California Pizza Kitchen Original Restaurant Style Crust BBQ Chicken

We’ve begrudgingly reached a compromise, Keepitcoming and I. We’ve come to realize that we both have drastically different eating habits. While we maintain the code that all things mushy, crunchy, spicy, and condiment-y are good in the hood, we still tend to butt heads around stranger things. Actually, the problem is entirely mine. I instinctively gravitate towards shiny, new foods that proclaim to be limited edition, plastering my face against the grocery freezer door as though they will disappear in my hands. This category usually includes Hot Pockets, frozen waffles, and pizza rolls, all of which Keepitcoming is sworn against.Tonight, though, we decided to eat a dish that was both normal and “new,” that dish being California Pizza Kitchen’s “restaurant style crust” in their ever-popular flavor, barbecued chicken. Restaurant style at CPK makes me think of overpriced pizzas, reluctant waitresses, and screaming children, all of which we lack at home, so if we could combine the quality with the quiet, we’d be in a good place.Frozen, the pizza appeared to be promising. The frozen crust was soft and doughy, and there was a semblance of freshness in the form of herbs on top. But the toppings were scattered and patchy in places with hacksawed chunks of onion ranging from fingernail sized to finger sized, and the sauce looked to be sparse and buried under the cheese. After it cooked, it didn’t look much better. What was advertised as plump and soft crust was crunchy looking- the exact trait that made us avoid CPK in the first place after their rising crust pizza was yanked off our grocery shelves.It was an average pizza. The crust was overly floured- that “restaurant touch” rearing its ugly head, I can only assume, and left a powdery, strange texture that lingered on the lips. It was solid and didn’t get soggy underneath the berth of toppings, though. There was more barbecue sauce than I’d originally imagined, but after the cheese melted, it was visible that the sauce was dotted on the pizza in a precise, mechanical shape, which certainly belied the emphasis on restaurant style. It was an inoffensive sauce, though erring toward the sweet side. The cheese was unnoticeable but held everything together, and it was a pleasant touch to have the herbs flavoring the top. What really irked me was the infrequency of the toppings- often we’d get bites of just cheese and sauce, or just onions on the crust. Never chicken and onions. At the end, the crust was as crackery and airy as the thin crusted pizza.There was nothing about this that made me want to get it again, as it did not refresh my faith in the CPK frozen pizzas, or bring out new flavors that seemed interesting and different to other brands. We’re still on our hunt for another brand of frozen pizza that mirrors the flavor and quality of Amy’s.

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