Aina Haina Shopping Center
820 West Hind Drive
I love pizza — no, correction, I loved pizza.
Ours is a tragic love affair, mind you. It all started about a year ago when my stomach began growing increasingly sensitive to virtually everything I ate. I’d always been a little sensitive to dairy, but at that point I had to completely cut it out of my diet. Begrudgingly, I said goodbye to things like ice cream and cheese.
Life has been OK since then. I am coping. Sometimes, on an infrequent trip to Whole Foods, I get to bring home a frozen vegan pizza or vegan cheese. But it’s been quite some time, more than a year at least, since I’ve been able to go out and order a pizza.
That is, until I received an email announcing the opening of Pieology in Aina Haina Shopping Center asking if I would like to attend a media preview. I nearly deleted the email, until I saw that the whole concept of Pieology — a California-based chain with locations throughout the country — is to allow diners the opportunity to build their own pizza.
“You can eat pizza again,” is pretty much what I read in that email.
So to Aina Haina Shopping Center I went last weekend, and guys, it’s like I reconnected with an old best friend. I ate pizza! Yes, it deserves an exclamation mark.
It’s a pretty fun atmosphere at Pieology, which has an ordering system that mirrors Subway’s, and it’s all incredibly simple — stand in line, choose your crust, sauce, cheese and toppings before it gets baked in a 500-degree oven and arrives at the table within minutes (mine came after about three minutes of waiting, and things were quite busy at Pieology at the time).
Each pizza is about 8 inches in diameter and doesn’t require sharing. It’s a thin crust, so if that’s not your thing, you’ve been warned, but the upside is that you have free rein to put just about everything on your pizza. Technically, you literally could put everything. Sauces include house red, a three-cheese Alfredo, herb butter, olive oil, fiery buffalo, pesto and BBQ. There was mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan and more, along with chicken, meatballs, pepperonis, jalapenos, olives, banana peppers — name any combination you’d like to see on a pizza and I’m fairly certain Pieology would be able to meet those demands.
For health-conscious eaters, Pieology also offers customizable salads that looked good enough that I almost reconsidered my cheese-less pizza, though I think I made the right choice.
Ordering can be a little tricky, especially if you are as short as I am and can’t easily speak over the case of ingredients. There was a lot of head nodding and finger pointing, but it got the job done.
And guys, I got to eat pizza. Now I just have to find someone willing to eat a completely customizable pizza to go back with me … as if that’s even going to be a challenge.
FOOD TO SEE
Bishop Museum is bringing in a new exhibit next Saturday, March 12, that seriously sounds like it’ll look good enough to eat — though sadly, it’s inedible. Well, most of it.
Sweet: A Tasty Journey, which runs until May 30, tells the story of the candy industry, complete with a replica of a rainforest shanty where cocoa is collected, a “factory” that provides an educational look at the candy-making process and a 20-foot “Rock Candy Mountain,” where you can play games.
All of it makes me crave sweets right this second, and luckily, there is one taste-testing component that allows guests to experience the latest flavors from Jelly Belly, my absolute favorite.
Bishop Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission costs $22.95 for adults or $14.95 if you’re kamaaina.
For more information, visit bishopmuseum.org.