Who here knows about The Cheesecake Factory? I’d heard of it, of course, this mythical place that had 30+ cheesecakes on their dessert menu as well as an assortment of other tasty items. I’d seen them places, usually in well-to-do towns on cross-country road trips, but I’d never been into one. Turns out we have a Cheesecake Factory less than an hour’s drive from my hometown, in a shopping center I don’t usually frequent. You may have noticed we’re a bit crazy for sweets, and my kid brother convinced me to take him here.
Did I mention they have an enormous menu? My eyes were immediately drawn to the Farmhouse Burger, a cheddar cheeseburger topped with pork belly and a fried egg on a brioche bun. How could I resist? I recently found out this item in particular was singled out as one of the worst entrees in America, weighing in at 1530 calories, without the fries. Considering what I’ve seen on the Chili’s menu, I’m not sure I agree this is so unusual, but I will say that unlike many other restaurant dishes, I felt this one was worth the calories. It wasn’t too fatty or too salty, had nice, balanced flavors.
It has often been said that eating at home is preferable because it’s “better for you” than eating out. Having eaten at enough people’s houses, I can tell you definitively that it depends on who’s doing the cooking. Some friends do indeed use fresh, healthy ingredients with appropriate portion sizes. Others come from homes where vegetables mean tater tots, macaroni and cheese (yes, really), and buttered corn, and if nothing on your plate is fried, you’re doing it wrong. So I can’t tell you that my sandwich here is better for you than the Farmhouse Burger at The Cheesecake Factory. Actually, I guess I can – I plugged the ingredients into a recipe calculator (I should really do this for everything from now on), and it returned 710 calories, with 48 of those from fat. Okay, it’s not a paragon of health food. But it is tasty.
California Farmhouse Sandwich (makes 1 sandwich)
- 2 slices sprouted whole-grain bread
- 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 2 slices bacon
- 2 quail eggs
- 2 1/4″-thick slices green tomato
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 6 tbsp. cornmeal
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- Lightly toast bread, then let cool. When cool, spread both sides with mayonnaise.
- In a cast iron skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat to render out the fat. When bacon is crispy, drain on paper towels.
- Crack the eggs into the bacon fat and cook until desired doneness.
- Meanwhile, whisk flour and cornmeal in a small bowl, and dredge green tomato slices in mixture. Add to the cast iron pan, and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.
- Layer avocado slices, fried green tomatoes, quail eggs, and bacon on the bread.