Comfort food warms the heart and fills the tummy. It may be a pizza with the works or mud pie with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
At California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), it may also be a lighter choice such as The Farmers Market Pizza—honey wheat-dough pizza topped with mozzarella and goat cheese, tomato sauce, grilled zucchini, roasted squash, tomatoes and fresh basil.
Or, one can have meaty Prosciutto Pizza with thin slices of Italian prosciutto, tomatoes and arugula baked on a caramelized crust. Drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a perfect bite.
These are some of the items on CPK’s New Adventure list, a mix of light and hearty dishes aside from its classics menu. CPK Lucky Chinatown Mall general manager Rosemarie Garcia said diners now prefer filling but healthier items, so the CPK team added more salads, wraps, chicken and fish dishes in the menu.
“People still order their CPK favorites, but they also look for something lighter that is meant for sharing,” Garcia said during an interview at the Lucky Chinatown Mall branch in Binondo, Manila.
Among the CPK bestsellers is Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad—a mix of black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, tortilla strips, Monterey Jack cheese, chicken barbecue and cilantro tossed in herb ranch dressing. Most tables would also have Original BBQ Chicken Pizza which has smoked Gouda cheese, mozzarella, chicken barbecue, cilantro and barbecue sauce.
It was a challenge to come up with something healthier but still exciting, said kitchen manager Gary Ordonez. All the recipes that were formulated in the Philippines also had to be approved by the main CPK kitchen in California, added assistant manager Alfred Gonzalbo. The result: more choices for the conscious diner.
Take, for example, the Fresh Spinach Salad—spinach made sexy with candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese. Toss this in raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and pair with grilled Italian sausages as suggested in the menu.
Other new starters are cream-based Mushroom Capuccino Soup, Italian Sausage and Pepperoni slices, and Fried Mozzarella or cheese sticks in wonton wrapper.
CPK’s version of Quesadilla comes in open-faced slices with mozzarella and Velveeta cheeses, sliced garlic chicken, black beans, red bell pepper, cilantro, jalapeño, tortilla strips and ranch dressing. Dip is roasted tomato salsa. It is the quesadilla counterpart of the BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad.
Veggie pizza and pasta
CPK’s Vegetarian Pizza is likewise notable. Toppings include grilled eggplant, button mushrooms, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted corn, broccoli, pine nuts, goat cheese and mozzarella. This thin-crust pizza comes with reduced balsamic vinegar on the side.
One may also opt for The Anchovy Pizza with crumbled anchovy fillets, tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella and tomato-based Neapolitan sauce.
Other non-beef/chicken dishes are Seafood Pomodoro, and Asparagus and Spinach Spaghettini.
Cheese steak sandwich
But there are new items for meat lovers as well. For pastas, Garcia said Chicken Piccata sells well in Lucky Chinatown Mall. It is a family-size serving of spaghetti with lemon-caper sauce and sliced chicken breast.
Lasagna Milanese has Italian sausage, bolognese, button mushrooms, Bechamel, ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and fresh basil.
We love the Cheese Steak Sandwich—a baguette filled with tender steak strips, button mushrooms, onions and gooey cheese.
The Asian Wrap sandwich offers a choice between chicken or USDA prime steak. (The steak usually wins, Garcia said). The meat is wrapped with bell pepper, bean sprouts, cheese and nori in toasted soft tortilla. It comes with a siding of enoki mushrooms, teriyaki glaze and wasabi dressing.
Another Asian dish is Mu Shu Chicken Calzone. It has garlic chicken, cheeses, mushrooms, bean sprouts, roasted peanuts brushed with sesame oil, scallion and hoisin, served with fried wonton wrappers.
CPK has also introduced a variety of desserts including a sugarless and flourless dark-chocolate cake called Chocolate Sin.
Caramel Hazelnut Cake, meanwhile, is lemon chiffon with caramel mousse, candied hazelnuts and dark-chocolate glaze.
There’s also Mango Crunch mousse and Caramel Banana Tart for those who prefer fruity sweets.
Popular CPK desserts are S’mores Pizza and Oreo Mud Pie—a hit among kids.
Order any dessert and enjoy “unli” brewed coffee by adding P50. Now, that’s really sweet.
CPK was established in the Philippines in 1998 by Global Restaurant Concepts Inc., headed by president and CEO Archie Rodriguez. The Lucky Chinatown Mall outlet, which seats 120, is its eighth branch. It has a laid-back vibe that attracts mostly groups and families in the Manila area.
Other branches are in Glorietta 3, Alabang Town Center, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Greenhills Promenade, Trinoma, Power Plant Mall, Greenbelt 5 and Harbor Point Mall in Subic.
Visit www.cpk.com.ph or www.facebook.com/CPKPhilippines