PICTURED: Clockwise from top: Strawberry, banana wafer, Cookie Monster and Oreo cheesecakes. Photo by Kateri Wozny
by Kateri Wozny
942 W. Wooley Road, Oxnard (Inside Oralia’s Bakery)
My coworker told me about Alonzo Rivera, a man from Harlem, NY, who is now in Ventura County serving up some of the best cheesecake in the area. I went to his Instagram page to check out the photos and did a quick surveillance of his location (inside Oralia’s Bakery on Wooley Road). There were lines of people out the door and down the street, waiting to purchase some cheesecake. He sells out his entire stock every single time, so you know I had to go see what the craze was all about!
Luckily, when I arrived, I only had five people ahead of me. A sign outside the shop displays the flavors of the day. It’s $10 for each individual-size cheesecake. To keep it balanced, I got two fruit cheesecakes (strawberry and banana wafer) and two chocolate (Cookie Monster and Oreo). Payment is accepted through the Venmo app.
The cheesecake is light and fluffy and my selections came served on a paper platter in a to-go box, waiting to be devoured by yours truly. You can tell just by looking at them that Rivera puts love into each cheesecake. Every piece was a small work of food art: colorful, presentable and tasty to look at.
First up was the strawberry, my favorite fruit, with a graham cracker crust and vanilla batter topped with fresh whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Love at first bite. The flavor put me in mind of a classic New York-style cheesecake. The cake came with a sweet strawberry drizzle, served in a separate ramekin, to pour on top. It soaked into the cheesecake and created a burst of strawberry goodness in my mouth.
Next was the banana wafer, made with a caramel graham cracker crust filled with yellow banana-flavored batter and topped with fresh whipped cream, fresh bananas, vanilla wafers and wafer crumbles. I couldn’t tell if the banana in the batter was banana extract or banana liqueur, but it reminded me of a Bananas Foster dessert and I was bananas (sorry) for it.
Onto the chocolate portion of the tasting. I started with the Oreo, containing a graham cracker chocolate crust and vanilla batter mixed with crumbles of Oreo, all topped with cookie crumbles, a full Oreo cookie and drizzled chocolate syrup. At this point I had poured myself a large glass of milk. Even without the full Oreo cookie on top, the cheesecake tasted just like the cookie: chocolatey, full of vanilla and mouthwateringly good.
Finally, the one I was dying to try: the Cookie Monster! It reminded me of the #Sesame Street# character, too, with a chocolate graham cracker crust and the vanilla batter colored blue. Mixed into it were crumbled Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies and Oreos. On top: more of the cookie crumbles, a small Chips Ahoy cookie and drizzled chocolate syrup. Me want cookie! Having the Chips Ahoy and Oreo cookies mixed together was brilliant. I was proud to have a blue tongue afterwards.
Other cheesecake flavors have included apple, lemon cake, maple topped with bacon and pancakes, Reese’s, carrot cake, Cinnabon, Fruity Pebbles and Nutella. To try any of these rich delights, one must follow (or as I like to call it, stalk) Rivera’s Instagram page to see when he is offering his cheesecake because there are no set days or times. Word of his phenomenal cakes has gotten around, and it continues to draw a crowd — be prepared to get in line.
I can definitely say Alonzo’s Cheesecake is worth waiting for.
Kateri Wozny is a foodie who loves savoring the latest dishes around the 805. Follow her on Instagram @kitkatwozny.