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An Open Letter to California Pizza Kitchen

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Dear CPK,

What the fuck? Wait…let’s try that again. Okay.

Let me start by saying I’ve been a big fan over the years, and have visited your flagship Beverly Hills location too many times to count. You guys used to have this killer menu with great, creative, original dishes that could be described as nouveau comfort food. Take for example, your Potato Leek Soup, Garlic Shrimp Pizza or my all time fav—the Tandoori Chicken Pizza (a spicy, curry flavored pizza topped with zucchini, summer squash, cilantro, mango chutney, and of course tandoori chicken). These dishes were classics. Full of flavor. Absolute beauties.

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Then you guys started to get all “corporate restaurant” on me—you know, changing up the menu every month with new, exciting, “craveable” items. At first I didn’t notice that bit by bit your original was menu disappearing—instead I focused on the new dishes brought to the table. And I’ll admit some were genius—i.e. Portobello Mushroom Ravioli in garlic cream sauce, or Jambalaya Pasta. But then something caught my attention—a warning sign—the Garlic Shrimp Pizza was subtly transformed into the Shrimp Scampi Pizza. And though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the difference was, I knew that this Shrimp Scampi Pizza was definitely a downgrade.

Continue reading about CPK's failings after the jump!

Next to go was the Tandoori Chicken Pizza! I swear, I nearly cried when I noticed this delightful entree had passed on to pizza heaven. This pizza had become associated with wonderful memories--my best friend and I use to share it when we ditched seventh period in high school to instead go to CPK. I used to order it whenever my dad took me to CPK for dinner and good old father-daughter bonding. It was even this pizza that taught me the beauty of a zucchini! And now, thanks to you corporate hate-mongers, my all time favorite specialty pizza has been taken away from me.

Okay, I'll admit it. After the death, of Tandoori Chicken, I still visited your restaurants. It was your Potato-Leek soup that kept going. And then you bastards took that away too! Enough is enough. I decided to have a one-woman boycott.

The boycott ended recently, when my niece celebrated her ninth birthday at your Marina Del Rey location. I put a smile on my face in honor of my niece and scanned over the menu. Then, I saw what seemed like a miracle! YOU BROUGHT TANDOORI CHICKEN PIZZA BACK!!!

Or did you? When my pizza arrived at my table, I realized that this new incarnation of Tandoori Chicken Pizza shared nothing with its predecessor save for its name. The sauce tasted completely different. The great slices of zucchini and squash that once topped the pizza had been replaced with red onion slices and mango chunks (seriously, what the fuck?). And the chicken didn't even have that red, spicy color that tandoori chicken usually has.

But I had ordered the pizza, and was obligated to eat it. Keep an open mind I thought, maybe this version is better. I took a bite. Nope. This new version was as sucky as I had feared it would be. It is a wolf parading around in a Tandoori Chicken Pizza's clothing.

I guess the whole point of this letter is to tell you, CPK, to stop fucking around with your classic menu items. People don't come to CPK for the flavor of the week, they come for the unique flavors you made classic. I mean you aren't going to mess with your BBQ Chicken Pizza (a.k.a. the one that put you on the map), right? So why change up these other aforementioned classics. Do yourself a favor, bring back the classics. You'll make me, and I bet a lot of other folks too, very very happy. Thanks.

Your Dear Friend and Valued Customer,

Ashleigh

photo by pbo31 via Flickr