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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tualatin, OR: "Muy Buena Comida" Means "Very Good Food" ... A CombatCritic BEST VALUE!

Rosie’s Kitchen
8145 SW Nyberg Street
Tualatin, OR 97062
Phone number: (503) 563-6890
Website: rkmexicanfood.com
Prices: $$$$

"Muy buena comida!" or for the language impaired, go to Google Translate like I did ... "very good food!". I do not dole out five-star (9-10 Bombs) ratings very often, leaving my highest marks for the places with the best food, superior service, appropriate ambience, and, most importantly, outstanding value. The name of my blog, after all, is "TravelValue".
Off the beaten path and unimpressive from the outside, Rosie's sits in a small strip mall hidden from the main road and not far from I-5 in Tualatin. The inside is simple and basic with a counter where you order and several tables where you can sit and eat your meal if you so choose. This family run operation offers freindly, responsive and efficient service.
Guacamole (about $4) is made to order and we were given the option of eliminating tomatoes and jalapeńos (which my wife is intolerant to), so we took them up on it. With avocado, cilantro, and diced onion as the main ingredients, it was both tasty and plentiful for the price. The chips were homemade and fresh as were the salsas with not one, but six different choices (regular, avocado, habańero, tomatillo, and one other ultra-hot variety).

The cheese and onion enchilada (about $3.50) was unlike any I have had. The handmade tortilla had been soaked in red chile sauce, but instead of being smothered in more sauce, covered with cheese and broiled, this one was topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, queso fresco (queso blanco), and slices of avocado. I like the smothered variety, but this one was deliciously fresh.
My wife's quesadilla ($4.95) was a decent size for the price and her carne asada taco ($2) traditionally made with a hot handmade tortilla, diced steak, cilantro and onion, not the Americanized variety so many places pump out with pre-fab hard shells, ground beef, loads of shredded lettuce and a little cheese.

I ordered the carne asada dinner ($10.95), a thin marinated grilled steak with grilled green onion, a roasted poblano pepper, three handmade corn tortillas, rice and beans. A good value for the price, there was not as much beef as you would see in some restaurants that charge $14-$18 for carne asada, but plenty enough for me to make three reasonable size tacos. The only thing missing was some guacamole on the plate, a nice addition they may want to consider offering for an additional 50¢ to $1.

The menu is very simple, but missing some ala carte items (enchiladas and guacamole for example, hence my "about" estimations) as well as drinks, so I am merely guessing at the prices of those items. They also charge 50¢ for soft drink refills, but may want to consider raising the price by 25¢ and foregoing the refill charge for simplicity's sake. At less than $27 for our dinner for two, we ate very well, the quality of the food was top-notch, and the service excellent.

Do yourself and the owners a favor and seek this place out. They are a small family-run business open for just 10 months and in a building void of much street or foot traffic, making it all that more critical to market themselves properly and for word-of-mouth advertising by folks like you and me to let others know about this hidden gem.
CombatCritic Gives Rosie's Kitchen 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Nine Bombs Equates To:

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

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

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

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

View my food journey on Zomato!


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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Read Chris S.'s review of Rosie's Kitchen on Yelp

Title: Tualatin, OR: "Muy Buena Comida" Means "Very Good Food" ... A CombatCritic BEST VALUE!

Key Words: Portland, Rosie's Kitchen, Rosie, Rosie's, kitchen, Rosy, taqueria, Tualatin, Portland, Oregon, Mexican, taco, tacos, restaurant, combatcritic, combat, critic, review, menu, travel, value

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sherwood, OR: Pizza Schmizza - The Only Good Thing About This Place Is The Beer

Schmizza Public House
15982 SW Tualatin Sherwood Road
Sherwood, OR 97140
Phone number: (503) 925-8093
Prices: $$$$

Not good. We filled our pie holes and left satiated, but otherwise it was a very forgetful experience.
The place is not inviting, bright and laid out in a strangely open arrangement with relatively few tables. They were playing a trivia game when we entered and received many strange looks, as if we were somehow not welcome. We gave a hint (the answer) to the metrosexuals next to us for an opera question they obviously had no clue how to respond to, the answer to which was "Carmen". They basically ignored us, looking like they had never been to an opera in their lives, but celebrated gleefully when they found out that their (our) answer was correct. Grow a pair girls and thank your knowledgable and compassionate neighbors for your victory. Anyway, ...
My wife had another unimpressive $14 Mac and Cheese, boring and severely overpriced, and I the Tuesday Street Tacos Special ($11). The mac and cheese was flanked by two pieces of garlic toast, adding a little flavor to the otherwise tasteless dish. The tacos (shredded beef) were attractive to the eye, but mediocre to the palate with little beef, more lettuce, a dusting of cheese, and a very thin slice of avocado (great idea, sad execution). The cheap tortilla chips on the side were straight out of the bag and disgusting.
The best value of the night was the cold pint of IPA ($5), so go for a beer and head down the street to the OSF for lots o' pasta.

CombatCritic Gives Schmizza Public House 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Four Bombs Equates To:
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Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17 - 650,000+ Views A Year

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

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Schmizza Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato







Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Sherwood, OR: Pizza Schmizza - The Only Good Thing About This Place Is The Beer

Key Words: Schmizza, pizza, Sherwood, Oregon, beer, pub, public, house, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

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

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Portland, OR: Papa Mia, That's One Expensive Slice Of Cake!

Papa Haydn
701 NW 23rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97210
Alphabet District, Northwest
Phone number (503) 228-7317
Website: papahaydn.com
Prices: $$$$

A purveyor of sweets and a Portland institution, I had to take my wife and lover of anything sweet to Papa Haydn if for nothing more than to let her feast her eyes on the dessert display case. 
It just so happens that it was Happy Hour after an afternoon trip to the majestic and historic Pittock Mansion not far away, so I ordered a couple of IPAs ($4.75 - Happy Hour) to satisfy the server's requirement of ordering two drinks in order to get Happy Hour pricing on menu items. It seemed a bit gauche to force the issue verbally, insisting on the drink order minimum before we could order from the menu, but c'est la vie. We sat on the 23rd Avenue sidewalk and watched as beautiful people and animals pranced by.
Kimchi Fries
We had a sampling from the menu, starting with Kimchi Fries ($4.50) - hand cut fries with grilled kimchi, thai basil, cilantro and korean aioli ($4.50), Croque Monsieur ($7.75) - ham and aged gruyere on parmesan butter crust, and Croque Madame ($7.75) - turkey breast and aged gruyere on parmesan butter crust.
Croque Monsieur
The fries were plentiful, hot and savory, the best value of the bunch. My wife and I reversed roles, she having the croque monsieur (literally "Mister Crunch") and me the croque madame ("Mrs. Crunch"). Both sandwiches were large with three portions dipped in "Good To Go" egg batter and deep fried ala Monte Cristo, but without the powdered sugar. We shared, giving one of the three portions to the other so that we could taste everything. The croques were delicious although a bit expensive for a simple sandwich on a Happy Hour menu with no accompaniments. 
Croque Madame
The service was good and the ambience decent, it is not Paris after all, so for a little under $30 plus tip we had a streetside table and were well satiated. Not the best Happy Hour I have experienced since moving to Portland, we may return although to nearly $10 price tag for a slice of cake (or other dessert) seems a bit extreme. The croques were very heavy, so we did not have room for sweets on this visit. Maybe we will focus our attention, funds, and taste buds strictly on their wonderful, expensive desserts next time.


CombatCritic Gives Papa Haydn 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Six Bombs Equates To:

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

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

View my food journey on Zomato!


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Read Chris S.'s review of Papa Haydn on Yelp
Papa Haydn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
























Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Portland, OR: Papa Mia, That's One Expensive Slice Of Cake!

Key Words: Papa Haydn, papa, haydn, Portland, Oregon, dessert. cake, pastries, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: "Good To Go"

Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Tigard, OR: The "Star" Of The 2017 Eclipse: Taqueria La Fuente

Taqueria La Fuente
12198 SW Main Street
Tigard, OR 97223
Phone number: (503) 639-3653
Website: lafuentedetigard.com
Prices: $$$$

A bright, sunny, cloudless day in Portland, Oregon suddenly turned dark and cool, the birds stopped chirping. The quiet deafening, the light seemingly escaped into the vastness of the great Northwest before suddenly returning as if someone flipped a celestial light switch. Was the end of time near? If this was going to be our final meal, it seemed clear that we should eat a bunch o' tacos. 
In a tiny strip mall perpendicular to Main Street in downtown Tigard and barely visible from the street, we found Taqueria La Fuente. Nondescript from the outside, the inside was simple, yet clean with several laminate-top booths and tables. The hot, fresh homemade chips and salsa quickly arrived compliments of the friendly server who warmly welcomed us on this historic day.
A Dos Equis Amber draft (16 oz - $4.25) seemed like a good way to start, quickly followed by a side order of guacamole ($2.95). The beer was cold and frothy and the guacamole as good as any restaurant guac I have had, simple, flavorful and larger than those others charge twice as much for.
Tacos were the star of this show. We ordered the Crispy Tacos ($8.50) and Tacos Mexicanos ($8.85), coming three each to the plate with no rice and/or beans. The crispy tacos came deep fried with two medium tortillas each, filled with carne asada (or your choice of meat), lettuce, tomato and cheese. A little leftover guacamole, metaphorically, was the icing on the cake. The tacos Mexicanos were simple, as they should be, one with carnitas, one with carne asada and one with shredded beef (cabeza), all on large, soft corn tortillas, topped with chopped white onion and cilantro, and accompanied by sliced radish and lime wedges. If they do tacos this well, I can hardly wait to return to sample the other menu items because these were some of the best restaurant tacos I have had in recent memory.
On our second visit, they were closing soon, so we did not go nuts, ordering the go-to Crispy Tacos and a Cheese and Onion Enchilada ala carte ($3.25). I also tried the House Margarita ($5.75), asking for it blended with salt, but when it arrived it was "on the rocks". I did not make an issue of it being so late. The margarita was OK, not big and not very strong, so I think I will stick with the cerveza from now on. The enchilada was presented quite nicely with shredded lettuce, a drizzle of sour cream and some chopped cilantro, but the toppings masked the flavor of the enchilada which was what I wanted to taste.
Cheese and Onion Enchilada

Flan
The service was impeccable - friendly, efficient and professional. We even received a complimentary order of Flan at the conclusion of our second visit, fluffy and delicious as any I have had. Taqueria La Fuente was the "star" of the show and a "bright" spot on an otherwise dark day, celestially speaking. At just $24.55 before tip on our first visit, this was one of the best values I have seen in my two plus months since moving to Portland, hence my nearly perfect rating ...
CombatCritic Gives Taqueria La Fuente 9 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Nine Bombs Equates To:

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

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

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

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

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!


Read Chris S.'s review of Taqueria La Fuente on Yelp

La Fuente Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Title: Tigard, OR: The "Star" Of The 2017 Eclipse: Taqueria La Fuente

Key Words: Portland, Taqueria La Fuente, taqueria, la, fuente, la fuente, Tigard, Portland, Oregon, Mexican, taco, tacos, restaurant, combatcritic, combat, critic, review, menu, tavel, value


Translation for Civilians: 


Copyright 2018 - 3rd Wave Media Group, LLC and CombatCritic - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sherwood, OR: Red Robin Laid Egg, Film At 11

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
21170 Langer Farms Parkway
Sherwood, OR 97140
Phone number: (503) 625-9500
Website: redrobin.com
Prices: $$$$


First, they don't publish accurate beer prices on the menu (one of my pet peeves), so buyer beware. The menu said "select domestic 22 ounce drafts - $3.50", so I figured a simple domestic IPA would either be $3.50 or a buck or two more (max) ... WRONG ... when the check arrived I was shocked to see that i had to pay $7.79 for a domestic draft beer. This is exactly why I hate restaurants that do not publish prices (drinks or otherwise) on their menu. Never again!

Then, they burned my wife's Four Cheese Melt ($7.99). Gordon Ramsey would have had a shit fit, but he was not there unfortunately. By the time we got our server's attention, it was late (after 9pm) and we had no choice other than to have the kitchen prepare an unburnt one. Where the hell is their quality control? We think the server may have attempted to offer an ice cream sundae for our trouble, but it was not obviously clear, stating: "can I bring you a sundae", instead of "we'd like to offer you an ice cream sundae on the house for your trouble". In the end, there was a $1 "Manager's Discount" on our check, bringing the price of my overpriced beer down to $6.79, still way too much.

From their special Red Tavern ($6.99) menu I ordered the Pig Out Tavern Double with smoked bacon, bacon-crumble aioli and American cheese, upgrading it to a "gourmet" (larger) beef patty for a $4 up-charge apparently ($10.99 total on check). I have had MANY burgers in the $5.99 to $8.99 range at other locals that were far superior to this. It came with a small portion of "ENDLESS" fries, which are only endless if your server happens to stop by from time to time which ours did not. Nuff said.

A real bummer, we will not be going back any time soon. Overpriced, small, and mediocre in flavor, if not burnt, I was completely unimpressed.

CombatCritic Gives This Red Robin 3 Out Of 10 Bombs ... More Bombs Are Better!


Three Bombs Equates To:
Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

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

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)


Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

View my food journey on Zomato!


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Read Chris S.'s review of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers on Yelp

Red Robin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCritic
View my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Sherwood, OR: Red Robin Laid Egg, Film At 11

Key Words: Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Sherwood, Oregon, Tualatin, red robin, gourmet, burgers, burger, Red Robin, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: SNAFU = "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up"

Check out TravelValue; Portland on Zomato

https://zoma.to/uc/10649-KmbQl

Tuesday, August 8, 2017



Pros: 

1. Reasonable food prices
2. Good, homemade chips
3. Tasty guacamole
4. Very good tacos for $2.50 each
5. Best cheese and onion enchilada I have had in quite a while
6. Delicious margarita and ice cold draft beer
7. Large patio

Cons

1. No air conditioning and a bit too hot to sit outside
2. Salsa a bit too watery
3. Very small guacamole for $4.50
4. Asked for hard shell tacos, got soft
5. Wife's quesadilla ($6.50) had hardly any cheese
6. Margarita was too expensive ($7) and not very strong ... draft beer was more reasonable ($4.50)
7. Closed an hour early (8PM instead of 9PM) - staff hovered, making us feel rushed to finish and leave
8. Patio only has picnic tables which are not very comfortable

Bottom Line: Pretty good food overall, but lack of AC, overpriced margaritas, guacamole and quesadillas, and closing early/rushing us to leave cost them 2-3 Bombs (1-2 Stars)

CombatCritic Gives Nacho Mama's 5 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

uuguogououg

Monday, August 7, 2017

ROTD: Ho Hum, Another ... YELP REVIEW OF THE DAY (August 3rd, 2017 - Kansas City, MO - Bayleaf Indian Restaurant, Lawrence, Kansas

4.0 star rating
4/15/2017
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!

Read Chris S.'s review of Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar on Yelp

Title: Ho Hum, Another ... YELP REVIEW OF THE DAY (August 3rd, 2017 - Kansas City, MO): Bayleaf Indian Restaurant - Lawrence, Kansas

Key Words: Yelp, ROTD, review of the day, of, the, day, Kansas City, Lawrence, Portland, Oregon, Missouri, Kansas, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value

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