On a sunny fall day in San Diego, I headed to Fashion Valley Mall location to put my taste buds to work and my food photography skills. I’ve always been fascinated by Cheesecake Factory because people really love it and as I talk to people about their San Diego vacations, there’s sometimes an odd sigh of relief when I say oh and there’s a Cheesecake Factory at the mall.
This was back in 2018 but as I went to look at this post, I compared the menu. Much of it is exactly the same and that’s a part of the reason why what this restaurant chain does works. It was only the second time in 20 years I’ve been inside this location, which I was invited to do by the company. And you know what? I learned something.
First, a Sneak Peek Inside the Kitchen
They make something like 250 recipes from scratch every day. It takes teamwork, organization, and a lot of loyalty to get it done. And, tasting. The chefs taste recipes as they’re being made to make sure each dish is perfect.
This includes more than 160 sauces and dressings made from scratch. All vegetables are brought in fresh, cut and chopped by hand in the restaurant. Even cheese is hand-grated daily. These chefs are busy, but they make it all look so easy.
What I Learned
- The menu is the same worldwide at something like 200 restaurants including overseas in places like Hong Kong and Dubai
- The SkinnyLicious Menu features over 50 choices that are 590 calories or less.
- There’s a culinary center north of LA where chefs analyze minute details of every recipe to constantly try to improve them or the ingredients that go in them.
- Let’s face it, the heartier menu items are the most popular.
- They have a lot of desserts beyond cheesecake.
What We Ate or I Have Taken Took Photos Of
And here begins the photo dump of what we ate at the San Diego location and a few photos from when I ate at the Santa Monica location.
The most popular Cheesecake Factory menu item is the Avocado Egg Rolls, which we also ordered. The egg rolls, dumplings, and potstickers are made and hand-rolled/formed at the restaurant.
Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake are the two seasonal flavors that you must order while in season. They taste more like a combination of pie and cheesecake which is why they’re so delicious. Skip baking pies for Thanksgiving. Instead, pick one (or more) of these up at the bakery for takeaway.
I also have it on good authority that the Cinnabon Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake is out-of-this-world.
I’m also personally a fan of the Miso Salmon, inspired by the miso black cod dish that Nobu Matsuhisa made famous.
What are your favorite things to order at The Cheesecake Factory? See more articles about San Diego restaurants.