Last week I was invited to The Cheesecake Factory in Philadelphia to preview their new menu items. Thirteen of them to be exact plus cheesecake for dessert. Yes, I enjoyed every minute of it. Oink, oink, I know what you're thinking. But I had a job to do.
So let's get this party started.
If you didn't know, The Cheesecake Factory is a chain restaurant with an unbelievably large menu. I'll admit that I don't eat at many chain restaurants but this is not an ordinary one. When I have my teenagers in tow, this is one of my family's top picks. With over 250 dishes, there is something that everyone will love. They have a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, entrees, desserts and even brunch. Did someone say cheesecake? Well they have over thirty different flavors!
The menu also has choices for the vegetarian and even the customer that is watching calories. They have over 50 Skinnylicious choices of appetizers, salads and entrees that are 590 calories or less. I love that option because there have been times where I liked to be able to dine with friends but was watching my calorie intake. There is always something to choose at The Cheesecake Factory. I tried this Chicken Pot Pie from the Skinnylicious menu. It tasted rich and was topped with a light crispy puff pastry dough. I had no idea that it was on the lighter side in calories.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I was greeted in a beautiful room with windows overlooking the city. The restaurant interior was gorgeous and the lighting makes the room glow. It had great ambiance and was perfect for a group gathering.
The servers wasted no time in offering us one of their specialty cocktails. I choose a blood orange martini that was fabulous. The martini consisted of Tito's Vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur and blood orange juice. It was so refreshing.
I will definitely be going back for more cocktails. Included in their new cocktails were a Cucumber Mojito, Irish Coffee Manhattan or Espresso Martini. I had a few sips of the other drinks and you just can't go wrong with their cocktail menu.
Appetizers are always my favorite part of dinner. Many times I will go out with friends and we will order several appetizers as our meal. I especially loved the Korean Fried Cauliflower. It was tossed with a sweet and spicy sauce which was very addicting. I enjoy Buffalo Cauliflower but have never had Korean Fried Cauliflower. Now I am a real fan of it.
After nibbling on some other appetizers of Nashville Hot Chicken Nuggets, Chicken Taquitos and Truffle Bacon Grilled Cheese Sticks, Chef Alphonso Riddick did a nice demo on making their Chicken, Mango and Avocado Salad. Doesn't it look good? It's piled high, has a Asian vinaigrette on it and includes a crunch of crispy wontons and almonds. So delicious!
I've been to The Cheesecake Factory quite a few times and I will admit that I have never paid much attention to the entrée section. It seems like I have always ordered appetizers or a salad so I never quite got around to reading the whole menu. This time I was able to get a taste of some entrees sitting right in front of me.
The Seared Ahi Tuna was my favorite. It was fresh and came with rice, crispy stir fried Asian veggies and a wonderful Sriracha Aioli drizzled over the deliciousness.
I also loved the Truffle Honey Chicken. It was a fried chicken breast with truffle-honey, asparagus and mashed potatoes. If you are looking for comfort food, this is your dish.
To finish off our dinner, we could order any cheesecake from the menu. I decided to pack mine up for my husband because I couldn't eat another bite. But I did get a photo of a good looking piece of The Toasted Marshmallow Smores Galore piece of cheesecake. What do you think of this? I thought it might be able to feed a whole family. Well maybe not my whole family which includes two teenagers. Very impressive, right?
Whether you want to take the family out to dinner, have a Friday night date or need a place for a business lunch, the new menu items at The Cheesecake Factory will do you right.
**For full disclosure, this dinner and cocktails were complimentary. As usual, all opinions are my own.
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