California Pizza Kitchen
321 W. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Our good friend Adrienne was staying in the Disneyland area, for her birthday for a couple days. She and her family were going to be spending two, fun filled days at the happiest place on earth. We decided to skip the theme park, but we still wanted to help her celebrate her big day. We decided to meet her and Chris at the Garden Walk in Anaheim, which is Disneyland adjacent. I let them choose where to eat, and they came up with California Pizza Kitchen.
I know CPK is a chain restaurant, and as a food blogger I should thumb my nose at it for this reason alone. But I write this food blog, not only for the foodie in me, but as an every man's food blog. Places where lots of people eat, and lots of people eat at California Pizza Kitchen. Started in 1985, they operate over 260 restaurants worldwide. 12 of those restaurants are based in our very own corner of the world, OC. Their brand is in stadiums, airports, and even sold in grocery stores. I have eaten here occasionally over the two plus years I have written this blog, but this is the first time I have reviewed them, so let's see how it goes.
Chris considers himself to be an avocado egg roll connoisseur, so of course we had to order the Avocado Club Egg Rolls. These were filled with tomatoes, chicken, bacon, Monterrey jack cheese, and of course avocado. These egg rolls came with an herb ranch dressing and a Ranchito sauce. Chris believed that these egg rolls were just average, and I would tend to agree with that assessment. The bacon was not prominent enough for my liking, and the chicken was kind of lost here. On the positive side, the egg roll was fried nicely, and came out hot.
Not content with just one appetizer, Katie also had the Mediterranean Plate. This dish came with white bean humus, a Greek salad, feta cheese covered with olive oil, and pizza-pita bread. I had some of the humus, and it was good, not great. Katie liked the Greek salad and feta cheese, but I did not have any of that. Not really my thing.
Located, not on their salad portion of their menu, but in the "Small Bites" part, they had this Wedge Salad. I love wedge salads, and this one was the perfect size. I did order this without tomatoes and chopped egg, ( I know I am weird, but I have a thing against hard boiled egg), but it did come with bacon and a very flavorful blue cheese dressing. I liked this enough that I would get this again for sure.
Of course with a name like California Pizza Kitchen, the pizzas are definitely in the spotlight here. At our table, three of the four of us opted to get a pizza. Starting us off is the BBQ Chicken + Applewood Smoked Bacon. This is probably their most popular pizza, and the one that really put them on the map. Toppings on this included red onion, BBQ sauce, a Gouda and mozzarella blend, cilantro, chicken, and bacon. Chris had no complaints about this pizza, and had no trouble clearing his plate.
The birthday girl, Adrienne went the South Pacific route with her selection, the Hawaiian Pizza. She felt this pizza was balanced perfectly. The sweetness from the pineapple, and the the saltiness of the ham, along with a crunchy outside crust, with a chewy inside portion. She could not have been more pleased with this pie, calling it, "Yummy".
The pizza parade continues with the White Pizza. This hue deficient pie contained a plethora of cheeses, (Fontina, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmesan, and Pecorino Romano), along with sauteed garlic spinach, and chicken substituted for bacon. Katie liked this pizza well enough, but thought that cheeses needed to be sharper.
Of course I am not one to conform to the masses, so I had to be different and shy away from the pizza, with this Jambalaya. This spicy dish came with blackened chicken, shrimp, Andouille sausage, ham, and scallions, served on top of linguini. This dish was full of flavor and really punched back. I was a little disappointed with the amount of shrimp and meats in this. Four shrimp in this bowl, a few pieces of sausage, and a few bite sized morsels of chicken was not enough to warrant the $16 price tag here.
Our experience at California Pizza Kitchen can be summed up by one word, safe. I thought everything was alright here, but they are not going to take too many chances in the kitchen, and the food is not going to blow you away. It is fine enough though. A lot better than most restaurants around Disneyland. The service on this trip was great. The restaurant was very busy, and everything seemed to be running smoothly. In the end, the birthday girl seemed to enjoy her dinner, and we enjoyed spending the night with her.
Out of five cops, (because the first CPK was located in Beverly Hills, and I liked the movie Beverly Hills Cop when I was a kid), five being best to zero being worst, California Pizza Kitchen gets 2.5 cops.
For more information on California Pizza Kitchen, click here: http://www.cpk.com/