400 S. Baldwin Avenue
Arcadia, CA 91007
Parking: Free Mall Parking
Drink Deals: Five $5 Specialty Cocktails, $5 Select Well Drinks & Wines by the glass,$4 select Draft Beers (16oz)
Food Deals: $5 Appetizers and “Snacks & Small Plates” from $3.95-$6.95
You have got to love that American institution, the Cheesecake Factory. From its decadent meals and cheesecakes that I believe largely helped to mandate calorie counts on the menu (which is also half-full of advertisements, mind you) to its strange fall & rise of The Roman Empire* décor to its waitstaff dressed in all-white butcher-wear – it really is a weird slice of noveau Americana.
That’s not to say I don’t love their Happy Hour because it’s always great fun. I’ve covered the Pasadena Colorado Blvd. location for this site as well, and I’m happy to report that both locations – though visited a year apart, offered the same HH deals. I appreciate the consistency! They’ve got a standard set of tasty cocktails and appetizers at $5 each and additional “Small Plates & Snacks” from $3.95 - $6.95.
Now the good news for calorie counters is that Cheesecake Factory does have a “SkinnyLicious™” menu which is kind of funny – instead of revamping their entire menu, they just added a separate menu with lighter fare. That doesn’t go for the Happy Hour appetizers, BUT I was pleased to see that they offered “SkinnyLicious” versions of their cocktails, with 150 calories or less, during their Happy Hour.
Let me clarify, I was happy to see this “SkinnyLicious” special after going back through my pictures because I don’t remember seeing it on the menu when I was actually there :). Blame it on the 2 beers at Wood Ranch! So, for cocktails, I stuck with my favorite non-SkinnyLicious drink from their $5 menu, the Long Island Iced Tea, and Booze had J.W.’s Pink Lemonade (vodka w/ raspberry liqueur and lemonade). Next time I check out a Cheesecake Factory Happy Hour, I will be sure to try the lighter version!
For vittles, I stuck with my tried and true Avocado Eggrolls (with Avocado, Sun-Dried Tomato, Red Onion and Cilantro Fried in a Crisp Wrapper and Served with a Tamarind-Cashew Dipping Sauce) – so good and even at $5, enough food that you can save some for later! Booze enjoyed the Vietnamese Tacos (puffier than you’d expect – Steamed Asian Buns with Roasted Pork, Marinated Cucumbers, Carrots and Onion with Chiles, Cilantro and Sesame Seeds) for $5.95. Cheesecake worked with us both and my eggrolls were vegan (I didn’t say healthy!) and Booze’s Vietnamese Tacos were made without onion.
Avocado Eggrolls ($5)
I actually liked this location better than the Pasadena one because the Happy Hour bar-area seemed much bigger – the bar sat at least 12, and the 7 or so high-top tables and maybe 10 lower tables with shared bench seating on one side – gosh the place sat a lot of people. It wasn’t crowded when we arrived, but the scene did pick up over the hour that we were there, so it was nice to have a little space.
All in all, I’m still not crazy about the hours of Happy Hour at The Cheesecake Factory (4-6pm Monday-Friday), but I’m glad to see that they’re offering lighter fares since it’s always a fun Happy Hour stop where you know you can count on tasty food and swell drinks.
Rating: 3.5 Martinis (again, the time kinda suckeolis!)