Thursday, June 23, 2011

Willy O's Pizza

Tommie and I were in the Grand Rapids area recently to visit family. We stopped by Marie Catrib's (see earlier posts for review), but the restaurant was packed and the wait was at least an hour. Sadly, we had to find somewhere else to eat. To make things easy for everyone, we ate at Chili's. Tommie was a little sad because he always likes to eat somewhere we can't find back home. Well, luckily we happened to stop for gas in South Haven, Michigan and he remembered that there was a GF pizza restaurant in the town.

The employee at the gas station knew the place when asked and was happy to inform us that we were just 2 minutes from the restaurant known as Willy O's.

When we first arrived to the tiny restaurant I was sure that this was going to be another 'frozen GF' crust that was mediocre at best. Wow!! How very wrong I was. First things first, order your food. We ordered some bean and cheese dip with chips for an appetizer and of course we ordered a GF pizza.
Second, we walked around and read the numerous newspaper articles plastered on the walls. Come to find out, Willy is no small restaurant owner, but a world renowned pizza guru! He won at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas in the 'non traditional' category. That's right folks - his GF pizza is certified fabulous.

As a matter of fact, Willy (or his son) will make your pizza to order, it is not frozen. The wait is worth it, the staff (which is all family) are wonderfully nice, and the overall experience will make you wondering why you hadn't heard of South Haven, Michigan before.

Tommie's review: the best GF pizza he has eaten in the United States. Willy O's has something special going on and you have to try it.

You can find Willy O's (Willy Olund) on facebook, or just google the restaurant and read any of the numerous positive reviews.


One night when Brandie picked me up from work, we wanted to grab a bite to eat before we went to a bonfire with some of her work buddies. I work downtown, and we were trying to think of someplace to go. I remembered that Yats offered GF options, so I gave the one on Mass Avenue a call. The person with whom I spoke on the phone was very helpful with letting me know that the GF options for that night were Red Beans with Sausage and White Chili with Chicken.

They had me at Red Beans with Sausage.

We went to Yats, and when I spoke with the person behind the counter about being GF, he told me that they have a few options, and he wrote a list for me (which I’ll include at the end of this entry). I immediately ordered the Red Beans, while Brandie got the Chili Cheese Etouffee w/ Crawfish. It was delicious.

Brandie and I will be returning, and I want to try the White Chili with Chicken next. I was a big fan of Cajun food before I went GF, and thanks to places like Yats and Papa Roux, I still remain one to this day.
Here are Yats’ GF options (although only the Red Beans and White Chili are consistently available):
* Jambalaya
* White Chili w/ Chicken
* Red Beans w/ Sausage
* Hunter’s Stew
* Pazole Stew
* Vegan White Chili

What made Yats even better? The serving sizes are huge and the price is low. Plus, if you're an WFYI member and receive the yearly membership card, Yats always offers 2-for-1 deals.

Between Yats and Papa Roux - Naptown has Cajun on lock!!!!

Jason's Deli

Brandie and I stopped by here on our way to Castleton to try out the GF bread. I was hoping to get a Reuben, like I’d had at Square Rootz, but the sauerkraut wasn’t listed on the GF menu. I went with half a hot corned beef with Swiss cheese sandwich, and a Pollo Mexicano baked potato.
First off, make sure you ask for the bread to be toasted. I didn’t think to ask, and the bread started crumbling from the first bite. I also should have ordered some mustard or Thousand Island dressing, because the sandwich was very dry.

Second, the Pollo Mexicano potato was good, but I didn’t think to ask for any butter to put on the peel when I was finished. I didn’t think about asking because when I get a baked potato at McAlister’s, the butter comes with it.

Third, the meal comes with free ice cream, which is always a plus with me.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience, and I’ll give it another go sometime when I’m in the Castleton area.

P.S. We lost the pictures we took during our meal. Sorry.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunstart Cookies

The Sunstart Caramel & Chocolate Dessert Delights were OK. It was very expensive, and you only get 5 cookies per package. We had tried Sunstart’s Chocolate Chip Crunch and Chocolate Wrapped Golden Crunch about a year ago when we visited Jungle Jim’s in Ohio. They are good cookies, although a little too dry for my tastes, and they have a coconut flavor that is a bit heavy at times.

If these cookies were less expensive, I would definitely try them again, since I do occasionally enjoy coconut cookies and desserts.

Dutch Country Soft Pretzels

Nature’s Pharm North had an open house a few weeks ago, and while Brandie and I attended, I was allowed $30 worth of new GF goodies to try for the blog.

The Dutch Country Frozen Soft Pretzels were great. One night, Brandie baked up these pretzels, and made some Fondue, as well. The pretzels were great by themselves, but they were even better with the cheese sauce. You get 3 per package, and the price was a little steep, but I will definitely try to talk Brandie into letting me get more of these soon.