I don’t dine regularly at P.F. Chang’s because the horse statues in front of their restaurants freak me out. I swear they’re watching me with their blank stone eyes. I’m also afraid, while during the 30-45 minute wait time to be seated, the statues will start glowing, come to life and then chase after me like I’m in an episode of Scooby-Doo.
But I don’t have to face possible horse spirits anymore because I can now enjoy P.F. Chang’s at home with only my personal demons, thanks to their Home Menu line of frozen meals. There are eight varieties: Beef with Broccoli, Orange Chicken, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Ginger Chicken & Broccoli, Shrimp in a Garlic Sauce, General Chang’s Chicken, Shrimp Lo Mein and Shanghai Style Beef.
However, with the Shrimp Lo Mein and Shanghai Style Beef, you won’t be experiencing the frozen versions what you would get at a P.F. Chang’s restaurant since they don’t appear on the menu. The Shanghai Style Beef contains slices of beef with a sweet and savory sauce, onions, string beans and red bell peppers. Unfortunately, unlike the Wanchai Ferry frozen meals, the P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Shanghai Style Beef doesn’t include a starch, like rice or noodles.
To prepare the meal that foolishly doesn’t include rice, you have the option of either preparing it on the stove top or in the way that would’ve made Percy Spencer elated. Since he’s dead and I don’t expect what’s left of his body to start glowing, come back to life and chase after me, I decided to shun Percy Spencer’s invention and kick it stove top style, which involved dumping the contents of the bag into a skillet and letting everything cook for several minutes.
When prepared, the P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Shanghai Style Beef is a very pretty dish. The string beans are a healthy green, like alluring green eyes; the bell peppers are a nice bright red, like luscious red lips; and the beef comes in an edible shade of brown, like perfectly tanned skin. It’s so pretty that if it were a woman in a nightclub, I’d go up to her and say, “You have a beautiful face. I hope it’s the first thing I see when I wake up tomorrow morning.” After that line, I’d expect her to pour her Cosmopolitan on top of my head, laugh at me and yell “jerk” as she storms away.
While it looks pretty on the outside, making out…I mean, eating it out…I mean, consuming it helped me discover that it might be better to look at than eat. The sauce is supposed to be sweet and savory, and it is. But it’s also too mild for my tastes. As for the beef, the slices are a nice size, but I was disappointed I couldn’t really taste the flavor of the beef.
The only things the P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Shanghai Style Beef really has going for itself are the serving sizes, which I thought were ample for two people, and the fact I don’t have to make eye contact with eerie stone horses to eat P.F. Chang’s food.
(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 package (312 g) – 320 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1010 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, 17 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 20% vitamin C and 30% iron.)
Item: P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Shanghai Style Beef
Size: 22 ounces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Quick to prepare on the stove. Looks really good. Good sized portions for two people. Allows me to eat P.F. Chang’s food without having to make eye contact with scary stone horses. Knowing who the inventor of the microwave oven is. Scooby Doo.
Cons: Sauce is too mild for my tastes. Lacks rice or noodles, which other Asian frozen meal competitors have. Can’t really taste the flavor of the beef. Awesome source of sodium. Waiting for a table at P.F. Chang’s. The horse statues outside of a P.F. Chang’s restaurant.