When I think of Cheesecake Factory I certainly don’t think “gluten-free.” But when a dear friend of mine wanted to meet there for a birthday celebaration lunch, I took a look at their Online Allergen Menu. I was surprised to find a few gluten-free meals, sides and salads that could indeed be prepared gluten-free. So I diligently took screenshots of everything, pasted them together into my own crude little Cheesecake Factory Gluten-Free menu, printed it and took it with me. (Unfortunately there isn’t any gluten-free cheesecake on the menu!)
But to be quite honest, when I got to the restaurant I wasn’t feeling the gluten-free love. When I requested it, they didn’t have a gluten-free menu. And our very nice, helpful waiter told us that they’d “had issues with the gluten-free menu items” (seeming to say that they’d recently gotten in some kind of… trouble) and that corporate had pulled the menus with gluten info. They were being revamped though, so I should check back next time I came in. But this left me thinking that any food I ordered from the Cheesecake Factory would leave me cross-contaminated. And since it takes so many DAYS (up to two WEEKS!) to recover from even the slightest bit of gluten, I decided not to chance it and ate the lunch I’d packed, just in case.
This is not to say that you won’t find a gluten-free friendly local Cheesecake Factory. (If you decide to give yours a try, just be sure have some gluten-free snacks on hand. Then if you don’t feel comfortable with your chances of getting out without getting contaminated, you’ll have something to eat and you won’t be tempted to “give it a shot”. Remember, when in doubt, leave it out!) Every restaurant is different and all gluten-free people have different levels of sensitivity. But I’m FAR too sensitive to gluten and the reactions are too immediate and far reaching, I’m becoming more and more picky about where I eat. Perhaps if I wasn’t so sensitive, I would feel comfortable eating here and trying the gluten-free menu. But as it stands now, I’m just too chicken.
And unfortunately, The Cheesecake Factory doesn’t have any gluten free cheesecake. But I’m all for bringing your own food when there’s none available. Most restaurants don’t mind if you bring something if you’re there with other customers. And there is a great mini gluten-free cheesecake that you can bring with you: a 3-inch Pamela’s New York Cheescake is a small, three-inch individually packed cheesecake. It’s easy to bring with you and just the right size to personally enjoy. There are a bunch of different flavors too: White Chocolate Raspberry and an Agave Sweetened Cheesecake. (There’s a 4-Flavor Sampler if you want to give them all a try or have smaller, 5-ounce versions.) Or if you’d like to rival the Cheesecake Factory’s “Linda’s Fudge Cake” (which was my favorite before I went gluten-free), try another lady’s: Pamela’s Chocolate Fudge Cake. It’s rich, delicious chocolately goodness is super yummy!!
Have you gone to the Cheesecake Factory and tried any of their gluten-free menu items? Or do you know of any other yummy GF cheesecakes? Let me know about your experience!