Follow Me To TravelValue!

Olhão (Faro), Portugal: Decent Food and Service, But The 30% Discount Elevated My Rating

Tacho d'Avo Urbanizacao Village Marina 21A Olhao 8700-292 Portugal +351 289 722 249 Prices: €€€ € I wish I had seen the TripAdvisor 30% ...

Monday, January 30, 2017

Travel Tech: Even DETECTIVE Moto Could Not Solve The Case Of The DEFECTIVE Moto G4

Moto G (4th Gen.) Unlocked - White - 32GB

by Motorola

If you like to travel as much as I do, you know that when you travel internationally, you need an unlocked GSM (system used in most countries beside the U.S.) phone. With an unlocked GSM phone, you can buy a local SIM card and make calls, send texts, and surf the web at much lower prices than your carrier would charge while roaming abroad.
Well, I needed a new phone and had read good reviews about this phone on Amazon and well known tech websites, so being sick and tired of Apple’s products and their lack of customer focus, I decided to sell my iPhone (and soon my Mac) while I could still get $10-$20 for it and bought the Moto G4. Big mistake!

No because I regretted giving up my iPhone, which actually works most of the time, but because the Moto G4 is a piece of garbage. I wasted the first two days loading all of my apps, email accounts, and setting up the phone and it seemed to work ok. You have to swipe up across the screen to get to the password screen, but an easy swipe was not enough and I had to swipe and swipe and swipe even harder for the damn thing to open. If that were not irritating enough, the phone would randomly chime, turn itself on and show me what time it was. The screen is also far too big for my taste and once protected by the clunky case, it reminded me of the "bricks" (a walkie-talkie the size and weight of a brick) we used in the military.

Then, on the third day, the phone decided to turn itself off while I waiting for an important phone call. Then it turned itself back on, but would never boot with the screen turning itself on, then off, then on, then off, etc., etc., etc. I pushed and held the off button for nearly a minute and still nothing happened. After 5-15 minutes, it would finally boot, only to turn itself off again and so on and so forth. Having all of these major problems after just three days, I decided enough was enough.

I was not going to bother with tech support because the phone was obviously seriously flawed, so I went home and hit the "return" button on Amazon. Because I will not buy this model again, I had to also return the clunky case which actually was not that bad.


CombatCritic Gives The Motorola Moto G4 1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot, Along With Apple, On My “WALL OF SHAME” … More Bombs Are Better!
One Bomb Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

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: Travel Tech: Even DETECTIVE Moto Could Not Solve The Case Of The DEFECTIVE Moto G4

Key Words: Travel Tech, Moto, defective Moto G4, G4, G, 4, Motorola, phone, android, smart, smartphone, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, review, Yelp, Amazon,

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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lawrence, KS: For Sale - 1860s Queen Anne Just 4 Blocks From Mass Street And 15 Minute Walk To KU

Great Victorian House, Excellent Price, Prime Location

1104 New York Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66044

PRICE RAISED! $154,900

This quaint, mid-1800s home has been completely updated while maintaining its original details and charm. Perfect for a small family or students who want to walk to downtown with its numerous restaurants and bars or to KU, just a short 10-15 minute walk away. Old East Lawrence is the centerpiece of the city's exciting new Arts District, having a historic and eclectic feel with many new businesses moving in and 19th Century homes being renovated.

This charming 1860s two-story home with front and side porches is just a short walk from downtown (Massachusetts Street) and 10-15 minute walk to University of Kansas (KU) campus.

Beautiful cherry cabinets in kitchen with butcher-block counter tops, large, open living room, laundry room, and large bedroom on main level - built in 1860s. Two bedrooms and bath on second level - added in 1900. Bathroom has original clawfoot tub and shower, having been completely remodeled in 2015.

Original fieldstone foundation was renovated in 2015. New energy saving furnace and air conditioner as well as ductwork installed throughout the home in 2013. Recently painted inside and out. Hardwood floors in stairwell, landing, and all of second floor renovated in 2014. New $5000 sump system installed in 2014. Plumbing and electrical recently updated.

Large yard on three sides has pond in the back, all recently having been completely reseeded. Several large trees provide plenty of shade, reducing energy consumption and large rear patio coverage in summer. 

This "Queen Anne" Victorian is located in historic Old East Lawrence, just 3 blocks from downtown Lawrence (restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theatres, shopping), short walking distance to the University of Kansas campus, and in the center of Lawrence's new and flourishing Arts District.

Built in the 1860's, this may be one of the few wooden structures that survived the torches of Quantrill's raid on August 21, 1863. With three bedrooms and one bath, a large yard with pond, and off street parking, this 2-story home is in excellent condition and ready to move in.


- New furnace and AC system (including new ducts) installed in August 2013

- Bathroom and kitchen recently renovated

- Installed new $5000 sump pump system in the basement

- Recently repainted inside and out

- New subflooring, beams, and additional bracing added in the last 5 years 

- Fieldstone foundation recently renovated using original mortar mixture

- Hardwood floors on stairs and upstairs recently refinished

- Electrical upgrade completed in 2014

- Recently replaced the under structure of the original front porch

- Cleaned-up (significantly) and re-seeded the front and back yards

- Installed a rock driveway (2015)


- Off-Street Parking (rare in this area) For 3+ Cars

- Architectural Plans For 2-Car Garage ($650 Value)

- Original windows all function, most still have their counterweights

- Home is remarkably energy efficient for its age (no drafts)

- Storm windows throughout

- Roof is approximately 10 years old and in good condition

- 1,165 Square Feet

- Home appraised in October for $155,000

Security (included)

- 100% wireless (cellular) alarm system and monitoring with door, window, motion, temperature, and flood sensors as well as cameras and real-time web-cased notifications and camera access (no contracts)

- Motion and time-activated flood lights in front, side, and back yards

Lawrence, KS: Café's Hopping, But No "Signs of Life" In This Bookstore

Signs of Life

722 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 830-8030
Prices: $$$$

The focus here seems to be more on the café and less on the bookstore which has a heavy Christian influence.

We only decided to go on Lawrence's Final Friday to hear University of Kansas (KU - #1 KU tromped #4 Kentucky earlier that evening by the way) opera students who were performing from 7:30 to 8:30 PM (every Final Friday during the school year). The café was doing a brisk business, but there were only a couple people browsing books during the hour we were there and one of them was my wife. I had a look around, trying to find a restroom during the opera intermission, but the counter on the book side was empty with not an employee in sight.
If you are a Christian book enthusiast, this may be a decent option in Lawrence, but be prepared to hike over the the café to get someone to help you. The café does have reasonably priced cookies, brownies and muffins (just $2 each), the most redeeming quality in my experience.

CombatCritic Gives Signs of Life 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Six Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

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

Read Chris S.'s review of Signs of Life on Yelp

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Lawrence, KS: Café's Hopping, But No "Signs of Life" In This Bookstore

Key Words: Lawrence, Café, Signs of Life, signs, life, bookstore, books, Christian, Kansas, university, KU, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, review, Yelp, Massachusetts, street, Mass

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Lawrence, KS: Noodless To Say, We May Not Be Returning To Noodles & Co

Noodles & Company
8 West 8th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 841-4300
Prices: $$$$

Noodless to say, our experience this evening was less than stellar. OK, we are talking about Noodles & Company, a chain, so this review will not be as detailed as usual, but I need to comment.
The place is clean, standard Noodles & Company layout, lots of poor KU students eating big bowls of noodles. You get the idea. The staff we are friendly and helpful and the food decent, with one major exception. More on that soon.
We ordered the Korean BBQ Meatballs ($5 for 10) as a starter, I the Spicy Korean Beef Noodles ($9.25), and my better half the Steak, and I use that term loosely, Stroganoff ($9.25). The meatballs were pretty good and a decent value. My Korean Beef Noodles had barely a trace of beef, so I tossed in some of the meatballs, but otherwise it was pretty good although lacking enough broth (and meat).

The BIG problem came when my wife started eating the beef stroganoff. There was more beef than in my Korean noodles, but she chewed and chewed and chewed and chewed. You get the picture. The beef was "cartilagine" (literally "cartilage"), she said in Italian. I said: "Huh?", not being familiar with this word. Oh, you mean gristly! Yes, that was what she meant. I tasted a piece and it had the texture of a large, thick rubber band.
A very nice young lady came by and asked how our meal was. I told her "gristly", so she offered to exchange the stroganoff for something else. Well enough, so my wife asked for the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese ($6.25), a $3 difference. The mac & cheese came quickly and tasted very much like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, a big bowl of it. The main problem was that nobody apologized, nobody offered a refund for the difference, to comp the meal, or even offer a free dessert. When I asked for the manager to leave my card as we left, three people pointed at each other (must have been Larry, Moe and Curly), so at that point I gave up. We left with a sour taste in our mouths ... or was that just gristle in our teeth?

Considering the fact that you can get a much better, quality sit down Asian fusion (Thai, Chinese, Nepalese) meal at ZZ's just up Mass Street for about the same price, Noodles & Company is not such a great value either.
CombatCritic Gives Noodles & Company 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Four Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

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

Read Chris S.'s review of Noodles & Company on Yelp

Noodles & Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Noodles & CompanyNoodles & Company
Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Lawrence, KS: Noodless To Say, We May Not Be Returning To Noodles & Co

Key Words: Noodles & Company, noodles, company, Lawrence, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mass, KU, University of Kansas, university, fast, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, 

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

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lawrence, Kansas: That's The Spirit ... Professional Ownership And Reasonable Prices

Spirit Party Shop & Liquor

600 Lawrence Ave
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone number: (785) 842-8700
Prices: $$$$

It is a small store on the corner of 6th and Lawrence Avenue with a fair selection of beer, wine and spirits, fair prices, and friendly staff. However, they offer no military discount even though owned by a retired Army officer ... FUBAR!
Epilogue: After posting the review above, the owner sent me a comment, explaining why they cannot offer military discounts rather than whining and attacking my character for posting less than (5) stellar reviews like most owners and/or managers would do.

Turns out the Kansas ABC (Alcohol and Beverage Commission) will not allow discounts for one group if not offered to everyone else. That makes perfect sense considering the ABC is just another over regulated bureaucracy. Thanks for the message Paul!

CombatCritic Upgrades Spirit Party Shop And Liquor Store To 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Eight Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

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
Read Chris S.'s review of Spirit Party Shop & Liquor on Yelp

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Lawrence, Kansas: That's The Spirit ... Professional Ownership And Reasonable Prices

Key Words: Spirit Party Shop & Liquor, spirit, party, shop, liquor, Lawrence, Kansas, LFK, University of Kansas, university, Jayhawk, Jayhawks, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, store, service, review, Yelp

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

EDITORIAL: If You Claim "He's Not My President", Maybe You Are In The Wrong Country

I do not usually stray from travel and food related topics, but given the fact that the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has caused such consternation here in the U.S. and abroad, I feel the need to address those anxieties here and now.

Many Americans are claiming that Donald J. Trump has said and done horrible things and that he did not win the popular vote, now stating "he's not my president". 
I do not disagree with those that think Trump has said and done some terrible things, that is a widely known fact. However, Donald Trump won the electoral college as formed in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 of the Constitution of the United States of America (1789) and as clarified in the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution (1804). 

If people chose to ignore the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments in this case, where does it all end? We cannot pick and choose those articles and amendments we will abide by and those we will not, so I think it's extremely arrogant and ignorant for people to say "he's not MY president". He is our president, like it or not, and the sooner people accept the reality of the situation, the sooner we can unite and start changing things for the better. 

This liberal divisiveness is only hurting the country, not helping and the sooner people start acting like patriots instead of sore losers and whiners, the sooner we can heal and start solving problems like homelessness, poverty, lack of access to affordable medical care, terrorism, inadequate education and underpaid teachers, and the many other problems we face as a nation. 

Has Donald Trump said and done things that I and many Americans disagree with? Yes, of course, but that doesn't change the fact that he was legitimately elected President of the United States of America and there is no doubt about that fact. Get over it and focus on making OUR nation, the nation I served 20 years to support and defend, a better, safer, and more prosperous UNITED States of America.

Do Americans have the right to complain publicly about our new president? Absolutely! Fortunately, unlike many countries around the world, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America provides for "freedom of speech" by its citizens. I served the United States of America for over 20 years, defending our right to speak freely in addition to the many other rights afforded us by the constitution and its amendments. I took this oath to "support and defend the Constitution on August 2nd, 1985:
“I ... having been appointed a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
So, I and others may agree or disagree with the things people say and do, whether it be claiming that Donald Trump is not your president or burning the American flag, but you absolutely, and thankfully, have every right to do so.

Ask yourself, had Hillary Clinton been elected president under the same circumstances, winning the electoral college, but not the popular vote, would you still claim that she is not your president? Absolutely not. Thankfully, she was not because she has committed crimes by mishandling classified information and lied to the FBI and the United States Congress. She should have been disqualified from running for or serving in the Office of President of the United States for those reasons alone. Let me explain.

Many Americans have been prosecuted for and are serving time in prison for mishandling classified information. I held a Top Secret security clearance while serving in the military and if I had taken classified documents home or anywhere other than the safe or classified computer in which they were stored, I would have a) lost my security clearance for life; b) been discharged (fired) from the military; and c) probably served time in prison and/or been fined a substantially large sum.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, kept Top Secret information on a private "unclassified" and unsecure server at her residence as well as her mobile device without the proper authorization or necessary firewalls. She also sent classified information through her personal and unsecure email account over unsecure networks and systems. What ramifications were there for these extremely serious security breaches and potential leaking of Top Secret information to our adversaries as well as lying under oath? Nothing! A slap on the hand! I find it unbelievable that she was even allowed to run for the highest office in the land, requiring the very highest security clearance available and with access to the most sensitive information in the world.

What has Trump done? 

  1. He talked about grabbing women by the genitalia many years ago while not knowing that he was being recorded. Inappropriate? Of course, but even he admitted it and apologized for it. 
  2. He was accused by several women of sexual harassment or assault, but where are these so called victims and their accusations now? Disappeared, gone, never to be heard from again because they were obviously lies likely initiated by the Democratic Party.
  3. Early on, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." That statement has been twisted into statements and beliefs insinuating that Donald Trump is a racist and that he hates Muslims. Not true. He made a broad statement before he had all of the facts that he later clarified and backed down from.
So, based on those debacles, Donald Trump is now a woman, hater and racist and half the country is freaking out, crying in public, offering and needing intensive therapy, and making ridiculous statements like "he is not my president". Did he say and do some stupid things? Yes, absolutely. Did he do anything illegal, prohibiting him from holding a security clearance or being elected president? Absolutely not.

So get over it folks. Donald Trump is OUR duly and legally elected president. If you do not like it and refuse to acknowledge him as our legitimate president, then move to Russia, China, Iran, Somalia, Singapore, North Korea, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia or any of the other dozens of countries that do not permit free speech, jailing, flogging or killing those that do. I will very happy to start a Kickstarter campaign in your name, chip in, and buy you a ticket wherever the hell you want to go. Bon voyage!

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

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: EDITORIAL: If You Claim "He's Not My President", Maybe You Are In The Wrong Country

Key Words: Donald Trump, Donald, Trump, Hillary Clinton, Hillary, Clinton, Bill, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, editorial, president, President of the United States, America, election, top, secret, not my president

Friday, January 20, 2017

Matera: Is It Italian? Is It American? It's Pub "14th" And Yummy Burgers!

Via XX Settembre 14
75100 Matera, Italy
Phone number: +39 329 5974869
Prices: €€€€

It was a cold night, snow falling and wind howling when we found ourselves in an alley across from San Francesco di Paola church in Matera's town center not far from their famous Sassi and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the most snow (2+ feet) Matera had since 1956, 60 years ago and most restaurants in town were closed for the holiday (Befana) weekend. To find 14th, enter the alley and follow the signs toward Pizzeria Da Mario, but instead of turning right, turn left and 14th will be the last place on the right ... burgers, sandwiches, cheap beer, friendly service and more. You will not find it otherwise.
A large cavernous place, they have wooden booths, tables and chairs downstairs near the bar and more tables up in the loft that has been erected in the center of the room. They serve mostly hamburgers and sandwiches and a decent selection of tap and bottled beers as well as wine and spirits.

I ordered a 1/2 litre Edinger Hefeweizen (€5) and a Classic Burger (€8) with a thick 1/3 pound beef patty, cheese, caramelized onion, bacon, lettuce. tomato and BBQ sauce (I sub'ed mayo for the BBQ sauce) on a big homemade sesame seed bun and accompanied by handcut fries. The beer was cold with a frothy head and the burger, amazingly enough, excellent even though the bacon was more like ham due to the fact that American-style bacon is relatively unknown and unavailable in Italy.
My wife had a ham, cheese, and mushroom "Club" panino (€7 - "panini", commonly used as singular in the US, is actually plural in Italy, meaning two or more), also accompanied by fries. The sandwich was massive with three thin slices of white toast layered with mushrooms and cheese on one and ham and cheese on the other, then toasted in a sandwich press. The sandwich and fries were good, but both could have been warmer. probably having sat waiting for the two busy servers that were obviously not expecting such a large crowd on a Sunday night after a holiday.
The servers were friendly, but, overwhelmed by the unexpectedly large crowd, service was rather slow. We waited over 30 minutes for our orders while the couple that entered just before us (and told us about the existence of the pub) received their food less than 10 minutes after ordering.

CombatCritic Gives 14th 7 Bombs Out Of 10 With Deductions For Slow Service Untraditional Bacon, And A Lukewarm Sandwich ... More Bombs Are Better!

Seven Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17

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

Read Chris S.'s review of 14th on Yelp

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Matera, Italy: Is It Italian? Is It American? It's Pub "14th" And Yummy Burgers!

Key Words: 14, 14th, Matera, Basilicata, Italy, pub, bar, hamburger, food, beer, sassi, Sassi di Matera, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp

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

Search Our Blog