Cinderella Lives! Oreo® Upsets Chocolate Mousse

Cinderella!

The lowest seed Oreo® Cheesecake pulled off another upset last week by defeating the #4 seed Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake in the recent quarterfinal matchup of the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs.

Who’da thought that the #12 seed in the 12-seed playoffs would be one contest away from competing for the First Ever Cheesecake Championship?!  Well, all the cheesecakes are delicious, but we didn’t expect the lowest seed to make it this far…

Monroe decided that she wanted to cast the tie-breaking vote this time around, so she refused to declare her choice until the end.  That meant that Stephanie and I were forced into (possibly) splitting our votes and having Monroe deciding who advances to the next round.

After sampling both, Stephanie chose the Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake – it was totally rich, and apparently Stephanie was in the “chocolate mood”.  I decided on picked Oreo® Cheesecake; normally I’m all into the chocolate scene, but this week, I wanted something more cheesecakingly cheesecakey, which Oreo® was…

So, that left Monroe, exactly where she wanted to be – “The Decider”!  And Monroe ensured that Cinderella would live another day, and moved the improbable #12 seed into the semifinals to face off against the top seed 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake.

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Here’s the brackets as they stand today.  This week, we start two weeks of peanut butter cheesecake tastings – first, #2 seed Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake versus the classic #6 seed Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake, followed by a contest between #3 seed Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple against the seasonal favorite #7 seed Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Chocolate Beats Chocolate; #1 Seed Beats Godiva®

This weekend saw the first quarterfinal contest of the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs with the #1 seed, 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, up against the #8 seed, Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake.

This was a pretty enjoyable contest, since both the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake and the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake were awesome!  Stephanie, who rated the 30th Anniversary cheesecake a “10”, was impressed with the showing by the opponent.   You totally need to be in a chocolate mood for the Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake, because it’s so rich!  Apparently, we were, since it tasted fantastic!

But, in the end, we all declared the 30th Anniversary cheesecake the winner, defeating Godiva® by a 3-0 margin.  Don’t let the sweep fool you, though – it was actually quite close.  So, 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake advances to the semifinals, and the brackets now look like this…

As an aside, we were so impressed with the Pumpkin “Pi” graphic I found from my last post, that we decided to make our own for Halloween…

Next week, #4 seed Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake makes its first appearance in the playoffs versus upset winner #12 Oreo® Cheesecake!

The Dilemma Resolved

So, in my last post, I mentioned that we have a dilemma this week in the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs

See, the Cheesecake Factory has a gazillion flavors of cheesecake, which they switch out every once in a while.  So, as we spent 2010 eating through the Cheesecake Factory cheesecake menu, it keeps changing…

Which means… some of the cheesecakes that we tasted earlier in the year are no longer available.  And one of them happened to qualify for the playoffs!  The Chocolate Oreo® Mudslide Cheesecake was rated highly by the Farris family, rating a solid 21 out of 30 in the “regular” season and qualifying as the #10 seed.

But now has been discontinued!  Hence, the dilemma. 

In the projected pairing of the #7 seed, the seasonal favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Chocolate Oreo® Mudslide Cheesecake, one of the “competitors” will turn out to be a no-show. 

One option is to substitute the next highest rated cheesecake. But if we do that, which one of the next cheesecakes would we pick?  Three cheesecakes scored a 20 – White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Kahlua® Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake, and Wild Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Another option would be to pick a completely different cheesecake – one we didn’t try during the early part of the year.  But this also seems unsatisfying – I mean, is it really fair for Pineapple Upside-Down Cheesecake to qualify for our playoffs when it didn’t even work up a sweat during the regular season?  I think not…

So, the Farris family has made an executive decision.  The Pumpkin Cheesecake, our #7 seed, will win by default due to the “forfeit” of Chocolate Oreo® Mudslide Cheesecake (maybe it was just afraid of the competition during Pumpkin’s “home field” seasonal advantage…).  However, Pumpkin doesn’t deserve to just walk into the next round because another cheesecake didn’t show – it has to “play the game”!

To play by the rules, a cheesecake can’t win its round unless the Farris family has actually eaten it (kinda barbaric, but them’s the rules!…).   Since I am (unfortunately) not with the rest of the Farris clan today, we will each grab a slice of Pumpkin Cheesecake separately (I’m in Washington DC, so I’m getting mine at the Fairfax, VA, Cheesecake Factory, while Stephanie and Monroe will pick theirs up at our Thousand Oaks location…).  After we eat our slices, Pumpkin will official “qualify” for the next round due to forfeit – as I said, it’s only fair for the game to be played…

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So, here’s how the quarterfinals are shaping up.  The Elite Eight has:

–   #1 seed 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake vs. #8 Godiva® Chocolate Cheesecake
–   #4 Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake vs. #12 Oreo® Cheesecake
–   #3 Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake vs. #6 Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake
–   #2 Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple vs. #7 Pumpkin Cheesecake

This weekend, we’ll start the quarterfinals with the first #1 vs. #8 pairing, and we’ll see which piece of chocolate indulgence prevails!

Strawberry Topples Cookie-Dough; Monroe Turns 11

Happy Birthday, Monroe!

From our previous post, you know that we delayed our First Ever Cheesecake Playoff contest from last weekend to coincide with Monroe’s birthday.  Monroe turned 11 today, and what a way to celebrate with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory!

This week’s matchup brought a classic, #6 seeded Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake, up against a snacker’s dream, #11 seed Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Cheesecake.   Each were different – much like last week’s matchup when the Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake lost a narrow 2-1 decision against Oreo® Cheesecake.

One might think that we might be witnessing a repeat of last week.  Fresh Strawberry is effectively the Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake, but with strawberry toppings.  And Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Cheesecake has chocolate going for it (I mean, hell-O!  It’s chocolate!…)

But when you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen!  (Just ask the ’04 Yankees when they lost four straight against the Red Sox after being up 3-0 in the ALCS!…)

After Stephanie had her chicken and Monroe had her bowtie pasta (exactly their menu from the first playoff duel), and after I partook in the New Orleans Shrimp, we headed straight for the desserts.  Let the competition begin!

Well, the staff had been tipped off to our special evening (and to the competition), so they made the cheesecakes a little special for Monroe.  They sang “Happy Birthday” and added a candle to the cheesecake for Monroe to get her wish.  Very cool!

Leaving us to our “work”, we dug in to both cheesecakes.  Monroe was very eager to vote, so she declared early that the Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Cheesecake had her vote.  I thought that the Cookie-Dough was a bit thick for my taste (I had only rated it a “6” in the regular season…), so I cast my vote for Fresh Strawberry.  That only left Stephanie…

However, she wouldn’t vote right away.  She kept thinking, and thinking, and tasting, and deciding…  And eventually, the deciding vote was cast – Stephanie picked Fresh Strawberry! 

So, Fresh Strawberry stays alive to meet Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, the #3 seed!

Big thanks to Jen Deyta, General Manager of the Thousand Oaks Cheesecake Factory, for arranging to make Monroe’s day special.  She left the restaurant saying, “I really had fun!”  How could you ask for more?

Next week, a dilemma – Pumpkin Cheesecake versus Chocolate Oreo® Mudslide Cheesecake.  Stay tuned for the next post to understand why this is a dilemma!…

Change in Plans for Monroe’s Birthday

Normally, the Farris family uses the weekend to go one round deeper in the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs.  But this week, we’ve got a few issues…

Well, the first one is that I’m not in town with weekend; turns out that I’m in Dallas.  I first had a business meeting here during the week, but there’s a Perot for President reunion in Dallas this weekend, so I figured I’d stick around (some of you probably know that I chaired the California organization back a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and we all got to meet with Mr. Perot a couple of years ago, but these are MUCH longer stories…)

That, of course, puts a crimp in the normal Cheesecake Playoff plans.  We would either have to figure out how to get in my vote after picking up cheesecake here in Dallas (turns out there’s one reasonably close to my hotel…), but we decided that wouldn’t be very fun…

So, we’ve decided to delay the contest between #6 seed Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake and #11 seed Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Cheesecake once I’m back, which will be Monday.

But what a great coincidence! – it’s Monroe’s 11th birthday on Monday, so we’re planning to have her birthday dinner at the Thousand Oaks Cheesecake Factory and hold our contest there! 

So, we’ll update the site with our final votes and pics at the beginning of next week!  Stay tuned (and wish Monroe a happy birthday!!)

Oreo® Advances in Split Decision

This week’s matchup in the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs led to Oreo® Cheesecake advancing to the next round with a 2-1 vote over the Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake.

We noted in the pre-game analysis of this matchup that both Oreo® and Original are classics in and of themselves.  But with the no-holds-barred competition to the championship, not every offering will turn out to be worthy…

We brought home both cheesecakes last night, and dug in with gusto!   After downing both desserts, Monroe cast her vote for Oreo®.  I then voted, after some considerable thought (because, I mean, both were really delicious…), for the Original. 

But Stephanie cast the last and deciding vote very quickly – Oreo® – and the contest was over!  Oreo® advances!…

Here is how the First Ever Cheesecake Playoff brackets are shaping up…  Next week – the #6 seed, Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake, versus Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough Cheesecake at #11.

Original vs. Oreo®: A Battle of Classics

This week’s contest in the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs pits two American classics – The Original Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake versue Oreo® Cheesecake.  The Original comes in favored as the #5 seed, while Oreo® enters the playoffs with the #12 seed…

However, don’t let the wide differences in seeds fool you – this is not a slam dunk for the Original!

In the regular season, the Farris family ranked each of these very closely – the Original earned 22 of a possible 30 points, where Oreo® came in close behind with a score of 21 (you can see our original rankings here…).  In fact, each cheesecake ranked a 7 with each of us, except for Monroe, who gave the nod to the Original with a score of 8.

This certainly will be a tough contest!  The Original is the classic of classics – creamy and delicious (and you can never go wrong with ordering this simple treat!…), but Oreo® is a classic in and of itself, and mixed in with cheesecake?!…  Mmmm… 

This Friday, we plan to grab both from the Thousand Oaks Cheesecake Factory and bring them home to engage in the fork-to-fork combat.  We’ll post the results this weekend to let you all know who advances to take on the #4 seed, Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Temporary Change to the Website

I’ve decided to change the look of the website for the next few months to focus attention on the First Ever Cheesecake Playoffs.  I post a lot of different kinds of stuff on the site, but we all wanted to make sure people could follow the stories and keep track of the winners more easily.

Check out the new look at www.micfarris.com

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!