Downtown Indy – California Pizza Kitchen

First of all I’d like to say “Welcome Back” to California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) after a long absence from Indianapolis.  When the Keystone at the Crossing location closed we started missing the BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad immediately.  We were randomly rewarded with that dish when we made it down to Texas or Water Tower Place in Chicago but that was few and far between…

The new CPK location in Circle Center Mall downtown is great.  It took the place of Alcatraz and my sentiments appear to be shared by many online when I say this is a HUGE upgrade for the space.  With a mix of indoor and outdoor seating CPK seats around 200 guests and does not seem that big (it’s only utilizing the ground floor of the 2-floors occupied by Alcatraz).  It’s not a quiet place by any means so prepare yourself for some noise.  The open kitchen can be seen from just about ever table as well.

We arrived around 6:30 on a Friday night & had a 5-10 minute wait before being seated.  Initial service was prompt and courteous and our drink/app orders were placed.  Service started getting a little slow after that.  Nothing ridiculous but you could tell they were still getting everything working smoothly.

We ordered the following:

  • Bang Bang Shrimp
  • Kids Pizza – Pepperoni, Sausage & Mushroom (Son)
  • Wild Mushroom Pizza with Chicken (Me)
  • Kung Pao Spaghetti (Daughter)
  • BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad minus Cilantro add avocado (Wife)

The shrimp appetizer was delivered quickly and was identical to when you get a PF Changs and Bonefish.  It was just large enough for the four of us to each get a few bites.  So far so good.

After a while three of the four entrees was delivered with the salad, of all things, being over 5 minutes behind the pizza and pasta.  Once delivered it looked (and tasted) great.  Kind of odd that the only cold item ordered took the longest to receive.

The Kids pizza was quickly devoured and reported to be great.  The wild mushroom pizza lacked salt but once added was very tasty. The crust was tender and flavorful just like I remember it.

The Kung Pao Spaghetti was the surprise dish at the table.  It was loaded with spice and surrounded by dried red chilies.  The pasta was cooked perfectly.

The BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad looked and tasted great.  Even with 3 of us sampling it my wife had about 1/2 left to bring home for the next day.

Overall I’m going to give CPK a 4 out of 5.  The food was good but the service was just a little off.  We’ll be making repeat visits, there’s no doubt about that, & hope to see the timing improve.

California Pizza Kitchen on Urbanspoon

West Coast Tacos

People living on the east and west coasts have had the luxury of food trucks for years. In 2010 this concept, that’s all but unknown in the Midwest, came to Indianapolis. West Coast Tacos, managed by Arnold Park, John Ban & Trent Davis, has hit the city by storm.

The group uses Social Media to spread the word about their ever changing locations and menu items.  The Twitter/Facebook feeds also provide a platform for their growing fan base to sing their praises and communicate with the staff.

The West Coast Tacos truck can regularly be found in Broad Ripple catering to the late night crowd; sometimes staying open as late (or early) as 3am.  Other times they are roaming the city streets setting up at various locations for the lunch crowd.  I wonder how many customers they recognize from one shift to the other…

I was fortunate enough to have West Coast Tacos at my workplace for lunch a while ago & was very happy with their offerings.  In that case it was 3 soft tacos with their ever popular salsa.  My second visit was in Fishers shortly after the debut of the Fried Rice Burrito.  It was even better than expected!

West Coast Tacos definitely fills a niche in the Indy food scene and I hope to see more innovation like this in Central Indiana.  The possibilities are endless for would be entrepreneurs, from BBQ to Pizza to Chinese food.  The food truck has grown up and is bringing some fun and excitement to the area.  Welcome guys & best of luck!

West Coast Tacos (Mobile Food) on Urbanspoon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_truck