May 6, 2005, Volume 5 Number 18
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
If there's one thing that's a constant in Guam's hospitality industry, it's change. It seems that every other week we are getting news about a new restaurant opening or a hotel being sold, renovated, expanded, or proposed. Sometimes we define our experiences by the places, things, and people we know, and if you were to go back just a few years, some names and places that had been a familiar part of the Guam hospitality scene have moved on into history.
You can pretty much date yourself by the establishments you remember. How far back do you have to go to remember Jim's Island House, the Panciteria or the Continental Hotel's bungalows? A bit closer in time are places like the Tropicana, Fujita, Istimewa, Furusato and Sizzler's. Really recent are places like the Kurumaya Seahorse, Binh Minh, Da Pillbox, Claret, Joyful Chinese, Yakitori Grill and Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen.
This legacy of change continues as we watch the Holiday Inn Resort Guam take its place in history when the property becomes the Holiday Resort Guam (new owners and new management) on May 16. We are sure this change will set in motion other developments, such as the opening of an eatery in the former California Pizza Kitchen location. We are awaiting the outcome of the negotiation between the Ken Corporation in Japan and the current owners of PIC Guam on a potential acquisition of Guam's largest hotel property. The Ken Corporation acquired the Aqua Resort Club in Saipan last year. All of these changes bode well for Guam's future since they usually come with considerable investment. Just look at the Dai Ichi in Tumon, which is scheduled to open in early September. I hear that you won't recognize this property once it opens its doors! Naturally, there will be new restaurants to review, which will keep me busy doing what I love to do - eat & tell!
And, last but certainly not least we want to send out a sincere Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there!
Ken, "The Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Mother's Day Specials - From Chinese to Steak, Lots of Choices for Mom
- 4th Annual UOGEF Celebrity Chef's Cup May 21 Hyatt Regency Guam
- House of Brutus Opens Quietly - Ultra-Cool Mixed Media Eatery Debuts
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
- Let's Eat Dining Guide to Guam - Now Taking Space Reservations
- Around the Island - Uncle Bob's Dinner Special, Lunch at Katsu, May's
- Pacific Trading Club Bar & Grill - PTC's New Menu Explores Exciting Tastes
Mother's Day Specials - From Steak to Chinese, Lots of Choices for Mom
The Mother's Day Specials have come pouring in and there is still time to do something special for Mom. Here's a round up of some of the great specials offered by our restaurant subscribers:
Le Tasi Bistro is offering a special catering menu for Mother's Day. This is the perfect choice for a family gathering or if you need to take something to a party. From Roast Leg of Lamb to a pan of their famous Scalloped Potatoes plus one of their delicious desserts (try the Mixed Berries Cake - oh so good!) you can order whatever you need to make a real Mother's Day feast. Call 472-7877 for information and to order.
Planet Hollywood has prepared a very special Mother's Day Champagne Brunch Buffet with gifts for Mom, fun corner for the kids and live entertainment in addition to Chef Chito's wonderful food. Planet Hollywood is such a fun place to go for the entire family and this Mother's Day it is a great choice. Call 647-7827 for reservations.
If Mom loves steak, good Country music and a friendly, fun atmosphere, bring her on down to Lone Star Steak House all weekend long for great steak, lobster and all the fixings the entire family loves. Don't forget this special is available all weekend so there is no reason not to eat at Lone Star more than once - Mom will thank you! Call 646-6061 for reservations and information.
There is no more beautiful place to go for Mother's Day than Nana's Cafe located on the beach in Tumon. Enhancing the gorgeous view is Chef Kishimoto's wonderful food and the deluxe spread they are planning for Mother's Day which includes a Seafood Station and Dessert Station. They even have a special Kid's Menu just for Mother's Day. Reservations are recommended so please call 646-7803 ext 378/312 to reserve.
For Mom's who love Chinese food, there are at least a couple of outstanding choices this Mother's Day. The Palace Chinese Restaurant will be offering one of their famous Brunch Buffets with an awesome array of dishes from appetizers to desserts - be sure to try the Honey Dew Pudding. They will have two seatings so call for your reservations now at 646-7803 ext 378/312.
Also in the Chinese category is May's Restaurant. While May's offers a full range of Local, American and Chinese dishes, she is preparing a special menu for Mother's Day which features some of her famous seafood dishes. The special menu is available all day long into the evening which makes it convenient for families who can't get out for a lunch buffet or brunch. Call 647-3188/3288 for reservations and information.
4th Annual UOGEF Celebrity Chef's Cup May 21 Hyatt Regency Guam
It's that time of year again for Guam's most exciting culinary event, the 4th Annual University of Guam Endowment Foundation's Celebrity Chef's Cup. As with previous competitions, five chefs from different properties are teamed up with media personalities and are assigned a specific course to prepare, and the audience will judge the various dishes and will vote for the winning course. Judging will be based on presentation, creativity, originality, and taste. This year's theme is "Una Fiesta Espanola", and each dish in the five course meal will be Spanish. Below is the list of chefs and their media personalities along with their course assignments:
First Course: Cold Appetizer
Peter Duenas, Executive Chef, Sam Choy's Guam
Assistants: Ed Poppe, KSTO and Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
Second Course: Soup
Andreas Lorenz, Executive Chef, Westin Resort Guam
Assistants: Theresa Merto Cepeda, PDN and Marie Calvo, KUAM
Third Course: Hot Appetizer
Chito Iglopas, Executive Chef, Planet Hollywood
Assistants: Joey Calvo, KUAM and Rex Sorensen, Sorensen Pacific
Fourth Course: Entree
Chris Aguilar, Executive Chef, Outrigger Resort Guam
Assistants: Jerry Roberts, Directions Magazine and Jacquie Ronan, KGTF
Fifth Course: Dessert
Stephen Ascencios, Executive Sous Chef, PIC Guam
Assistants: Nathan Denight, Rev TV and Stephen Ruder, Glimpses
Tickets for this superb culinary event are $150, with a maximum of 450 tickets available. If you are interested in obtaining tickets, call the UOG Endowment Foundation at 735-2955/6/7 soon as these tickets go very quickly.
House of Brutus Opens Quietly - Ultra-Cool Mixed Media Eatery Debuts
The long-anticipated opening of the House of Brutus happened this week at its ITC building location in Tamuning. This is an unusual and eclectic place, and if the name is any indication...it should conjure up a rousing exclamation, "Great Ceasar's Ghost!" Or maybe not, but one thing is for certain, this is one ultra-cool place, and should be taken seriously. The House of Brutus is a "mixed media eatery", a concept which brings together a cafe, restaurant, lounge, bar, and coffee house. HOB will serve gourmet foods for breakfast and lunch, and an appetizer menu for the late afternoon and evening times. You can expect to find Euro-fusion influenced cuisine as well as Illy cafe espresso beverages and a selection of fine wines. There will also be live entertainment. Breakfast service starts at 6am and lunch will last until 4pm. For more information on the House of Brutus, call 647-0315.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
May 7, 2004 , Vol 4 No. 19
Restaurant Reviewed: Se Somjai Restaurant - New Bayside Home For A Venerable Thai Favorite
Tinian's Hot Pepper Festival and Taste of the Marianas
More Bali Adventures - Waterbom Park Full of Thrills for the Entire Family
"Let's Eat!" Dining Guide to 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 - Uncle Bob's Dinner Special, Lunch at Katsu, May's
Uncle Bob's in Anigua is offering a great dinner special that's gotta get your attention! If you make a reservation or dine before 7:30pm, you can order any Entree and get the Second one (of equal or lesser value) at half-price! Moreover, children 12 and under eat free with each paying adult. For adults dining in the lounge, you get a free appetizer, salad and fruit bar with the purchase of any full price menu entree. During Happy Hour from 3pm-6pm, all beverages are 1/2 price in the Sports Bar. Call 477-2297 for information and to make reservations
Sneak preview and party for Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith at Planet Hollywood. Details are here.
Izakaya Katsu aka the Green Door is known for its famous Tofu Steak and Panko Fried Shrimp. It is an ideal getaway during lunch time especially if you arrive at 11:30am and get great seating. Other dishes to try at lunch are Chicken or Beef Curry, and Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce. I still contend that Katsu is one of Guam's best-kept secrets. I am surprised that there are still many who have not yet been there. It is located on the 3rd floor of the Central Plaza Building, with Chuan Fu Chinese Restaurant on the ground floor. It is across the street from the Tumon main precinct. The best way to get there is to drive into the parking garage, all the way to the 3rd floor until you reach the Green Door- it literally has a "green door", which you can't miss!
The Palm Garden Buffet at the Palace Hotel is an experience worth trying. I don't know if you've been since the renovation, but this place looks really nice, with some of the brightest colors of any of Guam's restaurants. I was there for a lunch on Saturday and was pleased with the variety of hot and cold items, as well as the fresh live cooking station. The Roast Duck was really tasty, along with Korean ribs, breaded fish sticks, and pizza. You can also select your choice of beef, mahi, and chicken, have it grilled, and then use your choice of dipping sauces (the soy with lime was great). The amazing thing about this entire lunch experience was the music playing in the background, which was kind of a new-age/world fusion. The CD I heard playing was called Creativity, and the music is designed to enhance one's creative energies. This particular music is quite appealing and reflects well on the management. The price of the lunch buffet is $11.95 per adult.
May's Restaurant in the Kim Chee Complex across from GPO has some of the island's best Chinese food. I have not had better Won Ton Soup. May's has breakfast, lunch and dinner specials, which give you your money's worth, with prices starting at $3.50. For $7 you get a great Lapu Fish Fillet with Spicy Sauce. May's also offers Asian food combo plates like Kalbi & Teriyaki Chicken, or Roast Duck & Teriyaki Chicken for $7. A popular offering is her "Rice Bowls" which feature flavors from Kung Pao Beef to Pork Cutlet for just $4.50. As mentioned in the Mother's Day Specials above, this Sunday May has put together some excellent choices and I highly recommend the Seafood with Black Bean Sauce. Of course, May's take-out is always enjoyed, so call 647-3188 or 647-3288 to place your order.
Pacific Trading Club Bar & Grill - PTC's New Menu Explores Exciting Tastes
In the world of restaurants, it is a rule of thumb that if you have great food, great service, and a convenient, accessible location, you should enjoy success. My recent experience at Pacific Trading Club (hereinafter referred to as PTC) in the Agana Shopping Center underscored all three criteria, with the food and service quality rating higher than the majority of restaurants I've reviewed. To be fair, I did eat at PTC back in September in their early days and realized then that they had some work to do.
Since that time they've perfected a new menu that showcases the talents and creative vision of PTC's Executive Chef, Michael John Moral. Chef Mike has some impressive credentials and kitchen experience, including stints at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, Hyatt Regency Manila, Oakwood Premiere Makati, Hyatt Regency Guam, and the Holiday Inn Resort Guam. Although he describes his style of cooking as "fusion", it's not until you taste it that you get a real sense of Chef Mike's culinary prowess and ingenuity.
Upon entering PTC one gets the sense that someone invested a good deal of money to create a special ambiance that makes you forget you are in a shopping center. There is an impressive, long mahogany bar that's well-stocked...the bar has personality and style, and shines with a newness and vitality. A colorful mural of a southern island village covers one wall, while vintage black & white photos portray a bygone era when the Pan Am Clipper graced the skies and seas. While I was there for dinner I didn't get the impression that it was a drinking and dining bar as is Old Hagatna Grill. There are comfortable tables and booths well-designed to maximize space in the dining room. Since this is also a Sports Bar, there are standing counter bars where you can eat and watch a game. However, when I was there, it was the food that was the center of attention and there were no games on TV.
I was seated by my server, Jennifer James, whose sister is Joy James, a former Miss Guam Tourism. Jennifer is famous in her own right, having just recently beat out 55 competitors in Guam's "Island Idol" Competition, an event organized by RevTV. Once you meet her, you'll understand how she won, since she has an amazing sense of customer service and a home-grown charm that's infectious. Jennifer brought me my Calamansi Iced Tea (the best tasting tea on Guam - something they've created here) and awaited my decision. Throughout the meal Jennifer never let my tea go empty and regularly checked on my progress. She ought to give lessons.
From the Starters section I pondered over the PTC Chicken Wings which come in four flavors - Pika, Teriyaki Glazed, Salt & Pepper, and Sweet Chili, $7 - or the Gambas, $9.50. I settled on Fried Calamari ($8), served with both Garlic Aioli and Cocktail Sauce. This was recommended by Chef Mike, since he wanted me to taste how different these were from other calamari rings. He uses the squid's body to cut larger pieces that are dipped in panko crumbs and fried to a golden brown. They were really delicious, tender and not chewy, and the Garlic Lime Aioli was terrific. The cocktail sauce was doctored with a little horseradish and was pika-flavorful.
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