Monday, March 04, 2013

California Pizza Kitchen

I went to CPK once, when I first moved to California, because I thought it was a thing ... it was "California" after all!  The only thing I remember is that it was the first time I ever had bbq chicken pizza, and I liked the idea of bbq sauce on pizza.  I don't recall if I actually liked the pizza, or anything else.

The other day, CPK was running a promo for a free item off their small plates menu.  I was walking by, was slightly hungry, and couldn't resist a freebie!

I could select any item off that section of the menu, including small salads (meh, they weren't going to have quality produce right?), quesadillas (chicken, ugh), chips and guacamole (allergic), crispy mac 'n' cheese with cheese sauce (tempting!), or focaccia.  I picked the focaccia, as it was most like their speciality, pizza, so I figured if they were going to do any of these items right, it would be the focaccia. It was by far the cheapest of the small plates, but I wasn't really trying to maximize my freebie.

Ordering online was easy, I specified my pickup time, and then it asked if I wanted complimentary bread and utensils, and if so, for how many people.  I set the time, said yes to the extras, and went to get it.

I arrived 10 minutes early to pick it up, and it was already ready ... I guess not freshly made!  But it was kept in a warming area, so at least it was hot.  I also did not receive the bread or the utensils.  I didn't really care, but it was interesting that they have you specify that, and then leave it out.

Long rambling story short ... I have no reason to go back there.
Mediterranean Focaccia.  $2.75.
Described as: "Herb cheese focaccia baked in our pizza oven and served with Mediterranean olive oil and Parmesan."

The focaccia was sliced up, like breadsticks.  It had some type of cheese on it that I couldn't really identify, and only the middle pieces really had much on them.  It also had some herbs coating it, but there wasn't much flavor.  It was pretty unremarkable.  I love the buttery oilyness that can make focaccia delicious, and it wasn't present in this.  It was oily, but not in a nice way.  If you had handed me the plate, I would have told you it was just standard breadsticks, not focaccia.

On the side was the dipping sauce: oil and parmesan.  I liked the parmesan in it, but the oil itself was completely flavorless.  I use higher quality oil just for cooking!  I guess I shouldn't have expected more, but as a dipping oil, I definitely wanted oil with some flavor.  The focaccia would have been better with a marinara sauce or something else to dip into, but then I guess it would be too much like pizza?

Anyway, this wasn't good.  I guess the $2.75 price tag matched the quality however?  
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