February 11, 2005, Volume 5 Number 6
Aloha "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Today we are bringing you a special edition of the "Guam Food Guy" weekly newsletter. As many of you know, we launched a sister site to GuamDiner.com several months ago. That site is HawaiiDiner.com, and it provides the same quality restaurant directory, recipes, restaurant reviews, etc., for Hawaii that you have come to know and love at GuamDiner.com.
Since many of our readers visit Hawaii on a regular basis (some of you even have second homes in the 50th state or family members who live there), we thought a look at some of the great places to eat in Hawaii would make a nice supplement to your quiver of restaurant knowledge. And, when you plan your next visit to Hawaii, you can check out HawaiiDiner.com for the latest happenings in the restaurant scene.
For those of you who want to keep current throughout the year, please subscribe to the bi-weekly HawaiiDiner.com newsletter. While you won't get commentary from the "Guam Food Guy" himself, you will get all the foodie news about Hawaii you could want from food events to where to get good mac salad.
Last, but certainly not least, we want to send Valentine's greetings to one and all. May you have a romantic and delicious Valentine's Day!
Si yu'us ma'ase' & Mahalo, the staff of GuamDiner.com & HawaiiDiner.com
In Today's Issue:
Valentine's Specials - Sam Choy's, La Brasserie (kid-friendly!) and Many More
You only have 'til this evening to reserve and pay for the Sixth Annual UnderWater World & Sam Choy's Tunnel of Love. This fabulous dining experience, which features a very special menu from Executive Chef Peter Duenas enjoyed at UnderWater World, has become one of the most desirable destinations of lovers on Valentine's Day. Tables are limited and you need to reserve right now by calling 649-9191 ext 102 or 120. The fare is $250 per couple.
For those who prefer a less "distracting" Valentine's meal but still want to enjoy Chef Peter's delicious cuisine, check out the Pink Champagne Valentine's Dinner menu at Sam Choy's. This will be offered on Valentine's Day, Monday, February 14 and features a bottle of White Zinfandel sparkling wine, plus Lobster Bisque, Steak and Half a Steamed Lobster Thermidor PLUS the amazing Chocolate Fountain for dessert! This delightful menu will be served from 6pm-10pm and costs $80 per person (service charge will be added) and reservations are recommended. Please call 649-6637 to reserve.
La Brasserie is filling a niche this Valentine's Day by offering a wonderful menu for lovers with children! If you can't find a babysitter or just like to keep the kids close by, La Brasserie's Kid's Club will be open from 6pm to 10pm to keep the children entertained while the two of you enjoy a quiet meal which includes a glass of sparkling wine and a red rose. At $45 per person (plus service charge) this could be just what you're looking for. Call 647-7272 ext 213/214.
And, don't forget these offerings as well:
Le Tasi Bistro offers their "Love is the Enchanted Dawn of Every Heart" menu. Le Tasi Bistro 472-7877.
Firefly Bistro will celebrate Valentine's Saturday and Monday with two special set menus featuring a choice of delicious dishes and a unique homemade gift from Cup & Saucer. Firefly Bistro 477-2526.
Cup & Saucer Valentine's Treats from cookies to cakes to gift baskets. Cup & Saucer 477-2585.
Planet Hollywood loves lovers and will prove it with their 2005 Sweethearts Menu plus a special gift. Planet Hollywood 647-7828.
How can you resist the "Chocolate Lover's Retreat" at The View with a Chocolate Fondue & Fresh Fruit feast? You've got to try this! Guam Marriott 648-1610.
One of Guam's most beautifully romantic restaurants, Manhattan Steakhouse, has a special Valentine's Menu available all weekend long which includes a glass of champagne and a red rose. Guam Marriott 648-1610.
Around the Island - Uncles Bob's Delivers, Yigo Fiesta, Planet H's "Rush Hour"
We welcome Uncle Bob's as our newest restaurant subscriber and are delighted to announce that he will now deliver his awesome food during the lunch hour to areas in Anigua, Hagatna and possibly beyond (call them directly at 477-2298 for details). He has also posted his Lunch Menu and his Dinner Menu at the site so you can see what's cooking at Uncle Bob's. A new offering is a different special each night such as Spaghetti on Mondays and a Fish Fry on Fridays. One thing you can be sure of at Uncle Bob's - you'll never leave hungry!
The Yigo Fiesta runs throughout the month of February every Thursday through Sunday. If you don't get up north too often, take this chance to visit a great village and support their fiesta. Each weekend there will be live entertainment, food booths and, of course, carnival rides.
Planet Hollywood has brought back the popular "Rush Hour" Lunch Specials which feature lighter portions of favorites for $10.50 (includes all the Pepsi products you can drink too!). These are served from 10am-3pm and include the popular Casear Salad/Turkey Club Sandwich Combo, Fiesta Mahi-Mahi and Tequila Lime Chicken. Call 647-7827 for details and to reserve - this would make a great lunch outing for your office.
Hawaii's Farmers' Markets - Great Places to Get Local Produce and Products
The next time you visit Hawaii, be sure to check out the wide variety of Farmers' Markets available around Oahu. At the well-known Saturday Morning Market at KCC and the Thursday Night Market in Kailua (both sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau) you will find a variety of produce from asparagus and tomatoes to a nice selection of local products, including fresh ginger ale, salsa and spice blends. Also featured at these two markets are ready-to-eat foods from well-known restaurants and caterers. If you go to Kailua, don't miss out on the awesome ribs from Deb's Soul Food and at the KCC market be sure to try the Fried Green Tomatoes. Click here for a list of markets throughout the week.
Recent Finds - Latest Great Places to Eat on Oahu plus One from the Big Island
Over the past few weeks, we have enjoyed great dining experiences at the following restaurants:
Donato's Restaurant - The chef/proprietor is a native of Southern Italy and this wonderful restaurant in the Manoa Marketplace is acknowledged as the best Italian restaurant in Hawaii. If you love Italian food, you must try Donato's. 2nd Floor Manoa Marketplace, 2756 Woodlawn Dr, Honolulu (Manoa), 988-2000.
Helena's Hawaiian Foods - The James Beard winner for regional cuisine a couple of years ago, this is our pick for the best traditional Hawaiian food you'll get at a restaurant (I hear howls from the Ono's lovers but I stand by this call!). From the pipikaula to the poi, this is wonderful food. 1240 N School St, Honolulu (Kalihi), 845-8044.
Michel's at the Colony Surf - If you want to enjoy Sunday Brunch on the beach, this is the place. It's not a buffet but the food is plentiful, and you don't want to miss the Bloody Mary Bar! Colony Surf Hotel, 2875 Kalakaua Av, Waikiki, 923-6552.
Cafe Pesto - Located in historic Hilo town, this casual eatery features pizza, calzones and light pasta selections. It gets packed during the lunch rush but if you have to wait, browse the art gallery next door or just enjoy the view of Hilo Bay. 308 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, 969-6640.
Where to Eat in Hawaii - A Round Up of the Best Places of 2004
As we prepared to launch HawaiiDiner.com in June of 2004, one of the necessary tasks was to get out and eat at various places around Oahu (we hope to get to at least one or two of the neighbor islands in 2005) so we could gather some reviews and general food experiences. After the launch, it became even more necessary to eat out as deadlines loomed large.
There have been good meals, average meals, bad meals (more often than I'd like) and some truly outstanding meals. Excellent food is the standard by which the following were selected and the establishments mentioned range from incredibly inexpensive to very expensive. Spending a lot of money does not guarantee great food and cheap bad food is still bad food. Outstanding food is a product of a commitment to excellence on the part of the chef or cook, and the staff. The common thread is establishments and people who really care about what they are feeding you. That is what makes these restaurants special and what makes eating at them a real joy.
Here are a handful of memorable meals and places we enjoyed in chronological order.
1. Kabuki (Waimalu location) - Craving a bowl of perfect udon? You will find it here in a small place which looks like it is caught in a time warp from the middle part of the last century. 98-020 Kamehameha Hwy, Aiea 487-2424.
2. The Pineapple Room - An Alan Wong restaurant, this is where we first encountered the reincarnation of the Cobb Salad. Their rendition of Thai Cobb Salad is truly delicious with shredded green papaya, crumbled blue cheese, crisp bacon and lemongrass-basil dressing. Also recommended is the Fresh Banana Cream Pie with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust - stop by for this with some coffee and you'll be well fortified for more shopping. 3rd Floor Macy's, Ala Moana Shopping Center, Honolulu, 945-6573
3. Jimmy's Lakeside Bakery Cafe - If you love a great French Dip Sandwich, Jimmy's is the place to get one. He uses prime rib beef, bakes his own rolls and makes his own jus. It isn't always on the menu but it is the best and well worth the trip. My partner swears by the Roasted Portabello Sandwich in the same way I do the French Dip. Other standouts include the pastries and pizza. 1718 Wilikina Dr, Wahiawa, 621-6800.
4. Wally Ho's Garage & Grill - We go back here over and over so they deserve a special mention for consistent delivery of excellent food. We love the Korean Garlic Chicken (always on the menu) and, when it's available, the Blackened Ahi. Wally Ho's is so much more than a plate lunch place, so don't let the exterior fool you. Highly recommended. 98-380 Kamehameha Hwy, Aiea, 488-2220.
5. The Bistro at Century Center - I was fortunate to enjoy more than one meal here but the dish that keeps me coming back is the French Onion Soup. A plus to this elegant retro-style restaurant are the hours - they don't close between lunch and dinner and they are open late enough to drop by for an after-event drink or light nosh. Drop by in the afternoon, sit at the bar and enjoy a bowl of soup. Kudos to Chef Rodney Uyehara. 3rd Floor Century Center, 1750 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu (McCully), 943-6500.
6. El Charro - This is the best Mexican place in Honolulu and chef/proprietor Juan Madrigal does an excellent job with the classic Tex-Mex dishes most are familiar with as well as some creations of his own. Try the #11, Carne de Puerco en Chile Rojo, and be prepared to enjoy a fiesta of flavor. 111 Sand Island Access Rd, Sand Island (off of Nimitz Hwy), 845-9637.
7. Cafe Laufer - My current favorite in Kaimuki, that hotbed of great restaurants. Everything here is excellent but try the Soup-of-the-Day in the bread bowl. If you're lucky, it'll be the Portuguese Bean Soup - it's wonderful. You can't go wrong with anything on this menu. 3565 Waialae Ave #107, Honolulu (Kaimuki), 735-7717.
8. The Mandarin Cafe - Give me a bowl of Za Jang Men (homemade wheat noodles in a thick soy-onion paste) and I'm a happy diner. While the Za Jang Men may be an acquired taste (my partner assures me that it is!), any one who enjoys good food would like the Giant Fried Bao (think steamed & fried wontons stuffed with scallions and clear noodles on steroids) and the Glazed Apple dessert. Excellent food and speedy service. Imperial Plaza #C123, 725 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu (Kakaako), 593-1188.
9. L'Uraku - Dining at L'Uraku is always a delight. Try the Catch-of-the-Day in an Almond Crust on Pasta with Miso Cream Sauce or the Pankoed Eggplant Sandwich stuffed with Chicken Hash and homemade Tonkatsu Sauce. The Panna Cotta with Hawaiian Vanilla will make you swoon. Consistent delivery of excellent food and impeccable service as well. Uraku Tower, 1341 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu (Ala Moana), 955-0552.
10. Chef Mavro - All of those glowing accolades Chef Mavro has received over the years are well deserved. I can't think of a better place to enjoy a special meal. If I could afford it, I'd eat there several times a year and try all of the new dishes he creates seasonally and the wines which complement them perfectly. Save your money and go. 1969 N King St, Honolulu (McCully), 944-4714.
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