march 11 2014 009

The Cheesecake Factory Happy Hour (+ Are you a man or a mouse ramblings) – Escondido, CA

I wouldn’t normally do a blog post about The Cheesecake Factory because it’s like, yawn, The Cheesecake Factory. Don’t get me wrong – they have ok food. But the long wait to get a table, the quickly churned out food, etc etc doesn’t seem appealing to even write about.

But a weird ‘return a cheesecake‘ story IS and a helpful ‘hey, did *YOU* know TCF has a Happy Hour?!’ was worth sharing with everyone.

A Cheesecake Factory opened up in North County Fair. It’s actually a brand new build out, meaning they didn’t actually just take over a free standing restaurant at that mall (like I had originally thought).  The build out is located on the 2nd floor and you can see it if you enter the mall off the Via Rancho Parkway exit.

(bypass this section if you only want to read about the happy hour highlighted in bold few paragraphs down) …

It was brother-in-law’s birthday last week so sis wanted to get him a nice dessert cake. She researched and decided that Cheesecake Factory had a great 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake that would be great to have after the birthday dinner.

To make a very long story short, the $52 cheesecake she paid for tasted pretty bad and only two (out of the 12) slices were consumed that night for a group of 7.

Sis was really sad and rightfully so. You would expect the most excellent of a cheesecake if you paid $50+ AND if the cake is from a place called The Cheesecake Factory. She called our cousin, who loves TCF, and cousin suggested to call the restaurant for a refund. Sis came over the next day and asked what she should do. I told her we can call together.

She started clapping her hands (it seriously runs in the family). I begin looking over the receipt and googling for a bit more information (if they’ve had faulty cheesecakes in past, customer complaints, etc). Sis starts packing up her stuff and heading out.

me: “Where are you going”
sis: ” I’m leaving man”
me: ” Why. I’m calling right now”
sis: ” No way. I’m not listening to you do yo ‘thing’. It’s too uncomfortable. Okthanksbye”

And she leaves. Just like that. Big frekkin’ weanie.

The manager asked several questions about the cheesecake and ultimately said 1) bring the cake back and 2) exchange cake or get a gift card. He wanted the cake back to send to quality control (and I’m sure to make sure it wasn’t mostly eaten). Whatever – there’s 83% left of this cake

march 11 2014 009 march 11 2014 010

Sis and her family didn’t want another cheesecake so manager agreed to issue a gift card. It took a long time as he was having issues putting funds onto a gift card for some reason. So after 20+ minutes of waiting there (hence why I discovered their Happy Hour), he finally came back with a gift card for $50. Not $52, the amount that was paid, but $50. He said that was the most the computer would allow him to do.

Huh.

I was getting a bit miffed b/c we just drove 23 minutes to get here and had to wait another 20+ minutes for you to issue a gift card (not a refund on a credit card, mind you, BUT a gift card). I wanted to break out my time value of money analysis and go off as I was getting irritated at this point. But sis and I work well together as a team. She gave me the “DON’T” look and I quietly backed off. She was fine with the $50 gift card and that’s the most important thing. Hopefully she can come back here with husband to make up for his birthday dessert.

….

Moving forward…

Happy Hour: 

Toxie said she owed me Happy Hour (story at the end) so I suggested we try out the one I just discovered at The Cheesecake Factory.

march 11 2014 015

- Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 4:00p-6:00pm Bar Area only

I’ve never seen TCF offer a happy hour b/c they’re always so packed and busy. So I wanted to see how good their HH can be. Besides, one of the girls I spoke to that day (while waiting for manager to issue gift card to sis) told me that the portion size of their HH items are regular portion sizes.

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They really had a lot of items to choose from – 16 total ! And notice the price. Hello. EVERYTHING is $5.00. Yes – FIVE BUCKS. The beer is $4.

There is no mention of this Happy Hour anywhere on their website.

Here are the list of the 16 items on their Happy Hour menu:

Roadside Sliders

Hot Spinach and Cheese Dip

Avocado Eggrolls

Fried Macaroni and Cheese

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

Southern Fried Chicken Sliders

Warm Crab & Artichoke Dip

Vietnamese Shrimp Summer Rolls

Guacamole Made-To-Order

Tex Mex Eggrolls

Fire-Roasted Fresh Artichoke

Factory Nachos

Buffalo Blasts

Chicken  Pot Stickers

Crispy Crab Wontons

Parmesan-Garlic Cheese Bread

I dislike their website. Their appetizers aren’t in alphabetical order so it was tedious trying to jump from my pic I took of their HH menu, then to their website’s list of appetizers, then try to cut and paste it back onto here.

Regardless, I’m sure there’s at least ONE item on that list of 16 that you’ve tried before and would love to try again for just $5.

We got there around 5:25p or so. The bar area was busy but there were two high-top tables open.

Toxie and I look at our watches and decide to just order everything all at once. We’re pros like that.

Our waiter might be new b/c I inquired what’s in their mojito. He wasn’t quite sure so Toxie kinda told him how I like my mojito (she’s a weirdly good HH date that way) and Corey said they can make it however we wanted. I kinda assumed it would be a tiny portion but I was pleasantly wrong.

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- Mojito $5.00

Look at all the fresh mint in this thing. I love mint in cocktails. I really liked this drink and even Toxie said it tasted surprisingly good.

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- Happy Hour cabernet $5.00

It’s a nice size pour. Toxie said it tasted just ‘ok’.

The rest of the pics aren’t going to be very good b/c the sun was setting and the entire bar area had a strange lighting to it.

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- Southern Fried Chicken Sliders

Crispy Fried Chicken Breast on Mini-Buns Served with Lettuce, Tomato and Pickles

Four sliders come out and each sweet roll has a fried piece of chicken. The sweet rolls are buttered and grilled (yummy!). I thought the fried chicken was dry but Toxie thought this was a really good slider.

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I made a mega slider for her : piled high w/ the tomatoes, pickles, mayo, and some tarter sauce thing they had on the side.

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- complimentary warm bread

This came out way too late as all our HH items started to arrive all at once.

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- Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip

A Delicious Blend of Crab, Artichokes and Cheese Served Warm with Grilled Bread.

I was surprised that Toxie picked this as there was also a Spinach dip on the HH menu. I thought she didn’t like crab but she said she wanted this dip because it came with grilled bread (spinach dip comes with chips).

It’s not a large portion but it’s sufficient enough as the cheese is pretty rich. I was still hurting from the Vampire Dip from the other night so I didn’t eat much of this appetizer. Toxie liked it quite a bit though. It did taste like real crab was used as well. I wasn’t a fan of the toasted bread crumbs on top.

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- Avocado Eggrolls

Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Onion and Cilantro Fried in a Crisp Wrapper. Served with a Tamarind-Cashew Dipping Sauce.

This is my favorite appetizer here at The Cheesecake Factory. I never liked avocado served warm as I always thought it was best served cold in a sandwich or as guacamole.

But the deep fried avo eggrolls here are divine. The avocado is creamy and plentiful. The eggroll wrapper is fried perfectly and provides a nice crunch to this dish. The selling point really is the tamarind dipping sauce. It has such a unique sweetness to it that I just love so much.

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- Guacamole : Made To Order

Toxie chose this one too. I thought she hated guacamole. What the hay is going on here. Corey asked how we wanted this made: mild, medium, spicy. Now I KNOW for a fact Toxie can’t do spicy so I suggested mild. But she chuckled and said “Look around…I’m pretty sure *their* spicy is not going to be the spicy *you’re* thinking of.” So she requested it spicy. Corey said if it was too spicy they can make another one for us.

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They give you an abundant amount of chips. The guacamole wasn’t spicy at all and needed more seasoning. There were two little slices of red (?) jalapenos or peppers on top. I thought at first it was habanero and I was going to show off to Toxie that I could eat this pepper slice with no problem. Thank goodness it wasn’t a habanero b/c that woulda really hurt.

Service was alright. Corey was busy with quite a few tables but he seemed to handle the traffic well.

Was it the best happy hour we’ve been to? I wasn’t too impressed with the food but I wasn’t all that hungry that early evening. But when was the last time you had the chance to choose from 16 items on a Happy Hour menu. When was the last time you saw ANYTHING on TCF’s appetizer menu for $5.

It felt like finding a nickle on the ground (versus a penny). You know that feeling…

Take advantage of this HH if you’re around this area. I heard a rumor that the Fashion Valley location might start a happy hour as well.

The Cheesecake Factory (North Country Fair Mall)

200 E Via Rancho Pkwy
Ste 370
Escondido, CA 92025
(760) 743-2253
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 4:00p-6:00p
My dad used to make fun of the boy cousin in the family. Boy cousin was much younger than the rest of us (mostly girls). He was the ‘prize’ of the family as he was pretty much the only boy. So his sisters and female cousins secretly tortured resented him. His sisters would dress him up as a girl and I’d make him fetch me stuff because I was too lazy to run upstairs to get it myself. He was such a cute little thing :)
So dad would always try to man him up and ask firmly ” Are you a man or a mouse ?! ” 
And I kid you not, my cousin would just answer with a squeak… “a mouse”.  

Sucks to be a dude in my family. J/k…

I thought of this story the other night b/c of Toxie. I rarely watch scary movies. Like, EVER. I would NEVER watch one in a movie theater b/c you can’t pause the movie and ask whoever is sitting next to you ‘what’s going to happen next’. And I rarely watch a scary movie at home because I know I’m scared of the dark and will have hard time sleeping.

I don’t remember who I commented to recently that I watched Silence of the Lambs for the first time ever the other night. It was being played, with commercials, on TV so I thought they’d edit out, like, the ‘bad stuff’ (meaning scary stuff).  I was watching it on the sofa but then paused it so I could finish watching it in bed.

Let’s just say karma had a total payback for all those years I made fun of boy cousin for being a mouse…

The movie started to get like REALLY scary though and then Toxie started texting me:

Toxie: “what are you doing?”
me: “I’m watching a really scary movie and about ready to pass the eff out from fear”march 10 2014 025
Toxie: “What movie”
me: “Silence of the Lambs but like with commercials”
Toxie: “ARE YOU CRAZY!! TURN IT OFF!!! ABORT!! TURN OFF TURN OFF TURN OFF”
me: ” Oh sht…something’s bads gonna happen…OMG…OMG!!…how can they show this on regular tv…”
march 10 2014 027

Tox: “Dude, turn it off!!” Oh BTW can I have your compost garbage can” (WTF right – so random)
me: “Dude, you can have stupid can! Leave me alone! This guy is killing random female bloggers! I’m so scared :(
Toxie: “So, like, can I pick up the can tomorrow”
me: “I’m going downstairs real quick to check doors and dogs. If I don’t text you in THREE minutes then something bad happened to me”

You like how she was more concerned about the compost garbage bin than my safety. I gave her my stupid bin, hence why she treated me to happy hour at The Cheesecake Factory. She reminded me that night at HH that the bad guy in the movie killed random chicks and not random female bloggers. 

Oh.

I hope everyone had a great weekend :)

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “The Cheesecake Factory Happy Hour (+ Are you a man or a mouse ramblings) – Escondido, CA”

  1. Lol so this must be that bad cheesecake experience that reminded you of me. And that is an expensive cheesecake! You can make one at home for so much cheaper and tastier. For some reason, chefs I know always refer to Denny’s or The Cheesecake Factory when talking about how and what we shouldn’t be doing. Like when we plate a food a certain way and it’s not fine dining beautiful, someone will say, “WTF is that? We are not The Cheesecake Factory”. “If that’s the way you want to do things, go work at the Cheesecake Factory”. Or when something just doesn’t look pretty, chefs will be like, “Do you think you are working at Dennys?” Yeah…it’s always Cheesecake Factory or Dennys that are being tabooed by chefs…..like that’s where the rejects go to work or something.

    The Cheesecake Factory story reminds me of sweet Brownie! During one of my late night food ventures (when there’s not many options late at night), I got a pork chop there that I didn’t like. I gave the rest to Brownie and OMG he LOVED it. He went to town and was just soooo happy. After devouring the meat, he was loving the bone. And it was just so freaking cute.

    I used to dress my brothers in my dolls clothes (and sometimes my old ones) and put make up on them. They used to play HOUSE with my friends and me.

    1. Hi Behgopa,

      Ohhh, ouch – Denny’s or TCF is what you guys use to bottom-shelf reference stuff? I don’t understand why there’s always such a long wait for TCF all the time. People seem to really love their food and cheesecakes. Buying a 10″ cheesecake is wayyyyy cheaper than buying an individual slice there. I think it works out to $4.30/slice vs like $8/slice (when purchased individually for lunch/dinner). I honestly think sis and her husband would have preferred your souffle than the cheesecake they had that night for his bday.

      I can so imagine Brownie losing his lil’ mind on the pork chop at TCF! I bet you secretly liked the pork chop dish but decided you hated it when you saw Brownie beggin’ for it.

      You are a mean sister!!Hahahah! My friend Peanut and her sister would do that to their brother too!! Did your brothers ever fight back? Or did they just take it b/c you were the eldest? That’s what Peanut said about the brother – b/c he was the youngest, he feared them and therefore had to respect them. Something like that.

  2. No, the pork chop was bland. The other stuff was okay. The leftovers were taken in a doggy bag (to be given to the doggy lol). Later that night, I got the munchies, so I started eating the leftovers. I ate the other stuff but did not touch the pork chop. Brownie came by and looked at me with those puppy dog eyes and yeah, he was begging. So I gave it to him. I miss him! I bet he’s all full grown now.

    My brothers didn’t really fight back. I think we just outgrew that eventually. We still have pictures of my brothers in dresses lol. Do you remember that talking blonde doll, Cricket? I once put her outfit on my brother lol. Ohhh and in college, there were some drunk nights when make up and dresses were put on guy friends lol. I remember driving around town (driven by a sober person of course) with the guys looking like that. We got stares and it was just crazy and funny.

    I love horror movies. I especially love thrillers. I think the Japanese and Koreans do a good job of making scary creepy movies. I never get scared though. I have yet to see a movie that scares the bejeezus out of me. Am I weird that I love psychologically disturbing movies?

    1. You MUST post those pics of your brothers dressed in the doll outfits. I’m sorry, that would just be too funny (you can blank out their faces to be fair). Having little brothers must have been so fun.

      My mom said Japanese scary movies are the worst. Youngest sis said the Korean ones are pretty dang scary too. My mom is as weird as I am with scary movies. She HAS to watch them but she covers her eyes like 80% of the movie. I can’t believe there’s not ONE movie that you’ve seen that hasn’t scared you. OR one movie you WON’T see b/c it’s too scary. That sounds impossible (or maybe I’m just envious).

        1. You’re too funny. I thought it would be some sort of action vid of Brownie and you. You’re a true dog fan if you can enjoy a video of a puppy just munching on a bone :)

  3. The outrage not refunding your sis… Try Costco next time. They won’t hassle you about a refund.

    Hahaha! Your poor cousin. The horror being dressed as a girl…

    Toxie trying to save you while also trying to get your bin! Hahaha! I suggested you watch the sequel on blu ray so you can see everything in vivid detail. Cool selfie of you in mortal terror! :-) Good thing I’m not eating while reading this. Hahaha! Can’t stop laughing… Must remember not to eat or drink while reading this blog…

    Have a good week!

    1. Hi Soo!

      Oh nice suggestion about the Costco cheesecake. I wonder if they have a variety of flavors? Hey don’t they also sell frozen cheesecakes from TCF as well?

      I like how you are Switzerland on Toxie saving me and getting bin at same time. You must be good mediator. I forgot there’s a sequel to that movie. I bet it’ll be scarier on blu ray so no way am I going to watch that. I’m glad my mortal terror makes you giggle.

      Have a great week too :)

      1. Faye,

        I read on chowhound they are going to discontinue this item so hurry and try it!
        “Cheesecake Factory Tuxedo Cheesecake, 1.47 kg – $11.97. If anyone LOVES cheesecake or sweets, this is a great deal. Normally in the USA, this cake is $30++ ($5+ per slice in restaurants) and it’s actually not a bad tasting cheesecake. Completely indulgent and over the top… but it’s the cheesecake factory.”

        Costco always has the standard cheesecake and sometimes they have promotions with a variety of flavors. Like around Halloween they have pumpkin cheesecake. Next time I visit I’ll let you know what the current flavors are.

        1. Hi Soo,

          You’re so good at finding these deals! Thanks for the tip. Sis actually considered getting the Tuxedo Cheesecake for the bday actually.

          I remember Costco’s pumpkin cheesecake. They also had a key lime one at some point. And it was so cheap ! Like $8.99?

  4. For $52 freaking dollars it better be good. I can make a damn fine cheesecake for way less. I’m so proud of my cheesecake making skills. Maybe you guys just don’t like “stuff” inside your cheesecake – or maybe it was just really bad? I can’t imagine. I doubt I will ever get to North County on a weekday to try this. Hell, even if they had it at Fashion Valley I probably still wouldn’t go because Cheesecake Factory is not special enough to warrant an hour + wait. Maybe my dreams will come true and they’ll do a late night happy hour. A girl can dream, can’t she?

    Funny, I don’t think Silence of the Lambs is that scary. More like suspenseful and super damn creepy. Jake doesn’t watch horror movies, either. I’m more likely to watch one than he is! There are a few “horror but it’s funny” movies that he and I have watched (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is maybe my current favorite).

    Okay, the end. :)

    1. Hi Mary,

      Yeah right?! $52 is a buttload of money for just a cheesecake. No one in family really likes ‘stuff’ in the cheesecake so that’s why sis thought this 30th anniversary cake would be great (Layers of Our Original Cheesecake, Fudge Cake and Chocolate Truffle Cream.) Sounds really delicious right?! Making cheesecake is another one of those recipes that seems too difficult for me to even tackle. I don’t know why. I think it’s my fear of the top cracking and looking ugly (who would care anyways?). I just remember hearing chefs saying how ‘ugly’ and a fail if the crack topped.

      Maybe TCF will offer a late night HH one day. The Fashion Valley location is always a mess too. But yeah, a late night HH would be great wouldn’t it.

      You don’t think Silence of Lambs is scary b/c you have Jake right there (I can imagine he’s protecting you but like with his eyes covered while watching movie). Suspenseful + creepy = SCARY. What’s with people that don’t get scared watching these movies?! I swear there should be a movie about bloggers who lost their souls to a cheesecake boogie man. Doesn’t that sound scary. I just googled your Tucker & dale. Doesn’t look funny at all :( You seriously are messed up.

      Hope you’re tummy is feeling better :)

      1. I saw Silence of the Lambs way before I ever met Jake. I don’t even know if he’s seen it…. Tucker & Dale is like a redneck spoof horror comedy. I swear. Yeah, yeah, people die, whatever, but it’s so goofy! Oh well. Maybe I am messed up :) But Jake actually watched it!

        Cheesecake without the cracks is actually not too hard. Waterbath is the KEY! Low, slow in the oven and waterbath – I’ve never had a cracked cheesecake since! :D

        1. Yeah I’ve tried watching the spoof horror movies (the only one I kinda like is the Scary Movie series – now *THAT* is how a scary movie should be made) :)

          You’ll have to let us know if you watch these spoofs on TV or like netflix. I don’t have movie channels (HBO, Showtime, etc).

          I’ve never ever done a waterbath for a dessert. That’s another reason making a cheesecake seemed so daunting. But, it might be another one of my fears I’ll have to conquer this year. I’ll look for the recipe on your blog!

  5. Your titles always get me. So to the first part I was like umm Cheesecake Factory? meh not a fan of the place but “are you a man or a mouse?” …Ok I have to read that story. Haha. Your family always has funny stories :)

    1. Hi JS,

      I’m surprised so many dislike The Cheesecake Factory. I wonder if more people would like the food if there wasn’t such a wait/line for the place?

      Glad you were able to laugh (with me?) at my family stories :)

      Hope you’re having a great Wed -

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