Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cheesecake Factory

Were those gasps of horror? Dear God, Moo! Why would you write about a... *gasp*... chain?!

I have written about chains in past posts and there's already one about Cheesecake Factory. Yes, it's true that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to chains, but I'm a strong believer in moderation. One can neither snub them entirely nor choose them as their only dining option. I do enjoy them occasionally and I have a soft spot for Cheesecake Factory. Well, there's also a soft spot for Outback Steakhouse, but you'll find out why in March. Cheesecake Factory does what chains do best: serve their food consistently. D. and I refuse to wait a few lifetimes for a table, so we'll drop by CF at odd hours. We were in Mission Valley running errands and it was 8:15pm, so we decided to see if the rush was over. It was, indeed, and we waited only 10 minutes for a table.

Our server brought a basket of house bread, including their brown bread. Charlie's Best Bread in Pacific Beach, our favorite bakery, carries a bread they call SQUAW bread. It's very similar to CF's brown bread.

The other loaf is sourdough. For the first time in my visits to CF, the bread was not very good. They tasted ok, but the sourdough's crust was overbaked and the brown bread was smushed flat. I ordered my usual Thai Chicken Pasta. Really, they should call it Thai-inspired pasta, because the only thing remotely Thai about this dish is the peanut-based sauce. Well, that and the bean sprouts. I don't know who thought that a large pile of raw bean sprouts would be a good accompaniment to cooked pasta, but taste-wise, it's a little jarring. However, the sprouts do lighten the heavy pasta and sauce a little bit. Also, they scream ASIAN!!!

I do enjoy that peanut sauce, though. The portions are huge and this plate made for dinner and the next day's lunch. Now, the whole chain-knocking aside, Cheesecake Factory's cheesecakes are mostly very good. Yes, there are a ton of wacky flavors, but almost every single piece I've eaten has been done well.

I was too full to have a slice in-house, so I ordered a slice of Adam's Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple to-go. Now, whoever dreamed up this cake is a fucking genius. In fact, s/he might be a fucking genius who is my long-lost twin. They may as well call it Everything-That-Moowie-Loves cheesecake.

They don't mess with the actual cheesecake. For the most part, it's left alone and they mess with the crust and add toppings. The cheesecake itself was exceptionally good this time around. It was light and creamy. Delicious. The flavors were nicely balanced. Now, for the awesome add-ons. The crust is a Oreo-esque chocolate cookie crust. They put Butterfinger chunks on the crust and on top of the cheesecake. Lots of drizzled chocolate and topped with a swirl of peanut butter icing. Like I said, it's everything I love.

There will be no James Beard awards for CF. Nor should there be. For what it is, I absolutely love it.

2 bites:

Anonymous said...

Right on! I took my sister there for her birthday. I too, ordered APBFR cheesecake. I can't say that I ate it. I experienced it!

Meandering Eats said...

Hey, anonymous! That cheesecake is, indeed, an experience! It's a 3-night dessert for me, because the guilt of consuming all of that cheesecake + chocolate + peanut butter + Butterfinger in one sitting is more than I can handle!

I might try my hand at creating a recipe that copies the cake (I can't find any on the internet), so keep an eye out for updates!

2 bites