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February 18, 2005, Volume 5 Number 7


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

It's great to be alive! It's even better to be "alive and well", for I can tell you that based on my recent bout with a rather pernicious flu, I can appreciate having my health. Being the "Food Guy" involves a constant flow in and around restaurants, and when I'm not out and about eating, tasting, talking, and broadcasting to the world about the fabulous food experiences we are blessed with on Guam, then people wonder if I'm OK or off-island. People find it hard to imagine me without an appetite, but that's exactly how I was for a while. I'm sure glad I got my cravings back...and today's review of the awesome Teppanyaki experience at Joinus Restaurant met my expectations for all the tastes and flavors I yearn for when sitting in front of an active teppan counter.

I've mentioned it before, and I'll say it again, 2005 is going to be a great year for our restaurant industry. This means you can expect to see a variety of enhancements and improvements to restaurants and their menu offerings. We're still waiting for the opening date for Y Kusina, that famous family-run Chamorro restaurant that's relocating to the Palace Hotel Guam's former Japanese restaurant (Utage). We've heard that Y Kusina will be opening near the end of February. We are also looking to see the Genji Japanese Restaurant re-opening at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. I'm sure you can safely bet there will be a Japanese Restaurant serving Teppanyaki when the renovation of the Dai Ichi Hotel is completed later this year.

Stay tuned for more exciting food news at some of our more popular resort properties and free-standing restaurants. Food and great dining have become the center of attention and primary focus for those in the hospitality business, and there is notable competition for who offers the best quality and value to consumers. The days of being complacent about menus are over. We'll be seeing more innovation from restaurants as they work to cater to their customers' dietary needs and preferences. It is indeed a great time to be alive and well on Guam and Saipan, two dining destinations offering over 800 places to eat!!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Got Cookies? Girl Scout Cookies Still Available
  • Rainbows 17th Annual 3.5 Mile Run Race Walk for Youth Saturday, March 5
  • Around the Island - Tumon Sands Cafe, King's Upgrades Menus, Sabai Dee Thai
  • Joinus Teppanyaki - $10.99 Lunch Special Satisfies All

Got Cookies? Girl Scout Cookies Still Available

Oh my gosh! Didn't get your Girl Scout cookie fix? Well, don't fret if you missed the recent troop cookies sales activities in front of K-Mart, the two Cost-U-Less locations, and at the Base Commissaries. You can still get your any of your favorites (Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Shortbread, Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Reduced Fat Lemon Pastry Cremes, Animal Treasures, and Iced Berry Pinatas) by calling the Guam Girl Scout Service Center (646-5652) or send e-mail to ggsi@ite.net for info on what's available. The price is $4/box, and we want to be sure you get all you want of the world's favorite cookies. Call now!

Rainbows 17th Annual 3.5 Mile Run Race Walk for Youth Saturday, March 5

The theme for this year's Rainbows 3.5 Run Race Walk for Youth is "Our Children, Our Pride, Our Joy", and if you are like me, there's nothing better than supporting this organization that has done so much for young people who have lost a loved one in their family or among their friends.

As they say, "It doesn't need to hurt forever" and that's a truism you can see for yourself in all the smiling faces of those who've been helped by Rainbows for All Children. The Proceeds for the March 5 event will benefit the Rainbows for All Children, the Robbie Webber Youth Soccer League, and Erica's House. Pre-Register at Mark's Sporting Goods for a $10 fee ($15 on race day.) Showtime & Late Registration on March 5 is 5:30am - 6am, with Go Time at 6:15am. There will be lots of prizes awarded. Come to the Micronesia Mall on March 5 and support this worthy cause...bring a few friends. For more info on Team Participation, call Marie Halloran (632-0257), Lynette Quitugua (646-5046), Leonor Espiritu (475-7851), Mary Torres (777-0000), or Arlene Bordallo (632-8819).

Around the Island - Tumon Sands Cafe, King's Upgrades Menus, Sabai Dee Thai

If you've not had a chance to check out the Tumon Sands Cafe (formerly Garden Terrace) at the Tumon Sands Plaza, you will be delightfully surprised at what is truly one of Guam's best kept boutique cafe experiences. Managed by the F&B pros from the Hyatt Regency, Tumon Sands Cafe offers Illy Cafe (imagine $3 for Cafe Americano, Espresso, Latte, or Cappuccino) along with other beverages (including champagne and wine). These can be paired for a mid-morning snack (the cafe opens from 10am-10pm 7 days a week) with tartlets, pecan tarts, muffins, danish, croissants, turnovers, tiramisu, or a panna cotta mango salsa (wow!). You can have a Greek Salad with Feta Cheese, a Pasta or Caesar Salad for lunch, or something more substantial like a Toasted Ham, Brie & Pineapple Panini, or a Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Panini. I'm going to try the Smoked Salmon, Caper & Onion Bagel one of these days. Prices aren't bad, ranging from $6-$8.50. You can also get one of those famous Hyatt waffles (with the fixin's) for $10. This is a beautiful environment, and seems to be the perfect place for a quiet, relaxing rendezvous, where you can also watch the shops around you! Call 646-6801 for more info.

King's has done it again! They have added some exciting new items to their menus, offering excellent value to diners. The King's Breakfast Value Menu has a $2.99 Morning Starter that includes a bowl of sliced, ready to eat fruit (cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and grapes) with oatmeal plus a bran or banana muffin; $3.99 a Breakfast Wrap, which is a warm flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, diced potatoes, red onion, and diced ham, served with a bowl of sliced peaches topped with whipped cream; or the new Eggplant Scrambler, using locally grown eggplant. They also have a Vegetarian Scrambler, with scrambled eggs, red onions, green & red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, and bean sprouts, which comes with your choice of steamed rice or pancakes. For lunch, King's has added a Crispy Chicken Salad ($6.49), Chicken Parmesan ($6.99), Pepper Steak ($6.99) and Smoked Bratwurst Pasta ($6.99). You can get these and more at either of the two King's locations, in Compadres Mall or at the Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning.

A big Food Guy "thank you!" to Tim Palacios and Rose Wood of Sabai Dee Thai for their Tom Yum Soup which restored my breathing and taste buds the other day! This Tom Yum is so good it's contagious...once I ordered it, other customers caught a whiff of it's aromatic spiced fragrance and ordered some themselves!! It comes filled with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemon grass, and Thai ginger. The Chicken Tom Yum costs $8. I also had something I'd been craving for a while - Tim's famous Dried Beef ($7), which is a tasty appetizer. Sabai Dee has other Thai classics you'll enjoy. Call 649-8424 for takeout!

Joinus Teppanyaki - $10.99 Lunch Special Satisfies All

It was deja vu. Yes, I'd not been here for a review since December 2001 and though there have been a few changes to the menu (such as a price increase, from $9.99 to $10.99), everything else about the Joinus Teppanyaki lunch experience was close to identical, as though I'd not been away at all. Located in the Tumon Sands Plaza, Joinus Teppanyaki is the oldest teppan restaurant on Guam. I recall that they were serving incredible dinners back in the mid-seventies, so they've probably got a 30-year legacy going for them.

I arrived just after 11:30am (I wanted to get there early to beat the rush and secure a seat at the teppan counter). As soon as I was seated by my hostess, Linda, in one of the two remaining seats, I knew that I was in the right place at the right time. Interestingly, Ed Cruz, one of the senior teppan cooks, saw me and said, "Welcome back, Mr. Food Guy!" He remembered me and I'd not been back in over 3 years! In front of me (I had a corner view), the contiguous griddles spanned about 20 feet, and seated in front of them were mostly airmen in Air National Guard uniforms. Their orders were arranged in sequence on the griddles in different stages of preparedness. It was exciting to watch the deft slicing of onions, steak, chicken, and shrimp as the pieces sizzled on the ultra hot metal surface. The garlic slices (pre-cooked then added into the mixed meats and vegetables) gave off that heady aroma which never fails to leave me salivating. The Joinus Lunch Special is served Monday-Friday, from 11:30am-1:45pm, and offers diners the following choice of four menu entree combinations:

A. Beef Top Sirloin Steak, Spring Chicken, and Shrimp w/Bacon
B. Beef Top Sirloin Steak, Salmon, and Shrimp w/Bacon
C. Spring Chicken, Salmon, and Shrimp w/Bacon
D. Salmon, Scallops, and Shrimp

These are all served with Carrots, Onions, Green Bell Peppers, Tofu, and Bean Sprouts. Diners also get a fresh Green Salad with a choice of dressings (I opted for Japanese Dressing). Miso Soup and steamed White Rice are also offered, however, you can specify Garlic Fried Rice instead, which the cooks will make for you on the spot. As I watched my neighbors eat, I noticed something in their manner which seems universal. It's an innate love for the teppanyaki dining experience. My first memories of teppanyaki were in 1973 at the old Kurumaya in the Dai Ichi (this later evolved into the fabled Kurumaya Seahorse on the beach, as well as into the Shimbashi (currently under reconstruction).While you can still get terrific teppanyaki in Saipan at the Saipan Beach Dai Ichi's Shimbashi Restaurant, as well as at the Hyatt's Miyako, and the Nikko's Benkay, Guam's Teppanyaki offerings have diminished over the past 3 years. Niji at the Hyatt and the Okura's Yamazato offer grilled teppan at night and Issin at the Westin has teppan as well. The Genji at Roy's is ok, but not like the real deal it could be (and will be once it re-opens.) There's nothing like the "thrill of the grill" whenever teppan's served, especially when the flames flare up from the splash of brandy.

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Ita dake masu!

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