Preparing to Tie the Knot with a Chain of Chains

cheesecake factory: white chocolate caramel latte cheesecake
We’re in the thick of it now. With a wedding less than two months away, at least one day each weekend is dedicated to bridal bliss *roll eyes*. Okay, so as much as I whine about this whole wedding baloney, I don’t really hate it all that much, but it’s so much more fun to be bitter, isn’t it? ;)

Spending the day shuttling around town on errands, then shopping for shoes and makeup and talking about sugar and spice and everything nice about girlie wedding stuff, there isn’t much thought put toward food. So we fall back to the things that are familiar and reasonably reliable. Chains. Why do we love to hate chains? I almost appreciate the mindlessness of eating at chains during these tortuous escapades around town. Almost. Thank god it’ll be over by September.

Starting obscenely early on Saturday, caffeine is quite in order, especially when the bulk of the morning is spent in a tailor’s tiny store discussing boning (what the?!?) in the bodice and bustier tops for a maternity bridesmaid dress. Oh my god, coffee. Now. Two nonfat café au lait, plus one decaf and a plain croissant from a coffee chain. Hey, give me some credit. I may reduce myself to chains all day, but I do have my lower limits. We went to the Coffee Bean, though the way the Coffee Bean is expanding across California, I’m becoming a little suspicious of its aspirations to be like…the other one (whose name I cannot type). And even though CB is the reason we have 800 calorie ice-blended coffee drinks that are really liquid desserts, I will say that they probably had good intentions way back when they were the first to invent it. It’s just unfortunate that a simple ice blended mocha has evolved into…strawberries and cream tea.

Off we go to run more girlie errands, and when we finally realize it’s lunch time, we at least do better than the mall food court. Does Sbarro exist anywhere outside of a mall food court? No? *phew* We end up at Islands for lunch. I can’t figure out whether I thought Islands was absolutely brilliant when I first moved to California simply because it was so…California, or because I was just young and didn’t really know any better anyway. No matter. It was actually a refreshing break to order mindlessly from a menu that I’ve seen a hundred times (and with prices that have increased quite a bit since the last time I was there), and munch on my favorites: nachos and fries. We would have gotten chili cheese fries, but we’re on a wedding diet – ha!

As if that weren’t enough, we ended up at the cheesiest of all chains for dinner. I love to hate the Cheesecake Factory. I hate their ad-laden bible of a menu, but then again, they do have something for everyone. It may not be something good, but it is something. I hate their food, but damn those avocado egg rolls sure are tasty. I hate that one order is a large enough portion for four people, but I admit that leftover garlic mashed potatoes re-heated at 4 am after a night of debauchery is great hangover prevention. Heck, if you split a salad for dinner, then the monstrous slice of White Chocolate Caramel Latte cheesecake isn’t so bad. That’s the newest flavor cheesecake, but let’s be honest here, after a certain point, they all sort of sound and taste the same, no? *sigh* Whatever happened to just a modest piece of plain and simple cheesecake with some fresh berries? Ah well, just as long as it doesn’t eventually take the route of the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle to the freezer at Ralph’s. *sigh* Though out of the freezer from the market, the cheesecake doesn’t come with that ridiculous beehive hair-do of whipped cream garnish. Ridiculous.

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  • LACheesemonger

    Alright, I’m counting the items where ‘da princess’ and I are kindred spirits on. Hates weddings….check, don’t mind at all gorging on food trays however, check; (well if you have wealthy friends, Dom Perignon (aka DP), Olympia oysters, Beluga caviar… which has gone from 1995 prices of $50-70oz, all the way up to $200+/oz, kind of like So. Cal real residential real estate boom); and you have both of us saying—Please Invite me!!! LOL. The rest of the ‘ceremony’ we could do without… Timberline, Oregon; Hortsman Glacier at Blackcomb/Whistler British Columbia… only ski areas still open (and yes, I’m a 100% demented skier, who hates the recent hot weather/very humid conditions we suffered through last week and over the weekend…wusses we Angelenos we are!)

  • Sam

    Sarah, lovie, what day do you have to be a bridesmaid? I am set for October 15 to attend to the sweet, French bride-to-be: Del. If I start eating slices of pie the size of yours, there is no way I am going to fit into my dress.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, we all love to hate, and hate to love Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, and the like. But is the food that bad? Not really. Our feelings are so much more about their philosophy. Food is mass produced, and of course, a bit of jealousy on our part for their success? I’m not saying I’d go there tonight and have dinner. In fact, I may not ever have to go back to any of those places if it weren’t for friends who do like some of their offerings. But I know for some, they are convenient, they are everywhere, they are easy and the food is eatable.

  • sarah

    haha! in all honesty, i don’t hate weddings. in fact, planning for them can be fun, especially the food planning parts :) but the actual wedding itself is always so boring and exhausting.

    sam, the wedding is late september. i now have less than two months to squeeze into my dress – haha! (i also wish i could understand french – your friend’s site is soooooo adorable!)

    no more nachos, fries, and NO MORE CHEESECAKE! and i have to bake for SHFs on thursday nights so i can bring all the finished product out of the house and to the office. LOL!

  • LACheesemonger

    Anyone who has the time to visit Sat&Sun farmers mkts (get there early, I get there 15min before scheduled opening as some vendors start selling early and you avoid peak crowds). For DS, figs are now in season at the farmers mkts. But I got cross-eyed going to 4 different mkts over the weekend, don’t remember which ones have them… probably either Hollywood (biggest other than the Weds. SM& Arizona) or SM&Arizona Sat.

    Early O’Henry yellow peach, just starting to come in season. Sierra Blanca white peach, intense peachy flavor, not just high sugar-but don’t buy the extra firm, only those at slightly softer or near bruised state are ripe enough to give intense flavor and good sugar levels—I learned the hard way $5/lb that the harder ones do not fully ripen—tart/sour city! Both from Honey Crip’s stand at the BH market (mkt is much bigger this time of year)

    Mulberries, best are from a small stand at the Sat. SM&Arizona mkt, (adjacent to the AMC theaters, south-side at 3rd St), opens at 8:30AM, and they sell out mid-day or earlier. From a single old tree and less expensive at $8/tray, they also sell $$$ Mulberry jam and juice. LA Times removed their online article on the mulberries, July 6th Food Sec., but did not mention this one. All others, including Circle-C ranch, tend to have more shriveled berries; they are very delicate and if not picked at optimum ripeness are whopping tart/acidic. Older woman at Hlly farm. mkt tells on looker at Circle-C stand, in response to question what is different about these $10/raspberry sized trays. She says ‘they are juicier’. Spoken like so many other CHLA posters who don’t know what they are talking about. The main difference is the powerful, intense flavor, staring out very tart, but if ripe enough, finishes in the mouth with sweetness. Fun to try now and then, season ends in a few weeks. Personally, home grown boysenberries (that which you cannot get at any farmer’s mkt) at optimum ripeness taste sweeter, with a more decadently rich berry tang, while being ‘juicer’ than any mkt obtained berries including the Persian mulberry- IMNSHO.

    omakase, trust me, I know what I speak of ;)

    I liked them with refrig tempered, nearly soupy vanilla gelato, along with ripe cantaloupe type melons. Galia/Rocky melons are a nice foil to the tartness of the mulberries, actually either combination tends to enhance that powerful flavor, while slightly softening the acidic bite, YMMV or preferences maybe different ;)

    Hope this inspires DS or others to make it out to the markets this weekend or next. I don’t hate weddings either, lol. As long as they have lots of DP, $200/oz Beluga caviar, and all-you-can-eat freshly flown in teeny/tiny Olympia oysters-native to Washington/NAmer coastline (I think you can special order a case of 200 Olympias from SM Seafood if you ask the manager, but maybe not in Sept :( ). Now how do I crash Paris’s wedding :-)

  • LACheesemonger

    Heh, I led DS astray again, but it wasn’t my fault. Honey Crisp was not at the BH farmer’s mkt today. They said he’s having problems with the fruit because he did not spray this year (dormant oil?), they are in the organic section… I thought? ‘Hopefully, he will be back next weekend’. Better luck at the Wed. SM& Ariz mkt, I should think.

    Black mission figs from the ubiquitous and expensive Pudwill farms; as well as fraise des bois (Fr. ‘fruit/strawberry of the wood’, ie wild/alpine strawberries) mixed red/golden varieties, in raspberry sized trays $4.50@.

    IIRC the green skinned fresh black flesh? figs were at the Hollywood Fmrs mkt., my #1 pick if you can make it to that mkt on Sundays.

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