P F Changs is the nationwide-and-still-growing chain whose mission it is to bring quality, affordable Asian food to the unwashed masses. The flagship P F Changs chain has proven so successful that a dozen or so years ago, Changs gave birth to Pei Wei, the fast-casual arm of the business, where hungry diners could queue up for counter service for food featuring the same stellar quality as the flagship chain. Pei Wei by itself has expanded to two dozen states, and in need of a serious Asian fix on the fly, I called in an order for takeout, then schlepped it home myself, taking care to park in one of the takeaway parking spaces thoughtfully provided by management.
My lovely spouse the Rock Star loves her some Asian food, however she has confessed to me that she has lost her taste for Chinese. Happily, Pei Wei features quality Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai food, so this was not a problem. When she's not in a sushi mood, Pad Thai is her Oriental selection of choice (yes, I still like to use the old-school term oriental on occasion; I don't think it's politically incorrect. If so I apologize.) Pei Wei's Pad Thai is marvelous: Delicious chunks of chicken (her choice) are combined with Thai sweet and sour sauce, tofu, bean sprouts, scallions, egg, crushed peanuts, lime, cilantro, and rice noodles combine into a first-rate dish that is both bracing and eminently satisfying. I opted for the Beef Mandarin Kung Pao and was rewarded with exceptionally tender beef, savory with every bite, served with chili-seared soy sauce, scallion, garlic, snap peas, carrots, and most important to me, peanuts. This latter ingredient imparted a touch of Thai to this basically Chinese dish, and we were both immensely pleased with our selections. Website is http://www.peiwei.com/ if you should care to investigate. Start your own Asian dinein or takeout tradition soon, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!