Adam Aponte loves P.F. Chang's. A lot.
In fact, he and a friend took off Thursday night on a cross-country road trip to eat their way through seven different P.F. Chang's China Bistro's, in seven different cities from Phoenix to Boston, over the next two weeks.
"And I plan on hitting five more on the way," he said Thursday night at the send-off soiree the Phoenix-founded restaurant chain threw for him and his family and friends...and the media. Oh, and he'll document every bite of Mongolian beef and mu shu chicken on Twitter - in 140 characters or less. (You can follow him at @pfchangs, or on his own account, @marioaa).
Lucky for P.F. Chang's, this guy isn't looking for variety...ever.
Lucky for Aponte, this is a chain that can spot good publicity when it's sitting in the in-box. Thanks to an e-mail Aponte wrote to the company while planning his trip, every meal he eats at the restaurant (which he now plans to do every night of the trip) will be comped by the chain.
But this guy is legit. Aponte, a 25 year-old from Sierra Vista who trains soldiers in technology systems at bases across the country for a living, has the record to prove it. In less than four years on the job, he's been to 14 different states - and 17 different P.F. Chang's. It appears as if he's counted.
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"If it's within 50 miles, I'll go to P.F. Chang's," he said.
When he was in college, there was a Pei Wei (P.F. Chang's marked-down, sped-up spin-off) near his house. "That's probably why I went bankrupt almost, actually, from eating P.F. Chang's all the time. I spent a lot of money at Pei Wei."
It was love at first taste for Aponte. "I do remember my first experience at P.F. Chang's very vividly," he said. "The first thing I ever ordered was Mongolian Beef, and I fell in love with it."
And true love lasts a lifetime...or at least a road trip.