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CPK - OK I tried it; Not Bad

As a result of another thread and having my west coast buddies berate me on CPK I just finished one for lunch, The Sicilian variety. Baked for 11 minutes at 450.

I chose this variety as I wanted to give it an east-coast tongue test and the toppings are found on what I consider real pizza.

1 - The name, Sicilian. In NJ where I grew up, Neopolitan is thin crust and Sicilian is thick crust. The crust on this pizza is crispy paper thin, so it gets a 3.

2 - Crust - very crispy, but tasted like paper thin pizza dough. No biggie in my book, so i'm fairly neutral on this aspect. I give it a neutral 5.

3 - Sauce - or should i say lack therof. Very typical of west coasters so that it does not overwhelm, but compliment the other flavors. Did not get in the way of the other flavors so i'll give it a 7.

4 - Toppings - I really liked the sausage. It was much better than most sausages i taste on others and blows away Celeste sausage. Cheese was not overpowering and sorta held the thing together. Other meats were also very tasty. Seasoning was way overpowering and took away from the rest of the pizza. So my scores would be: sausage - 8; other meats - 7; cheese - 5; spices - 2.

5 - Overall - I still think that this is a neat frozen treat but can't call it pizza. If I were to slice in bite sized pieces and serve at a cocktail party the response would probably be "flatbread" or "cracker-crust" or something other than pizza.

But for an overall lunch snack, this ain;t so bad (dog really liked the crust). I would give it a 6.5-7 with the meats very good and the crust and seasonings bringing down the score. I just can;t call this "pizza."

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  1. To me, the odd thing about CPK pizzas is that the crust is too sweet. This is especially obvious when you get them at the restaurants.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Snackish

      I'm generally a CPK fan, but I agree that the chain does make thing too sweet -- not only the pizza crust, but also the salad dressings. It may be an attempt to appeal to customers who have been raised on soda and expect everything to be at least somewhat sweet.

    2. What is CPK?? I hate it when people use abbreviations that I do not understand!

      6 Replies
      1. re: emilief

        yeah, not a clue what CPK is, and while we're asking... what does ISO and DH and all those other things mean??? i am computer chat illiterate!
        we need an abbreviations handbook.

        1. re: RiJaAr

          I think DH means dear husband. It depends on context. That's how I figure out most of these abbreviations.

          As for CPK, I prefer them eaten at the restaurant, but they're not as good as I remeber from being a child. I do like the unique toppings, but it's fairly average food otherwise.

          No clue what ISO mean. Is there an abbreviations glossery on this site?

          1. re: RiJaAr

            As others posted CPK - California Pizza Kitchen. We don't call it CPK here in NY though. Yes, DH is dear husband - can be affectionate or perjorative depending on context and ISO is... I've been wondering that myself. Can someone help out here?

            1. CPK=California Pizza Kitchen

              I also find CPK crust to be rather sweet and I like sweet things. It's tasty, but I'm with you jfood, when they start putting peanut butter Thai chicken on it, I have a problem referring to it as "pizza"

              2 Replies
              1. re: vsoy

                I agree wholeheartedly. I classify it, and others like it including many delivery chains, to be a pizza-like food meaning it's a flattened bread with stuff on it and is generally round. Being from NY and particular about pizza I find it hard to categorize California Pizza Kitchen and others as pizza. But then, I constantly fight with a friend from the midwest over the flat crust vs. deep dish thing. I consider the Chicago stuff to be something other than pizza as well.

                1. re: laylag

                  Another thing that drives me crazy with one of the pizza places where I live is when they cut a round pizza into square pieces. Not normal triangle slices, but square, rectangular, oblong, parallelograms,etc. I know it doesn't matter, but it really irritates the heck out of me. Its one of the few places that make somewhat acceptable pizza. Of course, Sicilian pizza is the exception to the square slice rule.

              2. k thats it i'm starting a thread on this topic!

                1. Surprisingly, CPK makes a good bowl of split pea soup. Discovered this once when I was sick and tired of the CPK menu, but it was kids choice of places to go. Very tasty, and totally vegetarian.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CynD

                    Agreed. I think this is actually my favorite item on CPK's menu these days.

                  2. Hmm, I used to see a lot of places cut round pizzas into squares on the east coast, but I've never seen it here in the bay area. It works for groups in which some people don't eat the crust, even though the middle pieces are a bit messy.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Grubbjunkie

                      It's the default in the Midwest, you're supposed to eat it with knife and fork, and it's a thoroughly Communist way of serving pizza. I want all those people hauled up in front of the House Un-American Act...wait, what? Disbanded? When? FORTY YEARS AGO! Well, FINE.