Chocolate Triumphs – Godiva® Wins

In the first matchup in the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs, the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake pulled off an easy victory over the Tiramisu Cheesecake

As I mentioned in my last post, this Saturday was going to be pretty packed.  Monroe had her soccer game (unfortunately, they lost…), and then we headed out for the day. 

Next, we went to the post office to get Monroe her passport (we have an excuse to travel to New Zealand for our friend’s wedding next spring, and we would LOVE to go if we can swing the airfare…).  Well, two forms, two pictures, and an hour and 45 minutes later, we got to check that off our list, and we headed to California Pizza Kitchen for a little lunch.

We finally made it to Hollywood and the El Capitan theater to see the movie Secretariat.  We all loved it!  Next, we hit The Grove and put our name in for The Cheesecake Factory.   We spent a little time looking at the iPods and iPads in the Apple Store, and then eventually got seated upstairs…

Monroe had the Bowtie Pasta with Meat Sauce, while I went with the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta and Stephanie tried the Weight Management Grilled Chicken™.  Each were huge (and delicious!) and we couldn’t really finish them – obviously, we had to save room for the main event of the evening!  So, we ordered the participants – Godiva® and Tiramisu… 

As an aside, something has bugged me a little about the cheesecake competition we’re in – who’s really competing against whom here?  I mean, Stephanie, Monroe, and I are doing all the work!  The cheesecakes just SIT there, waiting for us to tear them apart.  They start out looking all delectable and everything, but after they are put on our table, they don’t really do anything!…  We are the ones that end up having to “train” for the upcoming battles anyway… (OK, that’s enough…)

So, after we downed the cheesecakes, it came time for the vote, and it wasn’t even close.  Each of the cheesecakes were unique – the Tiramisu Cheesecake is actually quite creamy and smooth, while the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake is incredibly rich and chocolately.  Even though, for us, the Tiramisu Cheesecake is quite good, we were apparently in a major chocolate mood, since the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake won each of our votes.  Godiva 3, Tiramisu 0. 

Now, the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake faces a fierce battle in the next round, facing off against the #1 seed, the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake.  Here’s the brackets as they stand now

By the way, a big thank you to Nicholas R., who served us at the restaruant.  He was great and was extremely knowledgeable – he provided us great service (and actually handled some folks next to us really well who didn’t quite understand what they were ordering when they ordered “nachos” – They say “the customer’s always right”, but sometimes, we all know better…).

Next week, #5 “The Original” vs. #12 Oreo® Cheesecake!

Breaking the Tie – Godiva® vs. Tiramisu

Tiramisu Cheesecake vs. Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake

In the first big matchup in the Cheesecake Playoffs, we are forced to break the ultimate tie.

The first battle pits #8 and #9 seeds – Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake vs. Tiramisu Cheesecake

Now, it turns out that this is the ultimate tie, not only because both the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake and the Tiramisu Cheesecake scored a healthy 21 points with the Farris family, but each of us rated each cheesecake exactly the same.  Monroe and I both ranked these two pieces of decadence with an 8, while Stephanie gave each a 5.  (you can check out our scores for ALL the cheesecakes here…)

Well, something’s gotta give, and we’re each going to have to pick a winner.  Tomorrow will be that day!

So, here’s the schedule for the Farris family as we head into the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, October 9.  Monroe has her Newbury Park soccer game in the morning, and then we’re off to lunch in Hollywood.  We’ll then go to see Secretariat at the El Capitan Theater for the 4:00 show.

Then, it’s off to The Grove in Los Angeles to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner, and the tie-breaking showdown!

Stay tuned to see how it all plays out, and which cheesecake gets the opportunity to face off against the top seed, the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

You can check out the Cheesecake Playoff brackets here.

An aside – as we enter the playoffs, we’ve found that we’re not making everybody happy.  Not that these folks don’t enjoy the decadent duels that will be playing out over the next several weeks…

It’s seems that some are upset that we’re not including MORE of The Cheesecake Factory’s desserts.  There are more specialty offerings – such as Lemoncello Cream Torte™ and Black-Out Cake.   We had specific complaints with not including Fresh Strawberry Shortcake and Linda’s Fudge Cake!

Well, fear not, our dear fans!  I have a feeling we’ll be tasting these tasties soon, but we certainly need to keep our focus on the cheesecakes at hand.  Champions can’t be distracted from achieving their goal  – we gotta keep our eyes on the prize!

The First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs

Today is the first day of the Major League Baseball playoffs, but you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the playoff atmosphere.

In fact, if you love dessert, then our family has a competition worth keeping track of.

Single elimination.  Gloves off.  Full contact.  Competition for the best of the best of the best in cheesecake!

OK – now that you’re all excited about this, let’s start from the beginning…  

At the beginning of 2010, Stephanie, Monroe, and I thought it would be fun to try every cheesecake that The Cheesecake Factory had to offer on their dessert menu.

Yes, every one!

Now, if you’re not familiar with The Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, then shame on you!  Of course, this is what they are famous for, and they have 31 different types of cheesecake on their regular menu, including one that came out at the beginning of the year – Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake.

It turns out that we actually tried 35 different kinds, because some were seasonal (Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake, coming out just this past week) and two more that came out this year (Mango Key Lime Cheesecake and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake Cheesecake).

We spent each week through the year getting a piece of cheesecake (and three forks) and bringing it home to taste.  Sometimes, we’d enjoy dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (we like the Factory Chopped Salad – no avocados…) and get a piece of cheesecake for dessert, which can be tough because the meals themselves can be pretty filling…

After we devoured the cheesecake, Stephanie, Monroe, and I would then rank it on a scale from 0 to 10.  It’s taken us nearly nine months to get through the entire menu, but we did it!  And here is how the final tally turned out:

Cheesecake Mic Stephanie Monroe  Total
30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake 9 10 10 29
Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple 9 8 10 27
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake Cheesecake 9 7 8 24
Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake 8 7 8 23
Original 7 7 8 22
Fresh Strawberry 7 7 8 22
Pumpkin Cheesecake 8 5 9 22
Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake 8 5 8 21
Tiramisu Cheesecake 8 5 8 21
Chocolate Oreo Mudslide Cheesecake 8 7 6 21
Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Cheesecake 6 7 8 21
Oreo Cheesecake 7 7 7 21
White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle 7 5 8 20
Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake 7 7 6 20
Wild Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake 5 6 9 20
Mango Key Lime Cheesecake 7 6 6 19
Caramel Pecan Turtle Cheesecake 8 5 6 19
Brownie Sundae Cheesecake 7 6 6 19
Snickers Bar Chunks and Chessecake 7 6 5 18
Cherry Cheesecake 8 5 5 18
Fresh Banana Cream Cheesecake 7 3 7 17
White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake 7 5 4 16
Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake 5 6 5 16
Dulce De Leche Caramel Cheesecake 8 7 0 15
Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake 5 3 5 13
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake 5 5 3 13
Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake 5 5 2 12
Dutch Apple Caramel Streusel 5 3 4 12
Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake 5 2 4 11
Chocolate Raspberry Truffle 5 3 3 11
Key Lime Cheesecake 6 1 4 11
Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake 3 7 1 11
Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheesecake 4 3 3 10
Low Carb Cheesecake 3 1 2 6
Low Carb Cheesecake with Strawberries 3 1 2 6

 

Now, one might conclude that, as far as we’re concerned, the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake is by far our favorite, and, of course, the best!  (We all admit – it is fantastic!)

However, America is the land of second chances, so these other cheesecakes deserve a real shot at the title!

(Anyway, I don’t think we’re done enjoying the cheesecake quite yet…)

So, in the spirit of our sports culture, we will be holding the first ever Cheesecake Playoffs!

The top 12 scoring cheesecakes qualify for the playoffs in a single elimination tournament.  The top four (30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, and Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake) each get a “bye” in the first round (and based on their yumminess, a well-deserved bye…)  This leaves the remaining eight to battle it out to compete against these top seeds.

So, what are the rules?  Simple…  No more rankings – it’s cheesecake vs. cheesecake.  Mano y mano!

Rather than eat one piece of cheesecake, we will eat two in one sitting, and Stephanie, Monroe, and I will each select which of the two is the best.  The cheesecake getting at least two of the three votes advances to the next round.

Here are the seedings as we start the tournament.  After each week’s competition (if we can manage doubling up on the cheesecake…), we’ll announce the winner, and update the tournament brackets.  If everything goes according to plan, the champion will be crowned around the Christmas holiday (just in time to try the Peppermint Bark Cheesecake and see if we should end up starting the whole thing over again in 2011!…)

Wish us luck, and send us your comments!

Interesting items to watch out for in the Second Season

–          Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple has been the standard “peanut butter and chocolate” cheesecake offering by The Cheesecake Factory for some time.  However, they recently came out with the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake Cheesecake.  Each ranks high with the Farris family, but their seedings put them in a potential clash in the semifinals.  Watch out for this possible no-holds-barred matchup as we get to the Final Four!

–          The Original Cheesecake Factory cheesecake made a great showing in our cheesecake rankings.  The original Original ranked at the number 5 seed, while the original with strawberry toppings (Fresh Strawberry) made it in as number 6.  You might think that plenty of offerings having exotic flavors and chocolate (mmmm, chocolate…) might push standard, boring ol’ regular cheesecake out of the running.  But, no sirree!  Let’s see how the Original holds up in the playoff battles…

–          The Oreo flavors made quite a splash as well, making up two of the twelve playoff contenders (Oreo Cheesecake and Chocolate Oreo Mudslide Cheesecake).  

–          For a seasonal offering, we were surprised how much we liked the Pumpkin Cheesecake, gaining a well-deserved #7 seed and extended life in the Cheesecake Playoffs…

NKS Now Available on the iPad

I really like Stephen Wolfram’s book A New Kind of Science (or NKS for short) – on how simple computational programs can create amazingly complex things.  I’m also really enamored with the iPad (I’ve written about it before a number of times…).

Now, two of my favorite things are coming together – Wolfram’s NKS is now available on the iPad.  It’s available at Apple’s iTunes store for $9.99 – far less than the hardback version and certainly much lighter!…  (Hmmm…  Two things coming together – kind of like chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup…)

I haven’t purchased an iPad yet, but now I’m really excited to think about possibly maybe starting to look into getting one… (or at least window shopping for one…)

Read more about A New Kind of Science for the iPad on Stephen Wolfram’s blog here