How 'Bout Them Knockers: Panda Delite

Panda Delite
1060 W. Frankford, Carrollton

Promised delivery time: 35 minutes
Actual delivery time: 46 minutes

The Score
Near-promptness: 43
Phone patience required: -3
Old fashioned boxes: 15
Semi-cold food: -6
Spending threshold: -9
Self-effacing, totally open, honest and unabashed delivery guy: 30
Degree of difficulty: 8

Total Score: 78

Overall Standings
Nandina Asian Tapas 93
Panda Delite 78
Zini's Pizzeria 51

See the final 2008 Standings here.

At some point after America's fascination with the chop suey contrivance wore off, General Tsao marshaled his forces and filled the "Chinese" food gap. For many home delivery joints--the one's with Panda, Peking, or possibly even The Chairman in their names--it's their best selling dish.

The combination of fried chicken, sweet and sour glop, dried chilis (usually) and vegetables has become part of the American culinary canon thanks to its rich, hearty and approachable nature--not too "foreign," in other words.

Panda Delite's iteration is milder and more subtle than most...interpreting "subtle" in the broadest of terms. Centered on a dense wine sauce, less sticky and gloppish than usual, it offers up a modest kick. Much of the time their crust holds its own, retaining some crunch despite wallowing in the reddish-hued sauce pool. This go-round, however, the dish apparently sat for awhile soaking up some of the liquid. It was a cool, soggy batch.

Oh, well--the delivery guy makes up for some resulting disappointment. He must be the most affable, honest, unabashed driver in the city. He always seems pleased to speak with someone but cannot bring himself to risk more than a little direct eye contact...which would make you think he's hiding some vicious secret, like slaughtering reluctant tippers or something, if he weren't so damn chatty. This time around, he revealed a desire to leave the service sector. Too bad.

His arrival time was a little behind the promise made by the thick Asian accent on the other end of the phone. But I did sneak away early on a Friday, placing my order at the height of rush hour--contributing, perhaps, to the weaker-then-usual performance.

I also docked them for a minimum order policy set at $12. At that price, you end up with far more than one person can cram down in a sitting. On the plus side, everything arrives in environmentally friendlier than styrofoam boxes, the kind that were common back in the days of chop suey and egg fu yong.

A gentleman's C+.

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