By: Matt Brasch, The Brewholder
Now that the holiday season is here, you’re sure to be running from store to store trying to find that perfect gift. But you’ll need to eat while you are out there in the bustle, so be on the lookout for California Pizza Kitchen. In operation since 1985, “CPK” has always been known for its west coast take on pizza, however, CPK recently introduced a new menu, referred to as the “Next Chapter,” that is intended to surprise and entice people who only know CPK for its pizza.
CPK describes its new offerings: “With a focus on high-quality, fresh and seasonal ingredients, inventive main plates, hand-crafted cocktails and premium wines alongside CPK favorites, the new and expanded menu is part of CPK’s transformational ‘Next Chapter’ initiative, which is rolling out to CPK locations nationwide.” According to G.J. Hart, CEO of California Pizza Kitchen, “Our diverse menu blends fresh, seasonal ingredients with bold, global inspiration. We can’t wait for our local guests to experience what’s deliciously new at CPK.”
We stopped in at the Plymouth Meeting Mall location of CPK on a Friday afternoon to check out the new menu. What many people might not know is that besides ample seating, CPK is also home to a full bar that offers hand-crafted cocktails, premium wines and most importantly local brews. On hand for our visit was Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Yards Saison, 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon, and Yuengling Lager. One of the most intriguing additions to CPK’s cocktail menu is the “California Roots,” made with “fresh avocado, shaken smooth with Svedka vodka, mint and lime, with a fennel salt rim.” Although we were skeptical about avocado in a cocktail, if you like avocado, you’ll definitely love this cocktail!
Em Sov, CPK Plymouth Meeting’s General Manager, told us that reaction to the new menu has been great so far and said, “CPK has upped its game with the new seasonal additions like the Wild Mushroom Strozzapreti and Fire Grilled Ribeye. It’s allowing us to branch out and get creative. These additions are more savory – and more hearty than pizza.” “But,” Sov reminded, “we still own pizza – it’s our middle name!”
After ordering a 60 Minute IPA, we paired it with the “Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower” appetizer. The seasoning was actually sriracha buffalo, and when combined with the Gorgonzola, was a fantastic plate for sharing with a friend over a craft brew. The new Fire Grilled Ribeye was next – with a Yards Saison. Grilled with housemade Pinot Noir salt and then covered in a buttery blue cheese sauce, Sov put it best – “Even if you love A1 steak sauce on your steaks, you won’t need it on this one!” A wild arugula salad brings some bitterness to the flavor of the steak and combines perfectly in one bite. Finally, we were lucky enough to try the seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake with vanilla ice cream, which, Sov said, “People wait all year for this – and it goes fast!”
All in all, CPK’s “New Chapter” menu does not disappoint in the least. So the next time you drive by a CPK and think, “Nah, I’m not in the mood for pizza,” remember – there are new delicious items and a full bar worth exploring in there!