One of the first things that I remember learning about my husband-to-be is his insane love of cheesecake. White chocolate raspberry, Oreo, New York style with strawberries, chocolate fudge, bananas foster, vanilla bean, pumpkin… In the last eight years, we’ve eaten them all and made most of them, too.
While it’s true that anyone can make a cheesecake (no really, I’ll get around to posting some fantastic and relatively simple recipes), when you want the good stuff, you go to The Cheesecake Factory. And that’s exactly what we did last night for a little birthday get together!
One thing that I love about The Cheesecake Factory is that it is actually impossible to miss. We spotted the quirky architecture and bold colors from across the mall parking lot. One thing that I’m not too crazy about is the insanely large menu that the restaurant boasts. As a Libra, I fully recognize and embrace my indecisive nature, so a twenty-one page menu is the equivalent of very mild torture. First I narrowed it down to a section, then I decided on a different section, so I had two options from those two different sections… Finally, after going back and forth for roughly ten minutes, I decided on the Macaroni and Cheese Burger. I feel like this brilliant concept of adding two American favorites together is so in right now, and I’d never had one! So I threw the healthy food kick out the window for the night and indulged.
Here’s what I received:
And let’s just say, I was not disappointed! It was a charbroiled burger, topped with a fried macaroni and cheese patty and covered in a creamy cheese sauce that was probably my favorite part of the whole thing. The sauce was more subtle than I got from the “cheddar cheese sauce” description, which pleasantly surprised me, and it really brought the whole concept together well. I tried the burger with and without my usual fixings (pickles, onion, and tomato), and as strange as it seems, I think I liked all of it together better than simply the patty and fried cheese ball combo. I have to commend The Cheesecake Factory; what I thought would be a mac ‘n’ cheese-topped burger was actually one complete specialty burger experience. I was quite a fan!
Spencer ordered the Steak Diane, which was equally fantastic. For a non-steakhouse, they did medium rare perfectly, and the mushroom-onion-wine sauce combination was the perfect consistency over the steak. I can’t give you too much insight about it because I got a very generous three bites before the plate was licked clean!
Here’s where I have to admit that I only ate half of my burger (plus the three bites of steak!), but I promise that I had a good reason for it. I grew up in a household where there was a separate “dessert side” of the stomach, meaning even if you were full from dinner, you could probably manage to eat a bowl of ice cream or piece of chocolate pie. Unfortunately, as an adult, I’ve come to learn that the “dessert side” doesn’t have much scientific evidence backing it up. So I stopped mid-munch with the burger and switched gears to the cheesecake.
This time, we went for something a bit different. If you’ve never had the Toasted Marshmallow S’mores Galore cheesecake, you are missing out on a tiny slice of heaven on earth.
This blurry picture (that’s what happens when I forget my camera and am forced to rely on the camera phone) doesn’t do it justice, but it was seriously the best looking cheesecake I have ever eaten. Talk about some gorgeous plating, am I right? A Hershey’s chocolate cheesecake made with a Honey Maid graham cracker crust and topped with chocolate ganache and homemade marshmallows? Divine. The absolute best part were the toasted marshmallows across the top. Word to the wise? Don’t eat all of the marshmallow in the first two bites. Toward the end, the chocolate can get a bit rich, and you’ll want the marshmallow-whipped cream-graham cracker layers to create a perfect bite each time.
Wonderful cheesecake? Check! Fantastic birthday experience for our friend? Check! Beautifully prepared entrees? Check! I have to admit, I had my doubts that The Cheesecake Factory could do everything on its extensive menu well, but the meals have exceeded my expectations every time thus far. One thing I can promise is that I’ll keep going back until I’ve sampled a little bit of everything that they have to offer. Can you say “pumpkin cheesecake?” The thought makes my taste buds sing!