Once upon a time, California Pizza Kitchen (aka CPK) introduced a gluten-free crust. And, it was the worst I've ever had in a restaurant. Eventually, it became evident that the crust was a HUGE miss for the company and they made the smart decision to 86 it....offering an excuse about retraining the staff, etc. But my guess is that the gluten-free consumer's disgust over the taste of the rock hard crust was the real reason behind the dismissal of it. The fact that no one went to the ER due to cutting themselves while trying to cut this horrid crust is honestly shocking.
Moving on...at some point, CPK introduced a "new and improved" gluten-free crust. It might have been new, but it wasn't exactly improved...it was just different. The second crust was almost the complete opposite of the first offering. Still with NO flavor whatsover, this crust was like soggy bread and nothing like a pizza crust. As far as I know, that crust is still available and for those who enjoy it, that's great. I would not eat it if it was free since to me, it's nothing like pizza should be.
Finally, due to a lunch outing with a non gf friend, I had to find out what I could order at CPK. I was not planning on ordering a pizza, of course, but the salads at the place are usually quite delicious. To my great surprise, I came across this review of the new gf cauliflower crust at CPK. It peaked my interest enough to check out the pizza before the lunch outing with my friend. That way, if I didn't care for the new crust, my husband would eat it. He'll eat pretty much anything and is not a super taster (food snob) like me.
We ordered the BBQ chicken pizza on the cauliflower crust (you must specify if you want that crust since there are two gf options now) to-go and it was ready when we got to the restaurant. It's a smallish pizza, like all gluten-free options in the ATL, but with a salad, it's plenty for two people. The crust was thin and looked different than the gluten crusts at CPK, and different than the last gluten-free crust I'd had there.
Well, shut the front door - the pizza was delicious! The crust was like a regular thin crust pizza. Seriously, I think you could serve it to your pickiest "gluten-free food is yucky" friend and they'd never know the difference! My husband started wondering if the pizza we'd picked up and were eating was in fact, gluten-free - it was that good!
Please don't misunderstand - CPK's cauliflower crust pizza is in no way shape or form, the best gluten-free pizza I've had. It's not as good as Blue Moon Pizza's gluten-free crust before they changed it (or the way they bake it). And it can't hold a candle to the wood fired option at Don Antonio (Atlanta location closed, sadly). But the new gluten-free pizza at CPK is not only edible - something neither of the first two options offered there were - it's actually worth eating!
The only complaint I have about the pizzas are the limited offerings on the gluten-free crust. There are only four options, presumably due to cross contamination and/or ingredients used in the many other pizzas available to customers who can enjoy the regular crust. That's annoying, but I must admit, CPK's third gluten-free crust is definitely a charm!
Photo above is the pepperoni gluten-free cauliflower crust pizza my non gf friend ordered. She really liked it, and thought it might have been the regular gluten crust, by mistake...told you it was wondeful...lol!
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