As a wine lover, I get excited to eat out and try new dishes and wines. As a mom, my aspirations of lunching in lively wine bars are quickly doused. Wine menus at most family restaurants offer the same wines I refuse to buy in the grocery store. Typically, I just order a beer to avoid the choices. My girls have basically been raised at the Whole Foods Rock-It Bar in Laguna Niguel, because I can order a good glass of wine with our yummy food. But in all fairness, my kids want to be kids and eat piles of mac n’ cheese while they color in the free activity books. In honor of their recent report cards, we decided to enjoy a “ladies lunch.” Challenge at hand—mom wants wine, the girls want kid fare. On a whim, we visited our nearby California Pizza Kitchen. As we entered, I noticed a well-crafted marketing display of wine. I immediately noticed the usual suspects, but because the display was so whimsical and inviting, I was hopeful.
To my great surprise, the wine menu was palatable. The whites are smartly divided into categories like “slightly sweet,” “light + crisp,” and “full + rich.” The white menu has the most diversity with bottles from Italy, Washington, Australia, New Zealand, and France. As expected, the reds are nearly all California choices as are the full and rich whites. I was very happy to see a rose wine from the Rhone listed, and happily ordered the 9-ounce serving. Its pink hue was perfect for my lunch with the little ladies, and it paired well with my mini-veggie pizza and Caesar salad.
Needless to say, from the bright modern California wood décor to the variety of wines, the piles of mac n’ cheese, and the warm fresh bread, we will return. Granted, I’d stick with the white wine choices over the reds, but I like the option of a 6- or 9-ounce glass in addition to bottle purchases. I’m not usually a fan, but I nearly ordered the Sangria Flight. So, kudos to the CPK marketing team for making the wines and the experience inviting.