Lawrence, KS: Not "America’s Best Philly", But A Contender For "Lawrence’s Best Sandwich"


PepperJax Grill
919 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone: (785) 856-4529
Prices: $$$$
Trying to find a decent sandwich in Lawrence is like trying to find the veal cordon bleu in an MRE box, ain’t gonna happen, not until I tried PepperJax Grill.

While far from the best sandwich, in general, or cheesesteak, in particular, I have ever had, PepperJax’ cheesesteak was the best sandwich I have eaten in Lawrence. Their menu is very limited with cheesesteaks, rice bowls, burritos, nachos and salads, all in the $7.29 to $7.99 range, as well as several sides including fries, chips and salsa/queso, and mandarin oranges. The combination of cheesesteaks and Mexican fare is a bit odd, but the cheesesteaks are decent.

Having eaten “real” cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, PepperJax claims theirs’ is “America’s Best Philly”, but I do not concur. There is ample diced beef sauteed with peppers and onions and the 10-12 inch roll was soft and fresh. The cheese was a nondescript American variety, not the traditional Cheese Whiz found on Philadelphia cheesesteaks and mushrooms, not green bell peppers, would be a more Philly-like addition. The sandwich was tasty and filling.

I also ordered two sides of fries ($2.50 each) , but the guy behind the counter talked me out of one, telling me “they’re really big, so you may want just one”, so I followed his advice. Turns out they were not as big as he had said and were just barely enough for two of us, but they were fresh, hot and crispy, a nice accompaniment to the cheesesteaks.

There is also a condiment bar with four sauces (au jus, chili sauce, and two others as well as the usual catsup, mustard, napkins, and plasticware. 

Overall, I have to say that PepperJax was worth the visit and a decent value. If in the mood for a Kansas cheesesteak, we will definitely return.

CombatCritic Gives PepperJax Grill 6 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
Six Bombs Equates To:

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Title: Lawrence, KS: Not “America’s Best Philly”, But A Contender For “Lawrence’s Best Sandwich”

Key Words: PepperJax Grill, PepperJax, grill, sandwich, Philadelphia, Philly, cheesesteak, Cheese Whiz, cheese, steak, Lawrence, Kansas, CombatCritic, travel, value, restaurant, menu review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: G2G = “Good To Go”
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A Slightly Underwhelming, Inexpensive. Light Meal Option In Central Florence


Lo SchiacciaVino
Via Giuseppe Verdi 6R
50122 Florence, Italy
Santa Croce Area
Phone: +39 055 2260133
Prices: $$$$$

A moderately charming, clean option for an inexpensive sandwich and glass of wine, this small shop lies less than a block north of famous Piazza Santa Croce and its historic church which houses the remains of such famous Italians as Marconi, Galileo, Michelangelo and and many more.

Their sandwich, “schiaccia” in Florence, comes on fresh, toasted focaccia bread and your choice of several meats, cheeses and spreads, all for €4 each. I had the “Bomba”, a mixture of ground sausage and soft cheese served warm and was not overly impressed. The cheese and ground sausage were mixed together then thinly slathered on the toasted focaccia. The taste was good, but the contents were overwhelmed by the bread and it was not very filling. My wife ordered the “Goloso” with local salami and a soft “squacquerone” cheese also served warm on toasted focaccia. It was better than my schiaccia, but lacking enough contents to make it worth the €4. A bit more salami and a little lettuce and tomato would have been welcome additions.
Goloso


They have some inexpensive wines, a vino rosso locale at €2 per glass that was not very good, so I ordered a Chianti for €3.50 that was much better. They have several options available escalating in price up to €8 per glass.
Bomba
They speak decent English and the service is friendly and fast. There are only two small tables outside on the sidewalk where you can sit comfortably, otherwise the bars with stools on opposite sides of the entryway are the only eat-in options and not very cozy. If you want a quick, decent, light meal and a glass of wine for less than €10, this is a good option, but there are better values in town for a quick, inexpensive meal.

CombatCritic Gives Lo SchiacciaVino A Solid 6 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!





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Title: A Slightly Underwhelming, Inexpensive. Light Meal Option In Central Florence


Key Words: Lo SchiacciaVino, schiacciavino, schiaccia, vino, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Florence, Firenze, Italy, Santa Croce, croce, sandwich, wine, travel, value, review, menu, CombatCritic

India Jones and the Temple of Gloom


Coffee Temple
Varkala Cliff
Varkala, Kerala, India
I had heard that this place was “the best” and being #4 of 59 restaurants in Varkala on TripAdvisor I would have thought it was a sure bet, but nothing is for sure except the grim reaper and the taxman.
 
To be fair, I made several visits at various times of the day and I have to say the service was dismal nearly every time. On at least three occasions I sat at my table for 15 minutes or more and was totally ignored (I many times purposely do not make a fuss to see how long it will actually take), having ultimately had to either get up and ask for or retrieve my own menu. On one occasion one of the servers, who I will call “India Jones” because of his long hair, unkempt beard, tattered shirts, and “local” Kerala dress (he wears a sarong as a skirt even though he is obviously a westerner), moped around, conserving energy I assume, and lumbered past me at least ten times, never asking me if I needed a menu or wanted to order. I sometimes believe that I am invisible here because employees constantly walk by without even acknowledging my existence. 
 
Chicken Salad Sandwich – 230 Rupees
The coffee and teas are good, coming in large (10 ounce) mugs, but are a tad overpriced by Indian standards.  The food looked good from what I saw others order, but is also a bit more expensive than most places. I have to admit that the only things I tried were the the toast, three large, thick pieces of brown bread with butter and jam (80 rupees/$1.30 – I had to provide my own peanut butter even though the menu claims they make a crepe with it), a large bowl of fruit muesli (100 rupees/$1.60 and not so large) which was not bad and a fair deal, and their chicken salad sandwich (230 rupees/$3.75 with cheese), a huge disappointment.  The bread, a small baguette (see photo above) with sesame seeds on top was the highlight, but what little chicken salad there was oddly enough was served warm, the chicken mostly dark meat and full of gristle, and the mayonnaise had a rather disgusting sweet taste like Miracle Whip, which I loathe. Disappointingly small and lonely on the plate with no garnish, it was one of the worst meals and values I had at any restaurant in my nearly four months in India.
 
The place has potential with its incredible view and open air feel, but the servers need to do something about their simultaneously apathetic and arrogant attitudes and start acting like customers are important.  As far as the food was concerned, I was not impressed, but the coffee and masala chai were pretty good. The only reason I am giving them 5 bombs and not 4 is because they are about the only place on the cliff that consistently opens early (6:30), so if you are an early riser like me, not always by choice, you can at least get a coffee or breakfast with a sea view no less.
 
CombatCritic Gives Coffee Temple 5 Out of 10 Bombs … More Bombs Are Better!
 
 
 
 
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Title: India Jones and the Temple of Gloom
 
Key Words: Coffee Temple, coffee, temple, Varkala, cliff, beach, Kerala, India, restaurant, cafe, food, menu, tea, sandwich, breakfast, view, sea, CombatCritic, TravelValue, TripAdvisor

The Name of This Place Should Be … "WE HATE TOURISTS!"


The Mango Grove
Main Road (Opposite Newtons Supermarket)
Candolim Beach, Bardez, Goa, 403515 India
Phone: 982-323-9650
Prices $$$$$
We stopped here because the place had a nice covered patio and was relatively busy, usually a good sign. The man who “greeted” us, and I use that term loosely, grunted out what should have been a “welcome” and we were pointed, not escorted, to a table in the corner. The menu is large and diverse and being our first time here on the first day of a week long stay, they had the opportunity to earn our repeat business. As George Bush would say: “Not going to happen … wouldn’t be prudent.”
I asked a couple very simple questions like “what kind of bread does this sandwich come on”, but the server seemed quite annoyed, looking at me like he despises tourists and our ridiculous inquiries. We were not extremely hungry, so we ordered a couple of sandwiches, me a steak sandwich (200 rupees/$3.20) on a baguette, my wife a simple cheese sandwich, also on a baguette (150 rupees/$2.45), a Kingfisher beer (100 rupees/$1.60), and a mineral water (30 rupees/50 cents). He returned about 10 minutes later to tell us that there were no baguettes (at 1pm) and that we could have our sandwiches on local (pita) bread. Looking forward to a sandwich on some decent bread for the first time after more than two months in India, I was disappointed but we decided to stick around having already received our drinks.
My sandwiches (there were two because the bread was so thin and small) barely had any meat on them, a little lettuce, some grilled onions, a couple of thin slices of tomato and were accompanied by six (6) french fries (or chips as they are called here and in the UK). My wife’s sandwiches had a negligible amount of melted cheese on them, so it was basicly a pita bread and lettuce sandwich … YUM!
The meal was cheap enough, but the value was poor and many menu items are a bit more expensive than many places in India. Granted, this was also New Year’s Day in a party town, so they may not have been at their best after a long night, but we were not impressed in the least and will choose from the many other restaurants in Candolim for our next dozen or so meals. Maybe they will appreciate our business.
CombatCritic Gives The Mango Grove 3 Out of 10 Bombs … After a 2 Bomb Deduction For a Crappy Attitude … More Bombs Are Better!




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Key Words:  The Mango Grove, mango, grove, Candolim Beach, Candolim, beach, Goa, India, restaurant, menu, food, steak, sandwich, CombatCritic, review, TravelValue, travel, value

Excellent Latte, Mediocre Sandwich, Moderate Prices


Moonpeak Espresso (Café)
Temple Road
McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, HP, India
Prices: $$$$$

I have been to Moonpeak a few times for a coffee and pastry, once for lunch, and have been relatively happy even though it is not anywhere close to being the best value in town.

They have decent, free wi-fi, an excellent latte (70 rupees/$1.15), and a modern, “Western” feel (if that is something you are after). Beside the requisite coffees, teas, lassis, and juices, their menu includes breakfast, pastries, sandwiches, and light (small portions) local lunch and dinner options.

I tried the chicken and vegetable (toasted) sandwich and was not the least impressed. The white toast with a few chunks of chicken, some veggies, and a little cheese was underwhelming and barely made a dent in my appetite. My vegetarian companion had the veg Thali which looked decent for the price, including pappadum, naan, curry, paneer, and rice.

There are better “value” options in town, but if you are transiting Temple Road coming from or going to the Dalai Lama Temple, it is definitely worth a stop if nothing more than for a good latte and to check email. 

CombatCritic Gives Moonpeak Espresso 6 Bombs Out Of 10 in Terms of “Relative Value”… MORE BOMBS ARE BETTER!






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Key Words: café, coffee, coffeehouse, food, free, latte, menu, Moonpeak, pastry, sandwich, tart, tea, wi-fi, espresso, caffe, Moonpeak Espresso, moon, peak, Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj, Temple, road, 

"I remember this place being better" – CombatCritic (About Trivelli’s)


Trivelli’s Hoagies
2819 N Nevada Avenue 
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

“I remember this place being better” – C.T. Sorrentino – aka CombatCritic


The sandwiches are “OK”, not as good as they once were. We had the “meatball” sandwich, which oddly enough does not come with cheese (unless you ask for it – costs extra) and the “cheesesteak”. Because the original owner is supposedly from Philadelphia, the cheesesteak should be a no brainer. Or should it?
The meatball (6 inch – $5.70) was tasty enough, but neither very big nor loaded with meat as I remember and the tomato sauce flavorful, not too sweet or spicy. The bread was good, not too soft or hard (old). The cheesesteak ($11.78 for a 12 incher), which came on a similar “hoagie” roll, was loaded with meat and a bit greasy even for my taste (read my review of Dempsey’s in Lawrence, Kansas). I added a side order of french fries ($2.15) which was rather small for the price and cold by the time our meal arrived.
My son, a vegan, asked the young lady on the phone before ordering if they could accommodate his dietary restrictions, including no meat, eggs, cheese, or oils (a personal preference), and she indicated that they could (after checking with her  manager/chef). Having confirmed that the pasta was not made with eggs and that the tomato sauce had no meat or added oil, he ordered the spaghetti and meatballs (minus the meatballs – $6.89). He was also told that his meal “comes with a salad” and that our entire order would come to a little over $28.

Side Salad – $6.89?

When he arrived to pick up our order, my son was told that the pasta sauce was cooked with the meatballs (vegan?) and that there was oil in the sauce after all, so he could not eat the spaghetti and meatballs. They appeared perturbed over his dietary restrictions and removed the spaghetti and meatballs (but did not deduct the price), leaving him with what he thought was a “large side salad full of veggies” (it was in a large container which he did not open before leaving). However, when he arrived home and opened the container, there was a pile of shredded, brownish iceberg lettuce and a few chunks of tomato and even fewer slices of onion (see photo). They charged us nearly $7 for a pile of lettuce and a few veggies that probably cost them less than fifty cents!

The food alone would get 3 out of 5 stars (5-6 out of 10 “bombs”) based on quality, quantity, and “value”, but the $7 side salad and their anti-vegan attitude forced me to deduct a “star” (two bombs). Therefore …

CombatCritic Gives Trivelli’s Hoagies (Nevada Ave) 5 Out of 10 Bombs … MORE BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Trivelli's Hoagies on Urbanspoon

Key Words: Trivelli’s Hoagies, Trivelli’s, Trivelli, travelli, hoagies, hoagie, sub, sandwich, cheesesteak, meatball, salad, fries, menu, CombatCritic, TravelValue, Colorado, Springs

The Pita Pit Is THE PITS When It Comes To Value


Pita Pit
1011 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044


Prices: $$$$$

The place was empty on a Wednesday night as I entered, a bad sign, and I almost turned around to go to Fuzzy’s for some tacos. Instead I decided to give it a go and walked to the counter.

The staff was friendly and helpful, the place clean, the veggies fresh, and being Wednesday I was told that “double meat’s only an extra buck” ($1 – normally $2.50), so I ordered a Philly Steak with grilled onion, peppers, and mushrooms for $6.59 ($7.59 + tax with double meat, bringing the total to $8 and change – normally $9.09 + tax).


With more meat than Subway, I thought the sandwich would be more filling than it was. They offer white and whole wheat pita, but being so thin the bread offers little satiation. I was still hungry. The extras (veggies, cheeses, sauces) are included and are liberally added, but the pita bread can only hold so much before bursting. In fact, the pita fell apart halfway through my sandwich as the juices attacked the bread less than 20  minutes after ordering.


For $8+ I was not pleased with the value of the sandwich. They offer chips on the side to accompany sandwiches, but french fries would be more appropriate and filling. Overall, I found my experience and the value of my meal disappointing.

CombatCritic Gives Pita Pit 4 Out of 10 Bombs … BOMBS ARE GOOD!





Pita Pit on Urbanspoon

Key Words: Pita Pit, pita, pit, sandwich, shop, restaurant, eat, food, delivery, menu, bread, gyro, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value

Eat At Joe’s


I haven’t been to Joe’s for years, but some of my fondest memories are of French dip sandwiches and French fries … I LOVE FRENCH FOOD … with my family and friends during regular visits to Santa Barbara from LA.

Joe’s has been in the same location on State Street since 1928 and, although redecorated, retains the bones and charm of a 1920’s California diner, counter (now bar) and all.

Looking at the recent photos, the French dips have not changed with chunks of prime rib piled high on a French roll (did I tell you I LOVE FRENCH FOOD?) accompanied by crispy French fries, au jus, and a side salad. I can taste the sandwich even though I am 1,500 miles away … YUM!

I have been to 39 countries since the first time I went to Joe’s, INCLUDING FRANCE SEVERAL TIMES, and enjoyed some of the best cuisine the World has to offer, but sometimes it is the simple things in life that stand out as the finest moments. I have never eaten anything EXCEPT the FRENCH DIP at Joe’s Cafe and even though I will likely return several more tines before I die, I will go with a smile on my face, having eaten nothing else at this Santa Barbara institution. GO TO JOE’S … have a French dip and tell them CombatCritic sent you!

CombatCritic Gives Joe’s Cafe 10 Out of 10 Bombs … BOMBS ARE GOOD! 

Which Wich? SandWich!


Which Wich Superior Sandwiches


5102 N. Nevada Ave., Ste. 130
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
(719) 599-WICH
(719) 598-4329 (fax)
universityvillage@whichwich.net

Hours:
Mon-Sat, 10 am – 9pm
Sun, 10 am – 7pm
Order Online

My computer was STILL ON CENTRAL TIME, but I was in Colorado and arrived an hour early to pick-up my online order.


You get to put your sandwich together using a shopping list of ingredients in several categories: bread, meat, cheese, sauces, veggies, hot/cold among others. You can order a half for about $6 (more filling than a foot long Subway) or a whole (about 14″) for just under $12. Sounds like a lot for a sandwich, but we made two meals out of the wholes for a meal at under $6 per person.


We had the grinders one cold, one hot and a toasted meatball. The grinders were identical with salami, pepperoni, and cappiccolo, balsamic vinaigrette, banana peppers, red onion, tomato, and spices. One hot with spinach added after toasting and one cold with lettuce. With significantly more meat than YOU KNOW WHO they were very good and filling. My only suggestion wood be swapping out the pepperoni with mortadella, the more traditional “Italian” grinder choice, but it was scrummy nonetheless.


The meatball sandwich was also good, but MAKE SURE TO SPECIFY “marinara” when you choose sauces or else you will NOT receive a traditional Italian meatball sandwich. This place is great for people who know what they like and how to put a sandwich together, but people like my wife who DO NOT HAVE A CLUE how to cook a meal may have difficulty constructing an appetizing meal.

CombatCritic Gives Which Wich 6 Out of 10 Bombs for SANDWICH VALUE … BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Which Wich on Urbanspoon


Key Words: Which Wich, which, wich, sandwich, grinder, Italian, meatball, fast food, food, eat, shop, Colorado Springs, Colorado, marijuana, CombatCritic, TravelValue, combat, travel