes ranging from P350-P500. Except the Beef and lamb dishes though.. which goes from around P500 and up. 



              The man behind the legend, Phillip Chiang was here for the opening of the first branch in the Philippines. I told Rina if by chance he's there at the restaurant when we visited, I'd ambush him for a picture. Unfortunately, according to Aira, he had already left. 

          There are a few more dishes that I really want to try, so I'm considering going back there really soon!  


PHOTO ALBUM


             Hanging out with my Stoner friends, the Terracotta soldiers. 


    No matter how macho the horse looked, to Rina it was a "Good Horsey". 


Julio and Raquel's day out without the kids!






Of course a drop of water falls from the sky, and on to my shirt,
 right on my nipple just before I take a picture with a beautiful girl.
And it was a sunny day too, so I have no clue where that drop of water came from. 
I had to explain that I wasn't lactating.

Oh, in case you were wondering who the beautiful girl was in this post's cover photo was, that would be Diane, a member of P.F. Chang's U.S. Crew.

We decided to be just friends, 
because the distance was a bit too much for her to bear. 


And when I say "Distance", I mean "Height difference".


See you again very soon P.F. Chang's! 


HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!






NEXT POST: PART II OF MY TRIP TO THE SOUTH!

23 comments:

  1. Damn! It's too far from my place! Care to bring me there? *wink* *wink* hehehe.

    http://dekaphobe.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alabang is a bit far from my place but we are looking forward to its branch in Fort. Hoping for its success in the Philippines :)

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  3. I've only been to ATC twice. It's just too far for northies like me.. T__T But the interior and food look so good! Will have to convince either the bf or the family to eat here some time soon. It will take a lot of convincing power and maybe a bribe though.. XD Btw, happy Chinese new year and may you this year of the black water dragon bring you love, peace, harmony, good health, wealth and lots and lots more food trips! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello, first time posting here (I think)

    Anyway! You are so funny! :) I'm sorry about your distance problem with Diane! Hahaha!

    We recently just ate here, and we met Diane. She is SO pretty. The food here is delicious, and you're right, the service was great. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sure Michy, what time do I pick you up?? haha!

    Berylle, This whole time I thought it was at the fort! good thing Rina's friend cleared that up for me hehe..

    I know what you mean about ATC, Sumi.. Alabang is tantamount to "Out of town" in my book!

    Thank you for your greeting, and I wish the same to us all!

    Happy New year!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Haha it's ok, Mary.. Time heals all wounds!

    Glad you enjoyed! Please share your blog link here when you post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is awesome especially that i'm included in your blog, Sir. :) haha, just kidding! You have a really huge sense of humor which added more pogi points to you. :) I already shared this page on my facebook, I hope it's okay, and we really hope to see you again at P.F Chang's, it'll always be our pleasure serving you guys! :))

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for sharing, Aira!

    Also, tell your friends about the ongoing contest I'm holding at my blog!

    http://www.thepickiesteater.net/2012/01/pickiest-eater-in-worlds-2012-contest.html

    I hope to see you again soon.. there are so many other dishes I still want to try at P.F. Chang's!

    Regards nalang din kay Diane hehe :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Did you guys get a new camera lens lately? The pics have been becoming even more appetizing post after post :D ! Not to mention the 'bokeh' factor looking creamy like a chocolate milkshake :D

    I did hear this resto planning to invade Asia. Looks like they see that all the discretionary income is actually here in our region :)

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  10. wow, Terracotta soldiers! astig! This is the first time I heard about P.F. Chang's. So, it's an American-owned Chinese resto? Cool. I'd like to try their Mu Shu Pork, it looks really yummy despite the messy appearance after you prepared it, haha! :)

    P.S. thanks for the link love, I just saw it now. I already included you in my blogroll. Keep those insightful and funny food stories coming! :)

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  11. Hey Ray! I got Rina a Nikon 50mm a year ago.. and she's getting more and more adept at using it :)

    When we gonna eat?!

    ReplyDelete
  12. haha thank you Edelweiza!

    Yes, P.F. Chang's is a popular restaurant chain in the US :)

    When you get the chance to visit, share the link here! :)

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  13. I was supposed to go!!! But then it was too far from my place :(

    ReplyDelete
  14. WILL. VISIT.

    The last time I've been to the Alabang area was when I was tasked to visit there by my previous practicum company and that was a long time ago. :)) BUT, I hope to be back soon to try the restaurants there. I've been seeing a lot of buzz for some of the restos in ATC.

    Haaay. I'm craving for Chinese food. I haven't been near a Chinese resto for months after me and my Chinese ex broke up. LOL moving on. :)) HAHAHA! That aside, thanks for sharing this!

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  15. Food Scout: I really cleared my sked just to make it.. it's funny how Alabang feels like its "out of town" to most of us! hehe

    Aileen: The place is beautiful and the food is good! makes for a great post! who knows, you might find Mr. Right there instead of Mr. W(r)ong? hehe

    *rim shot*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Right = Terracotta Warrior

      Haha! Kidding aside, whatever kind of Mr. will be there, I'd still come and try the food! Haha! :))

      Delete
  16. Oh Nikon too! Nice :D

    Yeah let's schedule something soon. Maybe we can ask the Condo Chef to join us also :D That should be fun :D

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  17. I don't know the way to and around ATC but I am a sucker for Chinese food. Thanks to you Sir, I guess I'll be driving and getting lost in Alabang soon. If you see someone crying inside her car because she's lost and still wanting to go to P. F. Chang, that's prolly me.

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  18. Looking forward to you spreading some awesome there, KC!

    Post your link here when you've posted!

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. oh my god i love your blog!!! you have this way of getting readers too attached into reading your posts and i think its really an honest one! will definitely take a picture with you(if you don't mind) when i get a chance! Sana you're always in Alabang nalang!:) Godbless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thank you Anonymous!! That truly means the world to me, knowing you enjoy reading my blog! Haha! try to give a heads up before our pictorial para pwede ako mag pa-parlor muna hehehe

      Thank you again!

      Delete

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