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January 28, 2005, Volume 5 Number 4


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

There's something in the air that's so thick you can almost taste it, and I'm not talking about the Asian "haze" nor about any local grassfires...I'm talking about the improving economy. Among all the things we need to count, we need to count our blessings first, and for the superstitious, perhaps "knock on wood" that we don't experience any natural or man-made disasters that would derail us off the current success track I believe we've been on for the past few months.

This economic improvement is having a direct beneficial impact on the local restaurant industry, with more dining choices and experiences being introduced almost weekly. Some of the larger establishments are adjusting their menus and introducing innovative food concepts and beverage concepts, with wine and coffees getting attention like never before. Although you may not see it happening, there are big changes underway that will re-shape and refine the existing restaurant dynamics, and by the end of 2005, you'll look back and marvel at the progress.

In the past we've seen restaurants close only to be re-opened by another operator. I forecast we'll be seeing a lot of smaller, entrepreneurial food establishments and businesses, since more and more people are seeing the rewards from providing locally-grown products and offering local experiences to our visitors. Island pride should be one of our primary focuses, since nearly a million people leave their countries to spend some time in ours. This year we need to really promote our local cuisine and hospitality. If we can refine and define this experience, we're going to reap incredible returns. We've got some work ahead of us, but we're on the right track.

We want to thank our valued newsletter readers for their continuous support and loyalty. If, for some reason, you do not receive a weekly newsletter, it is possible that the problem is related to your email server or spam-blocking software you are using. If you have subscribed but haven't received the newsletter as expected, please email webmaster@guamdiner.com. And, of course, all newsletters are archived in chronological order at GuamDiner.com.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Chef Durliat's International Cuisine Experience Visits Poland Saturday Jan 29
  • Valentine's Specials - Planet Hollywood, Le Tasi Bistro, Manhattan & The View
  • Hy's Beaucanon Wine Dinner Features Vintner Louis de Coninck, February 1
  • Manhattan Lounge Happy Hour "Dine-Aid" Benefit - Thursday Feb 3
  • Indian Night Tsunami Fund Raiser, Guam Hotel Okura, Sunday Feb 6
  • Around the Island - Inn Spot for Mexican, PIC Lunch, Mulligan Cafe
  • Marriott Cafe's Flavors of Japan - A Japanese Culinary Excursion

Chef Durliat's International Cuisine Experience Visits Poland Saturday Jan 29

Chef Christophe Durliat's on the road again!! The Hilton's peripatetic executive chef is launching a monthly journey to sample the cuisine of a different country, and on January 29, Chef Durliat and his team are taking us to Poland. The "Polish Cuisine" buffet dinner experience starts at 6pm in the Islander Terrace and lasts until 9pm. The price is $34/person, with Diamond Club and Military discounts available. Polish favorites such as meat stuffed pierogi, kielbasa sausage, stew, and fresh game will be served, along with a range of tasty pastries. Call 646-DINE(3463) for reservations.

Valentine's Specials - Planet Hollywood, Le Tasi Bistro, Manhattan & The View

Planet Hollywood is the choice of many for great holiday offerings and Valentine's is no exception. Select from their Valentine's Day 2005 Set Menu ($39.95) and you will enjoy Chef Chito's excellent cuisine, sparkling wine, a Valentine's gift from Planet Hollywood, and a movie ticket from the Micronesia Mall Theatres! What could be more fun? Call 647-7827 for reservations.

Le Tasi Bistro has joined the Valentine's Special offerings with the "Love is the Enchanted Dawn of Every Heart" Menu. They say that no one knows romance like the French so trust you and your loved one's taste buds to the romantic culinary creations of Chef Bertrand this Valentine's. Call 472-7877 for reservations.

Manhattan Steakhouse in the Guam Marriott is offering a luscious set menu all weekend long starting Friday, February 11 through Valentine's Day, Monday, February 14. The cost is $70 (+10% sc) per person and includes a glass of champagne each and a rose for the ladies. Call 648-1610 for reservations and information.

Also at the Guam Marriott but very different in concept, is the "Chocolate Lover's Retreat" feast of Chocolate Fondue with Fresh & Candied Fruits at The View. This delight will be offered in the afternoon and early evening from 3pm-7pm (bringing a whole new meaning to "afternoon tea" and "early supper"!) starting Friday, February 11 through Valentine's Day, Monday, February 14. Reservations for this $10 feast for the senses can be made by calling 648-1610.

Hy's Beaucanon Wine Dinner Features Vintner Louis de Coninck, February 1

Hy's Steak House offers a special wine dinner which will feature visiting wine vintner, Louis de Coninck, from Beaucanon Estate in the Napa Valley, on Tuesday, February 1, at 7pm. The cost per person is $75, and you will enjoy a fabulous five-course dinner paired with Beaucanon WInes. One of the appetizer entrees is a Ragout of Escargot, Chicken Filet, Chorizo and Mushrooms. Call 647-0077 for reservations.

Manhattan Lounge Happy Hour "Dine-Aid" Benefit - Thursday Feb 3

A special Happy Hour benefit called "Dine-Aid" will be held on Thursday, February 3, at the SandCastle's Manhattan Lounge, and will feature entrees from eleven island chefs, with the proceeds from the event benefiting the Save The Children Fund. Food is free with a two-drink minimum, and cash donations will be accepted. The event starts at 6pm. Come support a great cause and eat a meal you truly won't get anywhere else!

Indian Night Tsunami Fund Raiser, Guam Hotel Okura, Sunday Feb 6

The Indian Community of Guam, Lt. Governor Kaleo Moylan, and the Guam Hotel Okura are hosting Indian Night, a fund raising dinner to support the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that struck South Asia. The community is invited to this evening of Indian cuisine - the food is being prepared by members of Guam's Indian community and we know this will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy dishes not found elsewhere. There will also be a cultural entertainment show featuring traditional arts. All of this happens on Sunday, February 6, at the Guam Hotel Okura's Orchid Ballroom from 5pm-9pm. Tickets are just $25 for adults and $15 for children, ages 6 to 12. 100 percent of the evening's proceeds will go towards relief supplies including medicine, shelter and efforts to rebuild the victims lives. Over 400,000 families have been displaced in South India alone. Tickets can be purchased at Tick Tock (across the old Ben Franklin), Meena's (Chalan San Antonio, across Yamaha), Paul's Tailors (ITC Intersection,Tamuning), Sherwin Williams Paint Store (Marine Drive), Royal Bics (GPO), Levi's Outlet (GPO and Micronesia Mall) or the Lt. Governor's Office (RJ Bordallo Governor's Complex, Adelup).

Around the Island - Inn Spot for Mexican, PIC Lunch, Mulligan Cafe

"I heard, I went, I believe" are the words that just about sum up my Mexican plate experience at the Inn Spot, located in Hunter's Inn on Ypao Road, Tamuning. It's been some time since we last reviewed the Inn Spot, and I'm sure glad they've got this Mexican food thing down right at night. Mexican food has been hit or miss here on Guam, and I may not have had the same experience at lunch that I did at dinner, when Chef Richard "Rico" Terrazas is doing his thing in the kitchen. This is not a Mexican Restaurant so the choices are limited to some basic favorites. There are Lunch and Dinner Plates, priced $5.99 and $7.99 respectively, both coming with Refried Beans and Spanish Rice. The plate choices are Enchiladas, Tacos, and Tostadas, each with your choice of filling, either ground beef or chicken. There are also Chicken or Beef Quesadillas, Nachos, as well as a Mexican Burger ($6.50). I mixed up a special "Food Guy" plate with one Chicken and one Cheese (I requested cheese and he accommodated that!) Enchilada, and one Chicken & one Beef Taco. The tacos had crisp corn shells and were filled with seasoned beef and chunks of chicken, sour cream, tomato salsa with lots of cilantro...boy were these delicious!! The enchiladas were quite good, as well, as were the refried beans and Spanish rice...surprisingly good! I told Rico he gets a "PDG" rating from me! (Pretty Darned Good). They serve dinner til 10pm, so check it out!

Lunch and fine dining are nearly synonymous at PIC's Bistro. We recently had their special lunch menu which is created by Chef de Cusine Clayton Babas and changes weekly with three different entree choices each day. We ordered the Pork Cutlets with Smoked Tomato Butter and the Escabeche of Reef Fish with Local Vegetables. Both were excellent with flavors and sauces you don't get in many places. Lunch at Bistro for is $14.95 net (unusual for Tumon) with a magnificent view of Tumon Bay and attentive (almost pampered) service. It's understandable why so many go here for business lunches - Bistro covers all the basics - great food, comfortable seating, impressive service, a refined ambiance, and value priced at that!

Mulligan Cafe continues to impress with an unbelievable $7.95 lunch special! Located in Upper Tumon in the Tumon Gold Driving Range, past Chuck's Steak House and Corridos 848, Mulligan's all-you-can-eat salad buffet supplements 10 specials that include an awesome Chamorro Chop Steak, Teriyaki Chicken, Fried Tilapia (that came topped with a tomato salsa), which I completely devoured, and pan sauteed Mahi-Mahi, all of which our group had the other day. It was their first time and they were all pleased with the meal, which included all you can drink tea and a chicken noodle soup. The buffet had tasty Chicken Kelaguen, but they were out of the Poke, for which they are famous. Call 646-8342 for take-out.

Sushi Tairyo, in Tumon's Blue Lagoon Plaza, has added more varieties to their sushi menu. They now offer some new choices like Bin-Toro, Baked Salmon, Negi-Toro, Crab Salad, Octopus Salad, Ika-Geso, Engawa, Spicy Mussel, Tekka Hand Roll, Chawan-Mushi, Tubu Shell, and Spicy Tuna. This place has become a local favorite due to their $2 - $3 price range, fresh products, and no smoking policy. They are open for lunch from 11:30am-2pm, and from 6pm-10pm for dinner.

Marriott Cafe's Flavors of Japan - A Japanese Culinary Excursion

There is a good reason why I don't like to review buffets - there's just too much food! What makes it even more difficult for me is when the majority of the buffet offering is truly delicious, which is not typical given the challenges associated with buffets in general. The Marriott Cafe's Flavors of Japan is a buffet adventure which most diners will appreciate for the quality and variety of entrees, appetizers, and, at the dinner buffet, which is what we're reviewing, the seafood salad bar; specifically, jumbo shrimp, oysters, crab legs, mussels, calimari, and smoked salmon. Though you can enjoy the seafood and salad buffet selections year round at the Marriott Cafe's dinner buffet, it's the Flavors of Japan promotion available now through February 28 that makes it all the more special, with Japanese appetizers, such as chilled unagi (eel) and chawanmushi (savory egg custard) added to emphasize the Japanese dining experience.

Your journey starts just outside the entrance to the Marriott Cafe when you see four food stalls from the distance, decorated in the style of Japan with brilliant red paper lanterns and banners. As you pass by to be seated in the main dining area, you observe the Oden (Japanese Hotpot) station on the left, followed by the Shabu Shabu stall. On your right you'll pass the Sushi Display case where you'll see chunks of firm Maguro (Tuna) and sushi rolls, and then you'll come upon the Somen stall, which has an assortment of little bowls with cold noodles awaiting your topping selections. After passing through this entrance corridor (which is a brilliant marketing strategy, since it really brought you through an authentic Japanese "food stall market" to set the stage for your dinner experience), you arrive in Marriott Cafe's "Japanese Foodland", which is where the journey begins.

Since food is very personal and based on preferences and habits, you can start anywhere you'd like, either with a soup; there are several choices here, one being a Wakame (Seaweed) Soup, or a Caesar Salad, which is made fresh and often. Or, you can avail yourself of the seafood (oysters, shrimp, crab, etc.) on ice, or create your own green salad from an ever changing selection of salad ingredients and blends. You can even start with sushi and sashimi, or a combination of any of the 40 or 50 choices awaiting. This is the best part and the worst part of buffet dining...too many choices!

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Itadake Masu!

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