|Grand Opening - mini cheesecakes|
From a distance these look like trays of cupcakes. For me cupcakes have been done and overdone to oblivion. These light, multi-flavored mini cheesecakes are so much more fun, bringing a modern twist to the traditional comfort food.
Each attendee at Pacific Cheesecake Company's July 9, 2011 Grand Opening got their choice of one of these cakes as well as tastings of about 12 other popular flavors, including 2 savory flavors.
|Grand Opening - July 9|
In a short time, I've come to know Pacific Cheesecake Company well. About 1 month ago a couple of friends mentioned this new bakery to me during lunch.
On my way to do some errands after lunch, while driving through Glendale, I decided to take and exit and just quickly check out the place.
Nestled between the Hyundai dealership in Glendale, you have to look for it to find it.
|Grand Opening - serving samples|
For most businesses, I expect a quick greeting, I check out the merchandise on my own. Since I'd just eaten lunch and would be out for hours, I wasn't planning to buy anything on this visit.
Upon walking in, I was greeted warmly by everyone in the bakery, offered unlimited samples. They believe in knowing the names of their customers and adding that personal touch. And they do it well.
There are three components that make me love this bakery.
Their classic flavors are executed perfectly. The Red Velvet, one of their most popular, contains vanilla cheesecake centered between red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.
|Cherries & Cream|
Cherries & Cream is vanilla cheesecake with a whole cherry filling and topping. None of these flavors are too sweet or too heavy and all have fresh, 'real' ingredients.
|Flavors offered at Grand Opening|
Did you think the Cheesecake Factory is the only place to get fun flavors? Pacific Cheesecake Company has a menu of well over 100 sweet flavors, about 10 sugar free flavors and about a dozen savory flavors.
The Coconut Mango pictured above is topped with sweet mango puree and rolled in toasted flaked coconut.
Coffee Toffee Crunch contains toffee candy pieces in and around the coffee cheesecake with a dark chocolate cookie crust.
The lemon zest and basil in Sweet Lemon Basil really pops.
The White Chocolate Salted Caramel blends white chocolate in the cake with a caramel cream and Fleur de Sel for that irresistible salty/sweet combination.
Their menu also boasts exciting specialty flavors like pumpkin pecan, eggnog, limoncello and spumoni. They also have biscotti, eclairs and other baked goodies, also made with the finest ingredients.
|Grand Opening - savory flavor samples|
I've always favored more salty/savory than sugar. And in this regard, Pacific Cheesecake Company does not disappoint.
At the Grand Opening, they served samples of their best sellers, the Spinach Feta and the Bleu Cheese (wrapped in toasted, chopped walnuts when they are whole).
One would think they would be more of a dip, and they are great with crackers. But they also stand alone as a cake, a very elegant hors d'oeuvre. Even the stronger cheeses (aka "stinky" cheeses) are expertly mellowed out with spices and other goodness.
|Savory Cheesecakes - from Pacific Cheesecake Company website, http://www.pacificcheesecakecompany.com|
When I visited the store, they gave me generous samples of some incredible flavors.
Pictured above from the upper left are:
Bleu cheese * Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Basil * Gorgonzola Apricot
Pancetta Date * Italian White Pesto * Spinach Feta
If your mouth isn't watering yet, try Blue Cheese Honey, Cheddar Vegetable, Garden Vegetable, Greek or White Cheddar Sweet Balsamic (another sweet/salty cake).
I mentioned my first visit to this bakery and the hospitable, attentive reception. Well, between that day and the Grand Opening, I also ran into them at Yelp's Atlantic City Boardwalk Empire party at the LA Exchange, downtown Los Angeles. The lucky Yelpers enjoyed their cakes among many other desserts.
|Owner, Karen Freeman|
This is a family run business, a model which I always support. Energetic, creative, friendly owner/baker Karen Freeman (a former banker) runs the bakery with her 3 charming sons, Steven, Michael and Jake.
|Steven and Michael filling orders|
|Grand Opening - family support|
It's always inspirational to watch someone leave the corporate world to follow their passions, along with wonderful family support.
Even more inspiring that both times I visited the bakery, Karen Freeman's mother was there (on the left in the above photo) lending support. She recognized me as well.
Each day the bakery serves about 12 flavors, offering samples.
The sweet cheesecakes come in mini for $2.50, a dozen, medium 8" $35, large 10" $45. Specialty and no sugar flavors are $5-$10 extra for the medium and large.
Savory cakes come in small 4.5" $10, medium 8" $45 and large 10" $55.
You can contact the store at least 2 days in advance to order flavors off the menu for pickup.
Note: On Saturday July 23rd at 1:00 p.m., I will be hosting a tasting event through Pleasure Palate in order to sample some of these wonderful flavors. Please find details at this link: http://www.meetup.com/pleasurepalate/events/24556721/