"If you don't try this when you visit the market, you fail." —Robyn Lee
Before heading to Honolulu's KCC Farmer's Market I consulted The Girl Who Ate Everything (aka AHT editor Robyn Lee) on the ins and outs of the market. The quote at the top of the post pretty much sums up her feelings on the North Shore Farm's Pesto Pizza.
The lady behind this pizza, Jeanne Vana, is known for her Big Wave tomatoes and bunches of basil that she sells alongside the slices. And of course those ingredients top her pies as well. There is only one kind of pizza ever, and that is this pesto, tomato, and basil variety which goes for $6.50 a pop. With 8 slices to a pie that makes this a $52 pizza! Whoa. I just did the math. That's a lot! This could very well be the world's most expensive "normal" pizza. It's certainly the most expensive pizza I've ever eaten.
Price aside, I was skeptical of these slices on the front end of ordering. I expected some manner of giant grill rig that would have pies launching to and from it's fiery face. Instead they use this set up...
Even though this wasn't what I was expecting, their hacked grill did a surprisingly good job. The portable propane grills they use (available at Costco) are fitted with baking stones, and while I wasn't able to find out the temperature that the stones reach, the nicely charred undercrust vouched for the grill's heat capacity. Closing the lid gave the top of the pies with just enough heat to melt the hand-stretched, homemade mozzarella.
The pesto, which is also homemade with the basil they grow for the farmers' market and macadamia nuts, is neither too assertive or too subdued. It blends perfectly with the natural sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes, almost creating the illusion of a tomato sauce. And the crust, though they characterize it as Neapolitan, has a middle weight thickness that allows the par-baked shells to develop a sturdy, yet delicate crispness to the bottom while maintaining its soft bread-y top. And, yes, I said par-baked. Nothing about the texture of the crust seemed compromised, but one would not expect a par-baked shell from such a pricey pie. Especially since the crusts are out-sourced. Good dough is the foundation of great pizza and theirs is the one thing they don't make or grow!
So, while the pies are topped with homemade pesto, farm fresh tomatoes (a rarity for Hawaii that does a lot of tomato importing), and hand-stretched mozzarella, all of which are great, the pie is really expensive. The grill hack is pretty effective as well, but a par-baked crust on a slice that costs more than one a DiFara's is just insanity.
If you have $6.50 burning a hole in your pocket, then go for it, but don't expect the price to correlate to the caliber of the pie here.
KCC Farmers' Market
Parking Lot C, Kapiolani Community College 4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816 (map) Saturday 7:30 am - 11 am