California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Offers GF Menu Items Part 2

On June 29th I posted some potentially good news: California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Offers GF Menu Items.  There was a bit of mixed reviews regarding this post, which is completely understandable.  You never truly know if your meal will be 100% gluten-free (and free of any cross-contamination) when you are eating out in a non-designated gluten-free restaurant.  Many restaurants take extra precautions when preparing gluten-free menu items and will train their staff regarding the gluten-free diet and cross-contamination.

I will admit at first I was a bit skeptical about trying the new pizza but I asked a few other bloggers and readers who had tried the new pizza and they all said it was delicious and didn’t have any glutened symptoms.  When we went to Boston a few weeks ago with our dear friends Warren and Joyce we found a CPK and decided to give it a go (when you sign up to receive their e-mails you get a $5.00 coupon!).

Out of the four of us I am the only one with celiac disease so I ordered off of their Gluten-Free Menu! (which is actually just the real menu with “gf” notations next to the items that are gluten-free”). I also asked to speak with a manager about the process of the chefs making the pizza and serving it.  She did assure me that they use a “foil boat” to cook the pizza on, use a separate paddle, separate knife, and serve it right away to avoid any confusion.

I decided to go with what they are known best for – The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza (Invented here in 1985. BBQ sauce, smoked Gouda, Mozzarella, BBQ chicken, red onions and cilantro).  This was always one of my favorite pizzas before I went gluten-free and it was as delicious as ever.  The flavor combination may seem a bit odd when you are just reading about it but the sweetness of the BBQ sauce goes so well with the smoked Gouda and red onions.  Best part of all? I didn’t get sick from eating it!! It was so nice to eat pizza out at a restaurant. Sadly though the closest CPK to us is Boston so we won’t be going there very often.

Again, this is obviously a personal judgement call but I can say that I ate there with absolutely no problems and it was delicious, the staff was very friendly, helpful, and well-informed.  A nice change from my last visit to a CPK.  Again, please come back and let me know if you have tried CPK’s new gluten-free options and what you thought about it.

Panera Bread – Gluten Free Options

I love Panera Bread and that we have one not too far from us! Even if we forget that it is there half the time, it is nice when we remember it.  Bryan loves their bread and their creamy tomato soup and I truly miss their bread but love their salads and their creamy tomato soup also.  We went to lunch there last week, and like I always do before going somewhere to eat (even if we’ve been there a million times) I went online and checked to see what their gluten-free options were.  However, when I was searching the only updates that I found were from 2008 and 2010 so I decided that I would order something I knew for sure what gluten-free and also e-mailed Panera Bread and asked for an updated list.  Below is the list and e-mail that was sent to me.  The customer service people over at Panera Bread are just awesome – quick in responding, friendly and very informative.

Dear Jenny,

Thank you for contacting Panera Bread. I have included below a list of our menu items that do not contain gluten-containing ingredients. However, because we bake fresh bread daily in our bakery-cafes and bread is core to our menu, we simply cannot ensure that there has been no contact between these items, or any other menu items, and gluten.

Not all of the items listed are currently on our menu and some new menu items have not yet been evaluated for the purposes of inclusion on this list. However, you can find complete ingredients listings for current menu items on our website. (When you choose a menu item in our online Nutrition Calculator, click on the “ingredients” link for ingredients information for that item.)

Please note that nutritional information on our website is updated periodically. New products may be available in our bakery-cafes before a periodic update of this site. In addition, some menu items may be available only on a regional, test or seasonal basis. Nutritional information about these menu items is available at the participating bakery-cafes. Tests of new recipes of existing products may be conducted from time to time in certain markets. These new recipes may contain different/additional ingredients, including allergens, as compared to the original version. For the most update-to-date information, please call or visit your nearest bakery-cafe to speak with a manager.

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and value your comments.

Sincerely,
Jamie
Customer Comment Coordinator

List of menu items that do not contain any gluten containing ingredients

**Although we try to meet your special requirements, we cannot ensure that these items have not come into contact with gluten in our bakery-café.

** Gorgonzola and bleu cheeses are commonly made with mold incubated on wheat.  Some may choose to avoid these cheeses for this reason and you may substitute another cheese if you prefer. Items containing these ingredients are indicated below with (G) or (BC).

Salads:    (including the salad dressing)
(source of modified food starch is corn)
Greek Salad Caesar Salad (without croutons)
Grilled Chicken
Caesar Salad (without croutons)
Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (without Won Ton noodles)
Classic Cafe Salad
Fuji Apple Chicken Salad (G)
Chopped Chicken Cobb Salad (G)
Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad (without croutons)
BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad
Fruit Cup – Watermelon
Seasonal Mixed Fruit Cup

Salad Dressings:
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Caesar
Greek
Poppyseed Dressing
Asian Sesame Vinaigrette
White Balsamic Vinaigrette
BBQ Ranch
Light buttermilk ranch

Soups:
Low Fat Vegetarian Black Bean
Creamy Tomato (without croutons)

Beverages:
Coffee
Juice, both apple and orange
Lemonade
Milk
Soda, fountain and bottled
Tea, regular and Chai Tea

All lattes & Frozen beverages
Low-fat Strawberry Smoothie
Low-Fat Black Cherry Smoothie
Low-Fat Mango Smoothie
Low-fat Wild Berry Smoothie
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Frozen Lemonade
Hot Chocolate

Panera Bread Potato Chips

If you have a Panera Bread around you – it is a great place to eat if you are gluten-free.  The staff is always very careful about cross contamination and they also an allergen list at the registers for you to double-check anything – especially new items on the menu.

Hope this updated list helps everyone out as much as it has helped me.

Also don’t forget that my 3 Year Blogiversary Giveaway is going on until June 30th so head on over and enter today for your chance to win a box filled with a bunch of gluten-free and kitchen goodies.

Girls Day in Carmel

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Before I move I really wanted to do a “girls day” with some of my close girlfriends.  We ended up spending a few hours in Carmel just enjoying each others company.  I decided to pick the restaurant seeing as I’m the one with the restrictions.  I don’t actually go to Carmel often (even though I live the next town over!), so it was harder than I thought to find a place that was reasonably priced, had a decent looking menu and had good reviews online.

I came across the site for Piatti Restorante & Bar – was in Carmel, menu looked awesome (many things I could have), was open for lunch, the prices were pretty decent so I made some reservations and listed that I have Celiac Disease (explained it a little bit) and when we arrived they asked which one had Celiac and helped us with the menu.  Our waiter went back and checked with the chefs for their salad dressings, the appetizers etc.  Obviously the pasta and pizza were out but they were willing to make anything for me, just had to ask and it was mine.

For starters we had:

Some very tasty berry drinks that sadly I can’t remember the name of and can’t find them their online menu!

GAMBERI ~ Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp, Arugula, Cannellini Beans & Lemon Oil

and

PARMESAN FRIES

Both of these little starters were fantastic.  I’m a big fan of the shrimp wrapped in bacon with the white beans! So tasty.  The Parmesan fries just sounded good and they were perfect, nice and crispy, not soggy.

For our meals Alicia and I ended up getting the same salad:

RUCOLA E FICO : Arugula, Prosciutto, Roasted Figs and Goat Cheese with Sherry Vinaigrette.

A light and refreshing salad.  The figs were unbelievable tasting with the goat cheese and prosciutto.  The dressing was nice and light.

Victoria ordered the

PRONTI : Maytag Blue Cheese, Kalamata Olives, Cucumbers, Pine Nuts, Parmesan & Red Wine Vinaigrette

We all stole bites of each others dishes and hers was awesome.  Part of me wished I ordered that one with the salty olives, the cool cucumbers and the crunch of the pine nuts…yummm.  Mine was still really good though🙂

Lisa was the only one who opted to be different (no surprise there-ha) and ordered some pasta which sadly I didn’t get to try any of but sh really enjoyed it:

STROZZAPRETTI “Twisted Rope” Pasta, Chicken & Prosciutto Meatballs, Mushroom, Tomato & Sage Soffritto

All in all this is a fantastic reasonably price place to enjoy and extremely wonderful dinner/lunch.  The atmosphere was very pleasant and the wait staff was above and beyond what I expected.  They were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful to me and my dietary needs.  If you have one of these in your area I suggest taking your other half out for a nice date night or get together with your friends for a girls night out.  After our lunch we headed down to the cheese shop to get some samples of great cheeses and brought a few home!  I love that little place.  Got a little surprise visit from Lisa J. right before we headed home too.  Very happy I got to see her before heading back east.

Victoria, Myself, Lisa and Alicia

Lisa S. Myself, Alicia, Victoria and Lisa J.

Thanks girls for coming out with me today!  I’ll miss you