Lake House Waterfront Grille

My favorite summer evening was spent sitting and enjoying this miraculous view at sunset while savoring the most delicious food Muskegon has to offer. The Lake House Waterfont Grille is probably my #1 favorite restaurant in Michigan so far. The wait staff is exceptional. They even offer blankets if you get cold. The environment is nice enough to go on a special anniversary date or hold a nice business meeting yet the outside deck is causal enough to make families with children feel welcome.

We had my mom in town from the West Coast. She insisted we try truffle fries since we'd never had them. These were mind blowing. Bacon, malt vinegar/tarragon aioli , Parmesan... fries have never been so decadent. 

 Their crab cakes were made to perfection. Not only do they taste incredible but look at them! They are beautiful!

 I had the lobster roll. Not only was this the most delicious thing I've eaten in a long time but the quality was exceptional. The chunks of lobster were huge! The amount they stuff into a sandwich is impressive. This dish right here, is the reason I'll be back sooner than later.

I took a look at the menu as I wrote this. It looks like these are summer items that are not on the menu now that it's fall. I did notice they have a pumpkin ravioli though. I might have to stop in and give that a try.

Lake House Waterfront Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Apple Holler

Imagine...  you are 5 hours into a 9 hour drive. The kids are cranky. The wife is cranky. The husband, being the hero that he is, sees a sign for a farm and restaurant. Without mentioning it he pulls off and parks. That is exactly how we landed at Apple Holler. He claims we were hangry. I believe him, that's a real thing in this household.

We walk into this cute little place. I feel like I've time hopped back into the 90's and landed in hillbilly Timbuktu. When you first walk in you see a cute country store with baked goods, jams, pies and souvenirs. The waiters are dressed in overalls. Everything is dark and every surface is made of wood.

Our young waiter is overly happy and seems helpful. We ask him what's good. He tells us their burger that's stuffed with apples and topped with cheese is great so we order that with a side of onion strings. We ordered our little girls home made macaroni and cheese. We wanted to try a pie so we decided one burger and ask that the pie comes out at the same time.

The waiter comes back with water and gives us like 1 or 2 straws for the 4 of us. That's annoying. Next he brings our food. He forgets the pie. We eat our food. The burger was good but there is absolutely no sign of apple anywhere. Either they gave us the wrong burger or their apple stuffed burger has one microscopic apple piece in it. Not sure. It was also under cooked. But! The cheese was good and so were the onions. The girls loved their noodles.

We wait and wait, as we still have 4 hours left on the road with tired kids. We keep waiting. We all take potty breaks. Finally! The waiter comes back and tells us he'll bring our pie. Great... not really the time now buddy. What feels like 10 minutes longer he comes and tells us they don't have any more apple pie and asks if this other flavor (cheery?) will do. No, it wont. We wanted it with our dinner and now we've been here an hour and it's very much time to go. He takes so long bringing the check that I just got up and left with the kids.

The front is so cute we did take time to take some photos. The farm would have been fun but it was closed.

Overall, I'd not hesitate to check this place out if I were you. I'd just be sure you know it's not a stop into an average diner. You'll be here a while but it's kind of fun.

Apple Holler Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



I hate to be mean. I dislike writing negative reviews. I wish I could just write positive reviews but, that's not what critiquing is about. When we moved to Western Michigan, we had a few people tell us to try Fricano's. I love pizza and Fricano's is on the lake so I thought this would be a special night out.

I don't think I can even begin to express how disappointed I was with our Fricano's experience. I can honestly say, this is the last restaurant I'd step foot in again. It's the worst pizza on this planet earth, in my opinion. No joke, Totino's Party Pizza (which is the cheapest frozen pizza you can buy) is a lot better than a Fricano's pizza. Are you catching my drift? The pizza here gives pizza a very bad name.

First of all, our waitress greets us by asking "What will you have?". We looked at her confused. We explain that we have no way of knowing what they serve as we received no menus. She explains that they only have 5 toppings and one size pizza so they have no menu. At this point we don't know how much or how big a pizza is. How much would it cost to have this information printed onto a little place card to set on the tables? Really...

So Fricano's only offers 5 toppings. You can choose from sausage, peperoni, anchovies, green peppers or mushrooms. I love all of the above toppings but I don't quite understand why they don't offer a larger variety.

We tried a sausage and mushroom pizza and a peperoni pizza. The peperoni here is fine. It seems like a good quality pepperoni. The sausage too seemed to be pretty tasty and well made. The mushrooms may be the root of my hatred. They use canned mushrooms!  They were so unappetizing!  Fresh mushrooms are not expensive. I don't know why you'd use canned.

As if the toppings weren't bad enough, Fricano's crust may just be a tortilla. I don't know but it's hardly pizza.

I am so sorry Fricano's and Fricano's lovers.

Oh, the one positive... the view is wonderful.

Fricano's Muskegon Lake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Colorado's 1st PizzaRev

With the revolution of pizza transforming to fast casual dinning PizzaRev is a great addition to the pie.

 As the first PizzaRev opens it's doors in Boulder, Colorado we had the privilege of experiencing its revolutionary speed.  With its slogan of "Craft Your Own" you truly can get the exact pizza you desire.  They have around 35 fresh toppings to decorate you roman style thin crust and a choice of red, white and bbq sauce. PizzaRev has hit the market of fast fresh personalized pizzas. 

We got one pizza from the menu and the other one we crafted with our own genius.  The first pizza was Fennel & Sausage (olive oil, all-natural Italian cheese, ricotta, sweet fennel sausage, and fennel seeds). This one was chosen for it's oddity, if PizzaRev can make the oddest sounding pizza on their menu taste good then they should have no issue with more traditional pizzas, and they did not let us down.  Choosing from one of the 8 preset pizzas is definitely the easiest option, just say which one you would like and walk to the end to await your freshly fire baked pizza.
For those more adventurous souls you can chose to walk down the path of options, options and more options. Thus able to create either a master-pie or a monster-pie. Our second pizza was crafted, and of course a master-pie. First the thin crust pizza was lightly covered with a white ranch soon to be sprinkled with Italian and Feta cheese. The meat came on as grilled chicken and crispy bacon. Next came the large options of veggies and herbs: spinach, green peppers, onions, and garlic were all added to the master-pie. After all off the choices were chosen into the furnace it had to go. This gives you time to go choose from the drinks, one of those fancy touch screen flavor adding beverage machines. My cup was only halfway full by the time they called my name to pick up my pizza, so as far as quickness goes, they got my vote. 
The seating is a standard fast food seating and was in excellent condition. We sat down and thoroughly enjoyed our single serving pizzas. The pizzas were quickly made and in our possession. The crust was wonderfully crispy and the toppings warm and flavorful, especially because you can get exactly what you want. The nice thing being that you can always improve your recipe the next, and next, and next time you go.
PizzaRev has an Oreo dessert pizza as well, however the texture was a little powdery and was sweet but not quite dessert sweet. However, it was plenty good enough for us to devour.  

Toast 'N Jams

I will start off by stating that I will be back to give Toast 'N Jam a second chance. To be fair, rumor has it that the chef was out on the day I went in and tried to enjoy a nice breakfast with my family. I would have rather they shut down for the day because my food was uneatable.

I ordered the Strawberry Cheesecake pancakes. I've heard they are amazing! I love strawberries. I love cheesecake and I expected this dish to be a good combination of both. What I got was some pancakes that seemed fine. The topping was the awful part. It was a foam that literally tasted like stinky freezer with a hint of banana. It had such an awful taste I, who am not very picky, almost got sick to my stomach. We were in the middle of moving and I was starving. I couldn't even get myself to eat these.

I'll stop being mean and get down to the facts. Yes, I understand it's a little mean to post a review of a restaurant on their bad day. You know what though? It's also mean to open shop when you can't preform well. It's rude to expect your customers to pay full price for food that is disgusting. In my opinion, that isn't a way to run a business. Shut down for the day or hire a substitute cook that can preform well.

Don't worry Toast 'N Jam. I will gladly give you a second chance and update my review. I have high hopes though and I hope and pray I will not be let down a second time.

Toast 'N Jams Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Pasta Jay's at Lone Tree

Beating the rush is an excellent endeavor, and generally well worth it! It's a grueling pain to wait in line as your stomach rumbles and you see countless others eating away. We were thus so privileged when we arrived at Pasta Jay's in Lone Tree. We arrived quarter after 5 to a "calm" Italian restaurant but left a bustling scene with a line of people waiting for food.

Another advantage of showing up early is their daily happy hour in which many of their scrumptious meals are half the price! Always a good thing. We sat down to a red and white checkered cloth and under an arch of brick, feeling as though we were no longer in a Denver suburb. Cups of water were brought along with a PITCHER of water. I always jump for joy when I discover another restaurant which brings me the pitcher. As an avid water drinker I have only found a few places that can keep my cup full, and a pitcher will definitely stay the drought.

Our waiter, Jordan, comes and tantalizes our taste buds as she describes the daily specials and lets us in on a little secret that is not on the menu. The description wins us over and Beth chooses the Jalapeno Stuffed Ravioli and I chose their Florentine Pizza.

The pizza is made with the traditional thin and crispy crust, an alfredo sauce, chicken, fresh baby spinach and black olives. I X'ed the black olives, because those do not taste good, and added some scrumptious roasted garlic. They readily accepted the change in menu and showed that they are flexible and an easy restaurant to eat at. The crust was a little too cooked on the outer edge, it being black, but surprisingly still tasted great. The pizza was good and I'm glad I got the lower price during happy hour.

The Stuffed Ravioli was exceptionally amazing. With the ravioli smothered in Pasta Jay's famous marinara sauce, multiple types of cheese and the peppers being that perfect spice with out burning your mouth off, I endorse it. Worth going back at any time, even if those lines are long.

For our dessert we ordered Tiramisu and cannoli. And for once my order was better then Beth's. I got the tiramisu which was good and light with a superb flavor. The chocolate dressing was at a slight variance to the flavor of the tiramisu but I just ate it without dip it in the excess dressing and was thoroughly "picked up". The cannoli, Beth's favorite, had an excellently deep fried crisp shell but the cream was a little too grainy due to the much added cinnamon.

Jordan, our waiter, was exceptional, truly the best of the whole lot at Pasta Jay's in Lone Tree. She was truly honest! A great quality, one sometimes lacking in waiters.

Pasta Jay's on Urbanspoon


Handsome Henrys

I had heard a few people mention Handsome Henry's. I didn't know it was a pizza place, nor did I know it was within a mile of where I was currently staying. Most importantly, I didn't know just how amazing Handsom Henry's would be or I would have been all over this place!

A couple weeks into our stay, I finally made it to Handsome Henry's. We were seated at a squishy little center table. I hate center tables. They shouldn't even exist. Booths are so much easier and a lot more comfortable. Anyway, I wasn't pleased with our seats.

Our waitress came out and got our drink order in a timely fashion. She quickly returned with drinks. My little girl's drink was in one of those cups you get to take home that came with a lid and the waitress made the coolest little design with the extra long curly straw. Simple details like that seriously win me over!

We ordered and waited the perfect amount of time for our food. I ordered the Crab Rangoon pizza. My husband got the Sirloin Steak pizza.

I usually write about my favorite item last but the Crab Rangoon pizza was SO amazing I have to write about it first. Imagine heaven in your mouth. There you have it. Crab Rangoon Pizza. Not good enough? Ok... Crab Rangoon pizza is a pizza made with "Garlic cream cheese, imitation crab, green onions, mozzarella, crispy wonton strips and sweet chili glaze". If you love crab wontons like I do, you will die. This is basically a giant pizza version of a crab wonton. The creamy sauce is outstanding. The subtle crab flavor adds a uniqueness but fun edge to pizza and the sweet chili glaze as a final touch makes this pizza thee very best pizza that I have ever eaten in my life. Now to be fair, it's hardly "pizza" but I don't care. This is my favorite food. Numero uno. Best food I've ever put in my mouth. That's how good it is. Just a warning, it's incredibly rich. I could only eat once piece before I had to steal my second and third slices from my family to make up for all the goodness of this creamy, sweet dish. I'm afraid this pizzas only downfall is that you really can't eat this as a meal. I'm afraid of the painful stomach ache that would follow.

The Sirloin Steak Pizza was almost as delicious. The biggest difference here is that you can actually consume a few slices of this one without feeling sick. The Sirloin pizza is made with "Sliced tender sirloin steak, tomato sauce, chopped green peppers, sweet onions and diced tomato topped with provolone cheese". The steak pieces are good size and good quality. The sauce wasn't actually tomato sauce as they claim however. It's half tomato sauce half BBQ. I think that's not only a creative idea but I thought it was pretty great tasting too. My husband really isn't a fan of sweets though so he was off put by that and was pretty frustrated that the menu didn't state that. Don't let that deter you though. This is an excellent pizza! As I said, the meat is divine, the sweet onions are perfect the tomatoes add the perfect touch of acidity to the mix.

Handsome Henrys on Urbanspoon

Mr Scrib's Pizza

My family and I just moved from Denver to Michigan on what we are calling our 3 year vacation. We're here for work and are already falling in love.  We have heard that locals hold strong opinions in regards to pizza so naturally as food bloggers, we ventured out and tried a few different joints as soon as we had the chance. Mr Scrib's was the second we tried.

We drove up to this particular location and were shocked and excited to see a drive through! A drive through pizza shop! Are you kidding me?! How neat! The lady at the window was very friendly and kind. She explained how things work, for example... you order at the window and go away for a while till your pizza is ready. Once it is ready you drive back up to the window. You can pay when you order or when you pick up, your choice.

We ordered a pizza for us and a pizza for the kids. Ours had sausage and peppers. The kids' had pepperoni. I wasn't very impressed with the pizza until I snuck a bite of the pepperoni. That one was pepperoni and cheese perfection. The cheese was the perfect consistency. The pepperoni was bursting with savory flavor. It put our bland, boring sausage pizza to shame.  No pizza should be bland or boring. Needless to say, if we go back we'll be sticking to the basic and simple pepperoni. More than likely though, we won't be back.

I like to add a link to restaurants websites but looks like they forgot to renew their domain. Oops!

Mr Scrib's Pizza on Urbanspoon


Red Robin Bad Robin

It never fails, every so often I'm out with friends and it is settled to eat at Red Robin. I will admit, I am a little biased against Red Robin, due to some past stories of mine but that doesn't stop me from giving that little red bird another try, constantly. So here it goes again...

The Good: Sweet Potato Fries and that's it. They have BOTTOMLESS sweet potato fries. Whenever I go I make sure I get my moneys worth of just sweet potato fries. I'm talking 6-10 baskets full. Well now closer to the hire number and beyond since they have recently reduced the amount of fries delivered. The sweet potato fries come nice and crisp with that soft inside that is oh so delicious. Now I am constantly writing sweet potato fries as to leave no shadow of doubt to which fries I am talking about, because they do have just fries. I'm always impressed how at Red Robin getting the upgraded fries of Parmesan and garlic (which are great combinations) make the fries worse. I thought paying for upgrades were to get, well ... an upgrade. But if you like tasteless soft mushy fries go ahead and get their fries. If you like tasteless soft mushy fries with some white and green stuff thrown at them get their Parmesan and garlic fries. They don't even cook the upgrades with the fries, they just throw them on after the fact. But if you like sweet potato fires get THEM! They themselves are occasionally worth just a trip.

The Change: The Red Robin closest to our house just went through some remodeling. They REMOVED the red robin statue, a signature logo. That's like taking Ronald McDonald and X-ing him from McDonald's, oh wait, they did that too. So like the fast food chain McDonald's, Red Robin is trying to "fancify" themselves. The laid back burger joint is now prim and proper. Not only did they remodel the building they also remodeled their menu. Again trying to make themselves a higher class burger joint with three different burger options: Gourmet, Angus, and Tavern. I'm all for change and letting others change, especially for the good. And if Red Robin wants to change to a $12 burger place let it be! I might start to like them! But please serve me a $12 burger. Something that hits fast food burgers out of the park.

The Other Stuff: I don't say bad, because it's not bad, it's just not good. We ordered four different burgers at our table. I got a a chili burger which appeared to be a 1/2 can of some generic chili slapped on top of a burger all sandwiched between a bun. That's it, no other toppings or flavors: generic chili over cooked unseasoned ground beef. Umm????
We ordered a tavern burger as well to see if the change of additional options would better their standing. So we got the Red's Tavern Double, aka McDouble with a tomato.
We got two other gourmet burgers: Guacamole Bacon and Blue Ribbon. I mean guacamole and bacon, how can that not be good? Again, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't "Gourmet Burgers". They are definitely a step up from McDonald type fast food. But if you are going for a GOOD burger go to SmashBurger. Plus, it's half the price.

Lastly, our waiter was annoyed at something and didn't know the menu at all. We asked her some questions and she made up some answers that contradicted herself.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers on Urbanspoon

Voodoo Doughnut

I am pretty sure that my husband is the only person I've ever met who doesn't love doughnuts. The deep fried, sickly sweet dessert is too delicious for me to not love. While I've never had a Krispy Kreme, eating a warm fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut is on my bucket list. I've heard that's as good as it gets in the doughnut world.
When I heard that Voodoo was opening a store in Denver I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. As a Portland native and Colorado transplant it was too good to be true. I actually haven't been to Voodoo in Portland but have always wanted to.  I was SO EXCITED to have the infamous Voodoo Doughnut shop come this way.
We avoid crowds so we waited till just recently to go waste time standing in line for an extremely overpriced doughnut. My husband was not thrilled to say the least but he's supportive and tagged along anyway. We parked a few blocks away as suggested. Part of the experience is to check the back lot and watch naive people's cars get towed away. If you think you are above getting towed from "the back lot" you are foolish. There were boots and tow trucks galore.
We got into line and people watched. We, in our late twenties, were the second or third oldest group in the line of about 100 people. The guy a few people ahead of us was one of the very few that was older than us and he happened to be on speaker with his teenage daughter asking her what it was she wanted. Even he was fetching doughnuts for someone younger than I. Point is, this is certainly a shop who's marketing screams at the young crowd.
I loved the duck tape wall art. The decor and environment was fun. The line took a bit more than half an hour on a random Thursday night. I was so sure that would have been the least busy time to go and yet we still had to wait a long time. My husband and I are 98% sure they contribute to the long, slow lines. Sure there are a ton of customers but the cashiers just go painfully slow. Once we got to the counter the man just folded boxes for a while before taking our order. There were already dozens and dozens of folded boxes and yet he felt the need to fold a few more before helping us. We told him what we wanted and he went and grabbed one at a time and very casually placed them in our box.
So, finally... the doughnuts! If you're like me you've heard that they are average. They are just over hyped doughnuts famous for their quirky thyme. Wrong. The Voodoo doughnut is actually really good! The raspberry filling was amazing. The dough was great. The pretzel soggy. Ew. The frosting was excellent. Overall an amazing doughnut!
The bacon maple bar is like $3. In my opinion it was dry, bland and the bacon was kind of gross. I never in my wildest dreams I'd ever put gross and bacon in the same sentence.
 If you want to have your socks knocked off, order a fritter. We tried the apple fritter. Oh. My. Word. SO GOOD! It's deep fried. the glaze is perfectly sticky while the luscious apple pieces and add a pop of flavor making it impossible to put the fritter down. This pastry is absolute perfection. It is worth standing in line for.

The cake doughnuts are average. You could might as well go get a store bought doughnut. These are what you would get if you ask for the Voodoo dozen or whatever the box deal is. It looks like a good deal but it's not. You don't get the good stuff. It's better to just order fewer of what you actually want.

Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon