Fanfare for the Common Man

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2013

For my daughter’s 27th birthday I enjoyed a dining experience unparalleled by any other. I ate at the Cheesecake Factory.
For me this was as special an event as it was for my daughter’s birthday. I was not aware the Cheesecake Factory existed except on Big Bang Theory reruns as the place where Penny works.
I loved it because Penny works there and this is where Sheldon Leonard, Raj and Howard eat on Cheeseburger Tuesdays. Big Bang Theory is one of four shows I watch on TV each week, and when catching the BBT reruns I can watch up to three hours of Sheldon and the Gang each weeknight.
It’s like a visit with old friends, and now I’m going to eat where Penny works.
First though, came a note of disappointment when I stepped into the Cheesecake Factory, it looked nothing like the Cheesecake Factory where Penny works. I mentioned this to our hostess, who was not a struggling actress like Penny, and when I made the joke that I wanted Penny as my waitress, or Bernadette if Penny was busy, I got an eye roll and a 189 for my effort.
The 189 was for how many such jokes had been made during that day’s shift.
“You don’t make Big Bang Theory jokes here,” my son told me, and I had to trash my whole repertoire of witty quips I had reserved for our server – like my Sheldon impersonation.
So we sat down at our table, a table for six, just like Sheldon and Leonard’s table for six, even though it still didn’t looking anything like their table and we were given our menus to order.
These menus could have passed for phone books. They had chapters in them no less, and advertising too.
Who advertises in a restaurant menu? Lots of people apparently.
So I asked, “What do they serve here?” and my reply was, “Everything and lots of it.”
And they weren’t kidding.
My dinner was served on a plate the size of a garbage can lid. I opted for the ribeye steak and fries. I think I got half the cow and most of Idaho. It was awesome.
My son got the fish and chips in a basket that looked like it belonged on a trawler somewhere out in the Atlantic. The slaw alone could qualify as a meal.
And of course you don’t eat at the Cheesecake Factory without enjoying one of their signature cheesecakes for dessert. I opted for the Hershey’s chocolate cheesecake.
I view chocolate and cheesecake this way. If the rest of the world loved chocolate and cheesecake the way I loved chocolate and cheesecake there’d be much less fighting out there. Chocolate and cheesecake means world peace.
Until I saw the bill: $202.00.
I scanned down the bill while furiously doing the math as to who wouldn’t get paid this month so I didn’t have to do dishes like Penny to work off this meal. Apparently you pay for half of Idaho in those fries.
For my convenience they calculated an 18-percent tip, which is their way of saying, we know your brain is fogged from all that cheesecake, no worries, just leave the counting to us.
For that $202.00 I left telling the hostess, “I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested,” then added, “Bazinga!” for her troubles.

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