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August 29, 2003, Volume 3 Number 35


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

I saw Mars this past Wednesday at 7:51 p.m. as it reached it's closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years! Fortunately, there was enough of a break in the rain clouds to allow us to get a really good view of "the Red Planet!" As I gazed on the glimmering red dot in the distant horizon my mind zoomed to my favorite subject - food - and I wondered if the redness of Mars had anything to do with chili peppers! OK, I know it's a bit of a stretch, however my mind was already pre-disposed to a hot topic - the health benefits of "capsaicin", which is a potent colorless compound that is the source of the heat in jalapeno, habanero peppers and boonie peppers. Among some of the benefits of capsaicin are that it improves digestion, lowers trigylcerides, triggers the release of endorphins, increases your metabolic rate, and may even reduce high blood pressure and protect against some cancers. I found this interesting since I feel extremely alive whenever I'm eating hot spicy foods. Rich in beta carotene and containing Vitamin A & C, capsaicin is low in cholesterol, calories, and fat. Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Caribbean, Cajun, and Moroccan cuisines have many healthy recipes.You can learn more about capsaicin by checking out Spicy-Cooking.com. While you are there, you can also learn some really neat information about diabetes and diabetic cooking at this link.

The image of "peppers" still lingers in my mind, and I remembered that the logo of Tres na Famaloa'an had a boonie pepper hanging over the three ladies who happen to be partners in creating the Fina'Tinas i Isla line of pre-packaged Chamorro meals. You may recall the introduction of our June 20, 2003 newsletter (Vol 3 No. 25) wherein we described their interesting food products. I noted today that their products are available for purchase at Tove's flower shop on Farehnolt Ave. That's really a great place to introduce these local favorites. While you are there, you may as well get some red roses, too! If you get roses, don't forget the chocolate candy...perhaps a Mars bar?!!

Ken, the Guam Food Guy

In Today's Issue:

  • Coco-Jo's Baked on Guam Chocolate Chip & Coconut Cookies Cast A Magical Spell!
  • Tom's Tofu in Tamuning - More Good Healthy Food To Eat
  • Around the Island - OHG Wine Dinner A Hit, Nuts & Grains, Le Tasi Bistro
  • Yakitori Grill - Traditional Japanese Eatery Shows Why Patience is a Virtue

Coco-Jo's Baked on Guam Chocolate Chip & Coconut Cookies Cast A Magical Spell!

You've probably seen these bags on display at the Convenience Stores or gas stations. They have the tan and gold cards with a smiling, aproned gnome-like character standing with a large paddle. Well, this personalilty is none other than "Coco-Jo", who is "one of the legendary Duendes (Elves) who lives in the jungles of Guam," according to the story on the card's back. "Coco-jo", the story continues," uses his magical powers, and the very best ingredients, to make delicious Chamorro treats. Try them if you dare, for you may fall under his magical spell!". Well, I have to admit that I (and a lot of other folks, too) have fallen under the spell of these sinfully delicious cookies made by Coco-Jo's of Inarajan. The people behind the product are Denise and Charles Selk, and their little business is taking off! The cookies come in two flavors, Chocolate Chip and 'Coconutty' Macadamia Coconut Cookies, and retail for $4.29/bag. They are very fresh, crisp, and flavorful - more so than the other popular brands of cookies made on Guam. The Macadamia Cocount cookies are simply addictive, and the chips in the Chocolate chip cookies really stand out. If you'd like more information on Coco-Jo's, contact Denise at ds@cocojos.com or call at (671) 828-6444.

Tom's Tofu in Tamuning - More Good Healthy Food To Eat

If you have the opportunity to visit Tom's Tofu, located in the Oka Point Plaza behind Oka Pay-Less, you will be amazed at the range of interesting food products that will await you. There are many imported seafood products that are used in Chinese and Oriental cooking, as well as an entire Tofu factory! Tom's Tofu uses a Culligan water treatment system to purify the water. Tom's opened here in April and has been doing business in Saipan for over 12 years, selling tofu products to hotels, restaurants, factories, grocery stores and markets. Among the many tofu products Tom's makes are fish tofu, chicken tofu, stick tofu, rice cake, paper tofu, rice cake, paper tofu, soft tofu, and bean sprouts. Tofu is good for many reasons being high in protein, reducing cholesterol in the blood, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Tofu's high fiber content is ideally-suited to those with special dietary needs who are afflicted by such conditions as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. For more information on Tom's Tofu Guam, call Cindy Tang at 649-5678.

Around the Island - OHG Wine Dinner A Hit, Nuts & Grains, Le Tasi Bistro

Old Hagatna Grill Executive Chef Chris Aguon's team dazzled guests with a fabulous 4-course wine dinner recently that featured Robert Mondavi and Marchesi de Frescobaldi's award-winning wines. The theme was Italian, and the first and second courses were veggie-intensive with Chevre-stuffed radicchio and peppers with fresh roma tomatoes and a balsamic reduction for the 1st, followed by grilled eggplant with fresh tomato and olive salad. The main course had red wine braised lamb shanks over saffron risotto with a Milanese sauce. The Sangiovese pairing was perfection. Those ultra-tender lamb shanks cooked for hours and the meat fell right off the bones. The pear tart with a sweet corn crust with fresh strawberry ice cream capped the night along with a glass of champagne. Stay tuned for the next monthly wine dinner...you don't want to miss these special events. Kudos, Team OHG! Call them at 472-5885.

Nuts & Grains is always a haven for those seeking to eat decently, healthily, and guilt-free! I've grown quite fond of their Nuts & Grains burger, which has the texture of ground beef and a smoky flavor. A wheat bun, lettuce, tomato, secret sauce, and pretzels makes this one of the day's best meals. Nuts & Grains always has new shipments of health foods...some you won't find in other stores. Stop by, eat, and then shop...you can't go wrong here! Order to-go at 646-9358.

Le Tasi Bistro was packed full this past Wednesday during lunch, despite the torrential rainfall! This proves that people will drive through any kind of weather for great food. The Roast Chicken with Roast Potatoes is always on the menu as one of the specials on Wednesdays. I also highly recommend the Salad Nicoise, certainly the island's best. The amount of fresh grilled tuna that Chef Bertrand layers on that salad will amaze you! Desserts, soups, salads, and splendid meals make Le Tasi Bistro a favorite destination for both lunch and supper dining. Call for reservations at 472-7877.

Planet Hollywood is debuting a new menu which will include some "old" favorites brought back by popular demand including their L.A. Lasagna and Blackened Shrimp. New items to try include a Grilled Tuscan Sandwich and Fried Banana Cheesecake. I think we really need to try that cheesecake! Their phone number 647-STAR.

We are pleased to report that The View at the Marriott has again re-opened, with hours of operation from 11am to 6pm. It is closed on Sundays. The View is known for its open-fire hearth pizzas (try the Margherita), great sandwiches, soups, and salads. It is a leisurely, well-appointed restaurant, with an awesome view of Tumon Bay and the sea beyond.

Yakitori Grill - Traditional Japanese Eatery Shows Why Patience is a Virtue

Yakitori Grill is located in the Oka Point Plaza in the wing adjacent to the Pay-Less Supermarket. When I first heard about this new restaurant, I was very excited and anxious to try it out since I have had a life-long passion and yearning for authentic Yakitori. During my childhood we lived in Japan and I fell in love with Yakitori skewers, that were abundantly available at many street vendor food stalls. When our first order of Negima (Chicken Thighs & Onions - 2 skewers for $3) was delivered to our table and placed next to our edamame (boiled soy beans), I believed my prayers had been answered. The Yakitori was good - real good, with the char-grilled onions and sauce bringing back a flood of memories.

I was glad that we are finally able to have a Yakitori restaurant on Guam again...it's been years since the legendary Yakitori I and II closed. The original Yakitori restaurants were immensely popular, and their tasty foods were cooked and served to a grateful public quickly! Now there's the rub! The Yakitori Grill will teach you how to wait. After all, waiting is an art. It's a blessing that this restaurant is only open for dinners, Monday - Saturday from 5pm - 10 pm. There'd be riots if they tried to open for lunch since people would go crazy waiting for their food! Why the wait? Well, once you enter Yakitori Grill you will see an open kitchen with chef/owner Hiro Igarashi standing over a trough-like brazier with charcoal briquets. Igarashi-san is attentively turning skewers that are laid across this grill with one hand, while his other hand is busy "beating a fan", with varying speeds, to regulate the heat intensity of the coals as they slowly grilled the skewers. It's a very small grill, designed to handle maybe 10-15 skewers at a time.

OK...so you have been forewarned about the time it takes to get your Yakitori. Can you wait 15-20 minutes? Of course you can (and you will), especially if you are with some friends having an after hours drink. Yakitori Grill has a great selection of beers, sakes, shochu, and wine, as well as soft drinks. It really is more of an "izakaya" (small inn), where food is prepared and served in small portions, almost like appetizers while customers relax and chat over cold beers.

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Bon Appetit!

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