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Pizza....What Could Go Wrong?

California Pizza Kitchen 
8001 South Orange Blossom Trail 
Orlando, Florida 

Chain Or Independent? Chain 
Dress Code? Nah 
Reservations? Nah? 
Price? $$ 

Lisa's Story 

While browsing the Florida Mall, we decided to contain our hungry for food(and shopping) at the California Pizza Kitchen. Their relaxed atmosphere and gracious host made us feel at ease while we browsed the menu. All of the décor was Californian....everything from the paintings to the wine bottles!  

Maria spotted a pizza called White Pizza. It had both of us intrigued. Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, sautéed spinach and roasted garlic AND Applewood Smoked Bacon ALL ON ONE PIZZA??!! Sold.  

To start, we dove into the Spinach & Artichoke Dip. It was ok. Large quantity, but nothing to write much about. Not as flavourful as I'd like. Meh. The pizza arrived, fresh and hot. You could see large piles of ricotta and spinach. Sadly, that's all you could taste. You'd get the odd bite of Parmesan, but that was it. For a pizza place, I hoped the pizza would be the best thing EVER. 

Service was ok. Lost our server a few times, but the highlight was really the host. Warm and funny, I wanted to hug him when I left. Just one of those sunshiney people that immediately brighten your day. 

For pizza, I think I'll stick to the big chains. 


Maria's Story 

It was a bright and sunny day here in central Florida - the birds were singing, the grass was growing, the clouds were creating little bunny shapes for our amusement...oh screw it...we are here to talk about the food.  Well... you got the backstory from my partner in crime.. I braved it to the mall - I don't really know how to get around down here yet - I drove to Clermont on my own the other week and I was amazed I didn't get lost.  Anyways.. we got hungry and we were torn between pizza of an Italian place across the way.  We weren't thoroughly impressed with the menu showing at the Italian joint so we though.. pizza is always good.  I wish we had tried the Italian place. 

Don't get me wrong - I ventured in with good intentions I have heard great things about California Pizza Kitchen,  and the restaurant was fairly full so I figured.. hey it can't suck right?!   I have now decided that maybe they were all brainwashed by aliens into believing that place is good and worth the visit. 

The hostess was lovely and we settled in nicely.  The menu was a good size.. enough variety without feeling overwhelming.  And then we saw it... Spinach & Artichoke Dip.  I can not count how many times Lisa and I have eaten this.  I swear we are on a worldly mission to find the best one.  This one however, isn't even near being in the running.  It was bland, bland and bland.  Yes - quantity was there, but lots of nothing is still nothing.  I also found it runnier than a normal dip should be.  I have serious questions if it was sitting around in a freezer for 6 months before we ordered it. 

As for the pizza - I was really disappointed - I love White Pizza - have since a child - and with a description including mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, pecorino romano, sautéed spinach, applewood smoked bacon and roasted garlic - I thought "dear lord - we have died and gone to heaven".   The mozz was ok, the ricotta could have used a little salt, apparently parm and pecorino romano are on the endangered cheese species list because they were pretty much omitted from our pizza. As a garlic lover I was highly disappointed by the lack of garlic and as awesome as bacon is.. it just couldn't make up for all the other lacking's.  If you are a rabbit you can rejoice - there as spinach, lots of lovely spinach.  

Service was "just" ok.  Nothing that jumps out for me to even really mention - except the host - he was all kinds of awesome.  The food was lack luster - meh to the tenth degree.  I will not be back again and I am happy that my last interaction was with the smiley host who made me forget for a little while that my lunch kinda sucked.   


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