New Adventures at California Pizza Kitchen
I was invited to a preview tasting of the items on the “New Adventures” menu at California Pizza Kitchen. These new offerings will expand the choices that diners have at the restaurant, and at less than 600 calories each, are a healthy addition to the menu. If you are trying to find flavorful and healthy options for dining out, the New Adventures menu choices will appeal to you!
There are five new offerings: Cedar Plank Salmon and Corn Succotash, Fire-Roasted Chile Relleno, Grilled Chicken Chimichurri, Quinoa and Arugula Salad, and Shrimp Scampi Zucchini Fettuccine. My two favorites were the Cedar Plank Salmon and the Fire-Roasted Chile. The salmon is an Atlantic salmon, seasoned with smoked paprika and grilled on top of a cedar plank. The plank is soaked so that smoke from the cedar infuses the salmon as it cooks, marrying beautifully with the smoky flavor of the paprika. The sweet corn in the succotash is balanced by a touch of cayenne pepper bringing out wonderful flavors, and paired with the saltiness of some feta cheese. You won’t believe you are eating a meal that was designed with low-calorie in mind!
However, if you are looking for a dish that really packs a flavor punch you will want to try the fire-roasted chile. This features a poblano pepper that has been grilled and stuffed with a corn and black bean salsa, wild mushrooms, chicken, spinach and eggplant, covered with quesadilla cheese and creamy avocado salsa. The mild spicy pepper brings so much flavor to the traditional stuffed pepper, and the tender eggplant makes for a hearty stuffing. The result is a truly satisfying entrée that will have you stopping just short of licking the plate clean. The best part: 380 calories for the whole dish. I almost wish that the nutritional value was not printed on the menu, and saved for the end as a surprise for guests!
Each of the other menu items offer something special as well. The zucchini noodles in the shrimp scampi will have you wanting to try the dish with no pasta at all! And if you are wanting to try quinoa, but aren’t sure if it is something you will enjoy, the quinoa salad is a beautiful presentation of the healthy grain. The chimichurri sauce on the grilled chicken is a new experience as well, especially if dietary restrictions have you looking for low salt flavor options.
In the end this represents a slight change of direction for a restaurant like California Pizza Kitchen, one that I wish more restaurants were considering. Cook wonderful, flavorful food with fresh ingredients, and you can offer patrons satisfying dishes that won’t hurt their waistlines. These are the kind of small changes that can help turn the tide in our nation’s fight against obesity. Because eating healthy shouldn’t be a chore, it should be fun and easy for everyone!