BeiBei, Allan, and I joined our friend Tony to celebrate his 25th birthday. His birthday was actually on Friday, but we decided to have our own celebration and festivities on Saturday. Since we had continuously postponed watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 for many months now, we planned to watch it as part of Tony’s birthday festivities. We met up at Allan’s house and proceeded with the film.
This movie is by far the cheesiest of the Harry Potter series, putting more attention on the romances in the story. I cringed several times and even covered my eyes to save myself from the awkwardness that the scenes on the screen were sure to cause me to experience. It’s the usual Harry Potter movie length – long.
I find it necessary to see Harry Potter films with the company of others, so you have someone there with whom to comment on scenes, whether it be due to a scene’s awesomeness or absolute cheesiness.
After finishing Harry Potter and feeling slightly drained from such a lengthy film, we played a little DJ Hero 2 while we tried to determine what to eat. After driving to Outback Steakhouse and Claim Jumper, only to be deterred by the excruciatingly long wait times, we proceeded to Old Pasadena (for some reason, colloquially known as “Old Town Pasadena”) and chose The Cheesecake Factory. Tony had apparently never been to The Cheesecake Factory before and the rest of us hadn’t had it in a while, so it seemed like a reasonable choice. We placed our names on the waiting list and were delighted to discover that the wait time was significantly less than that at Outback and Claim Jumper – 45 minutes!
45 minutes was a perfect wait time, leaving us with more than enough time to grab some coffee at Intelligentsia. Intelligentsia (@Intelligentsia) is definitely at the top of my list alongside my favorite places to grab a nice cup of java. I’ve been to all three California/Los Angeles-area locations, with Pasadena being home to one of them (@IntelliPasadena), lucky enough. The other two locations are in Venice and Silver Lake. Allan, Tony, and I opted for the latte with Black Cat espresso. This is my usual drink, and none of the Intelligentsia locations have failed me yet with this choice. BeiBei got an iced Angeleno.
One of the things I love Intelligentsia, besides the amazing flavor of their lattes, is the coffee art. I am a sucker for coffee art (one of the reasons why Urth Caffe is at the top of my favorite coffee venues as well).
This particular location uses Erlenmeyer flasks as water pitchers, which I absolutely love. Awesome idea. My future kitchenware in the making: beakers for drinking glasses and Erlenmeyer flasks for pitchers.
After grabbing our coffees and waiting around some more, we were finally seated at The Cheesecake Factory!
Allan and Tony both ordered the Chargrilled Coulotte Steak, originally served with French fries and crispy onion rings. Both of them substituted the French fries with mashed potatoes.
BeiBei and I both ordered the Hibachi Steak with Shiitake mushrooms, onions, bean sprouts, wasabi mashed potatoes and tempura asparagus.
The general consensus is that when ordering steak from here, request it to be cooked less than how you desire because they tend to overcook. For example, if you like medium, you should probably order it medium rare. Better to have it undercooked than overcooked since you can always request to have your plate sent back to be cooked a bit more.
Anyway, the boys seemed to enjoy their steak, and BeiBei and I enjoyed ours. I typically order the Hibachi steak when I go to The Cheesecake Factory. Each time I find the sauce to be too sweet for me, so this time I requested for it to not be too sweet. Next time, I will most likely put more emphasis on that request, or perhaps see if I could just get the sauce on the side. I am a huge fan of their wasabi mashed potatoes, so that’s always good.
After finishing with our meals and while waiting for the dessert we ordered to be served, I folded my napkin into an origami crane. It managed to stay upright for a while before flopping over on one side. I think it looks pretty awesome in this photo!
Since we were celebrating Tony’s birthday, of course we had to embarrass him in public! I made sure to let the waitress know we were here for his birthday. Several waiters and waitresses came out with our Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, birthday candle in tow, and sang “Happy Birthday” to Tony.
Needless to say, we all enjoyed that cheesecake! It was so rich, we barely ate any, and Tony had plenty to take home and enjoy for himself.
A perfect ending to a perfect evening with friends – Happy Birthday, Tony!