Like most of my fellow old-timers, my first experiences with Flying Pie were at the classic location on Fairview in Boise. They've long had a location on State Street, and one has even come and gone on Broadway. A few years ago, Meridian was graced with their first location, and that (for convenience's sake) is the one I visit most often now. As a confessed cheese addict, my personal favorite pie is the Fromage A Trois (Provolone, smoked Gouda, sharp Cheddar, Italian herbs), and since I'm usually there with family and Mamma doesn't like tomato sauce, we usually throw in a Zerto Magnifico (olive oil glaze, provolone, Pecorino romano, spinach, linguica, tomatoes, garlic) as well. But every August for 22 years now (and a few days prior to and after), Flying Pie gets a bunch of habanero peppers at the height of their season and makes limited edition pizzas with them. These pizzas take Flying Pie's original crust and red sauce, adding cornmeal, mozzarella, chicken, olives, and "just the right amount of habaneros". There are three heat levels to choose from: single, double, and triple. A few years ago, my former roommate Miss Golden Rule commonly referred to me as a wimp because, despite my diverse culinary interests, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with spicy food. I picked jalapenos out of nachos and banh mi. I would dip only the tiniest corner of a chip in salsa before eating it. I always chose the mildest sauces available at any and every restaurant I visited.
But then I ended up trying Cheetos now long-gone Wild Habanero flavor and discovered that, in spite of said wimpiness, I actually liked the flavor of habaneros. And it got me really thinking about Flying Pie's habanero offerings. I'd never enjoyed spicy food, but could I learn to? Could I even learn to tolerate it? I wanted to find out, and since Flying Pie's mildest habanero pizza still reputedly packs as much heat as five pounds of jalapenos, I had a long road ahead. I eased my way into it. I picked up mild pickled jalapenos and started adding them to my Mexican food. I actually began using the salsas provided at the taco tucks I visited. Green Tobasco made its way into my condiment rotation, and later chipotle. After a while, I stopped picking all the fresh peppers off my banh mi, and then finally leaving all of them on. The mild pickled peppers gave way to normal ones. The spice levels I requested in pad thai and curry dishes started climbing. Eventually I was no longer just building up a tolerance, I was actually liking it. I'm not fiend for it by any means (yet), but I'm adding habanero sauce to my eggs in the morning at this point.
Last Summer, a bunch of us went to Flying Pie for my birthday and finally ordered the habanero pizza. The single habanero, that is. No reason to go crazy. We got the smaller version because it was mainly a curiosity item at that point, and we added cream cheese to cut the burn a bit. Everyone ended up digging it though, so this year we went back for a full-size. Still single and with added cream cheese though, as we had no way of knowing if the peppers would be hotter or milder than last year, or how many more of them the full-size pizza might contain. But first...
|Plain cheese pizza, because children.|
|Zerto Magnifico, because Mom is a bigger wimp than even I used to be.|
And there it is. There's no Cheddar on that baby, all that orange is six fresh habaneros, put through a food processor and spread liberally around a 12" pizza.
There are only six days left in this year's habanero season, so you don't have a LOT of time left but you DO still have a chance to get in there. All but one of us agreed that the peppers were more potent this year, so be aware of that. You probably shouldn't expect a follow-up post about the double habanero pizza next year or the year after...probably...but I'll tell you that this pizza, while a little sadistic, is delicious. It's still a bit outside my current comfort zone, and was even a little challenging to my sister and her boyfriend who are better versed in hot stuff than I am, but it's worth it.