Monday, April 9, 2012

California Pizza Kitchen

It was a ridiculously busy weekend BUT I had a chance to go out to eat with my mom and we chose to go to California Pizza Kitchen (CPK)! I took some pictures of what we had to eat, so I thought I'd do an official post! ... It had been a while since we had been to this restaurant, but it is definitely one of my favorites due to their variety of food. If you haven't been there before, let me start off by telling you a little bit about the restaurant from the information I read on their website:

CPK was first opened in 1985 in Beverly Hills, California by Rick Rosenfield and Larry Flax, who had a passion for food and the desire to combine creative ideas to create some of the more innovative pizzas there are! Since their opening, they have expanded from California and now have locations all over the WORLD, totaling more than 250! In the US, they are located in more than 30 different states and also are located in a total of 11 countries. As you have probably noticed, CPK also has other various locations such as in major airports, sports stadiums, and college campuses, and have frozen pizza that you can purchase at your own grocery store! Their restaurant menu includes pizzas, pastas, salads, sandwiches, and much more, so you're definitely in for a treat.

While we were there, I asked our waitress what the most popular dishes were and she told us that both the BBQ Chicken pizza and the BBQ Chicken salads are favorites. Well, I have tried and enjoyed both in the past, so we decided to try all new dishes this time (except one), and let me tell you: I am VERY glad that we did!

So the first couple of dishes we ordered were from their newer small cravings menu. First up was the Mediterranean plate! This is what CPK describes is included in the plate: "Tuscan white bean hummus, Feta topped with extra virgin olive oil and a small Greek salad. Served with traditional pizza pita bread." --- In general, I am VERY picky when it comes to hummus and it has to be, "just right" for me to enjoy it. This one, I must say, definitely was! The small Greek salad contained cucumbers, olives, onions, some spices, and I'm assuming some lemon juice, among other things, because it definitely had a slightly tangy kick to it! Definitely wished that there was more of that on the plate! ... I don't know if it's the correct way to eat this, but I created a mini taco with everything that was on the plate: took a piece of pita bread, spread some hummus on it, put some of the Greek salad on top as well as some Feta cheese, and voila! Delicious! I would definitely definitely recommend this plate.

Along with the Mediterranean plate, we got the Spicy Chicken Tinga Quesadilla! The official description of the plate: "Hearth-baked with lime chicken, Queso Quesadilla, and Enchilado cheese, chipotle sauce, caramelized onions, roasted bell peppers, black beans, and cilantro. Served with ranchito sauce." --- Honest opinion about the plate: probably could have done without it. The enchilada itself wasn't very tasty and had sort of a bitter taste to it ... what I'm guessing was from the chipotle sauce. The only enjoyable thing on the plate was the sauce so I guess ... overall rating of the dish: just okay. Would not recommend considering there are so many other dishes to choose from!

Next: a pizza! It's California Pizza Kitchen so of course we had to try at least one! This time, we tried the Roasted Artichoke + Spinach pizza with chicken. The pizza contains, "artichoke hearts, sauteed garlic spinach, Fontina, Mozzarella, and Parmesan with spinach artichoke sauce." --- I was a fan of this one and I think you will be too, especially if you don't eat very spicy foods. This pizza is flavorful with the artichoke hearts and spinach, along with the chicken but it definitely doesn't have ANY spicy-ness, so no kind of extra punch from anything like maybe a couple of their other pizza's do. If you get this pizza, I recommend adding some crushed red pepper that they keep at the table, and you'll be good to go if you eat spicy food! I would order this one again.

Next up- my most favorite dish of the evening AND one of my most favorite dishes from the whole menu: Kung Pao Spaghetti with Shrimp. This spaghetti has a "classic Kung Pao sauce with garlic, green onions, peanuts, and hot red chilies." And the proteins of choice include chicken, shrimp, or both chicken and shrimp. CAUTION if you order this: depending on the chilies, it can get REALLY spicy. This particular evening, it was more spicy than I had EVER had it before ... almost too spicy ... but I powered through it because it was absolutely DELICIOUS. It was a good thing we had that not-so-spicy pizza at the table to take away from the heat but I pretty much end up getting this dish every time. You must try it!!

And so, after that spicy pasta plate, my mom and I decided we had to have some dessert too! :) It's the best part of the meal anyways, right? I chose a Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae! ... Fairly self-explanatory as to what that is: a brownie with ice-cream, pecans, whipped cream, and a cherry on top as seen below! I NEVER complain about dessert and this is no exception! LOVED every bite!

In addition to this, a couple of my other favorite dishes at this restaurant include: the BBQ chicken pizza and BBQ chicken salad as I previously mentioned, the Chicken Tequila Fettuccine (tied with the spaghetti for my favorite dish from their "Pastas" portion of the menu), the California Club Sandwich (no bacon), and their chocolate souffle as well as butter cake! YUM.

Andddd one more: If you haven't tried their Raspberry Lemonade, it's a must. I'll get this with my meal pretty much every time!

If you're craving some CPK after this, the closest location to you can be found here:

Here's a look at their menu with a very convenient "Online Ordering" option:

If you want to try out some dishes yourself from CPK, here's a link to purchase Cookbooks:

And lastly, if you're planning on visting CPK soon, make sure to join their e-club! When you do, you receive a $5 off coupon via e-mail that you can print off. Here's the link to join:

All opinions featured in this blog post are my own. I hope you enjoyed this and let me know what some of your favorite dishes from this restaurant are!!

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