Last night we joined dear friends for a birthday celebration at Falls Church's renowned PEKING GOURMET (http://www.pekinggourmet.com/) which is actually less than 10 minutes from the Potomac bridges to Virginia without traffic! It was a grand feast indeed and also an early celebration of the Chinese New Year (next weekend).
We drank (Samuel had a magnificently decorated Shirley Temple and then a Mango Smoothie--also replete with fans, straws and more) yummy rich Four Hearts Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 from Hartford Court Winery in the Russian River Valley as well as a 2010 Foley Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir.
When we arrived there were those irresistible Chinese noodles on the lazy Susan and we gobbled them up with an even more irresistible Sweet Garlic Sauce which is a wonderful honey-based garlic sauce that is to die for.
Pan Fried Pork Dumplings came first and these are served with your choice of various sauces. There was a soy marinade chock full of jalapeno slices that was perfect. I asked how they get the peppers so mild, and was told by our charming server, Wendy, that the marinades are prepared in the morning so that by evening the jalapeno has become milder--it's perfect. There were also vinegar sauces and a hot chili oil if you need that extra spice.
Vegetable Spring Rolls were crisp and not the least bit greasy and here more sauces arrived in the form of hot Chinese mustard along with sweet & sour.
Back to Wendy, our dream server.....I asked her what her original name was and it was very hard to pronounce, then asked how it became Wendy. She told us that her smile was like Wendy's in Peter Pan--HUUUGE! And it is!
The PEKING DUCK presentation is amazing at Peking Gourmet and worth the splurge. The duck is carved tableside without a touch of fat, the skin perfectly sliced along side it, so you can choose if you wish to make it with just meat or meat and skin in the pancakes. The servers come from all sides to prepare your first pancake with the tasty hoisin sauce, which is not too sweet here as it can often be too cloying. Cucumbers and scallion slices are also served making a truly perfect dish.
Seafood Pan Fried Noodles are homemade and very different from the traditional lo mein or other Chinese noodles. This style is from the north and is closer to a dumpling-style noodle and loaded with shrimp, scallops and amazing tasty Chinese, Tree and Black Mushrooms that are so earthy they really imbue the dish with an extra flavor.
Four Season String Beans are smothered with Garlic and then seasoned with fresh simmered onions and soy sauce; this was a dish that even Sam adored, as we all did.
JEO-YEN SHRIMP are a highlight (well, everything is!) and come with that amazing sweet garlic sauce from the start!
LAMB CHOPS PEKING STYLE are something one does not usually hear about at Chinese establishments. Here, they are tasty New Zealand racks that have been lightly crusted and then deep fried to a medium rare perfection.
Since Chinese desserts are not famed, our friends brought their own HUGE dessert from Gerard's Pastries in Prince George's where they live: a gigantic apple tart loaded with cream in a flaky pastry shell a la PARIS BREST. The restaurant complimented this with MANGO Ice Cream and Candied Walnuts as well as the necessary Fortune Cookies. Another gift from our hosts was an amazing 2006 Bouchaine Bouche d'Or Chardonnay Dessert Wine that disappeared fast!
To quote a famous personage:
I can't believe I ate the whole thing!