Overindulging on lunch

Let me tell you, there is nothing like attending training day for a restaurant reopening.

Today, I had the pleasure of being invited to California Pizza Kitchen‘s reopening at Old Orchard for a training day lunch. Since I was already obsessed with CPK as it was, there was no way I’d pass up the opportunity for a complimentary CPK meal. So: of course I’ll be patient with your service. Yes, I know you’re working out your kinks. That’s all perfectly fine and dandy…just bring on the free food!

Ok, so it sounds like I got a little carried away, and well, from the amount of food I ate (that you’ll see,) I did. But there were restrictions of course, put in place to suppress people like me who want to try everything. Overall, first impressions: they had some nice brick walls lining the restaurant that gave the ambiance a more sophisticated feel. The menu was, for the most part, the same, with some new additions here and there.


We started off with some drinks (just to try because we could.) I’ve never even considered getting a drink at CPK before…but today, anything went! Josh ordered a Strawberry margarita, Elena had the Apple martini, and I tried the ever-reputable Raspberry Lemon Drop martini. And later, Max tried the Raspberry Mojito. The drinks were all up to par and comprised a great kickoff to the meal.


Next, we all split the Tuscan Hummus appetizer. Ok, not gonna lie, we all wanted the Spinach Artichoke Dip instead but they were out. I guess we weren’t the only ones. But, either I was famished and it didn’t matter what I was eating, or this Tuscan Hummus was quite delicious. Assuming the latter, it was a thinner consistency than I was expecting and it was complemented by the perfect amounts of tomatoes, olive oil and basil.

Now we were awaiting our main courses. Don’t get the wrong impression, we weren’t waiting long, but for some reason…during this time, I notice the manager walking by our table with a plate of cheesecake. I really don’t mean to stare, but it looked good and I just happened to be looking, I guess… He begins to notice me looking and does a back-step (he already passed us) to our table. Josh and I immediately tell him that it isn’t ours, and he ignores us telling us that we now claimed it because it didn’t belong to anybody. Not that I was complaining, but I was pretty embarassed that my longing stare was so, er, longingly, that the manager felt compelled to give us cheesecake in the middle of our meal.


There it was in all its glory. We had will power though and kept it on the side of the table until we were finished with our meal, which was brought out just a few seconds later by a very confused waitress.


I had the Chicken Caesar (I’ve always loved the caesar salads at CPK.) I guess I usually get the half because this wayyy bigger than I remember.


Elena tried the Four Cheese Neapolitan pizza which she seemed to enjoy.


Josh had the Hawaiian, I believe, without bacon. He wanted the Margherita with pineapple added on, but he went with this instead. Satisfied? I think so.

We finish our meals and dig into the aforementioned cheesecake. It was amazing, and I don’t even really like cheesecake usually (really not sure why I was staring…) The waitress, while previously telling us there was a one dessert maximum per table, tells us we can order another since the manager just gave this to us. So…we do. We order the tiramisu which Josh says is amazing here. I’ve never had it, but I love me some tiramisu. At this point, I really have to leave but I stick around for one bite…


… (though not the best picture) it was worth it.

So, yea, it was quite the indulgent Tuesday lunch, but it was fun to say the least. I even took home 3/4 of my salad to be enjoyed at a later hour. I have to say that if you can ever find yourself an invitation to a restaurant’s training day, do it. All you need to pay is gratuity (and then you even leave feeling good about yourself for leaving such an enormous tip.)

-Hillary, stuffed beyond belief
Editor, Recipe4Living

  • http://www.recipe4living.com Sarah

    Thanks for the invite Hillary! Just Kidding. Looks fantastic. I have never been a found fan of California Pizza Kitchen but just looking at some of these pic’s , I might have to try it out again.

  • Melissa

    Tell me about it Sarah…I guess I’ll have to start writing something (anything!!) about food so I can start getting on these great lists that Hillary is on.

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    I’m not on any specialty lists :) I just know people…haha, I’m kidding. It was a good time and I’m definitely lucky!

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