Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Cheesecake Factory

Did you read Atul Gawande's piece 'Big Med' for The New Yorker comparing healthcare in America to The Cheesecake Factory? I read it with a lot of interest because the man kept raving on about it, and I was like...no way it's that good. It's just slightly better diner food. The friends raved about the cheesecakes, of course. (There's a summary of the healthcare policies and points in the article on Huffington Post.) Still, the man holds great affection for the eatery.

Finally, and rather predictably, I got dragged to The Cheesecake Factory, which is pretty much like the western version of Tsui Wah. o_O Portions are huge, and the food, while surprisingly decent, is just about average. However, I came away impressed with how the eatery is run, and what goes behind the menu, pricing and staff training, and that they grated parmesan cheese from a real block (instead of from a bottle) onto my tossed prawn pasta of sorts. I asked for less oil for it and it came exactly so. Their white bean hummus was insanely tasty and made with decent quality ingredients, similar to what we would churn out at home. Of course they also have options for brown rice when the man ordered a chicken chilli.

The entire kitchen and floor operations run like a well-oiled machine from the door to taking of orders and all. Each outlet is well staffed. I really don't know about the minimum wages here, or if they pay their staff well. That law providing for a US$15 per-hour-minimum-wage for hospitality and transportation workers in King County is still in limbo and will only be put to a judgment in January 2014. However, there's the option of tips that one could direct to the respective servers. We all know that tips in Singapore rarely gets to the preferred server, but here, it is the way. Servers wait on the tables for the tips, which somehow, in turn, does provide for more than adequate service, and in many ways, warm.

As far as fast food and diners go, this is kinda cool.

The man finished up all the cheesecake all by himself.
He did scrape away the whipped cream. 

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