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Inside California Pizza Kitchen
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Inside California Pizza Kitchen
Pizza is probably one of the most popular foods in America. Whether it’s a thick Chicago-style crust or a thin crispy crust, pizzas generally have one thing in common. They’re topped with a tomato sauce, and cheese, and for meat, pepperoni is the most familiar choice.
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Recently I was invited to go behind the scenes at California Pizza Kitchen. The restaurant is known for its pizza oven which gives their pizza’s a unique color and flavor.
California Pizza Kitchen added some new items to the menu. The Buffalo Chicken Pizza immediately caught my eye. It is made with a spicy buffalo sauce, Mozarella cheese, carrots, celery and Gorgonzola cheese. This combination of toppings challenges the typical blend of ingredients for pizza.
And who would have imagined a Pear and Gorgonzola pizza? That’s another pizza that’s pushing the creative envelope at CPK. It’s topped with caramelized pears, Gorgonzola, Fontina and Mozzarella cheeses. Once baked in the oven the chef tops it with a salad.
The real star at CPK is the oven. It’s finished with bright yellow tile. It is the visual anchor point in the restaurant at The Riverside Plaza. The chef showed me how they make several recipes. First, on the Buffalo Pizza, they use 1-ounce of their buffalo sauce, more if a customer wants a pizza that’s extra spicy. The sauce is tomato based, but Chef Jose Ponce is tight-lipped about how it’s made. The dough is covered by an even layer of Mozzarella; what Chef Ponce called the “secret to the presentation.” A generous helping of chicken is next, the chicken has been marinated in the same buffalo sauce.
The process of cooking the pizza is fascinating. Each pizza enters the oven with what looks like a long spatula, and once inside, they’re rotated by hand. The oven operates at a temperature of 450 degrees. On a busy night chefs can keep 20 pizzas rotating and cooking evenly.
See the process for yourself. You’ll learn how the pizza’s are prepared.
And, there’s a surprise, during the weekend, California Pizza Kitchen is sharing one of it’s recipes. Look for it this Saturday here on InstantRiverside.com
If you have questions you can e-mail me at Carol@instantriverside.com
- Social Web