My Favorite Food: Eli’s Cheesecake

Written by  //  November 9, 2011  //  MY LIFE  //  No comments


In 2001, my family moved from Hawaii to northwestern Chicago, where I attended a commuter college: McHenry County College. Each day, I would travel the 20 minute drive to school with my father, who taught mathematics there. Because the classes he taught and my classes were unusually staggered, I would eat lunch in the school cafeteria every day; and, everyday, I would have the same lunch: one grilled-cheese sandwich (American on White), one glass of pink-lemonade, and a single slice of Eli’s World-Famous Cheesecake!

Eli’s Cheesecake is remarkable in that it contains twice the cream-cheese as regular cheesecake, which makes for an especially firm and creamy texture. The crust, which sets the whole thing of splendidly, is made with a sugar-cookie-base, rather than with graham-crackers. Let’s be honest: when cheesecake is made with a graham-cracker-crust, the graham-cracker practically overwhelms the taste of the cheesecake. Not so with Eli’s; the sugar-cookie perfectly complements the cheesecake and gets out of the way of its smooth taste.

For years, I had no idea that what I had been eating was Eli’s Cheesecake. I thought that the MCC cafeteria just happened to have a particularly good recipe. Then, one day in 2005 in Las Vegas, I was watching the Food Network with Courtney and “UnWrapped” did a show on desserts in which they featured Eli’s! I knew instantly that Eli’s is what I had been eating that whole time at MCC. We got online and submitted an order immediately, which arrived just in time for Thanksgiving. We ordered again on Christmas and the following year for my birthday, etc.

Eli’s through the mail is pricey, but worth it. An Eli’s “Tower of Cheesecake,” which includes one large chocolate-chip cheesecake, one medium turtle cheesecake, and one small regular cheesecake, costs about $80 shipped. They pack it with dry-ice in a styrofoam container, which keeps it nice and fresh and prevents it from getting soggy (dry-ice).

I was so pleased with the fact that I could order it in, that I actually began ordering for others, as well. For example, Michelle Nardone (now Nielson), who had become a good friend of mine through myspace, received a nice Eli’s Cheesecake for her birthday one year. Years later, at her wedding, I was introduced to her parents: “This is Mitchell; remember? The guy who sent me cheesecake!” They knew who I was instantly: “Ohhh… The Cheesecake Guy!”


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