Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Cheesecake Factory

On Sunday, I had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory in Winter Park Village with my daughters and Nina, our international student.  


Since I was diagnosed with celiac, we have dined at The Cheesecake Factory in Winter Park several times, and the restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens.  


Items that can be made gluten free are now marked on the menu with "GF Upon Request," which is a change they have made since my last visit.  The Cheesecake Factory has a very large menu, and there a good number of dishes that can be made gluten free, including the sweet corn tamale cakes, Caesar salad, Cobb salad, herb crusted salmon salad, old fashioned burger, mushroom burger, Americana cheeseburger, grilled turkey burger, shepherd's pie, lemon-herb roasted chicken, four cheese pasta, pasta carbonara, Evelyn's favorite pasta, fettuccini with chicken & sun-dried tomatoes, farfalle with chicken & roasted garlic, shrimp with angel hair, chargrilled coulotte steak, Steak Diane, grilled rib-eye steak, filet mignon, farm fresh eggs, Factory create an omelette, California omelette, and the spinach, mushroom, bacon & cheese omelette.  Side dishes that can be prepared gluten free include french fries made in a dedicated fryer, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn succotash, and sauteed spinach.  There might be other menu items that can be prepared gluten free, but I did not take pictures of all the pages in their menu, and gluten free options are not listed online.  


We purposely went in for lunch on Sunday, because Felicia, one of my blog readers and a fellow celiac, was working that day.  While my girls devoured the amazing gluten-filled bread that The Cheesecake Factory serves, Felicia brought me an Udi's bun with butter, which is toasted separately to avoid cross contaimination.  


In the past, I have always ordered the sweet corn tamale cakes, which are amazing, but on Sunday, my daughter Katie and I decided to split an order of gluten free carbonara with smoked bacon, green peas, chicken, and a garlic-parmesan cream sauce.  The Cheesecake Factory uses Heartland Gluten Free Fusilli, and cooks it in it's own water to avoid cross contamination.  Heartland makes a great gluten free pasta, and ours was cooked al dente, just like I like it.  I love carbonara, and this dish did not disappoint.  It had plenty of bacon, and I loved the addition of the peas.  The sauce was so delicious, and had a subtle peppery kick.  My only complaint was that our pasta was over-sauced, but it didn't take away my enjoyment of the dish.  I prefer the Italian method of tossing pasta with just enough sauce to coat it.  


For dessert, the four of us split a piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, which is a flourless Godiva chocolate cake, topped with Godiva chocolate cheesecake, and chocolate mousse.  There is nothing not to love about this dessert.  The portion is generous, the taste is heavenly, and it's chocolate, which I adore.  Cheesecakes can be a little heavy for my liking, but this one was just perfect.  


The cheesecakes are not made in-house, but come from North Carolina, individually wrapped.  Gloves are changed, and clean utensils are used when serving it.  Every part of my order was marked as an "allergy" by Felicia, so the kitchen would know to take proper precautions.

Felicia works on weekends, so be sure to ask for her if you go to The Cheesecake Factory in Winter Park.

You can view The Cheesecake Factory's menu on their website here, but gluten free items are not currently marked online.  In Orlando, there is also a restaurant in The Mall at Millenia.

January 28, 2015

I spoke to someone at The Cheesecake Factory's corporate office today about the gluten free Godiva chocolate cheesecake, because I read on another blog that the product contains wheat husk.  I learned that The Cheesecake Factory does regularly test the cheesecake to make sure that it is below 20 ppm.  Cross contamination is a possibility in individual restaurants because it is stored in the same display case as gluten-filled cheesecakes.  The product does not contain wheat husk or any other other gluten-containing ingredients, but the snow on top of the Godiva cheesecake is manufactured in a shared facility where products with wheat are made.  Another issue I saw discussed online was that Godiva says on their website that they do not guarantee that any of their products are gluten free, but I was told today by The Cheesecake Factory's corporate office that Godiva considers the chocolate they make for this cheesecake to be gluten free.  The Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake is the only menu item that I saw that just has a GF symbol, instead of GF upon request.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at The Cheesecake Factory?  


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