December 2, 2005, Volume 5 Number 47
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
December is up and running with all the excitement, energy, and celebrations that makes this the grandest month of the year! The Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Christmas Train is probably the most recognizable indicator that the holiday season has started. The Hyatt's towering Christmas Tree is another. The Marriott's lobby is fully decorated in the spirit of the season with trees, banners, and a moving Christmas display. San Vitores Road itself is adorned with Christmas scenes and decorations, and all the various properties are uniquely contributing to make this one of the most memorable Christmas seasons in recent memory.
December marks some significant changes and anniversaries in hotel properties both in Saipan and Guam. December 2 is the official re-naming (re-branding) of a Saipan landmark property, the Dai-Ichi Hotel Saipan Beach, which becomes the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. December 5 is the day that the Genji at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa re-opens for both lunch and dinner after a three year hiatus following the destruction of Supertyphoon Pongsona. It is an impressive renovation, sporting a sleek new look and style. The Genji's new Chef de Cuisine is Kunihiko Hamada, who brings a wealth of experience and creativity to the restaurant. People who have already "test-driven" Genji's new menu have been raving about some of Hamada's fusion dishes and special sauces.
Pacific Islands Club Guam's 25th Anniversary is this month as well. I recall the first time a young Frenchman named Gerard Guedon came into Smithco Hotel & Restaurant Supply in 1979 and told us he was part of an investment group that was going to convert the Continental Hotel and Tokyu Hotel into a Club Med-type resort called Pacific Islands Club. Some of you old-timers will remember those cozy little bungalows that used to cover the area now occupied by the waterpark. I feel honored by my long association and friendship with the Pacific Islands Club, which is Guam's largest hotel property.
In closing, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the recent passing of my old friend, David Huang, the founder of Huang's Cake Shop in Maite. I remember when I first met David, when he was shopping for a Hobart mixer for his new little bakery. His smiling face was bright with life and excitement. I later sold him large reach-in refrigerators and more mixers, as his bakery grew. I can't count the number of cakes we purchased from David for my family's many birthday celebrations. Over the years as his business expanded, I recall seeing him in his prized Cadillac, as well as socially at functions or events. He was so proud of his kids and how he had made a success from all the hard work and sacrifice he'd made. Not bad for a man who had come to Guam with only $2.00 in his pocket. Everyone I know has their own stories about getting cakes, pies, and pastries from Huang's Cake Shop. David's memory will live on forever in the hearts and minds of his friends, relatives, and especially his wife Meilih, and their children Danny, Merle, Margaret, and Maggie. It's understandable how Heaven has become a brighter place with David smiling down on us.
Ken, The Guam Food Guy,
In Today's Issue:
- 26th Japan Autumn Festival - Ypao Beach Park, Saturday December 3
- Guam Girl Scouts Christmas Trees Are Here - Better & Fresher Than Ever!
- Korean Night Wednesday is Islander Terrace's Newest Theme Night
- Lucie's Gourmet Shoppe - Now Open in Hagatna
- Duangdee Thai Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge - Monticello Plaza Tamuning
- An Evening of Elegance - Private Party Features Entertainment & Fine Dining
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
- Around the Island - Chamorro Garden Restaurant, Old Town Chinese & Lone Star
- Marty's Mexican Bar & Grill - New Location Revitalizes an Old Favorite
26th Japan Autumn Festival - Ypao Beach Park, Saturday December 3
If you've never been to the annual Japan Autumn Festival put on by the Japan Club of Guam, then you should definitely plan on attending this remarkable, one-of-a-kind cultural and entertainment event. This year's festival offers attendees an opportunity to win a trip to Japan along with other prizes. The festival has many hotel and restaurants offering some kind of Japanese cuisine that you can purchase with Festival Tickets, which come in booklets. You can also buy beverages, a variety of fruits, as well as play fun games for kid's prizes. At 3pm, the festival opens with a Ceremony and a Dance Performance. The second phase of the festival starts at 4:30pm with another Opening Ceremony and Dance and all of the activities will commence. At 8:30pm there will be a fireworks display and another performance by a dance troupe. At 9:30pm they will hold a closing ceremony with the event ending at 10pm. This is one of the island's most popular cultural events, fun for the whole family!
Guam Girl Scouts Christmas Trees Are Here - Better & Fresher Than Ever!
Those fabulously famous Guam Girl Scouts Christmas Trees are here and are better and fresher than ever!! The sale starts this Saturday, December 3 from 9am to 4pm, and will be on sale on Sunday at same time as well. This year's trees are truly special, and the selection of Noble and Douglas Firs has drawn acclaim from tree sale veterans. If you've not yet bought your tree, now's a perfect time to find a quality tree that will last throughout your holidays...these trees are so valuable they even have names to match their personalities! You can "adopt" one of these gorgeous green trees that'll bring a warming joy to your household this Christmas season! Our trees need a good home, and when decorated, will make it better!
Korean Night Wednesday is Islander Terrace's Newest Theme Night
The Islander's gone Korean on Wednesday nights, and if you know how well the Hilton's culinary team performs, you know you're in for a gigantic feast! With the advent of the Genji Restaurant returning to the forefront of the Hilton's Japanese cuisine offering, there is no need to keep offering the Tsukiji Seafood Market on Wednesdays. This new Korean Buffet, which also has some other Asian influences such as Chinese and Japanese. is an elaborate undertaking with an unprecedented display of Korean entrees and appetizers. There was one huge cauldron of mixed seafood soup as well as beef and pork kalbi, bulgogi, chapchae, a variety of panchan (small side dishes), and what seems like an infinite buffet display of hot and cold foods, soups, breads, salads, and desserts. The live cooking stations prepare several types of fish as well as marinated beef, pork, and chicken. There is a really good Korean Beer called "Cass" as well. The buffet price is $34 plus 10% SC, and the buffet runs from 6 to 9pm on Wednesdays. Call 646-DINE for reservations.
Lucie's Gourmet Shoppe - Now Open in Hagatna
Surprise, surprise! A cute little store has opened up in the New Marina Hotel, just a few doors down from Le Tasi Bistro. Lucie's Gourmet Shoppe has a range of imported specialties, and features 88 varieties of jams, jellies, preserves, fruit butters, syrups, and chutneys. It is owned and operated by Lucy and Hans Sowade, and is open Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm, and from 10am-5pm on Saturdays.
Duangdee Thai Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge - Monticello Plaza Tamuning
A brand new Thai restaurant has entered the scene! Duangdee Thai Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge opened this past week in the Monticello Plaza in Tamuning, better known as the Cost-U-Less complex. The actual location is adjacent to the OP Bakery. Putting a Thai restaurant here is interesting as it further internationalizes this shopping complex, which already features a Japanese grocery store/delicatessen, and a Korean Bakery. The restaurant is clean with lavish furnishings. The menu is extensive, with some entrees not usually listed on other local Thai restaurant menus. Duangdee is owned by Arawan Chairid, and the phone number is 646-9779. Hours are from 11am-11pm.
An Evening of Elegance - Private Party Features Entertainment & Fine Dining
It was a night to remember! Imagine an intimate setting in a special suite with a dining room table elaborately set for 12. Guests arrive to this private party and are greeted with a glass of bubbly champagne, chilled just right. What's more, there is a promise of an awesome treat - what type of visual entertainment could we expect? A fashion show? No, even better...a live performance by a masterful dancer, Alberto Dimaracut, who would lead our own Chita Blaise in a grand display of ballroom finesse. This was a sight to behold, something that riveted our attention and stirred passion - the precise movements of a synchronous dynamic! The dance performance ended to well-earned applause and a five course dinner was served. Fume Blanc was poured with the Ravioli of Lobster in a Spinach Fondue Sauce Bisquette, followed by a Consomme Double of Duck, Flavored with Garden Herbs Profiteroles. A Blackstone Merlot joined the next and main course, which was a delightful Oven Baked Filet of Beef Wellington in a Sauce Xeres. A compelling Plateau de Fromages was placed in front of each guest, and the dinner service ended with a marvelous arrangement of chocolates in what Chef Christophe labeled a Dessert Fantaisie. The evening was filled with mirth and warmed by laughter. This special evening was an intimate gathering of colleagues of Denise Holly Molintas-Perez, Hilton's Director of Operations, who was celebrating her 1st year of gracing the island! Congratulations, Denise, and thank you for a wonderful evening!
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
December 3, 2004 Vol 4 No 49
Restaurant Reviewed: The Bestseller Cafe - Where More Meets the Eye
Congrats to the Jeff Pleadwell's
Scrumptious Guam's Marine Drive Location
Around the Island - Chamorro Garden Restaurant, Old Town Chinese & Lone Star
Tumon's newest restaurant is the Chamorro Garden Restaurant, located between Acanta Mall and Mac & Marti's in what formerly was the Oxen Restaurant. Open daily from 11am-12 midnight, Chamorro Garden features a daily lunch buffet offering such local favorites as BBQ Ribs, Beef or Shrimp Kelaguen, Fried Chicken, Red Riced, Fried Shortribs, Ribs Adobo, and Chicken Curry, depending on the day. An a la carte menu features Kadon Pika, Kelaguen, Corn Soup Chicken, Fish Soup in Coconut Milk, Kadon Katni (Beef Stew soup), Chop Steak, Pork Chops, Fried Reef Fish, Mussels, Escabeche, and Fried Chicken. It appears to be a cozy dining room, and there's a bbq grill cooking meats outside near the entrance. I've not yet eaten at Chamorro Garden, so if any of you have the opportunity to do so, please let me know your feedback. This is not a Chamorro-owned restaurant, but they do have Chamorros preparing the food. The phone number at Chamorro Garden Restaurant is 649-2244.
We had the opportunity to dine with Gary Clegg, of Jade East Productions (the placemat ad man) at Old Town Chinese Restaurant the other night. This place is famous for its "home made style Shanghai Cuisine", which they do probably better than anyone else on island. For a Tumon location, the prices are quite reasonable. We started off with the Baby Soybean Cooked In Rice Wine ($3), and Five Spice Beef Shank ($3), which for three people was more than adequate. We also ordered the Walnut Shrimp ($10), Sweet & Sour Pork ($6), Won Ton Soup ($6), and Singapore-style Spicy Noodles ($6). Although Old Town has doubled its size from when it first opened, this place really packs them in, and even terrible parking is no deterrent to those who relish the tasty entrees cooked here, from 11am-12 midnight. If you want to order a quick take-out, just call them at 647-8200. Old Town is really "up town" when it comes to enjoying good Chinese!
Kudos to Lone Star Steakhouse on their decision to become a smoke-free dining establishment! This was done prior to any legislation to curtail smoking in restaurants and bars. This is a very brave move on the part of Lone Star's owner and General Manager, Brian Artero...especially in view of the fact that many of our visitors are smokers. It is a calculated risk that's destined to pay off, since most people, including smokers, actually enjoy eating their meals in a smoke-free environment. If they want to smoke, they usually don't mind going outside. Although it is true that some habits and traditions are hard to break, you have to start some place. Many of you may remember when smoking was allowed on airplanes. That's a habit and custom that had to be broken, and it has not put any one at risk. Think what it must have been like for those poor flight attendants? A second set of mega kudos goes to Brian for his recent top vote-getting position in this week's Chamber of Commerce Director's election. This entitles him to a position in the Executive Committee meetings.
Marty's Mexican Bar & Grill - New Location Revitalizes an Old Favorite
When Marty's moved earlier this year to a new home in Tumon, a lot of folks felt a sense of loss that yet another popular "hot spot" was going away for good. Actually, it turned out even better than expected, with the new Marty's offering diners their favorite meals and beverages, but in a more modern location sans leaky roofs and other assorted unspeakables that plague old buildings (which was certainly the case with "Royal Lanes").
Located just off of San Vitores on Fujita Road, Marty's shares a common front with Chung Hae Korean BBQ, which is in the adjacent bay in a complex that was supposed to be a food court. This Tumon location has given Marty's a new lease on life, with Marty's regulars enjoying the new digs. Even Marty's image has undergone a change, with it's trademark parrot logo morphing into a circle along with a name change to Marty's Mexican Bar & Grill from what used to be known as Marty's Mexican Merienda.
I decided to go it alone for this lunch review, regretting it from the moment I sat down and saw Marty's new ala carte menu. There were too many entrees to order, so I decided to try one of the "Especial de la Casa" (house specials), which happened to be a Pollo Peludo ($13.45), which was a Blackened Chicken Breast, on a bed of Spanish rice covered with Cheese, Chili Relleno Sauce, Tomatoes, and Chives, served with a side of Chico Nachos. I yearned for basic Mexican so I ordered a Steak Taco ($3.50) and a Cheese Enchilada ($3.50). My smiling server placed a basket of Marty's heated chips with their trademark salsa in front of me. This was my undoing, since I couldn't just eat one of these crisp chips dipped in that luscious, mouth-watering salsa. I'm just glad I was there for lunch, because I knew if I'd gone there for dinner, I would have gone for the full Mexican experience one gets with a 32 oz Margarita Pitcher! Marty's is famous for those incredible Margaritas.
My server brought all of my dishes at the same time so I could get my photography done before jumping into the food. Although the Pollo Peludo had an overwhelming presentation with its colorful food blendings of guacamole, sour cream, Spanish rice, olives, jalapenos, green onions, tomatoes, tortilla chips, and cheese-covered chicken, I couldn't resist the call of the simple taco. I ladled a little salsa on the mound of diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, shredded lettuce, beef chunks, Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheeses, all folded into a crunchy corn tortilla. I consumed this with a relish I rarely exhibit. I guess it had been a long time since I had a reasonably good taco.
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