Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pi on Wheels

When I first read about Pi on Wheels, I wasn't convinced the concept would work. Whole deep dish pizzas from a food truck? Wouldn't they take forever to cook or be pre-cooked and soggy? Who wants to buy a whole deep dish pizza for lunch? After one trip to Pi on Wheels, all of my fears were erased.

Pi on Wheels is a genius marketing idea for upcoming Penn Quarter pizza restaurant District of Pi - the first outpost of Pi Pizzeria outside St. Louis. While they put the finishing touches on the restaurant, they're rolling around town in an adorable green pizza truck giving lunch crowds a preview of District of Pi. From what we tasted, I plan to be one of the first people in the door once they open.

Pi on Wheels doesn't do slices but instead serves 9" deep dish pizzas that are perfect for 2 normal people, one competitive eater, or one person who likes leftovers. The pizza was a perfect size for B and I to split for lunch.

The truck normally carries 4 varieties of pizza (2 meat and 2 veggie). Each pizza will set you back $12 which is a couple of dollars cheaper than the pizzas at the restaurant will be. The truck takes credit cards which is a huge bonus for people like me who never seem to have cash on hand.

You're in for about a 10 minute wait for your pizza which leads me to believe they do some sort of fancy half-cooking technique before they load the pies on the truck. Whatever they do to it, the result is a hot pizza with a crust that is unlike any deep dish I've had before. It's not the butter-soaked chewy crust or the denser-than-a-Real-Housewife crust you might be familiar with. It's light and crispy and delicious. I'm famous for my rants about the nasty cornmeal dust stuff that a certain pizza chain used to put on the bottom of their pizzas, but Pi's use of cornmeal really adds to the flavor and enhances the texture.

While deep dish pizza is a little awkward to eat while sitting on the edge of a planter at Metro Center, we made it work. I look forward to indulging in their pies in the comfort of their new restaurant and checking out the cookie pi (house made cookie with caramel, fudge, and walnuts served with a choice of vanilla, cinnamon, or salted caramel ice cream). Is it too early to get in line?

Second Thoughts from B

There is no doubt that Pi's pies are a tasty addition to the DC food truck scene, but the thing that concerns me (other than the less than interesting truck design) is the portion size. For a workday lunch, stuffing yourself or bringing home leftovers are not always appealing options. That means most of us will be looking for a lunch date.

Since the majority of Americans are extroverts, this shouldn't be a big problem. But coming from the world of research science where introverted behavior is the norm, I can appreciate the fact that the size of the pizzas from Pi on Wheels could be prohibitive for some.

But at the risk of being one of those people who ignore the challenges of introverts living in an extroverted word, I'd encourage everyone to use the buddy system and share a pizza. With the weather warming and the flowers blooming, an outing with a friend over freshly made pizza is all that much more delicious.
District of Pi on Urbanspoon

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