I attended the Sacramento Bloggers Taste the Next Chapter of California Pizza Kitchen and was amazed at what they will be serving up this year. The newly renovated Market Square at Arden Fair is the first location in the country to debut the Next Chapter menu. They still have their famous pizzas, pastas and yummy appetizers. These new menu items are in addition to their already existing menu.
By the end of the year there will be approximately 20 locations featuring the new restaurant design and enhanced menu. Upcoming locations in the next few months include Beverly Hills, CA (the first-ever California Pizza Kitchen location) and Boca Raton, FL in May; and Santa Clara, CA and Ft. Lauderdale, FL in June.
All of the menu items we tried will be included on the new menu. Seasonal offerings such as the Lobster Roll Flatbread and Roasted Garlic Chicken are limited time offerings and will be available through September. New seasonal items will be rolled out on 10/1.
When we arrived we were greeted by Dana Rae Kelsch who is the California Pizza Kitchen Marketing Manager. I was offered a choice of drink and I decided to try the non-alcoholic Fresh Strawberry Mango Cooler. It is a cute little drink and tasted very good. I paired it with the Smoked Ham with Swiss and Bianco Flatbreads. The Smoked Ham with Swiss is made with Emmentaler and goat cheese with caramelized onions and smashed garlic croutons. The Biano Flatbread is made with whipped truffle cream, Gorgonzola, Mozzarella and fresh sage.
Seasonally Inspired Dishes
So, who wants an egg on their pizza served sunny side up? I thought it was wacky at first but that is what CPK is known for. They can put together ingredients on a pizza that you may think is weird but once you try it you will be coming back for more.
Sunny Side Up Bacon + Potato Pizza
Shaved fingerling potatoes, Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, caramelized leeks, Parmesan, Mozzarella and fresh cracked black pepper. Topped with two sunny side up eggs.
With each dish that was brought out Brian Sullivan – SVP, Culinary Innovation described each dish and then followed up to see what we thought. I let him know that I was not happy that they pulled the Rosemary Chicken Potato pizza a few years ago. 😉 But I really liked the Sunny Side Up Bacon and Potato Pizza so I think I can live with it.
Lobster Roll Flatbread
Main lobster, mayo, fresh herbs, arugula and shaved red onions on a Parmesan flatbread.
Harvest Kale Salad
Baby kale, toasted farro, heirloom carrots, napa cabbage, red grapes, marinated cranberries, almonds and goat cheese tossed with housemade citrus vinaigrette.
This salad has a little bit of a kick to it but it is really good.
Roasted Garlic Chicken + Seasonal Vegetables
Crispy-skin chicken breast in lemon-garlic sauce with hearth-roasted fingerling potatoes, heirloom carrots, cauliflower and Mediterranean herbs.
This chicken was so moist and flavorful – I highly recommend this dish.
While we waited for the main dishes to arrive we were given the opportunity to toss some pizza dough. It is a lot easier than it looks and super fun. We were given some a few quick pointers and then up and away the dough went.
12oz USDA choice ribeye grilled with housemade Pinot Nior sea salt and topped with creamy blue cheese butter. Served with roasted fingerling potatoes and lemon-garlic arugula salad.
Note: the ribeye was cut up for us to share. Normally it is served with the blue cheese butter on the steak.
The steak was served Medium and cooked to perfection. I really liked the blue cheese butter and the Pinot Nior sea salt was a nice addition to the all around flavor.
Wild caught Halibut from the Aleutian Island, roasted on a cedar plank with butternut squash farro, baby kale and grilled asparagus.
This dish was fantastic and I am normally NOT a fish person but I could not resist trying this. Brian told us the butternut squash farro was a must try and he was right. It was a lot better than I thought it would but and I’d eat just a side of it.
There’s more? Yup there was more.
Kettle cooked Belgian chocolate pudding, dark chocolate chunks, double graham cracker and toasted marshmallows.
This is served in a cute mini mason jar that I wanted to take home (but didn’t). It is an ooey gooey kind of dessert that your kiddos will love.
Salted Caramel Pudding
Rich caramel pudding, black cocoa cookie crumbs, housemade whipped cream, caramel sauce and natural flaked sea salt.
This was a fantastic dessert and the sea salt really kicked it up a notch. This reminded me of a box of chocolates with salt on top of each piece. With every bite I fell more in love with this dessert.
Wow, where do I begin about this awesome dessert? Well, if you like butter and you like cake then you will LOVE this dessert. It is served warm with Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream on top. There is also a small layer of cheese cake under the ice cream and granulated sugar on the bottom of the cake. THIS was heaven served on a plate. You have to try this – trust me on this one. I wanted the entire dessert for my self but I was nice and shared with my table mates.
This was by far one of my favorite dishes of the night – heck I included three pictures of it.
The Wrap Up
I chatted with the Arden Fair General Manager Scott Ramirez and I asked him questions about the recent renovation of the space. Gone is the black, yellow and white colors that have been around forever. The space has been updated with wooden table tops and chairs, not many booths remain. The bar area has been pulled out from behind the counter and is now center stage and very prominent when you walk in and to the left.
We are at the entry of the restaurant, see how much it has changed!!
Here is the entire group of Sacramento Bloggers that attended the event along with Brian Sullivan the SVP, Culinary Innovation of CPK.
Did you know that CPK also has CPKids Fundraisers and kids activities? I had no idea either. But you can have your kids Birthday party at CPK, or take a VIP tour with the kiddos. They can toss dough with their friends and wear cute little chef outfits. You can find out more information about these special programs on the CPKids website.
Are you in Sacramento?
I am headed back to CPK with my hubby in a few weeks to get his take on the menu items. If you happen to be in the Sacramento area and try the new menu items I’d love to know what you think.
— Dawn Cullo (@DawnCullo) April 29, 2014