Yesterday, I finally bought a cheesecake (as well as a package of bite-sized cheesecakes, called “Poppers”) from Charlie’s Cheesecake Works in Almaden. The store (and bakery) is located next to my favorite thrift store, the Unicorn Thrift Store, and Charlie’s Cheesecake Works will give you a free sample of their cheesecake–as a popper in the flavor of your choice–simply for coming in. Kelly and I have gone in a lot. And every time we went in to mooch a popper (or two), Charlie himself was there, obviously delighted to see fellow cheesecake lovers.
Charlie is kind of a happy cheesecake pusher, which makes for a happy cheesecake mooching experience. And the poppers are, unarguably, made of very, very good cheesecake. I tell everyone Charlie’s Cheesecakes are the best cheesecakes in the world. Unfortunately, I haven’t put his cheesecake to a tasting test against other cheesecakes, in the same way I tested chocolates. But I will confidently say Charlie’s Cheesecake is better than Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, which is way too dense and sugary, and better than my homemade favorite light lemony cheesecake, which is always regrettably lumpy, at least in comparison to Charlie’s.
To my regret, the day I bought a cheesecake from Charlie’s Cheesecake Works was the one day I’d gone in that Charlie wasn’t there. I asked the lady who was there in his place to recommend a cheesecake for Peter’s office, possibly something Atkins friendly, since one of Peter’s employees is on a low-carb diet. Charlie’s employee seemed as lost about the rules of Atkins as I am, which IMHO, is a good sign of a great dessert store. There is no gross sugar-free cheesecake at Charlie’s, because Charlie’s doesn’t do gross cheesecake. I settled for one of the bestsellers from the store’s wide range of cheesecake flavors, the chocolate marble cheesecake.
I also got to see cheesecake technology in action. Did you know you can buy cheesecake sliced into as many pieces as you want? I settled for the standard 16-slice cheesecake, but it turns out you can get a cheesecake sliced into a variety of multiples. If your friends all insist on having “just a sliver” (or you’re a cheapskate company looking to treat an entire party with a single cake) you can also get it cut into 32 or 64 slices; or if you have the type of friends for whom the cheesecake will be the meal, or they want the overload experience of the Cheesecake Factory, you can get it cut into 8 or 4 slices. I watched Charlie’s clerk wield the cheesecake slicing machine, which makes the cuts and inserts those little papers in between the slices at the same time.
It was very, very good. I asked Peter’s staff to give me their opinion. No one could claim having ever had better cheesecake. The chocolate wasn’t grainy, or chalky as it is in most chocolate cheesecakes: the whole cheesecake was creamy and smooth, through and through, and the chocolate wasn’t overpowering or lost. And because I’d brought the cheesecake into the office, we could take a deduction for it on business taxes, hah!
So, the upshot of this all is, life is too short for bad cheesecake; buy Charlie’s and find bliss.