If you like Chipotle and you like Panda Express, get a load of this place.
Located in Pasadena, California, Panda Express Innovation Kitchen is really trying something different with your Chinese food. When you walk in, you just can’t help but notice how nice the place looks. The decor reminds you of a fancy restaurant, but it’s a Panda Express. After you get in line, you immediately spot the step by step directions of their menu.
With a Chipotle-type feel, you can make your meal as a salad, in a bowl, or as a wrap(a.k.a. the Panda Express Burrito). Of course I chose the burrito. The wrap is made of a scallion pancake that resembles a tortilla. Then, they let you add Chow Mein and fried rice.
Your choices for your “main” items are some of the best Panda has to offer: Orange Chicken, Bejing Beef, Walnut Shrimp, an amazing Angus Steak, stir fry chicken, and a few other options I didn’t bother to look at. I went with the surf and turf option and chose the angus steak and walnut shrimp.
Next, the veggies, sauces, and more. You can choose between string beans, broccoli, papaya salad, and a garden vegetable mix. As a carnivore at heart, I chose to have my string beans on the side. They had an array of different sauces as well. My suggestions would be the green onion sauces and the samba chili sauce. They really added the flavors I was looking for. Lastly, you can add things like peanuts, cucumber salad, and wonton strips.
And that’s it. The Panda Express Burrito. But how was it? Amazing… The steak was so juicy and the Walnut Shrimp added a nice balance of flavors. During our meal, the manager of the restaurant came up to us and asked us how are experience was and if there was anything we needed or wanted to suggest to help improve the experience. It was great how this Panda Express was being innovative with their restaurant and with their customer service. It was truly one of a kind.
Photo Source: Latimes.com and Kevin Laparan