California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) is definitely anything but ordinary. Now, CPK Philippines is again taking its culinary creativity up another level by giving way to a longstanding clamor for it to include extraordinary rice meals in its local menu.
The country’s pizza authority invites its customers to ‘seek the unique’ by checking out its new menu, replete with pizza, pasta, and salad offerings. The highlight of the new lineup is of course the set of all new rice entrees, which for the first time are gracing CPK Philippines’ food book.
Tech and Lifestyle Journal had the privilege to sit down and chat with CPK International Director of Operations Justin Paras, who has overseen the rice entrees’ development that took over a year unto those were finally approved for inclusion into the new menu.
Giving in to clamor
“As a brand, CPK always listens to their customers,” the Dubai-based Paras said. “As Filipinos love rice, it is logical that they long for rice dishes with the signature California creativity that the brand is known for.”
Paras also revealed that CPK allows its franchisees from around the world to be somehow flexible in the development of their menus by getting more innovative and introducing new twists to entrees for about 30% of the local menu. (Global Restaurant Concepts, Inc. or GRCI holds the sole franchise of CPK in the Philippines.)
The pizza restaurant’s new rice entrees were created to appeal to local customers’ palate while keeping the exciting California State of Mind. These are all served with steamed rice, which can be upgraded to Quinoa for just P45.
New rice creations
The Cod + Seasoned Vegetables comprise of fresh cod fillet with sautéed onions, zucchini, eggplant, and broccoli in a roasted squash puree.
The Chicken + Asparagus in Lemon Cream Sauce is made up of fried chicken breast fillet in Piccata cream sauce with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and black olives.
Crispy Calamari + Stir Fried Vegetables combine fried calamari and mixed vegetables sautéed in soy-ginger sauce. It is complemented by homemade remoulade on the side.
Sweet Flame Shrimp features sweet and spicy shrimp bursting in flavor with mango-cucumber salsa and fresh cilantro. Meanwhile, the Cali-Mex Chicken Salsa is made of grilled chicken topped with special Chipotle Salsa with Jalapeno served along with corn tortilla chips and lime crema.
GRCI Marketing Manager Robert ‘Bob’ Vallar revealed that so far, the rice meals have been popular especially among the office lunch crowd. “A lot of original and new customers have been surprised with our rice creations,” Vallar said. “Now, they come to CPK not just for pizza and pasta but also for our unique rice entrees,” he told Tech and Lifestyle Journal.
New pizza, pasta, salad
CPK Philippines’ newly updated menu also includes new pizza creations, pasta offerings, and salad options. For the Original Hand Tossed pizzas, customers are advised to try the Surf & Turf Trio (consisting of shrimp, bacon, salami, mozzarella, tomatoes, and asparagus), Shrimp Scampi (seafood with lemon-garlic sauce), and Anchovies + Goat Cheese Pizza (the Grand Winner entry of CPK Philippines’ Pizza Wars Competition in 2016.
The new Crispy Thin Crust Pizzas include Foriana Roasted Walnut + Cauliflower (rustic flavor with Mediterranean Foriana Sauce, mozzarella, bell peppers, and onions), Sweet-Fire Cod, and Spicy Shrimp Poppers (runner-up in 2016 Pizza Wars).
New pasta offerings include Foriana (spaghetti noodles tossed in Foriana sauce topped with cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan cheese) and the new Chicken & Sausage Fajita (smoked sausage, grilled chicken, tri-color peppers, and jalapeno with spinach fettucine in roasted garlic cream sauce).
For salads, CPK’s additional offers include Quinoa + Arugula (super-grain salad with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, toasted pine nuts, and Feta cheese tossed in Honey Dijon vinaigrette), Chinese Chicken (oriental salad with red cabbage, Romaine lettuce, crispy wonton strips, scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds tossed in Hoisin ginger vinaigrette), and Grilled Shrimp, Strawberry + Goat Cheese (grilled fresh shrimp, strawberries, pears, mixed greens, almond flakes, and goat cheese tossed in Honey Dijon vinaigrette).