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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

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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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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

Friday, December 2, 2022

Olhão (Faro), Portugal: Good, Authentic Mexican Food In Europe? You Bet!

Hola Torito Restaurante Mexicano
Avenida 5 de Outubro 156
Olhao 8700-304 Portugal
+351 289 704 343
Website: HolaTorito.pt 
Prices: €€€€
Comparatively speaking, 'Hola Torito' (their new name) would get 9 Bombs (5 Stars) because Mexican restaurants in outside the USA are normally quite inauthentic and bad. This place actually has better Mexican than some stateside cantinas.
Their Guacamole (€4) is quite good with fresh smashed avocado, plentiful in the Algarve as cultivation of the little, green delights has skyrocketed in recent years (weather similar to SoCal where avocado trees flourish), diced white onion and tomato, garlic, salt, and cilantro. An order comes with a basket of fresh, hot, crispy homemade tortilla chips (otherwise €3 w/ their tasty salsa, also made in-house).
I have had their Enchiladas Rancheras (€10.90), which are pretty good, coming with rice and beans, but I prefer the crispy Gringos tacos (3 for €10.90) with ground beef, cilantro, cheese, pico de gallo, and guacamole as well as rice and beans.
The Margaritas (€5) are excellent even though they could use a tad more tequila, but I recommend getting a Jarro (jug/liter ´€15) if purchasing three or more because you will get at least one additional margarita for the price.
So often, even in the US, you get store bought tortilla chips which taste like crispy cardboard and Old El Paso prefab taco shells, but Hola Torito stands out by taking the time to make their own chips, salsa, and taco shells ... HOOAH!

I cannot, in good conscience, give them 9 or 10 Bombs (5 Stars) because I know deep in my heart that this is not the best Mexican restaurant I have ever eaten at, but by European standards, they do a pretty damn good job. The owners apparently lived in San Diego for a time and, fortunately for us, learned a few things about making authentic Mexican food ... Olé!

CombatCritic Gives Hola Torito 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Seven Bombs Equates To
Translation for Civilians: "Shits & Grins"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

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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: Good, Authentic Mexican Food In Europe? You Bet!

Key Words: Olhão, Faro, Portugal, Hola Torito, El Torito, Mexican, tacos, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

Read Chris S.'s review of El torito on Yelp

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

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Tavira (Faro), Portugal: No Idea What 'Zeca da Bica' Means, But I Know I Love It!

Zeca da Bica
Rua Almirante Candido dos Reis 24
Tavira 8800-318 Portugal
+851-281-323-843
Prices: €€€€
My buddy Bart, the golf pro, not the pirate, turned me on to this place and,it was wonderful ... HOOAH! 
On a small road, one of many off of the main square on Tavira's older east side, you might wander by this place and not give it a thought. Think baby, think, and grab that door handle 'cause this place is the real deal.
Simple inside, the food is anything but that, Portuguese all the way with fresh seafood, meats, and combinations thereof. I was part of a group of 20ish, but before I get to our superb dinner, I will tell you about the meal at the three-top, Tavira-ite and Portuguese all the way, family next to us, that I got to sample. The server/owner meandered past my seat with a bowl full of something that turned out to be amazing, Porco Alentejana, razor clams and chunks o' pork in a big bowl full of delectable broth with chunks of potatoes thrown in for good measure. When the local recipients saw the look of amazement on my face, they placed some on a small plate and passed it my way ... obrigado (thank you), I said, to these most gracious new friends. It was as special as it looked and will be ordered during my next visit, which will be very soon.
Back to OUR meals ...

Liter carafes full of local wines, red (vinho tinto) and white (vinho branco) as well as bottled water were waiting for us when we arrived, but once we sat down, the aperitivos started to appear before our eyes. First a tasty octopus salad, then tiny little whole ones in a red wine sauce which did not float my boat, followed by massive shrimp and a soupy risotto of sorts that was to die for, all accompanied by fresh bread and more wine of course. An that was just for starters!

Our entrees were then delivered, for me a perfectly cooked steak and for others, fresh, grilled local fish, robalo (sea bass) I think. The steak was tender and juicy, accompanied by what looked like thick potato chips, but not quite so crispy and unusually good, along with a salad of greens, sliced tomatoes, and shredded carrots. I was getting full, but wait, it was time for dessert, choice of creme caramel (flan) or chocolate mousse, and coffee, a decaf manchado (macchiato) for me. Dessert was the lowlight of what was otherwise a meal fit for a king.

I now always order the Carne de Porco à Alentejana (€16), a classic Portuguese dish made with tender cubes of pork, crispy fried potatoes and clams simmered in a white wine sauce. As usual, it was delicious and filling.
Always busy, get a reservation, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The service is always very good, fast, efficient and friendly.

So, if you find yourself in central Tavira with a hankerin' for some local chow, chow-chow-chow, head on down to Zeca da Bica for some of your own, and maybe a taste of a friendly neighbor's, Tavira-based cuisine ... HOOAH!
The prices are very reasonable for the quality and quantity of food, making Restaurante Zeca Da Bica a definite TravelValue!

CombatCritic Gives Restaurante Zeca Da Bica 10 Bombs Out Of 10 and A Spot On My ´WALL OF FAME´... More Bombs Are Better!

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:

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  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Restaurante Zeca Da Bica 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: Tavira (Faro), Portugal: No Idea What 'Zeca da Bica' Means, But I Know I Love It!

Key Words: Tavira, Faro, Portugal, Zeca da Bica, zeca, bica, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Olhão, (Faro) Portugal: Hippocratic Oath? This Local, Family, So-Called Doctor, Seems To Have Taken The 'Hypocritic' Oath

Consultório Médico Mata Arthur (Dra. Maria Mata Arthur)
R. do Comércio n.º 121 - 1º andar
8700-427 Olhão, Portugal
Phone: +351 967 660 530
Prices: €€€€
I saw the glowing reviews about Dra. Maria Mata Arthur and how caring she was, making house calls and charging fair prices. We were new to Olhão and her office is a five minute walk from our home, so we decided to make her our family physician.

At first, she was very nice, caring and thorough, charging €35 for an office visit. Her hours were a bit odd, but being retired, it was not an issue for us.

I am a disabled combat veteran with several physical and mental disabilities, having served 20+ years in the military and over two years in combat zones - Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

In April 2021, I developed long-haul COVID symptoms, the most debilitating of which, and still is, cognitive impairment - brain fog. I have trouble focusing and concentrating, bringing about a great deal of frustration as I have a very high IQ. I now have difficulty adding simple, one-digit numbers, having been able to do complex equations in my head, not on paper, before this disease came along and having been an excellent speller, I have problems spelling the simplest words.

My wife and I go to a US military hospital in Spain every 3 months because we were not residents for quite a long time (due to COVID SNS and SEF shut-downs) and care there is free for us. My doctor there could not figure out what was causing my cognitive problems, so he referred me for a brain MRI with contrast, which I got in Faro in October 2021, to rule out brain tumors and the like.

The results were in Portuguese, obviously, and my American doctor could not translate it, so I asked Dra. Maria Mata Arthur if she could translate it for me because I was obviously very concerned about what they had found.

Dra. Mata Arthur told me there were no tumors, but that I had some very small lesions. I replied, asking a question about the lesions and inquiring about if she would mind translating the whole document for me, a task I told her I would gladly pay her for.

I did not hear anything back for a few weeks, but she is not very good about answering emails, phone calls, or SMS messages, so I gave it some time. Weeks turned into months and I tried to find out where she went, what happened to her, thinking maybe something horrible had happened to her, her husband, their new twins, or the entire family! Why else would our family doctor just disappear?

Finally in January, my wife stopped by her office and found her present. She told Dra. Arthur how concerned we had been about her and her family, but Dra Mata Arthur began yelling at my wife, telling her how she did not think she wanted to be our doctor anymore because I 'asked too many questions'. There was nothing wrong with her or her family, she simply decided not to respond to my inquiries while I was dealing with this very debilitating brain disorder! Can you believe it?

So, I still do not know exactly what the MRI report says and I have no doctor to manage my care or refer me to a good neurologist based on the recommendation of my doctor in Spain back in December. I am not getting the care I so desperately need because Dra. Maria Mata Arthur neither wanted to bothered by me any longer nor simply contact me, tell me she thought I should get another doctor, and refer me to someone competent and close by.

Her behavior was and still is unconscionable. What about the Hippocratic Oath - 'Do No Harm'? She has harmed me greatly, delaying my care and making my life miserable, unnecessarily, for over four months now. She should be reprimanded for her unethical behavior and I am considering filing a formal complaint with the Ordem do Medicos. She should not be allowed to practice medicine. What a hypocrite!

CombatCritic Gives Dra. Maria Mata Arthur 0 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My 'WALL OF SHAME' ... More Bombs Are Better!

Zero Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"
Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20/'21/'22 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Consultório Médico Mata Arthur 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: Olhão, (Faro) Portugal: Olhão, (Faro) Portugal: Hippocratic Oath? This Local, Family, So-Called Doctor, Seems To Have Taken The 'Hypocritic' Oath

Key Words: Olhão, Faro, Portugal, Hippocratic Oath, hippocratic, oath, doctor, physician, medical, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, business, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Tavira, Portugal: Had They Cooked My Steak As I Had Asked, They Would Have Been Rated Higher

O Castelo Cafe e Restaurante
Rua da Liberdade
Tavira 8800-399 Portugal
+351 915 087 614
Prices: €€€
Our friends invited us here as I had no idea O Castelo existed, well known in Tavira for their great steaks. The restaurant is tiny, just four tables, so it was fortunate that we had a reservation.

We were quickly seated and given menus, skipping starters as we had indulged at their nearby apartment beforehand. We ordered a bottle of the house vinho tinto (red wine) and a bottle of sparkling water. The wine was good and the water was, obviously, water.
Three of us ordered steak and one the Dourada (Sea Bream). I decided on the Ribeye with Peppercorn Sauce (medium well - €27+€1.50) as recommended by the chef even though it is on the menu and my wife the Sirloin with a butter, lemon and cilantro sauce (well done - €24+€1.50).
Sirloin
My steak was large, maybe 250 grams, but oddly sat alone on the big white plate, and came with a big bowl of fries (chips) to share between my wife and I. When I cut into it, I could clearly see that it was closer to medium-rare than medium-well. The sauces all came on the side in a steel boat and all were to our satisfaction. The server never returned to ask us us how our meals were, so I just sucked it up and ate the bloody meat, covering it with sauce so I did not have to see the blood.
Ribeye


Ribeye

I really do not care what others think, preferring my meat with as little blood as possible, that is simply my preference, but most times they either do not know how to cook steaks or give me my meat the way they think it should be cooked. In either case, it tells me that something is very wrong in a restaurant that specializes in steaks. 

Ribeye
My wife's sirloin came in three medium size cuts and was medium-well, not well done as she had asked, but was tender and tasty.

The Dourada was nicely presented with the fish, mixed vegetables, and potatoes on the same plate.
Dourada
If I remember right, the meals were supposed to come with salads, but we only received one small bowl of salad amongst the four of us.

The meal was nice and the service friendly, coming in at €60 a head, including tip, not horribly expensive for a meal, but much more than we had paid for similar meals at another Tavira restaurant a week earlier.

CombatCritic Gives O Castelo 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Six Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "Good To Go"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

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  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year!
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: Tavira, Portugal: Had They Cooked My Steak As I Had Asked, They Would Have Been Rated Higher

Key Words: Tavira, Faro, Portugal, steak, fish, Portuguese, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

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


Read Chris S.'s review of Castelo e Cafe Restaurante on Yelp

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