I have always found it difficult to consider California Pizza Kitchen as a restaurant and not a pizzeria. CPK is a restaurant. But their pizzas are the the ones that are the nicest. And there a few other nice things! CPK is California Pizza Kitchen. Hollywood is in California. CPK is celebrating Hollywood at CPK. Phew! Yeah, I'm slightly confused! Essentially, CPK now has a special menu till the 16th of March and the menu is fantastic!!! Honestly, this should be the regular menu at CPK, if you ask me. OK, honestly, I don't know if it represents Hollywood as you will soon find out but when I was invited by CPK to taste their special menu, I came out slightly confused!
The first pizza to arrive was the Hawaiian Pineapple and Chicken Pizza. Traditional crust, great flavour and very far away from Hollywood. Hawaii is a long flight away, but lots of Hollywood stars go there for vacation, so wonder if that is why it is there in a Hollywood festival. The next one to arrive was the Jamaican Jerk and Chicken pizza. Jamaica is a different country altogether, so it is very far from Hollywood. I quite liked the pizza. Next was the Deli styled bistro pizza. Since it had pork, I didn't have it, but those who had it were raving about it. It did look very appealing. Then came with Rustica pizza, twist on the Italian pizza with zucchini and the likes of veggies. So this is Europe and the only vegetarian pizza and the only thin crust pizza on the menu and a lovely one. Yeah, recently, I have been quite liking the vegetarian food. The last one and the best one was the Spicy Sonora pizza which had salsa and black beans and was closest to Hollywood in the menu! The pizza tasted great and unanimously we asked for another helping!!! Unanimously and shamelessly!
The next round was Pasta and the first one was a superb pasta cooked in chicken broth. There was no meat in the pasta, but it didn't matter as the flavour was wonderful. There was no Hollywood there, it was a well done Italian recipe. The vegetarian spaghettini, was bone dry and I absolutely didn't like it. I don't know if that is how it is supposed to be, but personally I didn't like it. A lot of people's personal opinion was the same! Then came the special dishes that were extremely special. A California Peri Peri chicken. I thought peri peri was more Portuguese than Hollywood, but maybe it was the Californian twist. It tasted fantastic and the plate was licked clean. Shamelessly and not unanimously, they asked for another serving. I was stuffed, so I was not part of the crime. And then came a vegetarian Malfati which I totally loved. A gnocchi styled spinach and potato Malfati with a nice side ended the (large) meal. We finished off with dessert that looked slightly Hollywoodish! A very good tasting white chocolate, strawberry and dark chocolate mousse that was served with cinnamon pita bread. OK cinnamon naan.
So the confusion. Very little was Hollywood. Or maybe there is no such thing as Hollywood and Hollywood borrows flavours from everywhere else? What is Hollywood cuisine by the way? I haven't been there, so I wouldn't know. But, except one spaghettini, everything else tasted excellent! How do I give a rating for this Food Festival? For me, any day, taste trumps the name, ambiance and everything else, so as far as food is concerned, it was excellent!!!! I'll leave it at that!