Tuesday, May 8, 2007

California Pizza Kitchen - Shake, Shake It, Baby...

Restaurant: California Pizza Kitchen
Address: 53 Third Street, San Francisco, 94103
Cuisine: Californian Fusion
Date Visited: March 29, 2007
Dining Partners: Momma

When "California" is represented in some way, I think of Tupac, Dre and Snoop and "California Love" sometimes. I know, I'm weird. "California, knows how to party. In the Cityyyy..." Anyway!

California Pizza Kitchen knows how to shake it up, though! Momma and I had lunch here one day after a busy day at work and school. It is right by the parking garage Momma parks at so it was a convenient place to have lunch before we headed back to the suburbs.

For you guys who are not familiar with “California-style pizza,” let me explain it to you a little bit. This is not your Uncle Guido’s pizza joint. Here you’ll find unique pizza toppings like Thai-marinated chicken, mango, goat cheese, Japanese eggplant and cucumbers and fresh salads served on baked pizza crust, like the California Club pizza. You have to come here with an open-mind and open-palate because some of these combinations might seem a bit peculiar.

Momma has worked in the culinary/fine foods industry for so long. She knows what is good and what is in. She also is not afraid of trying new things on the menu. I think I get my foodie-ness from her. She quit from the medical field (which pays more money) to something that she enjoyed doing, which did not necessarily pay as much. That’s passion.

So we go in there and the ambiance is very modern and the music was fantastic. Very Top 40. You can see the open kitchen with its giant fire-oven and the cooks working on their latest creations. It was around 3:30-4:00 and it was not that busy. Our waiter was a doll. Loved him. He insisted that Momma be “naughty” and order a cocktail at 3 in the afternoon. That was funny. He brought us some bread and butter (talk about a carb-loaded meal), my raspberry iced-tea (you can totally taste the tea) and Momma’s mojito (naughty).

We ordered the Avocado Club Egg Rolls for the appetizer: A fusion of East and West with chunks of fresh avocado, chicken, tomato, Monterey Jack cheese and applewood smoked bacon, wrapped in a crispy wonton roll. Served with ranchito sauce and our herb ranch dressing. I love love love warmed avocado. So I fell for these immediately.

And then we had the Greek pizza for the meal. Momma saw that it was a new pizza on the menu and wanted to try it out. On the menu, it is described as: Mediterranean spiced grilled chicken and Mozzarella cheese topped with a chilled Greek salad of cucumbers, red onions, fresh tomatoes, Greek olives, Feta cheese and lemon herb vinaigrette. Served with our homemade Tzatziki sauce and chopped Italian parsley.

I know this might sound weird, but this was my first time at California Pizza Kitchen and I thought I was ready for it because I saw this place on Food Network and other television shows, but I was not ready for the taste of the pizza. Sorry, the picture is blurry.

The pizza came out and it looked like a chopped salad on a pizza crust. The chicken and cheese was baked with the pizza dough, but everything else on the pizza was marinated separately and then put on top. I don’t like olives at all, so that was already a bad thing. I had to pick all the olives off. But I do love the feta cheese. Any cheese is good! It was weird eating cold toppings on hot pizza. We finished off the bread and egg rolls, but had to take the pizza home. Our waiter, like I said before, was awesome, so Momma gave him some cookies that she grabbed from the Four Seasons’ kitchen. She’s so funny.

The pizza was interesting. I didn’t immediately think it was the greatest thing in the world, but let me tell you one thing the left-over pizza was great in the morning for breakfast!

I would like to go back and try their other innovative pizzas. I really like how this place has so much diversity in their food. They have Asian lettuce wraps, American chopped salads, Mango Tandoori Chicken pizza, Thai Curry noodles, Margherita pizza and so much more…basically if you have a craving for a particular ethnic food, they’ll most likely have it. They have a take-out service, so if you call your order ahead, you can just pick it up.

Their name really does say it best. They take the best California ingredients and apply unique Californian cooking methods and give customers a memorable dining experience. But yes, if you were wondering, there IS a Pepperoni pizza if that is what you want.

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon