Since kicking my meat habit, I’ve only visited The Cheesecake Factory maybe once or twice. On both occasions, I recall ordering a fish dish. On my most recent visit, with a few gift cards in hand, I decided to go completely vegetarian, and I lived to tell about it!
Over the holidays, I was happily littered with gift cards to The Cheesecake Factory. [Side note: In most cases, littered would usually refer to a large amount of something. However, in this particular case, it simply refers to two.] I admit that when I received the first one, which was for $10, I wasn’t that excited. Now, I did love The Cheesecake Factory years ago. In fact, the Spicy Cashew Chicken was my ultimate favorite dish. Out of the pages upon pages of selections available, I always ended up with a plate of spicy chicken atop white rice and sprinkled with cashews, and it never disappointed. But in my new meat-free eating, I-only-visit-locally-owned-restaurants life, I had grown quite “blah” about the place. So, I put the gift card aside and hoped that maybe one day there would be a use for it.
Then, I received the second one. The second card, which was for $25, completely sealed the deal and within days of receiving it, I found myself sitting at The Cheesecake Factory.
Before arriving, I had already decided on what I would order: Beets with Goat Cheese, which was on the small plates and snacks menu, was a dish with baby arugula, pecans, beets, apples, and vinaigrette, and Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta. which had broccoli, oven-dried tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, artichoke, kalamata olives, garlic, and pine nuts.
Here’s what I loved about the two dishes:
- I really liked the pecans in the beets with goat cheese dish, which isn’t saying much. See the What I didn’t love section for more on this.
- Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta was such a simple dish, but it was a simple dish done right! After taking my first bite, my first thought was “This is how you do veggies!” I could taste the natural flavors of the veggies, and they were cooked just right, especially the broccoli and artichoke.
Here’s what I didn’t quite love:
- I had high hopes for the beets with goat cheese. Before arriving, I had imagined that it would be a plate filled with beets, which I love, with goat cheese and pecans sprinkled atop. Instead, I got a dish filled completely with baby arugula and maybe 8 chunks of beets. I was disappointed. At one point, I had to dig through the arugula to see if I had eaten all of the toppings… and sadly, I had. Next time, I will opt for the kale and quinoa salad that my aunt had raved about.
All in all, I had a pretty great first vegetarian experience at The Cheesecake Factory. Although I don’t see myself returning anytime soon, I do know that when the opportunity presents itself again, I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be ordering.
Be sure to take a look at the pics from my recent visit below.