Hello Post Valentine’s Day Celebration @ California Pizza Kitchen!

Hello Post Valentine’s Day Celebration @ California Pizza Kitchen!

There’s one particular person who’ll always have that special place in my heart no matter where life takes me. That person is my mom. My mom is not only my best friend but also one of my favorite lunch buddies. Today I spent some time shopping with her as well as having a post Valentine’s Day lunch at California Pizza Kitchen.

20140215-131121.jpg

Our lunch started off with some complimentary fresh baked sourdough bread with a dipping sauce of olive oil and herbs.

20140215-131139.jpg

Up next was our appetizer dish of chicken lettuce wraps. (It’s my second time this week having lettuce wraps as those who read my Valentine’s Day post yesterday know. 😉 ) Similar to the lettuce wraps, I had yesterday the CPK lettuce wraps had fresh shiitake mushrooms. It also had water nut chestnuts, scallions and rice noodles. The sauce for the lettuce wraps is a ginger soy sauce. The taste of ginger in the sauce is very distinct and also slightly spicy.

20140215-131155.jpg

My mom and I chose two entrees for our lunch. Our first entree was the Thai Crunch salad. This salad has crisp veggies, cilantro and chicken for it’s main ingredients. The crunch comes from the peanuts, wonton strips and rice noodles that are spread throughout the salad. The dressing is a slightly spicy Thai peanut dressing. This salad was my favorite out of all the times we tried today. I liked how the cilantro, the spicy dressing and the peanuts all came together to bring a burst of flavor to this salad. I was also fond of the overall crisp and crunch in the salad.

20140215-131218.jpg

Our second entree was CPK’s Original BBQ Chicken Pizza. With the sweet BBQ sauce, the tender pieces of chicken, the smoked Gouda, red onions and cilantro, this pizza never disappoints. Freshly baked and served hot from their ovens, the pizza was great.

20140215-131232.jpg

For a sweet ending to our meal, we had a slice of key lime pie. In the past year or so, I’ve noticed key lime pie becoming one of the more popular dessert dishes in the food world. I was curious to try out CPK’s version. The main pie itself was creamy and smooth. The base was a crisp graham cracker crust. The key lime pie overall had a deliciously sweet and tart taste.

20140215-131252.jpg

It was a nice lunch today and I really enjoyed bonding with my mom. Valentine’s Day and the month of February is all about love and moms are the first ones in all of our lives who give us love, teach us about love and show us all what unconditional love is. Mom = love and I loved spending a time with her today.

Hello Happy Valentine’s Day @ The Cheesecake Factory!

Hello Happy Valentine’s Day @ The Cheesecake Factory!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the happy couples and happy singles in the world! I’m happy for my friends who have boyfriends/husbands who will do the sweetest things for them today. I’m happy knowing my friends are treated like queens. 🙂 One day I’ll be a queen too 😉 but in the meantime while this Hello Kitty waits for her own version of Dear Daniel to come into her life, I celebrate like a queen with my friends with a happy hearty dinner at The Cheesecake Factory

20140214-140555.jpg

My friends and I love The Cheesecake Factory! As many of my blog readers may have noticed, I’ve spent many special occasions with friends here. Although, I’ve been here several times, I still get quite overwhelmed with their 26 page menu! Luckily whenever I go here with friends, I have the chance to try several of their savory and sweet eats. For today’s blog post, I’ll share little tidbits of some of those items.

From the small plates and appetizers menu, one of my friends got the Chicken and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps. I’ve always been a fan of lettuce wraps and I was quite curious to see how this dish would be at The Cheesecake Factory. Six pieces of crisp butter lettuce leaves was accompanied with a nice mix of diced chicken, mushrooms, green onion, ginger and garlic. I liked that they used shiitake mushrooms for their lettuce wraps. Shiitake mushrooms tend to give a more rich, hearty flavor to dishes and this is exactly what it did for this plate. There was a little bit too much oyster sauce on this dish though but it still made for a good appetizer/ entree. It was also nice to see that these lettuce wraps are part of The Cheesecake Factory’s skinnylicious menu for items less than 490 calories.

20140214-140619.jpg

One of the other items that my friends and I got to try today was their Crusted Chicken Romano dish. This dish has chicken breast coated with romano-parmesan cheese crust. It is paired with pasta topped with tomato sauce. The cheesy pieces of chicken and the long, angel hair noodles made for a nice pair! The noodles were soft and the chicken had good golden brown crisp. The tomato sauce on the pasta was perfectly light and not overwhelming.

20140214-140641.jpg

Another tasty dish for tonight was the Shepherd’s Pie. One of my friends always cooks Shepherd’s Pie for some of our dinner parties. When I saw this on The Cheesecake Factory menu, I knew we had to try it. The Cheesecake Factory version has ground beef, mushrooms, carrots, peas, zucchini and onions underneath a mashed potato-parmesan cheese crust. Tender ground beef, wonderfully soft mashed potatoes and tasty dabs of ginger made for a very hearty and saucy dish (and yes it is just as good as my friend’s homemade version.) 😉

20140214-140702.jpg

Although, I loved the various savory entrees, I made sure to make room for the sweet treats at the end. This is The Cheesecake Factory after all and is one of the sweetest days of the year 😉 and so cheesecake was a must. We definitely had a lot of cheesecake love for this dinner!

The first cheesecake we tried was Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple. Honestly, I feel like we should have saved this for last because this was the most intense of all the cheesecakes we tried. This cheesecake had swirls of caramel, peanut butter, butterfinger and Reese’s Peanut Butter. The sweet caramel comes out at first bite and then next up is the rich flavors of peanut butter and butterfinger. This one had a very bold sweet kick to it.

20140214-140725.jpg

I really liked our second cheesecake! We got the Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake. It is carrot cake and cheesecake swirled together, topped with cream cheese icing and roasted almonds. It’s a combo of two of my favorite desserts, carrot cake and cheesecake and so it is not surprising that I would enjoy this. The carrot cake was soft and moist and the cheesecake was super creamy. I also liked the touch of almonds in the cream cheese icing.

20140214-140740.jpg

Cheesecake love continued with the Wild Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake. This one is the original cheesecake with wild blueberries. It is topped with white chocolate mousse. The original cheesecake had a nice smooth texture and the blueberries added good tart touch. Very simple but classically tasty.

20140214-140801.jpg

Last but not least for our cheesecake love sweet treats was the Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake. This one consisted of raspberry vanilla cake, creamy lemon cheesecake, raspberry lady fingers and lemon mousse. I really liked the luscious lemon flavor and the slight hint of raspberry. It was from this cheesecake that I realized that my preference for cheesecakes are the fruity based ones versus the chocolate types.

20140214-140823.jpg

It was once again love at first bite at The Cheesecake Factory. Their cheesecakes continue to be my foodie crush. It was a very happy hearts day today filled with sweet and hearty eats, heartfelt conversations and lovely times with friends. I hope that all of you too had a very Happy Valentine’s Day full of smiles and love! Thanks for reading my Valentine’s Day blog post. I heart all my blog readers! You all make my heart happy when you take the time to read my happy little blog. ❤️