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May 28, 2004, Volume 4 Number 22


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The island of Guam has a rich history of legends, some fictional and others real though possibly embellished with time. Although much of our history has been passed down through written records, some has been captured on film as well as in music, and we must not forget the most elaborate means of recounting a great event or an important personality, the oral tradition. We are fortunate when we become a part of history in the making and can proudly tell our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren that "we were there when it happened!"

So, for those who missed last Saturday night's performance honoring the Pago Bay Reefers' departing banjo player, Dr. Steve Amesbury, Director of the UOG Marine Lab, who is leaving Guam, I can proudly say that "we were there at Jeff's Pirates' Cove to hear him pick his strings!" The Pago Bay Reefers are an exceptionally talented group of musicians who play for the love of the art; regularly performing on Thursday nights at Le Tasi Bistro. This was a special occasion and many who attended were delighted to once again be able to spend an evening at Jeff's which stayed open until after 10pm! (They've been closing at 6pm for the past 3 years.) Jeff's is a great place for lunch or an early dinner with local BBQ plates, their signature Handmade Homemade Double Cheddar Cheeseburgers, steaks, and seafood. They are also the only place on island where you can get Greek food with Greek Salads, Gyros, and Baba Ghanoush.

I was astonished (and reminded of the swift passage of time!) to learn that Jeff's will be celebrating their 25th anniversary next month. You have to give it up to Jeff's Pirates' Cove and appreciate that there is no other place in the world like it. With its museum devoted to Yokoi it has a mythology of its own. There is also a fascinating array of pirate paraphernalia, maritime artifacts, T-shirts, Micronesian carvings and souvenirs. Stay tuned for information about special events commemorating Jeff's silver anniversary. Jeff Pleadwell acquired The Cove in 1979, though it had been open for well over a decade prior, perhaps longer. We celebrate our legends, both past and present, in our speeches, our thoughts, our songs, and especially with our food. Ever hear about the story of 'the food guy?" Well, he ate his way to fame! What's your legend?

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • GuamDiner.com's Sister Site Launches in the Aloha State
  • The Great SPAM Cook-Off Island Style IV - Round 1 May 29
  • Taste of the Marianas - CNMI Taga Chef Competition May 29
  • Around the Island - King's New Menu, Chef's Cup Party, Manhattan Happy Hour
  • Adventures in Bali V - Taman Burung Bali Bird Park
  • The Mermaid Tavern at The Great Deep Brewing Company - Excellent Beer & Food

GuamDiner.com's Sister Site Launches in the Aloha State

The long awaited advent of HawaiiDiner.com has occurred. This sister site to GuamDiner.com was under development for what seemed like an eternity but we are delighted to report that it is up and running. While there are still some gaps in the restaurant data from the outer islands, these are being filled in on a daily basis, and will be complete by early June. Tell all of your friends in Hawaii and we hope you'll use the site when planning a trip to the Land of Aloha! You can also subscribe to the HawaiiDiner.com email newsletter which is currently being sent on a bi-weekly basis.

The Great SPAM Cook-Off Island Style IV - Round 1 May 29

Come enjoy the fun and taste the creative and unique SPAM dishes that will be part of this Saturday's Great SPAM Cook-Off Island Style IV. The competition starts at 2pm at the Micronesia Mall. There may still be time to enter Round 2 of the competition which will be held next Saturday, June 5. For more information, call 649-7706.

Taste of the Marianas - CNMI Taga Chef Competition May 29

If you plan on being in Saipan this Saturday, you may want to stop by the Taste of the Marianas Food Festival and Beer Garden in Garapan. This weekend's festivities will feature the CNMI Taga Chef competition with contestants from several hotel and restaurant establishments vying for top honors. To increase the entertainment factor, they have adopted a format similar to that of the popular "Iron Chef" show on the FoodTV network. This should be a lot of fun for both the participants and the spectators.

Around the Island - King's New Menu, Chef's Cup Party, Manhattan Happy Hour

King's has recently introduced some exciting new menu items that are sure to be "hugely" popular - with an emphasis on "huge!" Featured on the new Lunch Specials Menu (Mon- Fri from 11am "til it's gone") is a Light Wrap ($5.99) that has to be the biggest wrap sold on island. It's chockful of tasty fresh ingredients; including sliced turkey, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, cheddar cheese and bacon all blended with a creamy ranch dressing and wrapped in a flour tortilla. It comes with your choice of a fruit bowl or soup. We shared one of these the other day and were duly impressed with both quality and quantity. We also tried a sample of the new Lunch Kabob ($6.99), which is two marinated beef kabobs served with garlic bread, vegetable of the day and a choice of rice, fries, or mashed potatoes and gravy. Other new menu additions are a Turkey Croissant Sandwich ($5.99), Ham Hocks & Mongo Beans and two other local favorites, Beef Shank Soup and Kadon Pika with all these costing $6.75. There are also BBQ Short Ribs and a BBQ Rib Lunch both at $7.99. New Breakfast items include Eggs Benedict with Browns for $3.99 as well as Denver, Combination, and Bacon Cheese Burger Scrambles for the same price. Dinner specials have been launched as well. You can see all of these great new value-priced entrees on King's colorful new menus that show off these specials in vividly appetizing pictures.

Chefs and media personalities were honored this past Monday at an appreciation party hosted at the residence of Jerry and Charo Calvo. The chefs and media folk were part of the University of Guam Endowment Foundation's gala fund-raising event, "A Taste of Guam", the 3rd Annual Chefs' Cup Competition held at the Hyatt Regency on April 30. Each chef was presented with a framed caricature. Delicious local food served fiesta-style, music by Caliente, and a comedy routine were part of the evening's festivities.

Every few weeks we just need to mention again the great job Jeff Hill, Executive Chef at SandCastle, is doing with the lavish buffets that make Thursday Night Happy Hour at Manhattan a "must do" for so many people. This week he explores Cuba and dishes from the Caribbean. The party begins at 6pm and don't forget your fashionable attire!

Adventures in Bali V - Taman Burung Bali Bird Park

A must-see and do activity that's perfect for the whole family is a trip to the Taman Burung Bali Bird Park, located along the scenic road through Batubulan in Singapadu, which happens to be the road most traveled by tourists travelling from Denpasar to Ubud. Home to over 1000 birds, Bali Bird Park is an amazing place where one can observe extremely rare and intriguing birds comprising over 200 different species! The Park has a serene, natural setting, complete with lakes, ponds, a large walk-through aviary with a foot bridge that takes you on a journey through a bird-filled jungle

Upon our arrival, our Continental-sponsored group was greeted by several birds who "talked" to us in different languages. We saw many types of birds and were even able to touch and hold some of them. I noticed that the birds have a particular fondness for baseball type caps, since when they are on your head they like to nibble at the button at the top of the hat! Among the birds we saw were giant Hyacinth Macaws of the most spectacular indigo blue color, tiny parrots known as Hanging Parrots, Australian Cockatoos, Indian Blue Peafowl, Tanzanian Flamingos, Chinese Mandarin Ducks, African Guinea Fowl, Hornbills, Birds of Paradise, Victoria Crowned Pigeons, South American Amazon Parrots, and the big, strong Cassowaries, which are birds rarely seen outside their natural habitat in the Irian Jaya region of Indonesia.

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The Mermaid Tavern at The Great Deep Brewing Company - Excellent Beer & Food

You've probably heard the saying that "big surprises come in small packages", right? Well, this saying holds true for what could potentially become another landmark establishment in the village of Hagatna, and that is The Mermaid Tavern at the Great Deep Brewing Company in the GCIC Bldg. Arcade. Located just a few steps down the hall from the military recruiting offices, The Mermaid Tavern is a refreshing change from all other pubs that serve beer and food for several reasons. First, it is a Smoke Free environment. This fact alone makes it an exception. Second, it serves a selection of quality, Locally-Brewed fresh beer, placing it above nearly all the rest, with the only exception being Tumon's Mac & Marti, which sells beers created by the very same brew masters, The Great Deep Brewing Company, proprietors of The Mermaid Tavern. A third reason, is the fact that The Mermaid Tavern serves a unique menu of excellent fare you just can't get anywhere else in Micronesia or the rest of the Western Pacific. It is a menu of superb salads, fantastic burgers (the Hot Chili Burger is not what you'd think it is since it uses sliced green Ortega chiles and not the red chili sauce laden with beans), Homemade Southern Gumbo, and a family of Famous Po Boys, which are the Southern version of sub sandwiches.

At this writing, The Mermaid Tavern is only open for dinner, however, lunch service is on the radar for the owners, Rick Wood and Todd Inman. Both work at the University of Guam; Rick as a chemist with WERI and Todd as UOG's Housing Director. We first wrote about these gentlemen and their beers in a 2002 issue of our newsletter when they first offered their locally-brewed beers at Le Tasi Bistro. The Great Deep Brewing Company has perfected 6 brews and serves them on tap at various times. The beers (some of which have local names, origination histories and ingredient blends detailed on their beer menu) are Knapstein Pilzen Ale, Sirena Pale Ale, Dos Amantes Irish Red Ale, Man Hita Scottish Ale, Maga'lahi Dry Stout, and MCD Oatmeal Stout - their strongest brew named after Marine Corps Drive (with a grateful nod to Staff Sergeant Flick, a Marine Recruiter, who was one of their first customers and thus adhering to the "good neighbor policy" that is a tradition on Guam!).

The Mermaid Tavern is not just a pub with a bar, it is a comfortable, lounge (small, but adequate), that has a soothing ambiance created by soft lighting, strong wood tones, sophisticated music (Astrid Gilberto's appealingly melodic voice was heard singing a nostalgic love song in the background), and arguably the region's most extensive collection of "mermaid" art - something you just don't see everyday. But let's get down to the business of food...good food, the reason for my existence!

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Bon Appetit!

Don't miss this week's features at GuamDiner.com!

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www.guamdiner.com

www.k57.com

www.guam.net

www.guamcell.net

www.mymicronesia.com

www.guam-online.com

Copyright 2004 Guam Diner