A long time ago, I tried out the BBQ Chicken Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (CPK). By this time, the restaurant was in Michigan everyone had been raving about it. I tasted it and was really disappointed. Using BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce disturbed me, and the onions hidden in the cheese made it even worse. Later on, I tried many different pizzas from CPK and was pleased. Yet, since moving to California, I have had very little, if any contact with CPK. Recently, though, I had the chance for a revisit to their Beverly Hills location and decided to once again try out their BBQ Chicken Pizza. But this time, I was prepared.
Before getting to the pizza, I started out with an appetizer of Garlic Cheese Focaccia with Checca. This was described as Italian-style pizza bread with cheese and garlic, also served with tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. I asked for it without the tomatoes and was impressed when the waiter brought out what seemed like a whole loaf of garlic cheese bread. I hadn’t expected it to be so big, and I had also thought it might be sliced up in some way. I channeled my animal instincts and started tearing apart the thing. The bread was nice and fluffy, while the cheese on top was crispy, but still easy to rip. It was a lot of dough, though, and certainly not meant for one person to eat before getting their own pizza, which was how I was doing things.
Now, for the BBQ Chicken Pizza you’ve all been waiting for. When I looked on the pizza menu, I found that there were two new additions to the BBQ Chicken Pizza selections. These were the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken, which included pineapples and the BBQ Chicken with Applewood Smoked Bacon. I decided to order the bacon one, without onions of course. There are few things worse than an unwanted pizza ingredient on your pie. Especially if it gets under the cheese, it is painfully difficult to pick out. Fortunately, my pizza came out perfect.
The BBQ sauce as a pizza sauce is still kind of strange to me, but it worked well with the combination of cheese, chicken, cilantro and bacon. The crust was pretty tasty, although a bit soft at times. The addition of bacon, although very unwelcome in some foods, added a nice smoky dimension to the pizza that definitely enhanced it. It was a pretty good quality pizza and definitely what I have come to expect from CPK. It’s not exactly gourmet, but certainly a few steps above typical delivery pizza.