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December 24, 2004, Volume 4 Number 52

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

If I had to choose an image that has consistently represented the island's Christmas spirit, it would be the Holiday Express Train in the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Main Lobby. This exhibit has captured the attention and imagination of thousands of people, both visitors and residents alike, who all seem to somehow connect with the elaborate winter wonderland that's been created that features miniature trains that move through their rail network. The display is sponsored by many of the island's leading businesses, with each having an opportunity to post their logo or company banner on individual train cars, on floating balloons that are suspended above, on vehicles located on miniature streets and roads, bridges, and buildings.

While we don't have snow on our island paradise, we still can escape to a fantasy land that has snow-dusted pine trees, chalets, tunnels, and little towns where people scurry about in preparation for the Christmas holidays. While it's easy to get caught up in the frenzied, crowded shopping activities for which this time is notorious, we sometimes overlook the simple basic reason for why we celebrate Christmas, which was the arrival of a special child born in adverse conditions in a contentious part of the world. Let's not lose sight of the wonderful gift we all received that day so many centuries ago.

We need to pray for all of those who are currently deployed fighting the hard battle, and offer our condolences to the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives while loyally performing their duty to their country. It's not an easy Christmas, but it is still Christmas, and we should remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made to save mankind. Let's take time to reflect, to forgive, and to love others this Christmas season, and not just spend our time buying gifts and going to parties. When you encounter someone and offer them a Merry Christmas greeting, make it a point to look in their eyes with a smile on your face and sincerity in your heart, and say, "Merry Christmas"!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

Christmas Specials - Le Tasi Bistro, La Brasserie, Marriott & Palace Chinese

It's not too late to make reservations for Le Tasi Bistro's annual Christmas Eve French Dinner. With a wonderful menu starting with a Salmon Pate and ending with the traditional Christmas cake of Buche de Noel, for $32 you won't find a better Christmas meal anywhere on island. Call 472-7877 for reservations.

La Brasserie in the Holiday Inn Resort Guam is hosting one of its renowned Christmas buffets on Christmas Day. In addition to their famous buffet spread, families will enjoy the soothing sounds of Jesse & Ruby and the children can delight in a visit from Santa Claus. Jingles the Clown will be entertaining the kids as well with face painting and balloons in the Kids' Corner. Reservations can be made by calling 647-7272 ext 213/214.

The Marriott Cafe will offer both brunch or dinner buffets on Christmas Day. Both will feature a vast seafood spread as well as all of the traditional Christmas foods from Roast Turkey to Ham. Don't forget to check out the amazing Dessert table as well! And, Santa will be making a surprise visit during Brunch. Reservations can be made by calling 648-1610.

For a quietly elegant Christmas Dinner, you can't go wrong at the Manhattan Steakhouse in the Marriott Guam Resort. Select from the a la carte menu or the special set menu created just for the holidays. Dinner will be served Christmas Day from 6pm to 10pm and reservations can be made by calling 648-1410.

For some of us, it just isn't Christmas without a lavish Chinese buffet and the Palace Chinese Restaurant will be serving up both lunch and dinner buffets on Christmas Day. At $16.95 for adults and $8.50 for children ages 9 to 11 (kids 8 and under eat free) this is one of the best Christmas dining out values on the island even after the customary 10% service charge.

Master Chef Fujigaya's Splendid Appetizer Plate

I recently attended the Christmas party for Pacific Wines & Spirits at the Feeregalo Italian Restaurant at the Leo Palace's Hotel Belvedere. We were honored to be the recipients of a menu created by Master Chef Fujigaya. Although we had a splendid 5-course dinner, it was the appetizer Fujigaya served that left the greatest impression on all the guests. Fujigaya outdid himself by creating nine (9) separate mini-appetizers and placing them on a Japanese opaque glass tray. Fujigaya's appetizer creations were as beautifully elaborate as they were flavorful, and included combinations of cheese, crab, smoked salmon, melon, cherry tomato, beef, scallop, fresh water baby shrimp, shrimp wraps, and a miniature okonomiyaki. It was such a hit amongst the guests that people wanted to get their pictures taken with the appetizer plate! Another pairing he made was using lobster and sliced turkey with gravy. Sounds unusual but was quite delicious!

"A Brief Glimpse into Guam's History" - Guam Museum at Micronesia Mall

If you've not yet seen the Guam Museum exhibit in the Micronesia Mall, then you should make it a point to spend a little time touring this fascinating place that's filled with historical significance all pertaining to Guam. You can see the old Underwood typewriters, box cameras, rotary telephones, and other interesting antiquities that were part of the island's modernization back in the mid-twentieth century around the time when the Organic Act was created (and probably typed with!).

There's a neat exhibit on the Japanese WWII straggler, Sgt. Yoichi Yokoi. There are displays describing the Spanish period, village life, ancient Chamorro history, and early American periods.You will find a variety of weapons such as rifles, swords, and slings, as well as fishing nets, spears, and cookware, even Spanish steel helmets!. All in all, it's something the entire family should enjoy and admission is free. Check this out and get a better sense of what's happened in Guam's past. I'm sure there's something there waiting to be learned!

Around the Island - Lone Star Fills for Lunch, Lee Garden Chef Recommends

Every now and then I get a craving for a great cup of Lone Star's Chili, which has a huge jalapeno sticking up through the melting shredded cheese. I even kick it up a few notches by adding some Terlingua hot sauce. The chili usually jump starts my appetite, but this day I was hungrier than usual and Jon, my server, made the daily special, Cajun Mahi with a Tropical Rum Sauce($10.25), sound quite appealing. However, the dish that had been fixed in my mind was the Steak Sandwich (7 oz. Delmonico Steak - $11.29). I ordered both with the thought of tasting them and taking the leftovers home. As a side for the lunch steak sandwich, I selected the steamed vegetables, which have always been cooked and seasoned just right. With the Mahi, I had a Sweet Potato with fixings in ramekins. While I liked the soft sweetness of the Mahi, which was quite tender and flaky, I was really delighted with my steak sandwich. The meat was tender and the marbling gave it really great flavoring. The toasted onion bun, with the pickles, onion, and lettuce accessorized this steak nicely. I didn't particularly care for my tomato slice, which is just a hard thing to get right know out here in the tropics. For a quick lunch and lots of food for the money you spend, you can't go wrong at Lone Star Steakhouse.

Lee Garden is Dededo's only Chinese restaurant. I was there recently and had a fried tofu dish (Salt & Pepper Tofu) that I thought was pretty good - it was something Leslie, the manager, wanted me to try. It was light, not greasy, but pretty flavorful when eaten with pieces of fried garlic and pepper. Lee Garden's menu has some Chef Recommendations that I thought I could share. One that I had was the Lapu Lapu Fillet with Chop Suey ($9). You'd be surprised by the amount of fish this comes with. You can also order the Lapu Lapu (it's braised) with broccoli for the same price, as well as Shrimp with Lobster Sauce or Shredded Squab Chicken with Lettuce. For $7.50 the Chef recommends Sesame Pork (Sweet, Sour & Spicy), or Stir-fried Combination of Bean Curd, Shredded Pork, and Vegetables (Spicy), Lemon Chicken, or Onion Pork Adobo (spicy).

Yoga - A Long Time Practitioner of this Ancient Discipline Shares Her Thoughts

In our ongoing efforts to bring emphasis to improved lifestyles with an emphasis on well-being, I asked Linda Frank, a friend who has practiced yoga for many years, to share with our readers what she finds so appealing about this ancient form of exercise and mental discipline. I was delighted to read the article she sent as it had the effect of relaxing me just by reading it! I think you will enjoy it as well.

Read Linda's article

Iki Japanese - Escape to Where Two Chefs Quietly Create Culinary Surprises

The old maxim, "build it and they will come", certainly applies to the Leo Palace and its assortment of entertainment, sports, and dining facilities, most of which are "world class". Everyone who has made the drive (no more than 25 minutes) from Tumon to the Leo Palace's Hotel Belvedere has been astonished by the sheer magnitude and beauty of this complex located in the center of the island. What I find remarkable about the resort is the emphasis on quality and detail, from the design aesthetics of the hotel lobby and large windows, to the composition of the Bento box at the Japanese restaurant Iki. What most local residents don't know is that they can enjoy an elaborate, but affordable Japanese lunch at this paradise escape. I use the word "escape" because that's what you have to do to get away from the ordinary, and in the case of Iki's Shokado Bento Box ($15), you will soon discover the difference between ordinary and exceptional.

Currently, in what is a clear invitation to preview the fine dining outlets at the Leo Palace, guests can take advantage of the "Biz" Lunch Special at the Iki (and other restaurants), which offers a set menu for $12, an offer which expires at the end of the year. The Iki Japanese Restaurant has a sushi bar that is only open during dinner hours, however, Iki's two chefs, Masanori Murase (right), and Mitsugu Soga (left), manage to prepare a decent sushi selection for the lunch menu along with other lunch entrees that will both impress and satisfy.

My companion and I ordered from the a la carte lunch menu, with him choosing the Chilled Udon Noodle with Tempura ($10) and I ordered the Shokado Bento Box. Named after the monk, Shokado Shojo, who was also a painter in the early Edo period in Japan, this bento box style was modeled after the partitioned paint boxes he used. Usually the food that is served in the bento boxes will vary with the season and the occasion. I soon discovered that Chef Soga's intent and desire is to create new and unusual foods to comprise the Shokado Bento Box, which are artistically compelling as well as good tasting. Excluding the bowl of miso soup, there were six separate dishes, with one being sashimi. The menu describes this entree as having a grilled dish, deep fried dish, boiled dish, along with the sashimi, soup, and steamed rice. The fried dish was a vegetable kakiage (tempura, onion, carrot, and spring onion). The grilled dish had two pieces of unagi (eel) sandwiching a seasoned bean curd blend. The boiled dish had vegetables, a rolled fish, dumpling, and fish cake in a broth. The salad had a very rich Japanese miso dressing. The serving dishes for each item in the bento box were distinctly different, indicative that great care was taken in their selection and placement. It was an inspired presentation and certainly a compliment to the diner.

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