Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Albufeira, Portugal: Far Exceeded My Low Expectations

Urban Pizza
Av. 25 de Abril, 26
8200-014 Albufeira, Portugal
Phone number +351 289 501 035
Website: urbanpizza.pt
Prices: €€€€

My expectations were not very high after reading the few reviews available on Yelp and seeing "carbonara" on the menu being made with cream, but I was pleasantly surprised after giving them the benefit of the doubt and wandering in on a Tuesday night.

Tiring of Portuguese only options after almost three weeks in country, we wanted something a bit different. There are not a lot of options in Albufeira in the off-season, especially in the "ethnic" (non-Portuguese) cuisine category, but Urban Pizza happened to be open. Oddly enough, the greeter out front tried to sway us away and toward one of their sister restaurants on the sea front a block or so away, but we were hungry and not in the mood to wander.

We ordered a Focaccia, in this case pizza dough formed into a small, thin loaf and basted with olive oil then topped with garlic, thyme and rosemary before being popped in the oven. It was tasty enough and a decent value at €3.50. We also shared a Dandelion Salad (€4.70) with chunks of a mozarella-like cheese, sliced and cherry tomatoes, lettuce and white onion with a pesto dressing that was also quite good.


I decided to try a rather untraditional Margherita Pizza (€5.90), coming with tomato sauce, a local mozzarella cheese (instead of fior di latte or mozzarella di buffala), and oregano (instead of basil), adding some sliced pepperoni (€1 - salami piccanti). The pizza was not even close to Pizza Napolitana, being the "gold standard" for pizza in my experience, but it was also quite tasty and a decent value at less than €7. My wife's "Carbonara Spaghetti" (€7.50) was made with bacon, parmesan, cheese, and cream instead of the traditional pancetta, onion, and egg yolk, but it was also pretty good despite not tasting a lot like the more traditional recipe. A bit of grated parmesan (parmigiano) would have helped a lot, but our male server was preoccupied with a table of pretty young ladies that had just walked through the door.

Urban Pizza exceeded my expectations, which were not very high to begin with, and we ate quite well for just €28 ($32), including a bottle of sparkling water (€2.50) and a glass of red wine (€2.90). I have had much better and far worse Italian than we had here, but it was a good meal at an equally good price, making this a definite TravelValue ... HOOAH!

CombatCritic Gives Urban Pizza 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!


Seven Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "Shits & Grins"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Urban Pizza on Yelp

Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


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: Albufeira, Portugal: Far Exceeded My Low Expectations

Key Words: Albufeira, Portugal, Urban Pizza, urban, pizza, pasta, Italian, Algarve, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

DayTripQuip: Lisbon To The Ancient Walled Gem That Is Obidos

DayTripQuip

Take a bus from just outside Lisbon's Campo Grande bus station for an hour ride (€7.50 each way) to the medieval town of Obidos with its massive walls and historic castle.

Famous for their castle, one of the "7 Wonders of Portugal", Obidos is legendary in that it is said the the Kings of Portugal have given the jewel that is Obidos to their queens on their wedding day for hundreds of years.

A must try is Ginja de Óbidos, a shot of Portuguese cherry liquor served in a tiny, edible chocolate cup (€1) that you shove in your mouth for a chocolate-cherry orgasm ... HOOAH! 

Beside a stroll through this ancient town, lunch or a stay at Pousada do Castelo (Inn of the Castle), Portugal's 2017 Inn of the Year, will be well worth the investment.

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


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: DayTripQuip: Lisbon To The Ancient Walled Gem That Is Obidos

Key Words: DayTripQuip, Lisbon, Obidos, Pousada do Castelo, pousada, castelo, castle, inn, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, accommodation, destination, review, Yelp, Google

Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Albufeira, Portugal: Can You Say Chicken Piri-Piri? This Place Does It Right And Is A CombatCritic "TravelValue"!

Albufeira Gourmet
Rua da Cotovia, Loja 4
8200-286 Albufeira, Portugal
Churrasqueira - Barbecue
Phone number +351 289 587 391
Prices: €€€€

This place rocks! With a five stars out of five average on Yelp, based on just seven reviews, I was hesitantly optimistic, but I found that my hesitation was completely unfounded after eating only one meal at Albufeira Gourmet.


Can you say Chicken Piri-Piri? Sure you can! Albufeira Gourmet does Chicken Piri-Piri and much, much more. We started with some bread (€1), butter (€0.60) and local cheese (€2) - €3.60 for what the restaurant across the street charges €10 for - then ordering the daily specials, one Chicken Piri-Piri (€6 - 1/2 marinated chicken) and one Maminha (€8 - 250g of thinly sliced marinated beef), both coming with fries, rice or salad - we chose fries. We also ordered a mixed salad (€1.50), a 1/2 "jar" (liter) of red wine, and a passion fruit soda.


The chicken was as awesome as I had heard that Chicken Piri-Piri can be ... savory, spicy, juicy and succulent. I usually do not prefer my chicken on the bone, but it was so tender that the meat almost fell off. The seasoning was superb, not too spicy and with just enough kick that my heat-resistant wife did not complain and I, adding some extra Piri-Piri hot sauce, was pleasantly satiated.

The Maminha was thinly sliced, delightfully marinated, and as tender as a whore's heart (I can say that on Yelp - TripAdvisor does not allow such euphemisms and that is why I am no longer a TripAdvisor "Top Contributor" - kiss my ass TripAdvisor!). We have had more than a few steaks in Portugal, most of which were much more expensive than this, and this was the most flavorful and tender to-date ... HOOAH!
The fries were plentiful, crispy, and piping hot and the salad fresh, although I would have preferred the Tomato Salad, but alas they were out. The owner, Jorge, our server, André, Jorge's wife Sandra, and their daughter Leonora were as nice they could be, all speaking excellent English except for Leonora who was a little shy. 

We finished our delightful meal with Sandra's delicious, homemade Creme Caramel (€2.50), a rich, creamy dessert that was as good as it could be. We have had some great meals in our 3 weeks in Portugal, but Euro for Euro, this was the best meal we have had by far, having paid just €27 for dinner for two, including starter, entrees, and drinks.
We returned a couple days later and bought 500g of the Maminha (€12) and a whole Chicken Piri-Piri (€10) along with two orders of fries (€1.50 each), one salad and one tomato salad (€1.50 each), a 1/2 liter of wine (€5), a Lipton Mango Iced Tea (€2), and two Creme Caramels (€2.50 each) for a total of just €40. We ate at one of their three indoor tables (they have more outside, but it was a tad chilly) and took enough home for dinner the next night. Did I tell you that THIS PLACE ROCKS? OOH-RAH!


CombatCritic Gives Albufeira Gourmet My TOP RATING - 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:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Albufeira Gourmet on Yelp

Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

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: Albufeira, Portugal: Can You Say Chicken Piri-Piri? This Place Does It Right And Is A CombatCritic "TravelValue"!

Key Words: Albufeira Gourmet, Albufeira, Portugal, chicken, piri-piri, piri, maminha, beef, gourmet, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Google, Facebook

Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Lisbon, Portugal: Airbnb - Steps Lisbon in the Historic Center is a TravelValue

Rua de Marcos Marreiros
Lisbon, Portugal

No place is ever perfect and it is my responsibility as a travel writer to pass on the good, bad, and ugly to readers and future guests. I tend to go into a fair amount of detail in my reviews, trying to remain as objective as possible so that you have a much information as necessary in order to make an informed decision. Having said that, this apartment was a great value and we enjoyed our stay in Lisbon very much. 
Centrally located just steps from the #28 tram line that zigzags east to west across central Lisbon, you can connect to metro, bus and train stations that will get you anywhere you want to go, in Lisbon or Portugal for that matter. Make sure you get a Viva card (€0.50) at one of the Metro stations or many shops (markets, news agents, tobacco stands) and top it up with 24 consecutive hours of travel on Lisbon’s trams, buses, metro and trains (€6.40/24 hours) before you get on the tram because a single ticket bought onboard will cost you €3.80. There is a great little restaurant called “Zapata” at the bottom of the street where you can get a massive, traditional Portuguese meal for about €10 per person and a small market just across the road where Singh, the owner and a wonderful person, will sell you bread, milk, coffee, stamps and Viva cards (at a slight markup) among many, many other things, between 8am and 10pm daily. There are numerous restaurants in the area with cuisines from Mexican to crepes to Cape Verde and everything in between.
Zapata

Half Portion of Chicken and Mushrooms (€8)
Portuguese Steak (€11.90 - Served with Fries, Rice and Side Salad)
The apartment itself is rather small, but has nearly everything needed for a week’s stay. The kitchen has a coffee maker and kettle, but make sure you buy some Nespresso coffee pods from Singh before going to bed because none are provided. There is also a toaster, large fridge, microwave/convection oven combo, induction cooktop (stove/hob) and, best of all, a combo washer/dryer that worked quite well. Unfortunately, they do not provide quite enough cookware, utensils or staples (salt, pepper, sugar, spices, etc.) to cook a full meal although a couple of washing machine tablets were left from previous tenants.


The bedroom is barely wide enough for the bed, leaving a little more than a foot (30cm) on each side and making getting in and out of bed a challenge. There is a small rack on which to hang some clothes (with plenty of hangers) as well as three small drawers in which to store a few odds and ends. The only window in the apartment is in the entry door, so natural light is at a minimum. The bed was comfortable and the room dark, being much to my liking.
The bathroom is also rather small, but big enough for the toilet, a small vanity/sink, and the shower. The floor in the bathroom was not thoroughly cleaned before check-in, the sole discrepancy in terms of cleanliness as the rest of the apartment was very clean. The water pressure was good and there was plenty of hot water, but the shower did not drain well enough, causing water to overrun the lip and accumulate on the bathroom floor. The shower had to be turned off after 60 seconds or so in order to allow for proper drainage and avoid a flood, something noted in previous reviews.

The TV is fairly new and there were plenty of channels available in many languages. The couch/sofa apparently folds down into an extra bed and I found it comfortable to sit on, but the cushion on which we sat constantly crept forward, causing us to have to push it back into place 2-3 times a day, a minor inconvenience. The dining table and chairs were modern and adequate and there was a coat rack next to the sole door on which we could hang more clothes than would fit in the bedroom. The internet was rather slow and the property managers failed to properly address my concern, telling me "did you restart the modem?" when I asked what the issue might be. I ended up using the hotspot on my phone’s 4G Vodafone UK Big Value Bundle for internet because it was much faster and more reliable than the apartment’s internet.
BnBird arranged for an airport transfer for us upon our arrival (€25) which was quite convenient, but we ended up getting an Uber to the airport upon departure and paid less than half (€12) of what their service charged us. They also offered assistance with a rental car, consisting of a message with a link to RentalCars.com.

All in all, we were very happy with the apartment with the positives far outweighing the very few negatives which I felt compelled to describe here. The slow internet, double the price airport transfer, less than perfect cleaning prior to arrival,  and tiny bedroom left me no choice other than a 2 Bomb (1 Star) overall deduction. However, close to the historic center of Lisbon and public transportation, this apartment made for an excellent base for exploration of the beautiful and historic city of Lisbon and I can recommend it highly if in the $50/night or price range or less.

CombatCritic Gives Steps Lisbon @ Historical Center 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Eight Bombs Equates To:

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

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • 650,000+ Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

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: Lisbon, Portugal: Airbnb - Steps Lisbon in the Historic Center is a TravelValue

Key Words: Lisbon, Portugal, Airbnb, steps, historic, center, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, hotel, accommodation, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook


Copyright 2019 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Featured Post

His Holiness and I

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...

Search Our Blog