Tricolore Salad Pizza

The fall after I graduated from IU my friend and I packed our bags and moved to Virginia to start fresh. She was attending grad school and I just wanted to take a break from life. After four years of studying hard, working hard and interning hard, along with always having been the hyper-responsible oldest child, I just wanted to see what it was like to do nothing. And so I waited tables at California Pizza Kitchen in Richmond, Virginia.

Being a hyper-responsible person in the restaurant industry is not recommended. You will be ripped out of a deep sleep on more than one occasion when you have a nightmare about not delivering salad dressing to the right table. You will creep your tables out on slow days when you pay just a tad too much attention to their progress, making sure they want for nothing. Additionally, managers will have you open and close, staying late to oversee all side work, checking over other people’s duties and then scrubbing every surface until it’s clean. And sadly, you aren’t making tips during this time, just raking in $2.13 an hour.

All this is to say that nine months after I started, I decided to use my college degree instead of waiting tables for a living, but not before I developed a deep love for all things CPK. I may not have been paid well but I always managed to walk out of work with a meal to split with my boyfriend (now my husband). At 11 pm each evening I’d show up at his doorstep with dinner from CPK. He’d have just gotten off of work at Kinko’s, still in uniform too. We both wore nametags. We’d sit in mostly silence eating likely the only real meal we’d had all day. Then we’d take some time to dream about where we’d be in the future and what we might do “when we grew up.” But we always resolved that, even if this was as good as our life got, it wasn’t half bad.

One of our favorite meals from CPK was the Tricolore Salad Pizza. It’s a light salad tossed in balsamic vinaigrette set on a lightly carmelized Neapolitan crust. It’s the meal I think of when I think back to our late nights in Virginia. And happily enough the only CPK in Indianapolis opened about 5 minutes from us just this week. I’ve been hyped about it all summer. And tonight when we got home from work we tried to settle on the perfect meal for our moods. We both had rough days and just wanted a glass of wine and something comforting… a Tricolore Salad Pizza. But 5 minutes just seemed too far to drive. So we spent an hour making it from scratch (using this recipe) and spent another hour eating it on the front porch, enjoying it without wearing nametags or uniforms, and looking back at the last eight years.


6 responses to “Tricolore Salad Pizza”

  1. Nikki Avatar

    That picture is making me hungry at 830 in the morning! I can’t believe how fast time flies, it seems like yesterday coming to visit you in VA in your sweet little house. Then again Austin was 4 months old and now he is going into first grade. Man I hate getting OLD! Love reading your Blog it makes me smile and is so “Claire”. Love you! Nikki

    1. Claire Avatar

      I can’t believe it was that long ago. Such a fun visit and very evident that I need to plan a trip to see you very very soon. So glad you are reading and that things can still be so “Claire” even after living so many miles apart for so many years. That’s the mark of a great friendship!

  2. Lisa Avatar

    Claire, I would like your life. And I mean that in the best way possible. Sounds like a wonderful evening, indeed (now and eight years ago…).

    1. Claire Avatar

      Thanks, Lisa. It is a good life. And made so by my lovely friends, like you!

  3. Erin Avatar

    I was seriously craving this pizza like 3 weeks ago. And I honestly can’t remember the last time I had it. It must have been when we lived in Richmond. I have fond memories of our times there….even working at CPK. Like the hurricane! And your car almost getting smashed by a tree! And watching ALL of Sex and the City! And every time This Love came on while we were working and everyone would sing along! And Buddy’s! And Bottom’s Up Pizza! And seeing at movie at The Byrd and everyone talking along with the opening from the 80s! Going to H&M and being REALLY excited about it! Trips to DC! And our bathroom tile! And our transom windows! And Mormons who smash walls!

    I think we’ll have to have a reunion trip at some point.

    1. Claire Avatar

      I think a reunion trip is in order for sure. We can relive our first trip out there, exploring the city and finding our home. It was pretty much one of the most fun trips ever — and not just because I met Regan 🙂

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