July 30, 2004, Volume 4 Number 31
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
The best thing about evolution is that it always gives us something to look forward to, and that applies to everything including food and restaurants. Some time ago I predicted that each year there will be about 20 to 30 new places to eat on the island. I may have been off in the actual numbers, however, we have seen a number of changes take place which include closures, management/ownership changes, re-openings, and new food concepts.
Among the newcomers are Michele's Coffee Shop, Yong's Kitchen, Lin's Vietnamese, Chao's Fast Food, Pacific Grill, The Mermaid Tavern, Sabai Dee, Bento Chef, Saigon Nights, The Brown Bag Cafe, China City, Cold Stone Creamery, Red Dragon Chinese, and one of the most recent openings in Tumon, the Hamakko Ramen Noodle Shop, which is so new they are still awaiting their telephone number! Tony Roma's just opened in the Agana Shopping Center, joining its sister restaurant, Capricciosa, which opened earlier this year. Uncle Bob's will soon open his new location in Anigua and there will be yet another new steak house/grill opening at the Agana Shopping Center later this year.
Among some of the closures are Mimi Ramen, Quizno's, Iron Chef, Thuy's Agat, Island Grill, Binh Minh, and Tengu, a small Japanese eatery located in Tumon's Blue Lagoon Center that was a choice spot for a few (but not enough) diners. The good news is that it will be replaced by another restaurant and that the Blue Lagoon will see two new eateries opening later this year, one being a Vietnamese restaurant and the other an expansion of the popular local Japanese noodle shop and restaurant, Aji Ichi.
We welcome the re-opening of such favorites as Hava Java Cafe in Hagatna and Okura's Yamazato Japanese Restaurant, which will certainly please teppanyaki lovers. There are no shortage of places to eat, and there are more still on the horizon. While this abundance of choices fares well for consumers, it really puts fire to feet of the operators who are constantly busy tweaking their menus to keep customers coming, offering more quality, better values, and innovative cooking. Isn't evolution great?
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Scrumptious Guam's Decadent Confections - Not for the Calorie-Adverse!
- About Vanilla - The Makers Of Silk Soy Nourish the Mind
- Pepe Provides a Complete Menu and Recipes for a Healthy BBQ
- Around the Island - Sakura's Kitchen, La Brasserie, Manhattan Taj Mahal Menu
- Cafe Kalachucha - New Daily Lunch Buffet Features "Grilled to Order" Goodness
Scrumptious Guam's Decadent Confections - Not for the Calorie-Adverse!
While at the Liberation Carnival, I happened by the mobile canteen which is home to Scrumptious Guam. I looked at the menu and saw a list of deep-fried food items, including Snickers Bars, Hostess Twinkies, Funnel Cakes, and Oreos. Although I read about this business in an article that described the high fat and cholesterol content that would surely clog an artery or two, there was a small group of people standing around with some waiting for their funnel cakes and other items.
The owner of Scrumptious Guam, Vangie Cruz-Quintanilla, started working on me, beating down my resistance by appealing to my sweet tooth (and my Food Guy curiosity). She served me a portion. The Oreos were dipped in a batter and deep fried. They looked like deep fried mushrooms or shrimp. After letting it cool for a minute, I took the first bite. It was a surprise! It reminded me of fresh baked brownies, and the molten chocolate gooey-ness pushed several "satisfaction" buttons in my mind. If you like Oreos, these will give you a "Born-Again Oreo" treat! I tasted a cherry sauce topped funnel cake which I found to be okay and I am holding off on the Twinkie until I get a doctor's permission slip. For those the adventurous, you can buy these and other Scrumptious Guam creations at the canteen which is parked outside the Hagatna Post Office, just down from Hava Java Cafe. For special orders, call her at 888-8233.
About Vanilla - The Makers Of Silk Soy Nourish the Mind
I am really impressed by the makers of Silk Soy Milk and how they provide interesting factual information on their milk cartons. The most recent "knowledge pill" I'd like to share with you is on the vanilla bean, which happens to be a fruit. Quoting Silksoy, "Vanilla was known to the ancient Aztecs as tlilxochitl or 'black flower.' (But don't ask us how to pronounce it.) The pod is actually the ripened fruit of an orchid species. Aztecs used it to flavor their famous chocolate drink cacahuatl or 'cacao water.' Eventually vanilla made its way to Europe where it was added to cocoa and enjoyed by the nobility. Thomas Jefferson once brought home 200 vanilla beans from France, much to the enjoyment of just about everybody ever since!" "Vanilla is quite expensive to produce, since it is the world's most labor-intensive crop. Although it was discovered in Mexico (1571), farmers couldn't grow it outside of Mexico until was artificially pollinated (1820). Today it is grown mainly in Tahiti and Madagascar, with the two most used varieties of vanilla being Bourbon and Tahitian." Learning something new is always fun, especially if by doing so you improve your health and well-being. Drinking a serving of Silk Vanilla Soymilk will give you 6.25 grams of soy protein. That's got to be a good thing especially since it is a non-dairy product with no cholesterol, eggs, or lactose. If you've not yet tried Silk, give it a try. I prefer Chocolate Silk, which satisfies my craving for Chocolate in a healthful, nutritious way.
Around the Island - Sakura's Kitchen, La Brasserie, Manhattan Taj Mahal Menu
Sakura's Kitchen, located in Upper Tumon next to Noritake, is one of those little hideaways that is often overlooked when people are looking for a Japanese destination. I ate there one night this week as I had a craving (those cravings are something else!) for what Sakura's does well - Katsu-don, a breaded pork cutlet with egg dish that's served on a bed of rice with stewed onions in broth. I also ordered my edamame (boiled soy beans - they put a lot of salt on theirs, so if you are salt-sensitive, tell them not to add salt), as well as a Spicy Tofu appetizer. The tofu dish was really flavorful with marinated onions in kim-chi sauce spicing up the bland soft tofu - it's a perfect complement. Sakura's Kitchen has a To Go Menu with 6 Set Menu offerings for $5.95 (Teriyaki Chicken, Spicy Teriyaki Chicken, Fried Chicken, Fish Fry, Beef Bowl and Chicken Curry (all of these served with rice and a mini-salad). There are some $6.95 Sets you can order (Pork Cutlet, Spicy Garlic Beef Bowl), and some $7.95 Sets (Shrimp Fry, Tempura ) as well as combinations (Shrimp Fry & Teriyaki and Grilled Mackerel & Karrage). Sakura's Kitchen (not to be confused with Sakura Noodle House) is open Monday - Friday 11-2 for lunch and 6-11 pm for dinner Monday - Saturday. You can call them at 647-1623.
La Brasserie in the Holiday Inn Resort has introduced a batch of new specials for both lunch and dinner. Those who've dined there recently give Sean Tweten (Executive Chef/F&B Director) high marks for giving the menu excellent direction with a strong focus on quality, fresh ingredients. Check out their many offerings including the Fresh Market Lunch Buffet series, which was featured in this recent review by Ken, evening buffets and the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch. You can reserve your table by calling 647-7272 ext 214.
Chef Jeff Hill never ceases to amaze us with his culinary talents and adventurous menus for the well-regarded Thursday night buffets at the Manhattan in the SandCastle. He outdoes himself with a spread suitable for an Indian Maharaja in this week's Taj Mahal Menu. You'll find Mulagatani Soup; Pakora (deep fried vegetable fritters); Saag Paneer (just go try it); two uniquely Indian desserts, Gulab Jamin (donuts with cardamon syrup) and Jalebies (the Indian version of funnel cakes) and many other amazing dishes. The eating starts at 6pm.
Pepe Provides a Complete Menu & Recipes for a Healthy BBQ
Pepe LaFlamme, director of NuForm Fitness, is on a mission to help all of us eat better and enjoy a lifestyle based around overall fitness from exercise to diet. These recipes prove that a great BBQ can be enjoyed without overloading on calories, salt and fat. Start off with a wonderfully flavorful Roasted Eggplant with Yogurt & Nuts Dip (made with locally grown eggplant!) served with whole wheat pita bread or whole wheat crackers. The main dish is delicious Sesame-crusted Fish & Chicken featuring citrus flavors and garnished with papayas and mangos. Marinade the fish and chicken overnight, grill in a foil pouch and garnish with tropical fruits - what could be tastier or healthier? Accompanying the main dish is Grilled Summer Squash (yellow squash and zucchini) and Baked Sweet Potato Wedges which will satisfy all of the carb-cravings out there.
Cafe Kalachucha - New Daily Lunch Buffet Features "Grilled to Order" Goodness
Just like some people ask the Food Guy for tips on where to go for great eats, I, too, go to food authorities for recommendations, and in the case of Westin's Cafe Kalachucha, I heard it straight from Chef Jhamnong Kraitong, "You've got to come down and try this new lunch buffet," he said. "It's a Market Place Style of cooking, with fresh meat marinated and grilled the way you like it." Knowing Jhamnong, it was a reliable endorsement and, as I discovered, certainly one worth sharing with you!
Cafe Kalachucha is a special getaway for many and even considered a treat. It's sprawling dining area is one of the island's largest, offering seating for small to large groups. It has a modern design with high ceilings and comfortable split-level seating, with potted trees and plants lending a relaxing naturalness to its ambiance. It is a classy place, with an understated elegance that is supported by attentive service (the servers are neatly dressed with long white aprons). It's hard for a tea glass to go empty at Cafe K.
Eating here is a straightforward process; after all, it is a buffet, and we on Guam are conditioned to fiestas which are pretty much a local version of a buffet. Cafe Kalachucha's buffet has several hot food cooking stations as well as appetizer, salad, and dessert lines. I started out with salad makings, smoked salmon, cold cuts of turkey and ham, tuna salad with potatoes, marinated shrimp, and vegetables. These were simple basics that were also quite good, however the real action starts at the meat buffet line, where sliced uncooked marinated chicken, pork and marlin were joined by snow crab pieces and jumbo prawns. While I was getting my appetizer plate, a large tour group came in and headed straight for the seafood - especially the prawns. Some guests piled 6-8 of these big boys on plates, carried them over to the hot griddles, where Eddie and Per were grilling. They somehow managed to keep the various orders separated while seeing that all the meats were cooked. A bit of oil heated up the griddle, fresh garlic was added and the heady aroma of sizzling food had people standing around (salivating, I'm sure!) in anticipation as they watched the meats grill.
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