When we first moved back to California from the U.K. more than a decade ago, we had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in Union Square in San Francisco. It kind of epitomized everything that was American – unapologetic, calorie-laden decadence detailed in a really long, laminated menu. It felt like a world-is-your-oyster kind of place. You want pasta? Steak? Omelette? Pizza? Burger? Sandwich? Seafood? Salad? You can get it here. Oh yeah, and of course, there’s over two dozen different types of cheesecake. There is simply nothing like it in the U.K.
But for me, the Cheesecake Factory ship has sailed. I have nothing against the Cheesecake Factory, but it no longer holds the appeal that it once had. We had no official falling out. It’s just become this kind of American dining experience (like TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s, Sizzler, Outback Steakhouse) that I avoid (not because I am snob, although if the shoe fits …), but because there are so many amazing independently owned restaurants in San Francisco, I couldn’t imagine eschewing them all in favor of a stop at a chain restaurant like the Cheesecake Factory.
And yet, everytime we have friends visiting from the U.K., without fail, they suggest dining there. These are friends that don’t know each other. Relatives that don’t know the friends. No common connection except for their Britishness. But they’re all on the same British Cheesecake Factory bandwagon. They don’t ask about any of the other chains, mind you. They save their love for Cheesecake Factory.
If you’re in San Francisco tomorrow, be sure to pop by Union Square! BritWeek, an annual celebration of UK creativity and innovation in California which takes place May 3-11, will kick off with a day of fun and British-themed festivities including a BritArt gallery, live music, theater, entertainment and a typical British beer garden serving British beers and Pimm’s cocktails from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is presented by British Airways.
For more information, visit http://current.britweek.org/san-francisco-events.
Ahhh … the start of the weekend! Tonight, we celebrated with dinner at Chow’s in San Francisco – a sweet little spot on Church Street. After a busy week, there’s nothing like their raspberry peach cobbler with ice cream, which I have to say resembles a traditional British crumble.
Have a fabulous weekend, dear readers! Thank you for a fantastic week! See you back here bright and early on Monday!