Our family was invited to try out California Pizza Kitchen in Cherry Hill, NJ last week. We were so excited, the kids talked about it for a week! We had never gone to California Pizza Kitchen before even though we have talked about it in the past. This is mainly because we didn’t know what the food was like and the closest one is 30 minutes away so we didn’t feel like driving to it and having it be a bust. Our experience was so great from start to finish.
Even before they knew who we were and what we were there for, the staff was very friendly, greeting us with friendly smiles. Once we were seated the Assistant General Manager, John, came over and introduced himself to us and explained what we would be doing and a little bit about the restaurant. I was very happy to learn that 95% of their menu is made fresh from scratch. I loved that fact but waited to see if the food proved to hold up to it. After all, fresh from scratch doesn’t always turn out to be amazing. Happily the food came through on that promise. Everything tasted so fresh and light. We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore.
The kids were able to participate in the “Make your own pizza”. This was a surprise for them and they loved it. E chose pepperoni, sausage and mushroom, hold the mushrooms, K chose pineapple and Canadian bacon, and R chose pepperoni, sausage and mushroom.
While they created their pizzas Dave and I enjoyed crusty bread dipped in an olive oil and herb/spice mixture. Fresh and yummy it was a good start to our meal. After all, a meal is always better with bread.
Next we were served their White Corn Guacamole and Chips. Packed with sweet corn, beans, and a kick of spice I was quite happy that every one declared I could have it all. Their loss. My gain.
Our third course was two of their salads – the Arugula and Asparagus Salad, tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette, with shaved parmesan and sun dried tomatoes, it also usually includes almonds; and the new spring menu salad – the Spring Market Vegetable Salad, bursting with all the flavors of spring, it had apples, peas, raisins, toasted pecans, carrot curlicues and fresh herbs tossed in a honey Greek yogurt vinaigrette.
For our main entree we were served California Pizza Kitchen’s Margherita Pizza. I will be the first to admit that I am a pizza snob. Here is where I imagined CPK to be an average pizza chain pizza. But I was so wrong. The pizza was delicious and made it on this pizza snob’s shortlist. The thin crust was perfectly crispy without being too crunchy and flexible enough without being doughy. Made with fresh mozzarella, basil and parmesan it hit the spot. I can also tell you the leftovers heated up beautifully.
As stuffed as we were we could not resist the offer of dessert. Our server was given the honor of choosing our desserts and what she set in front of us was perfection. The Belgian Chocolate Souffle Cake was the perfect fix for any chocoholic. Nestled in a vanilla bean whipped cream, and topped with a creamy vanilla ice cream, the decadent chocolate souffle was melt in our mouths delicious. Leaning toward all things chocolate, I was pleasantly surprised by the the Warm Butter Cake. The rich buttery cake was topped with a thin layer of my favorite – cheesecake, and crowned with its own scoop of rich vanilla ice cream. The kids enjoyed sundaes but still had room for a taste or two of our desserts. (Do they ever get full?!?)
After finishing our wonderful, and yes indeed, freshly made meals, I was happy to learn about the different fundraisers and partnerships California Pizza Kitchen Cherry Hill will be involved with this summer. The most exciting for me was the fact that they will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild homes. As most of you know, New Jersey was hit very hard by Hurricane Sandy and the people of the NJ shore can use all the help they can get. I can’t wait to find out how we all can help.
Thank you to California Pizza Kitchen for welcoming us in to try your menu and see what you have to offer. We can’t wait to come back!
(Note: With our nut allergies they were very cautious to ensure all menu items were were served with no mistakes. There is nothing more frustrating than eating out and still having to send back food due to dangerous mistakes being made. )