Tuesday, February 22, 2011

California Pizza Kitchen

It's with great nostalgia that I take my daughter back to California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) for  her upcoming birthday.  When we celebrated Kathrin's 5th birthday, we lived in Walnut Creek, California.  I took her and her friend Sydney to CPK for lunch.  We sat at the kitchen bar and watched the action in the kitchen.  I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it more then the girls - kitchens are fascinating, especially a pizza oven (or maybe that's just me!).  Since moving from Walnut Creek, we haven't visited a CPK together but we are changing that this year as part of the week long Birthday Palooza.  Once more, I'm taking Kathrin and her friends to CPK for a special celebration.

I'm still minding my Weight Watcher Points and have blogged about my appreciation for online and readily available nutrition information for chain restaurants.  I was thrilled to find an extensive online nutrition chart on the CPK home page- and then I got angry, along with many online bloggers!  CPK only lists the amount of saturated fat, not total fat - Hello!  What is up with that!  I used my Points Calculator, estimating for total fat, for a bowl of soup, figuring that's probably going to be the only reasonable point value meal.  I then checked on line and found a complete listing of CPK food with the old Points and estimation of the new PointsPlus values. 

And it confirms what I suspected....a bowl of Tuscan White Bean Minestrone for 7 points, is about as good as it gets for something that will look like a meal at the table.  CPK Weight Watcher Points Plus  Most of us are under no illusion that eating out is anything close to healthy, but OMG!  There are salads and pasta dishes that are well into the 40's PointsPlus.  These are probably very generous portions but still, 22 points for half a salad is a bit over the top.  With these sorts of shenanigans, it's no wonder it's so hard to loose weight.  My rant is over now...back to the birthday party!

When we arrived at the Mall, we agreed to meet back at CPK in an hour.  Of course the girls were late, but no matter.  I ordered a glass of wine and hummus with pita AND made arrangements for a brownie sundae to be served (along with 3 spoons) to the birthday girl when we were done with lunch.  The waitress suggested a candle, which I thought was a really nice touch!.  I was so excited during the whole meal in anticipation of the birthday dessert surprise.

Traditional hummus with whole wheat pita
The pita bread couldn't be too healthy since it tasted really fresh, warm, and tender and was a nice accompaniment to the hummus.  I prefer my hummus a bit thicker but this was still a nice combination of traditional flavors.  The girls inhaled it in seconds after sitting down to study the menu.

Since I had already eaten a piece of pita with hummus (whole platter 22 Points Plus), I decided to order the cup of Tuscan soup for 4 Points Plus instead of the bowl for 7 points. 

Tuscan Minestrone Soup
I really like this soup.  It was thick and spicy and flavorful.  The toasted bread cubes were a nice touch.  If I hadn't been on Weight Watchers', I probably would have ordered a half salad, mistakenly thinking I was ordering something "light", but now I know better and I wasn't disappointed with the better choice.

Kat, aka the Carb Queen, ordered her usual pasta with cheese dish.  This time it was she ordered the Garlic Cream Fettuccine (36 points).  She's not watching her weight so she just orders whatever makes her happy.  And it shows - she's a happy child!  I had a bite - it was surprisingly served al dente, which was nice.  A bit too much garlic for me but still yummy and creamy.

Her friends ordered child sized pizzas.

And finally as we were all finishing up, the waitress brought the brownie sundae - sans candle.  CPK was out!

Brownie Ice Cream Sundae

Kathrin was surprised - we of course sang the birthday song and embarrassed her.
When the bill arrived, CPK comped the dessert, which I thought was very nice of them.  They also allowed the friends to order child-sized pizzas even though they were older than 10 - which I thought was very cool too.

It was a great meal - great service, comfortable seating (big table for 4), delicious soup.  A birthday lunch for 4 - 2 child pizzas, hummus appetizer, glass of red, soda, bowl of pasta, cup of soup and comped dessert plus tip was just under $50.


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