Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Factory

I went to the Cheesecake Factory at 415 South 27th St in Southside Works because they advertise offering a gluten free menu.  I asked my server for a gluten free menu and reviewed it. 

I was impressed by the size of the gluten free menu, but what really peaked my interest was the pasta section.  Although gluten free pasta is readily available in supermarkets, not too many restaurants offer it.  I chose the Pasta with Chicken and Roasted Garlic.

When my pasta arrived, it wasn't exactly what I order, but the server asked, "Gluten free pasta?" and placed it in front of me.  In reality, the entree that showed up at my table was Chicken Pasta Carbonara.  It was close enough and since the server mentioned it was gluten free, I ignored the discrepancy.  Essentially, this was the pasta I ordered plus more stuff.

The portion size was huge.  It came in a very large white bowl.  The pasta itself wasn't too chewy, as some gluten free pastas can be.  The sauce was a creamy Alfredo sauce.  There was tomatoes and bacon accompanying the chicken chunks.  About half way through the entree, I couldn't eat any more.

The server wrapped up my leftovers and offered me gluten free desert - The Godiva Chocolate Cheese Cake.  Although I couldn't eat anything more and was starting to feel a little nauseated, I ordered it to go so I could try it later. 

I had just made it home in time to have a meeting with my porcelain friend.  And I realized that I had been glutened! I've had worse, so I'm pretty sure the pasta itself was actually gluten free, but a medium amount of cross contamination had occurred.

What a better way to feel better than eating some chocolate.  I began eating the chocolate cheesecake to self medicate.  The crust was a hard chocolate shell.  The layers were chocolatey; it was creamy; it was magnificent.  I bake a pretty good gluten free cheesecake with cornstarch instead of flour, so I had no problem believing that this was gluten free.

I began to Google Cheesecake Factory reviews for Celiacs.  I was shocked.  The Cheesecake Factory has made many people like me sick with their negligence in the kitchen.  Some people asked the managers about their procedures handling gluten free items and I was shocked to hear that one location admitted to cooking the gluten free pasta in the same water as the regular pasta.  One location suggested having a manager over see the preparation of your entire meal.  Who wants to be that customer?  To go to that extent is embarrassing.  I'd rather not eat there.

Then I looked on the Godiva Chocolate website and it states, "ALL of our products including solid chocolate pieces may contain gluten. Any person with a gluten allergy should NOT consume ANY of our products."  The Cheesecake Factory specifically mentioned the Godiva Chocolate Cheese Cake as a gluten free dessert.  I dropped my fork and stopped eating immediately. 

I was sick for days.

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