My search for a great dairy-free pizza stalled after the last few pizzas from Slicetruck turned out to be disappointing. But on our way to visit my mom in the hospital, we passed a Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza next to the West Covina Mall. Blaze is a national chain with tons of locations in SoCal. My husband once tried Blaze in Culver City and raved about their customized pizzas. A quick look-up of their online menu showed that they offer vegan cheese, so I was game.
I usually think of “personal pizzas” as overpriced and unbalanced (too much crust, not enough everything else). But at Blaze, every pizza is a personal pizza — I mean, you can share it if you like, but why bother? A whole “build your own” pizza is $8.65, and this includes as many toppings as you want. This is truly a bargain, since it’s a decent size. Unless you’re ravenous, you probably won’t finish it in one sitting.
When we took my dad there, he asked, “What happens if I ask for the works?” My husband replied, “Well, it’ll still be $8.65, but it might be a little weird to have olives and pineapple on the same pizza.”
Ordering a pizza at Blaze is like standing in a cafeteria line; as you move down the line, the employees ask you what kind of crust you want, then what sauce, cheese, meats, veggies, etc. The line may be long, but it moves fast. When I asked for vegan cheese, my pizza-maker asked me if I needed her to change her gloves — so if have food allergies, they’re sensitive to that. And by the way, they use Daiya vegan mozzarella, the same stuff that Slicetruck uses — but Blaze’s pizza is way better.
First of all, the customization is fantastic. What a variety! If you’re the kind of person who stresses out about making decisions, this could be anxiety-producing, but they do have “signature pizzas” with classic topping combinations if you can’t make up your mind.
Second, the crust is fresh and delicious. The regular crust is thin, but not so thin that it collapses under the weight of the toppings. They also have a gluten-free crust and a “high-rise” (thick) crust, which I haven’t tried yet but my husband loves.
Third, the toppings are also top-notch. Whether it’s homemade sausage, crispy bacon, salami, fresh basil, zucchini, or spinach (and trust me, they are many more choices), everything tastes fresh and flavorful. One of my favorite toppings is the fresh arugula sprinkled on my pizza after it comes out of the oven. It’s like having a salad on my pizza, and feels so Italian.
Fourth, it’s fun to watch your pizza cooking in a wood-fired oven. Fire good.
The only downside to Blaze is the hectic atmosphere. You can certainly sit down at a table and enjoy a leisurely meal, but because of the busy cafeteria line and quick customer turnover, I wouldn’t say the place has a mellow vibe. But this is a small price to pay for such an excellent dairy-free pizza experience. If you love pizza and you can’t have dairy, this is a must-try.
BLAZE FAST-FIRE’D PIZZA, 120 S. California Ave., West Covina, CA 91790