Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mall Food, Grilled Cheese, Cheesecake Factory, & Settlers Ridge Opens

Friday night we had to go to the mall. Boo. I dislike the mall, especially on a weekend evening when it's filled with, as expressed by Slarb's SO, and I quote,"wonderful ambiance of rude, loud, obnoxious, snarky teenagers." SP got home at 7 pm and we set off. When we arrived, we fortified ourselves in the Food Court with Au Bon Pain (me) and Sakkio (him). I chose the Chicken Pesto sandwich - all natural chicken, feta, basil pesto, roasted red peppers, romaine, & tomato on rosemary foccacia. I chose it because of the rosemary foccacia and,of course, it turned out there was none left, so I opted for sun-dried tomato bread, which was OK. It was a tasty sandwich and sort of made me wish we were getting an Au Bon Pain instead of Panera in Settlers Ridge. SP had some teriyaki chicken with rice from Sakkio. When we got home, we relaxed with tea and an ABP chocolate dipped shortbread cookie for me and Mrs. Fields Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie for SP. Mmmm.

GRILLED APPLE & CHEESEToday's lunch was something different for me! I had a grilled cheese. We were out of lunch meat. I was going to make grilled Swiss, but then I saw the last CSA apple, and I remembered we still had a huge block of Champagne Cheddar Cheese, and I remembered a Bon Appetit recipe 'Brie & Apple Panini' - I was inspired! I used those 2 ingredients and some whole wheat bread to make a tasty lunch of grilled apple & cheese. The Champagne Cheddar melted much better than I thought it would.

SP has been working most of today, but he took a break for us to go out to dinner. We decided to go to The Cheesecake Factory since we hadn't been there in almost a year. I was late getting ready, our usual parking garage had a 'filled' sign (presumably because of a Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest event), and we got a wee bit turned around exiting the unfamiliar garage, so we arrived later (at 5:40) than we would have liked. This meant a 40 minute wait - ugh. Waiting stinks when you're hungry. And of course that turned into a 50 minute wait - good thing there was entertaining people watching!

Our buzzer buzzed, we went to the hostess desk, things were as usual somewhat chaotic and hectic, and we could just tell something was off because a CF guy seated a party of two that arrived after us and within 5 seconds the CF hostess in charge realized the CF guy had given our table to another party! She quickly explained & dashed off. We were about to flip out (hungry!), but fortunately, she quickly resolved the situation and we were seated. (Unfortunately for the other party of 2, they were told they had been seated in error and had to continue waiting).

Our server came over, introduced herself, and said she'd bring some water, which she did, along with some bread.

We both really like the brown bread and we ate both mini loaves plus the white bread mini loaf! Like I said, HUNGRY!!!!

The next time our server came over, she asked if we were ready to order. She never took a drinks order...? We quickly ordered. I always get the same thing: Grilled Shrimp & Bacon Club (charbroiled shrimp, bacon, lettuce, & tomato with special dressing, served with french fries or green salad). I chose the salad with balsamic dressing.It was as tasty as I remembered and as enormous as I remembered. I know it's not healthy - bacon & a mayo sauce & buttery toasted bread - but it's so darn good. There were bits of beet in the salad along with cucumber & carrot. As usual, half of the sandwich plus the salad came home for tomorrow.

SP chose White Chicken Chili (chicken, white beans, roasted green chilies, onions, & garlic, spices and a touch of cream, garnished with steamed white rice & fresh salsa). He said it was good, a bit heavy because of the cream in it, and he didn't finish the mound of white rice but did eat all the chili.Of course we ordered dessert. After all, this was SP's first trip to CF since getting the OK to eat gluten again. He could actually choose a cheesecake other than the flour-less one! He chose pumpkin pecan cheesecake and says it's very yummy.I got the tiramisu cheesecake, which is my new favorite (it used to be the Kahlua cocoa one). I like the tiramisu cheesecake because it is not too dense & heavy & rich - it's kind of light. Plus, tiramisu flavors are some of my favorite flavors. We each brought home half of our cheesecake.

We like CF. We will go there again. The portions are huge and the price is decent (although I thought the regular non-flavored cappuccino/espresso drinks were a bit pricey at $4.50 each and almost $3 for a soda/iced tea seems a wee bit pricey). We know how long the wait can be and usually we try to get there early enough to have only a 15-20 minute wait even if it means dinner a bit on the early side. Shortly after we were told we had a 40 minute wait, some newcomers were old at least an hour - and it was barely 6 pm. Usually the service is fine and everyone seems to handle the crowds easily, but tonight it was too hectic and we felt rushed and like our server was way too brusque and kind of forgetful, just wanting to get done and get home. When the busboys were clearing and re-setting tables near us, it was at a frantic fast speed which added to the overall feeling of being rushed. Lingering was not encouraged.

After CF, we decided to go home. SP had more work to do!! When we got near home, we made a slight detour to check out the new Settlers Ridge shopping area. The new Cinemark Theater just opened and apparently the PF Chang's opened as well. That does not excite me - of all the chains, why PF Barfs (as I call it)? I ate there once, at the Waterfront. My pork dumplings were not thoroughly cooked, which I suspected when I cut them but then I thought I was just being my usual overly cautious & suspicious self so I ate them anyway, and of course I got sick. Very sick. It was not a nice, delicious, satisfying meal. Plus, whatever other dish I had was incredibly bland and boring - completely forgetful. I've sworn to never eat there again.

The Giant Eagle Market District is HUGE and opens November 6 (opening events). I really hope they're planning to hand out maps! It's so HUGE it'll probably take SP an extra half hour to do the grocery shopping!!! The REI sign is up, the new Barnes & Noble is coming along, Panera is hiring, Cadillac Ranch restaurant opens November 15, and there will also be a Saga Japanese Steakhouse. I can't wait for the GE Market District!!! And it's only 2 minutes away!


  1. I'm excited for the Market District as well. And the gym there. I just hope they can mitigate traffic well! I don't want it to become the traffic nightmare that Robinson is!

  2. We have the same traffic concerns, although from where we live we think we can avoid any traffic and 'sneak' in a back entrance. We're hoping not too many people discover that entrance!