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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...

Monday, December 10, 2057

Countries Visited ... So Far ... 41 And Counting!

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 List (Alphabetical)

 Bahrain – Kingdom of Bahrain
 Belgium – Kingdom of Belgium
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Bulgaria – Republic of Bulgaria
 Canada
 Croatia – Republic of Croatia
 Czech Republic
 Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat/Grønland)
 France – French Republic
 Germany – Federal Republic of Germany
 Greece – Hellenic Republic
 Holy See
 Hungary
 India – Republic of India
 Ireland
 Israel
 Italy – Italian Republic
 Jamaica
 Japan
 Korea, South – Republic of Korea
 Luxembourg – Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
 Macedonia – Republic of Macedonia
 Malta – Republic of Malta
 Mexico – United Mexican States
 Micronesia – Federated States of Micronesia
 Monaco – Principality of Monaco
 Montenegro
 Netherlands
 Palau – Republic of Palau
 Palestine - State of Palestine
 Portugal – Portuguese Republic
 San Marino – Republic of San Marino
 Saudi Arabia – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
 Slovenia – Republic of Slovenia
 Spain – Kingdom of Spain
 Switzerland – Swiss Confederation
 Tunisia – Republic of Tunisia
 Turkey – Republic of Turkey
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom – United Kingdom of Great Britain    and Northern Ireland
 United States – United States of America
 - Guam
 - Puerto Rico

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "GOLD" Elite '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 650,000+ Views A Year

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)


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View my food journey on Zomato!





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


View my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Countries Visited ... So Far ... 41 And Counting!

Key Words: countries, country, nation, capitol, Google Maps, Google, map, maps, city, state, world, earth, visit, visited, traveler, 44, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, Yelp

Sunday, December 10, 2056

Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To TravelValue?



I served my country in the United States Air Force for over 20 years and have visited 44 countries over the last 35 years, all without spending over $75 per night for a nice hotel room and dining in excellent restaurants for well under $25 per person. How do I do it? Through diligent research, exploration, trial and error, and tapping local knowledge.
Would you like to stay in a central, 3-star hotel in a major city for under $20 per night? How about a room with a balcony and view of the Himalayas while attending teachings with the Dalai Lama for just $5 per night? Or a beachfront hotel for $13 per night? Maybe a meal prepared by a 5-star chef for less than $20? Well, you have come to the right place ...


Having several popular travel blogs CombatCritic.com and received numerous accolades from several of the top travel and restaurant websites/apps (Yelp, TripAvisor, Zomato, Tabelog, Booking.com), you can trust my opinions. 

Unlike many reviewers who are either afraid to tell the truth or have personal relationship with businesses and biased views, I reserve 5-stars (10 Bombs on my blog) for only the most flawless restaurants, accommodations, businesses, attractions and destinations, those where you absolutely and without a doubt get the most “bang-for-the-buck”. 
CombatCritic.com

I try to remain as objective as possible in all of my reviews, providing the pros and cons as I see them and a rating based on the overall “value” as compared to similar entities in similar locations. I accept no "freebies" and only identify myself as a critic after having been a customer and paid the bill, so you can trust my reviews.

Here is a breakdown of my ratings both on my blogs (where I use a ten point scale) and on travel and dining websites (that all use 5 point Likert-type scales) ...

If I hate a place, they get 1-2 Bombs (1-star)

If so-so with numerous”issues", they get 3-4 Bombs (2-stars)

If average (the vast majority of businesses fall into this category if you look at the distribution of my ratings), they get 5-6 Bombs (3-stars)

If above average, they get 7-8 Bombs (4-stars)

If they are one of the very rare “best of the best” values in my experience, they get 9-10 Bombs (5-stars – I always round up from bombs to stars because I use a 10 point Likert-type scale in order to be more discernible). 

Now that you understand my philosophy and ratings, on to my reviews …

CombatCritic

The Leader In Getting Travelers The Most "Bang-for-the-Buck"

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CombatCritic's "TravelValue" Channel




Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "Gold" Elite '14/'15/'16 /'17 / '18

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" 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: Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To My Blog?

Key Words: combatcritic, travelvalue, travel, value, combat, critic, review, reviews, objective, restaurant, hotel, attraction, destination, Italy, USA, India, Asia, Europe

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Coimbra, Portugal: Historic, Epic, 1580 Manor House, Superb Hospitality, and a Terrific TravelValue!

Quinta do Regalo
N111, 3025-309 
Coimbra, Portugal
Phone: +351 962 045 695
Prices: €€€€
Upon reaching the Quinta do Regalo in Coimbra, you experience the exciting sensation of traveling back in time. The stony gate opens on a charming winding path, flanked by an abundance of flowers and trees that immediately make you feel welcome and at peace.
At the end of the driveway stands the house, a villa dating back to 1580 that has kept its charm intact through the centuries. Our hosts, Vitor and  and Helena, were waiting for us and showed us to our room, giving us a little time to put the bags away and refresh ourselves. 
There was a great attention to the latest anti-Covid measures: everyone was wearing masks, there was sanitizing gel in every corner and we were also provided with shoe covers to use inside. Needless to say, everything was spotlessly clean.
We were led to the back garden, overlooking the huge swimming pool and the countryside. Under an arched porch, we sipped freshly made lemonade with mint and some homemade cookies, while our host wrote down our info and gave us some tips concerning local restaurants.
We were then given a tour of the property, that is impressive. The house, embellished on the outside by a towering bougainvillea and lovely flowerbeds, has been kept as it was with the addition of modern comforts. The walls are covered in azulejo tiles, the furniture is mostly antique, the wood floors are shining clean with beautiful, strategically placed carpets scattered about. 
Our room was a little jewel and we really felt as if we were stepping back into the 16th century. Two windows overlooked the lawn and small gifts, including the delicious cookies and cakes, water and locally grown fruit, had been left for us on the table. The bathroom was modern, with a wide, comfortable shower and a huge double sink. Local ceramic and flowers, as well as a variety of luxurious towels and bathrobes, awaited us.




Adjacent to our room was a small sitting room with a wardrobe and, on the other side of the corridor, a huge living area with an inviting fireplace, a billiard table and, last but not least, a wall sized panel of hand painted and gorgeous azulejo. The attention to every small detail was stunning! 

The rest of the property was just as charming and incredibly well kept. We visited the chapel, no more in use but still elegant and solemn, and the surrounding land, where organic fruits and vegetables, grown on the spot, then reach then the guests’ table. Vitor was a knowledgeable host, proud and passionate about his place and his activity.

Breakfast was an unforgettable experience too. We were given the choice of eating inside at the huge dining table, surrounded by antique furniture and ceramic, or outside under the porch, overlooking the countryside and Coimbra. We opted to sit outside and were welcomed the following morning by a veritable buffet. 
Coffee, tea, muffins, ham, cheese, yoghurt, cereals, fresh fruit, jam, butter, freshly made scrambles eggs, coffee and teas … you name it! But the highlight was certainly the bread, freshly baked by Helena – who also gives baking lessons, by the way. There were several different kinds of bread in the basket, warm and soft, it was impossible to eat just one roll. Helena also bakes the cookies and the cakes that tempt you wherever you walk inside the house, so be warned that you will put on a couple of kilos at least.
The property is in the countryside and is very quiet, but it is actually a few minutes away from the city of Coimbra, so you have the best of two worlds: you are surrounded by relaxing greenery, but in less than fifteen minutes you can reach museums, restaurants and shops. 
Coimbra is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer and Quinta do Regalo is an ideal place to stay: you will be in touch with nature, pampered by two very attentive and kind hosts, and, at the same time, be near all the places you want to see.

CombatCritic Gives Quinta do Regalo 10 BOMBS OUT OF 10 and a spot on my WALL OF FAME!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: 

HOOAH!: "Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for 'Heard Understood Acknowledged.' Originally used by the British in the late 1800's in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response." - Urban Dictionary

"The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH 'refers to or means anything except no' ... Regardless of its meaning ... the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit." - WarChronicle.com

"The U.S. Air Force stole 'HOOAH' from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique like "ROO-YAH" or "HAL-A-LOO-YAH", we said 'screw it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH!" - CombatCritic
Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20/'21 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Quinta do Regalo on Yelp

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"


Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

Title: Coimbra, Portugal: Historic, Epic, 1580 Manor House, Superb Hospitality, and a Terrific TravelValue!

Key Words: CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, accommodation, destination, business, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, Quinta do Regalo, N111, Coimbra, Portugal

Copyright 2022 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Santa Barbara de Nexe: GrandMama Mia ... That's Delicious, Authentic Italian!

La Piazza (Italian)
R. Vicente Brito 8005-491 
Santa Barbaran de Nexe (Faro) Portugal
Call: 289 999 430
Website: N/A
Prices: €€€€
I visited Santa Barbara de Nexe for the first time when the contractor we hired to remodel our Olhão apartment took me there to select a gas cooktop for our new kitchen. I found the small town quiet and quaint, but, otherwise, never gave it too much thought.
While reading an article in The Portugal News about an upcoming Deep Purple concert and an interview with lead singer and song writer Ian Gillan, he mentioned that his 'favourite restaurant in the world' is La Piazza in Santa Barbara de Nexe, so I had to try it ...

PROS

- The owners are from Italy and it is a 100% authentic, Italian, family operation - mom and dad were in the kitchen with son Fabio and his lady friend serving
- The restaurant is large and comfortable with a big wood-burning stove, so it was nice a toasty on a chilly winter night
- The menu has a nice selection of antipasti (starters), pizze (pizzas) primi (first dishes - pastas), secondi (second dishes - meat/fish), contorni (vegetables/potatoes), and dolci (sweets) at reasonable prices
- The Caprese Salad (€7.95) was very good, Funghi alla Crema (€7.95), and the accompanying bread crusty and fresh
- I had the Vitello alla Milanese (€18.50), coming with a side of spaghetti bolognese - the cutlets were delicious and tender, the spaghetti perfectly al dente, and the bolognese molto buono ... HOOAH!
- My wife ordered an entree size portion of the Tortelloni al Burro e Salvia (butter and sage - €9.95), her favorite, and she was a very happy camper - I concured
- My son went for the Vitello all Pizzaiola (veal cutlets in a tomato sauce - €18.50) - just like my Nona Tomasina used to make ... GRAND MAMA MIA!
- The homemade Tiramisu (€4.95) and Fondente al Cioccolato (€4.95) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream were a perfect conclusion to my 65th birthday dinner ... Grazie a tutti voi!





CONS

- Having tried, as always, to provide a balanced review, I really had to think hard to come up with anything that could use improvement
- The large wood stove was nice in terms of warmth and ambiance, but it did get a tad too warm at times
- A large group of around 15 arrived well after we were seated, but their drinks and starters arrived much sooner than ours - Fabio and his lady friend could have probably used an extra hand or two that night
- It would have been a nice touch had someone on staff, at least, wished me a happy birthday

Turns out that La Piazza is not the only great restaurant in tiny Santa Barbara de Nexe with a former Michelin-star restaurant (now Michelin Guide recommended) as well as a highly rated French restaurant and others located in the area, making Santa Barbara the 'Culinary Capital of the Algarve' ... OOH-RAH!

CombatCritic Gives La Piazza 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Nine Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20/'21 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Restaurante La Piazza on Yelp

La Piazza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"


Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!

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Title: Santa Barbara de Nexe: GrandMama Mia ... That's Delicious, Authentic Italian!

Key Words: La Piazza, Italian, Rua Vicente Brito, 8005-491, Santa Barbara de Nexe, Faro, Portugal, 289 999 430, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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