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July 18, 2003, Volume 3 Number 29

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

When friend and avid newsletter reader, Eleanor Artero, dropped off a copy a book she thought I'd find interesting, I had no idea it would be chockfull of curious and wonderful tidbits of information on my favorite subject - food. Cleverly titled, "Eat Your Words - A Fascinating Look at the Language of Food", this great book is authored by Charlotte Foltz Jones and illustrated by John O'Brien. It is published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. The book describes the language of food, how food terms and phrases have become common expressions, and the origins of food. Some of the fascinating discoveries Jones shares are:

* Sandwiches - "John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was a gambler. One night he didn't want to leave the gaming tables even to eat, so he ordered his servants to quickly bring him some meat between slices of bread. That way, he would still have one hand free to play while he filled his stomach. Today we continue to call his 'fast food' a sandwich."

* "A 'peanut' is not a pea and it's not a nut. It's a legume--a bean. It is also known by the name 'goober', which is a mispronunciation and a misspelling of the African word 'nguba'."

* Top Banana - "Early in the twentieth century a popular vaudeville or burlesque act involved the sharing of bananas. The star was called the 'top banana'. The phrase became popular, and the leading star in any show became known as the top banana. Today, the phrase can be used in any field from sports to business, as well as entertainment."

* Coconut - "The coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm tree. It resembles a human head and has thin fibers that look like dry human hair. At the base of the coconut fruit, three indentations make the coconut look like a face with two eyes and a mouth. In the 1400's explorers from Portugal discovered the fruit growing on islands in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans. They decided the indentations looked like a 'coco', which means 'grinning face.' They called the fruit a coconut."

This book is fun reading for anyone curious about food names, and is ample "food for thought"!

And, lest we forget the many sacrifices paid for our freedom, a very Happy Liberation Day to one and all!

Ken, The "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Around the Island - LTB Opens, Lone Star's Steamed Vegetables, May's, Xuan II
  • Manhattan Thursday Happy Hour - Tour the USA
  • Roy's Channels Genji - New Format Preserves Old Tradition

Around the Island - LTB Opens, Lone Star's Steamed Vegetables, May's, Xuan II

Le Tasi Bistro is open again after a brief vacation for the hard working crew headed by Chef Bertrand, Chef Yeonso and front-of-the-house mistress Marie Carmen. Check out their daily lunch specials and dinner menu. After all, they are one of the best dining values on Guam with excellent food and great prices. Call them at 472-7877 for reservations and information.

On a recent visit to Lone Star, I ordered Chopped Steak with Steamed Vegetables as my side in lieu of starch. Lone Star's Chopped Steak is the best I've had locally and well worth the $13.25 price (includes salad). However, I had to call out one of the cooks at the restaurant - believe me, he was a little apprehensive having a customer call him out after I asked the waitress "who made these vegetables?". Well, when he came out he bravely asked me if they were "alright"...I told him they were cooked perfectly and that he could give lessons on properly steaming vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots). These were so full of crisp vitality that I marveled with each crunchy bite thinking I was in vegetarian heaven. It does seem a bit odd to get some of the best vegetables at a popular steak house!

May's Restaurant should never have empty seats! I continue to promote the quality of May's food experience whenever I meet someone not familiar with her place. I recently had several guests join us for dinner including the "SARS" lady here on assignment from the CDC in Atlanta. We had Beef Hot Pot, Yang Chow Fried Rice, Roast Duck, Fried Chicken, Kang Kong, Steamed Red Snapper with Ginger & Scallions, Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Jelly Fish and Sweet & Sour Shrimp, more than enough for five people. It was a glorious discovery for her and our other guests who totally enjoyed May's deliciously unique preparations. Check out May's for great Chinese and local favorites.

We had occasion to drop by Xuan's II Restaurant, which is located on Rt. 16 across from and just south of the Micronesia Mall, next to the Alindog nightclub. This newly opened Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant is clean, has a reasonably priced menu of the standard Vietnamese fare, and will soon be open until 3am (Sun - Thu) and 5am on Friday and Saturday. It is already doing well with take-out from all the neighboring bars and lounges. The Lemongrass Shrimp is worth-trying, delivering lots of strong flavors. The Fresh Lumpia was so-so, but then I'm comparing it to Mary's Vietnamese, which I consider the best. Xuan's II opens daily at 10am and is not affiliated with Xuan's in Dededo (near NCTAMS, which is where the father of "Tuan's Vietnamese" cooks up some mean Vietnamese.)

Manhattan Thursday Happy Hour - Tour the USA

Though you may not get this notice in time to eat the "Tennessee" spread being laid out by SandCastle's Chef Deborah Walshinsky, you can be assured that there will be those who will enjoy her Vegetable Beef Soup with Tennessee Cornbread, BBQ'D Brisket, Biscuits & Gravy, Elvis' Potato Salad, Jack Daniel's Bread Pudding and other southern favorites. The Tennessee-theme Buffet is for the July 17th Happy Hour at the Manhattan Lounge, from 6pm - 9pm. There is a two drink minimum. Chef Deborah is doing a Tour the USA food fest, and features a different regional cuisine each week. It's like living Food TV's popular show 'The Best Of...'! Next week you can enjoy a tribute to New York Deli Delights. Don't miss out...every Thursday night.

Roy's Channels Genji - New Format Preserves Old Tradition

The verdict is in. Genji at Roy's is an undeniable success, and has even garnered approval from die-hard "Teppan-ados". It does seem like a rather odd marriage, the famous Japanese restaurant known for packed teppanyaki counters joined to the open-spaced sophisticated comfort of Roy's. However, it has fulfilled a long-desired craving for Genji's unique Japanese fare and buffet service, something that has been absent from Guam's dining scene since Genji was routed by SuperTyphoon Pongsona over six months ago. Fortunately, it is a happy marriage of convenience, Genji's popular lunch buffet now offers that astonishing daytime Tumon view - something I always felt was under appreciated with Roy's former hours.

Naturally, some significant concessions have been made, such as the teppan cooking, which takes place in Roy's kitchen and not in the dining area. Also, there is no live cooking station in the buffet line - something that lent spontaneity and visibility to the kakiyagi (seafood/vegetable fritter) and karaagi (chicken) that are now fried in the kitchen and transported to warmers. Yes, there are those who will miss the "thrill of the grill", however, I can honestly say that for lunchtime I prefer not to be grease-laden for my afternoon appointments! That's something no one misses!

The elaborate appetizer buffet is a dazzling presentation offering a selection of sushi and fresh sashimi. A line cook prepares some of the sushi rolls by hand. The adored California roll is available - ask for it to be made to savor it at its prime. I helped myself to poki, a colorful tomato salad, udon noodles, kakiyagi and karaagi, as well as the requisite sauces. All ingredients are available for you to mix your own dipping sauces for the appetizers. Truthfully, one can fill up on the appetizer's a lot of food so you really need to come hungry.

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Bon Appetit!

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