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Prairie Plates: Pie Day Delights & Pizza Pleasures Across the State

Episode Highlights:

  1. Pi Day Celebration with Pies: The conversation kicks off with the anticipation of Pi Day (3.14), celebrating not just with math but with a variety of pies, both sweet and savory.
  2. Favorite Pies and Local Recommendations: Rick shares his love for banana cream pie and opens the floor to listeners for recommending great pie spots across North Dakota and western Minnesota.
  3. Savory Pies and Pizza Discussions: The discussion expands to include savory pies, particularly pizza, with Rick detailing what makes a great pizza, including the importance of dough, and mentioning top pizza spots in Fargo and in Bismarck.
  4. Community Engagement and Recommendations: The episode encourages listeners to send in their favorite pie places, fostering a sense of community engagement and sharing culinary gems.
  5. Future Topics and Social Media Presence: Rick hints at future show topics, including seasonal cooking and foraging, and promotes his Fargo-Moorhead Eats Facebook group, expressing a desire to start a statewide food page.

Episode Transcript

Pie Day

Main Street

Rick, how are you?

Good to be with you again, Craig. Rick, it's Pi Day, almost. We're talking Thursdays, 3.14, right?

But we can also talk pies on Prairie Plates. Right, it's not just about math, it's about eating. I like the eating part even better, I'll tell you that.

Your favorite pie is around. Rick, where do you go?

Rick Gion

Well, I go to a lot of places because I do really like pie and it's not just sweet pie. I do like savory pie too, that being pizza and there are many forms of that too and we can kind of go into that a little bit later because I think Pi Day kind of has the implication about, you know, pies, fruit pies, custard pies, that sort of thing.

Main Street

So I'm thinking apple pie, cherry pie. I'm thinking real pies here, Rick. Oh, exactly.

Yeah. What's your favorite pie?

Rick Gion

Well, my favorite pie is banana cream pie and I will tell you at Burn Bombs here in downtown Fargo, it is amazing and they only have it kind of in the spring, but then sometimes they'll surprise you and put it on Facebook, but then it's gone. There are actually people that come and buy the whole pie when they see it on Facebook and then it kind of disappears at 11.30 or whatever and oh, what happened? Dang it.

Main Street

Yeah, sold out. I give you an option on your birthday for cake or pie. What are you picking?

Rick Gion

Probably both, but if I have to pick. Good answer. I would pick a banana cream pie.

I just, I really like it and there are other pies I like too. Pecan is very good and fruit pies are good. I enjoy rhubarb or technically, I don't think rhubarb is a fruit, but they put enough sugar in it.

So it does taste sweet.

Main Street

I'm picking a chocolate pie, Rick.

Rick Gion

Yeah, and chocolate silk pie. They have a good one at Burn Bombs too. Yes, that is, yes, top-notch.

Main Street

Around the state, where are other great places that you've had really good pie?

Rick Gion

I really like Little Cottage in Bismarck for many reasons. Their breakfasts are amazing, but they also have very good pies. Lemon meringue when I lived in Bismarck, I would order that quite a bit after I would eat breakfast.

And, you know, one thing I'd like to ask the listeners, if you have some recommendations, small towns, eastern North Dakota, western North Dakota, northern North Dakota, just send them into plates at prairiepublic.org because this summer I may go on a pie tour and as a part of this show, kind of give a full report. So if folks do have recommendations on pie, even in like western Minnesota too, just send an email to plates at prairiepublic.org.

Main Street

Heck with that, Rick. I'm going to give my email address here. I want to know where those things are.

We would encourage folks to send those to plates at prairiepublic.org.

Rick Gion

And we got a few on the fish fries that were really good. So thank you for those. And yeah, I would guess a lot of people have locations around the region that they like to go for pie and coffee.

Where else around the state have you had a great pie? Well, I think you got to really look at your local diners because it's just one of those things where your small town cafe usually has really good pie. And I think there's some pride in that too.

It's one of those local things where, well, that rhubarb pie was the best in, you know, in the area, that sort of thing. So I don't know. I stop into little cafes here or there and I like to do that.

I just like pie. So I have pie. We'll eat.

Main Street

Let's shift gears just a little bit and talk a little bit about pizza. We've discovered there are so many great pizza places here in this part of the state where we live, Rick.

Rick Gion

Yeah. One of the best pizzas, I think, in the state of North Dakota is at Fireflower Pizza in Bismarck and they're affiliated with Anima Cucina over by Peacock Alley in downtown Bismarck. What makes it so good?

Well, it's it's a wood fire. The crust is really good. They make the dough the right way.

The toppings are great. They're unique. The sauce is good.

The cheese is good. They just use very, very good ingredients and they know what they're doing making the pizza dough, which to me is the most important thing in making a good pizza. It's just like rice with sushi.

If you're eating sushi and the rice is not great, then the sushi is going to be absolutely terrible in my opinion. I mean, unless you like crunchy rice or mushy rice, you really need to get it right and making pizza dough is definitely an art and I would definitely look up some experts online. I have a few pizza books.

American Pie is one from Peter Reinhardt. Ashley and I talk about Peter Reinhardt a lot. He's like a bread baking expert and she uses a lot of those books too.

And they actually, I think, have a like a pizza oven in their backyard or something. So she's like a pro or those types of pizzas, the wood-fire pizzas, you want to do like a one day, two day, three day ferment or use a pre-ferment like a poolish and that's what makes that so good, but also the ingredients, your cooking temperatures, that sort of thing. But there are other pizzas in the state, say like Sammy's Pizza in both downtown Fargo and in Minot.

They're not really affiliated, but the pizza is very similar. I would call it a Chicago pub style thin cracker crust sort of pizza. And I think people just, or here in Fargo, Dwayne's would be another good example.

And a lot of people just eat those things. They're just, they can eat a large whole pizza because they like the thin crust and it's just so good that cracker crust and it's a different dough style. Some people put milk in those dough styles.

Some people put sugar in them. If anyone has the recipe for Sammy's Pizza dough, especially in downtown Fargo, please send it to plates at PrairiePublic.org because I've been searching for that, but there are so many different kinds of pizza. Detroit style is a thicker crust.

That's very, very popular right now. Rhombus Guys in downtown Fargo does a very good job of that, but it's kind of known as Sicilian style. And once you get into all these pizzas, it's kind of a, it's a wonderland really.

Main Street

Let me give you a little bit of my pizza history. Two things. We have a Traeger Grill and I have maybe tried a dozen times to cook pizza on it with varying levels of success.

I'm honing in on what I like and I will tell you that it's possible and it's possible to make it pretty good. Second thing is Rick, the best pizza I've ever had and anyone I think would tell you from Riverton, Wyoming is Betty's Pizza. Betty Giddings.

She used to have a pizza place called Betty's Pizza in the 70s, maybe into the, maybe into 1980 or 1981. It doesn't exist anymore. Betty Giddings is still alive and she brought out the recipe for one of our high school reunions.

Also has used it as a fundraiser every now and then. It's as good today as it was back then. The crust is good Rick, but the sauce that she uses, it's a little bit sweeter and it's just very unique.

And if you're from my neck of the woods, you remember Betty's Pizza.

Rick Gion

Sounds like it. It sounds like it would be addicting and I would probably enjoy that very much. I mean, if it has that reputation, I better sample it, maybe get some shipped in.

Main Street

I don't know. You know, and we have, when we purchased it for fundraisers, had it shipped and it's a little good. We started this tradition, I guess, or I remember starting learning about it on Halloween and every Halloween we have pizza and we, our whole family does that and yeah, Betty's Pizza is the thing.

Rick Gion

Well, that's a really cool tradition and hey, it's pie. Maybe next year order one for 314. I don't know.

There you go. What's coming up, Rick? Well, I think we may talk a little bit about seasonal Easter cooking next week, but you know, springtime we get into like seasonal foraging, maybe some mushroom picking, maybe some, how do you look for ramps?

That sort of thing. Morel mushrooms are very popular in the river bottoms amongst the Cottonwoods and Bismarck. Western Minnesota, you can find a lot of Morel mushrooms as well.

So we might get into a little bit of that and I don't know, maybe bring in an expert, but yeah, I mean spring cooking, you get into healthier eating and I know Ashley's big into that. So we'll have some pretty good conversations regarding that. I think.

Rick, you're on Facebook. Where can we find you? I have a big food page.

It's a group. So you have to look in groups on Facebook and there's about 35,000 members these days. It's called Fargo-Moorhead Eats or Fargo-Moorhead Eats, but there's a little dash.

So you got to put that in there. I'd kind of like to start a statewide page at some point here, but yeah, I don't know. It's a lot of fun to do and join, click.

There's a lot of food things going on in Fargo. So, but I'd like to start a statewide one at some point because there's a lot of good stuff in Grand Forks these days, Minot, Bismarck, Mandan, Dickinson too. And so, yeah, I don't know.

I like to have fun with it.

Main Street

We've been eating and doing a little bit of math. We got to two decimal places out with pie, at least with Rick Guillaume with Prairie Plates. Rick, thanks for joining us.

You bet. More Main Streets ahead. Stay with us.

NOTE: The transcript and show descriptions have been generated with AI tools. The audio of the show is the official record.