Restaurant: Renee’s Gourmet Pizzeria, Troy, Michigan
Welcome to Michigan. My roommate and I ventured up this way this after my long run this morning because Queen (yes…that Queen) is performing in Detroit this evening. And as her birthday present, Cathy had two tickets to the show. So…here we are. Ready to rock and roll.
But not before we got eats.
My friend, Kelsie, is from Detroit and sent me some options for food and places to check out while here in the area. I love her for this and all her help. And, for some reason, even though I had pizza on Thursday night…I felt pizza had to be done again. Why? I don’t know…I love pizza. I really, really do. BUT…neither Cathy nor I had eaten since we left Louisville (thank you Go Picnic), and we were hungry. And my Find Me Gluten Free app directed us to a dedicated pizzeria in Troy, Michigan…which happened to be on our way to Auburn Hills.
Renee’s Gourmet Pizzeria is located in a little strip mall area. They are a dedicated gluten-free and nut-free establishment. Their windows declare a simple sentiment, that is echoed on their menu as well: “I Can’t Believe It’s Gluten Free!”
Cathy and I stepped inside and we were greeted by Alexis, a 20-something waitress with amazing blue and purple hair. I complimented her on her hair…and mentioned how when I dyed my hair purple, it washed out in 2 days. She gave me tips for next time I go for a wild color…so, now I know…and knowing is half the battle. We chatted a bit, about our trip up here…about gluten-free places…about Kentucky…it was fun. She went to get our drink orders (I got an unsweetened iced tea and Cathy went with a Diet Coke…because caffeine is good before a show…especially when you’ve been up before the ass crack of dawn (because…that’s when all runners get up).
She let us browse the menu and when she returned with drinks, Cathy inquired about the size of the calzones. Because…honestly…who does gluten-free calzones? Alexis said the calzones were small, so not big enough to split. So, Cathy and I decided to each get one. And we each built our own. Cathy went with a calzone stuffed with mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and portobello mushrooms ($8.99) inside hers.
As for me…my calzone was going to be stuffed with Teese (vegan cheese of AWESOME!), banana peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach ($11.99 [$8.99 + $3.00 for vegan cheese]). I was sort of back and forth on whether to do banana peppers or artichoke hearts…but I never get banana peppers on anything like pizza or something since Cathy is that picky. So…I went with that. She will do artichoke hearts. And that was the deciding factor.
We were watching the World Cup pregame on ESPN for the Brazil v. Netherlands match when Alexis returned to the table and said the pizza chef was new and he…kinda made the calzones larger than usual. Like…by a lot. Not the small, individual size she described originally. Well…what do you do?
Well, she wasn’t kidding. Cathy caught sight of them as they were going in to cook and went, “Holy cow!” HAHA!! Well…we figured that we’d eat what we could and take the rest with us to the hotel and place it in the refrigerator. No biggie. We did get to hear the chefs discuss how they were going to tell the vegan calzone from the regular one with cheese, and finally they realized that Cathy’s would have the Parmesan cheese on top of hers. Brilliant.
And soon…the gluten-free calzones were making their way to the table.
Yeah…huge was right. But the crust was not thick. In fact, it was a nice, light, and thin crust. I love that because with calzones it should be all about the fillings, not the crust. I only require a nice, crisp crust. Don’t give me a soggy calzone. They didn’t. This crust was beautifully crisp and golden on the bottom. The top remained crispy and I, being quite hungry, took my pictures for the blog and then dove in.
First of all…I have missed being able to eat calzones. And part of the magic from this was it was my first taste of something that I hadn’t had in more than three years…nor can have…anywhere. That’s why I went calzone instead of pizza. I can get amazing gluten-free pizza in Louisville…and, if I’m lucky, elsewhere as well. This…I’d never seen gluten-free calzones before. And let me tell you…I fell in love with this calzone. As I said, the crust was nice and thin, so it wasn’t heavy or too filling too fast. I love that about gluten-free pizzas as well. And inside, the Teese vegan cheese melted gorgeously and didn’t taste like plastic (as Daiya sometimes can…). The vegetables were so amazing. Seriously amazing. The mushrooms were cooked to perfection, the spinach wilted beautifully, the tomatoes were ripe and sweet, and the banana peppers…adding that little bit of acidity that just punched up the flavor. It came with a bit of marinara for dipping. The marinara…nice touch. Packed with flavor and seasoned to perfection. I was beyond impressed. So impressed that both Cathy and I ended up eating our calzones in their entirety. I have a feeling we won’t need food again until tomorrow morning.
Another reason for that…we got dessert.
Yep. You gotta treat yourself every now and again and since the calzones were actually light…we had the room. And I, being the observant one I am, realized they had a few dessert options…like cookies and a cake roll…and the option we went with…cinnamon sticks.
Gluten. Free. Cinnamon. Sticks.
You know how much I love cinnamon, yes? Of course you do. So, when I saw they had gluten-free cinnamon sticks ($5.99), I knew I needed to consume them. I wanted to consume them. So…order in. And after a short weight while they made them up for us (loving that freshness with each order), they were brought out to the table. And I think I began drooling immediately. They looked fantastic. I picked one up and broke off the end, dipping it into the icing that came with it…and took a bite.
HELLO!! Cathy described it as “really tasty fair food that is actually good!” I describe it as…donuts taken to the nth degree. This was one party in my mouth. The sweet heat from the cinnamon and sugar with the light doughy sticks that were fried to perfection. Honestly. They had that nice crispy outside but were all soft and hot and steamy in the center. The icing was a nice, cooling, sweet addition. It was no joke how fast these disappeared. I fell in love. One bite…lead to me devouring 3 of the 6 sticks in the order.
Happy place! This is a happy place. The service was fantastic. The atmosphere is very much “strip mall establishment” but…when you serve up that kind of food…it doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter anyway. The chefs did a fantastic job getting our order done right and to perfection. The food was fantastic. The company of the staff, who were discussing Queen, World Cup, and the food with us…was like being among friends. And we left with happy, very full tummies.
I regret nothing!
If you find yourself driving through Troy, Michigan…make a point to stop in at Renee’s Gourmet Pizzeria. You, honestly, won’t believe that everything there is gluten-free. The food is, honestly, outstanding. I hope this little pizzeria is along for a very long time. Next time, should I ever be this way again…I’ll actually order a pizza. And those cinnamon sticks again!