January 2, 2004, Volume 4 Number 1
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
"Ten...Nine...Eight...Seven...Six...Five...Four...Three...Two...One - Happy New Year!!! " We all know this countdown by heart! As we countdown we celebrate with relief the passing of the old year and welcome with gleeful optimism the prospect of a new year. Although the first half of 2003 was an especially tough time for island residents, the second half of the year has been marked by growth and improvements in several sectors of our economy. This is particulary true in the restaurant industry, which has witnessed in the last three months an amazing number of new restaurants, serving a variety of cuisine styles.
This list includes five restaurants at the Leo Palace Resort (Lago, Arco, Feeregalo, Ten Table, and Iki Japanese); Island Grill in Yigo across from the Shell Station (Filipino/Mexican); Calvi House (Royal Orchid Hotel, Korean); Se Jeong (Upper Tumon, Korean); Rambie's Kamayan (Tamuning); Pacific Grill (Tumon, Steak & Seafood); The Grille at Santa Fe; Long John Silver's (ASC); Red Dragon Chinese (Tumon); Mc Krauts Fast Food (Malojloj, Hot Dogs & Sandwiches); MyLe's Vietnamese (Harmon); Capricciosa III (ASC); Java Junction (ASC); University Restaurant (Mangilao, Fast Food); Big Stomach Chinese (Mangilao); and Ann's Restaurant (this week's review) in the scenic southernmost village of Merizo.
Aside from these most recent additions to Guam's culinary landscape, 2003 welcomed a few noteworthy establishments, such as Sereno's, Ihaw-Ihaw Sa Nayon; Truong's; Padrino's ; and Y Kusina - one terrific and approaching legendary status Chamorro restaurant. I remember a few years ago I made an observation in one of my earlier newsletters that I'd never run out of places to review. There's nothing prophetic about this - it's just the nature of a dynamic industry, one based on the changing tastes of a consuming public. I'll make another prediction - by June of 2004 Guam will see at least ten new additions to our restaurant inventory. Safe bet? I'll stake my fork on it! Have a prosperous and exciting New Year! Eat Well!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- New Year's Specials from Tumon to Hagatna - Dine, Dance and Party On!
- Le Tasi Bistro's "Omelette Norvegienne" - A Christmas Eve Surprise
- Around the Island - Hava Java Moving, King's Adds New Menu Items, Mc Kraut's
- Ann's Restaurant in Merizo - Where The Food Is Good and the View's Terrific!
New Year's Specials from Tumon to Hagatna - Dine, Dance and Party On!
It's not too late to make plans for a New Year's Eve or New Year's Day meal or party but you better hurry as some of the smaller venues are most likely reserved by now. Here is a quick list and you can check out the New Year's Specials link on the front page of GuamDiner.com for more information.
Old Hagatna Grill - David Hanley, Chef Chris Augon and the talented staff at OHG are throwing one of their fabulous Wine Dinner events for this New Year's Eve. This is one of the places which might be full already but give them a call at 472-5885 to be sure - you might get lucky!
Le Tasi Bistro - Chef Bertrand will take you on a dazzling tour of the culinary delights of Europe this New Year's Eve. Dishes from Spain, Norway, Italy, Great Britain and France make up this mouth watering menu ( if you need further encouragement, see Ken's write up below of the Christmas Eve meal he enjoyed at LTB!) Call them at 472-7877 for reservations.
Sam Choy's - You can start your New Year's Eve dining on a fabulous meal from Chef Peter while enjoying great live music from Jesse & Ruby then move over to the Countdown Party at the Tail of the Whale Bar! D.U.B. will play at the Countdown Party and there will be raffle prizes including a round trip for 2 to Hawaii. Call 649-6637 for reservations and information.
Roy's - Chef Eddie Chien will help you and your loved one celebrate the coming of the New Year with a very special set menu available only on New Year's Eve. While we haven't seen the menu, we're confident it will be outstanding. Call 646-DINE (3463) for information and to reserve your table.
Marianas Ballroom (Hilton) - The Hilton Guam is known for their annual New Year's Eve Gala events and this year is no exception. The theme this year is "Noche Pika" and it's guaranteed to be one of the "hottest" spots in Tumon! In addition to dinner and an open bar there will be games, raffle prizes and performances by SKIP and some of Guam's best ballroom dancers. Call 646-DINE (3463) for tickets.
Tree Bar - This year the Tree Bar invites you to "Enter the Matrix" at their New Year's Eve party. A highlight of this party will no doubt be the costume contest, dress up as your favorite Matrix character and win great prizes. PHRENZE will offer live music and the DJ's from Music for da People will spin tunes. Call 646-DINE (3463) for information.
Islander Terrace - This restaurant is arguably Guam's most popular buffet destination for families celebrating the holidays. Chef Christophe Durliat will oversee the preparation and presentation of the lavish buffets which will be offered on New Year's Eve at both lunch and dinner and again on New Year's Day for brunch and dinner. Call 646-DINE (3463) for reservations which are a must!
Holiday Inn - We have to mention the seasonal decorations here as they have created a virtual winter wonderland, complete with a true-to-life Frosty the Snowman who invites you to touch his frigid demeanor. At night, the Nativity scene just above the lobby's stairway is magically backlit from outside, creating a wondrous aura! Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, drop by on New Year's Day for their fabulous brunch buffet from 11am until 3pm. You will enjoy all of your favorites as well as the bountiful seafood they are so well known for at their brunches. Call 647-7272 for reservations and information.
Genji at Roy's - Celebrate the New Year by joining the Genji crew for breakfast on New Year's Day! You can enjoy all of your Japanese favorites from 7am to 10:30am on January 1st. For the late risers, join them for lunch from 11:30am until 2pm. Call 646-DINE (3463) to make your reservations.
Planet Hollywood - The special Holiday menu which offers several delightful choices for diners (especially lobster lovers who can have both Lobster Bisque and Lobster Thermidor if they choose!) will be available through January 4. Don't miss out on this special menu from Chef Chito. Call 647-STAR (7827) for reservations.
Le Tasi Bistro's "Omelette Norvegienne" - A Christmas Eve Surprise
We didn't know we'd be eating our Christmas Eve Dinner at Le Tasi Bistro until we arrived a little after 8. This family-run eatery was a perfect place for our quiet observation of this significant night. The Vol au Vent Nantua (a savory flaky puff pastry filled with a seafood stew then doused in lobster sauce) was among the more intriguing menu items for this evening's fare. However, the Omelette Norvegienne literally "took the cake". The best way to describe this frozen confection is that it is like a mini Baked Alaska - portioned for one person. It is made with ice cream, cake, fruit, and egg whites whipped into a meringue outer coating. As we were among the last diners, we had the extraordinary good fortune to have Peter Koppen, pastry chef/partner, come by and chat with us a bit about Christmas, and he asked if we'd like to embellish this Omelette with some Peach Brandy...which he then brought out in a ladle from the kitchen, poured over our desserts, and set them alight! The blue flames danced slowly over the meringue peaks, toasting them past tan to dark bronzed. They were utterly delicious and completely enjoyed. Le Tasi Bistro is a favorite destination for French and European cuisine and they have added a retail wine section selling specialty wines from France, Spain, Italy, and Australia. Le Tasi Bistro's Lunch Specials are posted each week at GuamDiner.com.
Around the Island - Hava Java Moving, King's Adds New Menu Items, Mc Kraut's
After eight years of successful operation in the Agana Shopping Center, Hava Java Cafe will close on December 31 and move to its new location behind the Agana Post Office across from Bank Pacific's Main Office on Aspinall Avenue. The staff and management of Hava Java Cafe would like to thank all of their loyal customers for their valued patronage. Hava Java will open in its new home around the end of January 2004 - look for an opening announcement soon.
King's Restaurant has introduced some new menu items which caught my attention. A new Early Morning Starter is an item for which diners are always searching - Eggs Benedict with Browns (either Country or Hash style) for $3.99. For dinner, you can get a Pork Steak for $7.99 as well as another new entree, Beef Stir Fry. The Combination Stir Fry is priced at $8.99. New dessert items King's has added are Brownies and Cream ($4.25) and a sinful Banana Split ($5.85).
Mc Kraut's Fast Food has moved in and captured the fast food market in Malojloj! Owner Lutz Uhmeyer, long-time Guam resident and entrepreneur (Lutz runs Hansa Imports - a specialty German beer and wine importer) has opened a cute little stand along the main road. He serves everyone's favorite ( or nearly everyone's) Hot Dogs!: American ($1.50), Chili ($2), and a Polish Sausage in a Hot Dog Bun ($1.75). He has Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches and Hamburgers too. Mc Kraut's also serves German Veal Bratwurst with a loaf of Basil Bread ($4.95). With Holsten Beer going for $1 you have an ideal place for an afternoon pit stop - outdoor seating is available. We wish Lutz and Rinako every success in their new fast food venture.
To the delight of many island residents, Capricciosa Ristorante Italiano III opened it's new Agana Shopping Center location this past Saturday.The restaurant occupies an entire corner of the new building that replaced the old Town House. It features a covered outdoor patio area, lots of seating inside, and even a semi-private room that can seat up to 20 guests. This enormously popular Italian eatery should be able to count on having a steady stream of local residents lining up for a seat in the weeks and months ahead. Their phone number is 472-1009.
Ann's Restaurant in Merizo - Where The Food Is Good and the View's Terrific!
If you are looking for a good reason to drive around the island, Ann's Restaurant has certainly provided one! Just opened within the past three months, this locally-owned and operated eatery boasts a million dollar view of Cocos Island and the expansive seas surrounding it, offering late afternoon patrons the ultimate sunset dining experience. Ann's is located next to the Cocos Shuttle Dock in what used to be the Lagoon Restaurant. According to it's marquee along the side of the building facing southbound traffic, Ann's specializes in Chamorro, Western, Japanese and Chinese Cuisine - which is quite ambitious, but understandable since a good restaurant of any type of cuisine is hard to find this far south! Ann's simple logo of the sun with a coconut tree inside symbolizes a philosophy that resonates a fundamental truth - that all things are possible under the sun!
The entrance to Ann's is literally a canopied boardwalk. Just walking on the wooden boards and feeling them give a little under my bouncing weight was a treat in itself. This boardwalk is one of those unique constructs, as it starts from the highway and gives a straight path and view to the sea. It's a treat to walk on something not made of steel or concrete, and the generous amount of wood making up this impressive walkway and the adjoining dining deck stimulates an innate sensibility we have that values all things natural.
One thing we couldn't help but order was Sweet Potato Fries, something new and advertised on a color placard. I didn't see them on the menu, however they are available...and absolutely delicious! These do not require any seasoning nor catsup. These Sweet Potatoe Fries were worth the trip down here on their own! We ordered the Deluxe Burger with Cheese ($6.95). This was not the biggest burger we've had, but it was certainly one of the tastiest. Must be one of their secret seasoning blends. We were told that many recipes are from Ann Acfalle, the namesake of this restaurant. Her son, Benny and his wife, Millie, own Ann's and are running it together with other relatives and family friends.
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