RESTAURANTS OF THE US

RESTAURANTS OF THE US
Enjoy the best restaurants ... Good Food, Good Value ... No Poshness Allowed!

Total Pageviews

Friday, June 23, 2017

Eureka, CA: The Potatoes Weren't The Only Thing Stuf't By The End Of The Night

Stuf't Potato
3220 South Broadway, Suite 8
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone number (707) 444-6200
Website: stuftpotato.com
Prices: $$$$

The restaurant is simple, a nice little place in a strip mall near the southern edge of town. The service is friendly and efficient, and the food made to order. The chef readily agreed to substitute chicken with pork for the schnitzel cordon bleu ($17.95), but they would have received 7-8 Bombs Out Of 10 had they fulfilled my request for a little Hunter sauce (gravy) with the cordon bleu I ordered. When a customer makes a request, it should be fulfilled. It's not that hard to whip up a little gravy, particularly when you are pan frying the schnitzel anyway.

My wife had the Fried Spätzel ($13.95), a huge skillet full of spätzel, ham, Gruyere cheese, saüerkraut, and fried onions all mixed together. It was a lot of food, very unique, and quite good. Fresh bread and a cream cheese spread with spices accompanied the meals.
As I mentioned, I had the schnitzel (pork) cordon bleu with fried potatoes and sweet and sour red cabbage. The dinner came with soup or salad and bread, so I ordered the beef goulash soup which was a bit greasy, as it should be, but good. The potatoes were good, the cabbage OK (I'm not a huge fan of German red cabbage), and the cordon bleu very well prepared except for the fact that it was extremely dry. A little hunter sauce (mushroom gravy) would have rounded out the dish quite nicely, but it was not meant to be.
The beer comes in bottles, nothing on tap, and is a bit pricy ($5.25-$5.95) for a 12-16 ounce bottle of beer. The house wine is $5.25 a glass and the glass was quite generous, a much better value than the beer. We enjoyed our meal and the chef obviously knows how to prepare German food, but a little more flexibility, not an easy thing for many Germans (I'm half German, so I know all too well), would have gone a long way.

CombatCritic Gives Stuft Potato 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
Six 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!



... 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 Stuft Potato on Yelp

Title: Eureka, CA: The Potatoes Weren't The Only Thing Stuf't By The End Of The Night

Key Words: Stuf't Potato, stuf't, stuffed, potato, potatoes, German, schnitzel, Eureka, California, beer, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"

Portland, OR: Live Music, Cheap Food And Drinks - HOOAH!

Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge
4830 NE 42nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97218
Northeast Portland, Cully
Phone number (503) 287-5800
Website: thespareroompdx.com
Prices: $$$$

Cheap drinks (Jim Beam and Coke - $3 - All Day/Every Day), food (ample menu and specials), and music (live/DJ/karaoke/free/cover) ... what more could you ask for!

Around the corner from my new temporary digs, I stopped by on Thursday night for a couple drinks and free, live music, unfortunately country on this night, but beggars can't be choosers. The bartender/hostess/server was very nice, well dressed, attractive and, most important, friendly. She also pours a strong drink ... HOOAH!

I did not stay long because I can only handle country in short bursts, but will return soon for one of their dinner specials (surf and turf, prime rib, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, etc.) and, hopefully, some rock and roll, jazz, or blues. The place is big and dark with an old fashioned feel, not extravagant and not seedy, just right. Two bars and dance floors in two adjoining big rooms with other spaces which I did not have a chance to explore. They also have gambling-type machines at the bar although I neither know Oregon's gambling laws nor if these machines are for used betting.

Most people seemed to know each other, but other than the bartender/server, nobody said a word to me or even looked like they wanted to although hugs abounded and conversations surrounded me. Not the welcome I would have liked, but as the new kid on the block, I expected little else.

CombatCritic Gives Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge An Initial 7 Bombs Out Of 10 With Room To Grow ... More Bombs Are Better!



Seven 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!



... 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 Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge on Yelp

Title: Portland, OR: Live Music, Cheap Food And Drinks - HOOAH!

Key Words: Spare Room Restaurant and Lounge, spare, room, lounge, bar, music, live, karaoke, Portland, Oregon, NE, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Portland, OR: On Again, Off Again ... C'est La Vie (That's Life)

Petite Provence
1824 NE Alberta Street
Portland, OR 97211
Phone number (503) 284-6564
Website: provencepdx.com
Prices: $$$$

Yay! I love French food and am not easily impressed, but I was impressed, at least on my first visit. That visit was for their Happy Hour, so I will reserve a couple of stars for future visits, one way or the other, depending on how dinner, lunch and breakfast pan out. Based on that single experience, I did not think things would digress, but time did tell and I was not nearly as impressed on my second visit.
Visit #1 - I had an IPA ($4) to start things off, then we ordered from the Happy Hour Menu (3-6PM - M-F), all about $5 each. In order to sample as many things as possible, my wife and I shared four Happy Hour plates, a Mushroom and Gruyere Crepe, Macaroni and Cheese Au Gratin with toast, Mussels in a Coconut Red Curry sauce with pom frites (French fries), and a Kobe Beef Slider also with pom frites.

The slider was good, but being only one small burger with aioli sauce on a bun and a paltry amount of fries, it was not the best value on the menu. The Mac and Cheese was plentiful and delicious with sauteed onion inside and baked with cheese and breadcrumbs on top, served with three pieces of grilled baguette toast. The crepes were small, a half each for a total of one full crepe, but savory with a nice white cheese sauce and sauteed mushrooms. Finally, my favorite, were the red curry mussels with 10-12 fresh mussels in a creamy, spicy, yummy red curry sauce with a decent portion of seasoned fries on the side.


Being one of four parties inside, the service was attentive, friendly and excellent. The place is quaint with lots of wood and a European feel and they even have tables on the sidewalk Parisian-style. They also have an array of baked goods (pastries, breads) and a huge display case full of delightful, sweet cakes, pies, tarts and other delectable morsels that dazzle the eye as well as the nose and tongue. My single complaint was the absence of paper towels in both (unisex) bathrooms, having had to dry my hands on toilet paper or toilet seat covers ... YUK.
For $28 and change plus tip ($35), we ate quite well and were stuffed by the time we left. No room for dessert, even though my wife has a sweet tooth the size of Manhattan and rarely passes on the final course. 
Visit #2 - I visited PP for the second time on Father's Day, arriving around 9PM after a round of golf (they close at 10PM). The sign said "please wait to be seated", so I stood there like a gidrulo (Italian dialect slang for "dumb ass", but literally meaning "cucumber") for a good five minutes while employees walked back and forth, ignoring me as if I were not there and not even saying "welcome, we'll be with you in a minute". I was finally approached by a server with a man-bun, taking me to a table outside on the sidewalk on the beautiful, mild late spring evening. 
Everything was going fine. Knowing they were closing in less than an hour and not wanting to waste time, I ordered an IPA and then asked my server for a bowl of French onion soup ($6.95) and the Chicken Cordon Bleu ($16) for my entree. Less than 10 minutes later, man-bun arrived with my soup AND entree ... at the same time! 

For those of you who know me, you know all too well that if you really want to piss me off, bring my entree while I am still eating my appetizer, soup, and/or salad. It is my ultimate pet peeve, so when the soup and entree arrived together, I was far less than pleased, asking the server to please take the entree away until I was done with my soup. Anybody who has been a server for a week or more knows that you never bring different courses together unless specifically asked to do so which I had not.
The soup was very average and I would not order it again at $6.95. Nuff said. The chicken was good, but a tad burnt, a little dry, and extremely hot (likely having sat under the warmer for 15-20 minutes while I ate my very hot soup). Sitting atop a very small portion of runny mashed potatoes with some green beans in between, the tarragon beurre blanc (tarragon, butter and white wine) sauce was tasty, but there was not nearly enough of it either. A little more sauce would have made the dry chicken a bit more palatable.
What a dilemma! Such a good experience on visit #1 only to be followed by a very mediocre experience on visit #2. I thought I had found our new Portland go-to spot on Alberta, but now I am not so sure. 

I look forward to returning at least one more time for happy hour, breakfast, lunch and/or dinner and hope all will be as delightful as it was on our initial experience. If not, we may not be back and may head down the street to Swiss Hibiscus or across town the Chez Machin where I know I will get a good, consistent meal and service.
CombatCritic Downgrades Petite Provence (Alberta) From 8 Bombs Out Of 10 To 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... A Very Modest And Generous Deduction For Such Inexcusable Faux Pas ... More Bombs Are Better!
Seven 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!


... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!



Title: Portland, OR: On Again, Off Again ... C'est La Vie (That's Life)

Key Words: Petite Provence, French, cafe, bakery, boulangerie, Alameda, outdoor, seating, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, Portland, Oregon, business, review, Yelp, Zomato

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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lawrence, Kansas: A Pleasant Surprise - Good Indian, Decent Prices

Bayleaf Indian Restaurant & Bar
947 New Hampshire Street, Ste 120
Lawrence, KS 66044
Phone number: (785) 840-0855
Prices: $$$$

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!



Seven 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!


... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube

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


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!

Bayleaf Indian Restaurant and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Title: Lawrence, Kansas: A Pleasant Surprise - Good Indian, Decent Prices

Key Words: Bayleaf Restaurant, Bayleaf, bay, leaf, bar, Indian, India, curry, Lawrence, Kansas, 66044, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato

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

Monday, May 8, 2017

Lawrence, KS: You Can Get Anything You Want At "Alces" Restaurant ... "Moooooooose"

Blue Moose Bar And Grill
525 Wakarusa Drive. Suite D
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone number: (785) 727-4999
Prices: $$$$

My friends, yes I actually have friends, had told me wonderful things about Blue Moose, but when I read the reviews on yelp*, I had my doubts. Lawrence is not all that big, but we rarely get over to West Lawrence, so having dropped off a UHaul in the area, we decided to give the Moose a shot (pun intended).
We were told there was a 30-minute wait, but there were a slew of empty tables, at least seven or eight on the side of the restaurant we could see alone. How can there be 25 people waiting in the lobby and a 30-minute wait with so many empty tables?
The menu is eclectic - "American New - in metrosexual speak, with choices from Mexico (empanadas, fish/carne asada tacos, quesadillas), Italy (pasta, flat bread pizza), Asia (wontons, curry, and America (burgers, steaks, chicken). The decor is modern and tasteful, but cold with the stone and wood surfaces that have become so cliché these days.

We decided to sit at the bar to speed things up, but the bartender pretty much ignored us for 15-20 minutes after serving us our drinks and giving us menus. Now I have seen firsthand why they have only garnered 2.5 stars so far. Our order was finally taken by his assistant and our starter, the Beef Empanadas ($7.99), arrived shortly thereafter. They (3) were actually quite good with a deep fried cornmeal exterior and a beef, cheese and poblano pepper interior, accompanied by an avocado salsa and sour cream. They were crispy, not greasy, and the flavors quite pleasing to the pallet ... Olé!

My wife's Build Your Own "Mac N Cheese" ($9.99) with sauteed mushrooms and steamed broccoli (99¢/ea) were topped with garlic butter breadcrumbs and came with a ciabatta in an interesting bowl that presented the dish rather nicely. I thought it was a bit bland, but my pasta loving Italian thought it was quite good ... Mama Mia!
Like most restaurants I visit for the first time, I like to see if they get the basics right, so I ordered their Blue Moose Burger ($10.99), medium-well, with sauteed onions and bacon. You can "add a house salad" to an entree for $1.99, but the sandwich menu states: "Sub a 'small' house salad" for $1.99. I found it hard to believe that you could get a "whole" house salad with an entree for $1.99, but you had to substitute your fries (etc.) for a "small" one for the same price, so I asked the beertender. He confirmed my disbelief, telling me that you in-fct have to give up your side in order to get a salad ... and you have to pay an extra $1.99 ... Good Grief!
The burger arrived with fries, sans small salad, but also missing were the sauteed onions I ordered. I do not like bloody meat and medium is about as raw as I will go, but this burger was well done and dry. The flavor was not bad and the patty big enough, but the sauteed onions would have added some much needed moisture had they been where they were supposed to be. The highlight of my meal were the fries, hot and crunchy, not crispy, with a spicy zing that was a pleasant surprise ... Holy Cow!
I was torn ... bad reviews, only a few weeks in business (bugs to work out), 30-minute wait, empty tables, inattentive bartender, decent service, great empanadas, overcooked meat, incomplete order ... Oh My! 
In the end, feeling overly liberal - with our pending move to the Left Coast - I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt , adding an additional BOMB or two (1-star on a 5-star scale - rounding up). Normally, a somewhat lackluster performance such as this would result in 4-5 Bombs, but I decided to increase their "middle of the road" yelp* average by just a tad because I see some potential ... You're Welcome!

CombatCritic Gives Blue Moose Bar And Grill 6 Bombs Out Of 10 ... Ore Bombs Are Better ... SHAZAAM!
Six 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!


... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube

Read Chris S.'s review of Blue Moose Bar And Grill on Yelp

Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Lawrence, KS: You Can Get Anything You Want At "Alces" Restaurant ... "Moooooooose"

Key Words: Blue Moose Bar and Grill, Blue Moose, blue, moose, bar, grill, Lawrence, Kansas, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, American, new, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog

Translation for Civilians: G2G = "Good To Go"