December 2013 Update: I walked by a CPK the other day and this sign stopped me in my tracks:
The Gluten-Free pizzas are back! Currently, there are four options. See their online GF menu at http://info.cpk.com/documents/gluten_free_menu.pdf. As their website notes, these pizzas are prepared according to the strict regulations of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). As always, please inform your server of any allergies prior to placing your order.
June 2013 Update: While they still offer a Gluten-Free Menu, California Pizza Kitchen has temporarily pulled the Gluten-Free pizzas from this menu while they review their kitchens and procedures for potential cross-contamination. Still craving a pizza? Try Gluten-Free pies at Lilly’s Pizza, zpizza, or Mellow Mushroom in Raleigh.
California Pizza Kitchen announced the launch of a new Gluten-Free pizza crust in July, offering 29 of their original pizzas available Gluten-Free.
Where: California Pizza Kitchen, 5959 Triangle Town Road, #2121, Raleigh, NC 27616
GF Menu: Yes. At the Triangle Town location, the GF menu is incorporated into the restaurant’s regular menu.
What I ate: Asparagus and Arugula Salad (From the Small Cravings menu) + a White (GF) Pizza
How to order it: Regardless of where you are dining, it is a good idea to inform the server that you (and any other specific party members) will be dining Gluten-Free. This prepares the staff for your questions and hopefully helps ensure your safety throughout the dining experience.
When I mentioned to my server that I would be dining Gluten-Free, he explained that all of the pizzas listed on the menu (with the exception of the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and the Thai Chicken) could be made GF.
When asked how the GF pizza crust is prepared, he responded that it is handled with a designated set of utensils, placed on aluminum foil for baking, and then cut with a designated GF pizza cutter.
Online, the CPK GF Menu bears this disclaimer:
“Gluten-Free” designations are based on information provided by our ingredient suppliers. Warning: Ingredients or production methods used by our suppliers may change, or there may be product differences among regional suppliers. Additionally, normal kitchen operations involve shared cooking and preparation areas, or we may need to substitute ingredients in menu items. We are therefore unable to guarantee that any menu item is free from gluten or any other allergen, and we assume no responsibility for guests with food allergies or sensitivities.”
The Asparagus and Arugula Salad was light and tangy. Fresh arugula, crisp cuts of asparagus, sundried tomatoes, slivered almonds, and shaved Grana Padano Parmesan were topped with a homemade lemon vinaigrette.
The White Pizza arrived on a platter, crispy and golden around the edges, covered with sauteed garlic spinach, mozzarella, fontina, ricotta, parmesan, and pecorino romano.
A closer view displays the more traditionally thin Italian-style (as opposed to the thicker Sicilian style) crust. This crust tasted pleasantly of rice, and reminded me of a flexible version of a saltine cracker, topped with loads of good stuff.
Green Note: CPK also offers a Vegetarian and Vegan Menu. Why go vegetarian, even for a day? The semi-vegetarian global movement called Meatless Mondays, which advocates “cut out meat one day of the week”, offers this as one of several compelling reasons:
REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.