Friday, July 08, 2005

San Jose, CA: California Pizza Kitchen

Caesar Chicken Sandwich - 1 star


The best thing about this sandwich was that I actually got to eat it. Like many Fridays, I was busy well past the time when I should have gone to the airport, in this case walking out at 10.15 to catch an 11.31 flight at SJC (about a thirty-minute drive, plus time to get gas, plus 10-15 minutes for the brontosauran rental car shuttle to pick you up and take you to the terminal). On top of that, I had to check luggage, and I was flying on American, where I can’t use the short line. But in four years at this company, flying almost every week, I’ve never missed a flight (except for connections missed due to the airline, or return flights I had to rebook because meetings went way over time), so I’ve developed a reverse-fatalistic approach to airline travel: I assume that things will work out and I’ll make my flight. (The best confirmation of this was the day I had to fly home early because my dog was in the hospital, and I arrived at the terminal eight minutes before departure – only to find the flight was delayed by an hour.)

Speeding south on 101, I had already decided to break one of the streaks that I was proud of: I had never returned a rental car without filling the gas tank. (And no, John, I’m not going to expense the fill-up charge.) Then, on top of that, I was pulled over for the first speeding ticket or other moving violation of my life. Now, a few minutes before getting pulled over, I had actually been driving at around 88 mph (and I did slow down once I saw that), so when the cop asked if I knew how fast I had been driving, I said, “75 to 80.” But he had only recorded me driving 75. Now, how can you possibly get a speeding ticket driving 75 on 101 (where the speed limit is 65), IN THE MIDDLE LANE? But anyway, I digress… Finally, when I got to the rental car center, the handheld machine they use to give you a receipt had run out of paper, so I had to go into the building to get a receipt, which I fortunately decided not to do.

But one thing did work out: there was a short line at curbside check-in, and their cut-off is 30 minutes before departure, so I made it. And I got to buy my sandwich before getting on board. In picking the sandwich, I was sacrificing any hope I had of getting to seven servings of fruits and vegetables today (my current obsession). But when choosing between a boxed sandwich and a boxed salad to eat on a plane, I just couldn’t go with the salad. (In a nutshell, this is why my blog is about chicken sandwiches, not salads.) I did buy a sorry-looking banana, though.

As a marketing person, I am amazed at the way the word “Caesar” has become attached to a wide range of food products that bear increasingly less resemblance to the original Caesar salad. I mean, who decided that what a perfectly nice salad of Romaine lettuce, croutons, anchovies, parmesan cheese, and (sometimes) hard-boiled eggs needed was – slabs of chicken? And who decided to take the chicken, turn it into chicken salad, and put it on a soft bun with red onions baked into the top, combined with lettuce and tomato and thin shavings of a too-dry, too-salty imitation parmesan cheese? But someone knew that you could charge more for a Caesar chicken sandwich than for a chicken salad sandwich. And there you go.

Dauber update

Dauber was in very good health and spirits for the second half of June. However, he vomited three times on July 1 and once on July 4, so we are worried that his cancer may be reappearing. (Presumably it’s been there for a while, but hadn’t been causing symptoms.) He still is moderately energetic, has a healthy appetite, and likes going for walks, so we are just trying to spend as much time with him as possible while he is still happy and active.