I could easily get used to the life of the rich and famous…. a day at the hotel, exercise room, pool and a theatre engagement at night – we splurge and buy tickets to see Broadway Across America’s Billy Elliot, the Musical, at ASU’s Gammage theatre. The theatre’s stage is smaller than the Jubilee’s, with more seating than the Shoctor. It’s an endearing and energetic production with lots of great dancing (love the tap dancing). The audience is sprinkled with many under the age of 10. I wonder what part of the show they will remember….
Before the show, we take the advice of the concierge at the hotel and go to PF Chang’s China Bistro for an early dinner. It’s within walking distance from the theatre. It’s the first time I’ve been to a PF Chang’s. The restaurant chain has over 200 worldwide and began 17 years ago in Scottsdale through a collaboration of Paul Fleming and Peter Chiang. Most locations are corporately owned. Our server is a very personable university student with the right hospitality attitude. Upon learning that this is our first experience, he provides a complimentary dish, the signature Chicken Lettuce Wraps, a mound of bib lettuce with quickly-cooked spiced chicken over fried rice vermicelli. I have to say, (forgive me Peter Jackson) this dish is better than the dish we tried at Redd’s in Yountville. We follow with Almond and Cashew Chicken, stir-fried with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, celery, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts in a garlic soy sauce and Lemon Pepper Shrimp tossed in a tangy sauce and served on a bed of leeks and bean sprouts. Our dining experience is complete with a visit from the manager, Ilona White and we chat for a good ten minutes about life in this part of the world (she is originally from Hawaii) and the food business. Food was great and service was even better. I’ve always been impressed with the level of customer service in the US. Check off another positive experience at, dare I say, a corporate chain restaurant.