I went to cheese heaven and lived to tell about it.
The moment after hearing on the radio that Saturday, July 30th was a day of celebrating cheesecake, which was once my favorite dessert, I knew I couldn’t let the day go by without having a local tasting of my used-to-be love. With a quick search of Foursquare and OpenTable for the “best cheesecake” the DMV had to offer, I landed on Cheesetique, a locally-owned gem that would, in just a few days, remind me of just how awesome cheese was and the many variations it could take.
I pass by the cute, intimate restaurant almost daily. I’ve always known that I wanted to pay a visit and see what went on in the, what seemed like, always busy eatery. But for one reason or another, I just hadn’t had the urge to forgo all other restaurants and make it my weekend choice of eats. It took what just may become one of the most specialist days of the year, for me to finally say “okay, Nicole, it’s time to stop the window shopping and just go on in and make the purchase.”
Reservations were made. Clothing was selected. 4 miles were run. Eagerness was allowed to slowly begin.
Walking in to Cheesetique‘s Shirlington location and being warmly greeted by the staff, quickly reminded me of why I truly enjoy the locally-owned/mom-and-pop restaurant experience above the chain experience. It was that combined with the in-depth knowledge of our server that had me sold way before the food hit the table. (Be sure to read about Cheesetique owner Jill Erber and how she made her cheese dreams come true.)
After going through my usual “Nicole-splanation” of what we were hoping to get from our experience and the types of flavors we were going for regarding their choice of cheeses, our server guided us to options that would leave us begging for more… if only our stomachs could accommodate.
Ordering family style, our selections included a mixed board of cheeses and meats (for my parents), an accompaniment of clover honey for the cheese and bread, mac ‘n cheese arancini, spinachoke dip, and, of course, we ended our visit with a big slice of cheesecake. I have about 250 to 300 words to go, so let’s go into a few details.
First up, the cheese board. I told our server that we like strong flavors, so she recommended we go with the Garlic Brie, Bay Blue, and D’Affinois. She was so on point with the Garlic Brie and Bay Blue. Both had strong yet different flavors. The brie was bursting with garlic. I’m a garlic FANATIC so this was definitely my favorite. Did I mention that it was a French cheese?! I promise that I just saw this while going through my pictures of the menu. It was purely happen stance. “I solemnly swear that I, Nicole Jackson, did not select this as my favorite cheese merely because it hails from one of my favorite places and cultures.”
Okay, back to the cheese. What’s interesting about me liking the Garlic Brie is that I’m not really into brie. The brie that I’ve had in the past has been very light on flavor for me. But this one! With the Garlic. It was packed with flavor! The Bay Blue was amazing because it’s a blue cheese. You can’t love strong cheeses and not have a love for a blue cheese. You can’t. It’s very impossible. The D’Affinois was good, but it was light. This cheese was for my mom. She loves brie. She loves her cheese with little to no flavor. She loved it. I merely liked it.
Now for the other good stuff!
Let’s start with the Mac ‘n Cheese Arancini, which translates into deep fried mac ‘n cheese. Yes, I, Nicole ate deep fried mac ‘n cheese. I will admit that if the item would’ve been listed as Deep Fried Mac ‘n Cheese on the menu, there’s no way that I would’ve ordered it. But the beautiful Italian (?) name hooked me! I had to have some arancini, and I’m so glad that I did. It was everything you think a deep fried mac ‘n cheese would be: crunchy on the outside while creamy and cheesy on the inside. It had a nice density so the cheese didn’t spill out of the ball when I bit into it.
The mac ‘n cheese inside was so good, because as I discovered, it’s award winning! Correction: MULTI-award winning! Complete with “goat gouda, asiago, and cacio de Roma” (a cheese made in Rome), there’s no way that it could be anything but a winner.
Before we make it to the cheesecake, which of course was the star of the evening, I HAVE to talk about the Spinachoke Dip. You read that right: Spi-na-choke. It was delightfully and deliciously creamy. Like, apart from the cheesecake, it was probably my favorite dish of the evening. Here’s why the funky name: it has “artichoke, spinach, creme fraiche, parmesan, and cream cheese.” Served with crostini, this dish was all kinds of good. Of course you can’t eat this everyday or even once a month. In fact, it’s probably a once-every-six-months-kind-of dish. But it would be well worth the calories, fat, guilt, etc.
Now, for the main event… THE CHEESECAKE!
Thick. Creamy. Rich. Rich. Thick. Creamy. Creamy. Rich. Thick.
Ooops. Forgot one: So good.
I’m finding it a bit difficult to pair these adjectives with verbs, nouns, and all the other types of words that make up a sentence.
Oh, here’s a sentence that may help further explain the awesomeness of the cheesecake: I could not stop eating it. When my parents and I go out to dinner, we have a rule that we only order one dessert and share it. After taking one bite, my dad tapped out. It took my mom a few more bites to bow out too. So, ultimately it was just me going back for bite after amazing bite. Each time telling myself “okay, Nicole, that’s enough.” When did I finally decide to stop? When I was impeding on my mom and dad’s side of the cake. #Germs
Cheesetique was the best surprise that I’ve had in awhile. I enjoyed every part of my experience. I’m definitely going back. Soon.
The early-morning 4-mile run accompanied with the sweat and discomfort was for this very moment. The cheesecake @cheesetique was so worth it! #nationalcheesecakeday #cheesecake #saturday #saturdaynight #itwentdown #imdone #dessert
A photo posted by Nicole E. Jackson (@nicoleeatsandtravels) on