California Pizza Kitchen is one restaurant that my husband and I frequent.
I know that in the US, they encourage you to try their other menu items, and if you didn't like it, you can exchange it for something else. I'm not sure if the same thing goes here in the Philippines. But the fact remains that while we were in the States, we always order the same thing -- Milan pizza, Thai Crunch salad, Jambalaya and two mango sweet teas. Heehee.
When I was invited to go to CPK's opening at Lucky Chinatown Mall down in Binondo, I knew I had to be there. First, I've never been to Lucky Chinatown. I've heard so many good things about the mall, but it was just too far... and whenever I go to Divisoria, I usually go to the bargain area (168 mall). Second, it was my chance na to try new food at CPK.
At first glance, it seemed like your ordinary California Pizza Kitchen.
Inside, it was a totally new concept. Most chairs (slightly in the photo) were Eames-like. The bar is mostly made of light wooden panels.
Gone are the painted pizza boxes on the walls. They were replaced with snapshots of California themes like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I think these photos have a lot of potential. But personally, they could have presented these photos better though. I'm thinking thicker boards, or wrapped canvas, or plain white/beechwood frames. They seemed a bit too flat. But hey, that's just me.
My favorite change? Their oven. It's now covered in mosaic, with a bit of stainless steel detail. I love it. It makes me want to have one in my forever house. Hah!
For this media event, the menu includes a variety of good food. Most are new.
We were asked first for our drinks. I chose the Fruit Sangria. And did I choose well! Using white zinfandel instead of red lambrusco was amazingly good. I was impressed. Did you notice the tiny plant centerpiece at the back? Each table has this. It's very refreshing to the eyes.
Food time -- up first on the menu was the Mushroom Cappuccino Soup, served in a shot glass, with a tiny spoon on the side. It was yummy! I wanted some more, but I was too shy to ask. Haha.
The Chinese Chicken Salad had napa and red cabbage, lettuce, chicken breast and wontons, tossed with green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds and hoisin ginger vinaigrette. It was very similar to the Thai Crunch salad, so yes, this was a win for me! This, by itself, is a meal on its own. So, if you're not up for pizza or pasta, go for a salad.
One of their specialty items, the Asian Steak Wrap, was another hit. Can you just imagine this? USDA prime steak strips sautéed with yellow onions, red and geen bell peppers, bean sprouts, mozzarella and queso quesadilla cheeses baked in a tortilla wrap with nori -- served with enoki mushrooms, teriyaki glaze and wasabi dressing. They surely don't skimp on the meat. Very tasty.
Then, they served this Farmers Market pizza, which was perfect for vegetarians. It has grilled zucchinis, roasted squash, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, mozzarella, goat cheese, Pecorino Romano and tomato sauce. When I tasted this, I swore there were apples. It has a bit of a sweet taste. I guess it was the squash. I would definitely order this one again, and that is coming from a self-professed meat-lover. *wink*
Here are some of the CPK folks having a photo op while waiting for their pizza.
They also served us Quesadillas, although they were not in the menu for the event. They had a bit of a kick to it because of the jalapeño. They reminded me of nachos. The Quesadillas is the perfect snack in my perfect world. I can eat a dozen of these.
For the pasta, they gave us Chicken Piccata. I was always used to CPK pastas having cream-based or tomato-based sauce. So seeing this was like a breath of fresh air. Any new addition is always welcome. This did not disappoint at all. I love chicken. I love capers. I love spaghetti. I love CPK. Need I say more?
They saved the best for last though. Dessert! Their desserts were made locally, as most of their items. That is why there were some CPK menu items in the US that you can't find here in the Philippines. Hey, the same thing goes with the other way around. :)
Below is aptly named Chocolate Sin. Oh em gee, it is really a sin to taste something so good. It is perfectly sweet and chocolatey. Can you believe that it's sugarless and flourless? It's topped with CPK's palm tree logo (sorry, I took the photo upside down).
This other one is called Mango Crunch. This creation has a super soft angel sponge cake, with light mango mousse topped with crunchy walnut bits and mango slices. Yummy! It was a perfect way to end the meal.
Here is their whole dessert menu full of new good stuff. Surely, you're craving some already.
|Copyright California Pizza Kitchen|
|Copyright California Pizza Kitchen|
But here is the best part...
Next week, from October 29 to November 4, CPK is having a Monstrous Week. When you order a family size pasta, you get a free regular pizza. Now, isn't that a great deal to celebrate Halloween?