Monday, February 6, 2017

Dallas,TX: I Wish Southwest Flew To Europe And Asia

Southwest Airlines
Dallas Love Field (DAL)
2702 Love Field Dr
Dallas, TX 75235
Phone number: (214) 792-4000
Website: southwest.com
Prices: $$$$

As we all know, major airlines suck ... snooty, rude crews that obviously hate customers, terrible food, and too many restrictions. I have flown Southwest for many years and have always been impressed with their efficiency, professionalism, and friendliness of the airline and its crews. Having been an Air Force Transporter, working with military aircraft and passengers for many years, I know how difficult a job they have and the constraints they must work under, so it is about time that I wrote this review.

Flying from Kansas City to Portland on Flight 518 (1/31/17), my Las Vegas based crew were Captain Criswell, First Officer Diamantopoulos, Flight Attendant Lisa, Flight Attendant Rob, and Flight Attendant Armando. On the return trip, Jules and Jennifer took good care of me, even decorating the galley, and themselves, for Valentine's Day
Flight 405 (PDX-DEN) Crew - Jennifer (Left) and Jules (Right)
Southwest's boarding system is second to none. Lufthansa, being German and typically anal, also has very efficient boarding procedures and crews, but they are cold and aloof as most Germans are perceived to be (I am half German by the way, so don't go all PC on me you flaming liberals). We lined up in two rows, everybody respecting their numbered place in line. There is no need for the massive gaggle of passengers wanting to be the first ones on the plane as is the case with most airlines. The TV monitors tell you when to board and you effortlessly hand the agent your boarding pass and pick your seat. That is correct, no pre-assigned seats.
I was first warmly greeted by Lisa, then Rob came, as friendly as can be, to take my drink order. By the way, booze is just $5 on Southwest with room for a profit margin, but not gouging passengers like the major airlines do ($8-$9 for a drink). Then Armando graciously insisted that I pass on the way to the loo (that's toilet for you Yanks), even though he had a tray full of drinks in his hand.
Unlike United Express, which we normally fly out of KC (because we normally travel overseas), Southwest's aircraft was modern and spotless, even the loos. United Express planes are gross and held together with duct tape. I kiss the ground and thank the Lord every time I arrive safely on United Express and I am very far what you would call a bible thumper. Half of the plane was full, so we even had our choice of seats with just one person to a row if we wanted.


Southwest is always an easy ride and the crews are routinely friendly if not downright hilarious. I have flown there US-only competitors and there is no competition in my mind. Compared to the stuffy, I hate passengers, attitudes on United, Delta and other major airlines, Southwest is a breath of fresh air and the crews of Flights 518 (MCI-PDX - 1/31/17) and 405 (PDX-DEN - 2/7/17) were a delight. Heck, you can even watch free live TV on many domestic flights.
Thank you Southwest and thank you Captain Cris, First Officer I can't pronounce you Greek last name, Lisa, Rob and Armando, Jennifer, and, especially, Jules ... it was a pleasure flying with you ... WELL DONE!

CombatCritic Gives Southwest Airlines And The Crew Of Flights 518 (1/31/17) And 405 (2/7/17) 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And, An Airline First Ever, Spot On My "WALL OF FAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!


Ten Bombs Equates To:


"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, we said 'fuck it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH! - CombatCritic

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!



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Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Dallas,TX: I Wish Southwest Flew To Europe And Asia

Key Words: Southwest Airlines, Southwest, airline, airlines, plane, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Denver, crew, airplane, airport, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, review, Yelp

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Matera, Italy: Great Little B&B - Central, Close To Sassi, Hospitable And Reasonably Priced

B&B Pignatelli
Bed & Breakfast
Vico 1st Passarelli 10
75100 Matera
Italy
Phone number: +39 334 3656186
Prices:€€€€
In Matera, Italy, there is a great little B&B that is central, close to the world famous Sassi di Matera (where Passion of the Christ and other films were made) and UNESCO World Heritage Site with owners who are extremely hospitable and is very reasonably priced.
We found this little gem on an international Booking website after a reservation at another Matera hotel fell through and are we glad we did! Not only did we save over €70, we had parking next to the building, breakfast included, and were even invited to lunch with the owners.
In a large nondescript building in central Matera above a coffee bar is a small B&B with three lovely, modern guest rooms with en suite bathrooms with a rate of just €70 per night, including breakfast. The building is very safe (as is Matera in general) with a locked exterior gate and door to the building before climbing one flight of stairs to the large apartment (Not handicapped accessible - no elevator is building). There is a medium size kitchen/living room as you walk in with a sofa, table and chairs for 6-8, and a TV with (Italian) cable. The three rooms are just off of the main living area.
Our room was tastefully decorated with a iron canopy bed, a sleeper sofa, decent size wardrobe, nightstands, a TV, and a chair (no desk). Not big by American standards, there was plenty of room to move around and the queen size bed was very comfortable. The European rolling exterior shutters are electronically controlled for easy use and provide complete darkness for those, like me, who are sensitive to light when they sleep. The room was on the back of the building and extremely quiet. The attached bathroom was of decent size with a large shower, toilet, bidet and sink - everything you need for a comfortable stay. Wi-Fi was free and fast.

Breakfast was traditionally Italian with coffee as you like it (espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte) or tea, cornetti (Italian croissants filled with cream and dusted with sugar or other sweet toppings), water, juice and fruit. The owners are very flexible so you can sleep-in if you like and still eat breakfast when you awake. They are extremely kind people, inviting us for lunch (at no extra charge) every day we were there, even driving us several miles across town to buy tire chains after the worst snowstorm in 60 years hit the city, even though they had to drive their son an hour away to catch a train for Milan to return to college for a critical test.

The neighborhood is strictly residential, but central and a short 5-10 minute walk to the Sassi, restaurants, shopping, and transportation. An excellent value, the owners went above and beyond in making us feel welcome and comfortable during our stay. The building's maintenance man even put my chains on the car for me when we were leaving!

CombatCritic Gives B&B Pignatelli 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF FAME" ... More Bombs Are Better!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


"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, we said 'fuck it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH! - CombatCritic


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 B&B Pignatelli on Yelp


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!


Title: Matera, Italy: Great Little B&B - Central, Close To Sassi, Hospitable And Reasonably Priced

Key Words: B&B, bed, breakfast, Italy, Matera, Sassi, Sassi di Matera, cave, UNESCO, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, hotel, guest, house, Yelp, Booking.com, Basilicata

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Philadelphia, PA: This Place Is The Real Deal Folks ... Luigi's Is THE BOMB!

Luigi’s Pizza Fresca

2401 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Fairmount, Art Museum District
Phone: (215) 769-8888
Prices: $$$$

The owner, Luigi, is from Naples (Italy), my wife's hometown, so he knows how to cook proper Italian. The food is incredible, the portions huge, and the prices extremely fair.
We found Luigi's after a short visit to Eastern State Penitentiary, just down the street a few blocks (they are also just a few blocks east of the Philadelphia Museum of Art). A simple place, it looks like a takeout pizza joint where you can get a slice and a soda and sit if you want, but the menu is much more extensive than you might think. Beside pizza, sandwiches, pasta, and salads, they offer chicken parmigiana, veal parmigiana, eggplant parmigiana, and chicken cacciatore, all $10.95, including a large side of pasta ($2.50 more for gnocchi, tortellini, or ravioli).

My wife had a panino (singular - "panini" is actually plural in Italian), the Four Season ($8.95) with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, oregano, and basil on fresh focaccia and an order of fries ($3.50). The panino was very big and delicious, and the fries hot and perfectly cooked. The focaccia was obviously made in-house, soft on the inside and slightly crispy and perfectly seasoned with olive oil, fresh rosemary and sea salt on the outside. I ordered the Veal Parmigiana ($10.95), coming with a massive side of tortellini ($2.50 extra for a total of $13.45). The veal was the best parmigiana I have had in memory and the portion was huge (see my photos) with four good size breaded veal scallops covered with the best marinara I have had outside Italy and fresh, warm, gooey, delicious mozzarella. Then there was the tortellini, a meal in itself,  perfectly cooked "al dente" and tossed (not drenched) in a superb Bolognese (meat) sauce just as it should be. I did not think I could eat all of it when they brought it to the table, but it was so good I could not help myself, cleaning both plates by the time we were done.
The bill came to a little over $30 for the sandwich, fries, veal, pasta, and two fountain drinks, a mere pittance for a meal as good as this one. Their service and hospitality could not have been better or friendlier and the food is one of the best "values" I have experienced in a long, long time. Grazie Luigi ... a presto!

CombatCritic Gives Luigi's Pizza Fresca 10 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better .... Luigi's is THE BOMB!


Ten Bombs Equates To:


"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, we said 'screw it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH! - CombatCritic

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube
Luigi's Pizza Fresca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Philadelphia, PA: This Place Is The Real Deal Folks ... Luigi's Is THE BOMB! 

Key Words: Luigi's Pasta Fresca, Luigi's, , Luigi, pasta, fresca, Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania, Italian, pizza, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Washington DC: The Largest Library Collection In The World ... 'nough Said

Library of Congress

101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20540
Capitol Hill
Phone: (202) 707-5000
Website: loc.gov/about
Prices: Free
A very impressive building with equally as impressive contents. The largest library in the World, they house books, film, music, and other media in three above ground levels as well as another eight below ground. 
With permanent and temporary exhibits, they display such rarities as the Gutenberg Bible, the map carried by Lewis and Clark, Ira Gershwin's piano, Oscars and Grammys, Thomas Jefferson's personal library, and millions of other contents. 
Arrange a tour through your U.S. Senator (recommended) or take the public tour offered several times daily. The tour takes about an hour (and it is free), but plan on spending at least 2-3 hours in the library. You will not regret it!
CombatCritic Gives The Library Of Congress 10 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


"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, we said 'to heck with it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH! - CombatCritic













Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16

TripAdvisor - Top Contributor

Tabelog - Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato - #1 Ranked 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: The Largest Library Collection In The World ... 'nough Said

Key Words: Library of Congress, LoC, congress, Wqsgington DC, Washington, DC, District of Colombia, diastrict, Columbia, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, attraction, museum, library, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor