I’ve had my struggles with the Seven Deadly Sins, each of them at one time or another. But of course my longest most desperate battle has been with Gluttony. I like to eat. I love good food. Combined with my genetic heritage, this is a recipe for disaster.

Which brings me to last night. We recently had a “Cheesecake Factory” open near our house. Someone brought some of their cheesecake to work, and I was blown away by it. As a result, I got some cheesecake from there for my birthday, and it was excellent again. So, we decided to have dinner there.

If you want to worship Gluttony, I know where the Temple is. From the immense interior, and the vaulted ceilings, to the giant pillars, it’s almost Egyptian in scale. You approach the dais where the high priestess resides, and she tells you the wait will be 65-95 minutes.

Yes. An hour, to an hour-and-a-half wait. To eat at a restaurant in a mall. I was highly, highly dubious. But off we went and window-shopped for an hour or so, then returned, clasping our little radio-controlled vibrating light box, waiting to be summoned by our god.

It was, in fact, more than an hour and a half before we got seated. My general attitude at this point was that there was no way the food could possibly be good enough to justify a wait like that. The menu is the size of a paperback novel. A paperback novel by Neal Stephenson. The kids were wilting from lack of food at this point, so we started by ordering an appetizer. In particular, the “Roadside Sliders — Bite-sized Burgers on Mini-Buns Served with Grilled Onions, Pickles and Ketchup”. When they arrived, we tucked in.

Oh my God. From the fluffy fresh-baked rolls, to the juicy flavorful beef, these were the best burgers I’ve had in years. I wanted two more orders. Forget ordering dinner.

The wife and daughter split an appetizer Caeser salad. It came in a tureen. It was easily enough salad for 3-4 people. My dinner salad (”Buffalo Chicken Salad — Mixed Greens Tossed with Spicy Crispy Pieces of Chicken Breast, Tomato, Celery, Blue Cheese and Vinaigrette. Topped with Spicy Buffalo Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing”) was similarly huge.

And everything was good. All four of us enjoyed our meals immensely, and that just doesn’t happen often. What with the portion sizes being as majestic as they were, we got some boxes to take leftovers home, then caved in to filial pressures and ordered dessert. Specifically, the Giant Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich:

It was incredibly good. We split it between all four of us. It was still too much.

Between the scale of the place, the long wait, the quality of the food, and the immense portion sizes, this place really did seem like a Temple to Gluttony. And in penance for having worshipped there, I will have to spend some time at the Temples of Temperance and Asceticism.

But I can still hear the siren song of those little burgers, and the call of the cheesecake. I can’t lie, I may be tempted to commit apostasy, and return to the Temple again sometime.