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January 14, 2005, Volume 5 Number 2


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Who is Zolboo Enkhbayan? Did you know that he was recently visiting our island? As a matter of fact, Zolboo won the Gold medal in the 73 kg weight class in the Sixth Annual Pacific Open free style wrestling tournament held last week. Zoolboo was also honored with the Tom Schoen Memorial Award for Outstanding Wrestler.

Zoolboo is a high school junior attending the Brent International School in the Philippines, and was one of several wrestlers on teams from Japan, Korea, Saipan and the Philippines who were competing. Admittedly, I'm not a wrestling fan, however, it was my coincidental meeting with Zoolboo at Jan Z's last Sunday that truly brought home just how small a world we live in and how living on Guam has made it even smaller. Zoolboo is from Mongolia, and he is staying with his host family, the Rob Fishers, who live in Subic Bay. Rob Fisher (retired Navy) is a wrestling coach and his wife, Sue, owns a popular Italian restaurant called Montague's. They were introduced to me at Jan Z's by Father Rich Towers, the pastor at St. John's, and I later introduced them to Jan Z's manager, Bill Bradford, who, as I was soon to find out, has several acquaintances in common with the Fishers from his Navy duty days in Subic. (Front row: Fisher children, Sue Fisher; Second row: Zoolboo Enkhbayan, Father Towers, Bill Bradford; Rear: Rob Fisher)

What struck me about this chance meeting was how inter-connected we are, and how sometimes the death of someone we know can open the door to meeting new people. I met Father Rich when I was tasked to find a minister to deliver the eulogy for Chef Jeff Hill. Father Rich had actually been aboard (during a different time) the M.V. Doulos, the floating missionary bookship where Chef Jeff got his first lessons in the culinary arts when he was touring Asian countries. I was a friend of Tom Schoen, and knew him for over 25 years, so when Sue and Rob proudly told me about Zoolboo's award, I was awestruck by the coincidence.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Y Kusina & Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen Close this Week
  • Hilton's New Tropics BBQ Dinner Show is Hot Entertainment
  • Two Notable Art Events - Moe & Mae Cotton and Don Wallis's "WEAREONE" Show
  • New Specials - Le Tasi Bistro, Planet Hollywood Seafood, Curry Kebab $8.99 Lunch
  • Around the Island - Jan Z's Calimari, Veggilicious Opens, Pacific Grill OTT
  • Samurai Washin - Where a Warrior's Passion is His Kitchen

Y Kusina & Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen Close this Week

Last call, at least for a while, for two of Guam's most prominent Chamorro restaurants. Y Kusina will be serving it's final lunch meal on Saturday, January 15, as it closes down to relocate to the former Utage Restaurant at the Guam Palace Hotel in Tamuning. The move and renovation is expected to take about a month, so we should see an expanded Y Kusina in mid-February, when you be able to have both lunch and dinner service! Also, Josephine Cruz will be temporarily closing down Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen this Friday, January 14, for about 2 months while she takes her annual leave. So you better go stock up on some Kadu, ham hocks and beans, and kelaguen with titiyas!

Hilton's New Tropics BBQ Dinner Show is Hot Entertainment

The Hilton Guam Resort & Spa has just launched a brand new, power-packed Tropics BBQ Dinner Show at the Tree Bar. The live cultural show has comely dancers performing Polynesian dance routines as well as a breath-taking fire dance performance that's one of the best I've seen. The BBQ dinner buffet starts at 6pm and lasts until 8:30pm, with the show starting around 7pm and running about a half hour. The dinner show performs nightly except Tuesday.

The buffet has a very large fresh cooked spread of BBQ meats, sausages and seafood as well as an array of salads and appetizers plus fresh seafood, bread rolls and desserts. Although the food seems overwhelming, the dinner show really impresses, with a series of routines involving young women and men, dressed in colorful native costumes, with several featuring audience participation and interaction. The fire dancer does amazing things with his torch. These performers are genuinely enthusiastic and let their personalities shine. Their performances come across in a very natural, easy and fun way, with nothing trite nor artificial, as you may see in "canned performances". These dancers make and maintain eye contact and a connection with the audience through out the show, and at the end walk through the crowd to greet them and to have photos taken. This show is perfect for family entertainment and from what I witnessed, a truly memorable event which thoroughly entertained our visitors. For reservations call, 646-DINE.

Two Notable Art Events - Moe & Mae Cotton and Don Wallis's "WEAREONE" Show

Long-time residents Moe and Mae Cotton will be holding an exhibit of their art creations at the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency Arts and Culture Gallery at Two Lover's Point, with the grand opening set for Friday, January 14, from 5 to 8pm. Moe paints abstract art and Mae makes Japanese dolls. Proceeds from this exhibit fund-raiser will go to the Tsunami relief effort.

Don Wallis will be launching an exhibit of his original oil paintings on Friday, January 21 at the Infiniti Art Gallery in the Nissan Showroom in Upper Tumon, from 7 - 9:30pm. The theme of this exhibit is "WEAREONE", and reflects the artist's sense of world unity. Don is a graphic artist who has painted some compelling portraits and landscapes. Nineteen pieces of his work are featured in a virtual gallery at his website. The exhibit runs through February 3.

New Specials - Le Tasi Bistro, Planet Hollywood Seafood, Curry Kebab $8.99 Lunch

After a brief absence from the GuamDiner.com lunch specials listings, Le Tasi Bistro is back with a complete list of their daily lunch specials. This is one of the best lunches available on island featuring three courses of excellent food for just $10.50 with your choice of either a delectable soup (changes daily!) or salad, choice of one of three entrees and either ice cream or pastry for dessert. The menu is updated weekly so be sure to check back to see what's being offered. You can call them at 472-7877 for reservations or information.

Planet Hollywood always has something new to try and for a limited time you can feast on a wide range of original seafood dishes from Chef Chito Iglopas. The menu always features your choice either a merlot or chardonnay from La Crosse. Some of the featured dishes include: Seafood Thermidor, Seafood Paella and a Dark & White Chocolate Terrine for dessert. The Seafood Festival Special Set Menu is available for both lunch and dinner and is $45. Call 647-STAR (7827) for reservations.

We welcome our newest restaurant subscriber, The Curry Kebab, and are delighted to mention their $8.99 lunch special. Available Mon-Fri from 11am to 2:30pm you have a choice of main dish accompanied by no fewer than seven other items including Naan Bread and fresh fruit. If you haven't tried The Curry Kebab and their outstanding Indian Cuisine, now is the time to go. They are located in the Hafa Adai Exchange (across from AK Toyota with parking on the upper level of the Northwest Plaza) and you can call them at 649-4151.

Around the Island - Jan Z's Calimari, Veggilicious Opens, Pacific Grill OTT

Jan Z's has redesigned it's menu into an easier to read format that highlights its breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings. The menu has a map as well as photos of it's famous burger, French Dip, and sashimi boat. Everyone knows about Jan Z's "Appe-Teasers", or at least they should. The Blackened Sashimi comes with a tasty dill sauce and the smoked tuna is a treat. One of the House Specialties that I tried during my visit was the Calamari Rings, which are double-battered "In House" (egg and panko) and served with a zesty cocktail sauce. Talk about crisp and fresh! They give you a pile of these too - well worth the $7.50 price! Instead of having my usual burger or Grilled Fresh Catch, I had the Sirena Fish Sandwich ($8). I couldn't believe how big the yellowfin tuna plank was - had to be 6 ozs at least! This catch-of-the-day special sandwich can be grilled (as I had it) or golden fried, and comes on a sesame seed bun with lettuce and tomato. For reservations, take-out orders, or to book the dockside outdoor patio for a party, call 565-2814 or e-mail Bill .

The Energizer Bunny's got nothing on Fe Ovalles, that enthusiastic entrepreneur who has started many ventures, such as the Guam Marianas Training Center. Her most recent venture, Veggilicious Vegetarian Restaurant, located in the Chamorro Village, is a God-send. It is Guam's only Vegetarian restaurant specializing in local cuisine. I had a chance to sample brown red rice, vegetarian chicken kelaguen, "Bistek" Chamorro, and chalakiles - and I was amazed by how close they were to the meat versions of these local favorites. Also featured are Vegetarian Tinaktak, Tuna Sandwiches (made with "Tuno", that feels, smells, and tastes like tuna), Corned Beef, Salami, and Ham (featuring Wham), as well as a family of healthy beverages, such as fresh made carrot juice (which was awesome), apple, cucumber, and orange juices. Also, you can get Fruit Shakes (banana, mango, or mixed berries), and Silken Tofu or Soy Milk Smoothies. I believe that Fe has hit a gold mine with this latest eatery, since people are certainly becoming more health conscious. Her foods are healthy and still retain much of the original flavors that locals love. The kelaguen has fresh grated coconut, onions, and lemon, and really tastes "cleaner" (no animal fat or flavor). I think you'll be impressed even if you aren't a vegetarian. Call Fe or her staff, Jesse and Lucy at 477-VEGG (8344).

The OTT in the heading stands for "Over the Top" and Pacific Grill in Tumon should put warning labels on their menu that tell people to beware of the huge portions they serve. I recently tried to eat all of their BBQ Ribs, Chicken & Steak Combo ($21.99) and fell short, having to request "balutan" to take home. I didn't have an appetizer, but maybe had too much salad? For those on a low-sodium diet, you can request that they not add too much seasoning to the meats. Either way, it's a lot of food to eat!

Fast Wok Restaurant is located in the O.P. Plaza (Tamuning Pay-Less), just down from one of my favorite places, the Yakitori Grill. For those who don't know, they closed for a week's vacation and will be returning for business on January 17. This place has some of the tastiest and inexpensive specials such as Fried Chicken, Chicken Chopsuey, Fried Spare Ribs, Stir Fried Tofu, Chicken w/Black Bean Sauce, Fried Tilapia Fish, Salt & Pepper Chicken Wing, and Sweet & Sour Pork each for only $4.95. When they are open, call for take out at 647-8989

Samurai Washin - Where a Warrior's Passion is His Kitchen

If you've ever eaten in Japan at one of those quaint little Izakaya's where the chef/owner spends time in front of you preparing your dishes and chatting with you, then you'll really appreciate Samurai Washin, as this place has succeeded in replicating that special Japanese experience. Samurai Washin Restaurant is located in Tumon's Blue Lagoon Plaza, across the street from Stanlee's. It is probably the least known of all the eateries in this complex, and for the quality of the dining experience it provides, it is one of the best.

Chef/Owner Chikato Kawano, formerly the Japanese chef at the Fujita Hotel, opened Samurai Washin in September of last year. He has 22 years experience as a sushi chef, however, his a la carte menu has a diverse selection of appetizer-size foods to order far beyond the sushi/sashimi items he serves. Kawano posts his daily specials on signs outdoors and inside, however, I don't think enough people ever get close enough to his restaurant to even read these little signs. For this review, I was joined by Devin who was delighted to "return to Japan" at Samurai Washin. We were the only two customers for most of the night (Samurai Washin in open for dinners only, from 6 - 11pm, Mon thru Sat, however, Chef Kawano is seriously considering opening up for lunch in February). I was shocked that this place wasn't busier...this is a Japanese restaurant that I will recommend as one of Guam's best.

We began with a small bottle of hot sake and were each served a nimono appetizer, which was boiled daikon radish topped with pieces of unagi and vegetables in a stew broth. We than ordered a variety of items from both the Specials Menu board and the a la carte menu including Gindara/Kanpachi Yuan-Yaki ($7.50, broiled silver cod fish), Ninniku-kuki Chicken Sauteed ($7.50), Crab Creamy Croquette ($5.50), Fried Soft Shell Crab ($9), Maguro Poki with Avocado ($7.50), Steamed Mussels with Sake Butter ($7), Sake (salmon) Sushi, Fish Kelaguen and Miso Soup. Our dinner experience was fascinating and fun, as we had a mission to explore and understand the foods we were eating, and Kawano-san was equally delighted by Devin's Japanese pronunciation as well as by my good humored approach to eating everything on life's menu. If you don't speak any Japanese, don't worry, Kawano-san's English is perfect.

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Itadake masu!

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