CPK My Way?

California Pizza Kitchen - Italian & Everything Else (3.5 Stars)
http://www.cpk.com

CPK is well-known for their "one-size-fits-all" sized pizzas and gourmet topping selections (think sun-dried tomatoes, tandoori chicken, feta, Japanese eggplant, chipotle pizza sauce, and even shrimp scampi) and extensive menu, though thankfully not as extensive as The Cheesecake Factory complete with their pages of advertisements inside each menu. Being a well-established chain, you can expect to find a menu item for practically any craving and today, Carrie and I sampled two of their 33 pizzas and one of the 12 salad options. For numbers buffs, they have 10 appetizers, eight soups and sandwiches, 14 pastas, and nearly a dozen desserts and specialty entrees.

As you can imagine by now, Carrie has a favorite. When asked her thoughts about her Pear and Gorgonzola pizza, she replied, "This goddamn pizza is so f*cking delicious! This is the perfect pizza! I love it!" According to her, the main flavor is, of course, the gorgonzola, but she was quick to point out the crust was perfect, the salad on top was good, and the hazelnuts, caramelized onions, and pear blended together well. This has continued to be the most dramatic response she's ever had to food. In other words, if you like pears, gorgonzola, and pizza, you should definitely order this!

The pizza I ordered was
The Greek. The pizza is pretty, but leaves a bit to be desired in terms of flavor. Though the diced cucumber, red onion, tomato, and Tzatziki dressed chilled salad on top is fresh, the overwhelming flavor is onion and it's just too much cold on top of the warm pizza which means the overall temperature is cool to lukewarm. For the pizza itself, the Mediterranean grilled chicken is flavorful, but only discernible if eaten separately as the Greek olives are plentiful and a bit too potent. Thirty minutes later, the aftertaste was all onion and olives.

Carrie and I differ on how much crust each of our pizzas had and whether or not it was the right amount. It's a somewhat odd discussion as neither of us ate our topping-less crusts. I felt there was far too much of the pizza that didn't have toppings and Carrie felt it was the right amount. I wasn't willing to take a picture of the cut off crusts, but it was at least one-third of the pizza that was uneaten. Crust lovers rejoice.

With the grilled asparagus, Japanese eggplant, and zucchini, the
Grilled Vegetable Salad was quite good. The roasted corn was somehow lacking punch though the sun-dried tomatoes were chewy and delicious. The hot veggies are served over a cold bed of dijon vinaigrette on romaine lettuce and works well. You can choose between vegetarian or adding grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp.

Overall, I give CPK a 3.5 Stars rating because of Carrie was so thrilled with her pizza and the salad was good. My pizza was just "okay", though I've had the
Mango Tandoori Chicken pizza before and it was excellent (same crust issue there, too).
California Pizza Kitchen (Bellevue) on Urbanspoon

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