August 1 , 2003, Volume 3 Number 31
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Did you know that a chile is classified as a fruit and not a vegetable? And, depending on which anthropologist you consult, the original chile plant comes from either Peru or Bolivia, and traces back to a period of around 7000 BC. This information and more was gleaned from a cute little, pepper-shaped tome called the "Totally Chile Pepper Cookbook", written by Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham (published by Celestial Arts). "The tiny, pungent red fruit was most widely cultivated in Mexico," they write, "where it was deemed important enough to serve as currency as well as food. Seeds were carried by birds throughout Central, South and southern North America. Modern Mexico still produces the greatest variety of chile peppers, about 140 types at last count." India produces the world's largest chile crop, with other countries like China, Mexico and Japan following. Guam has secured a place on the global pepper map with our local hot "boonie" pepper, (Donne Ti'ao). Several hot varieties as well as some sweet/bell varieties of peppers are grown on Guam, with names like "Hot Beauty", "Asian Hot", "Thai Dragon", "Peto Wonder" and "Golden Heat". You can read more about local peppers and other locally-grown produce in UOG's Cooperative Extension (CALS) "Eggplant, Pepper and Tomato Production Guide for Guam", published in 2002. Guam, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian have ideal climates for growing peppers, with people from around the world acknowledging the fiery, flavorful quality these little fruit add to foods and sauces. We should be grateful that today's restrictions forbidding the transport of the peppers overseas were not in place when chiles were first imported to Guam by the Spanish and Mexicans. We cherish our peppers! Get interesting information and order Chile posters from the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University.
Ken - The "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- More Food Bits from "Eat Your Words"
- Around the Island - Lone Star Specials, Joinus Happy Hour, OHG New Menus
- Giant Lobster & Steak - Discover Tumon's Secret Outdoor Dining Adventure
More Food Bits from "Eat Your Words"
We continue our series of sharing tidbits from Charlotte Foltz Jones' book, "Eat Your Words", which describes the language of food and how food terms and phrases have become everyday common expressions. Today we touch on some of the superstitions and rituals associated with food. Quoting from a section called, "A Forkful of Fortune":
* "When moving into a new home, carry in salt first to ensure wealth. If you next take in bread, you'll always be well fed."
* "If you want to dream in color, eat three almonds before you go to sleep. For good dreams, eat chocolate at bedtime. And to avoid nightmares, be sure not to eat doughnuts right before going to bed."
* "To keep vampires and other evil spirits away, hang garlic around your doors and windows."
* "If you leave the top off a teapot, it means a stranger will soon visit."
* "Eating bread crusts will make your hair curly."
* "Never stir a glass of milk with a fork. It will make the cow go dry."
* "If two people reach for a saltshaker at the same time, they will soon quarrel."
* "It is bad luck to eat the last slice of bread on a plate. To prevent misfortune, toss the bread slice in the air before eating it."
* "Your money will multiply if you rub your coins and bills with pomegranate seeds."
Around the Island - Lone Star Specials, Joinus Happy Hour, OHG New Menus
Lone Star has posted their August Lunch Special menu. Lone Star is one of those places where the consistent quality of food and service make it a sure bet. You can't go wrong with the Tuesday Special of the French Dip Sandwich - this is one of the best sandwiches anywhere on Guam.
We were stunned by the spectacular spread at the Joinus Happy Hour in the Tumon Sands Plaza. If you crave Japanese food this is the place to go. Sashimi, sushi, poki, fried gyoza, sukiyaki, tempura, grilled veggies and edamame are just a few of the Japanese style delights you can enjoy. Another plus is the quiet atmosphere which makes conversation a pleasant experience instead of a shouting match. The feasting starts at 5:30pm Monday to Saturdays.
The Theme Night Buffets at the Islander Terrace in the Hilton Guam are a popular destination for local diners. Now, when you enjoy the Friday Night Seafood Buffet (a real extravaganza for seafood lovers) and the Sunday Night Island Fiesta, you can enjoy all-you-can-drink from the Bud family of beers. Reservations are a good idea. Call them at 646-DINE(3463) for information.
Old Hagatna Grill has introduced their 4th Edition Lunch and Dinner Menus. We are intrigued by a dish available only at dinner named European Vegetarian Pouch. It is described as "fresh seasonal vegetables marinated in a garlic and rosemary infused olive oil baked in a crispy filo dough pouch with goat cheese and finished with sun dried tomato coulis". Also, OHG will host a Wine Dinner on Saturday August 23. Call David at 472-5885 for reservations and information.
Le Tasi Bistro never ceases to impress with their excellent food. There is something elemental about the pride and care they take in preparing their food. The other night we had a light meal that started with spicy Gambas (prawns sauteed in garlic), a house salad with great vinaigrette dressing and a generous sprinkling of feta cheese, and garlic soup en croute. An entree of Roast Cornish Game Hen was dispatched with relish, a pile of bones being the only evidence remaining of the meal. Home-style French meals from the heart are Le Tasi Bistro's trademark and why so many loyal customers make frequent visits to this Hagatna landmark. Call them at 472-7787 for information.
Among the island's best lunch specials are those available at Mulligan's Cafe, which is adjacent to the Tumon Golf Driving Range in Upper Tumon. Aside from their $7.95 specials which include Chopped Steak (served on an eye-popping, mouth-waterin' sizzling platter), Fried Tilapia or Pork Chop, Mahi Plate, Teriyaki Chicken, and Hamburger Steak there is the all you can eat salad bar. Guests line up for the chicken kelaguen, poki, home-made potato salad, and other salad makings.
Giant Lobster & Steak - Discover Tumon's Secret Outdoor Dining Adventure
Imagine you are in a tropical garden, clouds float slowly across the evening horizon and tiki torches illuminate the surrounding space, defying the darkness with their flames. Although you might think you are in some remote, far away place in the middle of a forest, you are amazed to find yourself in the middle of Tumon, just footsteps away from San Vitores Road. This is Giant Lobster & Steak Restaurant, located on the 2nd Floor of La Isla Plaza, between Mac n' Marti and the Grand Hotel. Giant Lobster & Steak has always been thought of as a tourist-only destination. This misconception is largely based on its appearance from the street with all those torches burning, the profusion of plants and trees, and, if it's for tourists, then it's got to be expensive. Well, have we got a surprise for you - Giant Lobster offers special local pricing on their entire menu - an impressive 20% discount!
The big attraction for local diners at Giant Lobster & Steak Restaurant is the Traditional Chamorro Style Self-BBQ menu, which we had during our recent visit. This unique special is made to satisfy your palate and appetite with a variety of ingredients...sort of like going to a fiesta only you do the cooking! The special BBQ menu includes New York Steak, Chicken (boneless, skinless thighs), Spare Ribs (meaty baby backs with little fat), Corn on the Cob, Chicken Kelaguen, Red Rice, Salad Bar and Ice Cream. All of this is regularly priced at $30/person, and with the local discount, it is only $24. For an extra treat, you can upgrade your dinner by adding one of four high quality selections from the Additional Menu list for only $16 (local price). You can select a large 6 oz. lobster tail, a big plank of fresh ahi tuna, a plate of Alaska King Crab Legs, or a platter of jumbo shrimp - with an emphasis on "jumbo"!
Giant Lobster has a sizeable outdoor garden dining area where the BBQ tables are located. (You can also dine inside in air-conditioned comfort in a large room decorated with sealife photos and several large aquariums, filled with an array of tropical fish.) We absolutely suggest dining outdoors though as it is quite comfortable and there are fans to assure good air circulation. The inlaid gas BBQ grills are set at just the right distance and temperature to cook the food slowly, so as to avoid excessive heat or grease splattering. While your meats are grilling, you can start on either the salad bar or eat what has to be one of the best chicken kelaguen recipes we've had in any restaurant. The kelaguen uses fresh grated coconut with just the right amount of lemon juice make it the perfect degree of sour - it's fresh, surprisingly tasty and served in a flour wrapper. A heaping pile of very delicious red rice colors the big white platter. Be sure to allow plenty of time for this meal...it's meant to be a relaxing time where you can enjoy the outdoor elements and look out over the rail to the busy activity of San Vitores Road below.
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