Tuesday, October 7, 2008

California Pizza Kitchen, MacArthur Mall

California Pizza Kitchen Logo

I have been putting off writing this review for a couple of weeks now. I just couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for CPK. When I told Alex how I felt she nailed it by describing them as “solid, but not exciting.” I couldn’t have said it better! Things I like about CPK: menu variety (including good desserts) and consistent food preparation. Things I don’t like about CPK: menu variety and speed of service (it can take well over an hour to get in and out of there sometimes.) To clarify the menu conundrum, there is a good variety of pizza’s, salads, and entrees, most with either an Italian or Asian theme, however there are few options for someone looking for “light” fare. Most meals, even the salads, are loaded with cheese, or sauces, or pasta, etc. They do have a fat free balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing upon request, which I like. If you are watching fat, calories or carbs, you have to stick to salads at CPK, and even then, you will need to do some special requests when ordering. These days, most chains have nutritional food values available for their menu items. CPK does not. I emailed them requesting it for the salads and was told it wasn’t available. My guess is that once you know what is in an Alfredo sauce, or a cheesy cheese pizza, you may be less likely to indulge. They offer vegetarian information online for those interested.

Like Alex, I usually get the grilled vegetable salad, fat free balsamic on the side, and I like mine topped with grilled salmon. It is predictable and always very good. In the past I have had several different pizzas, pasta dishes, and appetizers. I have never had a bad meal. The food is always tasty and well prepared. There are a couple of servers there that we have gotten to know by face. When we see them we know our lunch will run smoothly and we’ll make it out of there in time. The ‘unknowns’ are the crap shoot here. It can take 10 -15 minutes to get your check or drink refills. If you're hungry and have the time, CPK is a solid choice for lunch at the mall.


Laine and I frequent CPK often.  It is a staple on our lunch list.  CPK has a wide variety, but I tend to always get the same thing, the grilled vegetables salad.  I am not typically a fan of chains, but this salad is one of the best, mixed greens, grilled mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, corn, sundried tomatoes and avocado.  The Dijon balsamic vinaigrette goes perfectly with this salad.  Service is usually good.  We have had a time or two where the food took too long, but we have also had times where things are above perfect and the food has always been up to par.  In the past, I have also tried the white pizza which is great, the red velvet cake, which makes your mouth water and the caramel cheesecake, which is something out of this world.  All in all, this is a good choice, especially if you are in the MacArthur Mall or stranded in a city, where there is no sign of any decent, non-chain restaurant (been there before!). 


No comments: