5 of the Most Perfect Pairings for Summer

After enduring crazy summer schedules, restless kiddos at home, and the 199 degree heat {okay, so maybe that last one was a bit of an exaggeration}, the Houston Moms Blog team and I were in need of a MOMS. NIGHT. OUT.  No meals to prep, no dishes to wash, and no kids stealing foods off of our plates.  Sounds lovely, right?

We were brainstorming where we could go or what we could do, when our friends and partners over at California Pizza Kitchen reached out and asked if we would be interested in trying out some of their new menu items and summer drinks.  It took us a collective 3.5 seconds to reply back with a unanimous “Yes, please!”  And within a few days, we were sitting around a great big table, tasting fun cocktails, devouring yummy food, and pretty much having the best night we ever could have imagined.  We were treated like royalty with CPK’s ah-mazing customer service, and we learned so much about good quality food and drinks.  Plus, the hysterical laughs and great company soothed our mama souls like no other.

It’s amazing how pairing so many different types of people / mothers / viewpoints / life stories, can make for the most fantastic friendships.  Looking around the table, I was in awe of how incredibly unique each and every one of us is, yet that’s what makes our little team and our mama tribe so special and so great.  Finding the perfect pairings really is what life is all about, and I’ll tell you what – this night opened my eyes to some of the most perfect pairings for summer that I have been chomping at the bit to share with all of you!

5 of the Most Perfect Pairings for Summer | Houston Moms Blog

As a disclaimer, these are all 100% my personal suggestions. And while I may not be a sommelier nor a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, I do think I know a pretty darn good food and drink pairing when I taste it. So promise me this…  When your mouth is watering after this post and you head out to give these pairings a try for yourself, I encourage insist that you drink responsibly. Plan for a designated driver or take an Uber, and be safe.  And if getting out of the house just isn’t in the cards right now, then I’ve got some easy alternatives you can try at home too!

STARTER :: Bianco Flatbread + California Roots

There’s something about a good flatbread that I just love, and the Bianco with its whipped truffle cream, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, and fresh sage does it for me every time. Pair it with the California Roots cocktail that has vodka, avocado {yes, I said avocado!}, mint, fresh agave sour, and a fennel salt rim, and well, the earthiness from both the flatbread and the cocktail just come together, making it the perfect start to a beautiful meal…

5 of the Most Perfect Pairings for Summer | Houston Moms Blog

Alternatives for @ Home > Make a homemade white flatbread at home, and pair it with a glass of your favorite chardonnay.

PIZZA :: The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza + Strawberry Lime Margarita

When you go to a restaurant and order their signature dish, you just KNOW it’s going to be good, right?  The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza never disappoints with the combination of BBQ sauce, smoked Gouda, red onions, fresh cilantro, bacon, and fresh pineapple. Wash down a slice or two {or four} with a Strawberry Lime Margarita, and it’s the perfect culmination of sweetness from the fruit, saltiness from the bacon, and kick from the sauce.  Yum!

5 of the Most Perfect Pairings for Summer | Houston Moms Blog

Alternatives for @ Home > Have your hubby pick up one of these signature pizzas to take home, and pair it with a fruit-based ale.  Houston’s very own No Label Brewery has a Texas Strawberry Blonde Ale that would be perfection!

MAIN PLATE :: Fire-Grilled Ribeye + Red-Berry Sangria

For me, red meats pair so very well with red wine. So of course, I absolutely loved the Fire-Grilled Ribeye with housemade Pinot Noir sea salt and topped with creamy blue cheese butter, alongside my glass of Red-Berry Sangria. You can order this delicious sangria as just one glass in a flight of three, but as the only red wine in the lineup, it pairs oh-so-well with the ribeye. {Save the Orchard Sangria and Seasonal Harvest Sangria for your other courses!}

5 of the Most Perfect Pairings for Summer | Houston Moms Blog

Alternatives for @ Home > Fire up the grill, cook a few steaks to a perfect medium rare, and pour a glass of red sangria that you’ve been letting steep for a few hours.

DESSERT :: Strawberry Shortcake + Le Grand Courtage Blanc de Blancs Brut

Sparkling = Perfect Dessert Wine! And the Le Grand Coutage Blanc de Blancs Brut pairs very, VERY well with the Strawberry Shortcake. The mouth-watering shortcake biscuit, piled high with strawberries, whipped cream, housemade candied lemon zest, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is sweet, but not too sweet. And the bubbles of the sparkling wine compliment it beautifully! *I should note that the Strawberry Shortcake is a seasonal item, so you MUST try it soon.*

5 of the Most Perfect Pairings for Summer | Houston Moms Blog

Alternatives for @ Home > Scoop up some vanilla ice cream, top it with macerated strawberries, and pop open a bottle of Le Grand Coutage Blanc de Blancs Brut for a dreamy nightcap.

BONUS :: CPK + Kid’s Birthday Parties

Okay, okay, so this isn’t really a food and drink pairing. But y’all, I had NO clue that California Pizza Kitchen hosted birthday parties for kids! {Did you?!?} They set up a precious little cooking station where the kiddos can craft their own pizzas, have goodie boxes for each attendee to take home, AND they even have a special gift for the birthday boy/girl themselves. All of that must cost a fortune though, right? WRONG! It’s an absolute steal, and they take care of everything from food to drinks to favors for you. See why I had to include it in this line-up? Mama’s most favorite pairing right here!

5 of the Most Perfect Pairings for Summer | Houston Moms Blog

Alternatives for @ Home > Buy all of the supplies, clean and decorate your home, prep dozens of goodie bags, set up a pizza making station, open the door to a brood of rowdy children, watch pizza sauce be splattered on your wall, not have enough oven space to cook all of the pizzas at once…  Okay, so maybe there really isn’t a good at home alternative for this one!

Sooo…  Is your mouth salivating yet? It should be, seeing as each of these pairings have been tested by yours truly – and they really are THAT good. But here’s the thing … I hope that this list is only a jumping off point for you to try your hand at mixing foods with different drinks, and ultimately discovering what makes YOUR palate swoon. Maybe red wine with red meat is entirely too rich for you. Or maybe you’re not a fan of pizza paired with margaritas. It’s okay. The best part is getting a bit outside your box and experimenting with flavors that you might not try otherwise. It makes for some special memories, lots of laughs, and maybe even a new perfect pairing to add to your line-up.

So schedule a babysitter and make it a date night, or grab your girlfriends and have a mom’s night out, or heck, swing by CPK for lunch this weekend and try your hand at pairing their Quinoa & Arugula Salad with a {non-alcoholic} Fresh Strawberry Mango Cooler! I’ll make it super easy on you by leaving their locations and info below…

California Pizza Kitchen

River Oaks Center {1997 W. Gray, Space E01, Houston, TX 77019}

Post Oak {1705-A Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056}

Memorial City {303 Memorial City Mall, #610, Houston, TX 77024}

Woodlands {1900 Hughes Landing Blvd Ste 200 D-4, The Woodlands, TX 77380}

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Please Note :: We are SO thankful for our partnership with California Pizza Kitchen — and all of the fun we’ve had thus far!  While they may be one of our valued sponsors, I am proud to say that all thoughts, opinions, and pairings are my very own.

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