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Restaurants

The Co-Founder Of CPK Just Opened A Roman-Style Pizza Spot

Photo courtesy of ROCA Pizza

We don’t see many Roman-style pizza concepts. So when we heard that the co-founder of California Pizza Kitchen has opened a new spot in Los Angeles, CA, our interest was piqued. 

Rick Rosenfield, co-founder of CPK, and his wife Esther are bringing an elevated fast-casual rendition of Roman-style street food pizza to the Glendale called ROCA Pizza

The artisan dough is long cold fermented for 72 hours, creating an airy rise and satisfying crunch. 

Produce is also sourced from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and specialty cheese ordered from Italy. 

Pizza highlights include Soppressata & Burrata, Potato & Porcini, Italian Sausage & Potato, Mixed Mushroom, Pepperoni, Margherita, and Bell Pepper. 

The name “RO” is taken from the Roman origin of this pizza style and “CA” from the restaurant’s California-inspired spirit. 

Currently ROCA is are currently operating as a pop-up at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, and plan to open on the Westside at the Palisades Village and Waterside at Marina de Rey later this year.

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Health News Restaurants

California Pizza Kitchen Puts Cauliflower Pizza Crust On Menus Nationwide

Following a “highly successful” cauliflower pizza crust test in the SoCal area, California Pizza Kitchen has decided to put the veggie-based crust on menus nationwide.

cauliflower pizza crust

Photo courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen

The cauliflower pizza crust game is hot right now, with one brand that offers it overtaking all frozen pizzas on Amazon in less than half a year. The gluten-free crust option is popular both because it has no wheat and that it’s veggie-based, appealing to those looking to switch most of their carbs to produce or looking for veggie-centric meals.

A word of warning to those with Celiac disease, however: CPK isn’t guaranteeing that trace gluten amounts won’t be on their cauliflower crust. Current kitchen space limits their restaurants to only produce their four gluten-free regular pizzas in the gluten-free kitchen. The crust is certified gluten-free, but it’ll be cooked in the same space as regular pizzas for now.

Guests can swap cauliflower crust onto any pizza on CPK’s menu at any location, barring those in universities, hospitals, airports, and hotels. It’ll be a $2.50 upcharge to get the crust typically, but CPK is waiving that through Feb. 9 as a way to get people to come in and try this increasingly popular pizza crust option for themselves.

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Health News Restaurants What's New

California Pizza Kitchen Is First Chain To Have Cauliflower Pizza Crust

One of the fastest-growing items in the food world right now is cauliflower pizza. As a gluten-free crust option, the plant-based pizza base has taken off, with one company becoming one of Amazon’s fastest-growing and top pizza brands in just six months. Recognizing that the cauliflower pizza crust game is strong right now, national pizza icon California Pizza Kitchen is hopping on the bandwagon early. They’re officially becoming the first national restaurant chain to incorporate cauliflower pizza crust into their menu.

cpk cauliflower pizza crust

Photo courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen

The cauliflower pizza crust rollout is happening in two phases: Starting on November 27th, Southern California locations in Redondo Beach, Rainbow Harbor, and Manhattan Beach will begin offering the option to replace any crust on their menu with the brassica veggie. Early next year, every CPK location, barring those in hotels, airports, stadiums, and universities, will also have the gluten-free option available.

Photo courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen

While it’s impressive to see a chain with CPK’s reach incorporate such a hot item so quickly, it’s gonna come at a steep price. Upgrading to the cauliflower pizza crust will cost an extra $2.50 per pie. But hey, if you’re celiac or on the low-carb pizza hunt, those options just became a whole lot more accessible.

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Restaurants

California Pizza Kitchen Has Influenced Pizza Trends For More Than 30 Years

Nothing beats an original. Just ask California Pizza Kitchen. CPK, they’re more affectionately known as, has shown modesty when it comes to the popularity of its line of hand-tossed pizzas, though it has come to our attention recently, that there’s an unspoken reality of CPK being the creator of the Original Barbecue Chicken Pizza — a menu item that has steadily influenced pizza trends since 1985.

CPK-BBQ-Chicken

We got a hold of an original CPK menu, which includes the beloved barbecue chicken pizza, an item that hasn’t left the menu since.

Menu_CPK

Today, food trends live and die through social media, as we’ve seen with Starbucks and Internet chef-based recipes. However, before the digital age, trends were spread by word of mouth, pricey advertising, and crafty marketing.

It may seem pointless to discover the origin of the barbecue chicken pizza, but after some investigation, it’s clear to see that CPK’s clandestine influence has encouraged — or forced — almost every other corporate pizza chain to replicate the original barbecue chicken pizza.

While the recreation of the barbecue chicken pizza by Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Stone Fire Grill and countless others is not as heinous as what Burger King did to the Vulgar Chef — it’s more of a hat tip — it’s important to note.

In the age of replication, as copy and pasting becomes second nature, discovering the origin of an idea provides inspiration and illustrates how far concepts can go by word of mouth and human interaction; life then imitates a dinner table, open to the market place of ideas.

Ironically, none of the other corporate pizza chains will own up to pillaging a damn good pizza recipe, but everyone knows, regardless if you knew in the back of your head, were old enough to visit CPK’s original location, or just had an idea that CPK’s barbecues chicken pizza is on another level.

Now you know.

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Fast Food Features FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss News

There’s Only ONE California Pizza Kitchen That Serves This Huevos Rancheros Pizza

We all know California Pizza Kitchen is well-known for its memorable line of signature hand-tossed pizzas, from the Original Barbecue Chicken to the Sicilian. For fans of their legendary pizza-making, get ready to have your pizza-loving mind blown with one of CPK’s newest additions — Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Pizza.

CPK-Huevos-Pizza-02

Wait, breakfast at CPK? Yes, you read that correctly.

The Huveos Rancheros Breakfast Pizza is just one item on CPK’s brand new breakfast and brunch menu that is currently being served exclusively at CPK’s LAX location inside Southwest Airline’s Terminal 1, the airline’s busiest terminal.

Made with warm cage-free scrambled eggs, spicy chorizo, tortilla strips, black beans, enchilada sauce and sprinkled with cotija and cheddar cheese, then topped with freshly sliced avocado, cilantro and scallions, CPK’s Huveos Rancheros Breakfast Pizza is a flavorful new twist on a traditional favorite.

In addition to the Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Pizza, CPK is also offering a Sunny Side Up Bacon and Potato Pizza, made with Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, crispy potatoes, caramelized leeks, Parmesan, Mozzarella and fresh cracked black pepper and topped with two sunny-side up eggs. The CPK Classic Breakfast Sandwich made with a choice of a house made chicken sausage patty or Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon with cage-free eggs omelette style and melted Cheddar on toasted Brioche and served with crispy breakfast potatoes.

While California Pizza Kitchen built a solid reputation as a great lunch and dinner destination, the California-based chain has finally entered the breakfast market and is looking to focus on quality ingredients, convenience and innovation.

CPK_LAX

We couldn’t wait to try CPK’s new breakfast and brunch menu and had a chance to sit down with Senior Vice President of Culinary Innovation, executive chef Brian Sullivan. Sullivan gave us some insight into CPK’s latest culinary inspiration and addressed the challenges of entering the breakfast market — for the first time — at one of Southern California’s busiest airports.

There’s no doubt that breakfast is a challenging deliverable, but Chef Sullivan said CPK wanted to ensure the new menu reflected the uniqueness of the recipes, and the quality of its ingredients.

“You typically don’t see food of this caliber in airports,” he said. “We wanted to create food that was unique and craveable.”

Part of any breakfast experience is convenience, and one of the main challenges CPK faced was creating a new brunch menu that would cater to the high amount of traffic that comes through Terminal 1 at LAX.

“I think convenience is a big part. It has to be, you’re dealing with a speed element here, we have to cook to order. We know that the guests only have a certain amount of time, so we have to be extremely quick and have to be aware of their needs.”

At this point, CPK’s brunch and breakfast menu is only available at LAX’s Terminal 1 location. However, Chef Sullivan said if it were to expand, it would start with a regional push.

“It very well could — New York, Las Vegas,  possibly Chicago — I think those would be the launch points at this time.”

We’re excited to see how far CPK goes with their new breakfast and brunch line up.

Photos: Peter Pham, Foodbeast / Ben Miller, CPK
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Adventures FOODBEAST News Opinion Restaurants

A Master Pizza Chef Tells Us How We’ve Been Making Homemade Pizza Wrong

If you’ve ever tried to recreate your favorite pizza at home, but were disappointed with the final product, you’re not alone. When it comes to homemade pizza, there are a few tricks of the trade that go unnoticed, but will go a long way.

We recently visited California Pizza Kitchen’s Innovation Kitchen in Redondo Beach Calif., and had the opportunity to speak with Senior Vice President of Culinary Innovation, executive chef Brian Sullivan. As a member of the CPK family for nearly 30 years, Chef Sullivan knows his way around the kitchen. In fact, the chef’s first menu item, The Sicilian Pizza, remains a CPK top seller to this day.

So, in order to get the skinny on how to make the perfect pizza at home, we asked the pizza master what we were missing and what steps we could improve on to make our homemade pizza just as memorable as our favorite pizzeria’s.

Photo by Ben Rose www.BenRosePhotography.com

First, Chef Sullivan said, people need to respect the dough more. In that sense, he encouraged home cooks to let their dough rest as long as possible — in order for the yeast to activate and for the dough to reach the ideal temperature.

“I think it’s the proofing of the dough, that’s the thing that I see done incorrectly the most. You have to start off with a dough product that’s typically room temperature, so you can stretch it.”

We all know how important a stretchy cheese pull is, so why not make that translate to your dough? Chef Sullivan advised that in order for pizza dough to become consistent enough to form a crust, it must be room temperature.

“A lot of times, it’s cold, so they go to stretch it and it really doesn’t become the proper thickness it should be. Give it 30 minutes or even longer, depending on room temperature. It really needs to be in the 70-80 [degree] range before we go to stretch it. That’s key.”

To an expert like Chef Sullivan, making the perfect dough is the most critical part of the entire recipe. To ensure that, home cooks should incorporate a good flour. He also revealed some insider secrets on what makes CPK’s pizza dough so consistently delicious.

“I think for us, we like to add maybe a touch of honey, just a little bit of sweetness. I think using a nice olive oil is something that can help.”

In terms of flavor profiles, Chef Sullivan also warned against overtopping pizzas. Not all ingredients will add flavors to your homemade creation, he explained.

The main thing, Chef Sullivan explained, is to have patience. If you’re in a rush, can’t find good ingredients and aren’t using anything to make your dough standout — maybe pizza isn’t the best dish to prepare.

Don’t rush. Also, use a good cheese — I mean a great cheese. I think that’s another thing. You don’t want to skimp on the ingredients. I use a really good mozzarella.”

Chef Sullivan wants everyone to make a delicious pizza at anytime, but now you know, delicious pizza takes time. From the ingredients to the preparation process, each step should reflect your attention to detail. Also, always remember — respect the dough!

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Restaurants

California Pizza Kitchen Offers Four Gluten-Free Pizzas, Including Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage

cpkgluten-free2013promo

For those strictly on a gluten-free diet or simply looking to try something new, California Pizza Kitchen is now offering gluten-free pizzas. By introducing the new menu items, the restaurant chain aims to meet a growing demand of gluten-free products for those sensitive to wheat, according to Senior Vice President for Culinary Innovation Brian Sullivan.

CPK will label all gluten-free items in the kitchen with blue labeling, including cooking gloves, cutting boards and cutting wheels. The pizzas are baked with a rimmed pan that prevents the gluten-free pizzas from touching regular-menu items.

As of now, there are four gluten-free pizzas to choose from the menu: Original BBQ Chicken; Mushroom, Pepperoni and Sausage; and Margherita. A plain cheese option is also available for anyone who’s just feeling like plain cheese.

H/T + PicThx NRN

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Restaurants

CPK Introduces New Flatbread Pizzas Including A Spicy Fennel Sausage + Poblano Peppers

Spicy Fennel Sausage and Poblano Pizza California Pizza Kitchen

Earlier this month, California Pizza Kitchen released 3 new flatbreads to its small plate offerings including The Bianco (whipped truffle cream, gorgonzola, mozzarella sage), The Shaved Mushroom + Spinach (cremini mushrooms, sautéed spinach, California olive oil, romano & parmesan) and The Spicy Fennel Sausage + Poblano (torn sausage, fresh mozzarella, fire-roasted chilis, Greek oregano, spicy marinara). The Sausage Poblano (in-focus pictured above) was our favorite, but we confirmed that all are delicious.

Check out the photos below, courtesy of Marc Kharrat, of our entire meal that included the flatbreads and other offerings available at CPK.

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The Bianco Flatbread Pizza

Bianco Pizza California Pizza Kitchen

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Shaved Mushroom + Spinach Flatbread Pizza

shaved mushroom spinach flatbread california pizza kitchen

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 White Corn Guacamole + Chips

White Corn Guacamole California Pizza Kitchen

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Avocado Club Egg Rolls

Avocado Club Egg Rolls California Pizza Kitchen

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Cedar Plank Salmon (Cooked in the Pizza Oven!)

Avocado Club Egg Rolls California Pizza Kitchen

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California Club Pizza (applewood smoked bacon, roasted chicken, mozzarella, avocado, arugula, basil romaine, lemon-pepper mayonnaise)

California Club Pizza CPK

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Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pizza (chipotle adobo sauce, shaved poblanos, monterey jack cheese, roasted corn, black bean salsa, clinatro and lime crema)

California Club Pizza CPK

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Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

Original BBQ Chopped Salad California Pizza Kitchen

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Salted Caramel Pudding, Red Velvet Cake & Butter Cake

cpk dessert

California Pizza Kitchen also announced a new Sweet Deal For Two promotion where guests will be able to enjoy one appetizer, two entrees and a dessert from a pre-selected menu for $30.