February 25, 2005, Volume 5 Number 8
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
The waiting is over! For those enamored with the home-style Chamorro food produced and served by the Cepeda family, you can now enjoy the kelaguens, dried beef, tamales gisu, chalakilis, kadon manok, Chamorro bisteak, baked chicken and other tasty entrees at the new Y Kusina Restaurant location in the Palace Hotel Guam, now open for lunch and dinner. This past Wednesday a well-attended blessing ceremony gave people a tour of the beautifully decorated and furnished facility, which has several private function rooms, all in a Chamorro motif with art work and handicrafts.
The main dining area has a sense and feel of being on a galaide, with the ceilings draped in billowing woven canvas sheets. The entrance way is adjacent to a waterfall that provides a natural touch in keeping with an island experience, and the view of the landscaped grounds just outside is just one more of a long list of attributes that make Y Kusina's new home a compelling local dining destination. While I was busy munching down whole wheat and regular titiyas, shrimp kelaguen, baked chicken, bisteak, tinon birenghenas (broiled eggplant and coconut milk), fried mahi, tinala katne (dried beef) and finadene dinance, I reflected on how this new location will benefit Guam's tourism industry. This is a dining establishment that showcases Chamorro cuisine and culture in a way that no other restaurant, large or small, has done, and visitors can eat Y Kusina's excellent food in spacious, air-conditioned comfort.
I found out some really exciting news from Randy Cepeda, who informed me that they will be launching a Chamorro Brunch this Sunday, starting at 11am to 2:30pm for $19.95. The entire Cepeda clan is to be commended for their hard work and perserverence in the creation of a restaurant that has become a local favorite. It will certainly be an ideal introduction to Chamorro cuisine to our visitors who have expressed great interest in sampling local food. Now locals and visitors can taste to their hearts' desires some of Guam's best local treats...I know I will!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
Chef Durliat's International Cuisine Visits France's Alsace Region - Feb 26
He's doing it again! Executive Chef Christophe of the Hilton Guam Resort has his kitchen team in full gear in preparation for a fabulous culinary excursion, this time to the French region of Alsace, a place known for its unique cuisine. This Saturday night, the Islander Terrace will be converted into another country (last month's International Experience was Poland) and diners will be able to sate themselves on a wide selection of appetizers, entrees, and specialty desserts, all originating from Alsace. Among the many splendid things awaiting will be the famous Chouchroute (sauerkraut garnished with potatoes and meats like pork, ham, and sausages); Tourte, a pie that contains ham, bacon, or ground pork combined with eggs and leeks; and Flammekuche (tart flambee in French), a popular pastry that has cream, onions, mushrooms, bacon and cheese. Alsatian cuisine is also known for meats marinated in wine for two days then layered with potatoes. Desserts can include the Kougelhopf, which is an almond ribbed dome shaped cake, as well as the Tarte Alsacienne (custard tart with local fruits). Alsace Night starts at 6pm and is priced at $34/person. Reservations can be made by calling 646-DINE (3463). Come and share the surprises Chef Christophe has in store for us!
Last Chance to See Artist Mark Dell'Isola's Abstract Paintings
If you've not seen Mark Dell'Isola's dynamic paintings at the Guam Premier Outlets (in the former Chika's Boutique next to Vitamin World), you'd better hurry since this temporary display gets packed up to go with the artist on his six month tour to the U.S. and Europe. I can't urge people enough to see what this "genius" has been able to put on canvas - it is an overwhelming explosion of colors, forms, lines, and shapes. All symbolizing, representing, and celebrating the science and environment of the Pacific Islands, where artist Mark has studios in Guam, Bali, and Belau. His work is extremely detailed and his use of brilliant colors will elevate your consciousness. The quality of his work is viewed as world-class by other artists - that's the kind of mastery of the art form that draws such praise from me. Mark himself is a mixture of Italian and Chamorro. He has been painting for of 25 years and has two paintings in the permanent collection of the New Invertebrate House, Smithsonian Institution, as well as paintings in the Palau National Museum and the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities. On March 11, Mark has a show at the Govinda Gallery in Washington, D.C. You can learn more about Mark and see some of his work online at Dellisola-art.com. Don't miss this chance to see Mark's visually stimulating works.
Marriott's Flavors of Japan and Mushrooms Galore Promotions End on Feb 28
I've had many people thank me for telling them about the Flavors of Japan Promotion that ends on Feb 28 at the Marriott Cafe. This promotion has showcased Japanese cuisine during lunch and dinner services, and is just one of several promotions planned for this year. The Oden (Japanese Hot Pot) station surprises guest since it's not often this is part of a buffet line. Other stations are the Shabu Shabu stall, the Somen (noodle) stand, and the Sushi stall. Hot and cold offerings vary each night, but all have been consistently good. The Flavors of Japan's Lunch is $15/adults and $7.50 for children ages 6-12, with dinner service priced at $35/adult and $17.50 for children. For reservations, call 648-1610.
Executive Chef Michael Devlin has been serving up an array of mushroom creations and sauces to the delight of many at the Marriot's Manhattan Steakhouse. You have to try the Mushroom Cappuccino and the Crab-filled Portabello Mushroom. Yes, he does have morrells, and does a masterful job of blending these in a brandy creme you can't help but savor. This promotion also ends on February 28, so it's absolutely essential that you get down to the Manhattan Steakhouse before the weekend's up!
"Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining in Guam" Now Taking Reservations For Space
We've talked about this before, but now we have something you can review in more detail, along with some semi-flattering illustrations of the Food Guy. By accessing the rotating large banner at GuamDiner.com (if it doesn't appear the first time you log on, just click your "Refresh" button so see the banner). Or, if you're in a hurry just click here for the info! You will then get a better idea of the types of ad placements that are available as well as the pricing for these positions. This is really exciting stuff, since we've been in need of a comprehensive guide for a long time. So, if you have a business you'd like to prominently promote in this divinely delicious publication, please call 635-7501 for more information on this tasty opportunity.
Around the Island - Uncle Bob's Reuben Wow!, Jamaican-to-Go, Mermaid Tavern
I am often asked by many where to get the best Reuben sandwich, and I have to admit, there's not a lot of places I've been able to recommend, until now. Chef Ronnie Tavares put some love in this sandwich that I ate the other day (it lasted two meals!), and had all the fixin's that one's lookin' for in the real deal - flavorful, huge tender chunks of Corned Beef, Swiss Cheese, Onions, Sauerkraut, and Thousand Island Dressing all stuffed between two buttered, then grilled, big slices of dark rye bread. For $10 (including french fries), it's a meal with bragging rights. There are still people out there scratching their heads about the size of Uncle Bob's Bacon Cheeseburger presented in a picture last month! It's all about food at Uncle Bob's, and no one goes home hungry!
There's a buzz of excitement going on over at the Mermaid Tavern (GCIC Annex, Hagatna), where you can now find Chef Joe Borja (who put the Grill at Santa Fe on the food map, and then started up I Natibu). Chef Joe's been leading the Mermaid Tavern's culinary team in some new directions and has introduced some Chamorro lunch specials like Chalakilis and appetizers like Shrimp and Spinach Quesadillas. One lunch special was Cajun Meat Loaf with Rice or Potatoes. That's good and fine, but the other thing that's going to be happening is that the Mermaid Tavern (and the Great Deep Brewing Company, who makes those incredible local beers), will be expanding their footprint and taking over the adjacent space. They'll be announcing a temporary closure at some time in the near future. In the meantime, go over there (like I did) and try their gourmet pizzas. I had the Shrimp Pine Nut and Goat Cheese Pizza (9", $10.25), that was made with sun-dried tomatoes and Pesto (the other choice was Marinara sauce). I asked for a little taste of the Marinara and I'm glad I did since I love a good marinara. They make a fine one, and the pizza was incredibly de-licious, didn't even bother to take any home since I ate it all! This place definitely has a future, and has become a favorite for many who like smoke-free dining establishments with quality cuisine.
There's nothing better than having a convenient To-Go-Menu for restaurants looking to extend their reach beyond sit-down dine-in customers. Jamaican Grill's Tumon location has gone a step further though with their order and pick-up station on the street level. You don't even have to go into the restaurant to pay...you can do it all downstairs. You call their number, 647-3000, and you're in business. It's quick and convenient...I got my Chicken & Ribs Combo Platter with House Salad and Reggae Sunsplash and I was on my way, without having to get "dressed up". This is a great idea, real smart, even though they use a dumbwaiter - not a person, a "lift" that carries the food downstairs! Ya Mon!
The Palace Hotel has really been doing some nice landscaping and refurbishing work on the inside. When you go over to Y Kusina Chamorro Restaurant in the former Utage Japanese Restaurant location, take a walk around the grounds. There are colorful flowers planted all over the place- even blue and yellow tulips. The waterfall area is very relaxing, with outside seating and benches. The Palm Garden has a totally new look, though it's probably been done for some months it was my first time seeing it. I'll have to come back and do a review update. The management team at the Palace has done a very nice job of working on their property, and the addition of Y Kusina bodes well for this hotel's future.
A New Twist Pretzel Company - The Place for Great Dogs and Awesome Pretzels!
It used to be that the Hot Dog was considered to be an exclusively American institution, much like the hamburger (neither of which were originally "American"). With globalization, everything's changed, and these American favorites have been international favorites. Did you know that a Japanese man holds the Guiness record for eating the most hot dogs? Hot dogs on Guam have been a constant for as long as I can remember, and there have been some legendary hot dog stands, at post offices and along Marine Corps Drive. But now we have a place where you can get what I consider to be one of the best tasting dogs I can remember having, as well as fresh baked pretzels that couldn't be any better!
A New Twist Pretzel Company, located in the Guam Premier Outlets Food Court, is a relatively new addition to Guam's restaurant scene, and is owned by Todd Jakl, who also operates the adjacent Candy Store (which serves those yummy crepes). This is not a franchise operation so there is a lot of creativity happening with this new venture, and some of it shows in how words are used on the menu boards and in the descriptions of food. The alliteration in the phrase "Indulge Yourself In Our Mambo Jumbo Condo-Station" can be pretty tricky if you try to say it too quickly! The names for their hot dogs and combos are equally playful.
Herewith are your dining options at A New Twist Pretzel Company: the Mambo Jumbo Dog is a one-half pounder and sells for $5.50. (All their meat is 100% Beef, and made by Schwarz Fine Sausages so you are getting a top-quality dog.) The Mambo Jumbo Dog, Jr. is $3.75, and weighs in at a quarter pound. The Mambo Kids is $2.50. They offer a Pretzel Puppy (their original pretzel dough is wrapped around a hot dog) for $3.95. You can buy a bowl of Chili with Rice for $1.95, or a side of Chili for $.75.
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