December 23, 2005, Volume 5 Number 50
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
A timely Christmas present was given to Guam with the opening of the Fiesta Resort Guam on Thursday! The complete make over of the old Dai Ichi Hotel into this spectacular tropical resort is simply awesome and something you just have to see to believe. There are those of us who can remember going to the old Dai Ichi's Ambassador Room to dance to live bands back in the early 70's. We also remember fine French dining in Claret and Le Creole's fabulous fresh baked baguettes and pastries.
What awaits guests at the Fiesta Resort Guam are smartly-designed and decorated guest rooms with contemporary amenities along with a spacious, air-conditioned glass-walled lobby with a panoramic view of Tumon Bay. The World Cafe is the Fiesta's flagship dining facility. It is by any account a show-piece of tropical elegance with mesmerizing views and comfortable seating. True to its name the Fiesta is a happy, festive place, and you get a defined sense of that once you've entered, from the warm, sincere greetings of the staff to the matching color dynamics of the furnishings, art pieces, plants, and the flowing openness of its layout stretched along Tumon Bay. The finishing touches are still being made to The Fiesta Resort, however, she is open for business. This significant investment by Asia Pacific Hotels is the first of several major property renovations that are either in process or being planned for this next year, assuring Tumon Bay of a much-needed facelift with a heavy infusion of capital. The future for our hotels has not been this brightly lit nor highly energized since the late 90's. We've got many good reasons to celebrate!
As we move closer to Christmas Day, I'd like for us all to take time to reflect on the sacrifices being made by our troops who are deployed in the service of our country. They are the ones who are assuring that our Christmas parties are safe and secure, and that we are able to go shopping and buy gifts for our families and friends. Let us all be sure to say thank you in our prayers or to anyone in uniform. They are bravely securing our ultimate gift of freedom. May God Bless and Protect our service men and women, and may they return home safely to enjoy future Christmases with their loved ones and families once their mission has been accomplished.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Ken, The Guam Food Guy
In Today's Issue:
Fiesta Resort Guam's World Cafe - Impressive Culinary Ambitions
"Wow! It's so new and pretty!" seemed to be the common exclamation everyone shared when they first arrived in the lush dining area of the World Cafe. It was during a small Pre-opening Dinner at the World Cafe this past Wednesday that the new hotel's food & beverage team under the experienced leadership of Executive Chef & F&B Director, Robert "Chef Bob" Branconnier, were able to show their stuff to a handful of invited industry professionals. It's known as a test-run and designed to elicit feedback on such things as service, food taste and presentation, and beverage service. It was obvious that the Fiesta team had done a lot of work in preparing menus and buffets that would reflect the property's festive and relaxing theme.
Aptly named, the World Cafe has created a series of specialty theme buffets that reveal a worldly sophistication. Here's a preview of the buffet dinner themes for the week:
Sunday: Island Luau Night, cultural island representations of the Pacific islands
Monday: South American Carnival, an enticing menu that highlights treats from Rio De Janeiro's Copacabana to Cabo San Lucas' grilled seafood specialties. Menus will feature popular foods from Bolivia, Brazil, the Carribbean Islands, Colombia, Honduras, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay, and Peru
Tuesday: Chef Bob's Mongolian Barbecue Night
Thursday: Texas Meat Fest, a meat lover's bonanza featuring chef carved perfectly aged standing prime rib of beef and a selection of at least six additional meats
Friday: Surf and Turf, featuring an abundance of local and imported seafood as well as prime cuts of tender meat selections.
Saturday: Asian Extravaganza, featuring an authentic Japanese tempura station and items from Korea, China , Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Japan
The pre-opening dinner included a sampling of several appealing menu items such as the Acapulco Stuffed Chicken Wings which were stuffed with sun-dried white raisins, apples, and almonds with a sweet habanera sauce; Jumbo Grilled Shrimp, flame-grilled Rasta seasoned prawns served martini style with mango chutney; Crab-stuffed Portabello Mushroom; and a highly-touted creation of Chef Bob's, Baked Stuffed New England Cold Water Lobster filled with shrimp, scallops, crab and lobster in a savory cracker dressing. I had the Baked Stuffed Lobster and it was certainly deserving of the build-up!
The Fiesta Resort is newly-opened so you should go with an open mind and not a lot of high expectations. It usually takes restaurants a few months to "settle in" and work through the kinks. The staff is energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to please.They seem to take a special pride in their new home. Serving items are still arriving as of this writing so I suggest you keep this in mind if you plan to go in the next month or so. By February 2006 they should have everything worked out and ready for a review. In the meantime, I'm just glad they are finally able to share what they've done.
Latte Stone Cafe Opens in Acanta Mall
The Latte Stone Cafe has opened in the Acanta Mall and has already received "two thumbs" up from both old timers, who previously frequented the old Jungle Java, and newcomers. Owned by Liz and Martin Gerber, Latte Stone Cafe (the "latte" is pronounced like the espresso-based beverage and not the ancient Chamorro stone) features Lavazza coffee, Italy's top-selling brand. Aside from fresh-baked scones, muffins, and pastries, they offer a breakfast menu that includes French Toast ($5.95), Breakfast Wrap ($6.95), Chorizo Omelet ($6.95), Oatmeal ($3.75) and Bagel ($3.50). It's the weekends, though, that offer the classic favorites such as Eggs Benedict ($7.95), a Cream Cheese Spinach Omelet ($6.95), Chamorro Fried Rice ($5.50) and that south of the border standard, Huevos Rancheros ($6.95)! Latte Stone Cafe is a colorful cozy getaway with beautifully tiled tabletops and cute wooden counter stools. The cafe has a cheery decor with an art-inspired ambiance. Those familiar with the venerable Jungle Java Cafe won't believe the transformation. Latte Stone Cafe is open from 7am-10 pm daily (closed for Christmas), and their phone number is 646-9392.
Christmas & New Year's Specials - It's Not Too Late!
Le Tasi Bistro enters the Christmas and New Year's specials listings this week with two French-inspired menus for dinner on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve as well.
Do you prefer Italian? Then Prego at the Westin Resort Guam has a Five-Course Dinner with Wine on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. More Italian at Sereno's with their special offerings for Christmas and New Year's.
Santa Claus will make an appearance at Cafe Kalachucha at the Westin during their lavish Christmas Brunch. A busy man, Santa Claus will also be at the Marriott Cafe for the Christmas Brunch Buffet - great fun for the kids and excellent food for everyone!
Don't forget the Palm Cafe at the Outrigger Guam Resort with their special Christmas buffets featuring Prime Rib and Crab for dinner. New Year's specials are also posted.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter
Dec 24 2004 Vol 4 No 52
Restaurant Reviewed: Iki Japanese - Escape to Where Two Chefs Quietly Create Culinary Surprises
Master Chef Fujigaya's Splendid Appetizer Plate
A Brief Glimpse into Guam's History" - Guam Museum at Micronesia Mall
Yoga - A Long Time Practitioner of this Ancient Discipline Shares Her Thoughts
Around the Island - Sabai Dee Thai, Cafe Kalachucha Lunch Buffet, Enjoy the King of Beef at Manhattan Steakhouse's Prime Rib Promotion
Sabai Dee Thai Restaurant is among my personal "happy spots", where I can go and get an immediate lift. The lift to which I am referring is that special high you get from eating food that inspires and delights, where it's just so doggone good that you have to make approving noises and tell someone! Owner Tim Palacios makes the best Chicken Wing appetizer ($6), and has a Green Papaya Salad (Som Tom $7.50) that'll curl your toes! But it's her Green Curry with Shrimp ($10) that I'll put up against anyone elses'. The eggplant, bamboo shoots, crunchy green beans, and mushrooms bask in a spiced green curry sauce that borders on perfection. I also had the Phat Ka Pao ($8), which is probably my all around favorite Thai dish. This was made with minced chicken, chilies, green onions and infused with basil. I ordered it Thai Style with a fried egg, but my server forgot to tell Tim...I was too hungry to complain and enjoyed the flavors despite the omission. Sabai Dee is located in the Tamuning Cinema arcade, just down from Subway and across Marine Corps Drive from Alupang Beach Towers. For take-out, call 649-8424.
Like others, I'm thoroughly impressed with the Westin's Cafe Kalachucha's Lunch Buffet, which happens to be in holiday mode during this season. The buffet price is up from $18.50 to $20 (+10%), and includes a turkey carving along with a roast carving (beef or ham). It's the profusion of seafood (prawns), calamari, crab, oysters, beef, chicken and pork that are part of the buffet...the prawns, calamari and three meats are grilled to order with lots of garlic on a hot griddle. This is so aromatic that one can't help but salivate when your nose picks up the waft of scented oil! Cafe K is a beautiful place to dine, and is a favorite for many guests who enjoy the Westin touch. Call 647-1020 for reservations.
You can enjoy the "King of Beef" at the Marriott's Manhattan Steakhouse during the Prime Rib Promotion running this December. The Prime Rib Dinner set menu is $35, and a la carte features carvings for different sizes, with the Island Cut (20 oz.) priced at $28, and a 12 oz. ($26) and 10 oz. ($24). This is carved tableside and served with old fashioned Yorkshire Pudding and Roast Gravy. For those who have exploratory tastes, you can get a Green Peppercorn Sauce, Forest Mushroom Sauce, or Bernaise Sauce. Also, there is a Caviar Promotion on for the month of December. Did you know that Charles Ritz (Ritz Carlton chain) formally launched caviar by putting it permanently on his hotel's menu? The Manhattan is open from 6-9pm for dinner. Call 648-1610 for reservations.
Magnolia China Gourmet - Northern 'Magnet' Attracts With Tasty Chinese Fare
Magnolia China Gourmet recently opened in Yigo and has already earned a reputation as a place to eat. It resides in the Yigo Plaza just north of the 7-11 Mobil, VFW Lodge, and Great Mart IV and across the street from the Yigo Shell Station. It is in the same location that was home to Quizno's, Island Grill, and Yummy Tummy, none of which were able to sustain enough business to stay alive. Magnolia China Gourmet, however, appears to be destined for longevity. The food is really very good and extremely affordable - how do 49 lunch specials in the $5 - $6 range sound? That $6 is for Honey Walnut Shrimp!!
We went there on a Monday night about 7pm and there were only three other tables occupied. Within the hour that followed, they had filled 14 tables and booths, and had packed 10 take-out orders! My companion Zee had eaten lunch here a few weeks back and recommended the Salt & Pepper Shrimp ($9). We also ordered Chop Suey Wonton Soup ($7), Yang Chow Fried Rice ($7), Sesame Chicken ($7.50), Eggplant with Hot Garlic Sauce ($8), Chinese Kang Kung ($7.50), and Lapu Lapu Fillet Hot ($12).
Magnolia China Gourmet is a brightly-lit, clean, airy restaurant with booths set along the walls and free-standing tables lined up in a row between the booths, as well as few large round 10-seaters in the back near the kitchen. I didn't realize it when I first walked in, but very shortly after we were seated, I noticed a familiar face. It was Yu Lan, who used to be one of our servers at Lee Garden Chinese for a number of years. Well, she and her husband, Rong Biao (the chef), own this little Yigo eatery, and there's something about Yu Lan's smiling confidant demeanor that spells success! "A good Chinese restaurant is a gold mine". Guam Food Guy proverb.
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