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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

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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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Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

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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

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Olhão (Faro), Portugal: Best Burger, So Far, in Olhão ... HOOAH!

Hamburgueria Toska
R. João Augusto Saias 2
8700-254 Olhão, Portugal
289 721 136
Prices: €€€€
I have seen this little place for months, one block north of the Cube roundabout, and had heard the burgers were good, so I decided to give Toska a try.
The pretty, nice young server, Kelsey, waiting for me outside sounded like she was American, from California, like me, no less, but she was Portuguese and has never even been to the USA. Kelsey was very helpful, offering me something to drink while I decided what to order. Hmmm, so many choices.
I finally decided on the Xaringado (€7.50), a beef burger on a fresh bun with chili, bacon, grilled onions, gorgonzola sauce and lettuce, french fries included. I thought it was a 'chili burger', you know, with chili con carne, but it had little hot chillies on it, as in the piri-piri variety. The burger itself was good size, over 100 grams, and hand-formed, not a frozen patty, and it was delicious! The combination of the chillies, grilled onions, and gorgonzola sauce gave it a very unique and satisfying flavor. The accompanying bucket o' fries were hot and crispy and the Toska (garlic aioli) sauce was tasty, so I would not hesitate to order it again.
The only down side was that I had to sit at a high-top next to the menu, so it was a bit uncomfortable and everyone that walked by had to stop right next to me to see the menu. Otherwise, it was delightful and Kelsey just made it that much better.

For just €8.60, including a small bottle of sparkling water, it was a very good value. Therefore, ...

CombatCritic Gives Toska Hamburgueria 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:

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  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Toska Hamburgueria on Yelp

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Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
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: Olhão (Faro), Portugal: Best Burger, So Far, in Olhão ... HOOAH!

Key Words: Olhão, Faro, Portugal, burger, Hamburgueria Toska, Hamburgueria, Toska, hamburger, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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Monday, May 31, 2021

Ayamonte, Spain: Tapas Me On The Shoulder, Am I Dreaming About La Puerta Ancha?

La Puerta Ancha
Plaza de La Laguna, 19
Ayamonte, Spain 21400
Phone: +34 633 667 603
Prices: €€€€
I heard about La Puerta Ancha from some golf friends, having told me 'it's the best tapas restaurant in Ayamonte'. When we tried to find it using the address on Yelp (Plaza la Lota, 14, 21400 Ayamonte, Spain), we ended-up 300 meters from the actual location at Plaza de La Laguna, 19 in the southwest corner of Plaza de La Laguna where we had started our journey.

Plaza de La Laguna

City Hall on Plaza de La Laguna

Nearby Church


The interior is rustic, simple, and quaint, but we decided to eat on the covered patio out front and adjacent to the beautiful plaza. Our server arrived muy rapido to give us a QR code, where we found the extensive menu, and take our drink order. My wife ordered a cup of freshly brewed herbal tea along with a glass full of ice and a slice of lime to make her own, fresh iced tea. They have a rather extensive wine collection inside, but I decided on a nice, very slightly sweet and chilled glass of House Red Wine (€2.50/glass - €10 Bottle). It was refreshing and very tasty ... Olé!

If you go inside, straight ahead you will find a doorway to the rear terrace (bathrooms will be on your left after going through the doorway) where they hold Flamenco nights every Friday at 20:15 (tapas and Flamenco Show will set you back €29 each if you are a party of three or four, €35 each if a party of two, and €39 if you are a sad little 'party' of one, and I am not using that term in a literal sense here. Also every Friday, they have a Flamenco Spectacular (show only and, I assume, you pay for drinks) priced at €19 each if you are a party of three or four, €25 each if a party of two, and €29 if you are going solo.








Back to our lunch. We ordered the Cheese and Stew Croquettes with Aioli and Strawberry Dipping Sauces (Media - €6), Iberian Ham (Media - €8), Albondígon Flamenco - Meatball in Red Sauce with Fries (€5), Fondeau de Queso con Pan Tostado con Miel - Fondue with Toasted Bread and Honey (€7.50), and Solomillo al Whisky - Pork Tenderloin with Whisky Sauce (€6 - Media).

First out was the Iberian ham, a decent portion of thin slices, along with two fresh, warm bread rolls and some local, crispy, breadstick-like thingies. The ham was delish, but it was enhanced by the next dish which was brought out, the croquettes, three cheese and three stew (I am guessing it was stewed, seasoned chicken), coming with a creamy garlic aioli and a sweet strawberry dipping sauce that was to die for.
The next arrival was  the fondue with toasted bread topped with honey. The fondue was not the French variety, but more like queso fundido, a baked local cheese which was gooey and wonderful. I put a spoonful of the cheese on one of the slices of toasted bread topped with honey, then added a slice of the leftover Iberian ham which happened to be the perfect size for the bread. Holy macaroni, was it delicious and along with a sip of red wine between bites, I was in heaven! 

Next up, the flamenco meatball, which was, as The Donald would say if he went to cheesy places like this - get it, cheesy?, HUGE, coming in a light red tomato sauce along with an ample portion of french fries, an excellent value for only €5. Again, the meatball complimented the leftover croquettes very nicely, a bite of croquette, then a bite of meatball and a fry ... HOOAH!
The final tapas to arrive was the pork tenderloin topped with a creamy whisky sauce and accompanied by another portion of fries. I have never had a creamy, white whisky sauce as it is normally brown, but it was very good, although there could have been a bit more of it dammit! The pork was tender and lightly seasoned as to not detract from the tasty sauce. This dish can be ordered as a tapas (€3), medium portion, which we had (€6), or a full portion (€10), which I assume would make for a full meal, stuffing you like a teenage bra.
It seemed like a lot of food to begin with, but turned out to be just right. We definitely did not leave hungry and were not too full for our first stroll around Ayamonte. At just over €42, including all the food, an iced tea, a bottle of wine, and a small bottle of sparkling water, I would say that it was a pretty good value overall and a wonderful meal.
The service was excellent, although our server's total lack of English was surprising, and the only negative, considering Ayamonte is a resort town and port just across the river from southern Portugal where English is widely spoken by the many tourists and expats living in the Algarve. However, the menu had photos of everything and English translations, so with my feeble Spanish language ability, we were able to communicate just fine. We met the owner, Dulce (Sweet), just before leaving and she was quite nice as well as sweet, just like her name, inviting us back for a Flamenco night and giving us a short tour of the restaurant.
CombatCritic Gives La Puerta Ancha 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"

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Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

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Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

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Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

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

View my food journey on Zomato!

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View my food journey on Zomato!

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Title: Ayamonte, Spain: Tapas Me On The Shoulder, Am I Dreaming About La Puerta Ancha?   
Key Words: Ayamonte, Spain, Andalucia, tapas, La Puerta Ancha, la, puerta, ancha, Plaza de La Laguna, 19, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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