Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Cheesecake Factory

I've learned over the years that The Cheesecake Factory is a love hate place for many. Lot's of options, annoyingly huge menu with ads in the middle, large portions, high prices, but good tasting food. I've got my own beef with them on their gluten free menu, but we were going there for work, so I had to at least try and like it for a day.

We went to the one at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie. Compared to the one in Schaumburg it was easier to get a seat at noon on a Friday. Part of our party was seated before us, so we got to the table, I browsed the 10 page menu, and there were no gluten free markings on the pages. So I asked if there was a separate one. Our waitress said yes and she'd go get it. With such a huge menu I'd think they could just mark items with an symbol, but C'est la vie, I waited for my menu. And we waited, and waited, and I laughed when I realized the waitress was going table to table asking if anyone had it cause they had 1 copy. It would be nice if the menu was online... But it's not.

The waitress was nice enough to offer to bring me a gluten free bun and butter while everyone else had the bread basket. she also asked if I got sick from gluten, or really sick from gluten. When I told her I'd be very ill, she did start to tell me about how good their kitchen is and how there is a different prep area for the gluten free items. Plus she doesn't know of any complaints on people getting sick from gluten free meals at their location.

I was in the mood for a smaller meal so I got an order of their corn cakes and a side of edamame. It was a lot more filling than I'd expected, and I couldn't finish the last corn cake. Over all the food was presented well and tasted good.  

The downfall of the day I'm not sure if it was the coffee I grabbed on the way back to the office, or the meal, I felt so sick later that night.... I don't know where the shoe drops, but I didn't feel good by 7:00 pm, which is my rough time frame for a gluten reaction.

We skipped dessert. I really don't know how people eat an entree there and still have room for dessert. I was ok with skipping, I don't trust their gluten free cheesecake for a couple reasons.
1st - How do they make sure there is no cross contamination prepping the cake?
2nd - Godiva advises Not to eat Any of their products due to the malt flavoring added to enhance their product. When I asked Cheesecake Factory about it, they said "It generally tests under 20ppm". So that left me nervous....  No Godiva cake for me, I don't want to risk having one that might test higher, or didn't get tested... Or someone wasn't as careful handling.

Over all I give them 3 dragonflies, the menu could be listed gluten free in their novel of a menu or even online. There are a lot of options, but I just don't feel the prep is safe enough, plus not feeling good later that night really left me feeling uneasy over all. I feel like they are in this for the glory and not really for the safety for someone with Celiac Disease. 

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