Pizza, With The
By Luann & Christine
With the warm weather fast approaching
and rain clouds drifting away at least, we hope
there seemed no better place for a summer dinner than one
that conveys thoughts of palm trees, beaches and sunshine.
And so, we found ourselves at California Pizza Kitchen.
Located in the Walt Whitman Mall, California Pizza Kitchen
is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of shopping. The
restaurant has a lively, diverse menu featuring an array of
appetizers, soup, salads and pizza, as well as pastas, chicken
and fish specialties, all at moderate prices. You can even
order take-out online.
What stands out the most is the apparent worldliness of the
menu. Moroccan Chicken Salad ($12.99) boats Moroccan-spiced
chicken breast with butternut squash and dates, Thai Chicken
($12.79) comes with meat marinated in a peanut-ginger and
sesame sauce and Chicken Piccata ($15.49) channels traditional
We perused the menu while sipping on the perfect summer beverage
lemonade, though this wasnt just any lemonade.
At California Pizza Kitchen, you have a choice of strawberry,
peach, raspberry, mango or kiwi-flavored lemonades. We went
with glasses of peach and kiwi, but were impressed by the
variety of not only the lemonade, but iced tea and specialty
sodas as well.
We started with the Avocado Club Egg Rolls ($9.79). A fusion
of East and West, a wonton roll is fried to a greaseless
crisp and stuffed with sizable pieces of ripe avocado, tender
chicken, diced tomato, melted Monterey Jack cheese that stays
hot and gooey, and applewood smoked bacon. Though it could
overwhelm the roll, the flavor of the bacon is almost subtle,
but tasty. The rolls come with your choice of two sauces
ranchito sauce and herb ranch dressing. Both balance
the avocado and bacon taste well.
The sesame ginger chicken dumplings ($7.29) caught our eye,
as did the smashed pea and barley soup ($5.99/$3.99) but we
decided to move on to what else? pizza. California
Pizza Kitchen offers 30 different pizzas, all with honey wheat
dough available upon request, as well as five thin crust pizzas.
We are never steered wrong by the Original BBQ Chicken pizza
($12.99), invented here in 1985, as the California
Pizza Kitchen people like to say. The barbecue sauce is sweet
and slightly smoky, while the Gouda and mozzarella cheeses
play well off one another. Topped with chicken, red onions
and cilantro, its a sure treat.
When we just cant decide, we go with The Works ($12.79),
topped with sweet Italian sausage, pepperoni, sautéed
mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, onions, green peppers, black
olives and tomato sauce. Its the best of everything.
Feeling a change of pace, we went with the Pear & Gorgonzola
($12.49). Topped with caramelized pears and caramelized sweet
onions, its a welcome dish for the summer season. Gorgonzola,
Fontina and mozzarella cheeses finish it off, with chopped
hazelnuts and field greens as well as Gorgonzola ranch dressing.
Though some might think it sounds like too many toppings,
we were pleasantly surprised. The pears and onions are sweet
but not too sweet, and the ranch dressing curtails the strong
flavor of the cheese.
We topped the night off with a huge piece of Red Velvet Cake
($6.29), three layers of moist red velvet cake frosted with
vanilla bean cream cheese and white chocolate curls. Talk
about a happy ending.
Chipotle Chicken pizza ($11.99), The Greek pizza ($11.99),
Cheeseburger Pizza ($12.79) and the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken pizza
($13.49) are on our list for the next visit, as are some of
the unique pasta dishes, including Chicken Tequila Fettuccine
($12.99) and Kung Pao Spaghetti ($10.49).
160 Route 110
Atmosphere: Fun-loving, casual
Cuisine: Specialty pizza, American dishes with international
Price range: Moderate
Monday - Thursday: 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.;
Friday: 11:30 a.m. 10 p.m.;
Saturday: 11:30 a.m. 10 p.m.
Sunday: noon 9 p.m.