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March 4, 2005, Volume 5 Number 9


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

"Biba Chamorro!" Yes, it's already March and it is officially Chamorro Month. While there are many exciting new developments happening on our island, especially when it comes to building cultural awareness through our local cuisine, there are sadly some things that have recently occurred that we need to acknowledge.

First, our condolences to the family of Manuel "Manny" Cruz Blas, owner of Kinney's Cafe in Mangilao. Kinney's, to my knowledge, is Guam's longest-continuously running restaurant, serving it's famous deep fried chicken, shrimp, and legendary onion rings to thousands of customers, since the 1940's.

The other event that has taken place is the permanent closure of Jospehine's Chamorro Kitchen in Tamuning, which is another of Guam's culinary landmarks, where many of us enjoyed her estufaos, ham hocks and mongo beans, kadus, fried fish, and kelaguens. This closure saddens me as Josephine was one of the pioneers who championed home-style Chamorro cuisine, and you could see evidence of her recognition in the numerous top food awards, reviews, and articles about her, both in the newspapers as well as on the Internet. Some of these articles were written by visiting food and travel writers who visited Guam in the past decade. Her friendly smile, tasty cooking, and personal interaction with customers will be missed. Just like so many other unique and special things we value in our lives, we were able to enjoy the cozy experiences Josephine created in her little kitchen, and now we can smile fondly at the memories.

On the bright side, things are really looking good, especially with the opening of the new Y Kusina at the Palace Hotel, as well as with the transformation of Mulligan's Cafe into the new upscale bistro, Nilo and Clint's, which is the subject of this week's review! Both restaurants demonstrate that change can be a positive thing.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Rainbows For All Children 17th Annual 3.5 Mile Run, Race, Walk - March 5
  • GPO's Best Kelaguen Contest - Saturday, March 5
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from GuamDiner Newsletter (New Feature)
  • Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining in Guam" Now Taking Space Reservations
  • Around the Island - Curry Kebab, The View, LTB Salad Nicoise, and More
  • Nilo & Clint's - Chef Nilo Vega Flexes Culinary Muscle with New Menu Creations

Rainbows For All Children 17th Annual 3.5 Mile Run, Race, Walk - 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 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).

GPO's Best Kelaguen Contest - Saturday, March 5

It's that time of year again and Guam Premier Outlets is having their annual GPO's Best Kelaguen Contest, at 2pm, this Saturday, at Entrance 1, across from Nike Sport. If you are interested in competing, you have to register by end of day on Friday, March 4, before the close of business. The first 36 applicants will be accepted (12 applicants per category - beef, chicken, and seafood). The contest is open to all residents of Guam who are 18 years of age and considered amateur chefs. The prizes will be $250 Cash for 1st Place; $100 GPO Gift Certificate for 2nd Place; and a $50 GPO Gift Certificate for 3rd Place. Judging will be at 2pm and there will be an opportunity for the public to sample the various entries. For more information, call 647-1582.

This Time Last Year - Highlights from GuamDiner Newsletter (New Feature)

This new feature offers a perspective on the things that were happening in Guam's dining scene this time a year ago. It's a summary of the key highlights of events we covered in our newsletter format. When I looked back on this, I gained a sense of the island's mood as well as remembering key events and people who were changing Guam's culinary landscape. When we look back, we can see where we've been, and this gives us an idea of the progress we've made and perhaps a view to the places we are going.

March 5, 2004, Vol. 4 No. 10

Restaurant Reviewed: Rambie's Kamayan Lunch Buffet Key
Highlights:
- Islander Terrace launches Tsukiji Market Buffet Theme Night
- Rainbows Event
- Maila ya tan Fa Boka (Come & Let's Eat) Chamorro Food Competition AGS
- Women's Health Experience at Outrigger Held by Nu Form Innovative Fitness
- Planet Hollywood Celebrates Chamorro Month with New Chamorro Menu Items
- China Wok Cakes Created By Roxanne Lee

Did that jog any memories for you? You can find these and other highlights of food events and happenings in the archived Newsletters section at GuamDiner.com

"Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining in Guam" Now Taking Space Reservations

If you are interested in placing an ad in the upcoming publication, "Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining in Guam", you can access details on the ad placements, sizes available, and their prices from the rotating large banner at GuamDiner.com or from the permanent banner on the lower right. If you are in a hurry, just click here. 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 - Curry Kebab, The View, LTB Salad Nicoise, and More

The Curry Kebab Indian Restaurant recently upgraded its a la carte dinner menu. It is now easier to read in a tri-fold that opens up to reveal their entire selection. Some items have been eliminated, while others have been added. Among the additions at Tofu Bajji (marinated fresh tofu fritters), Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Moghul Kebab, Lamb Saag, Lamb Tikka Masala, Lamb & Mushrooms ($13.95, a dish I tried), Fish Mughlai, Beef Soola Kebab, Kashmiri Grilled Prawns, Fried Rice Pulav (Veg Mughal Pulav, Chicken Tikka Pulav, and Shrimp Pulav), and desserts like Mango Kulfi Ice Cream, and Gulab Jamun & Ice Cream. All three of the Fried Rice Pulav dishes combine a fried rice sauteed with herbs, spices, and vegetables with either nuts (for vegan), tandoor roasted tikka chicken, or marinated shrimp, with the chicken and shrimp chopped up in big chunks and fried with the rice. The surprisingly good Lamb & Mushrooms dish I had the other night was magical. Chef/owner Ashok is using a very rare mushroom that has a shiitake-like texture and consistency, though it is smaller. I highly recommend the Curry Kebab for one of the island's most flavorful taste experiences.

The Chocolate Lovers' Retreat at The View has been extended due to popular demand. Introduced for Valentine's Day, you will now be able to enjoy this delight through Monday, March 14. Enjoy the sumptuously decadent Chocolate Fondue Buffet from 3 - 9pm, for $10 (plus sc), which includes coffee or tea. You will get a variety of fresh and candied fruits to dip into ultra-rich chocolate!! Call 648-1610 for reservations and information.

Le Tasi Bistro's Salad Nicoise is the right answer for Lent and anytime of the year. For $9.95, you get a hearty portion of sliced broiled fresh tuna drizzled with a home-made balsamic vinegar, atop a bed of crisp romaine with egg slices, red cherry tomatoes, and olives. This is accompanied by Le Tasi's basket of fresh baked bread, some of classic French bread and others with basil baked in - I find this bread irresistible! You can access Le Tasi Bistro's weekly lunch specials at GuamDiner.com's front page. For $11.50 you get your choice of three entrees plus a salad or soup, as well as dessert. Lunch is served weekdays from 11am to 2pm, and dinner is served Monday-Saturday, from 5:30- 9pm. The French Onion Soup is incomparable and you must try the Rack of Lamb, a favorite for local lamb lovers. Call for reservations at 472-7877.

One of my favorite places, Yakitori Grill has temporarily reduced its operating hours, serving lunch only on weekdays and dinner only on Saturdays. Lunch hours are 11:30am-2pm, with dinner service from 5:30-10pm on Saturday night. They are closed on Sundays. The management regrets this inconvenience and will inform us when they will resume their regular schedule. Located in the Oka Point Plaza, their phone number is 647-8674.

The new Y Kusina Chamorro Restaurant is a sight to see in its new home at the Palace Hotel Guam. I was there the other night for a delicious Fried Chicken Dinner ($15.95, includes rice and salad, subject to a 25% discount for locals). There is plenty of room (110 seating capacity) and they are open until 10pm. I also had a slice of their awesome Coconut Pecan Cake. You can get their daily lunch specials from 11am-2:30pm, with dinner service starting at 5:30pm. Last week I prematurely announced the new Chamorro Sunday Brunch which actually starts this Sunday, March 6, at 11am and runs until 2:30pm for $19.95. You won't get any pancakes or waffles at this meal, but you will get Chorizos Pak Pak, Corned Beef, Sashimi, Finadene Birenghenas, Shrimp/Chicken/Octopus Kelaguens, TItiyas Pot Roast, Chamorro Sausage, Fried Rice, Red Rice, Golai Appan Aga, Tinala Katne, Kadon Manok, Finadene Satdinas, Scrambled Eggs, Crispy Bacon, Spam, and Chamorro desserts! Call 646-2052 for regular menu take-out.

We regret to inform diners that the Samurai Washin Japanese Restaurant (Blue Lagoon Plaza) is closed indefinitely and possibly permanently for business due to a family illness in Japan. We do not believe Chef Kawano-san will be returning to Guam, but we have heard that there may be another operator who will take over. We will keep readers posted on new developments.

Nilo & Clint's - Chef Nilo Vega Flexes Culinary Muscle with New Menu Creations

"Nilo & Clint's"? Name ring a bell? Didn't think so, but it will now. How about Mulligan Cafe? OK, sure, they're located in the Tumon Golf Driving Range just past Chuck's Steak House and across the street from Corridos. Well Nilo & Clint's is now what used to be Mulligan Cafe, and in fact, you can still get some of your favorite Mulligan lunch special entrees there, along with some rather upscale, "haute cuisine" entrees that Chef Nilo Vega's been yearning to return to cooking for some time now.

Recently converted (I mean within this past week) to a new look and menu, some customers were shocked to see the salad bar gone and only a la carte service available. No doubt this conversion will cost them some customers (who were used to paying $8.95 for lunch specials that included an all-you-can-eat salad bar); however, for those discerning diners and people who appreciate the culinary skills of Chef Nilo Vega, this new venture is terrific news for island palates.

Take the lunch I had on Wednesday (this place is a work in progress, and the drapes weren't even hung yet) - I had a sample of the Chef's Oysters on a Half Shell, which were stuffed with Spinach Florentine and baked in a Mornay Sauce. I ordered Nilos's New England Clam Chowder ($2.95) from my spunky waitress, Ana. This extraordinary chowder is made from scratch daily, and I don't think I've had a more flavorful, nor clam-crammed, bowl of chowder anywhere on Guam. Not to say that there aren't other great chowders available, it's just that Nilo has made his distinct mark on this chowder...he "owns it", and if you were only to try this dish for a first impression of his culinary mastery, you would be as eager as I have been to try everything else he makes.

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Bon appetit!

Don't miss this week's features at GuamDiner.com!

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