Cheesecake Factory

Written by on March 3, 2011 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Newport Beach  

How I heard of this place: The first time I learned of the Cheesecake Factory was from my sister, Mojgan, years ago. This Cheesecake Factory is no different.

Type of cuisine: A typical corporate-style chain establishment, with a variety of options including pizzas, salads, burgers, and pastas in flavors inspired by Mexico, Italy, North America,and beyond .

Ambiance: A large establishment, with high ceilings, yellowed walls and decorative glass light fixtures, both hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. Dark brown, wooden backed booths and chair-table seating (in the bar as well) can be found throughout the small spaces created in the venue. Music plays in the background on this evening, sometimes loudly, as the hustle and bustle of restaurant spaces can be heard and felt. Patrons are not shy to speak to their dining companions aloud, but rarely do conversation topics make it to the neighboring tables. The staff, clad in white jeans and button-up shirts, white aprons and shoes are never far away, very friendly and eager to please. At the entrance, like other Factories, hostesses smile behind a large wood and granite slab-lined podium, awaiting the name and number in your party. As you wait for your name to be called, one can visit the cheesecakes and seven-layer cakes on display at the take-away counter, or make your selections for dessert! The tiled floor always sparkles with shine, as your party is guided to its seats. Tall, green plants create a sense of nature in an otherwise dimly-lit, modern-Romanesque setting. Windows along the front side of the establishment look out over the beach, and the beautiful summer sky as it changes from blue to orange to pink with the setting sun.

Cheesecake Factory Fashion Island

What I ordered: Upon being seated, I knew Mojgan needed an order of the Avocado Eggrolls ($9.95), so I immediately ordered those, and three glasses of water without ice, before even taking a glance at the menu. When my two dining companions took their seats, we also ordered the Buffalo Blasts ($9.95) to start.

Cheesecake Factory Buffalo Blasts

The Avocado Eggrolls, always a hit between my sister and I, served over a bed of crispy rice noodles, include avocado, sun-dried tomato, red onion and cilantro fried in a crisp wrapper and served with a tamarind-cashew dipping sauce. The Buffalo Blasts, a new favorite, include chicken, cheese and spicy buffalo sauce all stuffed in a spiced wrapper and fried until crisp, served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. For our main entrees, my sister and I shared the Cajun Jambalaya ($16.95), the CFs most popular pasta dish! Shrimp and chicken are sautéed with onions, tomato and peppers in a very spicy Cajun sauce and served over rice. Our dining companion ordered the Fresh Grilled Salmon ($19.95) with mashed potatoes and large spears of asparagus. For dessert, we left the ordering to our dining companion, who enthusiastically ordered the Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake ($7.95), with moist layers of red velvet cake and the Original Cheesecake covered with special Cheesecake Factory cream cheese frosting. He also chose the Dulce de Leche Caramel Cheesecake ($6.95), caramel cheesecake topped with caramel mousse on a vanilla crust.

On a return visit, Wednesday, June 5, 2013My sister revived our visit two years ago with another trip to this Cheesecake Factory after a day in class. We were delighted to find a new menu!

Cheesecake Factory SkinnyLicious Menu

As we perused these lower-calorie options, our server brought us a basket of bread with butter.

Cheesecake Factory Bread Basket

My sister ordered the SkinnyLicious Grilled Turkey Burger ($9.95), minus the bun: combined with fresh mushrooms, garlic and spices, served with grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a green salad.

Cheesecake Factory Turkey Burger

I chose the SkinnyLicious Turkey & Avocado Sandwich ($9.95): freshly roasted turkey breast, smoked bacon, avocado, tomato and mayonnaise on a toasted bun, served with a green salad.

Cheesecake Factory Turkey & Avocado Sandwich

My husband continued his deep-fried frenzy with the Fried Chicken Salad ($13.95) complete with mixed greens, tomato and green beans, topped with grilled corn, glazed pecans and honey mustard tossed with a house-made Buttermilk-Black Pepper Dressing.

Cheesecake Factory Fried Chicken Salad

We completed our scrumptious late lunch with the new Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake ($): Oreo cookies baked in the Cheesecake Factory’s creamy cheesecake with layers of fudge cake and Oreo cookie mousse, topped with a milk chocolate icing

Cheesecake Factory Oreo Cookie Cheesecake

What I loved: The two appetizers were absolutely tasty and full of rich flavor. The spicy buffalo blasts, served samosa style, and the sweet sauce over the creamy avocado rolls were the perfect start to breaking the second day of the Baha’i Fast. The salmon was soft and tender, light, flaky and fresh, and paired well with the creamy, buttered mashed potatoes. The asparagus served crispy and lightly salty. I really enjoyed the spicy jambalaya, with marinated chicken and tender shrimp, fajita-style vegetables and full of flavor. Of the two desserts, the dulce de leche caramel cheesecake won my vote, even though I could barely eat more than two bites.

Why I loved it: The portions are huge and the food consistently good. You know what you are going to get at the Cheesecake Factory, where everything tastes the same from Seattle to Las Vegas, from Orange County to Bellevue.

Cost: Average to high ($9.95-$19.95 per entree)

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