Dear California Pizza Kitchen aka CPK aka IDK Who You Are Anymore,
Much like Richard (Nixon) thought he would never be forced to step down from the throne that was and still is the United States of America, I never thought I would be writing this letter; this is my Watergate.
There was a time when your barbecue chicken chopped salad was all I ever wanted… all I ever needed… it was as influential as NSYNC’s aptly-titled first album, NSYNC. A time when upon being seated, freshly baked slices of bread would be plopped down at the table accompanied by ROOM TEMPERATURE butter. A time when the root beer flowed as powerfully as Lil Kim’s verse on the hit track “Lady Marmalade.” Those were the good days.
“Where do you guys want to go to dinner?” my parents (pre-divorce) would ask. “CPK! CPK! CPK!” my siblings and I would chant as my parents shook their heads in disgust. “Ugh,” was all they could muster.
I couldn’t fathom their distain for your institution, your culinary ode to Italy and the food she inspired. Had they even tried your spinach artichoke dip? Probably not or they may have still been together…
Despite my parents abhor for you, Cali Piz Kitch, they always gave in. I celebrated birthdays in you, end of school years, I even dined at you as my last meal in Los Angeles before I went off to college in Boston where they indeed had a CPK (perhaps your distant cousin Albert). I couldn’t get enough.
I don’t remember the name of my first boyfriend who passed on but I do know that the number to you, my local Cal Cal PP Cocina, is (818) 505-6437 (Editors note: please be sure to dial 1 before the area code if you are calling from an outside code, take care).
They say good things don’t last forever and until two weeks ago I would have disagreed; I would have slammed my delicate fist onto a table and said, “CPK is forever, their kids cheese pizza is forever.” But not now…
I returned to you after a long, unintentional hiatus; on August 23, 2014, exactly forty two years, two months and six days after Watergate broke, so did my heart.
I sat down at a table and waited for bread that would never come–at least not without perseverance on my part. When it finally arrived, there was not a butter packet in sight, rather, placed before me was some sort of oil dip, an oil dip I did not recognize and had not requested. I politely asked for some butter and when it arrived it was……..freezing. I held the cold square tightly in my hands as I simultaneously prayed to G-d that I was having a nightmare. Let me wake up, let it all be a dream.
My barbecue chicken chopped salad followed soon after. I gazed upon approximately three pieces of chicken and a laughably small amount of dressing. The tortilla chips I used to cherish so much lacked crunch, and even the lettuce seemed to be phoning it in.
I looked around the room at the other diners mindlessly settling for pasta they could have cooked up at home, waiters halfheartedly refilling waters with zero passion, and I, in turn, felt nothing. I couldn’t for the life of me remember why I thought you were so special. I had the urgent feeling that I needed to leave and never return. I didn’t even want to see a dessert menu, how could I?
So it is at this time, as I sit at Sbarro, enjoying a gorgeous slice of three cheese pizza, that I must say goodbye. Goodbye Mr. and Mrs. California Pizza Kitchen… unlike Ricky Nixon I have no successor, I am simply gone. Goodbye CPK and goodnight America.
The Higgs Weldon is a humor website with funny articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was started by the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please read and enjoy our jokes!