I’ve been hearing for years how the California Pizza Kitchen has become a hallmark for gluten free safety. But I never got a chance to try one until a few weeks ago. There’s really no need for any kind of intro into CPK as I’m sure you all know about this spot. So without further ado…
I was very impressed with this pizza. The cauliflower crust was decent, as most other gluten free people have mentioned. Apparently they used to have a different crust that might have been made from rice flour? That crust got raving reviews so this cauliflower crust is apparently a step down. I still liked it though. But this pizza really shines when it comes to the toppings, cheese and sauce. The cheese is a perfect blend and melted perfectly. The sauce is flavored very well too. I got the pepperoni pizza with added truffle oil and added nueske’s applewood smoked bacon. So good.
The gluten free menu isn’t very big but it has just enough options to make me satisfied. It has all of the important pizzas that I would probably have ordered from the regular menu anyway. The best part is that these restaurants are certified gluten free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. The suppliers ingredients are verified by this group along with the kitchen space, equipment and cooking practices. Well done CPK. I wish more restaurants, chain or not, would strive for this kind of gluten free excellence.
The kitchen is setup perfectly for safe gluten free eating. Totally separate kitchen space with totally separate equipment. So this makes the job of the server a lot easier. However, the server I had wasn’t that great. I had to really pry her for confirmation about what I was reading on the menu. I also heard through the grapevine (and read on the menu) that if you order your pizza as gluten free but the ingredients or options aren’t on the certified gluten free menu, the kitchen procedure is to cook that pizza in the normal prep space – regardless of the pizza needing to be gluten free. This is a huge NO NO so with knowing that, I stuck to only my options on the gluten free menu to be safe. I don’t understand this process whatsoever, especially considering CPK has really gone the extra mile with gluten free safety. If you order from the gluten free menu, the pizza does come out separately by the manager with a gluten free tag on it which is a very nice touch. I always applaud that kind of service from a restaurant.
Did I Get Sick (NO)
I felt great after eating here, no problems whatsoever. Even though I ate the entire pizza, I didn’t feel completely full which I think was a testament to the lower calorie cauliflower crust.
I was impressed with California Pizza Kitchen. Just make sure you still communicate your gluten free needs to your server and request a manager be flagged to be safe. And MAKE SURE you only order from the gluten free menu with no additional ingredients (unless they are listed as an optional add on with the gluten free menu) and you will be safe. Ordering any other way or any other options will put you at risk. Otherwise, enjoy your pizza and eat confidently.