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The BEST cheesecake you ever had anywhere: where and when

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  • MarkG Sep 23, 2006 08:33 AM
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any style or flavor. bakery or restaurant or mail order. regular american style or italian or any other!!

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  1. I've had chocolate marbled cheesecake from Agata & Valentina, packaged Betty Crocker NY style etc, Cheesecake Factory NY style, some fluffy light almost moussy in Manila, Philippines, but I still like Junior's AND would you believe Jack-in-the-Box the best?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dominus

      My favorite style has to be New York plain - Junior's is my favorite and I've sampled widely, too. I remember having a slice with one of their super-thick milkshakes, the morning before I left for college...breakfast of champions. We got some weird looks.

      1. re: theannerska

        Gotta say, I've had both and I like the Baby Watson cheesecake from D'Aiuto's better than Junior's. I've got one in my freezer right now :-D

      2. re: Dominus

        We used to get the Jack-in-the-box cheesecakes and carrot cakes when I was a kid! Those were the days...

      3. The very best is a tie between my husband and his brother. It is the same recipe from the 1978 General Electric food processor cookbook. Second best my Mother's frozen lemon cheesecake.

        1. Granted, I haven't tried that many cheesecakes - it's not exactly an everyday food - but so far, the best has been President's Choice marbled cheesecake. It's even good still frozen.

          1. Easy! Mine. It's a rich cream cheese and sour cream cake with just a hint of lemon. The recipe is from a one-volume-a-week grocery store cooking encyclopedia my m-i-l got back in the 60s.

            It was one of the first things I baked after she died and I started cooking for my husband's family. I was thoroughly intimidated by it but found out it was incredibly easy and an awful lot of flavor and drama payoff for the effort.

            My second choice would have to be the pumpkin flavor one we have at Thanksgiving instead of pie. That's from a recipe from a once highly popular bakery in Orlando that's been gone since the early 90s.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rainey

              Rainey - mine too!!

              The crust is a blend of graham crackers, ground roasted pecans, and butter.

              Batter: (And the other usuals like eggs.)
              1:1 maple syrup & sugar to sweeten.
              Cream cheese filling with just a touch of sour cream.
              Extra vanilla extract - the kind I use has bits of bean in it.
              Occasionally some grated lemon rind in the batter.

              I use a water bath.

            2. I once had a tiramisu cheesecake at a restaurant in Dallas. They've since taken it off the menu, but it was, as the name suggests, a hybrid. Very light, creamy, and with a rich espresso finish.

              As far as 100 cheesecake goes, I'll have to come back to that!

              TT

              1 Reply
              1. re: TexasToast

                In case there's interest, although Cheesecake Factory isn't the best, they do make a tiramisu cheesecake that's not bad at all. They also make lemon raspberry hybrid cheesecake that has a yellow cake on the bottom that is also decent.

              2. Ok maybe not the "best," but definitely very good and very interesting... a Salvadoran quesadilla. It's not at all a Mexican quesadilla or a cheesecake as we know it, it's an actual cake. It's kind of pound cakish, and flavored with a cheese that reminds me of parmesan. It's a dessert, but one in the salty-sweet vain.

                1. There was a restaurant in the the Detroit suburbs called Machus...they had the best cheesecake...rich but not heavy. When I was young and could eat anything as often as I wanted without fear of weight gain, I had it several times a week. Alas, today that would be a problem.

                  1. i am NOT a cheesecake person, have tried bites many of times when my friends would SWEAR i would love this one...

                    never happened...

                    until i tried the mango cheesecake at fresca on fillmore in SF.

                    LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    1. Hands down...Cascon Bakery in Whitestone, NY. They supply many of the better NY restaurants and do wholesale, retail, and mail order. A very close second would be S & S in Riverdale. Both are also kosher but S & S has a more universally accepted hechsher.

                      1. Palm 2 resto in NYC had an unbelievable cheesecake. I tracked down the source to S&S Cheesecake in the bronx. This was easily the best I have ever eaten. I was recently in a resto out of town and they told me they had S&S. NOT!!I uess it must still be good if people are using their name in vain.

                        1. At the Banffshire Club at the Fairmont Hotel in Banff.

                          It must've been made with crack ... it was that good.

                          1. Miss Grimble's Hazelnut and Raspberry Cheesecakes. Miss Grimble used to have a shop on Madison Av. between 79th and 80th Sts. in the 1970s and then in the 70s (around 74th St., I think) on Columbus (or Amsterdam?) in Manhattan into the 1980s. Best cheesecake I've ever had! They no longer have a retail store but do a big catering and delivery business, so if you are within the U.S. (all 50 states), you, too, can try their wonderful cheesecakes and Linzer tarts:

                            http://www.missgrimble.com/

                            Unfortunately, I don't see the hazelnut cheesecake listed among their products, but they do list the raspberry marble cheesecake and also their chocolate cheesecake, which I always thought was great.

                            1. Two Red Hens in Brooklyn and Manhattan. They have the best cheesecake I have ever eaten; rich, light and creamy all at the same time.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: brooklynmasala

                                It rivals Junior's sometimes...wasn't it written up somewhere? I think a copy of the article is posted in the Brooklyn location. Good stuff.

                                1. re: theannerska

                                  Yeah, it was in a NYTimes about 3 years ago.

                                2. re: brooklynmasala

                                  Yeah, their cheesecake is delicious, and so are various other things they make. I still think Miss Grimble's was better, though.

                                  There's a bakery in the north Bronx that also makes great cheesecake. They're on 231st St. or something.

                                3. Best overall cheesecake experience I've ever had: the cheesecake buffet extravaganza my brother made for dessert after his wedding rehearsal dinner. He made at least five or six cheesecakes, each a different flavor (chocolate, kahlua, kahlua chocolate swirl, blueberry, plain...). It was incredible.

                                  1. In defense of my wife's pride, I have to say her habanero-lime cheesecake. Wonderful stuff.

                                    1. My Italian grandmother used to make a ricotta cheesecake every Christmas and Easter. She baked it in the tallest, widest springform pan imaginable. I've since had ricotta cheesecake from Italian bakeries, but nothing comes close to hers, which was smooth (not grainy) and flavored with citron and chocolate.

                                      Otherwise, I favor homestyle (if that's the right term) as opposed to New York-style - cream cheese filling topped with a sour cream layer on a graham cracker crust. And in that vein, one of my favorite cheesecake events is a hybrid I used to get at a seafood restaurant in New Hampshire (I forget the name of the place) called lemon lust: lemon cheesecake layered with lemon mousse and whipped cream on a graham cracker crust.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lvecch

                                        That sounds like it would be fun!

                                        TT

                                      2. Dinitz Cafe in Prague, last June. I would make the trip all the way there just for that cheesecake. Rich and creamy bottom, with an equally luscious thin top layer. Absolutely the best cheesecake I have tasted, ever.

                                        1. I'll probably get blasted for this, but I once had a slice of cheesecake blended with carrot cake, complete with cream cheese icing. It was orgasmic. It was also at the Olive Garden, and they discontinued the dessert shortly thereafter.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: TexasToast

                                            I grew up in the sticks of southwestern Pennsylvania, bub. Olive Garden was one of the "nice" restaurants. And even chains strike gold occasionally!

                                          2. i had a really delicious cheesecake at peter luger's on long island. and one just as good piece of eli's cheesecake in chicago. both were just the 'classic' version, but really creamy and tasty.

                                            1. I'm glad everyone is responding to this b/c while I've had good and 'great' cheesecake, I've never had amazing cheesecake.

                                              1. Italian style ricotta cheesecake from Monteleone's Bakery in Court Street in the Carroll Gardens area of Brooklyn, NY

                                                1. I love the lemon cheesecake from cook's illustrated. They like animal crackers for the crust, though. I still like graham crackers or Mi-Del ginger snaps.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: vanillagrrl

                                                    I love it too. I wrote about it below but just saw your post now.

                                                  2. S&S is hands down the best cheesecake i have ever had. you can get it in the mail as well from Morey and DOrey

                                                    1. The white chocolate raspberry cheescake at Roxy's Deli in NYC. I've never had anything that even came CLOSE to comparing....

                                                      1. There was a great place in the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa(Pasquini?)which closed years ago(10 years?), but it gets my vote.

                                                        1. That would be the Carnegie Deli cheesecake my husband and I shared on our plane trip home from NYC. We bought the small 5" round one (already frozen and boxed) from the counterman around noon.

                                                          We bought it frozen because we weren't sure we could bring a soft cheesecake through airport security, so we felt frozen would make it less suspicious, and it would defrost in a few hours. They gave us no problem, in fact they glanced at the "Carnegie" bag, smiled and said "lunch?" We nodded, smiling back.

                                                          By 5pm when we were well into our flight, we opened it up on our airline trays and hacked away like a couple starved savages. OMG was it delicious. It was very firm, not creamy, and had a great "tang". It was really too much for just the two of us but we didn't let a small detail like that keep us from enjoying!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: tarabell

                                                            I actually entered this thread to give the Carnegie Deli cheesecake my vote, and then saw your post. It really is terrific. I should mention that they do mail order. I once ordered one for a girlfriend's birthday a few months after she had tried it at the deli, and she was bowled over. Not cheap, but why should it be?

                                                          2. I don't like dense and dry but I also don't like airy and moussey. I guess creamy with a bit of unctuousness is what I prefer. I've lived in the New York area all my life and still don't like Junior's.

                                                            The best I ever had is Cook's Illustrated's Lemon Cheesecake. Out of respect for their online membership and subscribers I will give you their outline and not the recipe. It's available online. This is their description and it does a good job of explaining why it's so good and why I like it:

                                                            Lemon Cheesecake

                                                            The Problem: The lemon flavor in lemon cheesecake is often either too fleeting or too harsh.

                                                            The Goal: A light, creamy textured cheesecake, a style that everyone in the test kitchen felt would be a good partner with the flavor of lemon.

                                                            The Solution: Use surprise favorite Nabisco Barnum's Animals Crackers for the crust. Use a combination of lemon juice and zest in the filling, then bake the cheesecake in a water bath at a low temperature. Finally, top it all off with some lemon curd for extra pizzazz.**
                                                            **From Cook's Illustrated

                                                            1. I was wondering if others felt this way: Chocolate is one of my favorite flavors in the world but I believe it doesn't belong near a cheesecake. That means as topping, filling, ingredient, crust or even sauce on the side.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: SunnysideUp

                                                                My personal opinion is that Cheesecake should not be flavoured in any way. I am a bit of a cheesecake purist. S&S is absolutely devine. It might be my all time favourite dessert.

                                                                1. re: SunnysideUp

                                                                  A pure chocolate cheesecake doesn't appeal to me, but I must say that of all of Junior's varieties, the marble cheesecake (swirled vanilla and chocolate with no gloppy topping) is the only one I've ever really liked.

                                                                  But for the best, just add me to the S&S column; no one does a better NYC style cheesecake.

                                                                2. New York-style cheesecake in other parts of the country always seem to have a sour cream topping, but you rarely see that in New York itself. Does anyone know why?

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: SunnysideUp

                                                                    I could be wrong, but I don't think that's New York-style; I think of that as homestyle - as I said in my post above, cream cheese filling, sour cream topping, and graham cracker crust. New York-style is usually a taller pie with a butter crust, sometimes topped with fruit. If I'm misguided, someone please correct me.

                                                                    1. re: lvecch

                                                                      I agree with you and unfortunately didn't make my point clear enough. The sour cream topped, graham cracker, "homestyle" one you describe is often listed in recipes and on menus (outside NY) incorrectly as New York-style.

                                                                      1. re: SunnysideUp

                                                                        Ah, I see. You have answered your own question: They've got it wrong.

                                                                        1. re: lvecch

                                                                          Yes, but I had wondered if anyone know the origins of this discrepancy.

                                                                  2. The white chocolate cheesecake with strawberries on top and a chocolate crust that I make. It was a Bon Appetit cover recipe a few years ago, and it is seriously incredible.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                      I'll go your Bon Appetit cheesecake recipe and raise ya' one. From a Bon Appetit cheesecace round-up of many years ago, my wife makes a lemon cheesecake that is stupendous. I eat ti for breakfast.

                                                                    2. Hands down, my mother's, Italian-style, and simple, no frills whatsoever.
                                                                      It's amazing. I am not sure where the recipe came from but it is just fantastic. The two things that my mother can do better than ANY restaurant I've ever been to, (and that is quite a good few,) would be cheesecake and creme brulee.

                                                                      1. miss grimble's vanilla cheesecake. the absolute best.

                                                                        1. My fave:
                                                                          Tuckahoe Cheesecake Factory, Rte 50, Tuckahoe, NJ. It's right across from the fire house. BTW - "Factory" is sort of a misnomer...it's more like an old house turned cheesecake kitchen, but the cakes are awesome.

                                                                          We usually try to stop in on the way home from the Joisey Shoah.

                                                                          1. I was10 years old and my mother bought a cheesecake at a bakery in Lakewood, Ohio that has remained in my memory as the best I have ever tasted. No frills, no graham cracker crust, just wonderful cakey cheesy flavor. When I was old enough to appreciate good food I went back but the store had disappeared.

                                                                            1. I'm a fan of cheesecakes that taste rich but are on the lighter side texturally. Artisanal's cream cheese cake in NYC and Chikalicious Dessert Club's cheesecake (which is more of a cheese custard in a cup topped with cracker crumbs, whipped cream and strawberries) are my favorites.

                                                                              1. There is a local place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that is well-known for their cakes and cheesecake called Baked Expectations. They do a fairly dense cheesecake style which is not dry, but still retains a light, moussy texture when you bite into it. I am a huge fan of their Dutch apple cheesecake. The crust is a shortbread cookie batter, and the cheesecake is topped with lightly cooked apples that still have a bit of a crunch to the slices, and the whole thing is dusted with cinnamon. The contrast in textures make this cheesecake a real original. The apples give a nice tart flavour to counteract the sweetness of the crust and cheesecake.

                                                                                My second favorite cheesecake (and I am not proud of this) is a blast from the past. We had a family friend who would make the pineapple Phillidelphia Cream cheese cheesecake recipe with the graham cracker crust. The canned pineapple was crushed, and combine with cream cheese and I believe some gelatin to make a pseudo-cheesecake. I believe this is one of the standard recipes distributed by the Philly Cream Cheese company, and it was very popular in the 1970's. You know, I love it. The fruit and the creamy light texture of the cream cheese is really tasty. Every time I eat it, I am transported back to my childhood. There is a strong nostalgic appeal to this stuff for me.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: moh

                                                                                  The current Philadephia Cream Cheese is a problem, because it contains gum. Good cheesecake cannot have a gummy texture. And gelatin would make the texture even worse.

                                                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                                                    Well, I did call it a pseudo-cheescake after all.

                                                                                    As for the gummy texture, I don't recall this texture. I could be wrong about the gelatin...

                                                                                    I agree this is not a standard cheesecake, and I would understand if some people felt it didn't qualify in this category.

                                                                                2. My husband's grandmother's. She's 94 and lives in a 6th floor walk-up apartment in New York's Little Italy. She goes up and down each day to visit the Italian deli (DiPalo's) where she buys meat and cheese for the day. She's amazing and so is her cheesecake - creamy and dense with a hint of vanilla flavor a a strong tang. She makes no crust, just butters the pan and sprinkles with breadcrumbs. She gave me the recipe and for our wedding, I made 60 individual cheesecakes boxed with her recipe attached with ribbon. I made 60 other boxes with my grandmothers' molasses crinkle cookies and snickerdoodle cookies inside and those recipes attached. No disrespect to my side, but the guests were jockeying for the cheesecake seats!

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jenhen2

                                                                                    Would you be willing to share Nonna-in-law's recipe? It sounds great!

                                                                                    1. re: rockycat

                                                                                      I have it at home and will look it up and post later. If I can share with my wedding guests, I can certainly share with my fellow Chow Hounders!!

                                                                                      1. re: jenhen2

                                                                                        eagerly awaiting

                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                          Sorry guys! I forgot to look for it last night (went out for a drink after work and.... well, you know how that goes). I'll put an alarm reminder on for this evening, though, so you'll have it soon!

                                                                                      2. re: rockycat

                                                                                        Dear All, Here it is - Enjoy!!!!

                                                                                        Grandma Nettie’s Cheesecake
                                                                                        16 oz. sour cream
                                                                                        2 lbs. (4 8 oz. packages) cream cheese
                                                                                        ¼ lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
                                                                                        2 tablespoons cornstarch or flour, sifted
                                                                                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                                        1 ½ cups sugar, sifted
                                                                                        5-6 eggs
                                                                                        Let all ingredients stand at room temperature for one hour. Mash everything except eggs together until smooth. Beat eggs together and add to cream cheese mixture. Pour batter into greased 10-inch springform pan that's been sprinkled with dry breadcrumb. Cover the bottom of spring pan with water and place it into large roasting pan filled halfway with warm water. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour.

                                                                                    2. My house o.o. NY style.

                                                                                      I'm still trying to recreate the one I had in Osaka though...75% there...>.>...

                                                                                      1. My Mom's, no question. Believe it's the original Lindey's NY cheesecake recipe - has a dozen eggs, tons of cream cheese, no sour cream, orange and lemon zest and this amazing caramelly-shortbread crust. It has ruined me for any other cheesecake.