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Friday, September 30, 2016

CombatCritic's Favorite Recipes: "Gnarly" Guacamole


4 Ripe (dark and soft, but not too soft, to the touch) Medium  or Large Hass Avocados
1 Teaspoon Diced Garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt (to taste)
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Minced White Onion
1/8 Cup Fresh Chopped Cilantro (or 1 tablespoon dried cilantro)

Remove the avocados from their skin by cutting them in half, removing the seed, and scraping the contents into a large bowl with a tablespoon.  Smash the avocados with a mashed potato masher until all large chunks are well smooshed.  Add the garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, onion, and cilantro to the bowl and stir well, ensuring all ingredients are thoroughly distributed (the lime will keep the avocado from turning black too quickly from oxidation - lemon juice can be substituted depending on your taste).

Serve with fresh baked chips (cut corn tortillas in half, distribute evenly across a baking sheet, spray with Pam or other cooking spray, coat with salt, and bake at 325 for 25 to 30 minutes - until brown and crispy) and salsa and/or pico de gallo.

HINTS TO QUICKLY RIPEN AVOCADOS: If you cannot find ripe avocados and do not want to wait until ripe, placing them in a brown paper bag at room temperature will hasten ripening in a day or two. If in a huge rush, place unripe avocados in a 200° (F) oven for 10 minutes, moving directly to the refrigerator for 10 minutes. The formerly firm avocados should then be soft and ready to mash for your guac fix.

Buon Appetito!

CombatCritic



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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
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Title: CombatCritic's "Gnarly" Guacamole Recipe

Key Words: avocado, chips, cilantro, CombatCritic, dip, eat, food, garlic salt, guacamole, lime, Mexican, pepper, recipe, restaurant, salsa, travel, value, TravelValue, Yelp

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lawrence, KS: Mighty Tasty Tex-Mex ... And Reasonable Too!

Mighty Tamales

1801 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 218-6948
Prices: $$$$

We stopped by on a whim after learning of the existence of this new Mexican eatery on the LFK for DUMMIES Facebook page. 
Located in the VFW Post building across from the Dillons supermarket on Mass Street, the owners, Justin and Kristy, opened this location after outgrowing their popular tamale delivery business.

The menu was limited for the time being, including pork and chicken tamale dishes as well as roasted, stuffed Poblano peppers that are TO DIE FOR. They offer rice and beans as well as daily specials (street tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and so on), but word has it that their menu will soon be expanding to include guacamole and more traditional Tex-Mex entrees. The adjacent VFW bar has a full assortment of drinks, beer, and wine to accompany your meal.

Their prices are extremely reasonable and I felt a bit guilty for paying so little for such an abundance of delicious, quality, well seasoned food. They could probably raise their prices a couple bucks per dish and still offer an exceptional value.



I will return soon to try their new menu and update my readers in more detail as this new restaurant grows and flourishes.

CombatCritic Gives Mighty Tamales An Initial And Very Solid 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:

New (Effective Saturday, October 1, 2016) Menu
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Read Chris S.'s review of Mighty Tamales on Yelp


Mighty Tamales Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mighty Tamales
Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!



Title: Lawrence, KS: Mighty Tasty Tex-Mex ... And Reasonable Too!

Key Words: Lawrence, Mighty Tamales, Tex-Mex, Mexican, University of Kansas, KU, Kansas, University, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

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

Apple Or Google Photos? That Is The Question!

Unlike Apple's "Photos" app, formerly iPhoto, all of the photos I take on my iPhone don't make it to Google Photos.

I desperately want to move my photos to anything BUT Apple Photos, but Google's offering doesn't give me a warm fuzzy that my photos will be secure. Until then, I'll grudgingly continue using Apple's greedy version.

CombatCritic Gives Google Photos 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bentonville, AR: Fred's Is Still Good, But Needs Improvement

Fred’s Hickory Inn

1502 N. Walton Blvd
Bentonville, AR 72712
Phone number (479) 273-3303
I reviewed Fred's last autumn and gave them fairly high marks. We returned for our Spring 2016 golf outing and to Fred's, where we eat two nights in a row every trip as stipulated by the event dictators, I mean organizers. Anywho, these two visits were a bit different. On a Friday and Saturday night, when Fred's should have been packed to the gills as they were in the Spring, you could shoot a cannon through the place without hitting a soul.
Katlin, our server both nights, was superb. Friendly, efficient, and from Chicago, she went above and beyond with one exception (to follow). I had the lasagna again on night one, coming with a side salad which was small, but fresh with romaine and a couple cherry tomato halves with bleu cheese dressing on the side, that was it, plain, simple and underwhelming. The lasagna was as good and bigger than I remember. A few of my buddies ordered it on night two after seeing mine and inquiring about the quality, all raving about the great size and flavor.
The problem arose on night two with my order of Grilled Chicken ($14). Coming with a side of my choice, I chose spaghetti Bolognese once again because someone on night one had said how good it was and had to see for myself if it was better than 4 months earlier. It was not. First, the grilled chicken consisted of a single half of a breast for $14, not a (full) "breast" as the menu indicated. It was small, overwhelmed by the side dish, but grilled well, tender and tasty. The Bolognese sauce had not been sitting in a warmer for hours as it had last time and it was fresh, but it was not like any Bolognese I have ever had. There was little if any ground beef to be found and I was not the only one to notice it. Big chunks of tomato, little seasoning, no milk or pancetta (bacon) and very little meat, not a traditional Bolognese (my Italian mother-in-law who lives in Naples, Italy calls it "Ragu"), not even close.
When we brought our disappointment to Katlin's attention, she quickly ran to the back to get us more of the meatless sauce, but that did not help and even after sharing our dismay with the quality of the extra sauce, all that she said was "they didn't use much meat today I guess". That was an understatement. For a large group that eats at Fred's four times a year, spending close to $4000.00 on food and drink and tipping very, very well, I would think there would have been an apology and possibly an offer of a complimentary dessert or some other form of remorse. There was not.
Again, nice place, decent prices, good food, although a very limited menu, and very good service. Katlin was big hit with the boys and I am sure she made out quite well in the tip department. The general manager recognized me from our last visit (and review), but never stopped by to greet us, ask how our meals were or apologize for the terrible Bolognese, which I found a bit odd, particularly for a group that drops $600 to $1,000 per visit.

CombatCritic Downgrades Fred's Hickory Inn To 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better! 

Six Bombs Equates To:
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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
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Read Chris S.'s review of Fred's Hickory Inn on Yelp

Title: Bentonville, AR: Fred's Is Still Good, But Needs Improvement

Key Words: Fred's Hickory Inn, Fred's, Fred, hickory, inn, Bentonville, Arkansas, Bella Vista, bella, vista, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"

CombatCritic's Favorite Recipes: Stupendo Spaghetti Bolognese


Ingredients: 

1 lb Ground Organic Grass-Fed Beef
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 Medium Organic Onion - Finely Chopped
1 Medium Organic Carrot - Finely Chopped
2 Oraganic Celery Stalks - Finely Chopped
1 1/2 Cups Organic Beef Stock
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/2 Cup Pomi Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup Organic Milk 
Salt and Black Ground Pepper
1/2 Cup Parmigiano Reggiano - Grated
1 lb Spaghetti

Directions:

Saute the onion, carrot, and celery in a 6 quart stock pot or Dutch oven using half of the EVOO until soft, not burnt. Add the ground beef and mash with a potato masher or fork, adding salt and pepper and cooking until browned (no pink).

Add the beef stock, wine and tomato sauce, bringing to a boil then reducing to a simmer (low heat) for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Boil enough water in a tall 16 quart pot so that the spaghetti, when added, is completely submerged, adding a teaspoon of salt and some EVOO. Add the spaghetti once the water comes to a full boil, following the package cooking directions and tasting until spaghetti is "al dente" (a bit firm, not chewy and not mushy).

Five minutes before spaghetti is done, add the milk (no cream) to the sauce and continue simmering. Drain the spaghetti when done, ensuring no excess water remains. Return the spaghetti to the 16 court pot, pouring all of the sauce over the spaghetti and tossing until the spaghetti is well coated with sauce. Add half of the parmigiano (parmesan cheese) to the pasta and continue to toss until well mixed.

Serve immediately and sprinkle additional grated cheese to individual taste.

Serves 4-6

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
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Title: CombatCritic's Favorite Recipes: Spaghetti Bolognese

Key Words: Bologna, Bolognese, parmigiano, pasta, Reggiano, spaghetti, recipe, favorite, Pomi, tomato, sauce, Italian, Italy, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lawrence, KS: Tres Mexicanos Is Muy Bueno Amigos

Tres Mexicanos

1800 East 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone number: (785) 830-8415
Prices: $$$$
We tried Tres Mexicanos shortly after moving to Lawrence and were not overly impressed. Because they are so close to our house, in a stirp mall on East 23rd Street, we decided to give them another try recently and I am glad we did.
Even though the service was spotty, the food was pretty darn good and the prices fair. They have Amercanized tacos with pre-fab shells, fried tacos (more traditional), and traditional, authentic soft tacos on corn tortillas with just meat, cilantro and onion as they should have. The tacos, except the pre-fab variety, are very good and their cheese and onion enchiladas tasty. Their guacamole is one of the best in town and one of the best values as well.


The atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired, but the food is good, the margaritas well done and strong, the service OK, and the prices very fair, so we will be returning again soon.

CombatCritic Gives Tres Mexicanos 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Six Bombs Equates To:

"Good To Go"

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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
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Title: Lawrence, KS: Tres Mexicanos Is Muy Bueno Amigos

Key Words: Tres Mexicanos, tres, Mexicanos, Mexico, Mexican, taco, enchilada, Lawrence, Kansas, 23rd, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, service, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"

Read Chris S.'s review of Tres Mexicanos on Yelp

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lawrence, KS: Pizza Shuttle Stands For ZERO INTEGRITY And Earns A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME"

Pizza Shuttle

1601 W. 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone: (785) 842-1212

I will not waste my time reviewing a business that totally lacks integrity, so I will ignore the food, delivery, etc. at Pizza Shuttle and focus only on the matter at hand ... fraudulent business practices.

I ordered two 14" one-topping pizzas online from Pizza Shuttle (through Eat Street - where I was automatically directed) at a price of $15.18 (including $1.38 for extra cheese on my pizza). 

My wife is allergic to tomatoes, so I asked for olive oil on her pizza instead of tomato sauce, a request that every pizza place we have ever ordered from has gladly and "free"ly complied with. With tax at $1.45 and delivery at $1.50, the total came to $18.13 as you can see on my receipt and order confirmations (online and email) below.

As you can clearly see, the online and email confirmations listed a total of $18.13 including tax and delivery, but when the Pizza Shuttle driver arrived he stated the total was $22.25, an additional $4.07 "due to my wife being allergic to tomatoes and substituting olive oil for tomato sauce". Nobody bothered calling to inform us of the ridiculous $4+ upcharge and when the driver called the manager to confirm the discrepancy, the manager merely stated "that's the way it is, it's Eat Street's problem, not ours". 
I paid the driver the extra $4.07 (because it was not his fault and he does not get paid enough to argue with irate customers) and tipped him an additional $1.75, stating "your tip would have been much larger if your manager wasn't such an a**hole. Tell him to read my review on combatcritic.com and on Yelp ... it won't be pretty!"

Never again, Pizza Shuttle or Eat Street, once and I am done. 

Postscript (aka P.S.): Pizza Shuttle's owner gave me a call shortly after my review posted and apologized profusely for my experience. He told me that there was no excuse, BUT it was a busier night than usual and that my order for olive oil instead of tomato got confused as "extra toppings" rather than a sub for tomatoes which my wife is allergic to. He sent me a check for $5 to cover the overcharge (which I will not cash because I have a strict policy of not accepting "freebies" or other forms of compensation from businesses I review in order to maintain my reputation and the perception of objectivity by  my readers) and asked me to please give them another try. So, "never say never". I may try Pizza Shuttle again because of their gracious and customer oriented owner and will let you know how it goes. However, this review will not be changed and, therefore ...

CombatCritic Gives Pizza Shuttle And Eat Street 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My WALL OF SHAME FOR ZERO INTEGRITY ... Nuff Said!

One Bomb 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 CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!
Pizza Shuttle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato








Title: Lawrence, KS: Pizza Shuttle Stands For ZERO INTEGRITY And Earns A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME"

Key Words: Pizza Shuttle, pizza, shuttle, delivery, fraud, EatStreet, eatstreet.com, Lawrence, Kansas, 23rd, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

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

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