I vowed prematurely that I would never eat at Cheesecake Factory again, when some years ago I was looking at a menu of $8 overrated cheesecakes. I don't even remember the cheesecake being that good, otherwise I would have said price was no object. So when I was invited to go for lunch, I went reluctantly, thinking I can't really write CF off just yet as I had never tried their savory menu.
Thankfully I was a good sport this time because CF is actually not as bad as I remembered it to be! The menu was extensive. I tried to ignore the Asian items, which is never any good at chains. Among the three of us, we were able to order fried chicken sliders (American), pasta da Vinci (Italian), and a Santa Fe chicken salad (Mexican-American), so there was a broad range for picking. The sliders came neatly stacked (4 in all) with a heaping pile of pickles on the side; my pasta had chicken and mushrooms with a rich gravy for sauce (I asked for no onions); and the lunch-size salad was overflowing on the plate that we wondered how ginormous the full-sized version must be.
There weren't any complaints at the table. We sat outside in patio furniture under umbrellas, with a sunny but cloudy sky above us. It was definitely a more laid back atmosphere than the one inside, with its overwhelming decor, which would be better for a date rather than a luncheon.