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:

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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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Apple Or Google Photos? That Is The Question!


Unlike Apple’s “Photos” app, formerly iPhoto, all of the photos I take on my iPhone don’t make it to Google Photos.


I desperately want to move my photos to anything BUT Apple Photos, but Google’s offering doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy that my photos will be secure. Until then, I’ll grudgingly continue using Apple’s greedy version.

CombatCritic Gives Google Photos 4 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!

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”


CombatCritic’s Favorite Recipes: Spaghetti Bolognese


Ingredients: 

1 lb Ground Organic Grass-Fed Beef
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 Medium Organic Onion – Finely Chopped
1 Medium Organic Carrot – Finely Chopped
2 Oraganic Celery Stalks – Finely Chopped
1 1/2 Cups Organic Beef Stock
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/2 Cup Pomi Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup Organic Milk 
Salt and Black Ground Pepper
1/2 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano – Grated
1 lb Spaghetti

Directions:

Saute the onion, carrot, and celery in a 6 quart stock pot or Dutch oven using half of the EVOO until soft, not burnt. Add the ground beef and mash with a potato masher or fork, adding salt and pepper and cooking until browned (no pink).

Add the beef stock, wine and tomato sauce, bringing to a boil then reducing to a simmer (low heat) for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Boil enough water in a tall 16 quart pot so that the spaghetti, when added, is completely submerged, adding a teaspoon of salt and some EVOO. Add the spaghetti once the water comes to a full boil, following the package cooking directions and tasting until spaghetti is “al dente” (a bit firm, not chewy and not mushy).

Five minutes before spaghetti is done, add the milk (no cream) to the sauce and continue simmering. Drain the spaghetti when done, ensuring no excess water remains. Return the spaghetti to the 16 court pot, pouring all of the sauce over the spaghetti and tossing until the spaghetti is well coated with sauce. Add half of the parmigiano (parmesan cheese) to the pasta and continue to toss until well mixed.

Serve immediately and sprinkle additional grated cheese to individual taste.

Serves 4-6

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!



Title: CombatCritic’s Favorite Recipes: Spaghetti Bolognese

Key Words: Bologna, Bolognese, parmigiano, pasta, Reggiano, spaghetti, recipe, favorite, Pomi, tomato, sauce, Italian, Italy, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

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

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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!



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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”

DayTripQuip: Pensione Bencista – Fiesole From Piazza San Marco By Bus (Florence, Italy)


We have spent quite a bit of time in Florence over the years, most recently staying the month of July in an apartment near Mercato San’Ambrogio (don’t miss it) in addition to other trips ranging from a few days to over a month.

The ATAF Bus – Line 7 – travels between Piazza San Marco – Via La Pira and Fiesole – Vinandro Osteria about every 20-30 minutes between 5am and 1am. Bus stop: FM0373 (REDRESS) is on the main road to/from Fiesole and a short 10 minute stroll from Pensione Bencista. You can purchase tickets at any tabaccaio (tobacco shop – look for a dark blue sign with a big “T”) and the hotel may have some for sale. The stop going to Florence is across the road close to the top of the big bend and the one going toward Fiesole is up the road (to your right) 100 or so feet.

Piazza San Marco is close to the historical center (centro storico) of Florence, very close to Galleria dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s “David” resides and short walk to the Duomo, central Florence, Palazzo Medici Riccardi and the train station (Santa Maria Novella).

From Santa Maria Novella, you can go pretty much anywhere in Italy or Europe for that matter. Nice, short day trips available via rail are to Prato, Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo, Siena and Bologna, all of which leave you close to the city center.

You can read my numerous reviews of Florence restaurants, hotels, museums, and attractions here on TripAdvisor and on my popular blog where there is much more detailed information, including my patented and popular DayTripQuips.

Enjoy Firenze and buon viaggio!

CombatCritic

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

Tabelog – Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!



Title: DayTripQuip: Pensione Bencista – Fiesole From Piazza San Marco By Bus (Florence, Italy)

Key Words: Fiesole Pensione Bencista, Florence, Firenze, pensione, Bencista, Piazza San Marco, CombatCritic, TravelValue, DayTripQuip, day, trip, quip, travel, value, review, Yelp

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”

Split, Croatia: Guest House Vlado Is A Scam And Hotels.com Could Care Less!


Guest House Vlado
Split, Croatia

Guest House Vlado in Split, Croatia is a RIP-OFF!  Do not book a room with this “so-called” guest house. Do not fall for the lies they tell in their description on Hotels.com and don’t expect any help from Hotels.com if you have any problems with a reservation.

I made a reservation from Dubrovnik the day before we left for Split.  Here’s the description Guest House Vlado gives on Hotels.com:

“Enjoying a beautiful Mediterranean climate, crystal clear seas and warm sands, this fascinating area of Croatia is also home to the Guest House Vlado, Split , where guests can take advantage of affordable 3 star accommodation .”

This is no 3-star accommodation and it is not a guest house.  The room we were eventually shown was on the 3rd floor (no elevator) of an old building with a 2-star “Sobe” sign on the front (a Sobe is a private residence in Slavic countries and anything below 3-stars has minimum essentials).

 “A warm welcome awaits you at this attractive property, and you are assured all the benefits you would expect to find in an upscale hotel. Located close to the Diocletian Palace and the beautiful Bacvice beach, visitors have no excuse not to relax and soak up the sun and the culture. Do not hesitate to ask the experienced staff for local tips and advice. Please Note: This guest house only accepts payment made by cash. “

The Hotels.com map locating Guest House Vlado near the bus/train station and Split’s Old City is a total lie.  I booked the room the day prior (and agreed to pay 80 Euros – $103) because we were only staying in Split for one night and needed to catch a train the following evening, so I was willing to pay extra so we didn’t have to drag our bags all over town.  We followed the map as shown on Hotels.com (with all of our baggage in tow), but Guest House Vlado was nowhere to be found.  When I asked several people where 86a Matice Hrvatske (the address listed on hotels.com) was, we were sent on a wild goose chase around Split for the next 1½ hours, finally locating the address about a mile from the station where we had arrived.  In fact, Diocletian’s Palace was 1.06 miles from Guest House Vlado, not 400 yards as advertised on Hotels.com.  The “warm welcome” was an old hag (woman I believe) with a beard sitting in front of a worn out apartment building in a very seedy area.  She was extremely rude and condescending, even when I pointed out all of the inaccuracies of her description and the amenities listed on Hotels.com:

Amenities (all rooms include)

·         Air conditioning
·         Balcony
·         Cable television service
·         Ceiling fan
·         Kitchen
·         Non-smoking only
·         Television
·         Air-conditioned public areas
·         Bar/lounge
·         Garden
·         Grocery/convenience store
·         Number of rooms: 15
·         Restaurant(s) in hotel
·         On-site car rental
·         Room service (24 hours)

This is not a hotel, but several (five according to the old hag) sub-standard properties located in some terrible areas.  There was AC in the room we were shown and a very small balcony.  There was a TV on the floor, but we did not stick around long enough to find out if there was cable.  There was no AC in public areas because there were no public areas.  This is a room on the top floor of a building.  There was no ceiling fan, bar/lounge, garden, grocery/convenience store, car rental agency, room service, or restaurant in the “hotel” because THIS IS NOT A HOTEL.

When we finally got to the room (2½ hours after we had arrived by bus from Dubrovnik), the hag said “Everybody always says thank you so much for this beautiful room, is it not a beautiful room?”  I said, “Actually, no it’s not” and proceeded to tell her about all of the beautiful rooms we had stayed in on our journeys, rarely paying more than 50 Euros for rooms directly on the sea.  She became very rude and threatening at this point, so I told her that we were not going to pay 80 Euros for a room which was falsely advertised and misrepresented on Hotels.com in order to trick me into making the reservation.  She showed me a list of about ten names (with prices ranging from 70 to 130 Euros) which she was expecting from Hotels.com bookings, saying “see how much they are paying, you have a very good price”.  I told her that I refused to be swindled or bullied into staying in (and paying for) a room which was misrepresented in the advertisement, so we told her so and left.  She and her friends followed us for a while as we searched for a place to go (it was now around 7:30 PM), but we finally lost them when we got on a bus for the train station. We were very concerned because of her aggressive nature and did not know what their intentions were.

I immediately bought an international calling card (which cost me another $10) and called Hotels.com’s 24-hour “emergency” number, knowing that they would be very supportive and help us out of our predicament.  Wrong!  After getting cut off the first time, I finally spoke with Melvin (Employee # 5262899) at the Hotels.com toll-free emergency number where they advertise their “RISK FREE BOOKING”.  After explaining our situation to Melvin, he said he was sorry, BUT “there is nothing we can do because we are merely a booking site, a middle man, between the property and you.  If you have a problem with the property, you need to work it out with them”.  I asked him how Guest House Vlado could be allowed to lie and cheat people out of large sums of money and Hotels.com doing nothing about it.  He said he was sorry again, there was nothing he could do, the property could still charge us even though we did not stay there, and was going to hand me off to somebody else to try to find us a room.  I had had enough by this point, hung up the phone, and called my bank in the U.S. to warn them about a possibly fraudulent charge on my credit card.  We went directly to the train station and booked the first train out of Split, headed for a much more civilized country, Slovenia.

I have booked many rooms over the years with Hotels.com and never had a problem until now.  They are apparently unconcerned about their customers and allow fraudulent business practices on their site (Guest House Vlado is still advertizing rooms and tourists are getting ripped-off two days after our complaint to Hotels.com).  I tried to post a review, warning other travelers about Guest House Vlado, but Hotels.com does not allow it, even though I have an account and have been a customer for many years.  They make you wait for an e-mail with a link “a couple days after your stay” to submit a review.  I finally received the email 5 days later (Aug 19th), but when I clicked on the link, the message I received was “Sorry, you are not eligible to submit reviews”.   More and more Hotels.com customers are being ripped-off by Guest Housel Vlado as I write this, even after warning their employee (Melvin) on 8/14/2010.  We will never book a room with Hotels.com again and I urge you to consider doing the same!!!
Boycott Hotels.com until they show some concern for their customers and stand behind the “risk-free” booking they so proudly claim!

“We never charge a cancellation or change fee because it’s just not fair.  At hotels.com, we understand sometimes your plans fall through. Or, perhaps you just decide you’d prefer to spend your vacation lounging on the beach rather than visiting your in-laws.  Hey, it happens. That’s why we never charge you hotels.com change or cancel fees. Other travel sites may charge you a fee to change your plans, but with hotels.com just go online or call 800-2-HOTELS (800-246-8357) to change or cancel your plans. Please note, you may still be subject to change and cancellation fees that the property itself may impose and require us to pass on. So go ahead, be free to change your mind.”

It’s all a lie!  Guest House Vlado is still listed on Hotels.com, Expedia, and other travel sites, so they could obviously care less about the consumers…US!  READ ALL REVIEWS BEFORE BOOKING ON THESE SITES!!!

CombatCritic Gives Guest House Vlado And Hotels.com 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A spot On My ‘WALL OF SHAME”

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: Split, Croatia: Guest House Vlado Is A Scam And Hotels.com Could Care Less!

Key Words: Croatia, guest house, Guest House Vlado, Hotels.com, problems reservation book, RIP-OFF, room, scam, Split, CombatCritic, travel, value, TravelValue, hotel, review

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

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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

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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

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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:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

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

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Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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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

View my food journey on Zomato!



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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

View my food journey on Zomato!



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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”

Editorial: Airbnb Condones Unprofessional Behavior And Discrimination By Its Hosts


Airbnb
San Francisco, California

I have noticed a recent trend on Airbnb, in Eureka, California at least, where hosts have either canceled after having made a “confirmed” Instant Booking or ignored my requests to reserve a room posted as “available” on their calendar during the applicable dates.

I requested a reservation on two different occasions at Jennifer’s Garden View Room for a upcoming trip to Eureka, changing the dates due to unforeseen circumstances, but never getting a response despite promises to get back to me the “in next day or so”. Here is the transcript of messages:

July 6, 2016

Hi Jennifer! 

I’m thinking of coming to Eureka for at least a week. Your calendar looks clear and I’m finalizing the rest of the details, but want to make sure your place is available and for how long before I make reservations in other towns. 

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks!

Chris

——–

July 6, 2016 

Hi Chris! 

Nice to hear from you. I will have to check with a couple of possible renters and get back to you in the next day or so. 

Thanks! 

Jennifer 

 ———-

July 9, 2016 

Change of plans out of my control … Please let me know if your place is available (during these dates) or know (of) another option. Not much available in my price range in town during that period. 

Thanks! 

Chris

——- 

July 9, 2016 

Hi Chris. Good to hear from you. I need to check my calendar tomorrow and get back to you. 

Jennifer

—— 

Not one, but six days later and no response from Jennifer, I sent he another message: 

July 15, 2016 

I’ll take the silence as a no. Not having much luck with Eureka hosts. Thanks anyway! 

Chris 

—— 

July 16, 2016

Sorry Chris, I haven’t been able to check my phone or work on your questions. But I think I’ll pass on this one. 

Extremely unprofessional behavior and bordering on discriminatory, considering the fact that the room is posted as available, but she refuses to accept my reservation. Maybe I should change my profile:

About Me 

School: Los Altos High School (Hacienda Heights, California); California State University, Los Angeles, California 

Work: Retired Air Force Officer, Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in the treatment of PTSD with military and Veterans 

Languages: English, Italiano

After being ignored, then refused, by Jennifer, I checked Airbnb for other options in Eureka during those dates and, oddly enough, Jennifer’s Blue Room – Arcata, CA, United States was still available for the exact dates I was requesting. It seemed obvious that Jennifer did not want me staying with her for some reason. Maybe she does not like Veterans because that was all she knew about me based on what is in my profile, that and the countless positive reviews from hosts we have stayed with.

As I mentioned earlier, I made an “Instant Book” reservation (for the very first time) at Terri’s “Serene Views”, a different private room in Eureka, California. Instant Book is a feature that allows you to enter your dates of travel and if a listing’s calendar has no occupancy during that time, you can get an instant “confirmed” reservation instead of waiting for the owner to get back to you. Sometimes it takes days to get a confirmed reservation from some of these ding-a-lings, so when I saw what looked like a nice place at a good price, I cancelled a reservation I had made on another site in the interim and booked with Eureka Terri … BIG MISTAKE!


An hour-and-a-half later, I got a message from Terri:

“Looking forward to meeting you!”

BUT … nearly four hours later, as I was prepping for my trip, I received this surprising, inadequate and unprofessional excuse from Terri:

“My family requests a visit during this time. Hope you find a suitable replacement. Thank you.”

Here is Airbnb’s CONFIRMATION OF MY CANCELLATION:

UNSAT … FUBAR … My week in Eureka was now Tango-Uniform  and I scrambled to find a place to stay in my price range … thanks, for nothing Jennifer, Terri and Airbnb!

I had to pay hundreds of dollars more because a couple of Airbnb Airheads, an unprofessional newbie and a tree hugging liberal, could either not keep their calendars up-to-date or simply discriminate against guests based on the information in our “verified” profiles. It makes Airbnb look bad because they condone this unprofessional behavior and it should not have been allowed. 

What is the purpose of Instant Book if your confirmed reservation can simply be cancelled on a whim by the host? Useless … both Instant Book and Airbnb’s response to the situation … because when I sent them a message communicating my dismay, all I got was an automated response telling me, to paraphrase: “we’re too busy and important to respond to every customer … sorry, you are on your own bub!”

Here is the message I sent to Airbnb, telling them about the discriminatory behavior by their hosts:

I requested a room for these exact dates on two occasions with Jennifer and she told me there was no availability (just yesterday), yet this room in her home is advertised as available during that period. She told me twice that she’d “get back to me” the next day, but failed to contact me after more than 5 days both times, leaving me hanging without a reservation. 

She is the second inconsiderate host in Eureka, having Instant Booked a room at another house (with Terri), only to have (her) cancel four hours later.

Airbnb should police their hosts a little better to prevent unprofessional behavior and/or outright discrimination against Veterans (and many others according to the NY Times and numerous lawsuits). It’s obvious that these “liberal” hosts don’t want a male, conservative, retired, military officer staying with them and that is not just wrong, it’s illegal.

If you don’t do something about it, I will. 

Thanks!

Chris S

I have yet to receive a response from Airbnb, hence, I am writing this editorial. If you would like to read the New York Times article on Airbnb’s condoning of discriminatory behavior by their hosts, you can read more here: New York Times: Discrimination by Airbnb Hosts Is Widespread, Report Says

CombatCritic Gives Discriminatory Jennifer, Cancellation Terri And Airbnb 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On MY WALL OF SHAME … More Bombs Are Better!

 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 CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Editorial: Airbnb Condones Unprofessional Behavior And Discrimination By Its Hosts

Key Words: Airbnb, room, apartment, stay, Jennifer, Terri, Eureka, Arcata, CA, California, accomodation, hotel, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog, airbnb.com

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

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!



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

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

View my food journey on Zomato!



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

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

Airbnb – Eureka, CA: Terri Dropped The Ball And Airbnb Fumbled For A Safety


Serene Views (Terri)
Eureka, CA, United States
As a frequent traveler and regular Airbnb customer, I made an “Instant Book” reservation for the very first time at Terri’s “Serene Views”, a private room in Eureka, California with this description:

“My place is close to close to beaches, Old Town, Henderson Center, Hiking, Parks, great views, restaurants and dining. You’ll love my place because it is in a beautiful, private, quiet neighborhood overlooking the golf course, tucked into a green belt forest with a comfy bed, private bathroom, use of the kitchen and big private backyard”

It’s “close to close beaches”, must be pretty damn close, anyway … Instant Book is a feature that allows you to enter your dates of travel and if a listing’s calendar has no occupancy during that time, you can get an instant “confirmed” reservation instead of waiting for the owner to get back to you. Sometimes it takes days to get a confirmed reservation from some of these ding-a-lings, so when I saw what looked like a nice place at a good price, I cancelled a reservation I had made on another site and booked with Eureka Terri … BIG MISTAKE!

Here is my confirmed Instant Book reservation:

An hour-and-a-half later, I got a message from Terri:

“Looking forward to meeting you!”

BUT … nearly four hours later, as I was prepping for my trip, I received this surprising and inadequate message from Terri:

“My family requests a visit during this time. Hope you find a suitable replacement. Thank you.”

Here was Airbnb’s CONFIRMATION OF MY CANCELLATION:

UNSAT … FUBAR … My week in Eureka is now Tango-Uniform  and I am scrambling to find a place to stay for a week in my price range … thanks, for nothing Terri and Airbnb!

Now I’m going to have to pay hundreds of dollars more because some Airbnb Airhead, an unprofessional newbie, could not keep her calendar up-to-date. It makes Airbnb look bad because they condone this behavior and should not have been allowed. What is the purpose of Instant Book if your confirmed reservation can simply be cancelled on a whim by the host? Useless … both Instant Book and Airbnb’s response to the situation because when I sent them a message communicating my dismay, all I got was an automated response telling me, to paraphrase: “we’re too busy and important to respond to every customer … sorry, you are on your own bub!”


CombatCritic Gives Eureka Terri And Airbnb 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On MY WALL OF SHAME … More Bombs Are Better!


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 CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Airbnb – Eureka, CA: Terri Dropped The Ball And Airbnb Fumbled For A Safety

Key Words: Airbnb, Airbnb.com, Terri, Eureka, California, room, private, serene, view, accommodation, hotel, reservation, confirmed, cancellation, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp

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

Airbnb – Brooklyn, NY: Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park


Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park
Website: Airbnb
Jose was a wonderful host. The apartment is centrally located next to Prospect Park and a 5-minute walk to the F Train Station (Fort Hamilton), so getting around Brooklyn and NYC was a breeze.
Jose sold us a weekly transit pass ($31) upon arrival, providing us with unlimited subway and bus access throughout NYC and its burroughs for a full seven days, quite a bargain in a city where one subway ride costs $2.75.

The apartment is on the second floor of a six-story brick building and there is an elevator for those with heavy bags. Being a fashion designer, the flat is simply and tastefully furnished. Access to the kitchen and bathroom were never a problem and Jose provides filtered and bottled water, coffee and tea, clean linens and towels, and privacy. 
The private room is large, although there was little closet space to hang our things. The bed is large and comfy, there is a large flatscreen TV with cable, and a large desk is provided along with fast, free wi-fi. We did not spend much time in the room, but while we were there we were quite comfortable. There is also a window air conditioner in the room which came in handy as the temperatures were unseasonably warm in Brooklyn during the end of May.

There is a small market next to the subway station, but you must walk 10-15 minutes to find a selection of supermarkets, restaurants, and other shops. Parking can be a challenge because of the street sweeping schedules, but we were very lucky to park right in front of the building during our entire 8-night stay. The area is very safe.
Jose was not around a lot, but when he was, we enjoyed his company very much. He even made my wife two lovely bags with some leftover material he had in his work room as well as giving us souvenir bag tags to remember our visit … Muchas gracias Jose!

The apartment was clean, comfortable, convenient, and cost-effective at just $68 per night plus fees (less than $80 per night, including a $20 cleaning fee and a $68 Airbnb service fee), an excellent value in one of the most expensive cities in the world!

CombatCritic Gives Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park 9 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!



Nine 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!

Title: Airbnb – Brooklyn, NY: Jose’s Bedroom In Front Of Prospect Park

Key Words: Airbnb, Jose, Prospect Park, Brooklyn. New York, Prospect, park, room, apartment, accomodation, private, bath, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, review, Yelp

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

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

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: 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

View my food journey on Zomato!



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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

View my food journey on Zomato!



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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

View my food journey on Zomato!



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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”

Adios TripAdvisor! Sketchy Business Practices And Zero Customer Support Led Me To Delete My Account


TripAdvisor Inc.
400 1st Avenue, Needham, MA 02494
Phone: 781-800-5000

I was, and the operative term is “WAS”, a TripAdvisor “Top Contributor” until recently with hundreds of reviews and photos in many of the 41 countries I have visited. My reviews are honest and as objective as anybody’s opinion can be and I received hundreds of “Helpful” votes for my reviews and photos.

TripAdvisor is very selective about the reviews it posts, unlike Yelp (where I have been “Elite” since 2014), refusing to post reviews willy-nilly based on criteria only they are aware of. I think the operative answer is, if a review does not conform to a “standard” which favors the business that is paying them for advertizing, then it does not conform and is not posted.

For example, I have written several reviews that TripAdvisor refused to post, claiming that the content was “too similar to that found on the internet”. Basically, they were saying that I plagiarized my content from a website, something I have never done nor will I ever do. I may use information from a website or pamphlet as background for readers in a review or copy the ingredients for a recipe from their menu for simplicity’s sake from time to time, but never word for word and I always edit the material into my own words and style. Sometimes they simply refuse to post a review with no reason given as was the case with my review of the Villisca Axe Murder House, having submitted the review numerous times without it being published and without explanation.

TripAdvisor would not exist without the reviews of travelers, so I find it extremely self-serving and deceiving to refuse to post reviews from Top Contributors that do not conform to their paying advertiser’s demands. I put a lot of time and effort into my reviews as evidenced by the 40,000+ visitors to my blog each year and the 40,000+ views of my reviews and photos on Yelp each month. My content is original, honest, and objective as any reviewer can be, so when TripAdvisor recently refused to publish my review of Cataldo’s Italian Restaurant in Brooklyn recently (because the content “was not original” … BULLSHIT!) for the umpteenth time, I deleted my account.

The other reason I deleted my account is because TripAdvisor, as I found out, has zero integrity themselves, allowing people to post reviews whether they have been to a restaurant, hotel, destination, or attraction or not. There is no requirement to having been a customer (as Money Magazine reported in a recent issue – see excerpt from Money Magazine below) to write a review, so businesses can use robots and fake review websites to fluff their ratings, making them relatively useless. I have found during my travels to 41 countries that TripAdvisor may be good for general information about a business or location, but the ratings rarely accurately reflect the experience and now I know why.


Yelp on the other hand uses complex algorithms and your GPS location to ferret out fake reviews. They also have “Elite” members, reviewers like myself that are hand selected by the Community Manager (CM – each major metro has one, a paid Yelp employee) with several face-to-face and virtual interactions taking place between Elites and CMs each year. So if you really want to ensure you are getting a valid rating and honest review, use Yelp and sort reviews or pay attention to those only written by “Elites”.

TripAdvisor does not appreciate the countless number of honest reviewers out there, refusing to interact one-on-one with even Top Contributors. Trying to get an explanation for a decision they make or get an question answered is impossible with TripAdvisor, unlike Yelp where you get an answer from a Yelp employee every time you have a concern or question.

My recommendation: Dump TripAdvisor and download the Yelp App on your phone or tablet. You will be glad you did!

CombatCritic Gives TripAdvisor 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My “WALL OF SHAME” … More Bombs Are Better!








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 CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Adios TripAdvisor! Sketchy Business Practices And Zero Customer Support Led Me To Delete My Account

Key Words: TripAdvisor, trip, advisor, trip advisor, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, attraction, destination, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, integrity, reviews

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

TravelTech: Renewed My GolfLogix Subscription, THEN They Implemented A New, Substandard Version … I’m Outta Here!


GolfLogix Application For iPhone

Suite 100A
15685 N. Greenway-Hayden Loop
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
Phone: 877-977-0162
Fax: 480-287-8749
Email: info@golflogix.com
Price: $$$$
I used to love my GolfLogix app, then they charged my credit card $20, shortly thereafter implementing a new version that absolutely sucks!

I am canceling my “Champion Membership” after they ruined the app with their “new” version. I wrote to them, telling them about my disappointment: 

“Your new interface sucks. The font is so small I can barely see it and I can’t seem to bypass the club (yardage) tracking option, making me scroll through the numbers (instead of simply entering yardage) on the old version. Who in their infinite wisdom implemented this piece of #%$@? Bring back the old interface or I’m out of here!

To which they replied: 

“Dear Valued Member, Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately that feature was not included in the new streamlined GolfLogix App. We working to return that feature. Again we apologize for any inconvenience and hope you enjoy the New GolfLogix App.”

They did not address my concerns, sending me a “boilerplate” response with misspelled words. They don’t care, implementing a new version before it was fully functional, so I’m moving on and canceling my subscription.

CombatCritic Gives GolfLogix 2 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
Two 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!


Title: TravelTech: Renewed My GolfLogix Subscription, THEN They Implemented A New, Substandard Version … I’m Outta Here!

Key Words: GolfLogix, golf, logix, logic, logics, app, application, iPhone, iStore, iTunes, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, service, review, Yelp, Zomato

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


Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!


Nathan’s Famous

1310 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Between Stillwell Avenue and Schweikerts Walk 
Coney Island
Transit: D F N Q Lines – Coney Island
Phone: (718) 946-2202
Website: nathansfamous.com


OK, so they are slightly overpriced and the food is not that special, but Nathan’s Famous is an INSTITUTION in Coney Island and Brooklyn and for that they deserve at least 7 Bombs.

$5 for a hot dog is not that bad in NYC, but I never realized that Nathan’s also sells fish, burgers, beer. and many other things, pumping out food with servers who barely speak a word of English, Mandarin more prolifically, and with prices that are not all that bad.

I had a Chili Cheese Dog with grilled onions ($4.95) and my wife a Cheese Dog ($4.45), sharing an order of Bacon Cheese Fries, a heart attack in a container, and a Diet Coke … what else, when you just ate your monthly allotment of fat and calories in a few small mouthsful?

The dogs were decent, popping when you bite into them like a good, fresh, well-made dog should do. They offer complimentary grilled onions and saürkraut on their dogs along with catsup, mustard, and relish as well as plenty of napkins to wipe your puss after engulfing a Nathan’s Famous.

Glad we went, probably will not be back, but it was worth the $20 tab for a small, yet very filling, high-caloric lunch on our last day in Brooklyn.

CombatCritic Gives Nathan’s Famous 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

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: Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!

Key Words: Nathan’s Famous, Nathan’s, famous, Nathan, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Coney, island, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

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

Philadelphia, PA: Nice, Clean Airbnb Room With Shared Bath in Central Philly … Excellent Value!


Airbnb

Leane’s “A Fabulous Night’s Stay”
Website: Airbnb.com – A Fabulous Night’s Stay

The room and home were very clean and the price reasonable for such a central location near downtown Philadelphia. 

Pros: 
1) Easy walk to the bus or Metro and central enough that you can walk to many places around downtown. 
2) There are markets, pharmacies, shops, and restaurants within a 10-minute walk of the house. 
3) The room is reasonably large and private, having nearly everything needed for a short stay, including a large closet, fold-down desk, and folding chair. 
4) The shared bathroom is very big and has plenty of supplies (hair dryer, shampoo/conditioner, extra toothbrushes, etc.) 
5) The neighborhood is clean, well kept, safe, and the people in the area were friendly. We felt safe and welcome in the neighborhood and were not concerned about our safety, even after dark. 
6) There is a washer and dryer in the home. 
7) The wi-fi is fast, free, reliable and we never had a problem connecting, loading pages, or watching video/movies. 
8) The host stays to herself mostly, does not “hover”, and was helpful when we asked questions about the area. 
9) Coffee, tea, instant hot chocolate and cookies are provided in the dining room downstairs for breakfast. 
10) No TV in the home, so you can spend more time seeing Philadelphia! 

Cons: 
1) Parking on the street near the house was scarce when we arrived, but I managed to find a spot down the block after dropping our bags. 
2) The bedrooms are upstairs and the staircase is narrow, making it tricky to maneuver large bags to the room. 
3) The bathroom is shared among three rooms and access was occasionally a problem. 
4) There is no ice or bottled/filtered water available, so bring/buy your own if you like ice and do not want to drink tap water. 
5) The coffee was nearly gone and the host unavailable when we awoke on our first morning, so I had to figure out where the coffee and filters were stored to prepare more. 
6) The host did not respond to the text and email I sent the day before arrival nor did she answer two phone calls I placed when we first arrived and had difficulty locating a parking place. However, she did answer the door once I found a temporary parking spot to drop our bags and was very responsive thereafter. 
7) No TV in the home if you want to catch up on news or your favorite show(s). 

In summary, Leane is a very personable host, the room an exceptional value, and the home in immaculate condition. A comparable hotel room would cost well over $100, making this Airbnb option an excellent value if visiting central Philadelphia. 

CombatCritic Gives Leane’s “Fabulous Night’s Stay 2” 8 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
Eight Bombs Equates To:
Leane’s Response:

“Thank you so much for the review. It was lovely to have met you both and I am pleased you would stay again when in Philly. Sorry I missed your call, I have a 100% response rate and take communication very seriously. On occasion I will miss a message because I am physically unable in the moment, but fortunately we spoke within 10 minutes of your call. My response time is within a few minutes if I happen to miss you, which most of my guests will tell you rarely happens. It is so funny you mentioned about bottled water. Before seeing your review I actually went out and stocked the fridge with sparkling water, an assortment of flavored, natural lemonades, orange juice and of course… bottled water. There is also ice, chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream and fruit bars available in the freezer for guests. You should have stayed one more day! Now folks can make iced coffee and oreo cookie sundaes to beat this Philly heat! Lol! Thanks again for all the feedback and happy travels!”

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

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: Philadelphia, PA: Nice, Clean Airbnb Room With Shared Bath in Central Philly … Excellent Value! 

Key Words: Airbnb, Philadelphia, PA, Leane, Pennsylvania, Philly, room, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, motel, B&B, bed and breakfast, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

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

Indianapolis, IN: $85 For This Dump? DO NOT Waste Your Money!


America’s Best Value Inn (East Indianapolis)

7314 E. 21st Street
Indianapolis, IN 46219
Phone: (317) 359-5500
Website: americasbestvalueinn.com

The room was a dump (cigarette burns on the bedspread and around the sink, broken and mismatched furniture) and breakfast was pitiful (coffee and packaged sweet rolls). I’ve stayed in nicer hotels in India while paying less than $5 per night. How they got a 7.5 rating on Booking.com and $85 of my money is beyond me.

The only reason I did not give them a single bomb was because the bed was reasonably comfortable and the sheets appeared to be the only clean thing in the room.

CombatCritic Gives Americas Best Value Inn Indianapolis East 2 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!


Two Bombs Equates To
“Tits Up” 


Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

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: Indianapolis, IN: $85 For This Dump? DO NOT Waste Your Money!

Key Words:  America’s Best Value Inn, East Indianapolis, Indiana, INCombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, accommodation, motel, dump, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Brooklyn, NY: A CombatCritic BestValue … This Brooklyn Ristorante Is Well Worth A Visit!


Cataldo’s Restaurant
554 Vanderbilt Avenue, Suite 1
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Between Dean Street and Atlantic Avenue
Prospect Heights
Phone: (718) 857-6700
No Website?
Prices: $$$$

We finally found a good, reasonably priced mom and pop Italian restaurant in the NYC metro and the name is Cataldo’s!
After searching the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn and on Yelp for a week looking for a good value, I stumbled upon Cataldo’s. It looked promising because one of the featured photos was of a delicious stuffed artichoke (below – $12) just like my grandma used to make … YUM! Unfortunately, they were out when we arrived and were not expecting a produce delivery for two days … DRAT!
When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Vito (a co-owner with his brother) and his family. Vito and his brother Salvatore are originally from Sicily, just an hour’s drive from my wife’s hometown in Northwestern Sicily, so they know how good food should be prepared and enjoyed.
The prices are very reasonable, particularly in NYC, with pizzas and pastas in the $10-$14 range and veal (with a side of pasta) running $12 to $16. They offer several wine options in a multitude of colors and varieties with glasses starting at $6 and bottles in the low $20s.
On our first visit, we started with the insalata Mozzarella Caprese ($8), not the “traditional” insalata Caprese with mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and basil, but a salad with a couple small mozzarella balls and sliced tomato, mostly arugula, and a few olives. I was not overly impressed for the $8 price tag. My wife ordered the Pizza Quattro Formaggio ($13), a wood-fired pie of 12+ inches smothered in four types of cheese (mozzarella, ricotta, gorgonzola and fontina) and baked to a golden brown. The pizza and Caprese are the only reason they will not get my highest rating. The pizza was good, not great, and not on the same level as true pizza Napoletana. I had the Vitello (veal) alla Parmigiana ($12), three good size veal cutlets breaded and fried, then smothered in marinara, topped with mozzarella, and baked to a golden brown. It came with a side of Spaghetti alla Bolognese, their meat sauce, which was as good as any I have had. A bottle of Chianti ($24) brought the tab to around $60 for an excellent meal, about the same price as we paid for garbage at a West Village German restaurant the night before. An excellent value!
We came back a second time two nights later, always a good sign, my wife having the Tortellini alla Panna ($12) instead of pizza and me the Veal Saltimbocca alla Romana ($16) … buonissimo! The tortellini were likely not homemade, but were very good and the cream sauce rich and delicious. The veal saltimbocca was divine, likely the best I have had, including in Rome (hence the name – Romana). Lightly breaded veal cutlets atop a bed of spinach and covered with prosciutto crudo then baked in a light white wine, butter, and lemon sauce infused with rosemary … MAMA MIA! The accompanying spaghetti was topped with the same sauce and with a little freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on top, it was exquisite … the best $16 I have spent in a long time!

Being our last night in NYC and Brooklyn, we splurged and shared a piece of cheesecake ($5). Made with ricotta rather than cream cheese, it was typically Italian and not as sweet as its NYC cousin, but very good nonetheless.
I never did get to try the stuffed artichoke, but the food was wonderful, the service and hospitality excellent, the setting quaint and warm, and the value exceptional. We made some new friends and enjoyed the excellent food, surely to return on our next trip to Brooklyn and NYC.

CombatCritic Gives Cataldo’s 9 Bombs Out Of 10 As One Of The Best Values (BANG FOR THE BUCK) in NYC and Brooklyn … 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

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

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

MENU

Cataldo's Restaurant and Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic

View my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Brooklyn, NY: A CombatCritic BestValue … This Brooklyn Ristorante Is Well Worth A Visit!

Key Words: Cataldo’s Restaurant, Cataldo’s, Cataldo, Brooklyn, NYC, New York City, New York, Italian, pizza, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato