Review By: Stefanie Parks –
I was on a work trip and the second I saw California Pizza Kitchen, I realized how in the mood I was for it. I’ve been going to CPK for years and it’s always been one of my favorite restaurants. I discovered my love for the restaurant while on a teen tour throughout California and the west coast. In high school, one of my best friends and I had a monthly CPK date night. There wasn’t one close to me in college, but I always visited on my trips home. And then I met my boyfriend and learned that it was his uncle who founded the restaurant. How incredible?!
There are very few chain restaurants that I love, however, CPK is definitely one of them. It’s the best, in my opinion. And of course, I have a lot of favorite menu items. I won’t go through all of them (you’re welcome), but chances are, if it has the word “Thai” in the name, it’s one of my favorites. So, I told my brother that I needed to have the Thai Chicken Spring Rolls (peanut sauce, bean sprouts, green onions, carrots, cilantro, and mozzarella served with peanut sauce) and the Thai Crunch Salad (crisp veggies and cilantro with chicken and the crunch of peanuts, wontons, and rice sticks and tossed in Thai peanut dressing).
I know what you’re thinking. Don’t you hate cilantro? There is cilantro in every one of your favorite CPK dishes. No, I didn’t all of the sudden discover a secret love for the herb (herb, right?) that I hate oh so very much. Trust me, you can hardly even taste it in any of those dishes.
I left the pizza choice up to my brother. I’m sure I would have gone for the Thai Trifecta (clever name, huh?), but thought I should at least let him choose something. He got the Wild Mushroom Pizza with Crimini, Shiitaki, Portobello, and white mushrooms, mozzarella, and wild mushroom walnut pesto. Again, probably not what I would have chosen, but that’s ok.
After our waitress took our order, and came back to bring us our drinks, I just couldn’t hold my cool story in any longer. “Wanna hear something cool,” I asked.
She looked around and seemed unsure of whether I was talking to her or to someone else. “Ummm, sure,” she replied.
I told her that my boyfriend’s uncle was the founder of CPK and semi-surprisingly, she was really impressed and interested (though at first she thought that my brother was my boyfriend and began asking him what his last name was and who his uncle was). She told me that she had to learn all about him in her training class, and even had to be able to recognize him if he ever happened to drop into the CPK in Indy.
After our convo, I do have to say that the service at CPK improved drastically. I guess that’s what you get for being the girlfriend of the owner’s nephew.
One by one, our dishes came out, and every single one of them was fantastic, just like they always are (even the mushroom pizza). Every time I eat the Thai Chicken Spring Rolls especially, I just cannot get over how good they are. As always we had a great meal at CPK. Every time I eat there, I remember how much I love and miss it.