Honolulu Advertiser staff writer Kawehi Haug just proclaimed that the “Hunt for best burgers on island (of Oahu) is over” with the arrival of The Counter Custom Built Burgers, which recently opened for business in Kahala Mall.
Well, while I don’t have the experience of having visited every pizzeria on the island (yet) to back my claim up, if you asked me upon this first impression, I’d say the hunt for BEST PIZZA ON OAHU is also over, as it was since they’ve brought it to market. The award is now handed to North Shore Farms’ Neapolitan Grilled Pizza. Ding-ding… we have a winner!
If the exclamations “OMG!”, “Off the chart!”, “Off the chain!” or any other adverb or expletive you’d like to add to that can describe what an incredibly great slice of pizza tastes like, THIS is the pizza that will evoke those thoughts upon each and every bite.
This is seriously the best pizza I have ever had on this island, or perhaps in my collective memory, period.
As time-and-over proven THE way to go, its execution is downright SIMPLE, taking on a modified, ‘Hawaiianized” approach to the classic Pizza Margherita, using similar core ingredients, except for a few “switch-a-rooze” to make it North Shore Farms’ own.
What sets North Shore Farms’ Neapolitan Pizza apart isn’t just their tomatoes, but also that Macadamia Nut Pesto sauce, which tastes authentic to traditional Pesto, yet unique in its own right, thanks to the switch from Pine Nuts to Mac (not sal’). Rounding it out on each and every slice is the low-moisture, “ooh-ey-gooh-ey” (<— is that a word?), tight ‘n creamy Mozzarella cheese, countered by the fresh basil garnish, and underlying it all in foundation, THAT CRUST.
Oh, this North Shore Farms’ grilled pizza CRUST is INCREDIBLE! As fellow local girl food blogger Kathy, now living in NYC puts it, “grilled crust with just the right amount of char in just right places”. Here you can see exactly what she’s explaining…
That’s the equivalent to cross-hatch markings on a perfectly-grilled prime cut of rib eye steak. You know how when you take a bite of a great steak, your eye lids kind of naturally start to close shut? That’s what happens upon each and every bite of this wonder of a pie.
To put my tasting impression of this pizza into perspective, take into consideration that: 1.) I wasn’t really hungry when I ate it. 2.) If I was hungry, since it was cold and rainy day, I would have preferred a hot bowl of Portuguese Bean Soup or Tonjiru vs. this, and 3.) I normally don’t care for pizza with pesto sauce, preferring a marinara by all means.
Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who’s had one from the KCC Farmers” Market, where just like last weekend, this morning when I attended the event once again, I’d estimate 3 out of 5 people sitting or walking around eating something had this pizza, in a toss-up between Paniolo Kettle Corn and Roasted Sweet Kahuku Corn-on-the-Cob.
If you live on Oahu, you all know it’s been quite rainy the past few days, and it was also drizzling off and on this morning at KCC at the foot of Diamond Head, but that didn’t stop anyone… it was still PACKED!
Items I picked up on this visit included Marine AgriFuture Sea Asparagus, Ba-Le Bakery French sandwich rolls, Vietnamese style picked carrots and daikon, Andagi, Spring Rolls, Paniolo kettle corn popcorn, Japanese cucumbers, Sumida Farms watercress, Chinese parsley, Misoyaki Salmon fried rice and, last but not least, this incredibly delicious pizza!
Here you see they add the fresh low-moisture mozzarella cheese slices to the pizza as it gets prepared to hit the grill…
Notice they cut the pizza in wedges not only before it’s cooked, but also before adding the Mozzarella. This way they can carefully regulate that each and every slice gets 2 solid slices of cheese. Sweet.
From there it goes to the “grill master” who adds them slice-by-slice, not the whole “pie” at one time…
Why? Well obviously because the portable gas grills they’re using aren’t big enough to accommodate the entire pizza’s substantial diameter. I didn’t have a tape measure on me (which you know, I usually carry one on me lol), but I’d say it’s at least 16″ in diameter.
This also gives the pizza grill master the control to carefully check each one for the proper toasty goodness under each slice’s crust…
Once the pizza stone is loaded up with slices, they close the gas grill’s cover and let them bake…
Within just minutes I watched at least 3 pizzas being made and run through the grill while taking these photos.
Here they are done and ready for the next stage…
That next step would be simply to garnish it with fresh basil, which they used an alternative of either chiffonade or whole leaves. In this case, chiffonade basil…
And that’s that. Dig in!…
Going back to the slice I took home to enjoy, here’s a cross-cut view, so you can see how thick the crust is…
Again, this pizza is based on the classic Pizza Margherita, except switching out marinara sauce with a Macadamia Nut Pesto for that “Hawaiian touch” twist, and a brilliant triumph at that. Not to forget the Oahu North Shore, Waialua-grown Tomatoes. Ohw’right!
Ultimately though, the magic of this pizza is that CRUST. It’s flavor-packed with what I think is either kosher, Hawaiian, or perhaps garlic salt. Sealing the deal is that charred underside as it sears on the grill-fired hot pizza stone, providing texture and flavor that takes this notches above all others.
Add to that the simplicity of this otherwise classic pizza recipe, thanks to its heritage which dates back to 1899 Italy, North Shore Farms Neapolitan Grilled Pizza, made fresh exclusively at the KCC Farmers’ Market, has just ended my personal hunt for Oahu’s Best Pizza®. As far as I’m concerned, this is it!
North Shore Farms is a boutique grower of specialty crops, including tomatoes, beans and chili pepper, as well as prepared favorites including popcorn on the cob, Fried Green Tomatoes, Heirloom tomato sauces, salsa, lomi lomi tomato & salmon, pickled tomatoes, dill beans, okra, & asparagus, and of course, the Neapolitan Grilled Pizza!
Photo courtesy of A Passion for Food
What? North Shore Farms Neapolitan Pizza
On a delicious char-grilled crust, topped by a generous layer of Macadamia Nut Pesto, slices of North Shore Farms’ Tomatoes, melted Mozzarella Cheese and fresh Basil garnish
Where did you buy it and how much? KCC Farmers’ Market every Saturday, $6/slice
Big shaka to: Being nominated as the BEST PIZZA ON OAHU (IMHO)
No shaka to: Limited availability
The Tasty Island rating: 10 SPAM Musubi (off the charts!)
• BigWaveFlavors.com – North Shore Farms official website
• Saturday @ KCC Farmers’ Market – A Passion for Food
• A Foodie’s Paradise at KCC Farmers’ Market – The Tasty Island
For tomorrow’s review, we’ll check out the Sunday brunch buffet at Prince Court in the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki.
As always, mahalo for visiting The Tasty Island!