Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tualatin: "Muy Buena Comida" Means "Very Good Food" ... A CombatCritic BEST VALUE!

Rosie’s Kitchen
8145 SW Nyberg Street
Tualatin, OR 97062
Phone number: (503) 563-6890
Website: rkmexicanfood.com
Prices: $$$$

"Muy buena comida!" or for the language impaired, go to Google Translate like I did ... "very good food!". I do not dole out five-star (9-10 Bombs) ratings very often, leaving my highest marks for the places with the best food, superior service, appropriate ambience, and, most importantly, outstanding value. The name of my blog, after all, is "TravelValue".
Off the beaten path and unimpressive from the outside, Rosie's sits in a small strip mall hidden from the main road and not far from I-5 in Tualatin. The inside is simple and basic with a counter where you order and several tables where you can sit and eat your meal if you so choose. This family run operation offers freindly, responsive and efficient service.
Guacamole (about $4) is made to order and we were given the option of eliminating tomatoes and jalapeńos (which my wife is intolerant to), so we took them up on it. With avocado, cilantro, and diced onion as the main ingredients, it was both tasty and plentiful for the price. The chips were homemade and fresh as were the salsas with not one, but six different choices (regular, avocado, habańero, tomatillo, and one other ultra-hot variety).

The cheese and onion enchilada (about $3.50) was unlike any I have had. The handmade tortilla had been soaked in red chile sauce, but instead of being smothered in more sauce, covered with cheese and broiled, this one was topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, queso fresco (queso blanco), and slices of avocado. I like the smothered variety, but this one was deliciously fresh.
My wife's quesadilla ($4.95) was a decent size for the price and her carne asada taco ($2) traditionally made with a hot handmade tortilla, diced steak, cilantro and onion, not the Americanized variety so many places pump out with pre-fab hard shells, ground beef, loads of shredded lettuce and a little cheese.

I ordered the carne asada dinner ($10.95), a thin marinated grilled steak with grilled green onion, a roasted poblano pepper, three handmade corn tortillas, rice and beans. A good value for the price, there was not as much beef as you would see in some restaurants that charge $14-$18 for carne asada, but plenty enough for me to make three reasonable size tacos. The only thing missing was some guacamole on the plate, a nice addition they may want to consider offering for an additional 50¢ to $1.

The menu is very simple, but missing some ala carte items (enchiladas and guacamole for example, hence my "about" estimations) as well as drinks, so I am merely guessing at the prices of those items. They also charge 50¢ for soft drink refills, but may want to consider raising the price by 25¢ and foregoing the refill charge for simplicity's sake. At less than $27 for our dinner for two, we ate very well, the quality of the food was top-notch, and the service excellent.

Do yourself and the owners a favor and seek this place out. They are a small family-run business open for just 10 months and in a building void of much street or foot traffic, making it all that more critical to market themselves properly and for word-of-mouth advertising by folks like you and me to let others know about this hidden gem.
CombatCritic Gives Rosie's Kitchen 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"

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Read Chris S.'s review of Rosie's Kitchen on Yelp

Title: Tualatin, OR: "Muy Buena Comida" Means "Very Good Food" ... A CombatCritic BEST VALUE!

Key Words: Portland, Rosie's Kitchen, Rosie, Rosie's, kitchen, Rosy, taqueria, Tualatin, Portland, Oregon, Mexican, taco, tacos, restaurant, combatcritic, combat, critic, review, menu, travel, value

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

The "Star" Of The 2017 Eclipse: Taqueria La Fuente

Taqueria La Fuente
12198 SW Main Street
Tigard, OR 97223
Phone number: (503) 639-3653
Website: lafuentedetigard.com
Prices: $$$$

A bright, sunny, cloudless day in Portland, Oregon suddenly turned dark and cool, the birds stopped chirping. The quiet deafening, the light seemingly escaped into the vastness of the great Northwest before suddenly returning as if someone flipped a celestial light switch. Was the end of time near? If this was going to be our final meal, it seemed clear that we should eat a bunch o' tacos. 
In a tiny strip mall perpendicular to Main Street in downtown Tigard and barely visible from the street, we found Taqueria La Fuente. Nondescript from the outside, the inside was simple, yet clean with several laminate-top booths and tables. The hot, fresh homemade chips and salsa quickly arrived compliments of the friendly server who warmly welcomed us on this historic day.
A Dos Equis Amber draft (16 oz - $4.25) seemed like a good way to start, quickly followed by a side order of guacamole ($2.95). The beer was cold and frothy and the guacamole as good as any restaurant guac I have had, simple, flavorful and larger than those others charge twice as much for.
Tacos were the star of this show. We ordered the Crispy Tacos ($8.50) and Tacos Mexicanos ($8.85), coming three each to the plate with no rice and/or beans. The crispy tacos came deep fried with two medium tortillas each, filled with carne asada (or your choice of meat), lettuce, tomato and cheese. A little leftover guacamole, metaphorically, was the icing on the cake. The tacos Mexicanos were simple, as they should be, one with carnitas, one with carne asada and one with shredded beef (cabeza), all on large, soft corn tortillas, topped with chopped white onion and cilantro, and accompanied by sliced radish and lime wedges. If they do tacos this well, I can hardly wait to return to sample the other menu items because these were some of the best restaurant tacos I have had in recent memory.
On our second visit, they were closing soon, so we did not go nuts, ordering the go-to Crispy Tacos and a Cheese and Onion Enchilada ala carte ($3.25). I also tried the House Margarita ($5.75), asking for it blended with salt, but when it arrived it was "on the rocks". I did not make an issue of it being so late. The margarita was OK, not big and not very strong, so I think I will stick with the cerveza from now on. The enchilada was presented quite nicely with shredded lettuce, a drizzle of sour cream and some chopped cilantro, but the toppings masked the flavor of the enchilada which was what I wanted to taste.
Cheese and Onion Enchilada

Flan
The service was impeccable - friendly, efficient and professional. We even received a complimentary order of Flan at the conclusion of our second visit, fluffy and delicious as any I have had. Taqueria La Fuente was the "star" of the show and a "bright" spot on an otherwise dark day, celestially speaking. At just $24.55 before tip on our first visit, this was one of the best values I have seen in my two plus months since moving to Portland, hence my nearly perfect rating ...
CombatCritic Gives Taqueria La Fuente 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:

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Read Chris S.'s review of Taqueria La Fuente on Yelp

Title: Tigard, OR: The "Star" Of The 2017 Eclipse: Taqueria La Fuente

Key Words: Portland, Taqueria La Fuente, taqueria, la, fuente, la fuente, Tigard, Portland, Oregon, Mexican, taco, tacos, restaurant, combatcritic, combat, critic, review, menu, tavel, value


Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sherwood, OR: Pizza Schmizza - The Only Good Thing About This Place Is The Beer

Schmizza Public House
15982 SW Tualatin Sherwood Road
Sherwood, OR 97140
Phone number: (503) 925-8093
Prices: $$$$

Not good. We filled our pie holes and left satiated, but otherwise it was a very forgetful experience.
The place is not inviting, bright and laid out in a strangely open arrangement with relatively few tables. They were playing a trivia game when we entered and received many strange looks, as if we were somehow not welcome. We gave a hint (the answer) to the metrosexuals next to us for an opera question they obviously had no clue how to respond to, the answer to which was "Carmen". They basically ignored us, looking like they had never been to an opera in their lives, but celebrated gleefully when they found out that their (our) answer was correct. Grow a pair girls and thank your knowledgable and compassionate neighbors for your victory. Anyway, ...
My wife had another unimpressive $14 Mac and Cheese, boring and severely overpriced, and I the Tuesday Street Tacos Special ($11). The mac and cheese was flanked by two pieces of garlic toast, adding a little flavor to the otherwise tasteless dish. The tacos (shredded beef) were attractive to the eye, but mediocre to the palate with little beef, more lettuce, a dusting of cheese, and a very thin slice of avocado (great idea, sad execution). The cheap tortilla chips on the side were straight out of the bag and disgusting.
The best value of the night was the cold pint of IPA ($5), so go for a beer and head down the street to the OSF for lots o' pasta.

CombatCritic Gives Schmizza Public House 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Four Bombs Equates To:
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Schmizza Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato







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Title: Sherwood, OR: Pizza Schmizza - The Only Good Thing About This Place Is The Beer

Key Words: Schmizza, pizza, Sherwood, Oregon, beer, pub, public, house, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again"

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Papa Mia, That's One Expensive Slice Of Cake!

Papa Haydn
701 NW 23rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97210
Alphabet District, Northwest
Phone number (503) 228-7317
Website: papahaydn.com
Prices: $$$$

A purveyor of sweets and a Portland institution, I had to take my wife and lover of anything sweet to Papa Haydn if for nothing more than to let her feast her eyes on the dessert display case. 
It just so happens that it was Happy Hour after an afternoon trip to the majestic and historic Pittock Mansion not far away, so I ordered a couple of IPAs ($4.75 - Happy Hour) to satisfy the server's requirement of ordering two drinks in order to get Happy Hour pricing on menu items. It seemed a bit gauche to force the issue verbally, insisting on the drink order minimum before we could order from the menu, but c'est la vie. We sat on the 23rd Avenue sidewalk and watched as beautiful people and animals pranced by.
Kimchi Fries
We had a sampling from the menu, starting with Kimchi Fries ($4.50) - hand cut fries with grilled kimchi, thai basil, cilantro and korean aioli ($4.50), Croque Monsieur ($7.75) - ham and aged gruyere on parmesan butter crust, and Croque Madame ($7.75) - turkey breast and aged gruyere on parmesan butter crust.
Croque Monsieur
The fries were plentiful, hot and savory, the best value of the bunch. My wife and I reversed roles, she having the croque monsieur (literally "Mister Crunch") and me the croque madame ("Mrs. Crunch"). Both sandwiches were large with three portions dipped in "Good To Go" egg batter and deep fried ala Monte Cristo, but without the powdered sugar. We shared, giving one of the three portions to the other so that we could taste everything. The croques were delicious although a bit expensive for a simple sandwich on a Happy Hour menu with no accompaniments. 
Croque Madame
The service was good and the ambience decent, it is not Paris after all, so for a little under $30 plus tip we had a streetside table and were well satiated. Not the best Happy Hour I have experienced since moving to Portland, we may return although to nearly $10 price tag for a slice of cake (or other dessert) seems a bit extreme. The croques were very heavy, so we did not have room for sweets on this visit. Maybe we will focus our attention, funds, and taste buds strictly on their wonderful, expensive desserts next time.


CombatCritic Gives Papa Haydn 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Six Bombs Equates To:

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Read Chris S.'s review of Papa Haydn on Yelp
Papa Haydn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
























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Title: Portland, OR: Papa Mia, That's One Expensive Slice Of Cake!

Key Words: Papa Haydn, papa, haydn, Portland, Oregon, dessert. cake, pastries, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: "Good To Go"

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Friendly Staff, Good Food, But Pre-Fab Taco Shells Are A Non-Starter

La Isla Bonita
302 NE 122nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97230
Northeast Portland, Hazelwood
Phone number: (503) 252-3460
Prices: $$$$

I spotted this colorful place out of the corner of my eye and decided it might be worth a try. The interior is colorful and warm as was the greeting I received from the hostess. Exiting right to use the little boy's room to freshen up after a long day on the golf course, a basket of chips, salsa, and a small bowl of chili con carne was waiting for me when I returned to the table.
In accordance with my M.O., I ordered the basics on my first visit because, once again, if they cannot get tacos, enchiladas, and guacamole right, I will not be going back. I also ordered a margarita even though the prices are not listed on the menu (a pet peeve) and my server had no idea how much they cost ($6.75 it turns out).
The margarita was of a decent size and tasty, but without much punch if you catch my drift. The chips were made in house as was the salsa, a good sign over the store bought variety you see at many places. The chili dip was a nice touch and reminded me of my days stationed in San Antonio where Tex-Mex is king and nearly everything is smothered in chili con carne (tamales, enchiladas, etc.). Maybe the reviewers who claimed this is a Tex-Mex restaurant were actually right this time!
The $10 special advertised on the front window would tell the tale with a cheese and onion enchilada, two shredded beef tacos, rice and beans. Upo arrival, I was deeply disappointed when I saw pet peeve #2 - pre-fab taco shells - a non-starter for any decent Mexican restaurant. If they cannot take the time to fry their own taco shells, it is usually game over in my book. The shredded beef was not drained properly, so the shells quickly became soggy and impossible to eat if I waited much longer, so I scooped some of the ample guacamole inside, which was pretty good by the way and a great value at just $3.95. The enchilada was not smothered in chili as I expected, but their was plenty of cheese and diced onion inside and the red chili sauce was well done. The refried beans were flavorful, but the rice was nondescript and a bit dry.
Once again, a business without a website, which appeared to be the case here, is beyond comprehension in 2017. There is no website link on Yelp and their business card was also void of one, but when I searched Facebook, I found not just a Facebook page but their unadvertised website as well. 
The service was excellent, the ambiance pleasing, and the food actually very good except for the soggy pre-fab taco shells, a fact which prohibits me from assigning more than 6 Bombs (3 Stars) ...
CombatCritic Gives La Isla Bonita 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Six Bombs Equates To:

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Read Chris S.'s review of La Isla Bonita on Yelp

La Isla Bonita Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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MENU







Title: Portland, OR: Friendly Staff, Good Food, But Pre-Fab Taco Shells Are A Non-Starter

Key Words: La Isla Bonita, la, isla, bonita, Mexican, taco, tacos, Portland, OR, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"