My husband and I love to eat out and try new places once a month as a mini date night. This month however our youngest had to tag along and we needed somewhere new yet kid friendly to check out. Since we eat dinner early we figured we would chose something close before the crowds came and the long hour plus wait lines begin so we settled on California Pizza Kitchen. Now CPK is not a new restaurant to us but we both hadn’t eaten here in ages and heard that their new “Next Chapter” menu had just rolled out so we were curious to see what items they had to offer.
After being greeted with open doors and friendly faces, we were promptly seated in a booth with a great view of the bar and kitchen area to check out the new menu. The creative culinary specialists at CPK launched their Next Chapter menu this month and it features a Fire-Grilled Ribeye cooked with house-made pinot noir sea salt, topped with creamy bleu cheese butter, Roasted Garlic Chicken with Seasonal Vegetables, and lastly, our server’s favorite, the Hearth-Roasted Halibut, which is wild caught from Alaska and roasted on a cedar plank with butternut squash farro, grilled asparagus and baby kale.
Since everything on the menu seemed like it would pair well with any type of wine, I opted for their fresh made Sangria Flight. The flight included an Orchard Sangria, which was a refreshing blend of white wine, orange & cranberry juice, and was perfect for the hot Arizona weather. Next up was a Red-Berry Sangria, with a rich blend of red wine, raspberry purée, cranberry juice and lemonade and was very tasty for a red sangria. Lastly was the seasonal Harvest Sangria, made with a unique mix of Bacardi Superior Rum, Chardonnay with muddled grapes, basil & fresh agave sour and was hands down my favorite. This sangria is the type you crave for days after!
Thanks to our amazing server Ottilie’s suggestion and CPK’s new addition of local brews, my husband opted for an IPA beer from a local brewery in Mesa which we had never heard of. It was so incredibly smooth for an IPA that even I would consider drinking it. We also wrote down the name so that we could check it out soon!
To start our dinner off, we narrowed in on two types of tortilla spring rolls the Next Chapter menu offered, Baja Chicken rolls and Thai Chicken rolls which both came with dipping sauces. We are suckers for spring rolls so when we sunk our teeth into this platter we were thrilled with the flavor packed rolls. And don’t worry! For those with specific dietary needs, CPK also has options that are under 650 calories, vegetarian and/or gluten-free so you can enjoy many tasty options too!
After warming up our taste buds and struggling with all of the deliciously fresh options to choose from, we both decided on pizza. I know, I know, how basic but their pizzas were nothing short of original! My husband selected a tostada pizza which is the first time I’ve ever seen that type of pizza on a menu. It was loaded with crisp lettuce, tortilla strips, housemade herb ranch with layers of black beans, melted cheese and served with flame-roasted salsa. It was like a taco pizza and if you know anything about us, you know that’s a win!
I’m not a huge adventurer when it comes to pizza as I know what I like but after hearing that CPK’s Original BBQ chicken pizza is suppose to be one of the best out there, I knew it was the one for me. Of course, I always like to add a little kick with my BBQ pizzas and add bacon so I requested to add the Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon on top as a flavor enhancer and it was totally worth it. I have to give them props for doing BBQ chicken pizza right. It was so savory and I totally understand why their BBQ sauce is considered legendary!
Oh, and don’t think I left without trying one…or two of their amazing desserts. Red velvet cake is a dessert that the hubs and I can both devour collectively as we have different dessert taste buds. However, the butter cake sounded really intriguing so we decided we had to try it out as well and oh. my. gosh. The red velvet cake was amazing but the Butter cake, well just shut up and take my money already! It was hands down one of the best desserts I’ve ever had in my life. My husband and I were fighting over who got the most bites out of it and even considered ordering one more because of how good it was! This dessert is a hands down MUST when eating at CPK.
I’ll be honest, the last time we attempted to eat at CPK in Dana Park, we had a bad experience. We were sat immediately but waited over 20 minutes to be greeted but no server ever showed up. After seeing multiple tables being seated after us and their orders being put in we decided to leave due to the lack of service. This put a bad taste in our mouth and we avoided it until now. However, I am so glad that we gave this location another try as the new management has made a world of difference.
The new general manager, Mandie, made sure our visit went smoothly and was extremely friendly. Our server, Ottilie, was confident in what California Pizza Kitchen’s Next Chapter menu had to offer and made wonderful suggestions based on our tastes. She was able to communicate each item simply but descriptive enough to make our mouths water. Lastly, another manager that I did not catch his name, was extremely helpful and encouraged our dessert choices which has now started our addiction with CPK’s butter cake!
All of the food we had at CPK was awesomely delicious and worth giving a shot again. On top of the food being delicious, we found the prices to be very reasonable and worth every penny. California Pizza Kitchen was a great place for our mini date and perfect for those who have little ones like us. So if you’re ever in the mood for something different then don’t miss out. Head on over to your local California Pizza Kitchen and check out their new menu for yourself. I promise, you won’t regret it!
Disclosure: Even though I was given a gift card to review California Pizza Kitchen, all thoughts opinions are strictly my own.