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August 19, 2005, Volume 5 Number 33

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The other day I had just walked into a local restaurant for a late lunch and was greeted by an acquaintance I've known for many years who happens to be active in the recycling movement. He brought to my attention a concern he had about the lack of service staff training in restaurants, how some waiters and waitresses make loud disruptive noises when clearing and cleaning tables, and even how they caused "a lot of grinding and screeching" as they moved chairs around.

A final point he raised addressed how a waitress at a particular Hagatna restaurant had assured him that the steak in their sandwich wasn't tough, and how, when he showed her chunks of gristle from the meat, all she could offer was that she was 'sorry about that' and offered no other option. Obviously, he was quite frustrated with the poor service attitude and, in some cases, ineptitude that he encountered at other restaurants. Needless to say, he would not return to the establishment he named.

How many of you have had similar experiences? How many of you have complained to the management (or even asked for the manager) over some issue or problem you've experienced while dining? If you have problems with the servers or any of the staff, I recommend asking for a supervisor or manager. If the server doesn't have any authority to rectify the problem, ask him (or her) for a manager. I'm sure once the person in charge hears you rationally and calmly express your concerns, they'll come up with a reasonable solution. If not, then you can just strike that place off your list of places to frequent. It'll be their loss not having your business.

Today's review of Sereno's Italian Ristorante offers a contrast to the poor experiences my acquaintance received. This is a restaurant in Tumon where the management and staff are proactive in their approach to customer service and to the careful handling of their clients. They really work for your business and with that kind of attitude, not to mention the exceptional Italian cuisine that is created by one of the island's talented young chefs, you are assured of a pleasant meal. I hope you enjoy yourself at Sereno's as much as I did, and whatever you do, be sure to indulge yourself by having one of Sereno's trademark tiramisu.

Ken, the Guam Food Guy

In Today's Issue:

GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Segment Saturday August 20, 10am

Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy's segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10am-Noon. This week's first hour guests will be Executive Chef Christopher Aguilar of the Outrigger Guam Resort, who will be joined by Chef De Partie Ryan Chiguina of Sereno's Italian Ristorante. The second hour's guest will be the very lively and entertaining Bill Bradford, Jan Z's manager. These interviews will offer unique and interesting insights into the people behind the scenes at the island's restaurants. This will be an opportunity for you to hear compelling stories about their professions and their passions, which are often synonymous in this industry for people of their caliber. Your phone calls are welcome. Call 477-5700, or *57 on your cell phones.

Upcoming Fund Raising Events - Make-a-Wish, UOGEF & Crimestopper's Who Dunnit?

There are several special fund raising events that are coming up within the next week that we wanted to mention.

The Second Annual "Virtual Flights for Wishes"
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Guam
Sponsored by Continental Airlines, LSG Skychefs, and DFS
Date: Saturday August 20
Location: AB Won Pat Guam International Airport
Time: Check in 6:30pm Gate 009, Return 9:30pm
Activities: Passengers will earn 1,000 Continental OnePass Miles, as well as a chance to win free airline tickets aboard any Continental Micronesia Flight. There will also be luxury items from DFS Guam, In-flight entertainment with Frank Rios, Tony Lamorena and a fashion show by the Kristal Kollection.
Reservations: Economy $125 Business First $225 Call 649-WISH (9474).

"An Evening to Enjoy"
University of Guam Endowment Foundation
Date: Friday August 26
Location: Hyatt Regency Guam
Time: No-host cocktails 6:30pm, Dinner 7pm
Activities: This benefit is to welcome home Guam's own Jenny Cruz, a classical pianist. A fabulous dinner will be prepared by Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler, and there will be wine-tasting throughout the night featuring Kendall-Jackson wines.
Reservations: Tickets ($100) are available at BestSeller Bookstore and the UOG
Endowment Foundation Office

"My Alma Martyr" a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
Crime Stoppers 20th Anniversary Benefit
Date: Saturday August 27
Location: Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, Marianas Ballroom
Time: Investigation begins at 6pm (guests are advised to come 'dressed to kill')
Activities: This intriguing murder mystery is produced by Theater Guam and will feature Michelle Bednarzyk, George Butler, Travis Coffman, Jefferson Cronin, Clifford Guzman, and Diane Thurber. Special appearances will be made by Guam Police Chief Frank Ishizaki and Crime Stoppers' founder, Gregory MacAleese.
Reservations: Donations are $75 per person. RSVP at 646-8341.

Going Coconuts! Tree of Life Promo at Manhattan Steakhouse, August & September

The Marriott Guam Resort & Spa's Manhattan Steakhouse is currently running a special coconut promotion called "The Tree of Life" from now through September 30. According a Marriott release, "the scientific name for coconut is Cocos Nudifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means "monkey face" because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resembles the head and a face of a monkey. Nucifera means 'nut-bearing'". Coconut flavored cuisine is featured with several menu items using coconut as a main ingredient in the selection.

Among the coconut cuisine creations awaiting you are:

Coconut & Crab Chowder with Roasted Coconut - $7.50
Coconut Flavored Crab Cakes with Basil & Coconut Mayonnaise - $7.50
Coconut Shrimp Martini with Apricot Horseradish Dipping Sauce - $9.50
Shrimp Ceviche with Coconut - $9.50
Lobster & Vegetable Spring Roll with Coconut & Lime Dressing - $10.50
Pan Fried Salmon with Coconut & Coriander Pesto - $25.50
Tumeric Spiced Monkfish with Coconut & Mint Chutney - $26.60
Coconut & Mango Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Sauce & Fried Coconut - $6.50
Pina Colada Parfait with Chocolate Waves $6.50.

We had a preview of the Coconut Shrimp Martini a few weeks was delicious - nice big plump and juicy panko mixed with coconut...which were just divinely delectable! Manhattan's hours are from 6-9pm. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 648-1610.

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter

August 20, 2004 Vol 4 No 34

Restaurant Reviewed: Yuan San Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Uncle Bob's Opens New Location - Feast on Beef in Anigua
A Taste of Bali Continues through Sunday August 21 - Palm Cafe, Outrigger Guam
Baskin Robbins to Close

Around the Island - Marriott Tasmanian Seafood Buffet, Le Tasi Bistro's Super-sized Roast Chicken, Sakura Kitchen's Bento DInner Special

The Marriott Cafe is currently running a Tasmanian Seafood Buffet through September. Lunch ($15) is from 11am-2pm, and dinner ($35) is from 6-9pm. Dinner features all-you-can-drink draft beer, which is a big plus if you happen to be a beer drinker. I don't know what the particular cuisine of Tasmania is, but I'd reckon it's probably similar to Australian cuisine. Tasmania is literally down under the place we know as "down under" - Australia. The Marriott Cafe's seafood buffets are replete with a variety of seafood, especially during the dinner buffet. For more information or for reservations, call 648-1610.

Le Tasi Bistro surprised all of their guests the other day when their usual Wednesday lunch special, Roast Chicken with Roasted Potatoes, had extra large sizes of chicken, described by some as " baby turkey" sized pieces! Especially considering that the three-course lunch costs only $11.50 and allows you to choose your starter, entree and a pastry of the day or ice cream for dessert; this was more than a great value! Several people had to request doggie bags for their left over lunch plates. In a world where everything is going up in price and where you get less for your money, it's nice to know that at Le Tasi Bistro you won't go away hungry and that what you do eat, will be high quality.

We dropped in to Sakura's Kitchen in Upper Tumon the other night. Located across from GTA, I wrote a review a few years ago when they'd first opened that drew so many customers that they ran out of food and had to close early for both lunch and dinner. The food is still awesome there and a good value. The Bento Box Value Menu includes Shrimp Tempura plus Teriayki Chicken with Sashimi, Rice & Miso Soup for $9.95. Other main item choices for the same Bento Box Value Meal could be Shrimp Tempura & Fried Chicken, or Grilled Mackerel & Fried Chicken, or Shrimp Tempura & Grilled Mackerel (this once is $10.95). Sakura has great lunch values, too. Call 647-1623 for more info.

Sereno's Italian Ristorante - New Creations Tantalize By Day & By Night

It's been over two years since I reviewed Sereno's Italian Ristorante, located on the ground floor of Tumon's Ohana Bay View Hotel. It had just opened then, and I can honestly say that the overall dining and service experience has improved which is saying something as it was quite good then. A surprise to me, though, was discovering the culinary talents of the young Chef de Partie, Ryan Chiguina, who produced some exceptional entrees and intriguing appetizers. For this review, I ate both lunch and dinner at Sereno's, which gave me two different perspectives. I can see Sereno's as an ideal place for business luncheon and I can also see Sereno's as the perfect romantic getaway for a candlelight dinner with a lovely glass of Blackstone Merlot. Either by day or by night, there was a consistency in the level of service as well as in the preparation, taste, originality and presentation of the food.

If you are fortunate, like I was, to meet and to interact with Sereno's Restaurant Manager, Annabelle Santos, you will soon understand that she defines and embodies hospitality. She is certainly one of that rare breed of managers who lives, eats, and breathes her vocation, and she does it so effortlessly. She fits right in with her's chic, well-appointed, tasteful, and relaxing. Truly a place where you could sit for hours mesmerized by the Tumon activities and bay just outside the glass windows.

I like the dreaminess of being in a place that's casual but classy like Sereno's, however, the food was my real reason for being there, so we'll start out with lunch and work our way course by course through dinner. At lunch the tables are bare, exposing the fine wood grain table top patterns. My beverage of choice was a San Pellegrino (hey, we're doing Italian, aren't we?) Since I was alone, I hoped to limit my ordering but that, of course, didn't work and I ended up taking home the balance of my pizza. I ordered Eggplant Rolatini ($5.50), Mixed Insalata ($6.50), Spinach & Pancetta Pizza (8" - $9), and Chicken Balsamico ($11), which was a carry-over from the original menu.

The first thing they put on the table was potentially the most damaging to your ability to eat all of your food. It's the fresh, home-made focaccia bread that's served hot. It comes with a "day and night" olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping bowl, with each creating it's own liquid hemisphere. The real treat is in dipping piece after piece in this delectable sauce. I loved the Eggplant Rolatini. It had seared eggplant pieces that were rolled and filled with ricotta cheese, then layered atop a fresh marinara moat and covered with a little mozzarella.The local eggplant always appeals to me, and having it thus prepared, with a rich, sweet marinara sauce, and stuffed with a blended gratin-like ricotta that was lightly spiced, made me like it all the more.

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Buon Appetito!

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