Wednesday, August 23, 2028

Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To My Blog?



I served my country in the United States Air Force for over 20 years and have visited 41 countries over the last 35 years, most without spending over $75 per night for a nice hotel room and dining in excellent restaurants for well under $25 per person. How do I do it? Through diligent research, exploration, trial and error, and local knowledge.
Would you like to stay in a central, 3-star hotel in a major city for under $20 per night? How about a room with a balcony and view of the Himalayas while attending teachings with the Dalai Lama for just $5 per night? Or a beachfront hotel for $13 per night? Maybe a meal prepared by a 5-star chef for less than $20? Well, you have come to the right place ...


Having several popular travel blogs CombatCritic.com and received numerous accolades from several of the top travel and restaurant websites/apps (Yelp, TripAvisor, Zomato, Tabelog, Booking.com), you can trust my opinions. 

Unlike many reviewers who are either afraid to tell the truth or have personal relationship with businesses and biased views, I reserve 5-stars (10 Bombs on my blog) for only the most flawless restaurants, accommodations, businesses, attractions and destinations, those where you absolutely and without a doubt get the most “bang-for-the-buck”. 
CombatCritic.com

I try to remain as objective as possible in all of my reviews, providing the pros and cons as I see them and a rating based on the overall “value” as compared to similar entities in similar locations. I accept no "freebies" and only identify myself as a critic after having been a customer and paid the bill, so you can trust my reviews.

Here is a breakdown of my ratings both on my blogs (where I use a ten point scale) and on travel and dining websites (that all use 5 point Likert-type scales) ...

If I hate a place, they get 1-2 Bombs (1-star)

If so-so with numerous”issues", they get 3-4 Bombs (2-stars)

If average (the vast majority of businesses fall into this category if you look at the distribution of my ratings), they get 5-6 Bombs (3-stars)

If above average, they get 7-8 Bombs (4-stars)

If they are one of the very rare “best of the best” values in my experience, they get 9-10 Bombs (5-stars – I always round up from bombs to stars because I use a 10 point Likert-type scale in order to be more discernible). 

A recent Portland resident, I am extremely excited by the prospects of my new hometown's culinary delights and endless things to do. I hope you find my new blog, TravelValue: Portland, Oregon, helpful and inspiring in your quest for the Best of Portland.

Now that you understand my philosophy and ratings, on to my reviews …

CombatCritic

The Leader In Getting Travelers The Most "Bang-for-the-Buck"

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CombatCritic's "TravelValue" Channel




Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To My Blog?

Key Words: combatcritic, travelvalue, travel, value, combat, critic, review, reviews, objective, restaurant, hotel, attraction, destination, Italy, USA, India, Asia, Europe

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Vancouver, WA: No Bitterness Here, Amaro's Happy Hour Is Sweeeeet

Amaro’s Table
1220 Main Street, Suite 100
Vancouver, WA 98660
Phone number (360) 718-2942
Website: amarostable.com
Prices: $$$$

I was a little hesitant after seeing the exterior of Amaro's Table ("amaro" means "bitter" in Italian), a

small, glass fishbowl environment with modern, minimalist furnishings in the corner of a sterile, boring, multi-story office building in downtown Vancouver. I usually prefer warmer wood tones over glass, steel and concrete, but we decided to give them a try anyway ... and am I glad we did!

They have a reasonably priced menu with an eclectic selection of starters ($5-$12), salads ($6-$16), burgers and sandwiches ($10-$14), and entrees ("large plates" - $14-$26), but their Happy Hour menu (2pm-5pm daily in the dining room) made me very happy! With a widely varied selection of tasty savory and sweet treats, prices start at $3 for House Made Chips and Ranch Dressing or a Caesar Salad and top out at just $5 for a Bavarian Cheese Fondue (with a giant pretzel), Cheeseburger, Fish & Chips, or Flatbread.


We ordered an iced tea ($3 - minimum drink order for Happy Hour pricing) and an (IPA - $5) as well as the Carnitas Tacos ($4) and the Bavarian Cheese Fondue and Pretzel, a Cheese Burger, and Fish & Chips ($5 each). The portions were not very big as we were warned by Stephanie (our server), but appropriate for the price. It was nice to sample several dishes in one go, allowing us to determine if will return in the future. We shall.
The Cheese Burger ($5) looked smallish and very lonely on the plate, a 3-4 ounce patty on a toasted brioche bun with caramelized onion, tomato, pickle and house sauce, but it was tasty nonetheless. 
The Fish and Chips ($5) consisted of two small breaded, deep-fried fish filets, a small portion of fries, and tartar sauce. The fish was crispy and very good, and the fries came in handy while chowing down on the burger. 
Our Bavarian Cheese Fondue ($5) was rich and savory with a hint of chardonnay and Swiss cheese along with the massive, soft pretzel. There was more than enough fondue to go around for pretzel dipping with a little leftover.
The two Carnitas Tacos ($4) had two large corn tortillas each and were stuffed with shredded pork shoulder in an adobo sauce and topped with shredded cabbage, accompanied by a homemade salsa verde. In my opinion, the tacos were the best value on the menu at just $2 a pop, a relative bargain in my eyes, as well as being scrumdiddlyumptious.
Stephanie was very attentive, efficient and friendly as were her numerous tattooed comrades who greeted us a we entered and said goodbye when we left. The place was nearly empty when we arrived at 3:45 PM, but was packed when we left just before 5 PM, a good sign.
At $42, including tax and tip, Amaro's Table is a definite "TravelValue" and worth a visit in my opinion, whether for happy hour, lunch or dinner.

CombatCritic Gives Amaro's Table 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Seven Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "Shits & Grins"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Read Chris S.'s review of Amaro's Table on Yelp

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!
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: No Bitterness Here, Amaro's Happy Hour Is Sweeeeet

Key Words: Amaro's Table, Amaro's, table, amaro,  happy hour, happy, hour, Vancouver, WA, Portland, OR, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Camas, WA: No Horsing Around, This Place Is A Definite Neigh ... I Mean Nay

Los Potrillos Mexican Restaurant
1735 SE 192nd Avenue, Suite 101
Camas, WA 98607
Phone number (360) 838-2431
Prices: $$$$

I do not know what happened since 2014 when Los Potrillos was selected "Best of Vancouver" (award in the entry), but if this is the best Mexican food in Vancouver, the bar must not be set very high. It was not the worse Mexican food I have eaten and there are more shoddy Mexican restaurants in southeast Clark County (there are two in Washougal), but this place is the poorest "value" by far.

Prices are very high by Mexican restaurant standards with combo plates running $13 to $15 and meat dishes (carne asada, carnitas, etc.) in the $17 to $19 range. One of the few positive things I can say is that the service here was very good. Everyone I came in contact with was friendly and efficient.
Only the margaritas have prices listed on the menu with all of the other mixed drinks, beers and wine displaying no prices. I do not know about you, but I am not going to ask how much a drink is and I refuse to order one not knowing how much it costs, so I normally bypass the alcohol at places like this. Because the margarita prices were listed, I decided to try a medium ($6.50), blended with salt. It was a decent size and not bad with a slight kick, probably being the best value on the menu.

My very small side of guacamole was $4.99 ("Market Price" - price not listed on the menu), the consistency was odd (probably cut with a cheap filler of some kind, probably mayo), and the flavor bland. $2.99 would have been a more realistic price based on the fact that it was probably made with less than one small avocado ($1 retail). The chips were most likely out of a bag, stale, and room temp - YUK - the salsa was oddly sweet and they were accompanied by a plate of cabbage with a couple of slices of jalapeño on top.
I ordered a large combo ($13.95 plus 75¢ for shredded beef on my taco - $14.70 total) with a chile relleno, cheese and onion enchilada, and shredded beef taco. The taco, like most places in the Portland metro area, came on a pre-fab shell (a large one nonetheless) with too much lettuce and not enough cheese - WEAK. I could not tell the relleno and enchilada apart by appearance and the flavors were nearly identical except for the green chile in the middle one. Both were somewhat flavorless.

For someone who loves good Mexican food - me - Mexican restaurants in the Portland and Vancouver metro areas have been a massive disappointment. There is a decent taqueria near our house and I found some pretty good Mexican places in Gresham, Tigard, and Tualatin, but, otherwise, there is a dearth of good Mexican food in the area. Unfortunately, this gringo can make better Mexican food than the supposed experts, so I will likely continue to eat at home, especially with inflated prices like those at Los Potrillos. It should be no surprise that the place was mostly empty at 7PM, having paid $34, including tip, for a dinner for one.

CombatCritic Gives Los Potrillos 3 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Three Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Los Potrillos Mexican Restaurant 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!

Los Potrillos Mexican Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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: Camas, WA: No Horsing Around, This Place Is A Definite Neigh ... I Mean Nay

Key Words: Los Potrillos, Los Potrillos, Mexican, taco, tacos, margarita, Camas, Vancouver, Portland, WA, OR, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Google


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

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Decent Chow, But Not Too Hoppy With The Higher Than Average Prices

Von Ebert Brewing
14021 NE Glisan Street
Portland, OR 97230 
Hazelwood, Northeast Portland
Phone number (503) 878-8708
Prices: $$$$

I play golf at Glendoveer quite often, being a member of their PDP Program, so I thought I had to try the latest restaurant to be located on the premises. It was a toasty day in early August, up around 100 degrees the day I was there, but their patio was comfortable and the view of the 10th hole serene until the toddler at the far end of the patio started screaming at the top of his lungs.


My server, Ryan, was friendly and efficient, but when I ordered a "CAN" of the Blood Orange IPA ($6/16 oz. glass or $5/16 oz. can), he told me "we do not serve cans, they are only for take-out". I asked why cans are even an option on the "eat-in" menu if you cannot order them, but I did not receive a reply. I paid the extra $1 for the glass and was pretty "hoppy" with the IPA even though their beer prices are about a buck higher than most places in town.
With Ryan's input, I ordered the Elevated Emily ($12) sandwich with brisket, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and mushrooms on a ciabatta roll with a side of au jus, as well as a side of Cajun fries ($3 - sandwiches and burgers do not come with a side BTW) for a grand total of $15. A tad on the high side for a sandwich, it was actually quite tasty although a bit small for the price.
Not a horrible value, I have eaten better, more robust sandwiches (with fries) and have drunk equivalent brews at other local establishments, having paid a total of $3 to $5 (per person) less on average. I do not see myself going out of my way to eat here in the future, but may try their Happy Hour menu sometime as its prices are much more reasonable.
CombatCritic Gives Von Ebert Brewing (East) 5 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Five Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: "Continue Mission"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

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

Von Ebert Brewing (East) Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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!

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: Decent Chow, But Not Too Hoppy With The Higher Than Average Prices

Key Words: Von Ebert Brewing, Von Ebert, brewing, brewery, brew, beer, craft, Portland, OR, Glendoveer, golf, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

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