You Are Visitor Number:

You Are Visitor Number:

Friday, January 31, 2014

Colorado Springs, CO: Brown's Shoe Fit: Quality Shoes, Fair Prices, Friendly Service

Category: Shoe Stores

Brown's Shoe Fit
123 N Tejon St
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
(719) 635-1575

Price Range: $$$$$
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

I took my 83-year old mother to Brown's Shoe Fit for a new pair of shoes. Parking can be a challenge in downtown Colorado Springs and the day we were there was no exception.

We were greeted as we entered the store in a very friendly manner, telling the lovely young lady what type of shoe my mom was looking for. She quickly arrived with several options, but mom was looking for something a little less expensive. I found a couple pair in her size "On Clearance".

Mom liked the look and fit of the shoe, clearance priced at a little under $60, not bad for a quality shoe. But the young lady told us that there was an additional 14% discount we were not aware of, bringing the price, including tax, to just $55.

CombatCritic Gives Brown's Shoe Fit Seven Out of 10 Bombs ... BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Key Words: Brown's Shoe Fit, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Springs, shoes, shoe, store, downtown, CombatCritic, TravelValue, combat, travel, value

Colorado Springs, CO: Which Wich? SandWich!

Which Wich Superior Sandwiches

5102 N. Nevada Ave., Ste. 130
Colorado Springs, CO 80918
(719) 599-WICH
(719) 598-4329 (fax)
universityvillage@whichwich.net

Hours:
Mon-Sat, 10 am - 9pm
Sun, 10 am - 7pm
Order Online

My computer was STILL ON CENTRAL TIME, but I was in Colorado and arrived an hour early to pick-up my online order.

You get to put your sandwich together using a shopping list of ingredients in several categories: bread, meat, cheese, sauces, veggies, hot/cold among others. You can order a half for about $6 (more filling than a foot long Subway) or a whole (about 14") for just under $12. Sounds like a lot for a sandwich, but we made two meals out of the wholes for a meal at under $6 per person.


We had the grinders one cold, one hot and a toasted meatball. The grinders were identical with salami, pepperoni, and cappiccolo, balsamic vinaigrette, banana peppers, red onion, tomato, and spices. One hot with spinach added after toasting and one cold with lettuce. With significantly more meat than YOU KNOW WHO they were very good and filling. My only suggestion wood be swapping out the pepperoni with mortadella, the more traditional "Italian" grinder choice, but it was scrummy nonetheless.


The meatball sandwich was also good, but MAKE SURE TO SPECIFY "marinara" when you choose sauces or else you will NOT receive a traditional Italian meatball sandwich. This place is great for people who know what they like and how to put a sandwich together, but people like my wife who DO NOT HAVE A CLUE how to cook a meal may have difficulty constructing an appetizing meal.


CombatCritic Gives Which Wich 6 Out of 10 Bombs for SANDWICH VALUE ... BOMBS ARE GOOD!
Which Wich on Urbanspoon


Key Words: Which Wich, which, wich, sandwich, grinder, Italian, meatball, fast food, food, eat, shop, Colorado Springs, Colorado, marijuana, CombatCritic, TravelValue, combat, travel

Monday, January 27, 2014

Apple, Inc ... Poor Products, Customer Service, and Judgment

Letter to the Editor, MacWorld

I switched to Apple products after years of cursing Windows and Android-based systems, spending $3000 on two Macbook Pros and an iPhone 5c within the last year. What a mistake!

My Macbook crashed on me after less than 6 months, taking me 8-10 hours to read forums, reinstalling the OS, and recovering from a Time Machine backup. Next, my iPhone 5C froze while on vacation. After finding our way back to the hotel using non-technological resources (asking for directions and following signs), I spent much of the next two days on the phone with Apple support (Adranna) instead of relaxing on the beach or taking in the sights. Restoring the phone did not work, so Adrianna told me I needed to have the phone replaced when I got home.

Long story short, she told me I could upgrade to a 5S due to the fact that I lost confidence in the 5C, but Apple refused to honor her promise, stating "policy prohibits a from exchanging to another model even when the customer offers to pay the difference", which I was. After talking to numerous employees, being called a liar, and expressing my disappointment about Apple's products and customer service with senior customer service reps, I have up and had the iPhone replaced.

Over the past month, I have spent an additional 50-60 hours on the phone partitioning my Macbook's hard drive, backing up my data, wiping the hard drive clean, and reinstalling MacOS and transferring my data after the piece of junk locked-up again. I had to deal with chronic slowness and THE BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH on my PC, but NEVER HAD A COMPUTER CRASH in the decades of using non-Apple products!

I hag expressed my dismay with each of the 10-15 Apple employees I have spoken to over the past few months and they only confirmed my concerns ... APPLE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT INDIVIDUAL CONSUMERS AND REFUSES TO DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN PLACATE ME. As an Apple investor (owner of $25,000 to $50,000 in Apple shares at any given time) and American consumer, I am appalled by the lack customer service and support I have experienced at the hands of another institution that terrorizes consumers with impunity. Needless to say, I will never spend another penny on Apple products. All consumers and shareholders should be warned and concerned.

C.T. Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
aka CombatActivist

Read more detail about my experience:

On a recent trip to Puerto Rico to film a travel video and review hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions, my iPhone died mid-trip. Using my phone for navigation on an island well known for difficulty locating addresses, taking photos and filming video, uploading them along with check-ins, reviews, and tips on Yelp (where I am an "Elite '14 member), TripAdvisor (I am a "Senior Contributor"), Foursquare, and Facebook pages, and locating attractions, restaurants, parks, and beaches, our visit literally came to a standstill when my 3-month old iPhone 5c (unlocked for Family Mobile - $600) stopped responding.

We were 50 miles from our hotel in San Germán when my nearly fully (80%) charged phone went dark. Having used Waze's navigation and social media app to get there, we were suddenly stranded in an unfamiliar area with no way to get back. Unsure how to return to Rincón where we were staying, I called Apple iPhone customer service using my wife's phone. Over the next 30-40 minutes, I was told that there was no Apple Store in Puerto Rico and that I had to connect my phone to my computer (back in the room), connecting to iTunes to see if I could get the phone to work.

We figured out how to get back to the hotel on our own and I plugged the iPhone in to my computer, but nothing happened. I then plugged the phone into the adapter and electric socket to charge it overnight and went to bed. When we awoke, the phone was back on, but it quickly went dark again and would not respond no matter how long I pushed the start button. It was time to call Apple again.

The iPhone technical support representative's name was Adreana and she was very nice and helpful. She told me to hold down the "on/off button" and "back" button simultaneously for 10 seconds and low-and-behold  ... the phone came on! Why did the rep I called from San Germán not tell me about this "hard start" feature, allowing us to possibly navigate our way back to Rincón using Waze instead of winging-it?

I spent over an hour-and-a-half on the phone with Adreanna, finally having to reset the phone from a back-up I had fortunately made on my computer two days earlier. Because the reset was taking so long, she told me she would call me back before going home to see how it went and determine whether or not the problem was resolved. It was not. The phone had again gone dark shortly after resetting it. Adreanna told me that I would have to have the phone replaced, but because it was a Friday night and nothing could be done until Monday (???) I would have to wait until I got home to go to an Apple Store to get a new phone.

Adreanna made the appointment for me the day after our scheduled return at the Leawood, Kansas store, the closest to our home in Lawrence and a 40 mile drive each way. I told her that I had wanted a 5s originally, but because I needed a phone and because there was an unknown wait-time for the new 5s, I had no choice to get the 5c. I also told her that I was displeased with the 5c and lost all confidence in the model after what we had been through, asking if I could upgrade to the 5s instead of replacing it with a 5c, EVEN OFFERING TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE IN COST! She told me that would be likely and would call me at the store at my designated appointment time (12:50pm CST - January 15, 2014) to explain to "The Genius" what had been going on and to help me get the phone I needed. I sent Apple the following message before departing Puerto Rico:
"My phone is still shutting down, it has ruined my vacation, and my travel video I am producing. I am a food and travel critic, yelp Elite member, and TripAdvisor SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR and depend on my phone for photos, videos and to write reviews of places I am visiting. This is not just inconvenient, it has ruined my vacation and disrupted my livelihood.
C.T. Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret) 
LPC, NCC"
Arriving at the Apple Store for my appointment the following Wednesday, I was passed around like a volleyball from genius to genius, finally ending up with a guy named "Chad" (who looked like the actor who plays Spock in the new Star Trek movies, also a star of the hit series "Heroes"). Chad was not a good listener and the volume on a video they had playing for an in-store workshop was so loud we could barely hear ourselves think.

Chad had me go through the entire very lengthy story again even though Adreanna and the other reps had made extensive notes in the case they had created about my problems. I told him that Adreanna would be calling any minute to explain everything, telling him she had told me I could probably upgrade to the 5s ... WHOAH ... HOLD IT RIGHT THERE PAL was the response I received as Chad quickly squashed that possibility by stating that "Apple only makes model for model exchanges, there's no way to upgrade according to Apple policy". I told Chad that Adreanna explained that it was possible and asked if he could check with a supervisor, which he did, only to return to tell me SORRY BUB!

I asked him how it was that their employee, Adreanna, could tell me one thing only to drive 80 miles and wasting an entire afternoon to be told it was not possible? I would have had them ship a 5c to my house so it would be there when I returned if I had been told "it was not possible" in the first place, but he could obviously care less. He then asked me to tell him the whole story again, as if he were trying to catch me in a lie, but his only solution was to "call iPhone support, talk to Adreanna, and see if they would upgrade my phone to a 5c". I left the store a very unsatisfied customer to say the least!

Extremely upset and distraught after getting the runaround from a company I had heard so many wonderful things about and wasting so much time trying get help I deserved, I waited until the next day to calm down before I called Adreanna. At 12:50pm on the nose, the phone rang and it was her, having noted the wrong date in her calendar even though she had made the appointment. 

I told Adreanna what had occurred at the Apple Store and she told me "I will inform my supervisor, we will call the store and get this fixed, and I will call you back soon and let you know what happens". I waited ... and waited ... and waited, but Adreanna did not call. Odd! I waited a few days, thinking that it was more complex than I had realized and believing that Adreanna surely would not just blow me off, Apple would not do that to a customer who had spent $3,000 over the past six months on their products ... OR WOULD THEY?

The following week I called Apple again, having to explain the whole situation again, but got the same answers ... "Adreanna? We have no idea who she is and she never should have told you those things. You cannot upgrade to a 5s, simple as that!" I asked to speak to a supervisor to find out why I had been told I could upgrade, why I had wasted so much of my time on the phone and driving back and forth to the store if it were in-fact impossible ... "Don't you care about integrity? Don't you care about customer service?" I asked.

I was put on-hold for close to 30 minutes before a Customer Care Supervisor came on the phone and while telling out of one side of her mouth how concerned she was about my "customer satisfaction", insisted in a rather snotty tone of voice that I was "lying" out of the other. "Our reps would never tell you that you could upgrade, it's not our policy" she said. I said "so are you calling me a liar", to which she replied "I did not say that". No, she may not have said it in those words, but her comment left little to the imagination regarding her opinion of my character.

As a disabled-Veteran and retired Air Force officer, I take great pride in my character, my integrity, and my honor. When she questioned my integrity, the conversation was over as far as I was concerned. I was so upset that I told her "you win, I am done wasting my time on a company that has so little concern or respect for their customers as is the case with Apple".

I went to the Apple Store in Colorado Springs to replace my 5c with a 5c "PER APPLE POLICY" in early February. After telling the young "genius" my story, for the 6th time at least, she brought the manager over to talk to me. He said "we'll make an exception to policy based on your experience and upgrade your 5C to a 5S. You'll have to return the new 5C, get a refund, and purchase a 5S for an extra $100." I asked him WHY HE COULD UPGRADE MY PHONE WHEN I HAD WASTED 30-40 HOURS AND DRIVEN OVER 100 MILES ONLY TO BE TOLD IT WAS "IMPOSSIBLE"? I thanked him for his kind offer, but by that time I was so fed-up with the way I had been treated, I told him "thanks, but no thanks … I will not give another penny of my hard earned money to Apple after the way I have been treated". I left the store with my new 5C.

Now, my Macbook Pro 13" (mid-2012) is acting up again! I had to reset the computer from a backup about 4 months ago following instructions on the Apple Support site after it would not boot no matter what I tried. That seemed to solve the problem, but Safari would not work (along with a couple other programs), so while at the Colorado Springs Apple Store I asked them to taker a look at it. They ended up keeping it overnight to reinstall the operating system which I was told was "corrupt". Safari was working again, but the other programs still had issues.

Two weeks ago when I could not boot the computer or get past the grey screen with the white Apple and the endlessly revolving wheel, not even in Safe Mode. Again, I tried to solve the problem using Apple Support instructions, but was unsuccessful, so I called their 800 number. The woman on the phone said I would have to partition my hard drive, which she helped me do, reinstall the operating system on the new partition, then follow the instructions after the computer restarted. I and a doctors appointment and could not stay on the phone, so she told me to call back if there were any problems.

The computer started after reinstalling the OS on the new partition and I followed the instructions as she had told me. It appeared as though the computer was setting-up as if I had not used it before, which I assumed was because of the new partition (which was eating up much more of my 500 GB hard drive by the way). When it asked me to select a backup to restore from, the recent backups from the week before (when the computer had last been working) were nowhere to be found on my 4TB network drive where I had safely stored them for months. The only backups listed were from May 2013, shortly after I bought the computer, so I assumed it wa again an issue with the new partition.

Once the backup was installed, I immediately went to Microsoft Outlook to check the emails I had not been able to view for nearly 6 days by then. When I checked my folders, all of the emails between May and now were gone … my work and personal email history was nowhere to be found, including those from three large lawsuits I am involved in, my father's funeral arrangements at Arlington National Cemetery in May, and documentation from our (very challenging) tenants in Kansas City (among many others)! All of our photos disappeared and the video on Puerto Rico I had spent dozens of hours creating for my YouTube (CombatCritic's TravelValue) channel was gone!

I called Apple again on March 12, 2014 to find out where my Outlook (.olm) file went as well as the backups from two weeks ago so I can get back to work, recover critical emails, and locate my Puerto Rico video that disappeared in iMovie during this process.

I spoke with Andrew who helped me get permissions to the old partition of the hard-drive where the missing files supposedly reside. Because the process took so long, he had me call back later so that I could get some work done, promising to make "extensive notes" so I would not have to explain for the umpteenth time to an Apple Support Representative. Before I hung up, Andrew tried to sell me the "extended warranty" because my warranty was to expire in 61 days. I told Andrew that I have spent $3,000 on Apple products less than a year ago and WILL NOT SPEND ANOTHER PENNY ON PRODUCTS THAT SHOULD LAST MUCH LONGER THAN 12-36 MONTHS ... thanks, but no thanks!

When I called back a few hours later to continue with the next step, backing-up both partitions of the hard-drive so we could then wipe the hard-drive clean and restore the computer from its original (out-of-the-box) state with the files and programs I need from the two partitions, Melissa #1 answered the phone.

Even though Andrew had made "extensive notes", Melissa #1 acted as if she had nothing to go on and made me explain most everything. She was obviously clueless, making me wait on-hold while she asked her supervisors what to do next. I had to guide her through the process even though she is supposed to be "the expert". She finally decided that we should back-up the hard drive my 1TB external hard drive (Western Digital - My Passport), but because it would take several hours, I had to call back and go through the next step with another technician. I explained again how disappointed I am in Apple products, that I have wasted 40-50 hours of my time (between these problems and the debacle with my iPhone 5C in January and February), and that I am at wits-end. She placated me, as all other Apple employees have done, with words of sympathy, but zero action or follow-through. We made an appointment for 7:15pm to have a technician call me back to complete the next steps (clear the hard drive and reinstall from back-up).

At 7:oopm, I checked the back-up to see if had finished, but it still had 22 hours to go! I then realized that Melissa #1's instructions were inadequate and the back-up was not being made to My Passport, but to my 4TB network drive, exactly where she told me it should not be saved. So at 7:15pm when Melissa #2 called back, I told her what had happened and that I had initiated another back-up, this time to My Passport, and that because it would take severel hours, I would have to call back in the morning to proceed with the next steps.

March 13, 2014 - 10:21am (CST): I will update this post after the next phone call.

I am done fighting with these social cretins, will use my iPhone and Mac until they die (which should not take long based on my experience), and will go back to a Windows or Android-based phone and a non-Apple computer when they do ... FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU; FOOL ME TWICE ... AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN APPLE!

CombatCritic Gives Apple, Inc. 1 Out of 10 Bombs for their poor products, customer service, and judgment ... More Bombs Are Better!











Key Words: Apple, computer, Mac, iPhone, 5c, 5s, Macbook Pro, Macbook, poor, customer, service, integrity, honor, character, Institutional, terrorism, InstitutionalTerrorism, CombatCritic

Friday, January 24, 2014

Groupon Is Advertising False Prices/Discounts and Ignoring Questions From Customers!

Groupon's Ad from January 24th, 2014 ...



Genovese Italian Restaurant - Oread

Italian Cuisine and Drinks at Genovese Italian Restaurant (Up to 48% Off)

FROM $30

BUY!

VALUE DISCOUNT YOU SAVE

$54            44%                 $24

LIMITED TIME ONLY!

3 days 02:05:48

 Over 100 bought

LIMITED QUANTITY AVAILABLE

In a Nutshell

Italy's Liguria region supplies the inspiration for seasonal Italian cuisine made with ingredients from local farms

The Fine Print

Expires 90 days after purchase. Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as a gift. Limit 1 per table. Valid only for option purchased. Dine-in only. Not valid on 12/31 and 2/14. Not valid with any other promotions. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services. See the rules that apply to all deals.

Pasta became a staple of Italian fare after Roman Emperor Caligula famously appointed a plate of lasagna to the Senate. Elect to eat decadently with this Groupon.

Choose from Three Options

$30 for one antipasti and two entrees ($54 value)

$56 for two antipasti and four entrees ($108 value)

$11 for $20 worth of Italian cuisine

Genovese Italian Restaurant

Exposed wooden beams hang above terra cotta and reproduced antique tiles in Genovese Italian Restaurant's dining room. The rustic ambiance complements the dishes of award-winning Executive Chef Armando Paniagua, who uses ingredients sourced from six local farms to craft the Italian cuisine of northwest Italy's Liguria region. The wood-fired rotisserie and charcoal grill are imported from Italy, as is the pasta in dishes such as whole shrimp pesto risotto and spinach fettuccine. Chef Armando also pulls pizzas out of the oven, including one sporting wild berries, mozzarella, and a mint and fig balsamic glaze. To help wash down those items, barkeeps pour wines from Italy, Portugal, and Argentina, serve up microbrews, and supply digestifs that settle stomachs as gently as a Tums smoothie. New breakfast hours start at 8 a.m on Thursday through Saturday.

ASK A QUESTION


HERE'S MY QUESTION SUBMITTED 1/23/14: "Read the menu. Appetizers max out at $9, entrees at $18.50. 1 x $9 = $9 and 2 x $18.50 = $37 and $9 + $37 = $46 NOT $54! Your deal is misleading, if not FALSE ADVERTISING ... I guess you don't care because my last question was never answered! 
This time it's going on my blog ... www.CombatCritic.com"
I submitted a similar question to Groupon on January 23rd, 2014 and was ignored, GO FIGURE!

Apparently, Groupon does not care that they are misleading customers ...


 Here are the menus provided, you do the math!



PS - It's "antipasto", not one "antipasti". Antipasti is the masculine plural of antipasto, meaning "appetizer" in Italiano.

MARCH 3RD, 2014 UPDATE

Here is a screenshot of my March 3, 2014 submission to Groupon, the third in a little over a month about my concerns of false advertising on this same offer, the first of which was ignored:
Here is the entire message submitted via Groupon's website:
"I asked this question before and was ignored. You do your customers a disservice by not listing or responding to valid concerns, particularly when it involves false advertising. 
You state in your advertisement, and have stated for quite some time in the Genovese ad, that for $58 consumers get $108 worth of food (2 appetizers and 4 entrees), yet the most the Groupon is worth is $94 (most expensive appetizer = $9; most expensive entree = $19 - 2 x $9  [$18] + 4  x $19 [$76] = [$94]). 
The "savings" of $50 (46% OFF) you advertise IS INCORRECT and MISLEADING! The most that can be saved on this Groupon, IF the most expensive appetizers and entrees are ordered, is $36 (38%) ... NOT $50 (46%)! 
I contacted your company on January 23, 2014 about my concerns as documented in this post:
January 24, 2014 CombatCritic's TravelValue eZine Post 
and was ignored. If I continue to be ignored and if your false advertisement is not corrected, I will file a complaint with the US Attorney General and Federal Communications Commission for false advertising. You should not mislead consumers by advertising inflated and incorrect discounts. It is illegal."
Key Words: Groupon, false, advertising, question, Genovese, Italian, restaurant discount, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044, CombatCritic, TravelValue, value, travel

THE MERC ... Not My Cup of Chamomile

THE MERC ... Not My Cup of Chamomile

The Merc is a place in Lawrence WHERE YOU MUST BE SEEN, but as you have probably figured out by now, I could really care less what other people think of me. 

I have been to THE MERC exactly twice and have not been impressed. Not sure what all the hype is about other than the fact that they are the only game in town ... OH, HOW I MISS WHOLE FOODS! I guess if you are a hippy, yuppy, Bohemian. or metrosexual and care what other people think, liking THE MERC is a prerequisite.

Whatever you do, do not buy their Oil of Oregano!!! You can buy 1 ounce of "pure" Oil of Oregano online for $25, but THE MERC sells it DILUTED WITH OLIVE OIL FOR $25-$60 an ounce. I knew far more about the product than THEIR EXPERT and after educating her, she blew me off.

I am sure I will get some hate mail for this and again ... I COULD CARE LESS!

CombatCritic Gives THE MERC 4 Out of 10 Bombs Based On Value ... BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Key Words: Chamomile, CombatCritic, community, community mercantile, diluted, dr, Dr Ozzie, Kansas, KS, Lawrence, MERC, mercantile, oil, oil of oregano, oregano, Oz, pure, THE MERC, TravelValue, 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Favorite Restaurant In The Whole World, Owned By A Good Friend ... PALERMO RISTORANTE ITALIANO (LA)


PALERMO RISTORANTE ITALIANO (ORIGINAL - LA)
1858 N. Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Neighborhood: Los Feliz
(323) 663-1178
palermorestaurant.net
Prices: $$$$$
While in LA, my hometown, you should try Palermo on Vermont near Sunset Blvd. Tony, the owner, is an old friend and I was one of his ORIGINAL customers when they were in the original shoebox over on Hillhurst. 

The place is a Hollywood landmark with photos of stars all over the walls, including CombatCritic! There's a small photo of me in Palermo, Tony's hometown, near the front door and an 8x10 of me in uniform high on the right wall as you go back to the  men's loo. At least they used to be there! Make sure you tell Tony that LtCol Chris Sorrentino said "HI" if you go! You'll get the royal treatment. 

The food is excellent, home style Sicilian, not "gourmet", with thick red sauce, massive portions, and reasonable prices. The veal parmigiana is my favorite and their pizza is TO DIE FOR. Free wine while you wait, which is commonplace between 5:30 and 8pm, and the cannoli are wonderful, possibly ON THE HOUSE if Tony is there and you tell him you know me. Tell him I'll try to get out there soon and BUON ANNO ... a presto amico!

CombatCritic Gives Palermo Ristorante Italiano The Coveted And Rarely Bestowed 10 Out of 10 Bombs ... LE BOMBE SONO BUONE!

Palermo Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

Key Words: Palermo Ristorante Italiano, Italian, restaurant, Los Angeles, California, Hollywood, Los Feliz, food, pizza, pasta, veal, parmigiana, cannoli, Tony, CombatCritic, Chris, Sorrentino, TravelValue

Deliciously Greasy Burgers, Cold Beer ... And Air ... Yummy Truffle Fries - Must Be Dempsey's!



Dempsey's Burger Pub
623 Vermont Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66044
(785) 856-5460
DempseysBurgerPub.com
Price: $$$$$


I was a bit reluctant to try Dempsey's after reading recent reviews by my Elite '14 brothers and sisters in Lawrence, Kansas saying that "things have gone downhill" and that the burgers are "greasy", but heck ... don't burgers and grease go hand-in-hand? I am sure glad we gave 'em a shot!

Don't want to gross you out, but in preparation for two scopes being inserted into my body, one in each end so to speak, two days later and the inevitable PREPeration (H), I knew I would not have a decent meal for at least 36 hours, so a big greasy burger and basket of truffle fries sounded pretty darn good!

The place is a local haunt for KU (college basketball powerhouse University of Kansas) students and this particular Tuesday night in Lawrence was no exception. With about half of their burgers being offered at half-price ($4-$5 a pop) to students, I know why they were busy. But a pub with just 5 or 6 draughts available on-tap was a bit unusual.  I ordered an O'Dell (not O'Doules) IPA and at $4.50 for a British-size pint it was a good value with a strong, rich, hoppy flavor as all good IPAs do.

Mushroom, Bacon, Swiss Burger
We decided on a Mushroom, Bacon, and Swiss burger ($9), a House Burger with Bacon and Cheddar ($8.50), and a basket of Truffle Fries ($4).

The fries were plentiful and awesome! Lightly salted, the hand cut fries were sprinkled with Parmesan (parmigiana in the old country) cheese, parsley, and accompanied by no less than 6 different sauces (catsup, spicy mustard, old bay and tomato coulis aioli, sweet chili aioli, truffle cream, and roasted garlic aioli ... all made from scratch). We barely made a notch in the basket, taking half home for my wife to eat the next night while I fasted in prep for the next morning's procedure under the influence of "Milk of Amnesia".

House Burger with Bacon
As usual, on my first visit to this and many other restaurants, I ordered the simplest burger on the menu, the "House" cheeseburger ($7.50) medium-well with cheddar cheese, a big piece of butter lettuce, two thick slices of tomato, homemade dill pickle, and both grilled white (as I had asked) and raw red onion. I added bacon for an extra buck, well cooked but not too crispy. The bun was nicely toasted, looking like a "pretzel" bun even though that was not the way it was described on the menu. The burger was in-fact greasy, but perfectly so, thick, and cooked just as I had ordered it. The bun was in a bit of disarray by the time I finished, but held together until the last bite, keeping my hands relatively clean although I did go through about 20 of the rather thin napkins supplied on the table.

The Bacon Mushroom Swiss Burger ($9) comes with sauteed shitake and portabello mushrooms, Gruyere and Swiss cheeses, and Applewood bacon on a toasted pretzel bun. Unfortunately, on this particular night at least, the bun was not toasted and, in-fact, was slightly cold to the touch. The burger was delicious nonetheless, an 8 ounce patty cooked to perfection with melted cheese oozing out of the side of the bun.

Basket O' Truffle Fries  ($4)
The service was very good, especially considering the large, energetic crown consuming burgers along with mass quantities of beer. The place is a bit of a dive, plain with lots of rough wood and glass, making the room rather chilly, particularly next to the window on a cold winter night where we needed to keep our coats on during our meal. Who knows, maybe KU research indicates that beer consumption is inversely proportionate to the temperature of the room?

CombatCritic Gives Dempsey's Burger Pub A Solid 7 Bombs Out of 10 ... BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Dempsey's Burger Pub on Urbanspoon

Title: Deliciously Greasy Burgers, Cold Beer ... And Air ... Yummy Truffle Fries - Must Be Dempsey's!

Key Words: Dempsey's Burger Pub, Dempsey's, burger, hamburger, pub, bar, fries, truffle, French, food, eat, beer, drink, Vermont, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, Lawrence, Kansas

Sunday, January 19, 2014

#BringBoweHome ... Seeking the Release of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl (USA)


#BringBoweHome ... Seeking the Release of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl (USA)



Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, USA - Captured June 30, 2009

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured on June 30th, 2009 while on patrol near the town of Yahya Khel in the Paktika Province in Southeast Afghanistan and near the border with Pakistan.


Bowe recently received national media attention after this video was exposed:






For more background on his capture and efforts for his release, read more here:






This young man has been in captivity for nearly 5 years, but have you heard much, if anything, about him? Probably not. Why is our government and the media covering this up and what are they doing to ensure his safe release or recovery?



You and your family members are home, safe, and secure, but Sgt Bowe Bergdahl's family has been worrying about their son, brother, and grandson for nearly five years ... PLEASE SIGN THIS WHITE HOUSE PETITION, endorsed by Bowe's father Bob on Twitter:




Let's help #BringBoweHome soon and safely!






Key Words: sgt, Bowe, Bergdahl, bob, US, Army, Afghanistan, patrol, capture, captured, captivity, Taliban, Pakistan, Navy, SEALS, CombatCounselor, combat, counselor

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Best Pizza in Lawrence (Kansas)!


Tad's Pizzeria
1410 Kasold Dr 
Lawrence, KS 66049
(785) 856-3131

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tadspizzeria

Price: $$$$$


I know it is not saying much when I say that Tad's has the best pizza in Lawrence, a town of 90,000 with some of the poorest restaurant choices per capita in the nation, if not the world, particularly when it comes to Italian food.



I had heard that Tad's had good pizza a few weeks before our recent trip to Puerto Rico, but we did not have a chance to try it before we left. Upon our return I was too burnt-out to cook, so I ordered from Tad's mobile website while in the sauna at the gym. Their site is actually quite user-friendly and easy to navigate, but I was dismayed when I realized that when I created an account to order our food, I had apparently signed-up for a service called "EatStreet". Tad's and/or EatStreet should warn you before enrolling in a service without your permission, including "push" notifications I neither wanted nor needed.



Back to the food ...


I ordered two pizzas, one NY Cheese and one NY White, and at $14 and $16 respectively for an 18", not a bad investment. Wheat State Pizza is comparable in price, but offers Groupons from time to time, making them a better value. Tad's should consider doing the same or offer more specials than the limited number they have now. With tax and tip, the bill totaled about $36, not cheap for "PIZZA NIGHT". I routinely order the most basic menu item available on my first visit to a restaurant, in this case no pepperoni, sausage, or ... YUCK ... PINEAPPLE, to see if they can get the basics right.

The pizzas arrived promptly even though Tad's is across town from our house and the delivery person was very friendly and polite. My only critique was that when I handed him $40 for a $30 order, he asked "do you need some change", to which I responded "yes, please!".

The red, cheese pizza was delicious and reminiscent of the pizza "back East", thin dough and crust, well seasoned sauce, and good mozzarella cheese, the type that stretches when you pull the slicers apart. I do not know why it is so easy to find good pizza in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania where even the bad pizza joints serve pizza better than most places in Kansas.

The white pizza was also very good with no sauce, abundant mozzarella cheese, and a dollup of ricotta on each of the eight slices. The pizza could have been improved with some extra-virgin olive oil brushed on the dough before adding the cheeses or possibly some garlic, oregano, and/or basil added under or on top of the cheeses. It was a bit dry and lacking taste, but was tasty nonetheless.

We will definitely be ordering Tad's pizza again. My only recommendation being that it would be nice if they offered salami as a topping. I have never sen a true NY pizzeria that did not have salami and my favorite addition to a simple cheese pizza.

Overpriced by a buck or two a pie, CombatCritic Gives Tad's Pizzeria 7 Out of 10 Bombs based on VALUE ... BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Read Chris S.'s review of Tad's Pizzeria on Yelp


Tad's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Key Words: best, pizza, lawrence, food, tad 's, mozzarella, cheese, pizzeria, salami, NY, New York, white, ricotta, basil, oregano, delivery, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value

Featured Post

His Holiness and I

By C.T. Sorrentino “His Holiness”. I first saw him on TV, a documentary, 60 Minutes, I forget exactly where or when, but he i...

Search Our Blog