A Busy Week of Making Pies

Last week was one of the busiest weeks I’ve ever had as an aspiring pie baker and making pies, but boy was it fun! From baking multiple pie recipes, which for me, was a first, for a graduation party – to putting on a pie baking competition for my daughter’s soccer team at their team dinner, I knew way before hand that the week would silly crazy!

The Graduation Party

pie baking
Graduation Party Pies

A friend of mine’s daughter was graduating from high school and her mother (A friend I used to work with decades ago), thought it would be great to cater in homemade pies. Who better, I’m sure she thought, than to bring in, yours truly, to put together some delicious pie dishes?

pie recipes
Graduation Party Pies

Without skipping a beat, I excitedly accepted the challenge! I had never yet, made any serious number of pies, for a fairly large event, using 4 different pie recipes. This would not only test my ‘organizational’ skills but also push the limits of my meager sized home kitchen.

The pie recipes requested for the graduation party were – an Oreo Cookies & Cream Pie, A Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, A Triple Berry Pie and an Cranberry Apple Crumble.

making pies
Strawberry Rhubarb

I first made sure I had plenty of time carved out for the ‘day before’ and the ‘day of’ the Graduation Party, as well as enough space in the fridge and around the kitchen for pies, ingredients and other pandemonium! Did I already mention I was working with an infinitely small kitchen?!

I then decided I would make two of the pies the day before and the other two, the morning of. In the end though, I actually ended up making THREE of the pies the day before and the Cranberry Apple Crumble the day of, which impressed even me!

I had never made this many pies before, especially with so much variation in the recipes, but I felt both honored and happy for the opportunity. The opportunity to not just apply what I have learned to such a monumental task, but also in being able to share my talent and skill with others, who absolutely enjoyed them! It was also a great chance to contribute to a special moment, where good food is often one of the more important focal points to having a successful event.

The Team Dinner & Making Pies

The end of the week is when things REALLY got moving, with the Idaho State Soccer Cup Championships. And, like they’ve been doing throughout the season, planned to have a Team Dinner the night before the competition kicked off. The only difference this time being, is that I was tasked by the Team Manager, to liven things up a bit with a ‘Pie Baking Competition’ between the girls.

Pie Baking
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

I first came up with four relatively simple pie recipes using either fresh or frozen fruits. In this case, a peach pie, a blueberry pie, a raspberry pie and a blackberry pie. Of course the girls wouldn’t be required to make their own crust (even though many of them were fully capable of doing), so we found some pre-made pie dough at the store to boht simply and speed things up a bit. After all, they still had to get some rest later on to be able to compete in the state championship matches, right?

Pie baking
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

The other trick with coming up with the recipes was to make sure that each had a relatively short prep and bake time. It was a little tougher than I realized, but I managed to wrangle the perfect foursome together for the night’s competition!

making pies
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

We had the girls draw recipes out of a hat until we had four equal sized teams, give and take, then gave their ‘designated team captains’ the recipe and set them off!

making pies
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

Ingredients were all piled up in various spots around the the kitchen.

I presided over the competition, only offering verbal assistance, ONLY if they asked for it. Let’s just say I was able to stay relatively mum throughout and just sit back and enjoy the mad scramble to bake the best pie.

Nice thing about doing something like this for competitive athletes? It doesn’t matter what they’re doing. EVERYTHING they do, be it playing sports or baking, is an all-out competition!

making pies
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

The event was one of the best we’ve done for the girls. I walked around the kitchen, skillfully avoiding busy ‘little bakers’ as they ran to and fro, making pies and marveling at the creativity some of the teams took upon themselves to go above and beyond what the recipe called for.

making pies
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

As each team finished their prep and placed their ‘projects’ into the ovens, anticipation and excitement steadily built, as pies browned and juices bubbled up. The smell in the kitchen was sensational!

pie baking competition
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

So, the IDEA was, for the parents to each take slices and then to judge what team had the best tasting pie. None of that happened. In fact, before any of us knew it, the girls had taken the pies out of the oven and then quickly proceeded to dive into one another’s pies themselves, anxious and eager to see how their teammates did.

making pies
Soccer Team Dinner & Pie Baking Competition

The parents got the ‘scraps’ or whatever was leftover from whatever the girls hadn’t completely polished off in their first pass! They were like hungry little locusts, descending upon the kitchen in numbers and literally, in the blink of an eye, devouring pie pan after pie pan. It was both a wonderful and hilarious sight!

In the end, the entire exercise was an utter and complete success! The girls had a blast and the team camaraderie that was reinforced was priceless. In fact, several days afterwards, some of the girls wanted the recipes we used so that they could make pie on their own, back home!

Who knew making pies could be so fulfilling?! Well…I did, but now, so do many many others!

Boise’s New Lunch Spot The Funky Taco

The Funky Taco. I don’t know if this will become a weekly or b-weekly feature here on the Pie Addict, but carving out a day to visit and eat at some of Boise’s awesome lunch hangouts is pretty fun?! This week, my foodie associate, Nathan and I, as well as several others took a walk down the block to Boise’s ‘food row’ on 8th street downtown and visited The Funky Taco!

At the direction of Nathan, We arrived at The Funky Taco, on the corner of 8th and Bannock at 11:30am sharp. This was all by design! The place was mostly empty, as the workplace lunch crowds and local high school students had not yet brought Holy Hell into the area yet. This strategy proved to be a spot on. Within minutes of us ordering and receiving our food, the place was packed to the walls with the ordering line winding its way outside.

The Funky Taco
The Funky Taco – 801 W Bannock St., Boise, Idaho 83702

The Funky Taco prides itself on using locally grown products and an emphasis on Asian, Indian, Mexican, and Americana ethnic flavor. If you take a peek at the menu here, you’ll get what I mean.

For this first inaugural trip for me, I chose the Chicken Roja tacos. You get two good-size tacos in every dish, and having had tacos at other spots around town, these are quite large in size. So if you, like I almost did, assume that TWO TACOS IS NOT ENOUGH, think again. It should be plenty.

The Funky Taco – Chicken Roja Tacos

The Chicken Roja tacos had charcoal’d chicken thigh (I can still smell the charcoal’d aroma on me, hours after having eaten) ,house roja, char’d pep/onion, arugula, ballard feta and garnished with two thin slices of radish.

The chicken dominated the taste buds right off the bat and the ballard feta, for me anyways, added a great after taste, mixed with everything else.

Thank goodness there were others at the table, which meant there was conversation, because otherwise, I would have shoveled these tacos down in no time. I guess there is SOME purpose to conversation right?

The portion size was just right, so you didn’t have to shuffle back to the office in a ‘food coma’ and curl up under your desk for a good ‘post-lunch’ power nap.

I must admit I could have easily woof’d down a couple more, but there is some truth to EATING IN MODERATION, so I’m glad I didn’t order a couple to go (as I was so very close to doing).

Last Piece of Advice

WHEN, you get to The Funky Taco, be sure to arrive before the lunch time rush. The weather is the best in the country right now and the downtown Boise lunch scene is as vibrant as ever. We got there at 1130AM which was near PERFECT! The crowds hit shortly after and I felt sorry for those 20 deep in line, so plan accordingly.

We had lingered a little longer at our table after eating than we should have and were asked to leave (politely, mind you) as the capacity was near bursting. No harm no foul, they’re a new and popular food spot, and we were in the way of greatness!

The Funky Taco – www.thefunkytaco.com

Vietnamese Pho (Pronounced “fuh”) at Pho Nouveau

Vietnamese Pho. I may not have tried a great many dishes in my lifetime, but I am certainly open to trying new dishes should the opportunity present itself. So today, a couple co-workers and myself, ventured a couple blocks over to the Vietnamese Bistro, Pho Nouveau. Although both co-workers had been there before, this was my first time, not only eating at the establishment but eating Vietnamese food. Thankfully, I had my co-worker, Lisa, who is Vietnamese, help ‘school’ and guide me through this most delicious meal!

First off, if you could ignore all the construction work being done on the business next door, once you walk into Pho Nouveau, tha ambiance of the restaurant was great. It was both airy and cozy, with big windows looking out at the downtown Boise lunch traffic, and an assortment of tables and booths. The menus in particular catching my attention. They spared NO EXPENSE making an impression with those! Best menus I’ve seen in a while.

Speaking of which, although my main goal on this particular visit was to try Pho, I could see, judging by the assortment of items on the menu that another lunch time trip would be warranted. There were 3 or 4 other dishes that I would absolutely have to have, that I saw on the menu.

What is Vietnamese Pho?

Taking the best description I could find, for Vietnamese Pho straight from the Pho Nouveau menu:

Hearty, delicious, meal-in-a-bowl, Vietnamese noodle soup features a ginger & star anise infused broth & thin rice noodles. Topped with onions. Served with fresh basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeño & lime.

You could order this with a variety of ‘additionals’ such as chicken, beef, tofu, beef brisket, meatball, beef shank or shrimp.

I think I had made the comment during lunch that this would be the healthiest thing (relatively speaking) that I would probably eat this week. Much of the Pho seemed composed of carrots and leafy greens, with the rice noodles piled on, but hidden beneath the ‘foliage’ that floated atop the soup.

I think the thing that struck me, almost immediately is how FRESH it tasted. And maybe its just me because of all the not-so-healthy things I eat (actually, I’m not THAT bad…but anyways…), but since it seemed to have very little seasoning in it, you really got the full blast of freshness from it, fresh veggies, rice noodles, the whole bowl.

Lisa and my other co-worker, Nathan, helped instruct me on the various types of chop sticks and the variety of ways to wield them, with each having their own preference. I ‘managed’ just fine, but by the end of the meal, had fallen back onto familiar ground with my handy fork and ‘shoveling’ the rest of the bowl of Pho down my ‘bottomless chute!’

Do Try Vietnamese Pho at Pho Nouveau

I think in a town like Boise (which is growing in leaps and bounds), we are fortunate to have access to, not only such a diverse range of foods, but a diverse AND authentic range of foods.

Pho Nouveau has a great and intimate, downtown layout and a great assortment of dishes on the menu (Pho Nouveau lunch menu). So, if you are ever in downtown Boise, and looking for something different for lunch or dinner, I would encourage you to try it out. And just remember, if you do, to return back here with a full report and let me know in the comments below!

And lastly, in closing, since we did have a birthday for a co-worker in the office today, I took the opportunity to make her a Strawberries and Cream Pie with a graham cracker crust. Turned out to be a most helpful afternoon boost after a most delicious lunch time meal!

strawberries and cream pie
Strawberries and cream pie

Boise’s Lemon Tree Co is Open and It’s Pretty Amazing!

Boise’s Lemon Tree Co is Open! Everyone who’s anyone that either frequented downtown Boise or ventured downtown from time to time for lunch at any one of the amazing spots there, has probably heard of the Bleubird? You know, that hot lunch spot on the corner of 10th and Bannock Street that always seemed to have winding lines down the sidewalk? Well, the Bleubird is gone, but all hope is not lost! In it’s place is an all new sandwich spot that’ll have you forgetting about the Bleubird after the first bite of one their special and unique artisan sandwiches!

Lemon Tree Co Artisan Sandwiches

The Lemon Tree
Boise Latest Downtown Lunch Spot

If you get a moment to check out the Lemon Tree Co online menu, one of the first things that will strike you (well, it struck me anyways), was the unique and interesting ways various ingredients were mixed and used in literally all of the sandwiches? I’m not going to spoil it for you, so head here to check out the menu, but I will say, some of the items are a bit odd at first glance, but no doubt delicious!

The nice thing to note is that they pay special attention to VEGETARIANS and VEGANS here so there’s something on the menu for everyone!

The Peruvian

Lemon Tree Co
The PERUVIAN Sandwich

On my first visit to the Lemon Tree Co, the one sandwich that caught my attention almost immediately was THE PERUVIAN.

Maybe its the Carnivore in me, but just looking at what the PERUVIAN was made up of, had me wagging my tongue.

Let me lay it out for you.

Genoa salami, ham, apple-wood bacon, sausage crumbles, Monterrey jack, Peruvian sauce, Fritos®. Yep! FRITOS!

The bacon and sausage had me from the get-go, and the Monterrey Jack, melted over top that was the icing on top! Not going to lie, the Fritos gave me pause initially, as I’m not one to usually put chips in my sandwich (although I know many who do, so I know this is not uncommon). But you have to try everything as is, once, right?

All, I’ll say is that I’m glad I tried it because the PERUVIAN has instantly become one of my favorite sandwiches in Boise. I may even go grab another as soon as I’m done here?!

Lemon Tree Co

A good lunch spot (like a breakfast joint) is tough to find at times. And even though downtown Boise has a number of notable and delicious destinations to grab lunch at, mark my words, the Lemon Tree Co will make its mark, and sooner rather than later.

I encourage and highly recommend you make your way there, and soon, before word gets out and they long lines of their own snaking down Bannock!

Boise Burek at the Sofra Bosnian Grill

Ever had Burek? I think the first time I tried Burek was maybe 6 months or so ago, and it only took that one time to hook me! So what is it? Burek is a baked filled pastry, made of a thin flaky dough (phyllo or filo). They can be made with a cheese, spinach or even meat filling. The first and only time I had this wonderful pastry, it was homemade, but something this good had to be be offered elsewhere. This weekend, I made it my mission to find out where!

I started by harassing…er…asking a Bosnian buddy of mine if he could teach me how to make Burek, as he had bragged previously to me that he could make these. He then proceeded to tell me that it was not HE, that knew how to make them but his significant other! However, he did mention that we could venture to a Bosnian restaurant here in Boise that made WONDERFUL tasting Burek. SOLD! I immediately scooped him up and off we went to the SOFRA BOSNIAN GRILL.

If you live in Boise, or ever visit (which I do encourage you do!), the SOFRA BOSNIAN GRILL is located just off Overland Road at 3665 E Overland Rd in Meridian.

It’s nestled in the midst of a business park of sorts, so its easy to miss, if you’re not familiar with that part of town. There was plenty of seating when we arrived, however I was told, that during the weekdays, especially during lunch hour, the place is tough to get into!

They had a large menu, though we went right for their coveted meat-filled Burek, so I didn’t really have a chance to see what else was offered. Just another excuse for me to make a return visit!

Service was quick! We each received two warm, golden crusted, meat-filled Burek’s and small salad which we wasted no time in digging in. Ten to fifteen minutes later, our plates were cleaned and we were absolutely spent!

The Burek’s we ordered were the meat-filled ones, which was basically a ground beef filling. And, although I also wanted to try the cheese filled Burek, I literally had no space left in my stomach, so we ordered a couple to-go!

If you ever want to give Burek a try, venture up to the SOFRA BOSNIAN GRILL. And even if you are out and about during the lunch hour, still head that way. The menu is bound to have something both warm and delicious!

The Boise Pie Co Opens Shop & Just in time for Thanksgiving!

For mid-November, the day seemed unseasonably mild, and was already starting off to be, yet another wonderfully lazy, Saturday for me and the family. That is until a good friend, texted me, that he had come across something he felt would arouse my curiosity. In the course of ‘running around town’ he had rolled past a restaurant just off Orchard street titled – Boise Pie Co & Eatery. I had certainly never heard of it, before his mentioning, but I assured him, by the end of the day, I would know quite a bit!

The Boise Pie Co & Eatery just recently opened its doors at the end of October this year, and was founded by Terrance and Bridgette McAbee, just out from Florida.

The Eatery right on Orchard and and when you get close to it, you can’t miss it.

Inside was a bright and intimate seating arrangement, with maybe 10 or so small tables (I didn’t count but it was a relatively small area. Nothing wrong with that). Soft, but vibrant colors and very inviting.

Boise Pie Co

Boise Pie Co was emblazoned upon the back wall behind the counter and display case, where a gorgeous assortment of pies, both dessert and savory sat laying in wait!

The staff were friendly and were ready to jump into action.

There were Pecan pies, Caramel Chess pies, french coconut , banana cream pie and a peanut butter pie with oreo cookie crust, that had my UNDIVIDED attention! To my surprise they also had a sweet potato pie, which was noteworthy since not many shops carry sweet potato pie. HUGE point awarded to the Boise Pie Co!

I must also note, that apparently, the Boise Pie Co & Eatery have a Key Lime Pie, with fresh juice, that they use in the recipe, that is, from what I’ve heard, flown in directly from Key West! So, if you like Key Lime Pie, this is probably something you’ll want to sample first!

There were also savory pies (something I have not yet had the opportunity to make myself), and I love savory pies. On display were chicken pot pies and shepards pie, and both looked delish.

My only disappointment was that there weren’t many fruit pies, and maybe that was because of the time of year or the holidays. What fruit pies they did have, I immediately requested a slice of. A three berry pie and an apple crumble.

Both were flavorful. The crust on the three berry pie was a bit thin for my personal taste, but the apple crumble was amazing. I actually should have ordered an entire apple crumb pie rather than just a slice. It was that good.

Boise Pie Co & Eatery

And, pies was not all that was on the menu.

The shop had a number of sandwiches as well, several of which, by their description alone, almost had me taking a seat and making a home in one. Although they all sounded great in their own right, there were a couple that specifically caught my attention, like…

The Tampa ($8) – Braised mojo pork, sweet ham, dill pickles, mustard, mayo, swiss, all under hot pressed Cuban bread. They call it ‘The Tampa’ but that’s a Cuban Sandwich if I ever saw one, and they are my favorite! I will definitely be returning to sample one of those, most definitely!

Angry Bird ($9) – Buffalo chicken, avocado aeoli, blue cheese crumbles, romaine, tomato, with a whole wheat wrap. This sandwich had me at buffalo chicken and blue cheese crumble!

Boise Pie Co

In closing, not that I need remind you, the Holiday season is upon us and that means pie, pie and more glorious pie. So, if you’re ever out and about in Boise and closing in on Fairview and Orchard, stop by and visit the folks at the Boise Pie Co & Eatery and have lunch and a slice pie. I think you’ll thank me later that you did!

BOISE PIE CO & EATERY

Address: 1216 N. Orchard St., Boise, Idaho 83706

Phone: 208-343-3101

Website Address: Doesn’t appear to have one at this time

Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Menu price range: soups and sides $2-$6; sandwiches $8-$9; savory pies $8-$10; dessert pies $3.50 (slice) – $19 (full pie)

Kid friendly? Yes