Pizza and Hospitality on a Whole New Level.
On January 9th 2016, my brother, his girlfriend, my boyfriend, and I decided to pay a visit to a pizza joint that seemed to portray pizza as having an elegant vibe to it. Pizza with an elegant vibe to it didn’t seem right to me; pizza to me was more of a homey feeling-a feeling of good friends eating a messy, cheesy slice of saucy pizza. Coming into the restaurant I was a bit skeptical, but I ended up leaving a fan.
Arriving to California Pizza Kitchen in Cerritos, the place was a bit packed. We had to wait outside for a table to be vacant. I am not really one for waiting, but I will admit the wait wasn’t that long-around 5 minutes. We were seated in the heart of the restaurant- in the dead middle- surrounded by people on all corners and incredibly close the kitchen so we got a whiff of the delicious food. Our hostess, Sammie, after seating us asked if it was our first time at the establishment. We all nodded and to that she replied with a smile,” Oh then please feel free to order a flatbread pizza on us!” We were taken aback by the restaurant’s generosity, but kindly agreed. After returning with our drinks, Sammie brought over plates for us and placed in the middle a bigger plate that had cut pieces of baguette and dipping oil with a variety of herbs in it. From the first bite of the baguette in the oil- I fell in love. The baguette was so crunchy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside and mixed with the herb oil unleashed a wide array of flavors that tingled my taste buds. I absolutely fell in love.
Next we were welcomed in with our on the house Bianco Flatbread with fresh Gorgonzola and whipped Truffle cream. The aroma was absolutely amazing- cheese and the smell of herbs filled my nostrils. Taking a bite out of the flatbread my taste buds were instantly punched with the strong gorgonzola, then, next kicked in the mozzarella and fresh sage. The bread of the flatbread was incredible
y delicious. It had a bit of burnt parts that created for an excellent bite (I personally love my bread more on the burned and crunchy side). I wiped my plate clean and eagerly waited for the pizza.
After some time, we were greeted by our main dishes: 1 Original BBQ Chicken with BBQ Sauce, smoked
Gouda, and Parsley to top it off and 1 Pepperoni Pizza with spicy pepperoni and fresh mozzarella. The original BBQ Chicken had a drizzle of BBQ sauce that beautifully complimented the chicken. I am really not one for BBQ sauce (even the smell gets me nauseous) but tasting the BBQ Chicken Pizza for the first time was heavenly. The sauce was creamy and had a slight tang to it and the chicken was succulent and the pizza had a perfect chicken to bread ratio. I was pleased with the BBQ Chicken Pizza.
Typically when comparing different pizza establishments, you always judge them based on their pepperoni pizza since it is one of the most icon pizzas in the world. Taking my first bite out of the California Pizza Kitchen Pepperoni Pizza- again- I fell in love. The gooey, hot cheese hitting my tongue mixed with the kick of spice in the pepperoni had such a unique flavor in my mouth. It did not taste like any old pepperoni pizza, it had more of an adventure to it. Although I argued earlier that pizza should have a more homey vibe, I discovered from this date with pizza that the environment does not create this vibe. California Pizza Kitchen does have an elegant side to them from the wine bottle hanging on the walls and the dimmed lights around the room; however, the hostess and waiters warm greetings and the friends you surround yourself with is what makes a good pizza with a homey feeling.
After two pizzas and one flatbread, all of our stomachs were stuffed- so stuffed we could not make room for dessert. If I were to rate California Pizza Kitchen I would easily give it a 5/5. 1 for the amazing pizza, 2 for the warm welcoming hostess, Sammie, 3 for the free flatbread welcoming us to their pizza family, 4 for leaving us absolutely stuffed with very few items, and 5 for creating a very homey feeling and allowing us to all bond over our love for pizza. Till next time California Pizza Kitchen!