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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sunnyvale History, Chinese Fusion, PF Changs!

I visit a lot of national-chain type restaurants, I don't know if that's good for a self-proclaimed food blogger, but it's my opinion that ALL dining establishments get a chance. Sure, they have better marketing and corporate backing, but they have to run their shop just like the mom-and-pops do, with managers, food servers, dishwashers, accounting, etc., just like others.

Last night, we visited the
PF Changs branch in Sunnyvale, at the corner of El Camino Real and Mathilda (in the Cherry Orchard shopping center), as we have many times before. As usual, the service was outstanding, the food above average, and the atmosphere a mix of social and private (not sure how they do that, I am sure it's the lighting). Our waiters name was Ryan, and I gave a tip more than I usually would because of how attentive he was. This branch was the first in the south bay, and is still be best. The others just can't match this one, probably superior management. Downtown San Jose is okay, but should be better considering the location (and SJ Redevelopment Agency sponsorship!); the newest branch at Pacific Commons in Fremont can be skipped altogether, not sure what happened there.

I was able to make a reservation, which I have learned is absolutely neccesary for this place on a weekend night unless you have 2 hours to kill. Parking is a nightmare, but always make a first pass drive-by the front of the restaurant, you sometimes find a motorists pot-of-gold (a parking space). If you don't get a spot, cruise past the $6 valet service, and continue around to the parking area at the Cherry Orchard apartments.

Browsing through the menu, anyone can quickly find things they like and don't like. Although most items are prepared better than you or anyone you know can do at home, the only items I recommend staying away from is the curry dishes (they put a strange lime flavoring in it and it just doesn't seem right). We usually get fried crab wontons for apps, a noodle, a chicken or beef, and a seafood dish with brown rice. The ginger peach decaf hot tea goes well with anything. We splurged last night and got the fried banana spring roll/ice cream for desert, well worth it. We always have enough to take home to reheat for lunch the next day, so when you get the bill, think of it as though you are paying for to 2 meals. The two of us got out of there for $55 total
(so actually, 4 meals!)

Asian-fusion cooking is not authentic, not very healthy, and can be pricey. But I can't get enough of it! Americans love comfort food, and it's not a sin, just don't fill your gut with this stuff everyday. So, if you are in the mood, have some extra $$, and have the foresight to call ahead, do youself a favor and check this place out. If you get there early enough, you can even check out a piece of south bay living history at the Cherry Orchard fruit market, in use since

Coming soon....recent recommendations......
Poor House Bistro, Billy Berks

-Tom W Tell

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