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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...

Monday, July 13, 2020

Gearhart, OR: Gearhart Golf Link's Sand Trap Pub Was Sub-Par

McMenamins Sand Trap Pub
1157 North Marion Avenue
Gearhart, OR 97138
(503) 717-8150
Click Here To View Menu
Prices: $$$$

Fairly typical McMenamins fare and service, mediocre at best. The building and view of Gearhart Golf Links, the oldest course west of the Mississippi, is wonderful, but the service was slow and my burger and fries sub-par, excuse the pun.
We sat on the veranda overlooking the golf course after an OGA Senior Pro-Am event on a beautiful, calm, mild July afternoon. It took forever for a server to greet us and take our drink order as was the case the rest of our meal even though there were very few customers seated.
My Bacon Cheeseburger ($16) came with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and their secret sauce as well as fries of tots. I got the fries and asked for grilled onion instead of red onion. When by meal arrived, the red onions were still there and there was barely a trace of grilled onions even though they up-charged me $1.50 them without telling me. The fries were few, burnt to a crisp, and barely warm, but the burger itself was OK, not great.

I have been to several McMenamins and have been unimpressed with the service and food overall. With tip, my burger, fries, and a beer ($6.50 for a 12-ounce glass) cost me over $25, a bit much for what I got and a poor overall value.
CombatCritic Gives McMenamins Sand Trap Pub 3 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Three Bombs Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up"

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20  
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Read Chris S.'s review of McMenamins Sand Trap Pub on Yelp

McMenamins Sand Trap Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Title: Gearhart, OR: Gearhart Golf Link's Sand Trap Pub Was Sub-Par

Key Words: Gearhart, Seaside, OR, McMenamins Sand Trap Pub, McMenamins, Sand, Trap, Pub, hamburger, fries, beer, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato


Copyright 2020 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Vancouver, WA: Great, Wood-Fired Neapolitan Pizza Now In SW Vancouver ... HOOAH!

Pizzeria La Sorrentina
3000 SE 164th Avenue, Suite 107
Vancouver, WA 98683
(360) 314-4447
lasorrentinavw.com
Prices $$$$

Amy and Daisuke Matsumoto ran Pizzeria Las Sorrentina out of a trailer in NW Vancouver, but decided it was time to expand across town to the southwest part of town and am I glad they did!
We had a bad experience last year, having driven 20 miles to try their famous pizza Napoletana (Naples, Italy style), but were turned away just 2 minutes after closing. I was unhappy, but Daisuke and I messaged back and forth, got to know each other, and I promised I would give them another try. We were there last Sunday on just their second night of dine-in service.

I never knew many of these businesses existed because their backs are on 164th, so it took some time to find the place, even with Google Maps.  The pizzeria is in a large, new space with a big dining room, huge kitchen, and massive patio out back on 164th (that will be open soon). With COVID-19 social distancing protocols in place, less than half the tables were available and the counter/bar was closed altogether. They are still in the process of decorating and expanding the menu, but the place is attractive and they have a nice selection of appetizers (antipasti), salads (insalate), pizzas (pizze), pastas (tipi di pasta), and desserts (dolci) although I do not recall seeing a drink menu.

Daisuke Matsumoto - Chef / Pizzaiuolo / Owner
We were warmly greeted by a young lady in a mask and seated by the exit to the patio. Menus are a no-no during the crisis, so you have to scan a barcode upon entry in order to view their offerings. I decided on the Pizza Diavola ($16 - in the devils way), my tomato-hating wife ordered the Pizza Quattro Formaggi ($15 - four cheeses), my son got the traditional Pizza Margherita ($12 - named after Queen Margherita of Italy and is red, white, and green in honor of the Italian flag), and his fiancè the Pizza Marinara with veggies ($12 - vegan).

Diavola - $16


Quattro Formaggi - $15


Margherita -$12


Marinara (Vegan) - $12
All of the pizzas were Neapolitan size, bigger than most individual 'wood-fired' pizzas you get in the US, and looked just like the hundreds I have eaten in Napoli (Naples - I was stationed there for 3 years, having met my wife, a Sicilian, in 2000). I tried my wife's pizza and it was quite tasty, a fact we both agreed on, and a thumbs-up from someone who grew up in Naples, the birthplace of pizza, is high praise indeed. My son's and his fiancès pizzas were perfectly cooked as well and they both raved about them. Daisuke was trained as a pizzaiuolo (pizza maker) in Naples where the ingredients and baking methods for Neapolitan pizza are strictly regulated.

I consider myself a bit of an aficionado when it comes to pizza Napoletana, having been trained as a chef (in my spare time) during my three years living there and attended a Vera Pizza Napoletana (true Neapolitan pizza) course in 2019. Therefore, I am a certified pizzaiuolo in my own right.













Pizza diavola is one of my favorites, along with pizza con salsiccia e friarielli (sausage and sautéed broccoli rabe, a Neapolitan specialty), so I am used to having it prepared in a certain way because pizzaiuoli (plural) in Naples DO NOT experiment with recipes. You will not get pineapple, chicken, or BBQ sauce on your pizza in Naples, no matter how much you whine. 

Diavola (the devil's way) refers to the olio piccante (EVO mixed with hot peppers and left to soak for months) sprinkled liberally over a Margherita pizza topped with sliced salami. Daisuke's diavola comes with 'mama lil’ peppers', which I thought were hot, spicy peppers like those in olio piccante, but they were not. Instead, I got diced red bell peppers in a very slightly spicy agrodolce (sweet and sour) sauce on top of mine, not quite what I was expecting. It was good, but I am not a huge sweet and sour kinda guy and mama lil' peppers overwhelmed the pizza so that I could barely detect the wonderful mozzarella and salami. I had to ask for some olio piccante to spice-up the pizza and was a tad disappointed because it was not what I was expecting.


The pizzas are moderately priced by West Coast standards, so I will not ding them there, but, for comparison, a top-notch pizza diavola in Naples goes for around $5.65 and a Margherita is just $4.50 most places, a little less than one-third of La Sorrentina's prices. We did not have any appetizers, drinks (except water), or dessert (even though Daisuke was kind enough to offer) and the total for four came to $51 and change (not including tip), a reasonably priced Father's Day meal in the Portland area.
Daisuke and CombatCritic
I am looking forward to returning to try new and different things, and I hope that Daisuke and Amy are hugely successful in their brand new location. The COVID crisis has decimated many restaurants and businesses, an extremely difficult industry in any case, but I believe La Sorrentina will flourish in their new location. 
Salsiccia e Friarielli (Naples - $5.65)
I have just two recommendations: 1) Lose the 'mama lil' peppers' and drizzle olio piccante on your salami pizza to make it a true 'diavola'; and 2) add a Pizza con Salsiccia e Friarielli to the menu. 

In bocca al lupo Daisuke (literally, 'in the mouth of the wolf' - an Italian phrase for good luck, to which you should always respond 'crepe', not with a 'thank you' because that would reverse your luck)!

CombatCritic Gives Pizzeria La Sorrentina 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:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20  
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Read Chris S.'s review of Pizzeria La Sorrentina on Yelp

Pizzeria La Sorrentina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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!

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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: Vancouver, WA: Great, Wood-Fired Neapolitan Pizza Now In SW Vancouver ... HOOAH!

Key Words: Vancouver, WA, Pizzeria La Sorrentina, pizzeria, Sorrentina, wood-fired Neapolitan, pizza, pasta, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, Facebook


Copyright 2020 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Amazon: Lightweight Travel/Carry Golf Bag Is Junk Made in China - Do Not Purchase

Rock Bottom Golf
6701 College Drive
Suffolk, VA 23435-3336
(877) 540-4653
rockbottomgolf.com

I bought a US Air Force lightweight golf bag on Amazon less than two month ago. The stitching on the back (connecting the straps) with the Air Force logo started coming apart almost immediately and I had to stitch it so that the padding would not fall out.



I bought a nearly identical LA Dodgers golf bag less than two years ago that had similar issues (the zipper on the main side compartment broke and the bag became useless). Both have something inside the bag that continuously unravels, leaving long thin black threads on the clubs as you pull them out and I am continuously pulling the threads off as I take my grip. This is a distraction I would rather do without. 


This is how I pulled it out of the bag - normally I find long, thin threads on my hands
These bags are very poor quality and the 14 club inserts have become difficult to insert clubs into, probably because those unraveling threads are blocking the way. It seems as though the 14 insert 'tubes' are separated by thin, cheap nylon material that are sewn into place with that very black thread and they are also falling apart just weeks after purchase. 
Finally, the metal loop that connects the back straps to the bag is attached by a cheap, thin mesh and the loop constantly moves out of position (90 degrees). I gave up moving it back to the way it is supposed to be because, at least, it seems to stay in the new position.
This bag is the Hot-Z Golf US Military (Air Force) Stand Bag purchased on Amazon from Rock Bottom Golf and 'rock bottom' is a very appropriate name, not in terms of prices, but due to quality issues, poor customer service, and lack of integrity, definitely putting them at the bottom of the pond with the rocks and other pond scum. 

I ordered two used Wilson D7 hybrids from Rock Bottom Golf a few weeks back, spending quite a bit money on them and a few other things, but when they arrived, the 4-hybrid had the wrong shaft. I called them immediately and told them I received the wrong club, but they could have cared less, offering me $5 off of my next order. Next order? As George Bush always said, 'not gonna happen, wouldn't be prudent'!

CombatCritic Gives Hot-Z Golf US Military Stand Bag and Rock Bottom Golf 2 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "Tits Up" 

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20  
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Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


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Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

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View my food journey on Zomato!

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... 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: Amazon: Lightweight Travel/Carry Golf Bag Is Junk Made in China - Do Not Purchase

Key Words: Amazon, golf, bag, junk, Made in China, Rock Bottom Golf, rock, bottom, golf, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, product, business, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, Amazon.com


Copyright 2020 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Camas, WA: Very Good, Albeit A Bit Pricey, Brunch In The Heart Of Historic Camas

Natalia's Cafe
437 NE 4th Avenue
Camas, WA 98607
Phone: (360) 844-5968
(360) 844-5968
Hours: Closes 2PM
Prices: $$$$

Maybe it was the COVID-19 pick-up and eat out of styrofoam box thing that affected my overall impression. Granted, my food was pretty good, but after paying $17, including a 20% tip, for a single biscuit and gravy, four slices of bacon, and two eggs over-medium seems a tad high. An included side of crispy hash browns and a tad more gravy might have lessened the feeling of being overcharged, but, alas, it was not to be. 
Natalia's Cafe is a cute little place on the corner of 4th and NE Dallas in the heart of historic downtown Camas. In an old, brick building, Natalia's has the feel of an old-time diner with a huge griddle behind the counter and a few tables scattered about, although the tables and chairs were roped-off and stacked in the back of the small dining room. When there are tables, they are, in my experience, routinely full at this place and I am not sure if they take reservations.

They have their menu on their Facebook page, so I was able to select a meal and call-in my order on the way back from a colonoscopy, having not eaten a bite in 40 hours even though I could live off of my fat for weeks if not months. I assume it was Natalia behind the counter cooking my breakfast, the Biscuit Special ($13), coming with a homemade biscuit topped with sausage gravy, four slices of bacon, and two eggs (any style).

The biscuit was decent in size, not massive and not small, but their could have been a bit more gravy on top. As I said before, some crispy hash browns would have completed the meal and made it a better value. The gravy was good, but it had an odd taste, not a bad taste, but an unknown ingredient or two had been added that probably could have been omitted altogether. 
The bacon had been precooked, but the slices were large, warm, thick, dark and chewy, just the way I like it ... HOOAH! The eggs over-medium were just that, eggs over-medium because it does not take a rocket scientist to cook breakfast.

The only thing I will add is the fact that thay have no website. A Facebook page just does not cut it these days because there are many folks out there who refuse to use Facebook for a number of reasons. A business without a webpage will likely fail unless they get as lucky as Natalia's has with people waiting out the door to get in and overpay, a little, for brunch.
As I said, hash browns would have made this breakfast worth $13, but, then again, I am sure that rent on 'Main Street' in Camas is not cheap and I appreciate the fact that she decided to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, having added an extra BOMB/star to my review just for that purpose ... thank you Natalia!

CombatCritic Gives Natalia's Cafe 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Seven Bombs Equates To

Translation for Civilians: "Shits & Grins"

MENU



Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20

Read Chris S.'s review of Natalia's Cafe on Yelp

Over 1.4 Million Views A Year ... HOOAH!
  • Natalia's Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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: Camas, WA: Very Good, Albeit A Bit Pricey, Brunch In The Heart Of Historic Camas

Key Words: Natalia's Cafe, Natalia's, Natalia, Cafe, Camas, WA, brunch, Camas, WA, Portland, OR, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Google, Facebook


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