The Cheesecake Bar
Being a Toronto gal, one of my favourite day trips to take out of the city is a shopping trip to Buffalo. The best 'A'-level mall across the border is Walden Galleria, around a two hour drive from the city. The dollar is at par right now, so what better time to take advantage of the mega clothing selection, cheap shoes and food not available in O'Canada?
The Avocado Egg Rolls
If you do make it to Walden Galleria, our final stop of the night is dinner at The Cheesecake Factory after the mall closes. They don't take reservations, so it's best to send a member of your crew in 15 minutes before closing to grab a seating pager. I was first introduced to this 'Cheesecake Factory' when I lived in LA. My roommate took me because it was one of 'the places' that UCLA students loved, because the portions were SO gigantic. Everyone literally walks out with a heavy doggie bag full of food.
Asian Chicken Salad
I would describe this place as similar to Pickle Barrel in Canada but with a California-inspired menu that's actually really decent. The menu is a spiral-bound notebook and they serve everything from salads, sandwiches, pasta, burgers, comfort food and huge entrees. So really, there's something for everyone and the quality is definitely above average. One of the most popular appetizers are The Avocado Egg Rolls. The soft, warm avocado and savoury sun-dried tomato is a nice contrast to the crispy egg roll crust. The tamarind-cashew dipping sauce it comes with is a nice gourmet touch.
I opted for the Asian Chicken Salad which was gigantic, filled with a generous portion of sliced chicken and lots of crispy noodles and mandarin oranges. By the time I was done eating, it didn't even look like I made it dent. Really, these plates could easily be shared. My dining partner got the Penne Pasta which came perfectly al dente, which he actually finished. My other favourite dish there is the Farfalle with Chicken & Roasted Garlic, which is tossed in light parmesan-garlic cream sauce with peas and pancetta. It is well-flavoured because of the pancetta and the pasta is all slippery with garlic because of the cream sauce. Yum.
So what is a visit to The Cheesecake Factory without cheesecake? They have 50 types of cheesecake and cake for you to choose from. My friend Annie is crazy for Carrot Cake and they give you a big fat slice with whipped cream on the side. I opted for the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Let's not talk about the calories, but about the dark flourless chocolate cake and mousse that surrounds a layer of cheesecake. I think I just gained a pound just thinking about it. Oh yeah, and two big gobs of whipped cream to go with that too.
I didn't get a chance to swipe the receipt and they don't seem to list prices online. But prices are around $15-20 an entree, with cheesecakes around $7-9. Very affordable, they seem to make money by serving sheer volume and turning tables over quickly. I definitely recommend a visit that won't break the bank after a long day of shopping.
The Cheesecake Factory
Walden Galleria Mall
We'll have more on the blog this week on a getaway to Buffalo. HUG has tips on where to shop while you're there and what you can buy, that you can't get here.