Last Thursday was Mr Minx's birthday. I took the day off from work so we could go to the movies (Tropic Thunder - fun-ny!). He didn't feel like an elaborate dinner, so we went to the Cheesecake Factory. Say what you will, Mr Bourdain, about a restaurant that attempts to do 1000 things correctly; in my experience, they are pretty damn successful.
The appetizer section is always more appealing to me than anything else on the menu - part of me feels weird eating Chinese-style food anywhere but in a Chinese restaurant (P.F. Chang's is also not a Chinese restaurant) and pasta I can make at home. But give me some avocado eggrolls and I'm happy. This time, we chose to order from the small salads section ("small" being a completely relative term), a chopped salad for him and an endive salad for me; sliders; and an item from the upcoming new menu, gumbo.
Cajun Kate's need not fear Cheesecake Factory. The dish of shrimp, chicken, and andouille in a savory sauce with rice was as much etouffée as it was gumbo. It had lively flavors in a Cajun-esque manner, but lacked the dark savoriness of the real thing. The sliders were yummy little things that reminded me of my childhood favorite fast food burger joint, Gino's. Mr Minx's chopped salad was full of sundry veggies like edamame and apples in an Asian-style dressing, and my chopped endive salad with bleu cheese had the nice touch of toasted nuts and a straightforward balsamic vinaigrette. It was as good as the similar salad I once ate at the Tribeca Grill in NY.
On Saturday we continued the birthday festivities with our annual crab feast at my MIL's. To supplement the smallish crabs, I made some roast beef, blt, and marinated portobello wraps on lavash and Mom made cole slaw with apples. The crabs were perfect and there were enough left over to provide us with a crabcake dinner on Sunday.
You just can't beat homemade crabcakes prepared with steamed crabs you've picked yourself.