Food. It’s probably the only other thing, besides my kids, that my life revolves around. If you catch me looking like I’m deep in thought, it’s probably just because I’m going over in my mind what my next meal will be. Being given the chance to sample CPK’s Next Chapter Menu, because it finally made its way to Long Island, can only be described as perfection. Food. Cocktails. Plus, I got to bring my kids with me! Sounds crazy, but it was the perfect evening for a sunflower like me!
CPK’s Next Chapter Menu has arrived (on Long Island)
Every time I saw something about this new menu at California Pizza Kitchen, or looked around while in New York City, I have to admit….I was getting a bit impatient. Two years it took for this amazing Next Chapter Menu to hit Long Island. TWO YEARS. Dang, CPK. Don’t you know we love our good food here on Long Island, just as much as everyone in NYC? Two years of waiting, and let me say this, TOTALLY worth the wait.
I’m serious about my food, people. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this Next Chapter Menu, except it needs to add even more delicious options to it! There’s just not enough! Sure, the steak, chicken and fish are amazing and offer huge portions, but we crave MORE!!!! Fresh ingredients, and amazing cocktails to enjoy with the meals – we want it all, and we want more of it. Delicious.
What’s on the new Next Chapter Menu?
You’ll have to head to CPK to find out all the newest offerings, but I’ll share a few of the key pieces with you right here, right now. I tried all of it, even the fish, and I NEVER eat fish. However, when in CPK, and you’ve got a great General Manager insisting he doesn’t usually eat fish, but even he loves the new Next Chapter Menu halibut dish, you just take the plunge and go for it.
Just to give you an idea of how I think of California Pizza Kitchen, it’s not really a place I’d normally head out to for pizza. I’m a New York girl. We like our pizza a certain way. California Pizza Kitchen, in my mind, has always just been crazy pizzas with pineapple on it. I don’t know why I always think pineapple on pizza, but that’s just how I think of pizza in California. Pizza in New York is all about cheese, a great crust, and more often than not, MEAT. California Pizza Kitchen just always seemed like the place to go for more “froo-froo” pizza. Sorry, California. It’s just how I think of it.
Now? CPK will be where I head for a great meal of steak, chicken, and some amazing cocktails. It’s really not just about pizza anymore, and while there, I noticed even the pizza isn’t as “froo-froo” as I thought it was! The lesson? Never judge a restaurant by the fact that it has the word California in it.
We’ve got that out of the way, now let’s focus on a few of the new menu items! Kyle, the General Manager, suggested two amazing soups to start off with, before we did our main meals. So glad he did!
Baked Potato Soup
The Baked Potato Soup is a puree of potato with Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, and scallions. If I could have taken that entire bowl, and licked it clean, I would have. It’s creamy, with the perfect amount of bacon and scallions. People forget how important those scallions are to a baked potato soup. Amazing. It’s even so dang pretty when it comes to the table. Not too pretty to eat, of course!
Farmers Market Soup is made of roasted squash, and market vegetables, with a touch of cream. Finished with a drizzle of California extra virgin olive oil. It’s too pretty to eat, to be honest. My favorite part of the entire soup? The olive oil drizzled on top. It adds that extra bit of fatty goodness I love in a soup. You can taste how fresh it is, and that they use farm fresh ingredients. Hard to believe for a chain restaurant, right? Right!
Once the soups were sampled, and the bowls were licked clean, our attention was turned to our main dishes.
Oh, dear. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have made the decision to start eating steak. The Fire-Grilled Ribeye is cooked with house-made pinot noir sea salt, topped with creamy bleu cheese butter, and served with roasted fingerling potatoes. It also comes with a lemon garlic wild arugula salad. Ribeye, cooked to medium, was perfect. Potatoes were crispy, yet super moist on the inside. Normally, when you get crispy ones, the inside is so darn dry, right? Not these. Insane snap as you bite through it, and then the moist potato inside. I think Mr. Sunflower would have eaten just those potatoes, because he sampled the meat, but he likes things cooked until they are basically charcoal. He liked the flavor of the meat, but wouldn’t touch the inside parts, because it wasn’t burnt to a crisp.
I know, shake your heads, I do it, too. It’s a sin to do that to meat, which is why they cooked it to my taste! I took full advantage, too. Hardly needed the knife to cut it, it was so good. My mouth is watering right now. It will be a regular for me when I head back, over and over again!
Fish isn’t my favorite. I would even go so far as to say I despise fish. The smell makes me gag, the texture, the fishy taste. UGH. When Kyle recommended trying it, I said “Sure, I’ll give it a try.” After he said he isn’t a huge fish eater, but this one he likes, I figured he wouldn’t steer me wrong. He did not steer me wrong, at all. I’ve never had halibut before, but I’d definitely order the Hearth-Roasted Halibut from this New Chapter Menu at CPK. Not often, because I do love my meat, but I’d give it a whirl again. It’s wild caught from Alaska, and roasted on a cedar plank. What I fell in love with was the butternut squash farro, grilled asparagus, and baby kale.
Oh that butternut squash farro should come with a few other dishes, for sure. Or just in a big old bowl as a main dish, with some asparagus on top, and the baby kale. I could dive into it, roll around in it, and lick the bowl clean. Amazing.
Roasted Garlic Chicken with Season Vegetables
Chicken. It’s something Mr. Sunflower never orders when we go out. He orders steak, and has them burn it. Why doesn’t he do chicken? It’s always too dry. SAY WHAT? Yes, the man who loves to have his meat burned to a crisp, doesn’t like dry chicken. Go figure. Let’s just say, he almost finished the entire plate of Roasted Garlic Chicken! It was so juicy, and covered in my favorite ingredient, GARLIC! The Roasted Garlic Chicken with Season Vegetables is a crispy-skin chicken breast in lemon-garlic sauce, with a medley of the season’s freshest vegetables (we had three different colored carrots & cauliflower.)
I was so excited to get cauliflower with a meal. Rarely do I ever see it on a menu, and when it is there, it isn’t done well. CPK does it well. Chicken, veggies and that lemon-garlic sauce…. and that portion size! Oh my, yes, just take my hard-earned money, please.
If you’re not into these beauties, and want a little bit of pasta, there’s a fantastic pasta dish that’s not a “new” menu item. It’s been around for a bit of time, but as stated above, our family hadn’t really looked into the menu prior to our recent visit. Mr. Sunflower asked to give it a try, and he was impressed. Definitely check out the Garlic Cream Fettuccine. It’s made with their special garlic Parmesan cream sauce with fresh Italian parsley, and there’s choices of protein to be added to the pasta. Mr. Sunflower was given chicken, but guests can get shrimp, chicken and shrimp, sauteed Cremini Mushrooms, or just the plain chicken. Who doesn’t love options, right? Creamy, but not too heavy, and the garlic is amazing. If you don’t love garlic, don’t order this one!
I’ve left the best for last. Cocktails! Yes, you usually order these at the start of your visit, but I figured I’d finish with these, as the meat and potatoes is what everyone wants to learn about before anything else, right? However, I can’t ignore the part I totally fell in love with, which is NUTS, because I’m not a fan of beer, or wine. However, these beverages were the perfect choices for us. Glad our server, Henry, recommended them. I will tell you, next time, I will be trying out the Moscow Mule, because HELLO? It’s a Moscow Mule.
However, this trip, I went for something I normally wouldn’t even consider ordering: Sangria.
3 oz. pours of three of the most delicious Sangrias I’ve had in my life. Of course, I’m not a wine drinker, but for whatever reason, Sangria makes me happy. But it has to be done well for me to enjoy them. These were done VERY WELL. Delicious. Definitely a go-to for any lover of wine, or Sangria.
- Orchard Sangria – white wine, St. Germaine Elderflower, Monin Stone Fruit, orange & cranberry juice
- Red-Berry Sangria – red wine, Remy VSOP, Monin Blackberry, raspberry puree, cranberry juice and lemonade
- Harvest Sangria – crisp, unique mix of Bacardi Superior Rum, St. Germain Elderflower and Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay with muddled grapes, basil & fresh agave sour
What’s a dinner out with the family without getting dessert, right? It’s not part of the Next Chapter Menu, but oh my lord in heaven, it’s a little bit of paradise right here on Earth and I have to share it with you. It’s the Butter Cake. It took all of me not to get the Salted Caramel Pudding, because if you know me, you know my addiction to salted caramel! However, I wanted to please all those in attendance at this fabulous meal at CPK, and I went with the Butter Cake.
Whoa, baby. It’s rich, buttery, and basically the ultimate pound cake with Vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and house made whipped cream. It’s the perfect ending to a perfect meal. No doubt. Believe it. I’m shocked I have nothing, absolutely NO negative comments about this entire experience. I will offer one thing though…. offer a different salad with the Rib-Eye, because some of us aren’t into Arugula. It’s my only note on the entire New Chapter Menu. Good job, CPK. Good job. You basically shut me up and will have be handing over my money without any trepidation on my next visit!