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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lawrence, Kansas: HuHot Is HoHum With Nary A "Crab" In Sight

HuHot Mongolian Grill
2525 Iowa Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone number: (785) 551-7100
Website: huhot.com
Prices: $$$$

Just opened next to Planet Fitness on Iowa, Lawrence finally has a Mongolian barbecue ... HOOAH!
About $10 for lunch and $15 for dinner, it's "all you can eat" which should go over well with KU students or anybody else for that matter. The place is big, but the bowls you put your meat, noodles, veggies and sauce in are very small and my main complaint. My recommendation, take two bowls, one for meat and one for noodles and veggies, that way you get a full plate of food rather than a half.

We tried A Taste of the Bounty appetizer ($9.99), with three each crispy egg rolls, Asian potstickers and krab rangoons, whatever the hell they are, accompanied by a rather boring sweet and sour dipping sauce. The egg rolls and potstickers were rather flavorless. The "krab" (note the spelling folks because there ain't a microgram of "crab" in these puppies) rangoons taste only of Philadelphia cream cheese in the center, again boring, bland and blah. Do not waste your money on any of the appetizers. 
They have a nice variety of traditional meats (beef, chicken, pork) for the Mongolian Barbecue, adding some novelty with meatballs and sliced sausage, mild and hot. The veggie selection is somewhat inadequate with the basics that I like (mushrooms, onion, cabbage, and bell peppers), but not much else other than carrots and a few others. You get white rice, soup or salad for the extra $5 at dinner, but do not get your hopes up. Go for lunch and save your $5.


The food is decent, but not anywhere near the best Mongolian barbecue I have had and I have had it many times for less than $15. However, as Bob Barker would say, "The Price is Right", so sachet your little behind over to HuHot and try some of their mediocre Mongolian, then to Planet Fitness to work off some of them Krab Rangoons.

CombatCritic Gives HuHot An Initial 5 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

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Title: Lawrence, Kansas: HuHot Is HoHum With Nary A "Crab" In Sight

Key Words: HuHot Mongolian Grill, Chinese, Asian Fusion, Mongolian, HuHot, grill, barbecue, Lawrence, Kansas, Iowa, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: Charlie-Mike = "Continue Mission"

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lawrence Kansas: Adios Fuzzy's!

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
1115 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 841-8226
Website: fuzzystacoshop.com
Prices: $$$$

I am a loyal Fuzzy's patron and disabled veteran and have ordered on the phone for pick-up for nearly four years at their Lawrence, Kansas location. 

I just made a batch of guacamole and called to order our dinner, but the young man on the phone said" we're too busy right now and are not accepting take-out orders". Seriously? Too busy to take my money? What kind of operation are you running in Lawrence?

I have given Fuzzy's high marks on my popular blog and Yelp, Zomato and Tabelog reviews, but that has now come to an end as I will never set foot or call-in to Fuzzy's again. 

Adios amigos!

CombatCritic Gives Fuzzy's Tacos (Lawrence, Kansas) 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF SHAME"






One Bomb Equates To:

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Title: Lawrence Kansas: Adios Fuzzy's!

Key Words: Fuzzy's Taco Shop, Fuzzy's, Fuzzy, taco, shop, Lawrence, Kansas, KU, University of Kansas, university, Massachusetts, street, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp

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

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lawrence, Kansas: A Good Value With $7 Discount, Not So Great Without

Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar
947 New Hampshire Street, Suite 120
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 840-0855
Prices: $$$$

We have been wanting to try Bayleaf since they opened, but had not until tonight. The food was ready as promised, 20 minutes exactly after I ordered on Eat Street. The place was empty at 5:35 on a Saturday, a bit odd, but the friendly server gathered our order post haste, listing the contents by memory exactly as we ordered them ... meat samosas - check, beef vindaloo - check, palak paneer - check, plain and garlic naan - check. She handed me my bag and I left.

With the $7 Eat Street discount, the tab came to just a tad under $32, not bad. But $39 for one appetizer, two entrees and some bread - no soup or salad, no drinks, no dessert - without the coupon it would not be a great value.

The Meat Samosas ($4.95), savory pastries with a chicken and vegetable filling and two dipping sauces (a red sweet and sour and a mild green) were big and good. The Naan (Plain - $2 and Garlic $3) were large and as fresh and good as any I have eaten.

My wife's Palak Paneer ($10.95) with fresh spinach and homemade curd cheese in a mildly spicy sauce was also as good as any we had during my four months in India. The Beef Vindaloo ($14.95) had plenty of beef and a few potatoes in a tomato and onion curry that was delicious. Both the palak paneer and beef vindaloo came with basmati rice, but $14.95 for a medium size curry and rice is a bit on the pricey side. At $8.95 and $11.95, they would have been a much better value, but the Indian restaurants in Lawrence seem to think they can get away with charging $15 for a curry and rice, so they do. That is why we do not eat at the two Indian restaurants (across the street from each other) in town all that often.

OK, maybe I am spoiled, but having eaten similar, but much better, meals for two in India for $10-$12 max, I find it difficult to shell out nearly 4 times as much stateside. If it were not for the $7 Eat Street discount, we probably would not have bothered, but I am glad we did because the food at Bayleaf was very good. Having lived in England for three years and traveled India for four months, I am used to good Indian food at reasonable prices. The Indian restaurants in Lawrence need to drop their dinner prices if they hope to fill their tables, which they are not doing currently.

I am basing my rating on a dinner for two for $31.50 (7 rating  - with coupon), not $38.50 (5 rating  - without coupon) ...

CombatCritic Gives Bayleaf Indian Restaurant 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


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Title: Lawrence, Kansas: A Good Value With $7 Discount, Not So Great Without

Key Words: Bayleaf Indian Restaurant, bayleaf, Indian, India, curry, naan, Lawrence, Kansas, KU, university, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Norman, OK: End Your Day At Days Inn In Norman, The Ramble On

Days Inn Norman
2543 West Main Street
Norman, OK 73069
Phone number: (800) 329-1073
Website: wyndhamhotels.com/days-inn
Prices: $$$$

On the outskirts of Norman and close to I-35, this Days Inn was a massive step-up from the Days Inn I remember. As Harry Carey would have said ... "Holy Cow!"

I was extremely impressed for $60+ per night. The lobby was upscale, nice and clean, and the staff behind the counter were helpful and polite. 

The room was spacious with AC, two queen beds, desk and chair, chair and ottoman, big screen LCD TV with cable and a bathroom with granite countertops and a jacuzzi bath. The wi-fi was fast and reliable, so we could not have asked for more in this price range.

The hot breakfast was good, not great, with waffles, powdered eggs and sausage patties, toast, cereal, and the like as well as decent coffee. The place was cheap, clean, convenient, and an excellent value.

With not a lot to do in Norman and in a nondescript recently developed area on the outskirts, this is a quick inexpensive stop on your way somewhere else, in our case Texas.


CombatCritic Gives Days Inn - Norman 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Eight Bombs Equates To:

"What-The-Fuck ... Over!"

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Title: Norman, OK: End Your Day At Days Inn In Norman, The Ramble On

Key Words: Days Inn, days, inn, Norman, OK, Oklahoma, university, University of Oklahoma, Sooners, OU, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, motel, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

San Antonio, TX: "Louie, Louie, Oh No, I Said" You "Gotta Go ... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"

Louie Italian Restaurant
4979 NW Loop 410
San Antonio, TX 78229
Phone number: (210) 481-4360
Prices: $$$$


This place was at the top of Yelp's list when I searched for "Best Italian Restaurants" in San Antonio, Texas with 4.5 stars out of 207 reviews ... pretty impressive. We joined their e-newsletter list (promising coupons and 1/2 price bottles of wine to "members") and made a reservation for that evening.

The exterior is strange, looking more like a 22nd Century burger joint than an Italian restaurant, but the interior was much nicer. Not "Italian", but a bit on the "classy" side. We were quickly greeted and seated and our server, Adelina, promptly took our drink order. I asked about the 1/2 price bottles of wine, but she told me (pointing to a placard on the table) that they are only offered on Tuesday and Wednesday, apparently available to the general public, not just members of their e-newsletter club as advertised. We ordered two glasses of house cabernet ($5.50 each), but Adelina quickly returned telling us that they were "out of the house cabernet" and only had Chianti. Chianti it was.

Our dinners would come with a salad, so we ordered the garlic bread ($3.99 - bread does not come with your meal oddly enough). The salads were small, but fresh, with a spring mix, tomato and cucumber slice, and exactly four croutons along with dressing of choice. The garlic bread was a good size loaf cut in two and tasty.

My wife had the Tortellini Michelangelo ($10.99) with cheese filled pasta in a mushrooms cream sauce. The pasta and sauce were both good, but the sauce had a unique taste we could not quite put our fingers on and definitely not Italian

I ordered the Veal Marsala ($15.99), sautéed with fresh mushrooms in a sweet marsala wine sauce and served over spaghetti. The sauce was actually quite rich and good with just the right number of button mushrooms, but the veal was not very plentiful with just two small scallops sitting atop the pasta. For the price, the veal was not a bad value at all and I went away satiated, not hungry.

The 1/2 price bottle promotion to lure people into signing up for their newsletter was misleading and the lack of bread accompanying the meal was odd for an Italian restaurant. The service was excellent and Adelina, an MBA student from Kosovo (where I served at the NATO HQ during the war in late 1998 and early 1999), was as charming and efficient as could be. Not the best Italian I have had by far, but good food and portions at a reasonable price.

CombatCritic Gives Louie Italian Restaurant 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


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Title: San Antonio, TX: "Louie, Louie, Oh No, I Said" You "Gotta Go ... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah"

Key Words: Louie Italian Restaurant, Louie, Italian, pasta, veal, Italy, Loop 410, San Antonio, Texas, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Austin, TX: Downtown Grocery Selection And Prices Left Me A Little Blue

Royal Blue Grocery - Congress Avenue
609 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
Phone number: (512) 469-5888
Website: royalbluegrocery.com
Prices: $$$$

If you are downtown and need a market, this is your only choice. The staff are friendly and helpful, but the inventory is severely lacking. 

You can buy a sandwich, a cookie, or other prepared meals, but the "grocery" sections are ridiculously understocked. The prices are a tad high, but considering the prime real estate this store occupies, they could be worse.

My wife needed something for breakfast, so we bought two cookies at $1.75 each. The cookies were big and tasty enough, but there was little else to choose from.

Trying to find a supermarket in central Austin is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, In 2+ days in Austin, we saw only one, a H-E-B on the northern outskirts as we drove into town, so choices are limited, especially downtown.

CombatCritic Gives Royal Blue Grocery 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Four Bombs Equates To:
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Read Chris S.'s review of Royal Blue Grocery - Congress Ave on Yelp

Title: Austin, TX: Downtown Grocery Selection And Prices Left Me A Little Blue

Key Words: Royal Blue Grocery, royal, blue, grocery, Austin, Texas, downtown, sandwiches, convenient, sandwich, expensive, convenience, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, business, review, Yelp

Translation for Civilians: BOHICA = "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lawrence, KS: As Roseanne Roseannadanna Used To Say ... It's Always Something, If It's Not One Thing It's Another

Mi Ranchito
707 W. 23rd Street
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone number (785) 749-5600
Website: miranchitokc.com
Prices: $$$$

OK, maybe I was a little too harsh last time, giving them one BOMB out of ten, but their attention to detail is severely lacking, margaritas weak, chips way too thin, and service spotty at best. Having nearly killed my wife by serving her tomatoes after telling them that "she's allergic to tomatoes" last time we were there, I swore we would never return, but alas, the other Mexican restaurants in town are shit, so there you have it.

For example, last night we were greeted, if you want to call it that, by a redheaded, ponytailed hostess who was extremely rude. She took us to a table, without a word, in the bar, so we asked for a booth in the restaurant instead. If I wanted to sit in the bar, I would have walked into the bar and grabbed a stool, but their drinks suck and I would never have done that. She snatched the menus off of the table, grunted, walked to a booth in the restaurant, tossed the menus down on the table, turned around and walked away talking into her wireless mic. No "welcome", "I'm sorry", "of course", "enjoy your meal" ... nothing. Maybe she was having a bad night, but this young woman has no business being in the hospitality business and does Mi Ranchito a great disservice by being the first and last face that people see when they enter and leave the restaurant. The manager standing beside her must either be blind or clueless because he watched it all happen without appearing to give a shit less.
The food is "OK" by Midwestern standards (very low standards), but the service, chips, and margaritas all leave a great deal to be desired. We are going to Texas soon and I cannot wait for some "real" Tex-Mex, not the crap they serve in Lawrence and the rest of the Midwest that many "self-proclaimed" food critics refer to as "Tex-Mex" ... what a joke ... get a clue folks ... there is not a single Tex-Mex in Lawrence, Mi Ranchito included.
CombatCritic Gives Mi Ranchito (Lawrence) 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


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Read Chris S.'s review of Mi Ranchito on Yelp


Title: Lawrence, KS: As Roseanne Roseannadanna Used To Say ... It's Always Something, If It's Not One Thing It's Another

Key Words: Mi Ranchito, mi, ranchito, lawrence, Kansas, 23rd, Mexican, taco, tacos, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: BOHICA = "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again"

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Lawrence, KS: No "Tie" Here, Thai Diner Is The Clear Winner As Best Value In Town

Thai Diner
2223 Louisiana Street, Suite E
Lawrence, KS 66046
Phone number: (785) 551-7528
Website: thaidinerks.com
Prices: $$$$

On this, our second visit, the food was just as good and the prices fair, but the service left something to be desired.
We were not greeted when we arrived, only told to find our own table. It took quite a while for our server to welcome us and bring our water even though the place was virtually empty on a Sunday night with two servers working. We ordered the Mini Steamed Buns ($5.95) with sweet pork sausage and dried shredded pork on wheat flour buns and the Crispy Spring Rolls ($4.25 - Regular/chicken). The server asked me if we wanted the chicken spring rolls even though I ordered the "regular" variety which, according to the menu, come with chicken. I said. "yes, of course".

After taking our order, our server indicated that "everything" would be out shortly, but if you know me, you know I detest entrees arriving before the appetisers have been finished. I asked her to please hold the entrees until we had finished our starters, to which she readily agreed. The steamed buns (3) were OK even though the steamed whole wheat buns were not even baked. They had an odd look and texture (like eating raw bread dough) and were too big for the tiny dipping cups, but the flavor was decent. Not something we would order again. The spring rolls were good and a decent value at $4.25. The dipping sauces came in teeny weeny cups, too small even for the fried spring rolls which were not that big to begin with.

As I mentioned, the entrees did not arrive until we had finished our appetisers, so once we were done with the starters we waited and waited and waited, and more than 10 minutes later our entrees were finally in front of us. 
My wife had the Yum-Tum Phad Thai ($9.95) which she raved about, a stir fry of rice noodles, egg, bean sprouts, cabbage and lemon grass with tofu. She cleaned her plate and would have likely licked it clean (I'm joking of course) if we were not in public, stating "that was absolutely delicious". I decided to try the Yellow Curry with beef ($9.25), a good size portion of potato pieces, yellow onion, sliced carrots and thinly sliced beef in a deliciously sweet, savory and spicy curry that dazzled the senses. It was an excellent curry.

The decor is simple and basic, but tasteful, but I would recommend not sitting anywhere near the double front doors on a cold and/or windy night because our napkins flew and the chill was breathtaking every time someone entered or left, some several times, including one couple who did not know the difference between Thai and sushi, having missed their mark by several hundred feet and leaving as quickly as they had entered.
Even though the service was suspect on this occasion, a plus was that I found out that you can "BYOB" (meaning wine I believe), because they advertise "no cork (corkage) fee". The minuses, they insist on "tipping your server appropriately" (better left unsaid as common sense tells you that if they provide the glasses and uncork the wine, then you should tip accordingly) and that you must leave any unconsumed alcohol behind (which is likely state law).

CombatCritic Gives Thai Diner 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!



Eight Bombs Equates To:
MENUS





Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
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Thai Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Read Chris S.'s review of Thai Diner on Yelp 


Title: Lawrence, KS: No "Tie" Here, Thai Diner Is The Clear Winner As Best Value In Town

Key Words: Thai Diner, Thai, diner, Lawrence, Kansas, KS, 23rd, curry, Phad, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

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

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