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The last time I ate at a California Pizza Kitchen was for a friend’s 12th birthday, because one had just opened up in Manhattan and it was totally a thing for preteen girls who were suddenly self-aware about the concept of eating healthy. I think I got a chicken pizza? Anyway, I had put the place out of my mind until last week, when for reasons that are neither here or there I found myself at their location in a mall in Connecticut.

I don’t mean to disparage anyone’s tastes but we need to address the alphabet soup that is the CPK menu. Some of the dishes sound like a dare. 

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Chicken tequila fettuccine makes no mention of actual tequila but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Or is tequila more of a state of mind here? Does it just make you wish you had some? And I really, really try not to be that New Yorker pizza snob but what is this thing about putting 12 avocados on top of something and calling it “California.” PIZZA DOESN’T NEED THAT.

Anyway, the most astounding menu item was “Two in a bowl.”

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It’s two soups in one bowl. That’s it. Whatever two soups you want, together, finally. I don’t think it’s the concept here that confuses me because sure, sometimes you want lentil soup and minestrone, and by Grabthar’s hammer you should have it. But they gave it a name! And the name is TWO IN A BOWL! It is somehow too straightforward for my mind to comprehend. Two in a bowl. Yes. Soup there. Both.

Jaya Saxena died as she lived: contemplating soup.

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