Beijing Beef at Panda Express
Stopping for a quick bite in the middle of nowhere, I spotted a Panda Express for dinner. Normally, I am OK with PE and am usually satisfied with their Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Shrimp, and Fried Rice. This time I tried the new Beijing Beef. It is bad. There was too much cornstarch and too little beef. The sauce had near zero flavor and the texture was not even "crunchy" as advertised. I was expecting the dish to actually taste like crispy wok-fried beef, but was sadly mistaken. My Orange Chicken and rice were great.
Ironically, my fortune cookie said, "Treat Yourself to Something of Quality."
Panda Express' Beijing Beef at Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA is quite good, it would be exceptional except I find it to have a little to much red pepper flake. The beef is cruchy yet very tender, and extremely flavorful. The only down side is the heat factor. I have to pick out the pepper seeds and hot red pepper skins and have a glass of milk handy. I still order it for lunch 2-3 times a week but would like it to have a little less heat.
I got to try a taste of this over the weekend, and to no one's surprise, the Beijing Beef like all other dishes at Panda Express is meant as a means to wash down all that rice, or fried rice, they give you.
It's savory, sweet, gooey and the perfect thing to make plain white rice really, really tasty.
It's funny how in the middle of nowhere can be smack dab in the middle of everything. We went to an area yesterday and where there are a TON of restaurants...several really good places and a couple of korean bbq places I want to try. However, I've learned that going to a place where the sign isn't in English with tired kids along for the meal is not a good idea....so we went to panda express, which is "safe", if nothing else.
I got the bejing beef/orange chicken/kung pao chicken...the beef was crispy and to my surprise, pretty spicy for where we were....but there was WAY too much sweetness in it. If they would cut the corn syrup by about 75%, they'd really have something. To the poster above that calls orange chicken "sugar meat", you need to try a bite of this just for the experience!
My 4.y.o ate the orange chicken, so I can't comment on that other than she must have liked it, she ate it all.