Lawrence, KS: Mighty Tasty Tex-Mex … And Reasonable Too!


Mighty Tamales
1801 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 218-6948
Prices: $$$$
We stopped by on a whim after learning of the existence of this new Mexican eatery on the LFK for DUMMIES Facebook page. 

Located in the VFW Post building across from the Dillons supermarket on Mass Street, the owners, Justin and Kristy, opened this location after outgrowing their popular tamale delivery business.


The menu is limited for the time being, including pork and chicken tamale dishes as well as roasted, stuffed Poblano peppers that are TO DIE FOR. They offer rice and beans as well as daily specials (street tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and so on), but word has it that their menu will soon be expanding to include guacamole and more traditional Tex-Mex entrees. The adjacent VFW bar has a full assortment of drinks, beer, and wine to accompany your meal.

Their prices are extremely reasonable and I felt a bit guilty for paying so little for such an abundance of delicious, quality, well seasoned food. They could probably raise their prices a couple bucks per dish and still offer an exceptional value.

I will return soon to try their new menu and update my readers in more detail as this new restaurant grows and flourishes.

CombatCritic Gives Mighty Tamales An Initial And Very Solid 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Read Chris S.‘s review of Mighty Tamales on Yelp
https://www.yelp.com/embed/widgets.js
Mighty Tamales Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mighty TamalesMighty Tamales

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!



Title: Lawrence, KS: Mighty Tasty Tex-Mex … And Reasonable Too!

Key Words: Lawrence, Mighty Tamales, Tex-Mex, Mexican, University of Kansas, KU, Kansas, University, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits & Grins”


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Bentonville, AR: Fred’s Is Still Good, But Needs Improvement


Fred’s Hickory Inn

1502 N. Walton Blvd
Bentonville, AR 72712
Phone number (479) 273-3303
I reviewed Fred’s last autumn and gave them fairly high marks. We returned for our Spring 2016 golf outing and to Fred’s, where we eat two nights in a row every trip as stipulated by the event dictators, I mean organizers. Anywho, these two visits were a bit different. On a Friday and Saturday night, when Fred’s should have been packed to the gills as they were in the Spring, you could shoot a cannon through the place without hitting a soul.
Katlin, our server both nights, was superb. Friendly, efficient, and from Chicago, she went above and beyond with one exception (to follow). I had the lasagna again on night one, coming with a side salad which was small, but fresh with romaine and a couple cherry tomato halves with bleu cheese dressing on the side, that was it, plain, simple and underwhelming. The lasagna was as good and bigger than I remember. A few of my buddies ordered it on night two after seeing mine and inquiring about the quality, all raving about the great size and flavor.
The problem arose on night two with my order of Grilled Chicken ($14). Coming with a side of my choice, I chose spaghetti Bolognese once again because someone on night one had said how good it was and had to see for myself if it was better than 4 months earlier. It was not. First, the grilled chicken consisted of a single half of a breast for $14, not a (full) “breast” as the menu indicated. It was small, overwhelmed by the side dish, but grilled well, tender and tasty. The Bolognese sauce had not been sitting in a warmer for hours as it had last time and it was fresh, but it was not like any Bolognese I have ever had. There was little if any ground beef to be found and I was not the only one to notice it. Big chunks of tomato, little seasoning, no milk or pancetta (bacon) and very little meat, not a traditional Bolognese (my Italian mother-in-law who lives in Naples, Italy calls it “Ragu”), not even close.
When we brought our disappointment to Katlin’s attention, she quickly ran to the back to get us more of the meatless sauce, but that did not help and even after sharing our dismay with the quality of the extra sauce, all that she said was “they didn’t use much meat today I guess”. That was an understatement. For a large group that eats at Fred’s four times a year, spending close to $4000.00 on food and drink and tipping very, very well, I would think there would have been an apology and possibly an offer of a complimentary dessert or some other form of remorse. There was not.
Again, nice place, decent prices, good food, although a very limited menu, and very good service. Katlin was big hit with the boys and I am sure she made out quite well in the tip department. The general manager recognized me from our last visit (and review), but never stopped by to greet us, ask how our meals were or apologize for the terrible Bolognese, which I found a bit odd, particularly for a group that drops $600 to $1,000 per visit.

CombatCritic Downgrades Fred’s Hickory Inn To 6 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better! 

Six Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!

Read Chris S.‘s review of Fred’s Hickory Inn on Yelphttps://www.yelp.com/embed/widgets.js

Title: Bentonville, AR: Fred’s Is Still Good, But Needs Improvement

Key Words: Fred’s Hickory Inn, Fred’s, Fred, hickory, inn, Bentonville, Arkansas, Bella Vista, bella, vista, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = “Good To Go”


Lawrence, KS: Tres Mexicanos Is Muy Bueno Amigos


Tres Mexicanos

1800 East 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone number: (785) 830-8415
Prices: $$$$

We tried Tres Mexicanos shortly after moving to Lawrence and were not overly impressed. Because they are so close to our house, in a stirp mall on East 23rd Street, we decided to give them another try recently and I am glad we did.

Even though the service was spotty, the food was pretty darn good and the prices fair. They have Amercanized tacos with pre-fab shells, fried tacos (more traditional), and traditional, authentic soft tacos on corn tortillas with just meat, cilantro and onion as they should have. The tacos, except the pre-fab variety, are very good and their cheese and onion enchiladas tasty. Their guacamole is one of the best in town and one of the best values as well.

The atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired, but the food is good, the margaritas well done and strong, the service OK, and the prices very fair, so we will be returning again soon.

CombatCritic Gives Tres Mexicanos 6 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Six Bombs Equates To:
“Good To Go”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!



Title: Lawrence, KS: Tres Mexicanos Is Muy Bueno Amigos

Key Words: Tres Mexicanos, tres, Mexicanos, Mexico, Mexican, taco, enchilada, Lawrence, Kansas, 23rd, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, service, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = “Good To Go”

Read Chris S.‘s review of Tres Mhttps://www.yelp.com/embed/widgets.jsexicanos on Yelp

Lawrence, KS: Pizza Shuttle Stands For ZERO INTEGRITY And Earns A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME"


Pizza Shuttle
1601 W. 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone: (785) 842-1212
I will not waste my time reviewing a business that totally lacks integrity, so I will ignore the food, delivery, etc. at Pizza Shuttle and focus only on the matter at hand … fraudulent business practices.

I ordered two 14″ one-topping pizzas online from Pizza Shuttle (through Eat Street – where I was automatically directed) at a price of $15.18 (including $1.38 for extra cheese on my pizza). 

My wife is allergic to tomatoes, so I asked for olive oil on her pizza instead of tomato sauce, a request that every pizza place we have ever ordered from has gladly and “free”ly complied with. With tax at $1.45 and delivery at $1.50, the total came to $18.13 as you can see on my receipt and order confirmations (online and email) below.

As you can clearly see, the online and email confirmations listed a total of $18.13 including tax and delivery, but when the Pizza Shuttle driver arrived he stated the total was $22.25, an additional $4.07 “due to my wife being allergic to tomatoes and substituting olive oil for tomato sauce”. Nobody bothered calling to inform us of the ridiculous $4+ upcharge and when the driver called the manager to confirm the discrepancy, the manager merely stated “that’s the way it is, it’s Eat Street’s problem, not ours”. 
I paid the driver the extra $4.07 (because it was not his fault and he does not get paid enough to argue with irate customers) and tipped him an additional $1.75, stating “your tip would have been much larger if your manager wasn’t such an a**hole. Tell him to read my review on combatcritic.com and on Yelp … it won’t be pretty!”

Never again, Pizza Shuttle or Eat Street, once and I am done. 

CombatCritic Gives Pizza Shuttle And Eat Street 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My WALL OF SHAME FOR ZERO INTEGRITY … Nuff Said!

One Bomb Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!

Pizza Shuttle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato








Title: Lawrence, KS: Pizza Shuttle Stands For ZERO INTEGRITY And Earns A Spot On My “WALL OF SHAME”

Key Words: Pizza Shuttle, pizza, shuttle, delivery, fraud, EatStreet, eatstreet.com, Lawrence, Kansas, 23rd, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = “Fucked Up Beyond All Repair”

Lawrence, KS: Great Idea, So-So Execution


Pie Five
2500 Iowa St
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone: (785) 551-7170
Prices $$$$
Had to try Pie Five because I had never heard of it and it looked interesting. Great idea, so-so execution. Skimpy with the “all you want” ingredients and small (10″) pizzas for $7.50, about the size of my outstretched hand.

For an extra $3, I got a salad which was decent, but also skimpy on the carrots, onions and tomatoes, and a drink. You can get dessert or cheesy breadsticks ($1 extra) instead of salad if you like.

It’s a cheap meal, but don’t expect to be too impressed by the quality or quantity. As my Italian grandma would say, it was “mezzo-mezzo” (so-so).

CombatCritic Gives Pie Five 5 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs are Better!

Five Bombs Equates To:


“Continue Mission”


Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube
Pie Five Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!



Title: Lawrence, KS: Great Idea, So-So Execution

Key Words: Pie Five, pie, five, 5 pizza, pizzeria, fast, food, Lawrence, Kansas, Iowa, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: Charlie-Mike = “Continue Mission”

Kansas City, MO: Pretentious, Rushed, Cold, Dark, Cramped, Pricey – Garozzo’s Was Mezzo Mezzo (So-S0)


Garozzo’s Ristorante 
(Downtown)

526 Harrison Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone: (816) 221-2455
Website: garozzos.com
Prices: $$$$


First, let me apologize for the quality of the photos in this post. Garozzo’s is so dark there was not enough light to take a photo without a flash or the external light source I normally use and I did not want to disturb our fellow diners so that I could take a decent photo … sorry!

We have been to Garozzo’s several times, but this was the first in about four years and since I started this blog. The food was always good, a bit pricey, but solid Italian food in a nice, but too dark and pretentious atmosphere. I say pretentious because the food screams “mom and pop” Italian restaurant, not upscale, fancy shmancy with servers (mostly waiters) dressed to the nines and with attitudes to match. 
This visit was no different. Good food, a room too dark to read the menu, a table too small to hold our food and drinks, and a waiter that was courteous, but all business, and a bit too eager to get rid of us and earn some extra tips. When you drop a C-note for dinner for two, you should not be rushed through your meal. We were.

I will not use the server’s name, but we were quickly welcomed, being the first diners at 5:30pm on a Tuesday after attending the closing for the sale of our home and celebrating with a nice dinner out. My wife and I were talking, but the server seemed eager to take our order, interrupting our conversation to ask what we wanted to drink. I asked for water and a bottle of their house cabernet sauvignon ($24).

After bringing our drinks, again interrupting our conversation, I ordered a stuffed artichoke as an appetizer (antipasto) and for entrees my wife requested the Tortelloni Gina and I the Veal Parmigiana. I asked the server if the dinners came with salad and pasta (in my case) as I seemed to remember salad coming with the entrees the last time we were there. I was either wrong or they had changed their policies because the server told me that a salad was “an additional $4”. The veal did come with a “small serving of pasta with Maggie’s Sugo” I was told.

My wife and I returned to our conversation, but about five minutes later I realized that we had not ordered our salads, my mistake, so I asked my wife to get our server’s attention, which she quickly did. I said, “I’m sorry, but we forgot to order salads”, to which he replied, “well, I already put you dinner orders in, but I can take care of that with the kitchen”. My wife ordered the Insalata Caesar ($4) and I the Insalata Santa Teresa ($4).

The cabernet was actually quite good, from a California winery they prominently feature on their wine list. The artichoke ($10), stuffed with seasoned breadcrumbs, steamed, and topped with garlic butter, quickly arrived and we dug right in. My grandmother used to make similar stuffed artichokes, except she used olive oil instead of butter and added small chunks of salami, but these were very good with tasty stuffing and large tender leaves. We were not even halfway through eating our artichoke when our server arrived with our salads. As a former waiter myself, there is nothing that pisses me off more than a server who brings the next course when we have not even finished the last, but I bit my tongue because it really did not matter that much because the salads were not going to get cold while sitting on the table, which they did for another 10-15 minutes while we finished our antipasto. The table, by the way, was so small (like all of the tables for two) that the server had difficulty finding space for our premature salads.


My wife then started eating her Caesar salad, waiting for her favorite part, the heart, while I polished off the last few leaves of the artichoke. She finished her salad, which she said was “nothing special”, in the interim and I, after the server cleared a few plates, then started eating mine. About halfway through my salad, which was good, with Romaine lettuce, red onion, chunks of goat cheese, Dijon vinaigrette, and topped with sliced roasted red peppers, but unremarkable, the server arrived with my wife’s Tortelloni Gina. That was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, so I asked our server: “Are we in a hurry?”, to which he replied, “oh, I’m sorry, let me take that away”. I proceeded to finish my salad.
Hovering, waiting for me to finish, when the server saw my salad plate was empty, he quickly swept the plate away and returned a few minutes later with our entrees. My wife’s Tortelloni Gina ($19) was filled with chicken and prosciutto, and served in a very traditional creamy Alfredo sauce with mushrooms and peas. It was hot, very large, extremely rich, and my wife, who was born in Italy, enjoyed it very much. Bravo! The server had tried to sway me away from the Veal Parmigiano (veal parmesan to you Olive Garden lovers), recommending the Vitello Spiedini Sophia Marie ($27) instead. Because I have had every other veal dish at Garozzo’s, including the veal Sophia Maria and Saltimbocca ($27), which are both excellent by the way, I wanted to try the Vitello Parmigiana ($24), my failsafe in Italian restaurants and a good indicator of the quality of an Italian-American kitchen (you will not find veal parmigiano in Italy unless the restaurant caters to Americans).
The veal was lukewarm at best, with three very small medallions topped with the house red sauce and fontina cheese, a bit odd as “parmigiana” is usually topped with mozzarella, baked or broiled, and sprinkled with parmigiana (parmesan cheese), hence the name. The sauce was very good in comparison to most stateside Italian restaurants, but the dish would have been much better had it been served hot, warm even, and with a bit more veal. The accompanying pasta was negligible and obviously came out of a bag or box. At $24 for just an entree, $30 including salad, it would have been a poor value, even if it had been served at the appropriate temperature.

I understand that it was my mistake, asking for salads five minutes after our order was taken, but our server said he would “take care of it”, as he should have. There is no excuse for bringing multiple or mixed courses, particularly in an “upscale” restaurant such as Garozzo’s. There is also no excuse for serving a $24 veal dish cold, no matter what the circumstances.

I like the place in general, but Garozzo’s would be much better if they dropped the pretenses, brought up the lights, bought some bigger tables, and lowered the prices a tad. I also believe that customers should NEVER be rushed, especially when they are paying $50 a head and up for a meal.

CombatCritic Gives Garozzo’s Ristorante 5 Bombs Out Of 10 With Deductions For Unprofessional Service, Cold Food, Darkness, Small Tables, And Questionable Value … More Bombs Are Better!

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Garozzo's Ristorante Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Title: Kansas City, MO: Pretentious, Rushed, Cold, Dark, Cramped, Pricey – Garozzo’s Was Mezzo Mezzo (So-S0)

Key Words: Garozzo’s, Garozzo, Italian, Kansas City, Kansas, city, Missouri, CombatCritic, Italy, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, ristorante, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: Charlie-Mike = “Continue Mission”

Editorial: Kayak and Delta Share Core Values – Zero Integrity And Dishonesty


Delta Airlines Performs A Classic Bait and Switch, Doubling The Price Of An Airfare To Over $3000 After Hitting “Purchase”!

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I found two @Delta fares on @Kayak for $757 round-trip each to Naples, Italy on September 1st, but when I spent over 10 minutes entering our personal details and credit card info and then hit “enter”, Delta refused to process the ticket and doubled the price! Can you say “bait and switch”? Sure ya can, because that is exactly what Delta did. The message stated that the fare was now $1500+ each (over $3000 total – a $1500 increase from the advertised airfare) if I wanted to continue booking. I did not.

The transaction even hit my credit card because I received text and email alerts warning me of a possible fraudulent transaction. When I replied, telling my bank that it was not fraud, they replied and told me that the transaction had already been reversed.


As a retired military officer, integrity is my mantra. Obviously, Kayak.com and Delta Airlines do not undertsand the meaning of the word.

WTFO? Shame on you both!

This is exactly why we stopped flying Delta and started flying United exclusively. I will also consider using an airfare consolidator other than Kayak.com, like JustFly.com, from now on for letting this happen. I wasted 30-40 minutes of valuable time researching fares, departure times, flight and layover duration, and entering required information for payment, only to be told AFTER confirming the purchase that the fare was no longer available.

I think the FAA and Georgia Attorney General need to hear about this classic bait and switch tactic … don’t you?

The V.P. of eCommerce Operations ay Kayak replied to my concerns with this crap:

From: Esther – KAYAK Date: Sunday, September 4, 2016 at 7:54 PMSubject: Your recent KAYAK Feedback 

“Hello and thank you for contacting KAYAK and sharing your experience.

Please keep in mind KAYAK is a travel website whereby you search for travel options and we provide you with search results and choices on where to complete a reservation.  Further upon selecting the order to process with Delta you left our website and we no longer have insight into the reservation attempt or fares.  

Please keep in mind prices and availability change frequently and it is possible the fares changed from the time you selected an itinerary until you when you were completing a reservation. Further fares are not guaranteed and ticketed and confirmed.

If you require further assistance we suggest you contact Delta directly.

Thank you,

EstherKAYAK VP, eCommerce Operations”


My response was as follows:

“Once I go to the carrier’s website to complete the reservation, that fare should be locked in until I submit payment, which I did. Delta even charged my credit card before reversing it!

Don’t tell me a consolidator site as large as Kayak doesn’t have some pull with the airlines. Kayak should raise the BS flag with Delta. It’s not right to waste Kayak customer’s time. My post is getting a lot of attention and it doesn’t reflect favorably on Delta or Kayak.

Your reply is canned and self serving and I find it offensive. I did contact Delta and they refuse to respond. Why don’t you stand up for your customers? Kayak profits greatly from sending people to other sites, then you wash your hands? Integrity? “

CombatCritic

Here is the sorry, self-serving response from Kayak’s vice President of eCommerce Operatons:

“I am sorry to hear you believe my response is canned because it certainly is not. The intent of the reply was to inform you about KAYAK’s service which is a travel website whereby you search for travel options ( please visit: https://www.kayak.com/about to learn more).

Also, please keep in mind we do not set the prices displayed in the search results nor do we control any of the fares. Further, as noted, prices and availability can change quite quickly as a result prices are not guaranteed by booking providers until they are purchased and ticketed.

Hope this helps clarify further.

Kind regards, 

Esther

KAYAK VP, eCommerce Operations”

Like Hotels.com, who could care less about their customers (see my post on Guest House Vlado), Kayak is just another travel consolidator that makes money off of all of us by routing us to another website, then washing their hands of whatever happens next.


CombatCritic Gives Kayak.com and Delta Airlines 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On MY Quickly Growing “WALL OF SHAME” … More Bombs Are Better!

One Bomb Equates To:
“Fucked Up Beyond All Repair”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Editorial: Kayak and Delta Share Core Values – Zero Integrity And Dishonesty

Key Words: Kayak, Delta Airlines, Delta, airlines, airfare, Kayak.com, Delta.com, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, company, service, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Lawrence, Kansas: Middle Of The Road Thai On Mass


Baan Thai

741 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone: (785) 856-8424
Website: baanthaikansas.com/lawrence


With a love for Thai food, I had high expectations after reading the rave reviews, particularly by my friend Scott T. on Yelp who (normally) has very similar opinions as mine when it comes to food.

In the middle of downtown Mass Street (as residents of LFK call it), I had stopped by Baan Thai for a look once before and the menu seemed appetizing and reasonable, but the decor put me off as it did on this our first visit. With cement floors, orange plastic-backed chairs (which, by the way, possibly acrylic and not cheap), and little decor, the inside is not warm and inviting, at least to my taste.

Josh, our server, was very nice, efficient and professional, but the dishes came out one at a time. Josh said it was because they are “made to order”, but are most decent restaurants making food to order, bringing appetizers out together and entrees all at the same time?

First, the Pot Stickers (6 for $4.95) came out. The pork, cabbage, and onion dumplings were deep-fried and served with a soy-based dipping sauce. They were good, but were more dumpling than filling. We waited for 10-15 minutes for our Chicken Satay (4 for $6.95) to arrive, so when Josh asked me a question about my entree, I inquired about our second appetizer. He scurried to the kitchen with little explanation and after another ten minutes, our satay finally arrived. The marinated skewers of charbroiled chicken were accompanied by the traditional peanut sauce and cucumber salad, and were also pretty good, but both were overpriced by about a buck and would have been much better together as I like to dip my pot stickers in the soy AND peanut sauce.

My wife’s Pad See-Ew ($9.95) was next to arrive. The rice noodles were stir fried with egg and broccoli with enough spices to make the dish tasty without being too hot as my spouse cannot tolerate food that is too spicy, a pitfall of most Italians. She loved it and it was plentiful, but eggs, noodles, and broccoli are not a good combination in my book.
My Gang Massaman Curry ($11.75) arrived 5-7 minutes later. Massaman curry is one of my favorites and I have had it at many Thai restaurants. This was far from the best I have had although the curry was flavorful. The coconut milk based curry, traditionally simmered with beef, was not nearly as thick (a bit on the watery side) as any other I have had and the potatoes were not cooked quite enough. When Josh had come out to ask me about my entree earlier, he had asked if I minded having “sliced” beef rather than “boiled” beef, assuming that he meant that the beef had not been simmering for 60-90 minutes in the curry sauce as should be the case. Even though I agreed, the sliced beef was plentiful enough, but was a tad on the chewy side, not tough or grisly, but not as tender as it should have been. The yellow onions were tender, but the boiled peanuts were a also bit too raw.

My wife and I were both excessively thirsty later that evening and I had stomach cramps, a potential sign of MSG being used. I later checked their website and menu and there was not a claim of “No MSG” that I could find, so it you have a sensitivity to it, I would definitely ask in advance of ordering. I am not saying that they use MSG, but our symptoms were consistent with ingestion of the additive/flavor enhancer, so if they do not use it, they should say so on the menu.

Our meal was good, not great, the prices fair, the servings generous, and the service efficient, but compared to other Thai/Asian Fusion restaurants, including Zen Zero just up the street, this one was very “middle of the road”.

CombatCritic Gives Baan Thai A Very Average 5 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Five Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



… And Don’t Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Baan Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Title: Lawrence, Kansas: Middle Of The Road Thai On Mass

Key Words: Baan Thai, baan, Thai, Thailand, curry, Lawrence, Kansas, Mass, Massachusetts, street, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: Charlie-Mike = “Continue Mission”

Gresham, OR: Relatively Hoppy With This Burger And Brew Experience


The Local Cow
336 N. Main Street
Gresham, OR 97030
Phone: (503) 489-5116
The Hoppy Brewer
328 N. Main Street
Gresham, OR 97030
Phone: (503) 328-8474
Good burgers and fries with a brewhouse nextdoor. What more can you ask for? Sit on the patio between the two and have a Local Cow burger and fries and a couple craft beers from the Hoppy Brewer … HOOAH!
I had a cheeseburger ($7.50) with bacon ($2) and sauteed onions ($1) for a total of $10.50. It came with fries which were paltry and uninspiring. My friends had a burger and Mount Hood Wedge ($9) and we got some beers from the adjacent Hoppy Brewer.
My burger was good, but at 1/3 pound, not particularly overwhelming and the fries were few and far between, closer to a garnish than a side. $9 for a wedge of iceberg lettuce with some cherry tomatoes, bacon bits, and balsamic vinaigrette was a tad excessive and would have been a much better value in the $5 range.
The Hoppy Brewer had some nice drafts, but the Porter from the fridge at less than $5 a pint was awesome and $5 well spent. They were knowledgable and helpful, delivering quality brews at reasonable prices. The brews from the Hoppy Brewer sealed the deal, otherwise this would have been a 5 or 6 bomb experience.
CombatCritic Gives The Local Cow And Hoppy Brewer 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

“Shits & Grins”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

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Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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The Local Cow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!













Title: Gresham, OR: Relatively Hoppy With This Burger And Brew Experience

Key Words: Local Cow, local, cow, Hoppy Brewer, hoppy , brewer, beer, hamburger, Gresham, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits and Grins”

Eureka, CA: Good, Authentic, Mexican Food In A Mall Food Court … Go Figure


Los Gallos Taqueria

3300 Broadway Street, Suite 612
Bayshore Mall Foodcourt
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone: (707) 443-4631
Prices: $$$$


Good, authentic, reasonably priced  Mexican food in a mall food court. Go figure.

I had difficulty finding this place until I realized that it was in the Bayshore Mall food court. As you are looking at the front of the mall, the food court is inside the glassed-in area between the middle and left end of the mall. You will find Los Gallos immediately straight ahead on the right.

Wanting to sample a variety of Mexican staples, I ordered the guacamole and chips  ($3.75), a carne asada and a carnitas taco with cheese ($2.50 each), and a cheese and onion enchilada ($2.50) ala carte. The guacamole was fair at best, obviously from Sysco or cut with yogurt or sour cream and with too many tomatoes which are cheaper than avocados, a trick many restaurants use to same money.

The tacos were authentic and tasty with two medium size soft corn tortillas each, sliced grilled steak/pork, onion, cilantro, salsa and cheese (actually, cheese is not authentic on tacos, but I like it) with plenty of meat. The enchilada was also very good with a zesty red chili sauce, with plenty of cheese and diced onion.

For under $12, I ate very well and, with the exception of the guacamole, the food was good, not great, and plentiful. I am always amazed that most Mexican restaurants cannot seem to make a decent guacamole because it is very simple to make and at 50¢ to $1 per avocado, the profit margin is still 300-400% using only avocadoes and no fillers. See my post for an excellent guacamole recipe!

CombatCritic Gives Los Gallos Taqueria 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Los Gallos Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato







Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Eureka, CA: Good, Authentic, Mexican Food In A Mall Food Court … Go Figure

Key Words: Los Gallos Taqueria, los, gallos, taqueria, taco, tacos, Bayshore, Eureka, California, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits & Grins”

Eureka, CA: If You Are Hungry And Want Italian, Marcelli’s Is The Place For You


Marcelli’s Ravioli & Sausage Factory

1323 5th Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone: (707) 442-1213
Prices: $$$$

If you are hungry, you will not be when you leave Marcelli’s. The prices looked a bit high at first glance, but once the food started arriving, I understood why. My $15.95 Ravioli included not one, but FIVE courses: antipasto, soup, salad, entree with garlic bread, and dessert.

They have been in the same building for over 80 years, handed down from generation to generation. The interior has a classic 1950’s diner look with a cheesy Italian flare. The place must have had a lunch counter originally because, although still there, it now serves as their bar.
My young server was very friendly and attentive, happily answering questions and ensuring my next course came out as soon as I was done with the last. As I mentioned, I had the Ravioli dinner with an equal mixture of beef, cheese, and spinach ravioli, 12 in all and handmade on-site.
But first, I was brought a small antipasto with two fried beef ravioli, two slices of salami, a Tuscan pepper, a baby carrot, and a slice of celery. It seemed rather sparse, but I still was not aware that there were four more courses to come, so that was probably a good thing. It seemed odd that a basket of bread did not accompany the appetizer, so I asked if I could get some bread. After a surprised look, as if nobody had ever asked for bread before, she asked if I wanted it toasted or not and went in the back. What she brought me was a slice of thick, white bread, the kind they make Texas toast with. All righty then!

Next came the soup, then the salad. The bowl of soup was actually quite big and tasty, not needing extra seasoning as is the case at most places. The salad came out of a bag (see recommendations below), but was fresh and the bleu cheese dressing was very good, homemade I was told, by one of the owners.
The ravioli were good, but on the small side with much more pasta than filling. The Bolognese sauce looked more like a meat gravy (it looked browner than it does in the photo above), but it was tasty nonetheless. The accompanying garlic bread came out of the same bag as my untoasted Texas toast, but it was also well done considering. The serving size would have been disappointing had I not had an appetizer, bowl of soup and a salad beforehand, but at $6.99 for the ala carte version, it would appear a little lean.
I was stuffed! Then my server asked me what kind of ice cream I wanted. Ice cream too? Yes, chocolate, vanilla, and spumoni as a matter of fact. I decided to go all in and ordered the spumoni, which was actually quite good, not tasting like it came out of a gallon container, which it likely did.


In all, I was somewhat hesitant at first after perusing the menu and seeing the prices as well as the noticeable lack of clientele, but I am glad I stuck around. Far from the best (or worst) Italian food I have had, my meal was pretty damn good and a good value.

Recommendations: 
  1. Serve a decent baguette-style bread, in a basket, with meals
  2. A very small serving of marinara sauce or dressing should accompany the appetizer as the fried ravioli were a bit dry
  3.  Put a door on the kitchen so guests cannot hear your conversations and see you taking the salad out of a bag
  4. Make the ravioli a little bigger, roll the dough a little thinner and increase the fillings a tad, even if you need to charge a little more
  5. Let people know on the menu that dinners also come with dessert and stress the fact that they will be getting a FIVE-COURSE meal
  6. Join the 21st Century and get a website, even a simple one, and a Facebook page at the very least. People these days want to see your menu, hours, and some photos before committing to a meal. And for God’s sake, DO NOT use a Facebook page as your website like a lot of businesses do. It does not convey a professional image.
CombatCritic Gives Marcelli’s Ravioli & Sausage Factory 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

Menu

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

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Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Eureka, CA: If You Are Hungry And Want Italian, Marcelli’s Is The Place For You

Key Words: Marcelli’s Ravioli & Sausage Factory, Marcelli’s, Marcelli, ravioli, sausage, factory, Eureka, CA< California, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians:  S&G = “Shits & Grins”

Yachats, OR: Her Name May Be Swiss, But Heidi Can Cook Italian … BRAVO!


Heidi’s Italian Dinners
84 Beach Street
Yachats, OR 97498
Phone: (541) 547-4409
Facebook Page: Heidi’s Italian Dinners

Prices: $$$$

Not a rousing welcome to begin with, I’ll spare you the details, but the evening rallied on and I was a fan by night’s end. Heidi’s is a cute, but somewhat nondescript building inside with a nice garden that happens to overlook the Yachats River Estuary, adjoining the massive and majestic Pacific Ocean.

I stopped by on Tuesday, but they were closed, seeing a woman I suspected was Heidi watering the plants, She was friendly and helpful, but obviously had better things to do than chat with me. I made a reservation for the following evening.

I had a table next to the window with a partial view of the estuary and ocean less than 100 yards away. Everyone was friendly enough, but matter of fact with little interaction. I ordered the Caesar Salad ($4) the Lasagna ($17), and a bottle of local IPA ($4.50).
The Caesar was proceeded by an array of garlic bread slices and grilled polenta on which to nosh. The salad was of medium size and well done with three croutons scattered about. I saved some of the polenta and garlic bread, utilizing it on the salad and adding a bit of texture to the dish once the croutons were toast.
The lasagna was the coup de grâce. Heidi obviously comes from Italian descent because this was as good as any homemade lasagna I have had, including my mom’s (sorry mom) and my grandma’s among several others. When there is no need to add grated parmigiana (parmesan to Americans) to a pasta dish, it is properly made. Not large for the $17 price tag by any stretch, even though delicious, it would have been a better value in the $10-$13 range (taking the location and view into account) or $14-$17 if the salad were included.


CombatCritic Gives Heidi’s Italian Dinners 7 Bombs Out Of 10 … Mor eBombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

Heidi’s Italian Dinners
Heidi's Italian Dinners
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:


Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Yachats, OR: Her Name May Be Swiss, But Heidi Can Cook Italian … BRAVO!

Key Words: Heidi’s Italian Dinners, Heidi, Heidi’s, Italian, dinners, Yachats, OR, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, lasagna, pasta, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: S&G = “Shits & Grins”


Portland, OR: I Adore Bargains And French Food, So I Loved Chez Machin!


Chez Machin

3553 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
Southeast Portland – Hawthorne, Sunnyside
Phone: (503) 736-9381
Website: chezmachin.com
Prices: $$$$


Chex Machin is a small place in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland, my two friends and I were the only diners at 5pm on a Sunday so we got all of the attention we required even if it was unenthusiastic.
Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6pm with a $3 cup of French Onion Soup, $6 Escargots and $5 Off bottles of wine. We got two orders of escargot, a cup of soup and a bottle each of a red Bordeaux and a white Riesling ($23 each after discount). We also ordered a Brie en Croûte ($9.95) off of the main menu as well as a Salade Lyonnaise ($9.95). The escargots were tender and full of buttery, garlicky goodness, but the server seemed to be hoarding the bread, bringing out tiny soup cups with 4-5 thin, small slices of baguette at a time. The brie, in puff pastry, was served with a berry compote and was tasty, but a bit underwhelming for the $10 price tag. The onion soup was good, but not the best I have had with more bread than cheese and the Lyonnaise salad scrummy with a poached egg on top of lettuce, crispy slab bacon, and croutons. 

We decided to order three different entrees in order to taste a bit of each. I had the Boeuf Bourguignon ($15.95) and my friends ordered the Steak Marchand de Vin ($24.95) and Chicken Cordon Bleu ($15.95). The chicken and steak came with green beans, but mine came solo although I did get a Salad Maison ($3) off the Happy Hour menu that was very good. The 10 ounce flatiron steak was tender, cooked a perfect medium, and served with a delicate burgundy cream sauce as well as au gratin potatoes and sautéed green beans. The cordon bleu was also very nicely done and the dijon cream sauce was the perfect accompaniment.

The waiter was efficient enough given that fact that we were his only table, but a bit stuffy for such a relaxed, casual bistro. The three of us ate and drank very well for the $141, plus tip, I paid for dinner. Oops, I forgot to tip the waiter … just kidding! He was rewarded handsomely even if he was lacking a personality, giving him the benefit of the doubt considering that he was young and probably had a long Saturday night.

CombatCritic Gives Chez Machin 9 Bombs Out Of 10 … They Would Have Received My Top Score Had The Waiter Been Slightly Friendly … More Bombs Are Better!
Nine Bombs Equates To:



Chez Machin
Chez Machin
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Portland, OR: I Adore Bargains And French Food, So I Loved Chez Machin!

Key Words:  Portland, OR, Oregon, French, Chez Machin, chez, machin, escargot, Hawthorne, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: OOH-RAH! = “U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm”

Yachats, OR: Drift Inn And Try To Find The Front Desk Or Someone Who Cares … Good Luck!


Drift Inn
124 Hwy 101 North
Yachats, OR 97498
Phone: (541) 547-4477
Prices: $$$$
I found the place on Airbnb and the price was right at $50 per night, but the room was the size of a large closet and the reception I received upon arrival and in the restaurant’s bar was inadequate.

There is no reception for the hotel, so I had to find a server in the restaurant to show me to my room. It was small, but semi-functional with a queen size bed (that took up most of the room), a TV and DVD player, and a small table and folding chairs. When a single chair was unfolded, it was impossible to move or store anything in the room except for under the bed (which I did).

The reservation said “bed and breakfast”, but when I inquired with Gretchen, who I assumed was one of the owners/managers, she said “it was a mistake”, but grudgingly giving me a coupon for coffee and a muffin for ONE of the three mornings I was staying there.

The food in the restaurant was overpriced and the bartender (and co-owner), Ernie, was a rude jerk. Required to sit at the bar even though tables were available (because I was alone I guess), I tried to make conversation and ask a question about the local draft beers to Ernie, but he was either too busy or too important to respond. The guy is a bit of an ass**** and the food was mediocre, so I do not understand why they are so busy. Must be Ernie’s jovial personality!

I stopped for a beer on my way back to the room after eating at Heidi’s Italian Dinners (where the food was good and the reception friendly BTW) one evening around 9:15PM and after being there for about a half hour (it was 9:45PM) I asked for a final draft beer before going to my room, but was told rather rudely by Ernie that they closed at 9:30 and it would not be possible. No “last call”, a crappy attitude, and a bar that closes at 9:30pm … what kind of place are they running?

In all, it was a cheap, very small place to stay, but they obviously do not care about hotel (and I use that term loosely) guests, focusing on keeping locals happy and drunk. Yachats was a quiet, lovely, small town and I had much warmer receptions at other bars and restaurants nearby where I spent most of my leisure time and money.

Combat Recommendation: Call Gordon Ramsey and have Hotel Hell come and give you some tips on how to properly run a hotel, restaurant and bar.

CombatCritic Gives Drift Inn 3 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Three Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Yachats, OR: Drift Inn And Try To Find The Front Desk Or Someone Who Cares … Good Luck!

Key Words: Drift Inn, drift, Inn, Airbnb, in, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, bar, Yachats, Oregon, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: SNAFU = “Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”

Eureka, CA: La Patria Means "Homeland" And Boy Is It Nice To Be Home Again!


La Patria Mariscos & Grill Restaurant

1718 4th Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone: (707) 407-3848

FINALLY, after 8 years of mediocre Midwest Mexican food, I found a real Mexican restaurant and I had to return to California to find it!
La Patria is unassuming and simple with 8-10 tables, one waitress, one cook, and great food. As soon as I sat down, a small (complimentary) bowl of refried beans topped with cheese arrived along with freshly made chips and both red and green homemade salsas. Draft beer is $3.50 and an order of guacamole is $3.95.

They have everything you would expect, including carnitas, carne asada, fajitas, tacos, rellenos, enchiladas, tostadas, burritos, tamales and so on, but they had a few things I had not seen before in 59 years of loving Mexican food. Gorditas and sopes, both coming in a baked masa (corn meal) enclosure, the gorditas more like a round sandwich and the sopes similar to a tart pastry shell. Both are filled with refried beans, cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and your choice of meat (carne asada, carnitas, shredded or ground beef, and chicken among others – fish, shrimp, lamb and goat are $2 more). 
For $10.49 you get your choice of a soft taco, crispy taco, super taco, enchilada, chili relleno, tamale, burrito, tostada, gordita, or sope (choose any two – any meat) with rice and beans. I had a super taco (a large, fried flour tortilla filled with shredded beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese and guacamole) and a gordita with carnitas. The super taco shell was a bit greasy, not surprising as flour tortillas do not deep fry quite as well as corn, but it was massive, filling and delicious. The gordita was excellent, not greasy at all with the crispy masa halves filled with carnitas and the other yummy ingredients.
The place is simple, the service excellent, the food delicious, and the prices very reasonable. What more can you ask for in a Mexican restaurant … FINALLY!

CombatCritic Gives La Patria Mariscos & Grill Restaurant 9 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Nine Bombs Equates To:
“U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


MENU


Title: Eureka, CA: La Patria Means “Homeland” And Boy Is It Nice To Be Home Again!


Key Words: La Patria Mariscos And Grill, La Patria, la, patria, Eureka, California, CA, Mexican, 4th, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Waldport, OR: Decent Little Wednesday Market, Moderate Prices


 Waldport Wednesday Market

116-182 Alder Street
Waldport, OR 97394
Prices: $$$$

A decent little market about 3 blocks east of Hwy 101 in downtown Waldport, Oregon with about 20-25 vendors. There is a guy selling 8″ wood-fired pizzas in the $7-$11 range, lots of tie die and homemade jewelry, one fruit and vegetable stand, and a few selling sweets (fudge, caramel corn, etc).

Not a great variety and not anything I could do without EXCEPT the lady selling stuff that keeps mirrors, windshields, eye/sunglasses, and other things glass from fogging up. The sign said 1 for $7 and 4 for $20, but she offered me 1 for $5 and 3 for $10, so I got 3. It will be worth it if I can keep my sunglasses from fogging up while pl;aying golf in the humid Midwest heat!

CombatCritic Gives The Waldport Wednesday Market 5 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Five Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Waldport, OR: Decent Little Wednesday Market, Moderate Prices

Key Words: Waldport, OR, Oregon, little, Wednesday, market, flea, farmer, farmer’s, moderate, prices CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: Charlie-Mike = “Continue Mission”

Portland, OR: Do Not Miss This Swiss Delight In The Quaint Northeast Alberta Neighborhhod


Swiss Hibiscus

4950 NE 14th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211
Northeast Portland, King
Phone: (503) 477-9224
Website: swisshibiscus.com
Prices: $$$$

Located in the up-and-coming, trendy Alberta neighborhood of Northeast Portland, I was surprised by Swiss Hibiscus’ appearance, expecting an older chalet-style building adorned with flower boxes and Swiss flags, but it is housed in a small modern, multi-purpose building a half block off of the main Alberta Street drag on 14th. The restaurant is small with only six or so tables inside (seating around 25) and another three or four outside (if the Portland weather cooperates), bringing the maximum seating to around 40 diners. A reservation is a must during prime hours and can be made by calling the number above.

We started with the Swiss Fondue ($24) shared among three of us and there was plenty to go around. A blend of Swiss cheeses, white wine, and kirschwasser (a clear German cherry brandy), heated in a traditional fondue pot and served with plenty of chunky French bread pieces. It was a bit pricey, but delicious and as good as any fondue I have had.
For entrees, my friend’s wife had the Emince Zurichoise ($14.50), thin slices of pork sautéed in a mushroom cream sauce reminiscent of Zurich and accompanied by handmade spätzle. Each entree was preceded by a cup of soup de jour (a creamy potato leek) or house salad with their signature dressing and their crusty, piping hot French bread.

My friend Mike ordered the special of the day, Chicken Valaisanne ($17.50), two chicken breast halves smothered with sauteed tomatoes and onions and melted raclette cheese perched atop a bed of spinach and accompanies by their famous rösti, crispy Swiss hash browns infused with bacon and onions … YUM!

I had the traditional Wienerschnitzel ($14.50), breaded pork cutlets sautéed in and topped with browned butter. I ordered a side of the Zurichoise mushroom cream sauce ($2) for my schnitzel and rösti, a wise choice because it made for a perfect combination similar to the Rahmschnitzel sauce I have enjoyed in Germany on many occasions. The cutlets were smaller and thinner than most I have had, but after the fondue and soup, I was quite glad that they were not of the traditional behemoth variety and was able to finish my plate.

Schnitzel Sans Gravy

Schnitzel With Gravy

A delightful and fortunate find on Yelp, we enjoyed our meal immensely, the service was friendly and efficient, and the prices very fair for the quality of the menu offerings. The only drawbacks were the smallish size of the restaurant and the somewhat limited menu.

CombatCritic Gives Swiss Hibiscus A Nearly Perfect 9 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better

Nine Bombs Equates To:
“U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



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Swiss Hisbiscus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Swiss HibiscusSwiss Hibiscus


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Portland, OR: Do Not Miss This Swiss Delight In The Quaint Northeast Alberta Neighborhhod

Key Words: Swiss Hibiscus, Swiss, hibiscus, Switzerland, German, French, Austrian, Alberta, Portland, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Fairview, OR: Good Food, Small Portions, And Moderate Prices Left Me Fendering For More


Bumpers Grill and Bar
21935 NE Halsey Street, Suite 100
Fairview, OR 97024
Phone: (503) 618-1855
Prices: $$$$

Stopped for lunch with some friends because they had their cute little doggie with them and Bumpers has a patio where our furry little companion was welcome.
The patio was nice on that sunny Portland day with little wind and our server was friendly and efficient. I had the French Dip ($12.99), my friend had the Baja Tacos ($13.99), and his better half had a Classic Caesar Salad ($10.99) and the Parmesan Encrusted Chicken Medallions ($9.99) appetizer.
The food was good, but I was not overly impressed with the quality to portion to price ratio. The roll my French dip came on was rather small, one of the smallest sandwich rolls I have seen, especially for a $13 French dip, and the crinkle cut fries were sparse and a tad greasy. My friend’s Baja tacos looked good, but for $14 all he got were two flour tortillas with some small battered cod pieces, a slew of cole slaw, some pico de gallo, and a couple avocado slices with some tortilla chips and a thimble of salsa. His wife’s Caesar salad was not impressive at all for the $11 price and the $10 chicken was tasty, but there were only four small medallions, a few carrot sticks and some ranch dressing.
Don’t get me wrong, what food we got was pretty good, but there was not all that much bang for the buck and at $60 for lunch for three with only ice tea and water to drink, it was not an exceedingly great value.
CombatCritic Gives Bumpers Bar And Grill A Very Average 5 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

Five Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Bumpers Grill & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Fairview, OR: Good Food, Small Portions, And Moderate Prices Left Me Fendering For More

Key Words: Bumpers Grill and Bar, Bumpers, bar, grill, Fairview, Gresham, OR, Oregon, Halsey, 503-618-1855, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Dillon, CO: A Little Sunshine Goes A Long Way … There a Are Better Options In The Area


Sunshine Cafe

250 Summit Place
Silverthorne, CO 80498
Phone: (970) 468-6663

Prices: $$$$
My son, a Dillon local, recommended this place because we always go to another popular breakfast joint in Silverthorne. They just expanded, taking the space next door, so it is large enough that you will not have much of a wait. 

Standard breakfast fare, they do not have skillets and make it a bit painful if you like biscuits and gravy with your breakfast, My recommendation is to skip the order of biscuits and gravy ($8.25, including two eggs) and get a biscuit with your breakfast and a side of sausage gravy ($1.75).

My youngest son had the Classic Eggs Benedict ($9.25) and it was just that, English muffin halves topped with poached eggs, ham and hollandaise sauce. The benedict was good, but the hash browns were the star of the show. Best hashbrowns I have had in a long time … plentiful, brown, and crispy on top and hot, moist, and tender underneath. My eldest son had an omelette with green (pork) chili, but disliking the sharing of food, I was unable to try it. He said it was “good”. Too bad they do not do skillets because these hash browns would be the star of the show and make one mean skillet.
I built my own omelette ($10.12), a 3-egger with cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, bacon, chorizo, and sauteed onions and mushrooms. It was excellent and the hash browns were the coup de grâce. I got a biscuit and a side of sausage gravy, bringing the total to nearly $12, a bit pricey for breakfast.
Words of wisdom: Offer skillets and 1/2 orders of biscuits and gravy minus the eggs in the $3 to $3.50 range or, better yet, include a side of sausage gravy with a biscuit if desired and charge a max of 50¢ … make your customers happy rather than milking us dry for every last red cent.
Next time I am in Dillon, we will be going back to our regular joint in Silverthorne where biscuits and gravy and skillets are standard fare.
CombatCritic Gives Sunshine Cafe 6 Bombs Out Of 10 With Deductions For Priciness/Lack Of “Value” And Little Menu Creativity … More Bombs Are Better!


Six Bombs Equates To:


Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Dillon, CO: A Little Sunshine Goes A Long Way … There a Are Better Options In The Area

Key Words: Sunshine Cafe, sunshine, cafe, breakfast, Dillon, Silverthorne, CO, Colorado, Summit, county, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = “Good To Go”

Castle Rock, CO: "El Korita" Stands For Good Food And Reasonable Prices … "From The Heart"


El Korita
106 S. Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Phone: (303) 814-0622
Website: Facebook Page
Prices: $$$$


Good, authentic Mexican food … reasonable prices. This strip mall restaurant used to be a Mexican food market, transforming a year ago into a restaurant with a small grocery area in the front.

I had the crispy tacos with machaca ($8.99) and rice and beans. The tortillas were handmade and fried on site, not store-bought and heated in the oven. A side of guacamole cost only $1 although we did have to pay for the chips and salsa which were also fresh and made in house. My son had the beef enchiladas with homemade green tomatillo sauce ($9.99) which were were delicious and filling.

At under $25 for dinner for two, El Korita is a CombatCritic BEST VALUE and should not be missed if craving Mexican food and in or passing through the Castle Rock area.
CombatCritic Gives El Korita 8 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!




Eight Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Castle Rock, CO: “El Korita” Stands For Good Food And Reasonable Prices … “From The Heart”

Key Words: El Korita, el, korita, Castle Rock, castle, rock, Colorado, CO, Mexican, authentic, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog, 

Translation for Civilians: WTFO! =“What-The-Fuck … Over!”

Colorado Springs, CO: Inflexible, Prima Donna Chef Rubbed Me The Wrong Way … Au Revoir La Baguette


La Baguette
4440 N. Chestnut Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Phone: (719) 599-0686
Prices: $$$$

Having traveled extensively in France, I have come to love French food (we have none in Lawrence, Kansas) and have been wanting to try La Baguette since I was in the Springs for my mom’s passing and funeral in February 2015. Being my first return since then, I decided to take my son there for dinner on my last night before heading home.

Their prices were reasonable and the menu had all of my traditional favorites, including escargots, fondue, mussels, veal, beef Bourguignon, cassoulet, steak Diane and steak frites, but the side dishes were either boring or odd. For example, the veal dish, which sounds exquisite, comes with quinoa pilaf … yuck … and the beef Bourguignon is accompanied by boiled potatoes … blah, so I asked the very nice server if it were possible to substitute mashed potatoes or French fries for the quinoa or boiled potatoes. After all, we were going to blow a C-note on dinner for two, including appetizers, entrees, and a bottle of wine, so it seemed like a simple request. Well, I guess it was not because her answer was: “the chef doesn’t like substitutions, so mashed potatoes would be an additional $6”.

Six bucks to substitute mashed potatoes for quinoa, really? I was not hearing things because she confirmed it with an “I’m sorry, but those are the rules” look on her face. I was not about to eat quinoa pilaf with a lovely veal or boiled potatoes with a rich beef Bourguignon and I definitely was not paying an additional $6 for mashed potatoes, so we left. Their prima donna of a chef should think of his customers more than his vanity and pride, after all, La Baguette is a strip mall restaurant on Chestnut in Colorado Springs, not a bistrot on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Get a clue chef.

Being rather late and hungry, we stopped at Carrabba’s on the way back to Monument and blew a C-Note there, enjoying appetizers, entrees, and a bottle of wine, leaving satiated and content because they were more than happy to make substitutions without charging an extra arm and a leg. C’est la vie … au revoir La Baguette!

CombatCritic Gives La Baguette 2 Bombs Out Of 10 … The Only Reason They Did Not Get 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My WALL OF SHAME Was Because Of The Nice Female Server … More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To
“Tits Up” 

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Colorado Springs, CO: Inflexible, Prima Donna Chef Rubbed Me The Wrong Way … Au Revoir La Baguette

Key Words: La Baguette, la, baguette, French, Bourguignon, escargots, France, Colorado Springs, Colorado, springs, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: Tango-Uniform = “Tits-Up”

Dillon, CO: Dam It … Small Burgers And Hidden Upcharges Tainted This Special Occassion


Dillon Dam Brewery

100 Little Dam Street
Dillon, CO 80435
Phone: (970) 262-7777
Website: dambrewery.com


Not bad, not great. I went with my two sons who I had not seen for 6 months and, although it was a Friday night, we were seated rather quickly. Peter, our server, promptly arrived for our drink orders. We had three of their house drafts, me a Here’s Your Dam IPA and my boys a McLuhr’s Irish Stout and Sweet George’s Brown respectively ($5 each). The beers were good, but all a bit too “smoky” for my taste, smokiness must be a Dam Brewery thing – Dam it!

For dinner we went with sandwiches, me a “Rodeo” ($11.95) with a beef patty, cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and Bar-B-Q sauce on the side with French fries. The burger was very basic, small and uninteresting, likely a frozen patty of 5-6 ounces max. My youngest (soon to be 29) had the Munich Schnitzel Sammy ($10.95), a breaded pork cutlet and smoked gouda on a pretzel bun, accompanied by apple slaw, beer mustard, and fries. I tasted it and it was also nothing special. A “schnitzel cordon bleu” sandwich would have been much better, but my son seemed to like it.  My oldest (30) also ordered a Rodeo but with a bison patty ($4 Extra – $15.95), with cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and Bar-B-Q sauce, opting to swap Mexican Beer Cheese Soup for the fries. The server asked if he wanted a bowl of soup instead of a cup and my son concurred, only to find out that the price had ballooned from $15.95 to $21.20 when the check arrived. It would have been nice to have been informed of the $5.25 up-charge when placing the order, but so you have it.

The sandwiches were decent, not great, the burger patties being a tad on the small side (± 5-6 ounces). My burger arrived with what I perceived to be no caramelized onions, so I sent it back. The server brought the dish back a few minutes later telling me that they were under the cheese while my son’s had been on top of his Rodeo’s cheddar cheese. Odd I thought, until the check arrived and I found out that I had not been charged for what I ordered (a Rodeo), but for a build your own burger ($9.25) with cheddar ($1.35), bacon ($1.35), caramelized onions ($1.00) for a total of $12.95, a dollar more than what I had ordered and what Peter had agreed to when I ordered it.
Rather than make a fuss about the unannounced upcharges, I simply deducted the amount we were overcharged from the 20% tip Peter would have received for the decent, not great, service he provided, leaving him with a respectable 16.5%. 
Server Lesson Learned: Give the customer what they order and, if you do not, inform them of any upcharges PRIOR to submitting their order, do not surprise us with unexpected charges when the bill arrives.

CombatCritic Gives Dillon Dam Brewery 6 Bombs Out Of 10 With Deductions For Unannounced Upcharges And Mediocre Food At Above Average Prices … More Bombs Are Better!
Six Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Dillon, CO: Dam It … Small Burgers And Hidden Upcharges Tainted This Special Occassion

Key Words: Dillon Dam Brewery, Dillon, dam, brewery, CO, Colorado, beer, hamburger, pub, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = “Good To Go”