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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Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

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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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

White Salmon, WA: Affordable Whitewater Rafting Just An Hour From Portland

River Drifters
856 Hwy 141
White Salmon, WA 98672
Phone number: (800) 972-0430
Prices: $$$$

Whether you are visiting the greater Portland area or live here full-time, some decent whitewater rafting is just an hour to an hour-and-a-half up the Columbia River Gorge on a tributary originating from the glaciers of Mount Adams and better known as the White Salmon River. 

The price ($60 weekday/$65 weekend) seemed fair enough for a 3.5 hour whitewater rafting trip, but the first hour plus was consumed by a safety briefing, putting on a wetsuit, booties, helmet, and life vest, then driving seven miles upstream to begin our trip. We finished about 30 minutes early, so you can plan on having less than 2 hours on the river itself.

The staff were all a bunch of "gnarly dudes", reminding me of Ridgemont High's Jeff Spicoli ("People on 'ludes should not drive") and equally suited for shredding waves as they are for whitewater rafting guides. There were four or five on the ancient Blue Bird bus, all making goofy jokes along the seven mile journey to start our trip.

Once we finally got on the river, there was a succession of rapids that were fun and exciting. However, after the first few Class III and IV rapids, there was not much excitement. We floated for what seemed like the last half of the trip with nary a thrill. The canyon was spectacular and quite beautiful, so it was not a total waste, but I would have preferred a few more thrills spread out over the entire trip. 

The highlight of the trip was the jump into the river after portage around a waterfall midway downstream. The canyon was narrow, so we had to jump into the middle of the river 20 feet below in order to miss the submerged ledge, plunging into the 41 degree Fahrenheit glacial runoff from nearby Mount Adams ... BRRRRRRRRR!

I told the guides about being a disabled veteran with knee, back and shoulder issues, but I was made to feel like a burden, a PITA, and was not allowed to go over the falls with my son and teammates at the end of the trip. I was not given an option by the guide and felt ripped off.

Lesson Learned: Don't put people with mobility/knee problems in the front of the raft. I nearly fell out of the raft three times sitting front-left because I couldn't get a decent foothold and the guide took several drops with my side facing downhill, causing me to lose my balance. Once he put me in the back row, I was able to anchor my feet under the seat in front of me and had no further issues.

Not a bad deal in retrospect, but the trip would have been much more fun for me had they put me in the rear of the raft from the beginning and allowed me to participate in the grand finale with my son and three other teammates.

CombatCritic Gives River Drifters 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Six Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: "Good To Go"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of River Drifters 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 3 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: White Salmon, WA: Affordable Whitewater Rafting Just An Hour From Portland

Key Words: White Salmon, WA, affordable, whitewater, rafting, river, Portland, OR, River Drifters, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, Google, Facebook

Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Washougal, WA: Great Service, Tasty Food, Healthy Portions and Reasonable Prices ... HOOAH!

Peggy’s Place
3010 Evergreen Way
Washougal, WA 98671
Phone number (360) 210-5500
Website: None
Facebook Page
Prices: $$$$

Peggy's has more traditional breakfasts and is a better value than the other breakfast and lunch (only) spot in Washougal. No metrosexual, foo foo menu options here, just good ol' traditional omelettes, scrambles, bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy, French toast, and pancakes as well as burgers, sandwiches and a few entrees on their lunch menu. What you see is what you get.




I had the Classic Breakfast ($9), coming with two eggs over medium, hash browns, two slices of bacon, and an English muffin and a half-order of Biscuits and Gravy ($5). The eggs were perfectly cooked as was the bacon, but the hash browns, although plentiful, were not a crispy as I had asked for. The biscuit was large and tasty, and the gravy delicious, but, unfortunately, the biscuit was too large for the bowl, so there was not enough gravy and I ended up leaving almost half of the biscuit.



My wife ordered the French Toast ($8), arriving with four large halves of bread coated with a crispy egg batter, then grilled, and came with two slices of their yummy bacon. It also came with cups of fluffy, whipped cinnamon-honey butter and fresh maple syrup. My wife was one happy camper.


We even got complimentary bites (small squares) of their key lime and brownie cakes along with a pleasant Happy Easter after our meal. The service was excellent and the food came out post haste, quicker than I had expected for a new place with a decent size Easter Sunday crowd. The room is large, clean and open, and they have obviously spent a fair amount on renovations with four large booths, six four-top tables, and a lunch counter that seats about eight. They need some more stuff on the walls to make it feel more homey, but that will come with time.

I hear that their cheesecake is delightful, but at $8 per slice, I was not inclined to give it a try given the price and my satiated state. Their prices are fair for the most part, but at $8 for a whole order of Biscuits and Gravy and for a slice of cheesecake, I would say both are overpriced by at least a couple of bucks. I would also recommend giving a 10% Military/Veterans Discount and maybe a free meal for Vets on Veteran's Day, something no other Washougal restaurants currently offer.

CombatCritic Gives Peggy's Place 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/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Peggy's Place 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 3 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!

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Title: Washougal, WA: Great Service, Tasty Food, Healthy Portions and Reasonable Prices ... HOOAH!

Key Words: Washougal, WA, Peggy's Place, Peggy, place, Peggy's, breakfast, lunch, eggs, biscuits, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Facebook

Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

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