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January 30, 2004, Volume 4 Number 5

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

This year promises to be a great one for restaurant growth, expansion, and improvements. The seeds were planted over the past year to bear fruit after a long recovery period. Although it is difficult to see with all the construction going on in "southern" Tumon, you can catch glimpses of what will become an attractive, well-landscaped San Vitores Road that will showcase Guam's tropical beauty. Pedestrians will be inspired by this new environment that's suitable for safe walking. I foresee the birth of sidewalk cafes and restaurants that will appeal to foot traffic with existing restaurants adjusting their service offerings to appeal to this developing opportunity. Other major tourist destinations have key boulevards and avenues that are filled with restaurants to cater to those who are strolling by, so you'll probably see more illuminated sign boards, food pictures, menus, and flyers (along with those passing them out) promoting the restaurants located up and down this renovated San Vitores artery. You will see similar positioning of outdoor seating, like T.G.I. Friday's and Jungle Java at the Outrigger. New additions in Tumon, like Jamaican Grill, will bring more variety and flavor to dining options accessible by foot. Visitors and locals alike will appreciate these enhancements that will encourage folks to park their cars somewhere and get out and walk. It will be a beautiful environment, and people will have a good time. After all, there are no traffic jams on sidewalks, and even if there were, you'd be able to sit down, grab a cup of java, sip a cabernet, or savor a seafood salad, and watch happy people stroll by on their walking tours. Yes, things are getting better here, one day at a time!

Ken - the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

Guam Humanities Council Awards Dinner - 60's Retro, Jan. 31 Hyatt Regency

The Guam Humanities Council will recognize this past year's outstanding individual and organization achievements at a 60's themed program called "The New Frontier - Guam Circa 1960", this Saturday night in the Hyatt's Grand Ballroom. A $60 donation will affoyoua fun-filled evening with live and silent auctions; costume, dance, lip sync, and trivia contests. A keynote address will be made by Dr. Robert Underwood, and you can dance to great 60'stunes performed by Mid-Life Crisis and the Downbeats. The program and dinner begin at6pm. For more information, contact the GHC at 646-4461 or Ginny Guzman-Walsh at 687-4992.

Around the Island - Manhattan, Super Bowl & The Apprentice at Planet Hollywood

We hear nothing but rave reviews for Chef Jeff Hill and the great job he's doing at Sandcastle. Your chance to enjoy some of his special creations is at the weekly Thursday Night Happy Hour at Manhattan. This week features a complete buffet of Mediterranean dishes from Baba Ganoush to Baklava with Lemon Chicken and Tajine Beef in between. You can check Manhattan's Happy Hour menu each week at by clicking on the Dinner Specials button on the front page.

All kinds of things are happening at the Planet Hollywood these days! On Monday, February 2 they will throw their annual Super Bowl Party which benefits the Pop Warner Football League. Tickets are available for $40 each and you'll enjoy the game, great food and be entered into the raffle with numerous prizes including a round trip for 2 to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The doors open at 7am. Then, on Wednesday, February 4 come down to watch everybody's favorite reality show "The Apprentice" as the teams are assigned the task of managing the Planet Hollywood Restaurant in Times Square - now we are not big fans of reality shows but this one with Donald Trump is very entertaining - you'll find yourself just waiting for him to say "You're fired!" Information can be had by calling Amber at 647-7827.

Check in at during the week to see new Valentine's Day Specials. We expect more listings in the next few days from some of Guam's best restaurants including Old Hagatna Grill, Firefly Bistro and Nana's Cafe.

Island Grill - Mexican and Filipino Cuisine in One Value-Priced Eatery!

How far would you go to get a perfect salsa? Well, I can tell you you don't have to fly to Cancun, Southern California, or Texas - you can drive all the way up Marine Drive to a new restaurant in Yigo called the Island Grill located across the street from the Shell station and next to Quizno's. Only open since November, Island Grill features awesome Mexican standards such as Enchiladas, Fajitas, Tostadas, Tacos, Quesadillas, Burritos, and Nachos. Moreover, in an unusual but not incongruous combination, Island Grill also serves a variety of Filipino favorites such as Tinolang Manok, Pinakbet, Crispy Pata, Adobong Manok, and what they consider to be the lowest-priced fresh grilled Tilapia on Guam for just $5.95!

We were intrigued by this cuisine mix since we'd heard about the Island Grill in December - word of mouth has been spreading quickly. We went for dinner, waiting until after 7pm for the traffic to dissipate (they are open from 10am to 10pm daily), as well as for the road construction activity to cease. Believe me, this drive will be a breeze once the road improvement is completed in June. The exterior of Island Grill is decorated with green bamboo, giving it a hut-like islandy appeal. The interior is warm, simple, and smoke free - something that I believe is crucial to allow your taste buds to work without noxious obstructions. Cozy tables and wicker seats will let 60 people eat and while enjoying a blend of upbeat island latino music. There's definitely an ethnic charm about this place that pays tribute to one of the greatest cultural experiences - food!

Our dining emphasis was Mexican, and we started with Chips & Salsa ($3). Made fresh daily, these come with two salsas, a red mild and a green hot, both fantastic. The chips are thick, crispy, and tasty, even without salsa. The red salsa has all the flavors of sweet tomatoes, fragrant cilantro, crisp green onion, and spicy jalapeno - a well blended, vegetable mix that screams its freshness. The green chili (Salsa Verde) is made with grilled tomatillos blended with hot green chilis. The tomatillo is native to Mexico and was used by the is called a husk tomato, and has a Chinese-lantern appearance. They are a taste experience when grilled, giving off a smokey, intoxicating flavor that stands alone. You get the best of both worlds when blending the red and green on a chip - just try it!

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Muy Bueno!

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