Review: Mexifornia Festival at California Pizza Kitchen

Mexican love with Californian Twist
CPK rolls out 3rd edition of Mexifornia Festival

Its summer time and my favourite, California Pizza Kitchen aka CPK is back with its most awaited Mexifornia Festival’. Being an avid Pizza lover, I never miss out on opportunity to visit this place and when the occasion is so special, how can I not be a part of it. Absolutely no second thoughts when it comes to CPK. Last week I was invite for the tasting session. This was my tenth visit at CPK and third consecutive year at the Mexifornia Festival.

For the people who are still thinking what Mexifornia festival is all about, it brings together the taste of Mexican and Californian cuisine. What better to compliment the searing summer than the tastes of cilantro, peppers, squash, tomato, avocado, vanilla, cocoa, corn, Mayan ingredients and all of these shot with a burst of California with its emphasis on fresh ingredients and inspiration from rich Mexican flavours.

The Mexifornia festival 2015 has carved out special, innovative items on the menu which includes beverages, salads, appetizers, pizza, pasta, desserts and two CPK speciality item.

As always, I started with my favourite Mango Tango. This drink is a blend of mango juice, orange juice, passion fruit syrup and lime juice, tastes just brilliant. The other mocktails available on the menu are Aloha (Mango Juice, peach syrup and half and half) and Apple Jack (Apple Juice, lime juice and strawberry puree).

The first appetizer presented was CPK Nachos. I am well aware of the fact that most of them secretly admires Nachos and never backs down to indulge in it when given a chance. This CPK Nachos are made Californian style, with cheese sauce, jalapenos and tomatoes. The nachos though drowned in cheese, keeps hold of its crispness and these toppings just do wonders.

Next up was Chicken Tomatillo Chille. This was chicken strips tossed with garlic, onion and trio peppers in New Mexico’s green chilli sauce. It wasn’t extraordinary, just simple and good.

Next appetizer was Southwestern Chille Chicken. It was grilled chicken breast, basted with south west green chilli and cheese lying on the bed of mashed potatoes. This didn’t appeal my taste buds, the chicken was a bit tough to chew which makes the whole experience bad.

This is not the kind of start I would ever expect at CPK. As I mentioned earlier it is my tenth visit and this, my first bad experience.

Moving on, the next item on the table was Crispy Tortilla Salad. This was a brilliant comeback after few flops. This crispy tortilla tossed with shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes, in tangy ranchito dressing, topped with chicken was amazingly good. This is the reason why I love being at CPK.

And now, its Pizza time.

There was a long list of other awaited items on the menu, so we requested chef to make all the pizza on a thin crust.

Up on the table, first pizza was CPK’s best seller, *drumrolls* Chicken Asada Pizza. And am I surprised for this being the hottest seller? Hell no. This thin crust pizza had sliced chicken with cilantro pesto and New Mexico green chilli sauce sits on top of a traditional crust with cheddar and fontina cheese and roasted peppers. Every topping made its presence felt and the taste was perfectly balanced. The cilantro pesto with sliced chicken is what makes it outstanding.

Next up was, New Mexico Pizza. Thin crust with ranchito sauce, topped with mozzarella sauce, spicy chipotle chicken, sliced red onion and New Mexico green chilli. Ahh! After having such a good pizza, this falls apart. The chicken was just spicy with no good taste and the mozzarella cheese could do very little to play its role.

Next on the table was, another CPK’s hot favourite, Mexican Habanero Pizza. This time I was surprised rather shocked of the taste. This traditional crust topped with baja cottage cheese, white mushrooms, cherry tomato and habanero chilli was downright bad and tasteless. After speaking to the management on this we were informed of ‘something important’ missing from the pizza. This really turned me off.

Post this I didn’t wanted to try any other pizza, and decided to move over the Speciality of CPK for the next. The other Pizza on the menu was Sonara Pizza, Mexican Veggie Pizza and Southwestern Pizza.

The first item from the speciality section presented was, California style Chimichanga. Getting into the detail, it is crispy fried wrap filled with California rice, chicken, topped with cheddar cheese and served with shredded lettuce, sour cream and roasted tomato salsa. Full marks to the team for the presentation, brilliantly done. The taste was good but could have been better, nothing extraordinary. For the first timers, you should definitely give it a try.

Next speciality was New Mexico Basa Fish in banana leaf. This my boy, was the best item on the menu. Baja marinated basa fish wrapped in a banana leaf and baked in CPK’s hearth oven was cooked to perfection. The coriander paste was like a cherry on a cake. This is certainly not to be missed.

And it was time to conclude a mixed evening but not before we had the desserts on the table. There are two desserts on the menu, Mexican Caramel Banana Flan and Trio of Chocolate Mousse. Both the desserts were unique in its own way, again full marks to the team for experiment. For all the dessert lovers, do not miss out on these.

Well, that’s it. Finally time to conclude but before I sign off, I would like to mention that CPK has sets its own benchmark and today it just couldn’t cross that line.

Verdict: 2.5/5
Must try: Crispy Tortilla Salad, Chicken Asada Pizza, New Mexico Basa Fish in                          Banana leaf and Trio of Chocolate Mousse.
Where: California Pizza Kitchen – Indiranagar, Pheonix Market City and                                Kormangala(No Liquour) 
When: Till June 21, 2015
How much: Rs. 305++ onward


Dreamer, Blogger, Writer, Foodie, Movie buff, Public Relations. Contributor for The New Indian Express and recently started a news publishing website 'Unkrate'.

1 comment:

  1. Yum!! This party food is looking so delicious. I am craving on that Mexican pizza. Well dear I am also going to attend the space Miami events tomorrow. It is a food event and various kinds of cuisines will be offered there. I am excited to try out yummy cuisines!