By Lisa Dupuy
September 18, 2011 || 7:00 am
I can see her now, looking like Joan from “Mad Men.” It’s 1967, and my mother is bent over the oven, carefully extracting the cheesecake meant for dinner guests. She removes it gingerly from its water hath and inspects the heavy disc for cracks, dark spots or sinkholes. lt's been a long, arduous process making that cheesecake, and she is satisﬁed. These memories flew to mind as I tasted the classic cheesecake created by the experienced hands at Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company. Operating out of a tiny storefront smack in the middle of the Hyundai dealership on the Brand Boulevard of Cars in Glendale, this efﬁcient operation is the brainchild of the Freeman family.
Karen Freeman has been perfecting her cheesecake recipe for 30 years. Her three sons all pitch in to
A red velvet cheesecake is surrounded by Reese's Snikers at left, and chocolate marble at pacific Cheesecake Company on friday, September 16, 2011. (Raul Roa / Staff photographer)
keep the business humming. The ever-hospitable Steven mans the front counter and is eager to hand out as many samples as visitors can eat. With more than 110 ﬂavors on the menu and a domen or so on the sample plate each day, you could be there a while.
l took an original 10-inch cheesecake ($45) to a backyard party. It was a hit. First of all, it was a beautiful thing to look upon, with a perfect shape and color and a pretty sprinkling of crumbs on top. Everyone agreed it was more cake-like than your average cheesecake, very much like my mother used to make. The texture managed to be light and dense at the same time, with a not-too-sweet ﬂavor and the tang of sour cream in the rich top layer. I would have liked a thicker graham cracker crust with more tooth, and I was not pleased with the way the middle of the cake stuck to my serving knife on each slice. But overall, it was creamy and delicious.
Thanks to their convenient mini-cheesccakes ($2.50 each), my family and I had the grueling job of testing some of their other ﬂavors. (I do it for you, dear readers!) They are not lying when they claim to use the ﬁnest ingredients. The chocolate in the chocolate raspberry is deep and dark, and the raspberry reduction swirled throughout is obviously homemade. The creme brulee has a delicate ﬂavor and an authentic caramelized sugar topping. Then there's the coconut mango rolled in toasted coconut with a vibrant mango puree on top. But I'm partial to the lemon basil with its fresh lemon juice and fragrant basil in a toasted almond crust, a wholly new taste sensation that really works.
Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company doesn't swp at sweet cheesecakes. They have a line of savory ones as well. Similar to a cream cheese torlae with herbs and spices, you'd serve this with crackers as an appetizer. ‘I'he Gorgonzola apricot wrapped in toasted walnuts (in lieu of graham cracker crumbs) is wonderful. A 4 1/2-inch cake ($10) is right for a small dinner party. The 1o-inch wheel ($55) is for a big, catered affair.
Keep Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company in mind for your next gathering. Perhaps the “Mad Men‘ season premiere.
LISA DUPUY has been reviewing area restaurants since 2008. She welcomes comments at I..Dupuy@aol.com.
What: Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company
Where: 413 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale
When: Monday to Wednesday 10 a.m to 5 p.m.; Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Contact: (818) 518-0709; www.paciﬁccheesecakecompany.com
Mom, sons in sweet new jobs
The trio's new shop specializes in cheesecake from 'a secret technique'
By Kelly Oorrigan, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 8, 20:: ||3:55 p.m.
The Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company is otﬁcially in business. For owner Karen Freeman, it's a dream that was years in the making, one that started with a single recipe passed down from one generation to another.
Freeman and her sons, Mike and Steven Freeman, plan to celebrate the shop's grand opening today in a humble kitchen between two car showrooms a block from the Americana at Brand. When Karen Freeman was 11, she baked two loaves of herb bread for the ﬁrst time. They came out of the oven like rocks.
“It was very yeasty, it was hom'ble," she said. Undaunted, she kept at her recipes and mixing bowls.
At 20, she took on her grandmothefs cheesecake recipe but found it too custardy. So she tweaked it, and eventually she rethought the recipe.
‘That's the recipe we use today,” Karen Freeman said, describing the cheesecake as “extra creamy, but not as dense as New York cheesecake.
Mike, 26, and Steven 24, grew up in the kitchen with their mother.
“My earliest memory is licking the spoons,” Mike Freeman said.
The brothers also recalled making each other's birthday cheesecakes.
While Karen Freeman worked fulltime in commercial ﬁnancing, she baked on the side. Her sons honed their skills with tireless repetition, earned college degrees and pursued their own careers.
But they all ended up together in what is now Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company.
Together, they've created 120 cheesecake ﬂavors — including Bananas Foster, lemon chocolate chip, red velvet chocolate, green tea, sweet lemon basil and white chocolate salted caramel creme.
While there is no secret to the ingredients — cream cheese, eggs, sugar and some vanilla - the three chefs achieve what they call “the wow factor‘ in the baking technique. That part is secret. But they have a plan to share at least a little part of the secret.
The Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company plans to offer free mini-cheesecakes from noon to 4 p.m. today at its shop at 413 S. Brand Blvd.
Enjoy this story from our archieve, originally sent to IT members on 5/7/2011
Meet the savory cheesecake in Gelendale
The streth of Brand Boulevard between Atwater Village and downtown Gkendake is best known for car dealerships. That started to change in 2008, when palate Food + Wine made the strip safe for food lovers. Now, longtime banker Karen Freedom has teamed with sons Mike, Steven and Jake to open Pacific Cheecake Company.
The Freemans have dozens of defferent cheesecakes in their repertoire, most featuring the familier seet cream cheese base. But it's their savory offerings that set Pacific Cheesecake part ($10 for a 4 1/2 inch version, $35 for an 8-inch and $45 for a 10-inch cake).
The spinach -feta cheeseckae, when served warm, resembles a tangy quiche, with a crushed-walnut siding for texture. freeman suggests spreading the cheesecake on crackers, creating a party starter, or pairing it with a salad for a meal. She also bakes one with a pungent blue cheese base and cream cheese top that's finished with a dusing of cracked black pepper (pictured). A version with pancetta and dates offers a kind of savory-sweet middle ground.
The spinach-feta cheesecake, when served warm, resembles a tangy quiche, with a crushed-walnut siding for texture. Freeman suggets a spreading the cheeskcake on crackers, creating a part starter, or pairing it with a salad for a meal. She also bakes one with a pungent blue cheese base and cream cheese top that's finished with a dusting of cracked black pepper (pictured). A version with pancetta and dates offers a kind of savory -sweet niddle ground.
Pacific Cheesecake Company also has savory biscotti in its flavor arsenal, including and oregano and basil-flavored cooke.
If sweet is your unbending preference, 12 different sweet cheesecakes, like cherry almond and red velvet, are available each day, plus oatmeal raisin cookies studded with toasted pecans, dense fudge brownies and eclairs.
Pacific Cheesecake Company, 413 S. Brand Blvd, Glendate: 818-518-0709 or pacificcheesecakecompany.com
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By Cara Ohngren | | May 27, 2011
Karen Freeman was a successful banker, working in commercial ﬁnance for more than 17 years with twoofthe largest banks in the country. But, when the economy started to sour and the lending industry took a particularly hard hit, she started thinking about starting her own business. Together with her three sons, Freeman followed her passion and opened a cheesecake shop in Glandale, Calif, last year.
‘We're now in charge of our own future," says 50-year-old Freeman. "We can thrive and grow as much as we want. The hours are long and it's not easy, but we're all enjoying having our own business."
The Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company serves up traditional sweet cheesecakes made from old Freeman family recipes. But it's the innovative savory cheesecakes that are creating all the buzz.
The spinach-feta cheesecake wrapped in toasted walnuts and the cheddar sun-dried tomato basil cheesecake are both perfect for spreading on crackers and as an elegant hors d'muvre. The tangy blue cheese option is dusted with fresh cracked black pepper.
"I wanted something different as a party starter, rather than a block of cheese, sol thought a savory cheesecake would be just the right ﬁt," Freeman says.
Startup: Freeman has been funding the business herself since she opened the doors in 2010. At ﬁrst, her oldest son, 26-year-old Mike, was the only one working full time to get things ready for opening day. Freeman initially kept her banking day job and worked on the bakery at night and on weekends, while her 24-year-old son. Steven, had a part-time job, and her youngest son, 22-year-old Jake attended college. Now all four Freelnam are working together at the Paciﬁc Cheesecake Company, and Karen Freeman has leﬁ banking completely.
Biggest challenge: time and money
Work philosophy: "We always use the ﬁnest-quality ingredients to make our products,” she says. "We're hands-on with our customers, knowing most of them by name, and intend to have the same personal service as we grow.
Inspired by: her sons and her 30-year passion for baking cheesecakes for family and friends
Advice for others making a midlife career change: "You have to be willing to take the rislt, but don't go into it blindly. Consult with your ﬁnancial advisors and come up with a good business strategy, including a realistic business plan and projections so you know what to expect when you venture out."