We rarely frequent chain restaurants anymore as they are usually boring and predictable. However, on a day where we found ourselves working at the Mall of Millenia in Orlando, we were starving. We just had no interest in the choices we had at the food court and some of the other full services places had too long of a wait for us (well, me.) We stumbled into the California Pizza Kitchen where there was no wait and we were familiar with the great food we have had here in the past.
After we ordered a couple of appetizers we were immediately brought some crusty bread and olive oil. Yum…..
We started with the White Corn Guacamole and Chips. A unique presentation, the avocado was mixed in with white corn kernels, black beans, jicama, bell peppers, cilantro and spicy serrano peppers. It had a great creamy flavor and paired well with the salty tortilla chips.
We also ordered the Fried Mac And Cheese. They, too, were very tasty. Lots of creamy cheese and macaroni fried with panko breadcrumbs.
We decided to split two entrees. Being that pizza is the namesake of the restaurant we went with the Pear and Gorgonzola Crispy Thin Crust Pizza. Except it wasn’t crispy. At all. Neither one of us really cared for it.
The crust was topped with pears, caramelized onions and chopped hazelnuts then topped with field greens in a ranch sauce with Gorgonzola crumbles. Not only was the crust not even close to being crispy, I think we counted about two pieces of hazelnuts. The cold field green salad on top was mixed with too much dressing and wilted with the heat of the pizza. This would be a horrible pizza to have to take home because of the hot pizza and the cold salad do not work well together- especially for leftovers. We were so disappointed.
The second entree we ordered was the Quinoa and Arugula Salad. I love spicy arugula and it mixed well with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, pine nuts and quinoa. Topped with Feta cheese and tossed with Champagne Vinaigrette, I thought this was a very unique and tasty salad.
Our service was wonderful. She handled herself very well as a table behind us had misunderstood the menu and blamed her. Very professional.
In all our meal was good. However, when you call yourself a pizza kitchen I feel like it is the pizza that should be the most delicious item on your menu. When you advertise a crispy crust and it comes out mushy, that is a major epic fail. When you advertise hazelnuts on your pizza and there are only two tiny little pieces on the entire pizza, that too is not good.
California Pizza Kitchen has over 250 locations worldwide.