Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cheesecake Factory! (Without the Cheesecake of course...)

Avocado Spring Rolls
The Cheesecake Factory has been a long-time favorite of my family's, starting back in the '90's when I was still in college.  Despite how large the chain has become, the food is good, it feels fresh, and the menu is so vast that it's almost daunting to choose something new.  And, when you consider their prices as compared to their hefty portions, it's just hard to come by that kind of a deal at most other establishments.  I often feel even the lunch portions can feed two!

The last time I was there, my husband ordered one of his favorite appetizers, the avocado spring rolls.  They consist of avocado, (a lot of avocado,) sun-dried tomato, red onion and cilantro, which are then wrapped in a wanton shell and fried until crispy, and served with a tamarind cashew dipping sauce.  Dietetic they are not, but they are pretty fabulous...

SkinnyLicious Veggie Burger
I, on the other hand, wanted to check out the relatively new SkinnyLicious menu options.  I saw a veggie burger and, when they told me it was made without egg, I was sold.  The "burger" was made from brown rice, farro (another grain), black beans, fresh beets and onions, garnishes with pickles, onion, lettuce and tomato and accompanied by a small side salad. (I don't love rolls, so I got it on an English muffin, and I asked them to leave off the mayo.)  It was SO good!  The combination of beets and black beans, one I'd never enjoyed before, was really wonderful, and though rice and farro were key ingredients, I wasn't left feeling overly full.  It was really tasty, and while I didn't eat the salad (I didn't feel I needed it), I topped it with every topping.

Not a bad place to spend lunch!  Just one caveat about ordering there...you must ask about hidden ingredients.  Dairy in the dressings, stock in the rice or vegetables...the menu has been through quite a few transitions and you need to be sure the way the ingredients are prepared is still as you expected them to be before.

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