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February 20, 2004, Volume 4 Number 8

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

"Where's your favorite restaurant?" If there's a number one FAQ (frequently asked question) for the GFG, it's gotta be that one, and with good reason. After all, people want to go to a place that's passed the reviewer's scrutiny with flying colors and has been accorded that coveted "two thumbs" up approval status. I don't have a favorite restaurant per se, though I do have preferences for ordering certain dishes at restaurants with varying cuisine styles.

Truth be told, I like to eat in casual settings where the focus is on the food, usually when it's owner-operated by the chef and his/her family. The moment of truth occurs when you take that first bite of a dish that excites you like "love at first sight", and your taste buds register the intense pleasure and gratification of an expectation fulfilled.

For me it's fresh lumpia dipped in a spicy hoisin-peanut sauce at Mary's, or the uniquely seasoned (ginger, scallions, pepper, bonito flakes,and soyu) Tofu Steak at Izakaya Katsu (the "Green Door"). How about a hot, toasted titiya loaded with fresh shrimp kelaguen laced with a few boonie peppers, which is just one of the local specialties at Y Kusina? Who can resist the seductive lure of Roy's signature Chocolate Souffle, or not praise Le Tasi Bistro's Baked Chicken with Roasted Potatoes served every Wednesday at lunch?

We all have special dishes we order repeatedly at the same restaurant - simply because that's what we came there for - they make the "best" version. How about trying something different and be a food explorer by ordering something you've never had before? My recent adventure at Thai Kitchen where I tried the Pineapple Curry with Shrimp was well rewarded and my horizons expanded by ordering a dish contrary to my normal tastes. Go to The Curry Kebab and select what appeals most to you after reading the entree's ingredients (the spice blends sell the food!). Keeping an open mind (and an open mouth) will help you to develop your culinary repertoire. Go ahead and embark on a mission to explore new food experiences. You'll be glad you did.

Bon appetit!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Meeting Wyland - New Mural Recalls Previous Airport Attraction
  • Rainbows & Robbie Webber Soccer Run/Race/Walk Set for March 6 at Mic Mall
  • Former Resident Makes Big Impact with Las Vegas F & B Magazine
  • Around the Island: Michelle's Coffee Shop Opens, Denny's, Stanlee's
  • Bistro Weekly Lunch Specials - Affordable Elegance Takes Care of Business

Meeting Wyland - New Mural Recalls Previous Airport Attraction

The magnificent ocean life mural recently created by renowned marine artist Wyland will probably become the airport's claim to fame for years if not decades to come. After all, it embodies and celebrates the essence of our most valuable resource, the ocean surrounding our island. After attending the ceremony where Wyland presented his gift to Guam, I waxed nostalgic and reflected on how much our airport has changed over the years, and I thought about that other attraction that used to grace our airport - the Pacific Blue Marlin caught by Greg Perez in the 60's. If memory serves me correctly, Perez once held the world record for this thousand pound-plus trophy, which was originally mounted in the old Pan Am terminal, then transferred to the new expanded terminal in the early 80's. I don't know where that Marlin is today, but it sure did draw a lot of attention, with tourists taking photos and gasping in amazement at its size and beauty. Perez's legacy endures, with the old Agana Boat Basin being renamed the Gregorio Perez Marina in his honor. I was privileged to have met Mr. Perez and to hear him relate fishing adventures. Meeting Wyland and hearing him express his philosophy on preserving marine life and on cultivating marine awareness, especially for our children, created a magical bridge between my memory of airports past and a local fishing legend, and Wyland's stunning art gift to Guam. Thanks to both of these men for sharing their love of the sea. May we honor their commitment by our future actions.

Rainbows & Robbie Webber Soccer Run/Race/Walk Set for March 6 at Mic Mall

"SUNBEAMS, SUPERSTARS, AND OUR CHILDREN" is the theme of this year's Rainbows for All Children-Guam and Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League Annual Run/Race/Walk event to be held on Saturday, March 6 at the Micronesia Mall, from 6am to 9am. Pre-Registration deadline is Friday, March 1 at Mark's Sporting Goods. The fee is $10 before the race, and $15 on race day. Sponsorship participation is welcome. Wonderful prizes await, including a chance to win a round-trip from Guam to the West Coast. For More information contact Marie Halloran 632-0257 or 637-4050; Mary Torres 477-0000 or 565-0006; Gloria Guerrero 472-2750 or 475-4503; Rosie Scambelluri 646-5046/48; Marie Benito 472-8978; Fred Robinson 789-3362; and Grace Taitano 735-5030.

Former Resident Makes Big Impact with Las Vegas F & B Magazine

J. Mike Fryer, former Guam resident who used to manage Denny's of Guam, is now the Managing Editor for Las Vegas Food & Beverage Magazine, a monthly trade publication for the hospitality industry. I recently received an issue of this impressive magazine that showcased restaurateurs, chefs, and vendors. There was a full page ad with Chef Sam Choy promoting Aloha Shoyu. Monthly features include News Bites, Coffee Chatter, Chef Profiles, Wine Workshop, Food & Beverage Director Profiles, Location Highlights, Hot off the Grill, and a Calendar of Events. Las Vegas is definitely booming. For more information about this magazine, write Kudos to Mike for his continuous pursuit of excellence in serving our industry.

Around the Island: Michelle's Coffee Shop Opens, Denny's, Stanlee's

Michelle's Coffee Shop, located next to Mama Tita's and Best Water & Ice in Mangilao, has just opened in the former Shirley's location. You can dine on American dishes, local favorites, and Chinese selections as well as enjoy Illy Coffee for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Take-out orders are welcome and can be made by calling 734-7722.

Denny's in Tamuning is closed temporarily for renovations. They should be re-opened before the end of February with an exciting new look!

Stanlee's is still open and serving terrific home-made "sangers" (Aussie-speak for sandwiches!) created from great deli meats on your choice of bread. Stanlee's Tumon location seems under siege with all the road work going on just in front of this Tumon landmark but devotees of these sangers know that the effort is well worth it. Stanlee's also has a good selection of mostly Australian wines, spirits, beer, and beverages, as well as cheeses, crackers, cookies, and candies that come from "the land down under" available for your eating pleasure.

Bistro Weekly Lunch Specials - Affordable Elegance Takes Care of Business

There are restaurants in Tumon, and then there is PIC's Bistro, which has to be Guam's penultimate business lunch destination. There is something about Bistro that appeals to business diners in much the same way and for the same reason certain Asian airlines and major hotels promote themselves on CNN. It has to do with service, quality, and value. There is a certain ambiance about the Bistro which may be attributed to confidence and experience. Bistro certainly has both, and with Chef de Cuisine Clayton Babas (one of Guam's most creative chefs) and his staff preparing three daily lunch specials each week, in addition to their standard lunch menu offerings, it is no wonder Bistro continues to draw business and other professionals to break bread over a Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimp or a Pan Fried File of Sole with Tequila Salsa.

Bistro's weekly lunch specials are priced at $12.95 (+10%) and include your choice of soup or salad and iced tea or coffee. The view and the atmosphere alone are worth the price with a gorgeous Tumon Bay vista showcased through glass walls. But the food will draw your attention from the moment you enter the oversized glass door that has Bistro's signature etched in a frosted bar and are welcomed by a smiling hostess or host who will lead you to the daily special display. Showcased on a large polished wood shelf, each of the three entrees are elegantly mounted on a glass platter with a white table napkin underliner. Small name placards announce each presentation, as well as the dessert selection. It is simple, yet elegant, a Bistro trademark.

After being seated at my table and acknowledging and greeting several acquaintances, I placed my beverage order. The Soup of the Day was Cream of Carrot, though I opted for the salad. Both are served with Bistro's famous biscuits, which have changed form but not substance from the original recipe. The three entree choices were a Lemongrass Beef with Pandan Rice, Crispy Fried Snapper with Banana Curry, and Japanese Seafood Spaghetti. I went for the Snapper.

The salad's mixed greens were cool and refreshing, and the thick ranch dressing I poured on had that homemade goodness. When the Snapper entree arrived, I marveled at the spicy aroma of the curried banana sauce that came with the two sizeable Snapper filets, partially covering one of the golden batter-fried pieces. This was going to be a treat, I said to myself, as I dug in for my first and telling bite. It was delicious! And so were the steamed miniature string beans and carrots. I had rice in lieu of mashed potatoes and used my lemon wedge to put a little citrus on my fish. As I ate I did encounter a few small bones. These were the only drawback to an otherwise perfectly satisfying dish. Rowena, my server, was always on top of things, and never intrusive. She even waited until I was through chewing before asking about my meal!

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Bon Appetit!

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