August 20, 2013

Gluten Free GNO at P.F. Chang's

Confession: At some point near the end of May I got super sick. I'll save you the details, but it involved my GI tract and lasted about two and a half months. Lots of tests and procedures, thousands of dollars and a heavy dose of antibiotics later, this past week I finally got my appetite back and could enjoy food again. Obviously that was cause for a celebration. Friday after work, I grabbed my gluten free bestie, Alexandra, and we headed to our local Chang's in downtown Chicago for a much needed girls' night out.

Recently P.F. Chang's graciously sent me a gift card to use towards their new Summer Seasonal Menu. Chef Yuji Iwasa created a handful of new dishes using the wonderful fresh vegetables that summer brings. Think summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, and mango. Out of the six new summer items, there is only one gluten free option, the Summer Vegetable Quinoa "Fried Rice". This dish is lightly toasted red quinoa with sunburst squash, mango, grape tomatoes, snow peas, and topped with a fried egg. Check it:

Summer Vegetable Quinoa "Fried Rice"

While it sounds delicious in theory, we both though it could have used more flavor.  Our quinoa dish didn't have as many vegetables as I had hoped, and I couldn't taste any mango. The quinoa was a little too bland for my liking. I usually like to cook it in a gluten free chicken or vegetable broth to give it a bit more flavor. The egg was a bit too over-fried as well. I might try and create this dish at home to see if I can add some pizzazz to it, P.F. Chang's shared the recipes for the summer dishes. It looks like most of them can be made gluten free if you substitute soy sauce for gluten free soy sauce or tamari sauce.

Despite the summer quinoa dish falling a little flat, it didn't ruin our meal in the least! We indulged in some summer cocktails; I went for the seasonal Long Island Rum Tea and Alexandra went for the classic Yuzu Ginger Mojito. Sugary, boozy sweetness.

Yuzu Ginger Mojito and Long Island Rum Tea

Gluten free chicken lettuce wraps were had and we opted for trying a new mainstay to the gluten free menu, the GF Shaking Beef. Fantastic! Tender flank steak with broccolini, tomatoes and red onions served on a bed of mixed baby greens with a zesty lime vinaigrette. I will definitely order it again.

GF Shaking Beef

We couldn't pass up one of my favorite menu items, the GF Chang's Spicy Chicken. It's heavenly. Lightly battered juicy chicken pieces with a sweet & spicy sauce, it's pretty much a sophisticated chicken nuggets dipped in sweet & sour sauce and I highly recommend it.

GF Chang's Spicy Chicken

Not being able to finish the entrees, we skipped dessert, but I can't not tell you about the flourless chocolate dome. When you visit P.F. Chang's make sure to save room for this beautiful work of art:

Flourless Chocolate Dome (photo credit: P.F. Chang's)

It's so decadent!

Have you dined at P.F. Chang's before? What's your favorite gluten free menu item?

*P.F. Chang's sent me a gift card to purchase items for this review. All opinions in this post are completely my own. P.F. Chang's has a high standard of gluten free kitchen practices. If you're nervous about dining out, here are my tips to help you!


Alissa said...

I looooove the Chang's Spicy Chicken. It might be one of my favorite restaurant dishes ever. I usually don't get a cocktail, but those drinks sure look yummy. I see a trip in my near future...

Betsy Thompson said...

Right?! Mine too! I usually just get wine, but since I was trying to go all out with the summer menu, figured I better try the fancy drink. It was really sweet!