I chose California Pizza Kitchen for our last lunch in L.A. Not only is it a couple of miles down Ventura Boulevard from my best friend’s house, it’s close to Barnes & Noble. I felt the need to surround myself with books for a bit.
The last time I went to CPK was back in 2010 when I first started the gluten-free diet. It was only one time and only for a salad. I never attempted to go when they first put out a gluten-free menu and I’m glad I didn’t. Once they realized they weren’t doing gluten-free right for those of us who needed it, they went back to the drawing board. I applaud them for this.
I knew they put out a gluten-free menu again and it has better reviews than their first attempt. It was time to try it. CPK has always been one of my favorite places. Back home, it was a treat for me to go out to dinner there. Because I burned so many calories walking almost everywhere, I would order a pizza and the BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad and eat it ALL. No leftovers to take home.
I started with a Hand-Shaken Agave Lime Mojito. Sometimes a late lunch calls for an adult beverage and a good mojito never disappoints.
I chose the Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage pizza. It was delivered separately by the manager with a specialty gluten-free toothpick. That is how seriously they take it. At least at that location.
The pizza was every bit as good as their regular pizzas as I remember them but with a thinner crust. I made sure to leave a couple of pieces even if I wanted to eat the whole thing. Cold pizza for breakfast never gets old, especially when you have to get on a plane early in the morning. If we had a CPK in Cincinnati, it would be my go-to for pizza again.
I didn’t tell anyone we were going to be in town since we went to L.A. to help Dawn, and babies really don’t give us a timetable until they’re ready to arrive. Once everyone was home, I announced on Facebook that I was in town. This led to my uncles giving me a hard time for not saying anything. Because uncles.
We arranged to have lunch with family, meeting up with everyone at Uncle Ed’s girlfriend’s house, where fruit, cheese, veggies, and dip waited for everyone. And mimosas. Can’t forget the mimosas. It is a must to have at least one drink when I’m with my family.
We drove together to Ventura Harbor Village for lunch at Brophy Bros. This is one time I did not get to do research ahead of time. Sometimes I don’t have that option when I’m with family. Luckily, our server and the kitchen were amazing. I gave them my list of food allergies and they worked with me on what is and could be safe for me on their menu.
Chaz and I started with Oysters. They were East Coast even though West Coast are better (in my opinion). But I never turn down an oyster (unless it’s coated and fried in gluten) and I never met an oyster I didn’t like.
I chose the Shrimp & Crab Salad without dressing. The dressing had soy in it. Of course. Soy and corn are in just as many things as gluten and I hit the trifecta. But, I’m used to eating salads without dressing so it wasn’t a loss. The actual win in this is the crab. So sweet. It was the second time having crab after being deprived of the succulent crustacean for a year and a half. Anyone want to sing the “Hallelujah Chorus”? That was in my head with each bite I took.
My crazy cousins, Clutzy & Pipsqueak.
I would go back without hesitation.
Chaz wanted to walk to Universal City Walk from Dawn’s house. Totally doable walk, but I lacked the energy to walk the steep hills with all the up and down the stairs and driveway I did at Dawn’s in the days prior. Instead, we drove with the intent to walk around after having lunch.
It took us some time to decide on Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. because mobile reception was horrible and I couldn’t use my Find Me Gluten-Free App. This meant looking at what was available and going by what we knew. And we knew Bubba Gump has a dedicated gluten-free menu, having been to the one in Honolulu several years ago when I was just gluten-free and dairy-free.
I started with an Adult Root Beer Float (root beer float with rum). I figured after holding down the fort for seventy-two hours without anyone’s head catching on fire, I deserved it. Plus, it was like having dessert first and I like having dessert first. It makes me feel empowered.
Then I went with the Shrimp and Veggie Skewers. I tried the butter sauce, and while it was good, I preferred the simplicity of the shrimp and veggies on their own.
We strolled around, checking out stores here and there. I found myself a new coffee mug with different Hello Kitty faces all over it. Of course I found a lot more Hello Kitty things I wanted and convinced myself it was not a good idea. Besides, I wouldn’t have enough room in my suitcase.
Coasters can be artwork
Then I found this amazing Wonder Woman poster in the window of a comic book store as we left it. After some searching I discovered the artist is Ant Lucia and she did it as part of a series for QMx. I had every intention of ordering the print but talked myself out of it because I have nowhere to hang it. And prints like that shouldn’t be hidden away in a closet.
To end the day out, we saw Lucy at the AMC Theater there since it was the only movie playing soon either of us had an interest in. If you ask me, I’m still not sure about the movie other than Luc Besson has done better.