Mamma Toledo Makes Egg Sammies with Horseradish Cheese
Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the third annual Pie Social Saturday, November 3, from 2 to 6 p.m. on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. We've got an all-star lineup of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now til Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one. We challenged each to make us a dish -- other than pie.
Today: Tonya Saidi of Mamma Toledo's Pies makes egg sammies with horseradish cheese.
t's Sunday morning and we're driving around a North Phoenix neighborhood, on our way to have breakfast at the home of Tonya Saidi. As luck would have it, finding this "Pie Lady" is not too hard a task. As we turn down her street, a bright red Chevrolet food truck sits in the driveway with the words "Shut Your Pie Hole" painted across it. Tonya greets us at the door in athletic shorts and white tank top. "You said to just be myself!" she laughs as she invites us into her home.
She walks us through the living room now turned office to Mamma Toledo's Pies. Hard to believe that a business which was only started a year ago has taken off with such crescendo- then again, Mamma Toledo's is the only pie truck in town.
The whole idea of a pie food truck was 7 years in the making, and originally Tonya just wanted to just have a homemade dessert delivery truck. But the pies themselves, and the baking as a whole (Tonya says she can also make a mean cake), were coming out of the oven long before that. Tonya grew up in the restaurants business. Her family owned restaurants in Casper, Wyoming; and while Tony would always watched her mother cook, she never really learned as a child.
Her self taught treat-making skills came into play later in life, albeit in some of the most unsuspecting places. She worked in construction, real estate, and even pursued a career in nursing, taking the job as a nurse aid at a residential care facility. At each career venture, her pies became reputable. "Baking was my gift to people, it made me happy."
As we sit down in her rather quiet kitchen, Tonya explains that everyone in the house is still recovering from working the Best of Phoenix A'fare the night before. Tonya and her team have become accustomed to long nights and early mornings, working doubles almost daily. With the help of her friends and family, Tonya is booked solid nearly everyday at farmers markets, festivals, you name it. The demand for pie has become so heavy, that Tonya has created a system to get her preservative-free pies baked fresh and on the truck each day.
Sunday, for example, has become the day for crust production. Tonya explains that if she can make all her crusts for the week ahead on her "day off" then it becomes a lot easier for her to make and pour her various fillings in the days following. "I can bust out about 80 pies in three hours that way." she says with both pride and exhaustion. As she's explaining her pie routine she opens the fridge and begins taking out the necessary ingredients to make egg sandwiches.
It seems so funny to be having the "Pie Lady" herself, making us breakfast, but apparently this is something she's actually been thinking about incorporating into her business. She tells us about a breakfast pie she made recently using an oatmeal-based crust, fresh yogurt from Superstition Farms, and a raspberry puree. Suddenly Mamma Toledo making breakfast no longer seems like a silly idea, it seems like an novel one.
We stand in the kitchen leaning on the counter and snapping the occasional photo while she makes breakfast. These days, her home kitchen sees few things other than pie. "I used to eat eggs all the time," she says as she cracks one into a frying pan, "I used to love to cook. But now I'm so busy with the pies.... and after eating all the great food off the other trucks, I've become spoiled!"