Just about everyone knows or has heard about California Pizza Kitchen at some point. Most big malls have one near by, it seems. Over the years, I’ve frequented their restaurants many times with my family or just on a night out with my husband. They are also great restaurants to spot when on vacation when you are looking for a great reliable meal. They always have great pizzas– did you know they were the inventor of the BBQ chicken pizza? Can’t beat that! But, as my friend said to me last week, maybe their menu is a little too reliable, meaning their offerings and menu could use a facelift. Thinking back to what I normally get at the restaurant when I go, I realized that I didn’t stray too far when ordering. I love The Works pizza and that’s about the extent to which I explore the menu. Maybe it was time to change things up. Apparently, California Pizza Kitchen has been thinking the same thing, as they recently overhauled the menu and introduced the “Next Chapter” menu updated to focus on high quality, fresh and seasonal ingredients, hand-crafted cocktails, and locally brewed beers.
I had the opportunity to visit the CPK at Short Hills, New Jersey last week* to check out their new offerings on their menu and am happy to share with you that California Pizza Kitchen is so much more than just pizza! Now considering New Jersey is inundated with amazing pizzerias, it’s great to see that you can still get delicious pizzas, but if you are tired of pizza, there are so many more choices available.
We were welcomed to the restaurant by a very friendly and attentive staff. To start our meal, we tried some of their new non-alcoholic drinks, like the Fresh Strawberry Mango Cooler, a light and refreshing drink perfect for summer.
For appetizers, we tried the Crispy Mac’ n Cheese and Tuscan Hummus, both are absolutely delicious! The hummus is tangy with very good flavor and smooth texture and the warm pitas are soft and fresh. The crispy mac’ n cheese were really good, as well. Imagine breaded and fried macaroni and cheese with a cheese sauce. So good and comforting–this is one the kids would go crazy for!
Although I absolutely love their pizzas, I decided to venture away from my usual and try something new. Considering that their new menu only had a fold out page of pizzas and several pages of other dishes to select from, this would not be hard at all! I decided to try their chicken piccata pasta. Pounded and breaded chicken breasts, capers, spaghettini, and a lemon cream sauce proved to be delicious and a great choice! I liked the sauce on this pasta so much, it was light but rich tasting all at once.
My friend went with one of their Inspired Features, the Roasted Garlic Chicken and Seasonal Vegetables. This pan fried whole breast (boneless) is sauted in a lemon garlic sauce and accompanied by fingerling potatoes, tri-colored carrots, cauliflower and Mediterrean herbs. It, too, was delightful.
To round off our meal, we tried some of their desserts. You can’t go wrong with a Key Lime pie (my favorite!) with it’s graham cracker crust and pleasantly tart lime filling, topped with whipped cream. It’s so good! My friend loved her rich butter cake topped with vanilla ice cream to end her meal.
We loved the experience of trying out California Pizza Kitchen’s new menu, as there were so many great new choices. You can choose pastas, steak, lunch specials, soups, and so much more, not just pizza. But, of course, that tried and true option is always available, cooked to perfection, in their wood burning ovens. You’ve got to give CPK ‘s new menu a try right away, you won’t be disappointed! Find your closest California Pizza Kitchen near you and check out their new menu online.
*we were invited to dine at CPK to facilitate a feature, all opinions are my own.