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October 21, 2005, Volume 5 Number 42

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

I love my work - I don't see eating as "work", I consider it a pleasure! In last year's newsletter intro I talked about the amazing variety of food choices and cuisine styles available to us on our remote little island. If you are like me, you make your eating decisions based on cravings...what am I in the mood for? There are times that I absolutely must have Indian food, so I zoom over to The Curry Kebab. If I want wonton soup, it's May's. Fresh lumpia - no problem, 'cause Mary's Vietnamese does it best! Tofu steak? Izakaya Katsu's got this down. Korean? Chung Hae, Uri Jip, or Sejong. For Chamorro food, it's hard to beat Y Kusina, although there are new places like 22nd Cafe De Marquee that are building a following with their daily Chamorro lunch specials. Oh, do we have choices!

On the hotel dining front, there are numerous promotions running now and as the holiday season approaches the number of these will only increase. For example, from now throughout November, you can enjoy a mesmerizing array of savory foods from the Indian Ocean region at the Marriott Cafe. And, for this week's review I chose Al Dente's special Certified Angus Beef Promotion (which ends Oct 31) because I ate the best steak I've ever had on Guam. It's my hope that some of you can go try for yourself while they're still serving those wonderful accompanying sauces which took that perfect steak to a new level! At another Hyatt venue, La Merienda, the Austrian promotion related to Oktoberfest rolls along.

Finally, as has been the fate of many popular eateries, the Pacific Grill in Tumon has not been open for a few weeks and I fear that they are closed. This place made a double decker cheeseburger you had to see to believe. Another Tumon eatery, Hammako Ramen, located just down from Fountain Plaza, has shuttered its doors. On the bright side, we now have two more places that will house completely new restaurants. What kind of restaurant would you like to see come to Guam? How about a Vegetarian restaurant that was open for dinner? Or a genuine southern-style soul food restaurant? Would you patronize these enough to keep them open?

Ken, "The Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • K57 "Tourism & You Special Guam Food Guy Edition" 10 am Saturday October 22
  • Guam Symphony "An Oktoberfest of Classics" - October 22 & 23 Hilton Guam
  • La Mirenda's Austrian Sunday Brunch - A Taste of Destination Dining
  • Pay-Less Dededo Re-Opens After Complete Renovation
  • Winchell's in Yigo Shopping Center Offers First "Top It Your Way" Donuts
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletters
  • Around the Island - Cafe De Marquee, May's, Seafood Chef Lunch Buffet, BBQ
  • Al Dente Ristorante - Chef Mirko Embellishes the Perfect Steak

K57 "Tourism & You Special Guam Food Guy Edition" 10 am Saturday October 22

I was asked to take on hosting duties for this Saturday's Tourism & You. Last week's regular GFG show was loads of fun and laughter with Executive Chef Peter Duenas and Chef de Cuisine John Fernandez of Sam Choy's. The Hyatt's Executive Chef Herman Grossbichler and Al Dente's Chef De Cuisine, Mirko Agostini extended the fun, and brought delightful pastries and an even sweeter presence in the form of Hyatt's Marketing Communications Manager, Catherine Cruz-Norton.

Tomorrow's show will highlight an interesting mix of talent and hospitality news, with our first hour guests coming in from the Guam Marriott Resort & Spa. Food & Beverage Director Tsukasa Yanagishima will be joined by Executive Chef Michael Devlin and Ami Salas, Senior Sales Manager, who will enlighten us on all the special events taking place at the Guam Marriott Resort.

Our second hour line-up will feature local restaurant entrepreneur, Frank Kenney, co-founder of Jamaican Grill, who will share the secrets of their success (but not their secret recipes!) and give listeners an update of some of the current happenings at their popular outlets.

Frank will be followed by one of the island's aspiring young talents, Ryan Dadulfalza, who recently returned graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where he earned his Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Culinary Arts. Prior to attending the C.I.A., Ryan worked at the Hotel Nikko and Outrigger Guam Resort, during which time he attended GCC's Cooking Apprenticeship Program. He is currently working as a cook at Feeragalo in the Leo Palace Resort's Hotel Belvedere.

These live in-studio interviews will offer unique, candid, and interesting insights into the people behind the scenes at the island's restaurants. Your phone calls are welcome. Call 477-5700, or *57 on your cell phones.

Guam Symphony "An Oktoberfest of Classics" - October 22 & 23 Hilton Guam

If you love the soul-stirring sounds of classical music, you don't want to miss this weekend's performance by the Guam Symphony Society, whose conductor, Dr. Stephen Bednarzyk, will lead the symphony in presenting "An Oktoberfest of Classics".

There will be two performances, the first starts at 8pm on Saturday and the second follows on Sunday at 2pm, in the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Micronesian Ballroom. The performance will include Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" Overture, Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op.21, and a selection of works by Strauss, including Blue Danube Waltzes, Pizzicato Polka, Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Tales from the Vienna Woods, Thunder & Lightning Polka and the Radetzky March. General admission advance tickets $12, military $10, and students $7. Tickets are available at Brown Bag Cafe, China Arts, Dragon Locksmith and Faith Bookstore. Tickets at the door will be $15.

La Mirenda's Austrian Sunday Brunch - A Taste of Destination Dining

This past Sunday's Brunch at the Hyatt's La Mirenda was a culinary "Oktoberfest" that highlighted Austrian favorites. Among some of the unique offerings presented was a delicately-flavored Fresh Water Trout in a lemon butter sauce. Classic Austrian favorites such as Beef Goulash, Spatzle, Paprika Roast Chicken, Wiener Schnitzel and Bratwurst were part of the lavish spread.

I allowed myself an omelet and was thrilled by the fresh baked pretzels and rolls (these were soooo good!!). I put three different sausages and the Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal cutlet topped with a lemon slice) on my plate along with a dab of mustard, a big sour pickle chunk, a pile of sauerkraut, and went to work. The only person happier than me was Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler, as he took a great and personal pride in sharing the cuisine of his native country. The kitchen team performed masterfully in executing his culinary vision.

For dessert I couldn't resist a strawberry/banana crepe made fresh and bathed in Grand Marnier, and somehow managed to sample about eight of the nearly two dozen fantastic dessert creations.

The next two Sunday Brunches follow the Autumn Flavors Promotion with the 23rd offer Mediterranean treats, including couscous, paella, and moussaka, as well as other herbed and spiced delicacies from other regions of this intriguing area. Cajun food will be featured on the 30th, with some of my favorites like gumbo, jambalaya,and blackened fish on the menu. La Mirenda's Sunday Brunch starts at 11am and lasts until 2:30pm. Adults $33 and children ages 6-12, pay half price. (Prices subject to a 10% sc) The brunch includes free-flowing champagne, beer, and wine, and is gloriously enhanced by the musical talents of Mario & Jim. Reservations are recommended! Call 647-1234.

Pay-Less Dededo Re-Opens After Complete Renovation

After about 2 months, the Dededo Pay-Less store has reopened with a whole new interior, including a huge seafood department, something it didn't have before. The produce and meat display cases have also expanded. The grand opening is slated for this weekend. However, I had a chance to stop by for a look-see and was duly impressed. I ran into a beaming Bernie Onedera, Store Manager, who is relieved that they are able to take care of their loyal customers once again. The store has the same foot print and square footage but seems a lot larger because of how they've arranged the aisles. Kudos to the management and employees of the newly renovated Dededo Pay-Less Supermarket.

Winchell's in Yigo Shopping Center Offers First "Top It Your Way" Donuts

In what I believe is a first for Guam, the Winchell's Donut Shop in the Yigo Shopping Center (in the Pay-Less entrance area) has launched a fun way for consumers to enjoy their favorite donuts by telling the counter staff to decorate them with the frosting and toppings of their choice. I selected two buttermilk bars and asked the counter clerk to put chocolate frosting and nuts on one and cherry frosting and sprinkles on the other. This was cool, with not many people knowing they could do this. It's a great idea and a neat way for customers to interact and participate in creating personalized donuts! I hope the other Winchell's consider doing something like this!

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

October 22, 2004, Vol 4 No 43

Restaurant Reviewed: Mekong Viet-Thai Restaurant - Breakfast Menu is a Real Meal Deal

Pastries in Paradise, Sam Choy's Peter Duenas Sweeps Top Honors
Roy Yamaguchi Presents New Menu & Offers Cooking Class

Around the Island - Cafe De Marquee, May's, Seafood Chef Lunch Buffet, BBQ

We stopped by Cafe De Marquee again this past week, and this time tried the Beef Tinaktak, Chamorro Sausage and Eggplant, and Chicken Estufao, which were each $6.95 daily specials. We noted that a significant percentage of the other customers were in law enforcement which is understandable since this restaurant is owned by Dottie and James Marquez (who had been Chief of Police at one time). There's something homey and familiar about this place, which allows customers to interact and relax. I really think they're on the right track...good food and a relaxing, casual environment...almost like eating at home. The desserts are something to behold!

May's Restaurant in Tamuning continues to stand out from the rest. We recently ate there and had the Tofu Skins with Vegetables, the Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Lapu Lapu Filets with Sauteed Vegetables, and Roast Duck. Check out May's lunch and dinner specials for real menu deals.

We finally stopped by the Seafood Chef in the Hakubotan Building to try their all-you-can-eat lunch buffet ($9.50 +10% sc). The first impression was good. The salad ingredients were the standard and quite fresh. The hot line had some really tasty crab with a black bean sauce, moist mahi mahi filets, panko-breaded fried chicken wings, roast pork loin, and baked stuffed mussels. The dining room is quite spacious, and there are several separated function rooms for group meetings. There are about four to five dessert items, with one highlight being Halo Halo. I think consumers are getting fair value for their money, since the quality of the food and how it's prepared are managed by foodservice professionals. The Seafood Chef offers a la carte seafood at dinner, along the same lines as the Kamayan/Island Fisherman, where diners choose their seafood which is prepared to their liking.

During my excursion to the new Dededo Pay-Less and Yigo Winchell's, I passed by one of my old "stomping grounds", Dading's Lechon Manok, which is owned by Emilie & Rey Ochavillo. Since my mini-review in July 2001, when I sampled on Dading's flavorful marinated grilled chicken (stuffed with Lemongrass), I had eaten there a number of times getting take-out for dinner since I lived around the corner. This recent visit had my mouth watering, and although they weren't yet open (Emilie had just lit the mesquite coals), I knew that I'd have to find a way to get back up here to get some more of their prized BBQ. Another place I stopped by during this same excursion was Papa Pio's BBQ Stand, which is located in the Yigo Ace Hardware Complex. I stopped by to get information and didn't eat, but noted that their menu has such Filipino and Chamorro treats as Fritada, BBQ Short Ribs, BBQ Chicken, Dried Meat, Pot Roast, Octopus Poke, Stir Fry Upo, and Pancit. You can get three choices for $5 which includes red or white rice and Melon Juice. To place orders for take-out, call 888-4480.

Al Dente Ristorante - Chef Mirko Embellishes the Perfect Steak

"La Festa del manzo L'Angus originale e garantito" is the Italian for what roughly translates into "Certified Angus Beef Promotion", and yes, this review is about a super-fabulous steak experience at Guam's premier Italian restaurant, Al Dente. Before I go any further, I have to warn you that this promotion ends October 31, so if you want to experience a steak above steaks, you'll have to beat the deadline! And, even if you come afterwards, you'll certainly find a full menu of delectable Italian dishes waiting to satisfy your gustatory cravings.

My last review of Al Dente was in June 2004, which was shortly after the arrival of Al Dente's Chef de Cuisine, Mirko Agostini, who originally hails from Milan. Chef Mirko's had been waiting for my return and circumstances created the right opportunity for us to visit during this special Certified Angus Beef Promotion. C.A.B. is a premier grade of beef, known for its marbling, texture, succulence, taste, and leanness. Though it's served at other reputable establishments on island, I contend that Chef Mirko's special seasonings that are grilled onto this tender meat (I had the 17 oz. T-Bone) gave it a unique, irresistible flavor that I fell in love with after the first bite - it was literally "love at first bite"! But I get ahead of myself here. Let's go to an earlier phase of the meal.

The special menu for the Certified Angus Beef Promotion offers six selections, starting with a Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with Kalamata olives, Parmesan Reggiano, baby spinach, and extra virgin olive oil ($18). The second listing caught our attention - it was a "Ravioli al brasato de manzo in brodo ristretto al pomodoro affumicato" which translated means Braised Beef Ravioli in Smoked Tomato Consomme ($18), which we ordered. An item on the promotion menu we passed on was the Villa Antinori Chianti Risotto with braised beef, radicchio, Montasio cheese and fresh thyme ($21).

Our two main courses were center-stage for good reasons - they would prove to have compelling presentations and sensational tastes. The first was the Pan-Fried Beef Tenderloin wrapped in Pancetta served with grilled lobster, asparagus, soft polenta, and sun dried tomato sauce ($45). The second was a prime cut 17 oz. Rib Eye or T-Bone Steak with peppercorn cream sauce, roasted bell pepper coulis, and tomato-anchovy salsa, served with sauteed mushroom ragout, rosemary roasted potatoes and garlic spinach ($55). Don't get "sticker shock" from these prices - there's nothing ordinary about this meat! Besides, you deserve indulging in a steak fantasy at least once in your life, right?

Before we started the promotion course we ordered two soups from the regular menu, "Zippo di granchio, granuturco e pancetta affumicata" aka Corn & Crab Chowder $10 and "Crema ai funghi di bosco con olio al tartufo bianco" aka Wild Mushroom Soup with White Truffle Oil $9.50. Our server, Nida, took our wine order (two glasses of Orvietto Classico) which was a light, slightly dry crisp wine that blossomed on our palates after we swapped our regular ice waters with Panna. We were our own worst enemies by devouring (honestly, we couldn't help ourselves!) the hot pizza bread slices with that savory aioli dip. Had we limited ourselves to two pieces, we'd have been OK - I must have had five!

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