Oh my Yum…

I skipped lunch today and purposely drove home after work starving, tummy-growling hungry. Why? Because I knew my dinner of left-overs was going to be amazing.

Last night, M & I went to Peter Chang‘s, a restaurant that opened in Fredericksburg a couple of weeks ago.  First, I’d like to roll my eyes at M’s failure to communicate: I was fully expecting another Chinese buffet or Hibachi: Fredericksburg clearly needs more of those.

Our server’s name was Susie, and she was great. She was attentive, pleasant, and gave us some background on the dishes (served in clay pots the same way they are served in the markets in China).  She also mentioned, unfortunately, that most people are asking for the General Tso’s chicken. This is NOT a Gen. Tso’s kind of place. If that’s what you want….head to Fortune’s or order some takeout.

The restaurant is wide and open, and had a steady flow of diners. The me

nu is pretty substantial, broken down by appetizers, soups, types of meat, noodles & rice.   And….it has puffed pancakes.

Puffed Pancakes!The size of his head!

 

A puffed pancake is kind of like Roti on crack. It’s basically thin layers of dough pressed together, then dropped into super-high heat, and the end result is a hollow, magical balloon of deliciousness. You pop it, tear it into pieces, and dip it into a nice yellow curry sauce (not spicy). The dish comes with two puffs, and probably should be split between 3-4 people. M & I managed to kill ours, of course.

This puff was the perfect way to start off: it reminded me of traipsing around Malaysia on a hot muggy night with M’s Grannie yelling directions in Hokkien to find the best late-night Roti spot. It’s a fun, happy, inclusive type of food.

M ordered a cilantro-fish springroll. Another dish meant to share (seeing a theme?), these were thing, cigar-shaped eggrolls stuffed with cilantro and seafood. M enjoyed them, but they could use a sauce for dipping/moisture. Cilantro-fish Egg Roll

For our entrees, we knew the dishes are meant to be shared, but we both wanted different things. M got a clay pot of mixed seafood in spicy black

Seafood

bean sauce. It was one Pepper on the menu and was a pleasingly tingly spice level. The seafood included shrimp, squid, fish, and scallops, as well as garlic cloves, mushrooms, and red peppers. A warm, soupy family.

 

I got a two-Pepper dish – Chicken with Onion and Chili served in a strainer-type basket over a flame. You stir every 2 minutes until the flame goes out, keeping it hot and making it fun! This dish had a nice burn that sticks to your lips, but is slightly addictive. That “but it hurts so good!” kind of deal. Spicy Chicken

We both had fried rice for our sides – well made, a nice blend of soy, veggies, and well-cooked rice. And Diet Pepsis. We were being boring on the drinks.

Friends, be warned: I am going to demand this place for my birthday dinner in October.

Firebirds

We all have different tastes, but I’m willing to bet every one has a restaurant (or more!) that never fails. I have a few, but tonight, I went to Firebirds.

Firebirds opened a few years ago in a newly revitalized area behind Fredericksburg’s mall. They emphasize their wood-burning grill, set in a cozy brick-lined open dining area off the entry way. When you first walk in, you see my usual spot: the bar.

Firebirds has a great happy hour. Monday through Thursday through 7:00 p.m. It includes half off bar snacks, $5.00 martinis, and half-price glasses of wine. I always, 99% of the time, always get the Double Black Diamond martini. It is a perfect drink – winter, spring, fall, summer, Armageddon. Simple, but sweet, the Double Black Diamond is shaken at your table and poured into a glass topped with a slice of fresh pineapple. The ingredients are few – pineapple juice and vodka, but they are wonderful friends.

My go-to meal item is always the same: Grilled Tenderloin Salad. I occasionally (maybe twice?) mix it up and get the Prime Rib. But usually, I’m all about the salad. Grilled beef tenderloin (I like mine Medium) sliced on top of a heaping bed of mixed greens, drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, and covered with crumbled blue cheese. Diced tomatoes add a little extra juice, which melds with the vinaigrette and cheese to create a warm peachy creamy dressing. The salad is big, and with the meat, very filling. It is meant to be savored, and I often find myself taking a full hour or more to eat it. The combination of talking to great friends and a desire to savor make it last!

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http://www.firebirdsrestaurants.com/fb/locations/fredericksburg-va

Firebirds consistently has great service, and the food is always well-prepared. I have been there close to 20 times, and have not had a single complaint!