Lin at Lunch: California Pizza Kitchen
Restaurant chains. You never know what to expect. Some are good. Some not so much. There happens to be a few right across the street from where I work, and today, conscience trumped any doubts or inhibitions I had, and I went to California Pizza Kitchen.
I was a little disappointed to find out that CPK doesn’t have any kind of express lunch options. However, I was told that anything off of their Small Cravings menu comes out of the kitchen pretty quickly, same with salads. Using that as my guide, I placed my lunch order.
1:02 Seated with a menu. As I was dining by myself, I expected to be seated at a small table. To my surprise I was offered a booth, which I was thrilled about as I had brought some work with me.
1:06 Server came and I placed my order. I had settled on a salad, but debated whether to get a half or full-sized portion. My friendly server confirmed that a half-size would be an adequate lunch portion so I took my chances.
1:08 Ordered soda. After she left the table, I noticed a sign advertising for hand made-sodas with cucumber, mint and lime. This option sounded much more appealing than my water with lemon, and a healthier option than diet soda, so I ordered one when my server dropped off my water.
1:10 Lunch order arrived, immediately followed by my soda.
Thai Crunch Salad (napa & red cabbage, chicken, cucumbers, edamame, wontons, rice sticks, peanuts, cilantro, carrots and scallions tossed with lime-cilantro and Thai peanut dressing; half portion, $9.95)
Reasons to order this salad for lunch:
- Perfect size; filling without being overwhelming.
- Comes already dressed with the right amount of dressing.
- The salad is chopped, making for easy eating. No need to use a knife, and convenient when working through lunch.
- Prepared and delivered to your table in short amount of time, helping keep you lunch hour to under an hour.
Cucumber, mint and lime lemonade ($2.75)
1:17 Manager randomly approached my table, and asked how my salad was. She was very pleasant, didn’t linger and I really appreciated the gesture.
1:27 Asked for the check, and received it almost immediately.
1:29 Returned, with credit card slip.
In all honesty, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this meal. I was expecting the service to be a little slower, and was impressed to see lunch plates served so quickly despite not having an express lunch menu. My salad tasted fresh, and the soda was really added something to my lunch. I was able to get some work reading done at my table and the service could not have been better. I felt feeling satisfied and ready to take on the rest of my day.
What restaurant chains have surprised you?