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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Castle Rock, CO: "El Korita" Stands For Good Food And Reasonable Prices ... "From The Heart"

El Korita

106 S. Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Phone: (303) 814-0622
Website: Facebook Page
Prices: $$$$

Good, authentic Mexican food ... reasonable prices. This strip mall restaurant used to be a Mexican food market, transforming a year ago into a restaurant with a small grocery area in the front.
I had the crispy tacos with machaca ($8.99) and rice and beans. The tortillas were handmade and fried on site, not store-bought and heated in the oven. A side of guacamole cost only $1 although we did have to pay for the chips and salsa which were also fresh and made in house. My son had the beef enchiladas with homemade green tomatillo sauce ($9.99) which were were delicious and filling.
At under $25 for dinner for two, El Korita is a CombatCritic BEST VALUE and should not be missed if craving Mexican food and in or passing through the Castle Rock area.
CombatCritic Gives El Korita 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!




Eight Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Castle Rock, CO: "El Korita" Stands For Good Food And Reasonable Prices ... "From The Heart"

Key Words: El Korita, el, korita, Castle Rock, castle, rock, Colorado, CO, Mexican, authentic, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog, 

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Colorado Springs, CO: Inflexible, Prima Donna Chef Rubbed Me The Wrong Way ... Au Revoir La Baguette

La Baguette

4440 N. Chestnut Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Phone: (719) 599-0686
Prices: $$$$

Having traveled extensively in France, I have come to love French food (we have none in Lawrence, Kansas) and have been wanting to try La Baguette since I was in the Springs for my mom's passing and funeral in February 2015. Being my first return since then, I decided to take my son there for dinner on my last night before heading home.

Their prices were reasonable and the menu had all of my traditional favorites, including escargots, fondue, mussels, veal, beef Bourguignon, cassoulet, steak Diane and steak frites, but the side dishes were either boring or odd. For example, the veal dish, which sounds exquisite, comes with quinoa pilaf ... yuck ... and the beef Bourguignon is accompanied by boiled potatoes ... blah, so I asked the very nice server if it were possible to substitute mashed potatoes or French fries for the quinoa or boiled potatoes. After all, we were going to blow a C-note on dinner for two, including appetizers, entrees, and a bottle of wine, so it seemed like a simple request. Well, I guess it was not because her answer was: "the chef doesn't like substitutions, so mashed potatoes would be an additional $6".

Six bucks to substitute mashed potatoes for quinoa, really? I was not hearing things because she confirmed it with an "I'm sorry, but those are the rules" look on her face. I was not about to eat quinoa pilaf with a lovely veal or boiled potatoes with a rich beef Bourguignon and I definitely was not paying an additional $6 for mashed potatoes, so we left. Their prima donna of a chef should think of his customers more than his vanity and pride, after all, La Baguette is a strip mall restaurant on Chestnut in Colorado Springs, not a bistrot on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Get a clue chef.

Being rather late and hungry, we stopped at Carrabba's on the way back to Monument and blew a C-Note there, enjoying appetizers, entrees, and a bottle of wine, leaving satiated and content because they were more than happy to make substitutions without charging an extra arm and a leg. C'est la vie ... au revoir La Baguette!

CombatCritic Gives La Baguette 2 Bombs Out Of 10 ... The Only Reason They Did Not Get 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My WALL OF SHAME Was Because Of The Nice Female Server ... More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To
"Tits Up" 

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Colorado Springs, CO: Inflexible, Prima Donna Chef Rubbed Me The Wrong Way ... Au Revoir La Baguette

Key Words: La Baguette, la, baguette, French, Bourguignon, escargots, France, Colorado Springs, Colorado, springs, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: Tango-Uniform = "Tits-Up"

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dillon, CO: Dam It ... Small Burgers And Hidden Upcharges Tainted This Special Occassion

Dillon Dam Brewery

100 Little Dam Street
Dillon, CO 80435
Phone: (970) 262-7777
Website: dambrewery.com

Not bad, not great. I went with my two sons who I had not seen for 6 months and, although it was a Friday night, we were seated rather quickly. Peter, our server, promptly arrived for our drink orders. We had three of their house drafts, me a Here's Your Dam IPA and my boys a McLuhr's Irish Stout and Sweet George's Brown respectively ($5 each). The beers were good, but all a bit too "smoky" for my taste, smokiness must be a Dam Brewery thing - Dam it!
For dinner we went with sandwiches, me a "Rodeo" ($11.95) with a beef patty, cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and Bar-B-Q sauce on the side with French fries. The burger was very basic, small and uninteresting, likely a frozen patty of 5-6 ounces max. My youngest (soon to be 29) had the Munich Schnitzel Sammy ($10.95), a breaded pork cutlet and smoked gouda on a pretzel bun, accompanied by apple slaw, beer mustard, and fries. I tasted it and it was also nothing special. A "schnitzel cordon bleu" sandwich would have been much better, but my son seemed to like it.  My oldest (30) also ordered a Rodeo but with a bison patty ($4 Extra - $15.95), with cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and Bar-B-Q sauce, opting to swap Mexican Beer Cheese Soup for the fries. The server asked if he wanted a bowl of soup instead of a cup and my son concurred, only to find out that the price had ballooned from $15.95 to $21.20 when the check arrived. It would have been nice to have been informed of the $5.25 up-charge when placing the order, but so you have it.
The sandwiches were decent, not great, the burger patties being a tad on the small side (± 5-6 ounces). My burger arrived with what I perceived to be no caramelized onions, so I sent it back. The server brought the dish back a few minutes later telling me that they were under the cheese while my son's had been on top of his Rodeo's cheddar cheese. Odd I thought, until the check arrived and I found out that I had not been charged for what I ordered (a Rodeo), but for a build your own burger ($9.25) with cheddar ($1.35), bacon ($1.35), caramelized onions ($1.00) for a total of $12.95, a dollar more than what I had ordered and what Peter had agreed to when I ordered it.
Rather than make a fuss about the unannounced upcharges, I simply deducted the amount we were overcharged from the 20% tip Peter would have received for the decent, not great, service he provided, leaving him with a respectable 16.5%. 
Server Lesson Learned: Give the customer what they order and, if you do not, inform them of any upcharges PRIOR to submitting their order, do not surprise us with unexpected charges when the bill arrives.

CombatCritic Gives Dillon Dam Brewery 6 Bombs Out Of 10 With Deductions For Unannounced Upcharges And Mediocre Food At Above Average Prices ... More Bombs Are Better!

Six Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!





Title: Dillon, CO: Dam It ... Small Burgers And Hidden Upcharges Tainted This Special Occassion

Key Words: Dillon Dam Brewery, Dillon, dam, brewery, CO, Colorado, beer, hamburger, pub, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"

Friday, June 24, 2016

Adios TripAdvisor! Sketchy Business Practices And Zero Customer Support Led Me To Delete My Account

TripAdvisor Inc.
400 1st Avenue, Needham, MA 02494
Phone: 781-800-5000


I was, and the operative term is "WAS", a TripAdvisor "Top Contributor" until recently with hundreds of reviews and photos in many of the 41 countries I have visited. My reviews are honest and as objective as anybody's opinion can be and I received hundreds of "Helpful" votes for my reviews and photos.
TripAdvisor is very selective about the reviews it posts, unlike Yelp (where I have been "Elite" since 2014), refusing to post reviews willy-nilly based on criteria only they are aware of. I think the operative answer is, if a review does not conform to a "standard" which favors the business that is paying them for advertizing, then it does not conform and is not posted.

For example, I have written several reviews that TripAdvisor refused to post, claiming that the content was "too similar to that found on the internet". Basically, they were saying that I plagiarized my content from a website, something I have never done nor will I ever do. I may use information from a website or pamphlet as background for readers in a review or copy the ingredients for a recipe from their menu for simplicity's sake from time to time, but never word for word and I always edit the material into my own words and style. Sometimes they simply refuse to post a review with no reason given as was the case with my review of the Villisca Axe Murder House, having submitted the review numerous times without it being published and without explanation.
TripAdvisor would not exist without the reviews of travelers, so I find it extremely self-serving and deceiving to refuse to post reviews from Top Contributors that do not conform to their paying advertiser's demands. I put a lot of time and effort into my reviews as evidenced by the 40,000+ visitors to my blog each year and the 40,000+ views of my reviews and photos on Yelp each month. My content is original, honest, and objective as any reviewer can be, so when TripAdvisor recently refused to publish my review of Cataldo's Italian Restaurant in Brooklyn recently (because the content "was not original" ... BULLSHIT!) for the umpteenth time, I deleted my account.

The other reason I deleted my account is because TripAdvisor, as I found out, has zero integrity themselves, allowing people to post reviews whether they have been to a restaurant, hotel, destination, or attraction or not. There is no requirement to having been a customer (as Money Magazine reported in a recent issue - see excerpt from Money Magazine below) to write a review, so businesses can use robots and fake review websites to fluff their ratings, making them relatively useless. I have found during my travels to 41 countries that TripAdvisor may be good for general information about a business or location, but the ratings rarely accurately reflect the experience and now I know why.

Yelp on the other hand uses complex algorithms and your GPS location to ferret out fake reviews. They also have "Elite" members, reviewers like myself that are hand selected by the Community Manager (CM - each major metro has one, a paid Yelp employee) with several face-to-face and virtual interactions taking place between Elites and CMs each year. So if you really want to ensure you are getting a valid rating and honest review, use Yelp and sort reviews or pay attention to those only written by "Elites".

TripAdvisor does not appreciate the countless number of honest reviewers out there, refusing to interact one-on-one with even Top Contributors. Trying to get an explanation for a decision they make or get an question answered is impossible with TripAdvisor, unlike Yelp where you get an answer from a Yelp employee every time you have a concern or question.
My recommendation: Dump TripAdvisor and download the Yelp App on your phone or tablet. You will be glad you did!

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









One Bomb Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Adios TripAdvisor! Sketchy Business Practices And Zero Customer Support Led Me To Delete My Account

Key Words: TripAdvisor, trip, advisor, trip advisor, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, attraction, destination, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, integrity, reviews

Translation for Civilians: FUBAR = "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

TravelTech: Renewed My GolfLogix Subscription, THEN They Implemented A New, Substandard Version ... I'm Outta Here!

GolfLogix Application For iPhone

Suite 100A
15685 N. Greenway-Hayden Loop
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
Phone: 877-977-0162
Fax: 480-287-8749
Email: info@golflogix.com
Price: $$$$
I used to love my GolfLogix app, then they charged my credit card $20, shortly thereafter implementing a new version that absolutely sucks!

I am canceling my “Champion Membership” after they ruined the app with their “new” version. I wrote to them, telling them about my disappointment: 
"Your new interface sucks. The font is so small I can barely see it and I can't seem to bypass the club (yardage) tracking option, making me scroll through the numbers (instead of simply entering yardage) on the old version. Who in their infinite wisdom implemented this piece of #%$@? Bring back the old interface or I'm out of here!
To which they replied: 
"Dear Valued Member, Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately that feature was not included in the new streamlined GolfLogix App. We working to return that feature. Again we apologize for any inconvenience and hope you enjoy the New GolfLogix App."
They did not address my concerns, sending me a "boilerplate" response with misspelled words. They don't care, implementing a new version before it was fully functional, so I'm moving on and canceling my subscription.

CombatCritic Gives GolfLogix 2 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: TravelTech: Renewed My GolfLogix Subscription, THEN They Implemented A New, Substandard Version ... I'm Outta Here!

Key Words: GolfLogix, golf, logix, logic, logics, app, application, iPhone, iStore, iTunes, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, service, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: Tango-Uniform =  "Tits Up" 


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!

Nathan’s Famous

1310 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Between Stillwell Avenue and Schweikerts Walk 
Coney Island
Transit: D F N Q Lines - Coney Island
Phone: (718) 946-2202
Website: nathansfamous.com

OK, so they are slightly overpriced and the food is not that special, but Nathan's Famous is an INSTITUTION in Coney Island and Brooklyn and for that they deserve at least 7 Bombs.





$5 for a hot dog is not that bad in NYC, but I never realized that Nathan's also sells fish, burgers, beer. and many other things, pumping out food with servers who barely speak a word of English, Mandarin more prolifically, and with prices that are not all that bad.





I had a Chili Cheese Dog with grilled onions ($4.95) and my wife a Cheese Dog ($4.45), sharing an order of Bacon Cheese Fries, a heart attack in a container, and a Diet Coke ... what else, when you just ate your monthly allotment of fat and calories in a few small mouthsful?

The dogs were decent, popping when you bite into them like a good, fresh, well-made dog should do. They offer complimentary grilled onions and saürkraut on their dogs along with catsup, mustard, and relish as well as plenty of napkins to wipe your puss after engulfing a Nathan's Famous.




Glad we went, probably will not be back, but it was worth the $20 tab for a small, yet very filling, high-caloric lunch on our last day in Brooklyn.
CombatCritic Gives Nathan's Famous 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Brooklyn, NY: Overpriced, Yes, But A Coney Island Institution That Should Not Be Missed!

Key Words: Nathan's Famous, Nathan's, famous, Nathan, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Coney, island, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: S&G = "Shits & Grins"

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