July 9, 2004, Volume 4 Number 28
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Have you ever wondered why some restaurants are bursting at the seams with customers while others are nearly empty? Do you think having a waiting list is a reflection of the quality of a restaurant's food, pricing, or ambiance? Why do people rush to restaurants that don't take reservations? How long does it take you to get over a bad dining experience at a restaurant? What is it about your favorite restaurant that earns your frequent patronage in spite of shortcomings that repel you from others? What places do you absolutely refuse to eat at and why? What are the deciding factors for choosing a dining destination? These are certainly questions worth pondering, especially if you own a restaurant. It all boils down to one thing - "personal preferences."
Believe it or not, restaurants have to do what every elected official has to do, and that's "win your vote!" They have to campaign - this could be advertising. They have to, in essence "shake your hand", and make you feel welcome as a customer. Having the chef, manager, or owner walk through the dining room to greet customers or check on them gets high marks on preference lists. Interestingly enough, though quality of food is important, many people base decisions on whether to return or not on how good they feel at an establishment.
My question to you as a customer (voter) is: Are you always honest when asked by your server "Is everything OK?"? Think about it. Many people, especially when sitting in a group, don't want to complain so they tend to accept things they don't really like. This is unfortunate, since restaurants need feedback and complaints are the best way to fix things. If there are enough unvoiced, and therefore unknown, complaints a restaurant can face the unpleasant option of going out of business. If your meat isn't done the way you wanted it, if the gravy tastes like glue, if the vegetables are soggy, if your fork is dirty or your bread is stale - tell them! Do it politely without making a scene. The better restaurants, like good politicians, will thank you and do something about it. That's how they'll continue to earn your vote and your hard-earned dollars.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Cold Stone Creamery Opens this Weekend with Ice Cream & Charity
- Sam Choy's, GameWorks & UnderWater World 5th Year Highlights Local Management
- Around the Island - Roy's Does Lobster, Curry Kebab, Denny's & Local Eggplant
- Directions' 2004 Banquet Guide - June Issue Features GFG and More
- La Brasserie's Daily Lunch Buffets - Where Fresh Means Best!
Cold Stone Creamery Opens this Weekend with Ice Cream & Charity
This weekend promises to be an exciting one for ice cream lovers. Did you know that you'll soon be able to enjoy a super premium ice cream made fresh with mix-in ingredients you select? What a splendid way to indulge one's passion - "You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!" Yes, Cold Stone Creamery, that famous national brand, opens a local franchise at GPO this coming Saturday, July 10 at 11am. Customers can customize their favorite ice cream flavors with over 30 ingredients, including fruits, brownies, cookies, nuts, pie fillings, and candies. Your ice cream and mix-ins are blended fresh on a long cold granite stone kept at a chilly 16 degrees while you wait. Cold Store Creamery (649-4800) is located just outside the GPO Food Court, and will be open on Sundays through Thursdays from 11am until 10pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays, from 11am until midnight!
As an opening event, Cold Stone will host a Charity Day on Sunday, July 11, to benefit the American Cancer Society with 50% of the day's sales going to the local ACS chapter. Volunteers from the ACS will pass out prizes to people who buy ice cream, and there will be entertainment for the whole family, including clowns, face painters, and balloons. There's nothing to compare with fresh made ice cream, and once you have a Cold Stone blend, you'll become an addict!
Sam Choy's, GameWorks & UnderWater World 5th Year Highlights Local Management
The Comete Group, consisting of Sam Choy's, Game Works, and UnderWater World, held its Fifth Year Anniversary Ceremony at Sam Choy's on July 3 with local officials and dignitaries in attendance. A resonating theme in the speeches was an acknowledgement of how these businesses support, develop, and hire locals on their management teams. Local government leaders including Gov. Felix Camacho, first lady Joann Camacho, Tamuning Mayor Connie Duenas, Sens. Mark Forbes & John Quinata, and GHRA President & GVB Chairman, Dave Tydingco attended the event.
Frank Toves heads up the Sam Choy's team as General Manager and he is joined by an outstanding performer, Greg Rosario, who has risen through the ranks to become Sam Choy's Operations Manager. Executive Chef Peter Duenas (in photo with Gov. Camacho) leads a dynamic culinary team with Sous Chef John Fernandez and Pastry Chef, Maggie Flores. The enthusiastic James Castro, who emceed the event, is the Group Sales Manager for GameWorks. Although he wasn't born on Guam, overall Director of the Comete group, Roland Boudreau, was locally hired after many successful years on Guam at Hy's Steakhouse and Roy's Restaurant. We applaud these businesses for their success and commitment to creating employment and career opportunities for the people of Guam.
Around the Island - Roy's Does Lobster, Curry Kebab, Denny's & Local Eggplant
Do you love lobster? Then you won't want to miss the special Maine Lobster Set Menu offered at Roy's during July and August. Chef Eddie is preparing a choice of 3 lobster entrees (grilled, steamed and thermidor) as part of this special event. You can have your lobster paired with wine for $100 per person or for $85 without wine (10% service charge will be added). You will also enjoy a magnificent Roy's appetizer and finish off the meal with a luscious creme brulee. Hummm, maybe you should try all three versions - just a thought! Call for reservations 646-DINE(3463).
If you haven't been to the Curry Kebab in Tamuning (located across from AK on Marine Drive), then you're missing out on a fabulous gastronomic adventure. The Curry Kebab offers an extensive array of dishes, including vegetarian, lamb, beef, chicken, and seafood entrees as well as a family of Naan breads, Paratha, and Chappati (unleavened fresh tawa bread). I recently had the Bombay Grilled Prawns ($16.95), which are fresh jumbo prawns marinated with herbs, spices and yogurt, then grilled in the tandoor oven. These were marvelous, as was the fluffy saffron rice, pickled vegetable slaw accompanying the prawns, and fresh cilantro-embedded Naan bread. I had a refreshing Strawberry Lassi (a homemade yogurt shake with fresh strawberries - you can also get a Mango, Rose, or Pineapple Lassi), and a savory Spinach Omelet. The Curry Kebab has daily lunch specials, too. The a la carte dinner menu offers the full range of the Curry Kebab's flavorful, spiced creations. Call 649-4151 for more information.
In another promising use of local produce, Denny's of Guam has recently launched Local Eggplant Breakfasts. Among these is an Eggplant Omelette and Tapa, as well an Eggplant Omelette with Bangus (milkfish), both for $7.45. You can have a combination of Tapa and Bangus with the Omelette for $9.45, and if you want just the Eggplant Omelette alone, it will cost $6.25.
Directions' 2004 Banquet Guide - June Issue Features GFG and More
Whoops, they've done it again! The just released June issue of DIRECTIONS MAGAZINE (with local attorney and investor, Roger Crouthamel gracing the cover) has created yet another astonishing caricature of the Guam Food Guy. I am frankly flattered by this latest impression, created by Romeo Carlos, who hadn't actually met me in person until just the other day. Inspired by our "real life" encounter, he promised me that his future renderings of me will have so much energy in them they'll glow in the dark. I'm sure he'll forgive my extravagant praise of his awesome talent!
If you are planning on holding a special event or occasion, the Directions Banquet Guide is a valuable resource to help you in choosing the right venue. Also, read about Subway's, Marcos Fong, and Gloria Cruz Cavanagh, GM of Guam International Country Club, who are both profiled in this issue, as well as insightful articles on wireless technologies, deal making, and a hopeful outlook for Guam's beleaguered insurance companies. Get your copy now and tell me if you think I make a "pretty picture!"
La Brasserie's Daily Lunch Buffets - Where Fresh Means Best!
In what certainly qualifies as one of the island's "best kept secrets," the Holiday Inn Resort Guam's La Brasserie offers diners five (one for each work day!) fresh market lunch buffets, each uniquely enticing, with three of them having a build-your-own meal feature. Most amazingly, they are all value-priced at $9 plus a 10% service charge!
From 11am until 2pm, the weekday line-up includes: Low Carb Monday, Mongolian BBQ Tuesday, Vietnamese Wednesday, Thailand Thursday, and Filipino Friday. For the purposes of this review, I sampled the Mongolian BBQ, the Vietnamese, and Thai buffets, and based my recommendations on the exceptional quality of these all-you-can eat lunch specials, since I don't think anyone else offers diners a comparable selection of fresh vegetables and meats.
La Brasserie has a palatial ambiance, with a pleasing decor and ocean views, and enough space in its dining room to accommodate small to medium-sized groups. The single/double party window-side tables are my favorite spot since the view of Tumon releases my mind from office pressures and the daily work grind. The restaurant is located on the Lobby level of the Holiday Inn, which features a small but impressive exhibit of Guam's History and Culture. Take time to walk through this thought-provoking display when you visit.
The most compelling aspect of these buffets is the selection of fresh vegetables and meats, especially in the Mongolian and Thai buffets, which also include a variety of dipping sauces and condiments you don't find at other restaurants. Among these veggies are fresh eggplant, bok choy, green cabbage, zucchini, red onion, green onion, celery, white cabbage, broccoli, bean sprouts, baby corn, cauliflower, and bean sprouts. (This alone is a treasure trove for vegetarians!) For Mongolian BBQ, the meats include pork, shrimp, chicken, beef (Certified Angus), and squid. All of these ingredients are attractively lined atop a garden-like display. You decide on the portions you want and then choose from the condiment sauce selection, which includes soy sauce, roasted garlic oil, honey, chili oil, ginger water, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ginger oil, sugar water, oyster sauce and fish sauce! (As I said, you don't get this much at other Mongolian BBQ offerings.)
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