The kids and I have begun doing weekly family dining reviews. We're searching out the places that are kid friendly, with good prices and healthy menus. Here is the rundown on our Cheesecake Factory experience:
I was pretty sure we couldn't go wrong with a restaurant that has "Cheesecake" in its title, but my kids and I tried to keep an open mind going into The Cheesecake Factory in Rancho Cucamonga for dinner.
The restaurant chain recently released its new kids' menu, which offers selections from the usual chicken strips or pizza to healthier options like grilled chicken or pasta varieties.
About the same time, the chain also introduced its "Small Plates and Snacks" menu, ideal for sharing among friends or family with items like fresh baked pizzettes and roasted stuffed dates.
Prices for the "Small Plates and Snacks" menu ranges from $3.95 to $6.50. The kids' menu items are $3.95 to $6.95.
My kids went off the kids' menu with a cheese pizza entrée and the grilled chicken with vegetables and potatoes entrée. Both entrées included a beverage.
I chose the sausage and roasted pepper pizza with a Caesar salad appetizer.
When we got our food, we did things family style -- eating off each other's plates -- so we could get a taste of everything.
At that point, a miracle happened. Both kids absolutely loved the salad. They even ate bites that did NOT include a crouton ... just greenery. Then, they said they want salads like that at home. Every night.
So now, I'm going to have to try to mimic The Cheesecake Factory's Caesar salad recipe and finally get some greens in those little tummies on a regular basis.
The other big winner at the table? The seriously delicious mashed potatoes that came with the grilled chicken kids' meal. The dish includes red potatoes mashed with cream and butter. We actually dueled with our forks over the last few bites.
My pizza with the roasted peppers had some kick, but honestly the kids' cheese pizza was just as good. I always steal food off the kids' plates -- a parent perk -- but for once it all measured or surpassed the grown-up food in taste.
We were all stuffed after finishing the entrées, but it seemed wrong not to get cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, so we took the plunge with a slice of the original cheesecake topped with glazed strawberries.
Another small fork war went on over the strawberries, but there were enough to go around. It was clear why the Fresh Strawberry cheesecake has been the restaurant chain's most popular choice for 30 years.
I'd say the kids' menu was a smart choice for the chain. I know mine are already clamoring to go back.
The Cheesecake Factory
Where: 12379 North Mainstreet, Rancho Cucamonga
Where: Galleria at Tyler