Tuesday, February 9, 2016

California Pizza Kitchen - Next Chapter Menu

We enjoyed a taste of the West Coast for dinner last Friday at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) at the South Park Mall in Charlotte. They're one of the CPK locations to feature new next chapter menu items. These selection make CPK a dining experience more than just pizza. They still have their go-to favorites, but the taste and quality of their new expanded menu has placed CPK on our list of core restaurants.

Their new main plates offer creations for every taste, including hearth-roasted halibut and fire-grilled ribeye. They have incorporated a seasonally inspired rotating menu that featured roasted garlic chicken and seasonal vegetables,  harvest kale salad and a brunch-gone-wild sunny side up bacon and potato pizza.

We had some tough decisions to make as we poured over the new menu. It had been a long week, so I was hoping for something to momentarily transport me somewhere relaxing and tropical. Our fabulous waitress suggested the coconut blossom cocktail, a refreshing pineapple and coconut libation that conjured palm trees in my mind - the perfect choice. My husband opted to stay more local and selected a craft brew, Jam Session, from NODA Brewery.

We were torn on appetizers between their smoked ham and swiss flat bread with emmentaler (cheese), goat cheese and caramelized onions topped with smashed garlic croutons or their house favorite, the avocado club egg rolls. We went with the avocado club egg rolls, which are freshly hand-wrapped wonton rolls filled with avocado, chicken tomato, Montery Jack and Nueske's applewood smoked bacon and served with ranchito and herb ranch dipping sauces. These are easily my new food-obsession.

We wanted to try one of their new crisp salads in addition to an entree so we opted to split their harvest kale salad. It had baby kale, toasted farro (a grain), roasted butternut squash, Napa cabbage, shaved pear, marinated cranberries, spiced pecans and goat cheese all tossed with a housemaid citrus vinaigrette. I enjoyed the unique combination of tastes and textures of the salad, and it was healthy while actually being tasty. A major win-win.

For our main plate I waffled between the hearth-roasted halibut, roasted on a cedar plan with grilled asparagus and butternut squash farrow & baby kale and their sunny side up bacon and potato pizza. Ultimately I decided that I couldn't pass up trying their brunch-tactic pizza that incorporated shaved fingerling potatoes, Nueske's apple smoked bacon, caramelized leeks, parmesan, mozzarella and fresh cracked black pepper topped with two sunny-side up eggs. It was a vision, and totally fulfilled my brunchy desires. Our (super picky) son thought it was so funny to have an egg on a pizza that he tried a bite.

My husband was in the mood for a steak and selected their fire-grilled ribeye, which is 12oz USDA choice ribeye grilled with housemade Pinot Noir, sea salt and topped with creamy bleu cheese butter accompanied by fingerling potatoes and a lemon-garlic wild arugula salad. We shared our entrees, so I am able to attest to how juicy and tender their ribeye was, it was so tender we could share it with our 11 month old who loves herself some table food.

In addition to food that is adult-friendly they also had MANY selections for our 3 year old son. I love when a kids menu offers lots of options, they had grilled chicken breast, crispy chicken, curly mac'n'cheese, fusilli with meat sauce, buttered fusilli, fusilli with tomato sauce, fusilli alfredo, CPK salad, BBQ chicken pizza, mushroom pepperoni sausage pizza, hawaiian pizza, traditional cheese pizza and pepperoni pizza. Plus they offered fresh fruit. Bestill my mommy heart - there were so many options he actually eats - avoiding a melt down over a lack of food option is the mic-drop at dinner. In the end he chose the traditional route with a cheese pizza and ate every. last. bite. He's such an imp! 

Mama - you've worked hard all week - enjoy dinner tonight at the California Pizza Kitchen. You can enjoy some of the fresh new options on CPK's menu after you do some window shopping letting the kids burn off some energy in the process. By the by, CPK is perfectly placed next to the South Park Mall's new ship play area you can see here. CPK also has a covered outdoor patio for when the weather warms up.

Did you know CPK also hosts kid's birthday parties? For $10 per child (tax and gratuity extra) your guests get the following:

  • A CPK Kids Meal (did you see all the options above!?) and refillable souvenir drink. If they choose a pizza they get to make it and watch it bake in the giant oven. 
  • Dessert from CPK menu.
  • CPK Kids "Adventures in Pizza" restaurant tour. 
  • CPK Kids activity book and crayons.
  • Certificate for a free CPK Kids Meal for their next visit.
The birthday kid gets a free CPKids chef jacket, and a free CPK Kids Meal, drink and dessert. You can bring your own cake, best for kids ages under 10 years and max of 15 kids. You can book your birthday party, kids day out or just because party by calling 704-364-6280 or email r_spc@cpk.com.

CPK treated our family to dinner, but as always my opinions are my own. I only share what I love with readers - and how the heck can you go wrong with egg on a pizza?


  1. Brian and I are going to get to this CPK sometime very soon. Everything looks fantastic!I loved your write up but this line - "avoiding a melt down over a lack of food option is the mic-drop at dinner" - made me LOL! Wonderful blog!