Gluten-free bakery comes to Moorhead

What some people might think to be an oxymoron, a gluten-free bakery, has set up shop in tranquil downtown Moorhead, right across the street from John Alexander’s.

Just Grains is at the corner of 4th St. S. and Main Avenue. It’s open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I hear this Friday cupcakes are arriving…
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All about a sweet new startup: Gigi’s Ice Lollies

In only six days, Nicole Kolbe and her sweet new company, Gigi’s Ice Lollies, shattered their Kickstarter.com goal of $2,500.  While that brings Nicole quite a bit closer to being up and running, there’s still time to contribute to the cause, as the Kickstarter project will be online until July 19. 

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Holy lollies!

Nicole’s idea is a fairly simple one: Quality, handmade popsicles sold from a cart in the sweltering North Dakota summer. The first cart should be mobile on or around July 13 in the area of the corner of 3rd St. and Broadway, across from Atomic Coffee. Keep a lookout for a bright rainbow umbrella and follow it for deliciousness. dc59b3c7e8f2a54d7bd3512831292592_large

“We are even working on the concept of taking ‘ice lolly party’ orders where you can arrange to have ice lollies delivered to your office for you and your co-workers. Eventually we are hoping to cater weddings, parties, and other events- but that probably won’t happen any time soon, unless it is a special case,” Nicole wrote in an email to me.

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As for the background on the name and idea, I’ll let Nicole explain it to you:

“I grew up on a small farm in TN and during the summer my grandmother, Gigi, would make us handmade ice lollies to keep us cool. Everything was natural, fresh and wonderfully delicious,” Nicole wrote. 

“Fast forward 20 years where I am married 1,500 miles from home and pining away for the lovely pops of King of Pops (in Atlanta, GA) and my grandmother. Then it dawned on me to simply make my own. Then it dawned on me that Fargo needs a handcrafted frozen treat on a stick to call its own, too. Thus Gigi’s Ice Lollies was born.” 

How cool is that?!

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Not only is the idea great because it honors the memory of Nicole’s grandma, but she’s using fresh, local and locally-sourced ingredients without any preservatives, artificial flavors or sweeteners, so you can feel good about indulging. Nicole says most of the lollies have less than five ingredients and quite a few are vegan, so everyone’s invited!

What really caught my attention were the flavors Nicole has thought up: Banana split, honeyed peaches and cream, strawberry basil, vegan frozen hot chocolate and (mmmm) lemon ricotta. They all sound crazy good, right?

I think it’s great that young people in Fargo are trying new stuff like this. It all goes together to make our community better, one step at a time, one ice lolly at a time!

Check out Gigi’s Ice Lollies on Facebook

Altony’s Italian Cafe

The weekend after Valentine’s Day is usually when couples catch up on the holiday, going out for dinner if they were too busy on the actual day. I assume that was why Altony’s in Moorhead was so jam-packed that Saturday.

I was forced to go to the nearby Fryn’ Pan and had a pretty awful experience.

But a few days later, I headed back over to Altony’s and got a tiny little table for two in the also-tiny dining room.

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Altony’s is actually a converted Taco Bell. The owners have done quite a bit of work in the cramped space, putting in a small wine bar where you’d normally order your chimichangas and churros. It looks pretty nice, considering.

But, from the small two-top tucked in right next to the hostess stand, I felt like I was in the way, nearly getting elbowed in the eye by our server. Other than that, my first experience was fine. Unfortunately, (don’t judge) I was trying a no-gluten thing that night, and the Pasta Alla Toscana was unavailable. They had run out of the gluten free noodles.

Instead, I got the new appetizer of steak medallions ($8.95), and my dining mate got the mushroom ravioli ($9.95 half).

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The medallions came out with a delicious gorgonzola sauce that I would buy if they bottled it. And the steak pieces were cooked nicely, to a medium-rare, although a few of them were unevenly cooked.

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So while I didn’t really tasted all that much of the menu, I wanted to let you know about this tiny, local place. I highly recommend it as an alternative to massive, corporate Olive Garden. If you want to support a family business in town, try out Altony’s. I’ll be back… and eating up the gluten.

F-M’s Celtic Festival

I had a great time at the 10th annual Celtic Festival in Moorhead today. It was my first time at the festival, too.

The best thing, to me, was the “meal deal,” a plate of corned beef and cabbage, “colcannon” potatoes, root vegetables, soda bread and a shortbread cookie. Oh, and lemonade.

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Fryn’ Pan Family Restaurant

Having grown up in Grand Forks, I was never introduced to Fryn’ Pan, a regional chain of restaurants that seems to have quite the following here in Fargo-Moorhead with the, let’s politely say, older folks. IMG_4663

There is a location in both Moorhead and Fargo, along with three in Sioux Falls, one in Wahpeton and one in Yankton.

Wanting to try out the tiny Altony’s Italian Cafe but finding it absolutely packed, we headed to the nearby Fryn’ Pan and were seated quickly.

I passed the salad bar and instantly knew what I was in for: Processed, institutional-grade food slop. And unfortunately I was right.
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John Alexander’s

I was looking for an early dinner in Moorhead and, as I’m slowly ticking off my list of must-try places, I immediately thought of John Alexander’s in Moorhead. When you’re coming to Moorhead from Fargo on Main, it’s pretty much the first thing you see on the south side of the road, so it was one of the first restaurants I told myself I had to try.
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Thai Orchid

Moving furniture can really work up your appetite.

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Thai Orchid

After heaving all the heaviest stuff I own and shivering from the teeth-shockingly cold December night, I trudged my way to Thai Orchid in Moorhead. A spicy dish would surely warm me up.
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A beginning

Hey, and thanks for visiting FMfare.

It’s just my little attempt at chronicling my time and tastes here in beautiful Fargo-Moorhead. Continue reading