Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Cheesecake Factory - The BIG 2-3!!

Restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory
Address: 251 Geary Street, Macy’s 8th Floor, San Francisco
Cuisine: Fusion
Date Visited: March 16, 2007
Dining Partner: Ate Di

I think it’s about time that I did a post on this place. I only seem to go here on special occasions, like birthdays and reunions. The last time I went was on my birthday. Ate Di and I met in the City to have some “girl-time,” and we were literally standing in the middle of Downtown asking each other, “Where do you want to eat?”

It’s pretty hard to make a decision because there are SOOOO many good places here in San Francisco. We ended up going to The Cheesecake Factory because it’s reliable and they have bomb desserts. As we all know, the wait for a table is typically an hour, but since Ate Di and I can talk up a storm, the hour went by so quickly.

We finally get to the table which was one of those that had a booth seat and a chair. Ate Di said, “Oh, since it’s your birthday, you can have the booth.” Right in front of the waitress. Slick, Ate Di, slick.

We ended up ordering a lot of food. Hey, it wasn’t me, Ate Di was doing all the ordering. To start off, I had a Lemondrop martini. Sorry, no pic for that. It wasn’t that good anyway. The glass was sticky. Yuck. But the food made up for it.

First we got the Fried Calamari that were served with Garlic Dip and Cocktail Sauce. There is nothing like a nice hot plate of crunchy calamari. It’s a classic and it was perfectly done. The squid was not rubbery at all. Awesome.

Then the Tamale Cakes that were topped with Sour Cream, Salsa, Avocado and Salsa Verde. I was kind of nervous about this, but in all honesty, I ate half of the plate, and this platter was huge! The maza (or corn batter) which the tamale cakes were made out of was sweet, and the contrast of the tanginess of the sour cream, the spiciness of the salsa and richness of the fresh avocado with it was delectable.

By the time we got our entrees, we were already stuffed just off the appetizers.

I ordered the Chicken Madeira: Sauteed Chicken Breast Topped with Fresh Asparagus and Melted Mozzarella Cheese, Covered with Fresh Mushroom Madeira Sauce and Served with Mashed Potatoes. Chicken, cheese, mushrooms, potatoes. If I had a list of my favorite ingredients, those would be at the top. No wonder this is their most popular chicken entrée. Loved it!

Ate Di ordered the Herb-Crusted Filet of Salmon: Fresh Salmon with a Delicious Lemon Sauce, Asparagus and Mashed Potatoes. I don't have a picture for that, but it looked mighty tasty!

Good Lord, was I FULL! I only took one bite out of my chicken and was already asking the waitress for to-go containers. The waitress came by with the dessert menu and Ate Di suggested we get the strawberry shortcake. I was all for it because strawberries are my ALL-TIME favorite fruit. She then asked if I wanted something else. I gave her a weird look. Um, Ate, you just ordered me a cocktail, 2 appetizers, an entrée, and a dessert! I was completely satisfied. I thought it was weird why she was asking if I wanted more.

Then I found out. The waiters and waitresses came out with this:

Shortcake Topped with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries and Whipped Cream…with a candle!!!

Remember when Ate Di was asking what else I wanted? She actually said, “Joanne, do you want anything else?” The waitress was right next to her and she had a little note in the dessert menu that said, “What’s her name?” Pertaining to me, the birthday girl. They sang me “Happy Birthday” and after they got to the part that goes, “Happy birthday, dear Joaaaaaaaaanne…” I said, “And they spelled my name right!”

This has got to be the best dessert ever. I know we didn’t have cheesecake, but this was so much better. It is a lot lighter than cheesecake, so that meant we could eat more of it. They don’t use pound cake or sponge cake, like most places. Instead, they made it with biscuit-type shortbread. I loved it! Now at home, I make my strawberry shortcake with biscuits. The strawberries were sweet. The vanilla ice-cream is delicious, as always. And the whipped cream was over the top.

Oh man, this was perfect: a dinner with one of my best girls, a beautiful array of flavors and great conversation. Can’t beat that!! Whenever someone says, “The Cheesecake Factory,” my mouth starts to salivate. I love this place even though the wait is pretty long. The sun was setting as we were enjoying our meal, so the mood was very sensual and dark. I loved it.

Thank you, Ate Di!! My birthday dinner was awesome!

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