Prior to last night I had never once in my life eaten a single meal at the Cheesecake Factory. Barring the appeal of eating at the place where Penny works (go watch the Big Bang Theory if you didn’t get that joke) I had noticed a few years ago that this restaurant tends to wind up at the top of an alarming number of the Worst Foods in America lists written by the good people at Eat This, Not That!
It seemed as though if someone were in the market to blow an entire day’s worth of calories at a single meal, the Cheesecake Factory was the place to go. Not just because of the desserts either, their menu items are apparently soaked in butter prior to deep frying in pure animal fat, judging by the calorie content. Needless to say when I was invited to go I suffered some profound hesitation.
As has become my custom, I hit up the online menu to plan my approach prior to actually landing behind enemy lines.
I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that I am not the only one who noticed the restaurant headlining the top of many food-contraband lists made available by Yahoo News. I don’t know when, but at some point they added an entire sizable menu section titled, “SkinnyLicious”. Okay, yeah, the name is dumb. However the food is clearly and concisely broken down into sections by calorie content and I also discovered you can additionally ask the kitchen to prepare your meal any way you’d like to have it – such as holding the butter and/or salt.
So while it’s still possible (and not advisable) to order things there such as a shrimp and bacon sandwich smothered in pure fat dressing and accompanied by a heaping pile of fried things, it’s also possible to make a good choice.
I selected a chicken dish that was grilled and served over a light helping of faro and gently cooked broccoli rabe, covered with a very generous helping of surprisingly fresh tomato and basil. If the menu was correct it clocked in at around 500 calories, which is a perfectly reasonable amount for dinner.
The cheesecake I had for dessert? Not so much, but I surprised myself by being unable to actually finish either that or my meal – I took a good sized serving of chicken and tomatoes home for a work lunch. It’s always good to get confirmation that my appetite and sense of feeling full is still functioning correctly and at normal levels. It’s also so much easier to eat less when the meal is shared by good friends and seasoned with laughter. By the time you remember to take another bite your body has had plenty of time to register that it’s well fed and satisfied.
|It was worth it...|