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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lawrence, KS: Sad, Depressing ... Like Subway Only More Expensive

Yello Sub
Sandwiches
1814 W 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone: (785) 843-6000
Web: yello-sub.planetsub.com
Prices: $$$$


There is not a lot I can say over and above what I said in the title. I love a good sandwich. I do not eat them often, but when I do I go to my "happy place", reminiscent of childhood, summers in SoCal, and being outdoors. Yello Sub did not take me to my happy place.

There are few decent restaurants and fewer good sandwich shops in this city of nearly 100,000, a college town no less, and I had high expectations after reading Yello Sub's reviews. Four-plus (4+) stars out of 5 on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Zomato? Really? What are you people thinking?

I stopped eating at Subway years ago, not just because of their false advertising (I have never seen a real sandwich that looks anything like those in the photos, online or in commercials), but because they are not a good value. A "$5 Footlong" has maybe 4 ounces of meat at most (although those in their advertising likely have 8 to 16) and so do Yello Sub's although I could not find a single photo of a sandwich in their store or on their website.

I grew up on "submarine" (Italian cold cut) sandwiches in Los Angeles where good delis are a dime a dozen. Those sandwiches were two-fisters. You had to wrap your hands around them, if you could, to keep all of the meat, cheese, and veggies on them from falling out. If you grew up in the Northeast or in Los Angeles, you know what I am talking about. YUM!

I ordered the footlong Super Hero ($8.49+ tax) with salami, pepperoni, spicy capicola (spelled "capocollo", an Italian ham made from the meat of a hog's head [capo] and shoulder [collo]), provolone cheese, red onions, lettuce, banana peppers, oregano, vinegar, and oil. The first thing I noticed was how light the bag was. When I got home, I found out why. The sandwich was smaller than a Subway Footlong with about the same amount of meat and cheese, but with less veggies. Notedly absent was sliced tomato, an absolute requirement for an Italian "hoagie" or "submarine" (depending on where you grew up). The sandwich was underwhelming to say the least and at nearly twice the price of its "low-value" Subway counterpart, a massive disappointment and poor value.

Well, I guess I had more to say than I thought I did. The only reason they got more than one bomb was because the service I received was friendly and professional and because they do not mis-advertise.

CombatCritic Gives Yello Sub 3 Out of 10 Bombs ... More Bombs Are Better!







Yellow Sub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Yello Sub









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Title: Sad, Depressing, Like Subway Only More Expensive

Key Words: Yello Sub, yello, yellow, sub, submarine, Lawrence, Kansas, 23rd, sandwich, shop, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lawrence, KS: Alcoholic Root Beer? No Warning? No Apology!

Dempsey’s Burger Pub
623 Vermont St
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone: (785) 856-5460
Website: dempseyslawrence.com
Prices: $$$$


Root Beer - 5.9% Alcohol By Volume
This is an update to my previous review which was selected "Yelp Review Of The Day". The burgers and fries are still good, maybe the best in town, but this visit was fraught with issues. I hate to replace a previous stellar review with this, but I have been left no choice.

First, between the AC and the fans, it was quite a bit too chilly. Pick one or the other, you do not need both. Go with the AC.

Second, my wife ordered a "root beer" and our server brought her a "Not Your Father's Root Beer" which is actually an alcoholic beer (5.9% - $4.50). Fortunately, my wife is not a recovering alcoholic or a Muslim. but she does not drink alcohol and that is a huge problem. So much for our designated driver!

Read The Fine Print Before You Drink!
Third, when I explained to our server that my wife does not drink alcohol and that they should warn people about the alcohol in the root beer, she did not seem the least bit concerned ... which should be a BIG concern for management. No apology, no nothing.

Finally, I was more than a bit dismayed when told that they had no dill pickles. What kind of burger joint does not have dill pickles? They have "sweet" pickles, but they just do not belong on a good burger, so I passed. So sad.

CombatCritic Has No Choice But To Downgrade Dempsey' Burger Pub To 6 Bombs Out Of 10 For Their Various Faux Pas ... More Bombs Are Better!



Dempsey's Burger Pub on Urbanspoon





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Truffle Fries - $5

Shroom And Swiss Burger Minus The Swiss Add Cheddar No Pickle 'Cause They Don't Have Dill - $9

Portobello Burger - $9?

$4.50 for a root beer? Oh, there's alcohol in it? What if I were Muslim?

Title: Alcoholic Root Beer? No Warning? No Apology! 

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Leavenworth, KS: Authentic? Not Really, But "Decent" By Mid-Western Standards

Tampico Authentic Mexican Restaurant
215 Delaware Street
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Phone: (913) 682-5600
Facebook Page
Prices: $$$$

I am admittedly a Mexican food snob, if there is such a thing, having grown up in LA where Mexican restaurants outnumber McDonalds and Burger Kings combined. As usual, I stick with the basics the first time I visit a Mexican restaurant to see if they can get them right before moving on to more complex dishes, so we ordered their margarita, a guacamole, tacos (which were their Tuesday "special"), and cheese and onion enchiladas.

The house margaritas are two-for-one every day ($6.50) and were not bad. The flavor was decent with plenty of lime, but there was little noticeable tequila. The chips were good, but a bit on the thin side, and the salsa lacked flavor until I added some of the "hot" red sauce which is available upon request. The small guacamole ($4.19 - large $8) was good, but again not very big. It was well seasoned, so I did not have to add salt as I do at most Mexican restaurants.

The shredded beef tacos (3 for $4.50 à la carte on Tuesdays - normally $6.50) came with just the meat inside and the cheese and lettuce on the plate, a little odd. After adding the cheese, lettuce, salsa (they have spicier green and red salsas available upon request) and some guacamole, the tacos were actually pretty good, but would have been better had there been some tomato or pico de gallo.

The cheese and onion enchiladas (3 for $7.75 à la carte) were very good, but could have used a bit more cheese and onion inside and needed another 30-60 seconds under the broiler. The (red) sauce was very flavorful, being just spicy enough without burning the palate.

"Authentic" is a bit of a stretch, but the margaritas, guacamole, tacos, and enchiladas passed muster. The prices are also not bad, being comparable to other Mexican restaurants in the area. Unfortunately, Leavenworth is a 45-minute drive from our house, so we will not be returning often, but may drop-in from time to time when visiting Fort Leavenworth to try some other dishes.

CombatCritic Gives Tampico Authentic Mexican Restaurant 6 out of 10 Bombs ... More Bombs Are Better!














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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Tampico Authentic Mexican RestaurantTampico Authentic Mexican Restaurant


Title: Authentic? Not Really, But "Decent" By Mid-Western Standards

Key Words: Tampico Authentic Mexican Restaurant, Tampico, authentic, Mexican, food, taco, enchilada, guacamole, margarita, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, Tabelog

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

SwingTalk: Great Idea, Poor Execution Leaves This Traveling Golfer Wanting More For $149

SwingTalk Golf Swing Analyzer with Voice Feedback ($149.00)

 Image Courtesy of Amazon.comhttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81Hpsroi88L._SL1500_.jpg
If golf is an integral part of your travel plans like it is mine, a device that can help your game is worth its baggage weight in gold. Having played golf in Greenland, England (St. Andrews and Carnoustie), Germany, Italy (inside the crater of a semi-active volcano), Hawaii and Guam, I want to get the most out of my game when spending big-bucks to play abroad.

SwingTalk looked appealing and easy to use online, so I decided to buy one on Amazon and try it out for my readers. I received the device quickly enough, but the battery does not last long and the "automatic" voice feedback (swing ratio and speed) is intermittent, making the device a pain in the neck to use on the range.

[[ASIN:B00ZH04N2Y SwingTalk Golf Swing Analyzer with Voice Feedback]] I received the device quickly enough, but the battery does not last long and the "automatic" feedback (swing ratio and speed) is intermittent, making the device a pain in the neck to use on the range.

There is no way to view the data online (on a computer) and the paltry amount of information provided about the product and how to use the data are not well explained on their website (which is almost strictly promotional). I used it once for 20 minutes and on the second attempt a few days later the device died before I made a single swing. Having to recharge the unit after every use is a pain I am not sure I want to endure. Finally, when I placed my phone on the ground right behind me, the device intermittently lost its pairing with the device, forcing me to interrupt my practice to re-pair the two. 

If the battery lasted a longer (at least 2-3 sessions), if there were a way to view and analyze my data online (not just on my phone), and if there were better online support (more information on what to do with all of the data), this could be a valuable tool. For now, it is not and I am sorry I bought it!
 Image Courtesy of Amazon.com - http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Azly2V7XL._SL1163_.jpg

If the battery lasted a longer (at least 2-3 sessions) and there were better online support (more information on what to do with the data), this could be a valuable tool. For now, it is not and I am sorry I bought it!

CombatCritic Gives SwingTalk Golf Analyzer 3 Bombs Out Of 10 ... Bombs Are Good In This Case!




PS - I was contacted by SwingTalk (GOLFZON) after posting my review on Amazon with the following comments:
Swingtalk Golfzon CS Team says: 
Hello, This is the Swingtalk Golfzon CS Team. 
Sorry for the battery issue caused!  
The SwingTalk consumes most battery while searching for the bluetooth connection. 
Please take this into consideration when using our device.  
Also, our website is still under development for support, so for any issues, you can reach us via Amazon message services. 
Viewing data on a computer (Excel export) feature is on its way!  
Please reach us for further comments. 
Thank you!
Here is my reply to them:
Considering that the device pairs quickly enough (seconds) by Bluetooth, that does not account for the paltry amount of time you can use the device between charges. 
Downloading the data to a spreadsheet would be helpful, but more important would be a detailed analysis of the vast amount of data and how the average golfer can use it to improve our games. For example, "tempo" is displayed as a ratio (e.g. 3.8:1), but I could not find information on what the ratio means and how I go about moving toward the "goal" (e.g. 3.0:1). A web-based interface for our data would also be nice because viewing information on the small screen of our smartphones has severe limitations. 
Additionally, some features are not explained at all. In "Swing Analysis" various parameters are displayed by forwarding through the swing, but there are comparisons (displayed in RED) in the App that are not mentioned anywhere in your literature and which I assume are the goal or "ideal" (pro golfer). I also found out, quite by accident, that there is an additional "top-down" view available in the App that is not mentioned in the YouTube demo or literature. 
Your product has excellent potential, but it appears that it was released before there were adequate resources and support material available to explain the features or interpret the data. It would be extremely helpful if I could access the data and Swing Analysis on my computer and have links to video and/or articles that explain what the information means and how it translates into improving my game.
You can read more on my popular blog http://www.combatcritic.com which is averaging 45,000+ visitors a year.
Thanks for your comments!
Then, out of the blue, I received another message from the manufacturer basically asking me to alter my review to their benefit:
From: GOLFZON - Amazon Marketplace Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 8:09 PMTo: CombatCriticSubject: Feedback request from Amazon seller GOLFZON SwingTalk Golf Swing Analyzer with Voice Feedback Black [ASIN: B00PVKG6D4] 
Dear customer, 
We are the seller of SwingTalk that you recently purchased. 
We understand that you had problems with the device, and we would be happy to help you out if you could tell us the problem specifically. 
Also, could we kindly ask you to revise or delete the customer feedback? 
As a seller, customer feedbacks are really important to us to maintain the good customer care and service.Hope you understand and thank you very much for your business with us, we highly appreciate it. 
Have a nice day. =)
My response:
Had you read my detailed review, you would know what the problems are. 
Why would I revise my review when nothing has changed? I think it is absurd that you would ask. 
If you were concerned about customer care and service, you would not put a product on the market before it works properly and has the supporting documentation to provide useful information when using that product. 
Here’s the link to my review:
http://www.combatcritic.com/2015/09/swingtalk-great-idea-poor-execution.html 
I suggest you read it and have some solutions for my problems before contacting me again. 
Thank you, 
CombatCritic
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Title: SwingTalk: Great Idea, Poor Execution Leaves This Traveling Golfer Wanting More For $149

Key Words: Golf Swing Analyzer with Voice Feedback,  SwingTalk, Golf, Swing, Analyzer, Voice, Feedback, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Amazon, CombatCritic

Monday, September 7, 2015

"Fugeddaboudit" ... CombatCritic's Word Of The Day And Guide To New York Slang

Definition

fuggedaboutit or fugeddaboudit
* imperative * fa-ge-da-bout-it *  \fa-get-ə-bowt-it\   

1. Fuggedaboudit (or fugeddaboudit) is a word that many Italian-Americans (New York and Boston) use to say instead of "Forget about it, that's all right!" as in "Fuggedaboutit, that's all right". 

2. Something you say when agreeing with someone, as in "Angelina Jolie is one beautiful dame ... Fugeddaboudit!" 

3. When disagreeing, as in "My Chevy is better than your Cadillac! ... Fuhgeddaboudit!" 

4. Another use can be in a context where the perceiver thinks something is the greatest thing in the world, as in "Managia mi sedia, aren't those meatballs the bomb? ... Fuhgeddaboudit!" 

5. May also used in a derogatory way, as in "Go to hell!", as in "Hey Nunzio, you got a little pecker?", which Nunzio replies to with "Fuhgeddaboudit!" 

6. Once in a while it just means "forget about it" ... "don't think about it any longer, it's not worth your time" .

Examples:

1. "My Chevy is better than your Cadillac! ... Fuhgeddaboudit!"  2. "Managia mi sedia, aren't those meatballs the bomb? ... Fuhgeddaboudit!" 3."Hey Nunzio, you got a little pecker?", which Nunzio replies to with "Fuhgeddaboudit!" 4."forget about it" ... "don't think about it any longer, it's not worth your time"

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Title: "Fugeddaboudit" ... CombatCritic's Word Of The Day And Guide To New York Slang

Key Words: fugeddaboiudit, forget about it, forget, about, it, New York, Boston, New York City, definition, slang, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, guide, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lawrence, KS: Fuggedaboudit? Not Authentic Italian, Some Poor Execution, But Don't Fugeddaboudit Just Yet

Calzone - $8.00
Morningstar's New York Pizza
4931 6th Street, Suite 106
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: (785) 856-6973
Prices: $$$$

I was here last Autumn with a friend for a calzone, which was actually pretty well done, so I decided to try it again with my Sicilian-born wife. For a city of nearly 100,000, it is appalling that Lawrence does not have a single decent. authentic Italian restaurant. A Carrabba's would even be a breath of fresh air, but the tight-knit city "powers that be" seem to be pretty good at discouraging innovation and "chains" in favor of "mom and pop" establishments. Unfortunately, none of the moms and pops seem to have a clue how to run a decent restaurant, Italian or otherwise. Anyway, all that being said, Morningstar's is not bad.
Garlic Knots - $3

We tried the garlic knots ($3) which came with a side of red sauce. Baked balls of pizza dough infused with garlic apparently, I could barely taste the garlic and the "knots" were not baked long enough, a little too chewy ... too bad!

Jumbo Combo - $9.75
The prices are decent except for the pizzas which are a bit pricey, so my wife ordered The New Yorker calzone ($7.25) with mozzarella, ricotta & parmigiana cheese, no sauce (she is allergic to tomatoes - some Italian!), with mushrooms added ($.50 extra). She was quite happy with the calzone. The dough was baked to perfection and there were just enough ingredients, so my wife (who has lived in Naples, Italy - the home of the best pizza in the World - most of her life) was actually impressed. Bravo!

Meatball
I wanted to try a few different things, so I got the Jumbo Combo ($9.75) which came with chicken parmigiana, eggplant rollatine, stuffed pasta shells, a side of spaghetti, and a meatball. I asked for the baked manicotti instead of the stuffed shells and they were happy to comply. Unfortunately, when my dish arrived I was a bit dismayed to see everything crammed into a casserole dish. The chicken parmigiana was actually cubes of breaded chicken piled on one end of the dish and the manicotti and eggplant rollatine were on the other end, layered one on top of the other. The whole dish was covered with sauce and mozzarella cheese, then baked in the oven. The side of spaghetti was not well drained, so it was a bit too watery. Too bad because the sauce was decent. With no meatball in sight, I asked the server where it was, but she said the dish did not come with one. After informing her that the menu indicated that a meatball did come with the dish, she scurried off and brought me one post haste. In all, the dish was a bit of a mess, but it was actually not that bad. It could have been better presented and would have been much more palatable had the chicken, manicotti, and eggplant been separated on a large plate, but with a name like Morningstar you cannot expect authentic Italian dishes.
Side of Spaghetti
Alas, still no authentic Italian food in Lawrence, but Morningstar's does a fair job of trying. Their prices are fair and the service is decent, but it looks more like a sports bar than an Italian restaurant. The old world ambience just is not there. As Morningstar's would say: "fuggedaboudit", but not just yet. We will likely be back because my wife liked the calzone (as did I on my first visit), so maybe I will try one of their sandwiches next time. I would also offer suggestions for improvement if invited because I will do ANYTHING to help a local business as well as my chances of having a decent Italian restaurant meal without having to drive 4o miles. HOOAH!

CombatCritic Gives Morningstar's New York Pizza 5 Bombs Out Of 10 (2 1/2 Stars) ... More Bombs Are Better!

Morningstar's New York Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato





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Title: Fuggedaboudit? Not Authentic Italian, Some Poor Execution, But Don't Fugeddaboudit Just Yet

Key Words: Morningstar's New York Pizza, Morningstar, KU, basketball, Lawrence, Kansas, New York, pizza, pasta, calzone, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Saturday, September 5, 2015

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Title: 100,000+ Visitors ... That's Our Goal!

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