Tag Archives: cheesecake

Holiday Cheesecake (or Birthday Twins and Twinkle Lights)

The last few years it has been a tradition for my birthday twin, Joanna, and I to get cheesecake around the holidays. We haven’t always been successful with our timing, but we have been pretty good about at least doing it eventually between our birthday adventures. But this time, I wanted to make sure we were on top of it and I texted Joanna before around Christmas to find out when we could get cheesecake. Somehow, we both ended up being free right before NYE so we made a date for our cheesecake outing.

I was totally looking forward our hangout and then of course it ended up happening right as I was starting to feel my worst. But I wasn’t going to miss this tradition so I took some painkillers and hoped for the best. Fortunately, Joanna is such an amazing friend and understood that I wasn’t feeling so great. So she probably took charge more often in the conversation and I’m so grateful for her for that! We knew that it was going to be crowded and that there would be a wait for a table, but normally when they tell us it will be an hour it’s really just a fraction of that. But this time, we ended up waiting almost 90 minutes for a table. But we were determined to get our cheesecake and figured this just gave us more time to catch up.

We both have been having adventures in online dating so we were sharing stories about that. And she had just been to visit her family so she was updating me on how everyone in her family are doing. It was a pretty chill hangout and catch up but I’m always so grateful that we get to spend this time together. She and I both have weird and sometimes crazy schedules so we don’t get to see each other that often. More often than not, the only times we see each other are for our birthday and for the cheesecake. So we need to maximize each hangout.

Once we finally got a table, we ordered pretty quickly. We’ve both been to Cheesecake Factory enough to know what we want (although the flatbread that Joanna likes was just taken off the menu) and we got to looking at the menu at the cheesecake which was the most important part of the meal to us. I ordered a salad for my dinner and we decided on red velvet and tres leches cheesecake to have. We’ve learned that we can ask the server to split each piece of cheesecake in half, so we each get half of each slice.

Somehow I always have room for dessert even though I was still feeling pretty awful. But I knew I ate too much so we decided to walk around a bit after dinner. All of the Christmas lights were still up at the Grove and it really was beautiful. It was the first time this season that I had seen the lights and I’m glad I didn’t miss my chance to check them out!

We also went to check out the tree, but it’s so big that it’s almost impossible to get a photo of the entire tree!

But we decided that the tree was the perfect background for us to take a photo together!

It wasn’t as crowded by the tree and decorations as it was near dinner, so it was nice to be able to walk around and not feel totally squished. The crowds are the main reason why I rarely go to the Grove, but whenever I go there I’m reminded about how nice it is there and how fun the holiday decorations are. But I think that it will probably be a once a year type of adventure. Plus, most of the stores and restaurants there are places I can go to somewhere else so I’m not always that motivated to drive over there. But it makes a perfect place to meet for our annual cheesecake dinner!

After checking out the decorations, it was time for us to head back to our cars. I really was trying to keep a smile on my face and ignore the pain I was in, but I knew I needed to get home to get some more painkillers in me (I ended up missing a party I was supposed to go to after dinner because I was feeling so horrible). But even though I wasn’t feeling that great, I’m so glad that I went out for cheesecake. It’s an important tradition for us and also it was a nice distraction from how I was feeling!

While I know that Joanna and I have good intentions to try to hang out again before our birthday, I know that there’s a good chance that the next time we will see each other will be for our birthday dinner. But at least we both know that we try to hang out more often and when we do get together we maximize the time that we have!


Cheesecake Dinner (or A Half Birthday Outing)

I’ve written about the traditions that my birthday twin, Joanna, and I have been doing for a while. It’s tradition to go to Truxton’s for our birthday and then we started doing Cheesecake Factory around the holidays. But lately, we’ve changed our Cheesecake Factory dinner to be more of a half birthday thing. And since it was just our half birthday, we made an effort to do our dinner close to the right time.

We ended up going this past Monday after I had my screening. Joanna was actually at the screening the week before at my film festival, so she didn’t have to go to this screening. But the timing worked out really well between us to go to dinner after my screening so I was excited to get to discuss the screening with her. I was so nervous going into the screening and still feeling a little bit anxious after, so it was nice to know I would be able to talk it through with a friend to calm me down.

So many times when we go to Cheesecake Factory, it’s so crowded that we have to wait forever for a table. This time, I got there just before Joanna did and our table was ready a few minutes after she got there. For some reason, we always get seated outside on the patio (thank goodness they have heating lamps), and we were seated out there again!

I knew what I was going to order right away. I always get the same salad because it’s delicious! It also isn’t too massive (like many of the items there are) and the calorie count isn’t too bad since it’s on the skinny menu. But it is so good and a nice balance to getting cheesecake so it’s the perfect thing to order. I know that there are recipes to make this at home, but I like having this as something special that I get when I go to Cheesecake Factory.

Over dinner, Joanna and I did a bit of catching up. I had just seen her the week before so there weren’t a ton of new updates in our lives. We did discuss my surgery and Joanna was telling me about some awesome trips that she’s got coming up this year. And we also started to plan what we wanted to do for our birthday this year. We said we should do a combined birthday party since then we don’t have to worry about having parties at the same time. And we have a couple of ideas for what that party could be.

And of course, because politics and current events are unavoidable right now, we did discuss some of that. We pretty much are on the same side with everything, but there are a few things that we aren’t 100% together on. But we are able to have some really amazing and respectful debates and I know that I learn a lot from those. Most of the time, we do agree on everything. But when we get to play devil’s advocate regarding something we disagree on, it’s always interesting.

But as always in our Cheesecake Factory outings, the highlight for us wasn’t necessarily getting to hang out but getting cheesecake! I love getting to hang out with Joanna, but I know we both are thinking about what types of cheesecake we are going to get as soon as we plan our dinner. I learned recently that you can ask your server to cut the slice in half before bringing it to the table, so that made things so much easier for us. We each had a half slice of the red velvet cheesecake and a half slice of tiramisu cheesecake. It’s a lot of cheesecake, but it’s so good and worth being a big splurge!

Neither of us could finish our slices, but we enjoyed every single bite. It’s a treat for both of us and I know we both look forward to our cheesecake outing each year. It’s a good thing that we only do this once a year because it is such a splurge and we both probably go a bit overboard with the food. But it’s something nice that we do and great way for us to celebrate our half birthday!

6 more months to go before my next tradition with my birthday twin when we go out for our free birthday dinner!

Very Belated New Years Cheesecake (or A Birthday Twin Dinner)

My birthday twin Joanna and I really do try our best to have our 2 traditions each year. We always do our birthday dinner at Truxton’s together and we have also done a dinner at the Cheesecake Factory around New Years for the past few years. Joanna and I are both busy people, and somehow this year we missed our New Years hangout.

So Joanna and I were finally able to schedule a dinner this past week at the Cheesecake Factory. Because of where we were both working earlier in the day, we went to the one in Sherman Oaks instead of the one at the Grove that we normally go to. But that actually worked out well because my friend Kelly was our server!

Joanna’s been doing some pretty awesome stuff. She just went on a trip to Paris where her parents have a 1/8th share of an apartment. So they invited her to join them and she had an amazing trip! She’s also going to be an aunt soon so we were talking about that.

She wanted to hear all about the Kickstarter for the short film and the short film itself. We both had some crazy actor and audition stories and those are always fun to share as well! It’s just nice that even if we only see each other a couple of times a year, we always pick back up where we left off. And with social media, it does feel like we’ve been in touch more recently than our birthdays last year.

I’ve been working hard at eating better, but obviously I knew that going to the Cheesecake Factory that I would have to be ok with not making all the best choices. I’m glad they have a skinny menu where everything is closer to a reasonable calorie count (600 instead of over 2000 for a meal). I actually really like their skinny salads and since those are about 600 calories it wasn’t the worst choice possible. Joanna got spring rolls and we both were feeling like we had at least tried to eat properly before we indulged in cheesecake.

I think we have both agreed that the red velvet cheesecake is one of the most amazing things out there. It’s a total calorie bomb, but totally worth having it once a year. We have done a couple of other cheesecakes too, but since we’ve had a couple of bad tasting ones we don’t usually stray too far from what we normally order.

But this time we tried to find something new and we asked Kelly for her help. She told us some of the cheesecakes that she likes and that she notices a ton of people order, and we ended up deciding on getting the banana cheesecake and the red velvet one.

Before we split them so we each got half, I got a picture of our insane desserts (since I totally forgot to get a picture of my salad before I dug into it).


Since we each get half of each piece, it’s still the same as eating one giant piece of cheesecake. We both made a good dent in our pieces, but neither of us could finish. It think that the banana one was a good choice to go with the red velvet since the red velvet is so heavy and the banana one reminded us both of a banana creme pie. We have thought about skipping real food and only getting cheesecake, but I think that I really don’t need that much cheesecake and at least I was filled up on a salad instead of a dessert.

After we were done at dinner, Joanna had a coupon for DSW and was going to check out what shoes they had on clearance. I decided to tag along and tried to help her find some really cute shoes. She ended up with some adorable blue suede flats that I’m thinking I might want to try to find in my size too!

After shoe shopping, we were both super full from dinner and knew it was time to say goodbye. It was awesome getting to hang out with Joanna for the evening and since our birthdays aren’t that far from now, I know I’ll get to see her again soon. We’ve said for a while that we want to add a fun fall and spring adventure so we get together more than twice a year. But I’m still just so happy that I’ve got these traditions with her and that even if we are very belated in doing them, we both love these hangouts!

A Full Friend Day (or Cheesecake For Lunch And Drinks For Dinner)

This past Saturday was full of hangouts with my friends. I had my usual morning shift at work, but after that was done, I was off to The Grove to hang out with my birthday twin Joanna!

It was time for our tradition of going to The Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake around the holidays. We knew that we would have to wait until after New Year’s for this hangout, but I was fine with waiting.

While eating at The Cheesecake Factory could be a crazy calorie fest, I had worked out hard during the week and I knew that this meal was going to be the main meal for my day. I got to the restaurant first, so I put our names down and waited for our table. Joanna got there and moments later our table was ready. Good thing because we were both ready to eat!

Because I knew that the cheesecake was going to be extremely high in calories, I ordered my meal off of their low-calorie menu. I chose a salad that was under 600 calories for this entire plate!


It was pretty delicious and I will probably order it again for future cheesecake hangouts.

Then it was time for what we came to The Cheesecake Factory for! The cheesecake! We decided that we would get 2 different cheesecake slices and then each take half of each slice. We decided on red velvet and tiramisu cheesecake.


Neither of us finished our cheesecakes, but they were so rich that I don’t know if there was any way to do that unless we didn’t eat a meal first.

I was so full when we left, but I was so happy!

Then, a few hours later my friend AJ was doing a hangout in downtown LA. I hadn’t seen AJ since Krystle and I saw him in “Heathers” so I was super excited to see him again! The hangout was at the Yard House and it was very chill. There were about 8 of us and it was just a nice relaxing meal. I got a Dirty Shirley and had some dinner (I needed something to eat so I could feel safe to drive after having a drink).

Of course, AJ and I had to get a picture together!


It was so great to see AJ again. He should be back in LA to visit soon and I’m hoping to make it out to New York in the fall.

Overall, my Saturday was the ultimate cheat day (my stomach actually hurt on Sunday from all the delicious food) and the best friend hangout day! Another great start to the new year!

Cheesecake With My Birthday Twin (or Continuing A New Tradition)

In 2012 around Christmas time, my birthday twin Joanna and I went out for cheesecake. We decided then that we would make Christmas time cheesecake one of our new traditions (like us getting our free birthday meal).

Somehow, we both totally forgot that we said that this would be a new tradition until after Christmas. I texted Joanna to see how we could fix this, and she suggested that we get cheesecake right after New Year’s (it could still be considered holiday cheesecake then).

I was super lucky to have the day after New Year’s Day off so that ended up being our cheesecake day.

We went back to The Grove where we had cheesecake last time. But this time it was in the daytime so there were no holiday lights. And there were people taking down all the Christmas decorations so I didn’t take any pictures (you don’t want to see a tree coming down, do you?).

We got lunch and cheesecake this time. Since I’ve been working on being good with my calories, I looked at the low-calorie options that Cheesecake Factory had. Most of their regular dishes have about 1,000 calories in them and I couldn’t do that plus my cheesecake.

I’m normally not a fan of the low-calorie menus, but I have to say that this one was actually pretty good! Joanna and I both ended up ordering off of it. Joanna had a salad and I had a sausage and cheese flatbread (which was 460 calories if you were interested).


Then it was time for the main event (at least what we both considered the main event). While I would have loved to have gotten the red velvet cheesecake again, my calorie budget did not allow for that. So I checked on MyFitnessPal to see which cheesecakes that I like fit into my calorie budget (it helped that I didn’t have time to eat breakfast that day so I had some extra calories to play with). I ended up getting one of my all-time favorite cheesecakes, the tiramisu cheesecake.


Joanna got the plain cheesecake with strawberry topping on top.


It was a great meal! And of course, any time I get to hang out with my friend Joanna is awesome (we don’t see each other as often as we used to). We had a fun chat discussing our day jobs, acting, and just having a catchup talk.

I’m so glad that I have this new tradition continuing. Hopefully this year we will remember to do it around Christmas time so we can see all the awesome decorations again.

Christmas Hangout With My Birthday Twin (or Witnessing A Real-Life Romantic Comedy)

Right before Christmas, my birthday twin Joanna and I had a hangout. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and knew that we had to fix that. We didn’t exactly know what we were going to do, but we knew that we’d hangout on the 23rd.

On the 23rd, we decided that we were going to have dessert and drinks at the Cheesecake Factory at The Grove shopping center.

It wasn’t too bad parking there (which surprised me), and while it took us a while to get a seat at the bar, we are awesome table stalkers. While we were waiting for a spot at the bar or a table to open up, this random girl came up to us. She had a pager for a seat in the restaurant, but since she found a seat in the bar section, she was gifting us the pager. She said that someone had gifted it to her, and if we happened to get a bar spot first to share the love. That was awesome! We ended up finding two seats and the end of the bar before the pager went off, so we passed it on to another group waiting (the original reservation was under the name Adam, so whoever Adam is, thank you for sharing the holiday giving spirit with us all).

As soon as Joanna and I sat down, we got our drinks.

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I had a Dirty Shirley and Joanna had some sort of tropical martini which was yummy! And yes, I know that I have almost the same pose with my drink as I do in my other post.

We both ordered cheesecake. Joanna had chocolate coconut and I had red velvet. Red velvet was clearly the winner.



After enjoying our desserts and chatting for a long time (we both have brothers who are getting married and are planning on having destination weddings), we decided to walk around and enjoy all the pretty holiday lights.


We were taking funny pictures in front of the giant tree…

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When Joanna got a text from the guy she had just started seeing saying something like: “Have you ever been to The Grove? The lights are cool.”.

All of the sudden we both started looking around for the guy (I don’t know why I was, I had never met him). We didn’t know if he was at The Grove and had just spotted us and was trying to be cute or if it was a random question. Joanna tried calling him, but there was no answer. We walked around looking for him, hoping for another text. It was seriously like a romantic comedy.

Finally, the guy texted and we met him for a moment at the Veggie Grill. And I felt like I had just seen the happy ending in the real life movie.

Between the yummy food, being gifted the pager and then passing it on, and then randomly running into Joanna’s new guy; it was the perfect amount of pre-Christmas magic!