October 31, 2003, Volume 3 Number 44
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
By the time this hits your mailbox, I will be finding my way to some tiny obscure little town in Mississipi where I'm going to meet the mother of a gal who's brought profound joy to my life in the past two years that I've had the good fortune to know her. This will be interesting, I can assure you, and I hope to make a favorable impression. I do want to keep things a little more secret at this point as I don't want to draw too much attention from the "disappointment patrol". I already know that my trip has set the rumor mills a churnin', although I can assure you that there have been no formal announcements. I'm just going to take it easy and enjoy the experience. I'm certain of one thing for sure, though, and that is I will have a chance to eat some good down-home Southern cookin', and that's worth the trip in itself. I'll probably fix a meal or two to return the hospitality of my hosts. I'm really excited about this visit - wish me well!
Ken - the "Guam Food Guy"
P.S. A very happy Halloween to all!
In Today's Issue:
- Auntie M's HOT Malassadas Bake Shop - More than just Malassadas
- MCA Gala Dinner Roundup - 2003 Winners, GCC Students Show Their Stuff
- Around the Island - LTB November Special, Catch Renaissance's Last Shows
- St John's Presents Smokey Joe's Cafe - A Fabulous Musical Revue Nov. 7-9
- Jazz for Wishes - Legendary Jazz Great Sadao Watanabe November 14 & 16
- Fuji Ichiban - Retaining the Title as "Guam's Ramen King"
Auntie M's HOT Malassadas Bake Shop - More Than Just Malassadas
If you've not yet parked your car and visited Auntie M's HOT Malassadas Bake Shop in Tamuning across from Bank Pacific and before the Tamuning Pizza Hut (just near the road signs marking the junction of Marine Drive (Rt 1) and Camp Watkins Road (Rt 30), then you should do as I did. You'll be in for a pleasant treat when you enter and see all the colorful baked goodies awaiting you. You'll see a cookie display that shows off pots, planters, and gift baskets featuring "Cookie Pops". These almond flavored cookies are baked in the shapes of birds, balls, stars, butterflies, and happy smiley-faced bears. It's kind of like going to a Cookie Disneyland - they're really onto something fun and unique here, especially for kids' parties. At the time of my visit, they were prepping for Halloween, and had made some little ghost Cookie Pops and pumpkin ones, too. It's astonishing how well the sugar frosting lends itself to so many creative decorating possiblities.
Auntie M's is owned by Marie Lopez, who has been baking her way to success these past years. I remember what a big hit the Malassadas were when they first were introduced...we'd buy a box of a dozen and eat our way through both the sugar and cinnamon-sugar confections that are best when eaten hot! Auntie M's also has JUMBO muffins and I tell you the word "Jumbo" is not an exaggeration. These come in Blueberry, Chocolate, Coconut and Pineapple. The Blueberry one I had was super, with blueberries just popping out with every moist bite. The muffins sell for $1.75, as do the Large Cookie Pops. The smaller ones sell for $1.25. When I go back, I'm going to try some of Auntie M's fresh made biscotti....she sells it buy the bag. You can call and place special orders cookies and cakes by dialing 647-8427 or if you want to be cute, "64SUGAR"! Auntie M's is open from 6:30am to 6pm. Monday - Saturday, and on Sundays from 7am - 1pm. Be sure to try the Malassadas, too, they certainly are "No Ka Oi"!
MCA Gala Dinner Roundup - 2003 Winners, GCC Students Show Their Stuff
A fabulous time was had by all who attended the 2003 Micronesian Chefs Association Gala Dinner last Saturday evening. GuamDiner.com sends congratulations to Christophe Durliat, Executive Chef of the Hilton Guam who was awarded 2003 Chef of the Year and a special acknowledgement to our very own, Ken Stewart, the "Guam Food Guy", who was selected as the 2003 Allied Member of the Year. Ken has been an "over-active" member of the MCA serving in various capacities with tireless energy and sincere commitment. Way to go, Ken!
We especially want to honor the students who worked along side the Outrigger Guam Resort's service staff in delivering the splendid four-course dinner this past Saturday night. These students are attending Guam Community Colleges' HS208 Food & Beverage Service Class. MCA Member and Instructor, Dr. Frank Tung, was especially proud to observe this new wave of young professionals perform so well. Some of these students are already working at some of the major hotels, with a few aspiring to eventually become chefs. Among the students were Chris Egana (Outrigger), Sean Huey (Onward), Barbara Babauta (F/T Student), Jung Sang (Hilton), Alex Boyona (F/T Student), James Lee (Hilton), Francis Liu (F/T Student), and Bonny Duenas (F/T Student). We salute them all on a job well done...Bravo!
Around the Island - LTB November Special, Catch Renaissance's Last Shows
Le Tasi Bistro wants to invite you to join them for dinner during the month of November. Located in downtown Hagatna next to the New Marina Hotel and across from the ocean, you will receive a complimentary glass of house wine with every dinner entree ordered. Le Tasi Bistro serves Guam's most authentic (and affordable!) French and Mediterrean cuisine in a quiet, friendly atmosphere. Call Mari Carmen at 472-7877 for reservations and information.
It's hard to believe that one of the mainstays of Guam's live music scene is disbanding after a great run of 8 years. Renaissance has graced numerous clubs, restaurants and charitable events thanks to their considerable musical talents. They will certainly be missed. Most recently, they played the fabulous Pastries in Paradise. You can catch them this week and next in the following venues. Thursdays at Mac & Marti and Saturday at Casa Nami. There will be two final "special" performances featuring former members and guest musicians on November 7 & 8 at Casa Nami. We wish them the best as they pursue their future ventures.
St John's Presents "Smokey Joe's Cafe" - A Fabulous Musical Revue Nov. 7-9
This year, St. John s will again offer another Guam premiere with the hit Broadway musical revue "SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE - The Songs of Leiber and Stoller." This is the longest running musical revue on Broadway featuring songs written by Leiber and Stoller. If their names don't sound familiar their songs certainly do! Everyone recognizes HOUND DOG, LOVE POTION #9, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE, SPANISH HARLEM, STAND BY ME and JAILHOUSE ROCK which are all featured in the musical. There is no plot to the show....just a rundown of 36 of their hits. It promises to be a fun musical, making us all remember the golden age of rock and roll.
The Gala Opening will be Friday, November 7 at the Micronesian Ballroom of the Hilton Guam. Cocktails at 6pm, Dinner at 6:30pm with the show starting at 8pm. Tickets to this gala affair are a $150 and benefit the Scholarship Fund. Regular shows will be on Saturday, November 8 with a matinee at 3pm and an evening show at 7pm. The final performance will be a matinee on Sunday, November 9 at 3pm. Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday shows is $10 General Admission and $7 for Student Tickets. Call 646-8080 for information and tickets.
Jazz for Wishes - Legendary Jazz Great Sadao Watanabe November 14 & 16
Mark your calendars for what will be the Jazz event of the year! A Charity Gala Dinner Auction (Black tie formal, $100/ticket) will be held on November 14 at the Hilton at 6pm to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Guam. The featured artist is the internationally-acclaimed Jazz performer, Sadao Watanabe, who will be accompanied by N'diasse Niang, percussionist. Two days later, on the 16th, a benefit concert will be held at 7pm with an admission fee of $25. This is a terrific event for a great cause...I'm sure many of you will be there! Tickets are on sale at the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Guam's Office in the Orleans Plaza Tamuning, Japan Club (2nd Floor ITC Bldg.) and On the Rocks in the Westin Guam. Concert tickets are also available at all 76 stations and Circle K locations and National Office Supply at Micronesia Mall.
Fuji Ichiban - Retaining the Title as Guam's Ramen King
"IRASHAIMASE!!" is the enthusiastic greeting and welcome you receive whenever you enter Fuji Ichiban Ramen. It's like clockwork - does a hidden door chime goes off when the door is opened? However they do it, they all seem to be on the same wave-length whenever a new body enters - and amazingly the same goes for departing guests, who get an appreciative "Arigato Gozaimashita" upon departure. The staff (both kitchen and servers) have got it right as they fully understand that they are there to serve you, the customer, and enjoy acknowledging your presence and thanking you for your business. You'd almost think you were being congratulated for surviving the San Vitores obstacle course and finding a place to park! The road construction is not helping anyone's business (except the contractor!) Regardless, they make you believe the motto emblazoned on the menu "Your Smile is Our Reward".
The real reason people go to Fuji Ichiban is not for the "ego stroke" but for the affordable casual ramen experience - nothing takes away hunger and loneliness better than a hot bowl of tasty ramen. The Fuji Ichiban I location where I dined this particular evening was across from Acanta Mall and Stanlee's Liquor Store...and I must say that it was later than usual for me...I could tell because Stanlee's lights were just turned out! This store is a 24-hour shop which makes all the sense in the world because ramen is eaten all day long and is the perfect late night/early morning "comfort" food. On evenings like this, you'll see a lot of locals eating here, many of them just getting off their hotel shifts, while others may be in between. Couples, families, friends, and tourists alike all enjoy the casual ambiance of Fuji Ichiban. This store has nearly doubled it's dining room area since the last time I ate here. My original review was in January 2000 (that's some time ago), and designated Fuji Ichiban as "Guam's Ramen King." There have been some menu additions since then as well. But it is still a simple, straightforward, no-frills kind of eatery where you can sit at a table or mosey up to the counter and slurp your noodles. The menu has color pictures of every dish served so you'll be able to tell by looking what kind of dish you're going to eat.
I opted for one of the Value Sets, the Karaage Ramen ($9.75), which is Soy Ramen, fried Karaage chicken and a Side Salad. The Value Sets are great for single diners, as they allow you to enjoy a little variety with your noodles without having to buy a separate appetizer. However, you can almost make a meal of the appetizers. They have great Gyoza ($4.50), Kimchee ($2.75), and Karaage (Deep Fried Chicken $4.50). The appetizer portion is slightly larger than the combo size portions. Fuji Ichiban Ramen uses fresh high-quality ramen noodles that are served in a very flavorful broth. There are several types of ramen styles so you can order according to your preference. The Shio Ramen, shio means 'salt' in Japanese so this broth is straightforward without any soy sauce, goes for $6.75. The regular Soy Ramen has a yellow "Local Favorite" banner on it. Another bannered "Local Favorite" is the Taiwan Ramen ($7.50), and it has a spicy soy taste. The Taiwan Ramen has 2 red chili peppers beside the bowl, designating it as "Hot". The temperature legend breaks down the heat intensity from a mild 1-pepper, to a hot 2-pepper, and a spicy 3-pepper rating! Two dishes, the Shio Chashu Ramen ($8) and the Shisen Miso Chashu Ramen ($8.50), are 3-pepper dishes.
Another dish that I had before was the Yakisoba ($6.75), and they do a decent job with their stir-fried noodles. A newly-introduced dish is the Chashu-don ($3), which is rice topped with Original Chashu. Something I'd not seen before was a rice dish called Tenmusu ($4), which is a rice ball with shrimp tempura. The Karaage I tasted was notable...it was breast meat cooked just right so it was still moist...the batter seemed to have a little powdered ginger and was crisper and better than I recall on my last visit. The beer prices are reasonable, too, with Japanese beer available for $2.75/bottle, which is just a quarter more than the popular American beers and that's not bad for Tumon!
There are two Fuji Ichiban Ramen locations still open - down one since Typhoon Pongsona - with No. 2 located across from the Reef Hotel next to Seoul Korean restaurant. That location, however, has shorter hours, and is open daily from 11am to 12 midnight. Take-out can be ordered by calling 647-4555 (No. 1) and 646-4477 (No. 2). As testament to the popularity of their take-out, I have been in the offices of more than one large Tumon restaurant at lunchtime when the staff is ordering take-out from Fuji Ichiban instead of eating "in-house" food. The one thing both Fuji Ichiban Ramen restaurants do is to consistently serve quality, inexpensive, and tasty dishes to customers who appreciate this restaurant's brand of service by making return visits. "Come and get your "Noodle On" at Fuji Ichiban - Guam's place for Ramen.
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