Asian-Austrian Mashup!

Asian and Austria are not two things that naturally go together, unless you are in the world of wine and food pairings, in which case they are practically synonymous.  Hey, I’m not breaking new ground here in this blog, I’m just having fun with culinary adventures.  And Ric is unsuspecting along for the ride, but I have found that he will eat almost anything as long as it is wrapped in a tortilla (as you’ll see below).

As a small business and restaurant owner, I try to eschew national restaurant chains, but I have a small confession to make: I absolutely love P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  There, I said it.  Go ahead and judge me.  I have on several occasions in the last few months snuck over to the location around the corner from the J. Crew on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica (if you know me, that’s the only place I shop and my only point of reference on the Promenade), by myself, and eat them at the bar with my back to the door, just in case.  It’s embarrassing, but the truth.  In order to feed my guilty pleasure without compromising my integrity, I decided to attempt them at home.

The menu was: Sweet & Sour Pork Lettuce Wraps (or Tortillas) with Cilantro Rice, Spicy Ginger Pork Noodles, and Soy/Orange Glazed Vegetables, paired with an elegant, off-dry Austrian Riesling (the bottle somehow got recycled before the photo op but your local wine merchant can help you find something delish).  Full disclosure: the Lettuce Wraps were NOT as good as P.F. Chang’s, alas, however, the Noodles were amazing.  Next time I try the lettuce wraps, perhaps I’ll add some crunchy water chestnuts and maybe add some rice wine vinegar.  For the veggies, I followed the glaze for a Shrimp recipe (with less OJ), and they were quite yummy.

Sorry, if you were hoping for a more inventive mashup like Ginger Soy Wiener Schnitzel Lettuce Wraps, but that would require someone with much more talent and creativity than I possess.  You go ahead and try it and let me know.  You can always try putting it in a tortilla.

Recipes:
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sweet-and-sour-pork-in-lettuce-cups
http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1016023/spicy-ginger-pork-noodles-with-bok-choy.html
http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/orange-glazed-shrimp


Addendum: I tried the Lettuce Wraps again last night, this time using the same flavors as the Pork Noodle recipe, added some chopped water chestnuts and Sriracha, and VOILA, a Lettuce Wrap masterpiece was born!  Paired it with a delightful, light and minerally, Alsacian Sylvaner by Boeckel.  Not an Austrian Reisling, but similar although dry vs. off-dry which was fine since the wraps weren’t that spicy, and still starts with an “A” :)

 

-Jen

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