A Taste of California Pizza Kitchen’s Next Chaper

Revamped bar menus at California Pizza Kitchen will sports hand-shaken cocktails like this California Roots drink -- made with Svedka Vodka, fresh avocado and mint, fresh Agave Sour with a fennel salt rim;

Though it may be most well known for its decadent pizza creations, California Pizza Kitchen also dishes up stand-out items that stretch past the dough. In fact, the restaurant has recently added new selections as part of its “Next Chapter” initiative that feature fresh, seasonal ingredients and rich flavors. They’ve also revamped their beverage menu by adding premium California wines and new, fruity handcrafted cocktails and sangrias to the list.

We had the chance to try some of the new creations as well as some of their strawberry-centered seasonal items

While the enticing cocktail list now includes sips like its Coconut Blossom and Red-Berry Sangria, we started with the seasonal Strawberry Lime Margarita made with Casamigos Tequila Blanco, fresh strawberries, strawberry puree, fresh agave sour and lime, a classic that sounds as good as it is. We also tried the new California Roots (pictured), a creamy, smooth blend of avocado, Svedka vodka, mint and lime with a fennel salt rim. All you green juice-drinkers out there, rejoice.

After loading up on the fresh bread and olive oil, we started with the new California Fields Salad, a seasonal selection topped with fresh watermelon, sliced strawberries, basil, feta, California pistachios and a champagne vinaigrette and the Bianco Flatbread, a cheesy mix of gorgonzola, mozzarella, whipped truffle cream and fresh sage—a CPK favorite.

cpkStrawberryShortcake(Small)

Next to hit the table was the hearth-roasted halibut that features wild-caught Alaskan halibut roasted on a cedar plank and served over butternut squash faro and baby kale with a paprika cream sauce and grilled asparagus. Easily our favorite of the night, this dish tastes like a savory plate of autumn flavors. Meat-lovers will enjoy the new fire-grilled ribeye that’s cooked with house-made pinot noir sea salt and topped with a dollop of creamy, melt-in-your-mouth bleu cheese butter and accompanied by crispy, roasted fingerling potatoes and a light, lemon-garlic wild arugula salad.

To top off dinner we dug our spoons into the salted caramel pudding that’s served packed into a mini jar with black cocoa cookie crumbs, house-made whipped cream, caramel sauce and natural flaked sea salt. If you want dessert for your entrée, the new, seasonal strawberry shortcake (pictured) will do the job. The massive sweet treat features a shortcake biscuit (that’s good enough on its own) made in-house and loaded down with strawberries, Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, house-made whipped cream and lemon zest. This one’s so good, we’d order a bowl of just the whipped cream if we could. –Suzanne Koch

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