California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pizza Review
California Pizza Kitchen
When I first read that California Pizza Kitchen would be making gluten free pizzas available I immediately went to Google to get some facts.
This is not the first time the restaurant has offered gluten free pizzas. A few years ago they sold them and had a mixed response as to how gluten free and celiac safe they really were. California Pizza Kitchen realized quickly that they needed to stop serving those pizzas and research how to provide a completely safe gluten free pizza that all gluten intolerant and celiacs could enjoy with out possibility for cross contamination.
In October of 2013 California Pizza Kitchen once again rolled out a gluten free menu including four delicious gluten free pizzas. This time they teamed up with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).
“ The four gluten-free pizzas are prepared using strict procedures set forth and approved by the GIG, including a certified gluten-free crust and other ingredients verified by California Pizza Kitchen’s suppliers as gluten-free. GIG will also conduct regular site inspections and audits to ensure all guidelines are being met.”
I love the fact that the GIG goes to such great lengths to ensure that restaurants are doing gluten free the right way. I have yet to get sick at any GIG approved restaurant that I have visited.
Once my Google research was complete I was super excited to go try a hot slice or six of delicious pizza.
California Pizza Kitchen is not terribly close to my home, so when I needed to visit the Short Pump area to pick up some shoes I ordered, I jumped on the chance to try the new California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Menu.
Alan and I arrived on a very busy Saturday afternoon. The restaurant was crowded, but we were greeted at the door and seated right away. The waitress was quick to take our drink orders and asked if we had any questions about the menu. We asked about what was gluten free and were given the gluten free pizza menu. We were also told that the regular menu had other items marked with a GF logo as well. We had signed up for the rewards card before arriving and were given a code for a free small plate. They had three gluten free options on the small plate menu an asparagus and arugula salad, a corn guacamole, and a wedge salad. We opted for the wedge salad because it boasted bacon and blue cheese dressing.
The salad was small and would make a good appetizer for one person. The plating was sloppy but they were extremely busy so we shrugged that off. The salad was good and the blue cheese dressing was awesome! There was plenty of hard boiled egg, tomatoes, and apple wood smoked bacon. We are bacon freaks and to us the bacon was just ok. It was overly smokey flavored and Alan said it reminded him of bacon bits. But really who comes to a pizza place for a salad? I was ready to dig in to some gluten free pizza pie.
They had four to choose from BBQ Chicken, Mushroom Sausage and Pepperoni, Pepperoni, and Margherita. We chose the first two.
A good thing to note when ordering is that the menu specifies you tell your waiter/waitress if you have celiac or any allergies. The manager is then alerted to oversee the making of your pizza in a special area with separate gloves, utensils, toppings, pans, ect. The manager even brings out gluten free pizzas personally to your table.
The pizzas did not take terribly long to arrive at our table. And it was extremely nice to have the added assurance that a manager brought the pizzas to you and had overseen the whole pizza making process.
The pizzas looked beautiful. The crust was nice and brown and crispy on the edges. The bottom was lightly golden brown. The toppings were large in size and plentiful. The pepperoni were as big as my hand and the sausage pieces were huge! The chunks of chicken on the BBQ Chicken looked juicy and were large as well!
Of course we took tons of photos before we dug in.
The crust was soft and slightly chewy in a good way and the edges were fantastically crunchy on both pizzas. I really enjoyed both flavors that we tried. The BBQ sauce on the BBQ Chicken Gluten Free Pizza was sweet and tangy much like a Sweet Baby Rays style sauce. The chicken was moist and delicious too. The sausage and mushrooms had a ton of flavor and the pepperoni were large and tasty as well. The pizzas could have done with more cheese and sauce, but it is hard to balance toppings on a gluten free pizza. Too many and the crust just gets soggy. I gladly take abundant meat toppings over extra sauce any day. Alan being a guy who likes light sauce on his pizza pies thought the ratios were perfect.
The service was outstanding the whole time we were there. Our teas were refilled promptly and we were politely asked a few times if we needed anything and asked how the pizza was. If the location was not so far from my home I would definitely go to California Pizza Kitchen for Gluten Free Pizza often.
I was surprised at the lack of Gluten Free choices on the rest of their menu. There were no GF appetizers, soups, or desserts. They had about four salads to choose from and the three small plates I mentioned earlier. That is it. But really who cares. We come to a pizza place for the pizza, right?
We had ordered two ten inch pizzas and ended up taking one slice of each home. After all, what is a pizza review without the cold pizza test? It was hard to save those two pieces, but I did it all for you guys because I love you
The pizza was not my favorite when it was cold. The toppings and flavors were marvelous, but I found the crust a bit too chewy when eaten cold. Alan on the other hand is not a fan of cold pizza in general. I made him take the test too. Surprisingly he said it is his favorite pizza that he has tried cold so far. That is quite a compliment and shows that there are as many tastes as there are people in this world.
Overall the California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pizza is an all around winner for us.