Surprisingly Healthy Dinner Find at a Chain Restaurant… whoa.

I spend a good portion of my time on the road traveling from city to city, whether for pleasure, early morning TV appearances, or just generally trying to get the hell out of Dodge for some fresh air (well, NYC). Over the past few years I’ve developed a somewhat-flawed, although mostly-effective system of maintaining my health on the road or in airports: snack on a lot of fruit as often as possible, pack high fiber granola bars in my bag, and succumb to over-salted and fat-laden dinners at random, typically not-exciting restaurants along the way.

California Pizza Kitchen, you have surprised me beyond belief. Now, I know it’ll sound super snotty, but when I walked through the doors of a CPK recently I hardly expected to have a REALLY delish meal. I expected average-level food and average-level everything else, all whilst my hips expanded at a rapid rate from over-carbing and under-fibering. Um, I couldn’t have been more wrong. If you head into any CPK in the country right now (and thankfully they’re all over), they’re serving up a new healthy menu with a Cedar Plank Salmon dish that includes a perfectly-cooked and seasoned portion of salmon (that’s surprisingly hearty), and a generous side of roasted corn, lightly sprinkled with fresh feta cheese. Seriously, it’s delish, and the whole plate works out to 640 calories of freedom (not bad for the average active woman on a 2k a day plan). It should also be noted that my food-snob husband basically licked my plate clean, which surprised me after his 30 minute lecture on “chain restaurants aren’t the same.” …He has since mentioned that salmon about 5 times, and it’s only been a week.

It’s about $18 in most cities, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a portion this good and this size for this price in any other restaurant that encourages you to sit.

PS- I really enjoyed the music at CPK, too. They had some slowed-down Euro jams that I’m 91.5% certain made my chewing more rhythmic and dancey.

Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce's aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber