A Love Note to One of My Favorite Foods

(mealadvisor.us)

By Lakshmi:

You may not know me, but I am one of your biggest fans.  A foodie to the core, I am always trying new restaurants and dishes.  I do have one dietary restriction.  I do not eat meat.  And while the world has certainly become a temptation filled paradise for non-carnivores, there are certain dishes that simply sweep your taste buds away.

The fact that I had you at a chain restaurant surprised me.  You were one of those divine taste temptations that I would have expected at a hip fusion restaurant.  But no, you made your appearance on the appetizer list at this restaurant chain, when it first opened in my hometown of Chevy Chase.

I am not a huge fan of egg rolls, but love avocados, so when your name first caught my attention, my reaction was a mixed bag.  Do I really want to order this?  On an impulse I decided to make you my main order for the evening and from that initial meeting to every interaction since then, you continue to have the same impact on me, and that is put me in a state of culinary bliss.

You my friend, the Avocado Egg Roll are the main draw for my many visits to the Cheesecake Factory over the years.    From the first time I saw you presented as a diagonally sliced concoction where the crisp brown egg roll covering enveloped the green avocados, the red sun-dried tomatoes, the red onion and of course the barely there cilantro, I was hooked.  The tamarind sauce that accompanied you along with the fried rice noodles that formed a backdrop to your delivery completed the perfect visual presentation.

Now to the taste.  That first bite when the crisp, savory smooth taste of the egg roll melded into the sweet and tart taste of the tamarind sauce produced a state of joy that is hard to describe.  While I was there with company, I had no desire to share and went on to polish the entire plate, a complete look of contentment on my face which I wish someone had saved for posterity.

The next time I came to see you, I brought my mother along.  Her approval was important.  She fell equally in love with you, as has the rest of my family.  Now, you are the reason we keep coming back to the Cheesecake Factory and our meal there is never complete without you.

Just recently, my husband who is on a calorie counting kick decided that he would be generous and tell me how many calories you contained…just before I placed my order.  I was so angry at him for bursting my bubble, for making me feel guilty.  But did that stop me? Of course not.  I proceeded with full awareness to order you and relish my meal.

For many years, we did not have a Cheesecake Factory near us.  So to meet my cravings, I decided to clone you at home.  I would say my efforts have met with reasonable success, but you remain the original.

And I can’t wait to be reunited with you next week as a branch of this restaurant finally opens its doors near me.

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