Apr 14, 2012

California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen is a well known classier Pizza restaurant chain from the U.S. offering top notch pies with traditional toppings and daring new concoctions with either normal crust or thin crust. The Taiwanese location in the Xin Yi Vieshow Cinema foodcourt takes that innovation to another realm by offering their patrons the odd choices of Minced Pork Rice Pizza, Oyster Omelet Pizza, and the Boba Milk Tea Pizza. They are mind-blowing pizzas that make you double-take each bite and are very interesting to chew on. However they also have their signature Margheritas and Sicilian pizzas with their thin crust option. No longer are you forced to go to 15 Napoletana and pretend their thin crust pizzas are CPK. You can get the real deal here now...Well, as real as it can get.
Address: 台北市松壽路20號2樓
                 No. 20, Sōngshòu Road, Sinyi District, Taipei
Phone #: 02-2722-8383
Business Hours: 10:00-24:00
Website: http://www.cpk.com/locations/xinyi/
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Price Range: $$$
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating: no
Alcohol: yes

Food Quality: 4 out of 5
Decor:  4 out of 5
Service: 4.5 out of 5
Overall: 4.17 out of 5
Side Note: Has unique Taiwanese Style Pizzas and Familar Signature Pizzas


The interior is very reminiscent of the chains throughout California and in Vegas. CPK is one of those restaurants in Taiwan, like Macaroni Grill, that make you feel like you were transported back to America. If it weren't for the short cute Taiwanese waitress called Bobo nyan-nyaning for our order, I might really believe that I was transported back to California for dinner. The decor is great and fits the theme of the chain. Chairs are comfortable enough and the oval arrangement promotes the wait staff to serve all their customers in a efficient fashion. I was fairly pleased with the wait staff for this trip as well, since the ratio was low enough for a waiter to help our table almost on demand. It also helps that the CPK here also has a hostess to regulate the influx of customers. I was more than satisfied with the decor and the service. The food quality was pretty good as well, but I have not tried the more traditional pizzas so I can not comment on those. I was in a more adventurous mood. After witnessing photographic evidence peering on the web displaying wonderous Taiwanese pizzas like Minced Pork Rice Pizza and the Boba Milk Tea Pizza I just had to find out in person. In this trip, I got the chance to try all creations the ingenius Taiwanese branch felt compelled to push to the general public.
It's always good to have some vegetables to supplement an intake of loads of carbs, protein, and cheese. If you were wondering where to get a flavorful salad in Taiwan where the pieces of lettuce are chopped to a mouth-sized portion, CPK can be one of your options. The Carmelized Peach Salad in particular had a light vinegrette fusing the mixed green salad with walnuts, carmelized peaches, and red onions together. Sadly, its rare to find a salad like this in Taipei...something you could've whipped up from a instapak from Vons.
This first marvel of the Taipei CPK is the Oyster Omelete Pizza. The crust seems to be merely a pedastool for the layer of cabbage leaves holding up the traditionally low tempurature fried oysters, red pepper slices, and basil drizzled with a CPK variation of the ubiquitous Oyster Omelete sauce used throughout the island. There was a thin layer cheese, but it was hard to notice with all the other distracting flavors overwhelming the experience. It did not evoke the oyster omlete feel mainly because the sauce was not prominent enough, and the texture of the pizza is a far stretch from the oyster omelete. However, the pizza was not bad...it was very edible. If you like fried oysters than you would probably accept a slice or two of this pizza. A few improvements this pizza can benefit from is slicing up the cabbage to more manageable morsels, and maybe add some more of the crucial sauce to evoke the oyster omelete. If I returned to CPK I probably wouldn't reorder this pizza because it was not paticuarly amazing, and I personally do not like cooked oysters...I prefer my oysters raw. When cooked, more of the stank of the oyster comes out and the texture is more baloony on the outside and sandy on the inside. I'm not a fan.
 This Minced Pork Rice Pizza resonated with me a little more than the oyster omelete one. The slices of braised egg sure makes this pizza look very wierd. They also top it with a thin layer of cheese, deep fried rice, pepper slices, cilantro, minced pork, and green onion slices. The crust for this pizza was a little more special because it had the consistency of a crispy thin breadstick. I felt its a welcome change of crust texture. Amazingly, each bite really did taste like a scoop of minced pork rice. They did a good job capturing the right flavor. They kind of messed up with texture by adding some deep fried rice on top because it added a very awkward soft crunch randomly as you chewed. Sometimes it would get into your teeth in an unwelcomed fashion. Also, this pizza might be accentuated if they added a few slices of the yellow pickled radish into the mix. The yellow pickled radish is indeed an essential part of the minced pork rice experience. Overall, this pizza is palatable and probably would get my vote over the Oyster Omelete Pizza.
The most intriguing by far is this Boba Milk Tea Pizza. You can kind of imagine what an oyster omelete pizza or a minced pork rice pizza might be, but if some one just said "Boba Milk Tea Pizza" without an accompanying picture, you'd be left with a huge ? These "pizzas" are more like individual "pastries" composed of a triangular base of thin sugared and crispy crust. This base is topped with boba, yam balls, taro balls, a slice of strawberry and a mint leaf. Then they drizzle a combo of brown sugar paste and some semi sweetened milk paste. With all this combined you got a dessert with a milky sweetness with highly complex texture. You get a chewiness, crunchiness, and pastiness in each bite. If you are not careful, you are suprised with a gush of minty freshness when you grind up the mint leaf. A problem with this dessert was that it was not flagrantly milk tea-ish enough. If anything it was more Boba-milky like Mr Chen's Boba in Gong Guan. But even then, it just wasn't creamy enough...for me. A simple solution is to add a scoop of vanilla icecream into the mix to push this dessert to another level. After ice cream was added the crust did not seem as overtly dry...the sauce is actually pretty pasty and dry. I would definitely recommend you to complement this dessert with some ice cream. Vanilla is a safe bet, but maybe even Matcha Icecream would be a suitable suitor.

I really enjoy the fact that the Taiwanese will not settle with the status quo and will endeavor to try their hand in creating something that might be absolutely outrageous. If it weren't for this spirit, we probably would not have Boba Milk Tea in the first place. I just had to try out these uniquely Taiwanese CPK pizzas because its something original and MIT. And like a lot of other things made in Taiwan, I was not impressed, nor was I utterly disappointed. I kind of just shrugged and accepted each mouthful with the mentality that even though its wierd, arguably ugly, and awkward.....but this pizza is family. If you're Taiwanese you might be able to enjoy these crazy confections from California Pizza Kitchen.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...