Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Cheesecake Factory®

San Mateo, CA

Road-trip breakfast/"Brunch" to
the Cheesecake Factory® at their newest restaurant in San Mateo at the Hillsdale Shopping Center. I went with a small group of thirteen other people. We got there just as they were opening and the place is big enough that they were able to seat all fourteen of us pretty quickly and all at one table. This location just opened last week and this was the first Sunday that they were open for "Sunday Brunch" (so it was a good thing we went today and not on Saturday).

This was the first time I have ever eaten at the Cheesecake Factory and I was surprised at the amount of things that they offer for breakfast/"Brunch". There were enough of us that we got a chance to order a bunch of different meals with no duplications: Luke got Factory Huevos Rancheros (off the "Eggs & Omelettes" menu); Zaria had Crab Hash (off the "Sunday Brunch" menu); Steve had Baja Chicken Hash (off the "Sunday Brunch Menu"); David had Bourbon Street Omelette (off the "Eggs & Omelettes" menu); Eva had the French Toast (just the standard version and not the Napoleon[1], which I was leaning toward, off the "Sunday Brunch" menu); Miss Paris had the Mini Egg Breakfast (off the "Eggs & Omelettes" menu); Jeannette and Jon both ordered sandwiches (off the standard menu) ~ I didn't catch what Jeannette ordered, but Jon had the Portobello Mushroom burger; I didn't note what was ordered at the other end of the table (sorry, but the list was getting long and my memory isn't quite… what was I saying?); and I had a California Omelette (off the "Eggs & Omelettes" menu).


I liked my omelette well enough (it came with toast and hash browns ~ I asked for no toast, as I was trying to save room for cheesecake); it was chock full o' fresh ingredients (always a plus): Avocado, Mushrooms, Green Onion, Tomato, Garlic and Shallots, Sour Cream, Jack Cheddar and Swiss Cheese. Luke liked his huevos (that sounds kinda Freudian), but said they don't compare to the version at Buck's of Woodside[2]. Zaria said she liked her meal, but it could have had more crab meat in it. Steve said he really liked his meal (and if I was a dead, decaying foul fowl eater, I probably would have liked this, too, as it looked pretty decent), but I have never known Steve to not clean his plate completely. David also said he liked his omelette, but that it was a little "greasy" (I chalk that up to the Andouille sausage). The major complaint came from Eva; she said that her French Toast seemed under-cooked/soggy in the middle (well, it was not Baker Street Bistro, after all).

The Cheesecake Factory offers as condimentary supplements just ketchup and Tabasco® (the standard red). Knowing that there would be a pretty good crowd of us, I came well equipped this morning with four from my own collection: Trees Can't Dance ~ African Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Cindy and Greg!); Sylvia's Restaurant® ~ Kickin' Hot Hot Sauce (Thanks, Sean!); Blair's Sudden Death Sauce® (Thanks a lot, ~ sarcasm ~ Mom!); and Benito's Original Naranja (Thanks, me!). I used the Benito's on my hash browns and some Sylvia's on the omelette. Jon tried both the
Benito's and Trees Can't Dance; he said he liked the Trees Can't Dance the best. I did get a number of people at the table to try the Blair's (even Miss Paris bravely tried a tiny amount, and poor Luke tried some unwittingly ~ sorry); the general consensus was that it was extremely, stupidly hot (I also used a little on my omelette ~ very sparingly, of course); I have a feeling that I will be "enjoying" that small bottle for another five years or more.

All in all, it was a fun road-trip breakfast. I am just disappointed with myself as I was fully planning on getting a piece of cheesecake for dessert ~ and I even had the Key Lime all picked out ~ but I really wasn't hungry enough
("You flew all the way to Vienna and they were out of Apfelstrudel[3], so you just had a cuppa coffee instead?"). I am not accustomed to ordering dessert with breakfast normally. On the bright side, no one else was hungry enough to order any cheesecake, either.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: California Omelette ~ 6.5; (I didn't actually poll the rest of the table for their GBS scores, as I would have had to explain the intricacies to each and every person; plus, I would have had to try and remember everyone's ratings)

[1] Completely useless, boring cunning linguist pointer of the day, la première partie (and even a bit of a culinary lesson):

Interestingly enough, this style of layered dessert (or in this case, French Toast) is usually called "Mille-feuille" in French, which means "a thousand sheets". The alternate name "Napoleon" doesn't really refer to the French Emperor, but comes from "napolitain", the French adjective for the city of Naples; it may just have been altered in association with ol' Boney-part.

[2] I really need to make another road-trip down to Buck's and do a 'blog-entry about it. They really do make an excellent Huevos Rancheros; it compares to some of the best ones I have ever had in la Misión.

[3] Completely useless, boring cunning linguist pointer of the day, der zweite Teil (and yet still another culinary/dessert lesson):

"Apfelstrudel" comes from the German combined form of "Apfel", meaning "apple" (gee, that is a stretch), and "Strudel", which comes from the Middle High German meaning "whirlpool" or "eddy". Maybe it has something to do with the "swirling" pastry form. Just don't ask me to explain "Schlagsahne".

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