Sunday, May 20, 2018

Vancouver, WA: Petra House Dropped The Ball, Earning A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME"

Petra House
1900 NE 162nd Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98684
Website: petrahousewa.com
Prices: $$$$

I will not waste too many brain cells on Petra House because they have zero business acumen and I refuse to spend my time or yours on a business that has such poor customer service. Long story short ...

I would not have even known about Petra House if not for a Groupon email that arrived in my inbox yesterday, so I bought one knowing that it was our anniversary and my wife loves Mediterranean cuisine even though we were planning on going somewhere else that night. 
Groupon - Note that it states "Only valid for traditional MENU", not traditional "DISHES"
Being a business owner who has used Groupons, I know that businesses lose money on the deals (40% percent off in this case PLUS a hefty 40%-60% commission for Groupon on the purchase price). The only reasons for a business to use Groupon is to let people know they are there and get them in the door, win them over as future customers, and hope many purchasers do not use the Groupon at all (which happens more often than you would think).
I saw that the table next to us was having a problem with their Groupon (he was extremely irate) after we had ordered , so I decided to check and see what the problem was. The server, Simone, explained that their Groupon (and ours apparently) was good only for the "Traditional Menu" as it clearly states on the Groupon. What they MEAN is that you can only order off of the menu page entitled "Traditional Dishes", so our orders did not comply (like the other table). I told her that there was obviously confusion regarding the terms "menu" versus "dishes" (see my menu photos and Groupon) and that we thought there was a "Special Menu" other than the regular (traditional) menu that we had ordered from, asking to reconsider her position. She staunchly refused, stating that "the manager isn't here and I can't make a decision like that". Are you telling me that here is no manager on the premises who can resolve customer issues? Who the hell is in charge here? Needless to say, we cancelled our dinner order, ate and paid for the appetizer we had ordered, and left.
Traditional "Dishes", Not Traditional "Menu"
I refuse to frequent businesses with poor or non-existent customer service and there was absolutely no reason for this business not to make an exception to policy (which they have the ability to do) based on the language confusion in the Groupon. I told Simone that they had lost two customers (the other table and us) that night and that I would be cancelling the Groupon, which I did the following morning. Instead of winning customers over with a positive first impression, Petra House dropped the ball and lost two customers plus all of our friends and acquaintances who will be hearing about our horrible experiences. So much for our anniversary dinner.

CombatCritic Gives Petra House 1 Bomb out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!

One Bomb Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!


Read Chris S.'s review of Petra House on Yelp

Petra House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 1 Million Views!

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View my food journey on Zomato!

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MENU







Title: Vancouver, WA: Petra House Dropped The Ball, Earning A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME"

Key Words: Petra House Mediterranean Restaurant, Petra House, Petra, house, Jordan, Jordanian, Vancouver, WA, Portland, OR,  Groupon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu,  review, Yelp, Zomato

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Dear Friend (Caro Amico), Get A Clue (Ottenere Un Indizio)!

Caro Amico Italian Cafe
3606 SW Barbur Blvd
Portland, OR 97239
South Portland, Southwest Portland
Phone number (503) 223-6895
Website: caroamicoitaliancafe.com
Prices: $$$$

Ho-Hum. When I saw just 3.5 stars, I had some concerns. But with nary a decent, home-style Italian restaurant in a town infamous for its culinary delights, I decided to give Caro Amico a shot.

Having lived and traveled extensively in Italy and being married to an Italian, I am used to great, authentic Italian food and Neapolitan pizza at extremely reasonable prices. This has not been the case in Portland in the year we have lived here. With pasta dishes at $20+, individual "Neapolitan" pizzas, and I use that term loosely, in the same price range, and veal entrees (no soup/salad, bread, or both) at $25 and up (when you can find veal), I have found Italian food in Portland and surrounds expensive and subpar. Caro Amico was no exception.

We were herded into the dark bar at 5:20PM even though there were several tables in the restaurant available. The bartender seemed a bit grouchy, not understanding my wife's inquiry about sauce options for her pizza (she's allergic to tomatoes) and stating "whatever" rather than taking the time to understand or explain.
Their "Happy Hour" menu is a joke, with drink prices basically the same as regular prices as far as I could tell and half orders of menu dishes at half-price. Where is the value in that? Being our first visit, we decided to order of the regular menu.
Instead of getting an 6.5 inch "small" one-topping pizza/snack for $11.50, my wife ordered a large pizza "Milano Style", which turned out to be "olive oil and sweet basil" (aka "pesto"), with mushrooms ($18.50) so we could take home the leftovers, a much better value. Having lived in Naples, Italy most of her life, she is a bit of a pizza snob, claiming that the size was "OK" and the sauce, cheese and mushrooms somewhat flavorful, but the crust rather chewy and "blah".
I went with my "American" favorite, Veal Parmigiana (which you would never find in Italy - there is no such thing as meat with tomato sauce and cheese on top), my go-to dish and a telltale sign of a restaurant's quality and value. At $24.75, the "veal" was not bad, but a bit too thick (could have been pounded more) and a little tough. The sauteed veggies were rather flavorless, a mixture on broccolini, zucchini, onions and peppers and mixed in with the pasta (penne) that did not have enough sauce on it. The sauce was fair, not bad, but nothing special. Either the penne or veggies had not been drained well enough because there was a pool of water under the pasta, an unforgivable faux pas and pet peeve of mine.
If you are paying $25 for an à la carte entrée, they could at least drain the pasta and put enough sauce on it so you do not have to eat plain, watery penne ... barf! They also do not serve bread with your meal, something expected at the vast majority Italian restaurants stateside and at ALL restaurants in Italy. There was not even bread on the menu, except for the $7 garlic bread that costs exactly the same on both the regular and happy hour menus.
The numerous "5-star" reviews indicate that they have obviously never been to Italy, having likely eaten only in Portland's dearth of decent Italian restaurants, so Caro Amico's 3.5 -star Yelp average seems a bit high to me. I give them deductions for a lukewarm reception, shoving us into the dark and dingy bar with a grumpy bartender, lack of bread with our meal, a lousy happy hour menu, watery pasta, and not so cheap à la carte menu. Based on this, our first visit, we will not be returning anytime soon ... not impressed in the least.

CombatCritic Gives Caro Amico 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Four Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Caro Amico Italian Cafe on Yelp

Caro Amico Italian Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 1 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Portland, OR: Dear Friend (Caro Amico), Get A Clue (Ottenere Un Indizio)!

Key Words: Caro Amico Italian Cafe, Caro Amico, caro, amico, Italian, pizza, Portland, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Turned Away And Insulted After Being Two Minutes Late For A Three Minute Pizza

Pizzeria La Sorrentina
9811 NE15th Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98665
Phone number (360) 980-1651
Website: lasorrentinavw.com
Prices: $$$$

We drove nearly 30 minutes from our home, arriving just two minutes after their 2PM "closing" time due to unexpected traffic. We were hoping to sample their offerings because, having lived in Naples, Italy for three years and being married to an Italian (my wife's family still lives in Naples and we visit quite often), I love authentic pizza Napoletana and was curious to see just how authentic theirs was.

When we arrived, the oven was still going strong and the two employees were still there prepping for dinner with the door and window open. We stood there for a minute while the woman looked at us without saying a word, so I finally asked her "Are you closed?" to which she responded only with a "Yes". I was a bit shocked because there was absolutely no reason to turn us away and they did not even bother to tell us why they would not serve us at 2:02 PM. 

If this was a sit down restaurant, I could understand why we would not be served and would not expect it. However, having eaten many pizzas in Naples and attended a "pizzaiolo" (pizza maker) course in their this past February, I know that a Neapolitan pizza takes less than 90 seconds to prepare and about 60-90 seconds to bake at 485 degrees Fahrenheit. I understand that they were "officially" closed and may have had things to do, but taking 3 minutes to make a pizza for a customer was, I believe, not too much to expect.

The restaurant business and customer service are all about making customers happy and turning us away so rudely was, in my opinion, uncalled for. Having spent a great deal of time in the business and owned a very successful mobile food operation myself, I would have never turned a customer away in similar circumstances, but that is just me. 

After leaving a tip on Yelp regarding my experience, someone (whom I am assuming was the owner or manager) sent me a compliment with a "You're Funny" tag stating: 

"I'm not going to serve pizza anyone even 1minutes late. Please come during business sir. Thank you"

Part of my responsibility to readers on Yelp, my blog, and other sites is to provide an accurate, honest "opinion" based on my experiences, so I did not appreciate being laughed at ("You're Funny") because I take my responsibilities and commitment to my readers very seriously. A more professional and customer-oriented response would have been much more appropriate in my opinion. For example: "I am very sorry that we had to turn you away, but our employees were busy prepping for dinner and could not take the time to serve you. Please accept our sincere apology and come back to visit us very soon!" would have been a much more appropriate response and they would have likely gained a return customer. Unfortunately, based on our negative experience and the business's insulting reaction to my tip, I will not be returning any time soon. Not an unreasonable person, if an apology is forthcoming, I may consider giving them another chance and revising my review/rating.

CombatCritic Gives Pizzeria La Sorrentina 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!

One Bomb Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"


Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Pizzeria La Sorrentina on Yelp

Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Pizzeria La Sorrentina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 1 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Vancouver, WA: Turned Away And Insulted After Being Two Minutes Late For A Three Minute Pizza

Key Words: Pizzeria La Sorrentina, pizzeria, la, Sorrentina, pizza, Sorrento, Vancouver, Washington, Portland, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Facebook


Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Can You Say Biscuits And Gravy? Sure Ya Can!

Gateway Breakfast House
11411 NE Halsey Street
Portland, OR 97220
Phone number (503) 256-6280
Website: gatewaybreakfasthouse.com
Prices: $$$$

President Obama ate here in 2012 with a couple of veterans and there is a photo on the wall to prove it. A bit of a dive, the decor could definitely use an HGTV makeover, probably the first since 1985 from the looks of it. Do not expect anything fancy here and you will not be disappointed, just good, abundant, reasonably priced breakfast fare. The place was packed at 1:30PM on a Saturday, having to wait 15 minutes for a table.


My wife had the Pick Three ($7.95), selecting a pancake, French toast and hash browns (other choices: waffle, sausage links, eggs, biscuit and gravy, bacon, toast or English muffin). Plenty o' food for less than $8, she was satiated and content with her choices.

I ordered the Country Breakfast ($11.45), coming with two eggs over-medium, country fried steak (other options: bacon, sausage, ham, burger, pork chop or German sausage), hash browns (pancakes, French toast, waffle, or toast also available) and a biscuit and gravy. The country fried steak was smothered in country gravy and the hash browns plentiful. My only complaint being that the gravy could use a bit more seasoning, otherwise the breakfast was plentiful and tasty with the eggs cooked to perfection.

All-in-all, this was the best breakfast I have had in quite some time and, without a doubt, I will be Barack.


CombatCritic Gives Gateway Breakfast House 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Eight Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "What-The-Fuck ... Over!"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Gateway Breakfast House on Yelp

Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 1 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!




View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Portland, OR: Can You Say Biscuits And Gravy? Sure Ya Can!

Key Words: Gateway Breakfast House, gateway, breakfast, house, biscuits, gravy, Portland, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved