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December 30, 2005, Volume 5 Number 51


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

As 2005 slowly draws down to a close, many of us are gasping in disbelief at how busy we've been! It has certainly been a amazing year of activity, with so many changes on the hospitality landscape. Equally amazing, at least to me, is how prescient I seemed when I wrote last year's final newsletter intro, and referred to a list of potential developments (educated predictions really) about such things as the Dai Ichi, which is now the Fiesta Resort Guam, and Genji re-openings, and the introduction of a new restaurant/entertainment concept in the ITC, namely the House of Brutus. I also spoke of the move of a popular local eatery Y Kusina Chamorro to the Palace Hotel Guam.

In 2005 we have observed the perennial cycle of restaurant closings and openings, which generally reflects the health of the island's economy. We have bid farewell to Rambie's Kamayan: The Island Fisherman which just closed, as well as to Uncle Bob's, Pacific Grill, Oxen, I Natibu, Aji Hey, Tian Tian Chinese, Pacific Chinese, Bobby Cadillac's, Nilo & Clint's, Mulligan's Cafe, Kinney's, Samurai Washin, Ihaw-Ihaw Sa Nayon, Halo Halo Grill, Yummy Tummy Chinese, Jungle Java Cafe in the Acanta Mall, Downtown Deli, and Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen. A tribute to Chamorro Kitchen owner, Jospehine Cruz was part of our December 31 newsletter last year.

I guess we can take solace in the fact that most have been replaced by new entities. We've got the new Pietro Ristorante [pictured left] which soft-opened just yesterday in the Acanta Mall and is just across the way from the new Latte Stone Cafe. Other new eateries are the World Cafe in the Fiesta Resort, Magnolia Gourmet Chinese, Duangdee Thai Restaurant, Pattaya Thai, Muang Thai, House of Brutus, Seafood Chef, O'Kim's, Simple Teppanyaki, Garlic House, Movie House Grill, Chung Hae Korean BBQ, Chamorro Garden, Local Habitz, Veggilicious, Fiesta Grande, the Happy Fiesta, Kai Japanese, Hoa Mai IV in Agat, Cravings, Central Perk Cafe, and Kaveh Kanes in the Ladera Tower. We've also witnessed the fantastic transformation of one of Guam's oldest restaurants, House of Chin Fe, into one of Guam's newest, and have seen Marty's take its Mexican merienda to Tumon.

Yes, there's been a lot of change here, and there's plenty more in store for us in 2006, which will probably be remembered as a banner year if most of what I hear is in the pipeline comes to fruition.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for your loyal readership and for letting us into your "mind-space". It's truly a privilege and an honor to be able to offer a service that others appreciate. We will endeavor to provide more and better services in 2006. May you, your family and friends enjoy an exciting New Year Celebration and may the coming year be filled with blessings and prosperity!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

Taste of Rainbow's End - Tova Harel Bornovski's Exciting Culinary Contribution

'"Ngdi sengsond e mrechorch a kauang" this Palauan phrase translates to ''Twigs can boil a big pot", meaning that small efforts combined will achieve a big accomplishment."'

This quoted excerpt from author Tova Harel Bornovski really sums up what I feel about the phenomenal amount of effort that went into creating Tova's new cookbook, "Taste of Rainbow's End". It is definitely a must for any gourmet's table book collection. Even if you don't cook, the photography and simplicity of the book will fascinate...it truly represents the culture and special qualities of Palau and it's people.

I had the pleasure of communicating with Tova prior to her arrival at the book signing ceremony at Bestseller in GPO this past Tuesday, so meeting her in person reinforced the positive impression I had garnered from our correspondence and from what I'd read about her in a previous PDN article (Dec. 17, 2005). This lady literally shines with a natural brilliance and intelligence, and once in her company, I think you'll find that her life continues to be the fascinating journey of discovery that she embarked on when she left her native Israel over two decades ago.

The book contains over 120 delightful recipes which come from a variety of people including chefs and ordinary folks, with many recipes using ingredients from Palau. You can learn how to make Demok-Taro Leaf Soup (you'll need 10 pieces of "rekung"(crab) for this dish, or Kakau (Purple Taro) Croquettes. There are recipes for Appetizers, Breads and Dips, Soups and Salads, Meats, Fish & Seafood, Side Dishes, and Dessert. The book is concisely-writen with easy-to-follow recipes, and retails for $39.95. I am very pleased to own a copy of this tome which will hold a special place in my collection. I am all the more anxious now to get down to Palau and spend time sampling some of the cuisine at Tova's waterfront restaurant, the Barracuda. Who knows, if I'm lucky I'll be able to dive on one of her two live aboard dive boats. We'll see. It's something I will put near the top of my "Places to Go List"! The book is available at Bestseller Book stores.

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter

Dec 31 2004 Vol 4 No 53

Restaurant Reviewed: Guam Food Guy's Top 10 Reviews for 2004

Highlights:
May's Chinese Introduces Dim Sum to Menu
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa Launches New Web Site
Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen Tribute

Guam Food Guy's Top 10 Reviews for 2005

In what is becoming an annual tradition, I am once again hard pressed to narrow down 52 reviews to make my top 10 picks and, as usual, there are several that didn't make the list that easily could have. The 2005 picks don't accord these places any status as being the best restaurants though some of them I could eat at all the time. They represent my personal taste and viewpoint.

I particularly am pleased to include some out of the way, off-the-radar eateries, that people don't know much or hear much about. These include The Garlic House and Chung Hae Korean BBQ, neither of which are fancy, image-conscious establishments...they are nondescript tiny places that have unique flickering passions in how their food is prepared and how it tastes.

I wish the list could include places like Le Tasi Bistro, which has some of the island's best preparations and remains one of my favorite "go-to" places as does May's Restaurant but I did not actually review either of these or several other favorites during the past year. The reviews accurately reflect my dining experiences at the time they were done, however, as with anything, restaurants can and do undergo changes in personnel, food quality, management, and ownership.

The reviews are listed in chronological order so their placement is not based on any particular ranking. I hope you have an opportunity to experience these places and that you like them as much as I did!

1. Sam Choy's - Big Taste of Aloha Meets Our Own Hafa Adai March 11, 2005

I started with Sam's "Perfect Oven Roasted" Duck, which the menu describes as a "Long Island Duck roasted with our secret blend of spices served with a special orange sauce, over kapakahi mashed potatoes". The duck was splendid, and yes, cooked "perfectly". It paired nicely with the wine, and I couldn't have been happier. The kapakahi potatoes had plenty of bok choy, broccoli, carrots and onion."

Read the review.

2. Izakaya Katsu - Legendary Japanese Cuisine Dazzles Behind the Green Door March 18, 2005

"If you have not been to Katsu, the things you must try are the famous Grilled Tofu Steak ($10) and the Fried Shrimp ($14). The Tofu Steak is firm tofu lightly floured then grilled to crisp the outside, then drizzled with a flavorful miso/mirin sauce, and sprinkled with grated ginger, green onions, sake, pepper, and bonito flakes. It is a marvelous, unique creation that meat lovers and vegetarians enthusiastically enjoy."

Read the review.

3. Nana's Cafe - Tumon's Quiet Oasis April 1, 2005

"The Seafood in Black Bean Sauce was visually rich, with the strong green colors of bok choy encircling the lightly battered shrimp, scallop, mahi, and squid pieces, all of which were layered in a brown sauce and topped by sliced green onion. The taste and flavor of each type of seafood had the same slight crispiness to the outside that didn't get soggy from the sauce...The bok choy was firm and nutritious, which is how I like to eat it, and the sauce was "oh, so magical", that I tried unsuccessfully to decipher its ingredients."

Read the review.

4. Old Town Chinese -Great Food, Great Prices Tumon Eatery's Formula for Success April 15, 2005

"Old Town Chinese serves "Home Made Style" Shanghai Cuisine, which uses more preserved vegetables and salted meats in their cooking as opposed to the freshness-obsessed Cantonese style of cooking. The kitchen is small at Old Town, but the output is amazing. The other thing about Old Town that'll amaze you is how "cheap" the menu prices are...especially for Tumon!"

Read the review.

5. The Garlic House - For Everything Garlic and More April 29, 2005

"There's a quaint little place on the ground floor of the Tumon Capital Hotel (just above Tarza) that I think you will like...The food at The Garlic House is interesting and notable in its own right, since it's mostly based on one of my favorite things to eat - garlic!...The pasta dish I ordered had a Tomato Sauce... Something about the combination of Anchovy, Olive and Caper had me going (kind of like a Putanesca), when it arrived and I had my first bite, I was delighted by the spaghetti cooked just al dente and the rich, thick (made thicker by parmesan cheese) sauce." Read the review.

6. Chung Hae Korean BBQ - New Eatery Boasts Great Cuisine and Homey Hospitality July 8, 2005

"When humans eat very delicious food it makes them happy." Okay, so this may sound a bit trite when you first read it, but it carries a world of weight and veracity when happily proclaimed by Hyunn, Chung Hae Korean B.B.Q's cheerful owner. She truly believes this and has made it her personal mission to make her guests leave "happy".

Read the review.

7. Sagano Teppanyaki Lunch - Affordable Quality with a Spectacular Bay View July 29, 2005

"The mix grilled vegetables really impressed me, for taste, variety, and quality. In fact, they were the best I think I've had anywhere locally. This included green onions, red bell pepper, cabbage, bean sprouts, thinly sliced white onion, and carrots. These were sauted with a butter sauce and cooked to the right doneness so that the veggies were still crisp and juicy."

Read the review.

8. Sereno's Italian Ristorante - New Creations Tantalize By Day and By Night August 19, 2005

"If one were to recommend a must-do entree, it would have to be the Osso Bucco Alla Romano...This normally humble cut of meat was large in size but so incredibly tender that it slid right off the bone with just a little prodding of a fork. The tomato sauce and onion in which it was cooked colored the outside of the meat...It's a remarkable accomplishment"

Read the review.

9. Islander Terrace German Night - Regional Delights from Deutschland and Beyond September 16, 2005

"Three words best describe my impression of German Night - "Over the top!" German Night has replaced Sizzling Mondays, and to be honest, I'm glad it did since I believe island residents will better enjoy tasting a variety of culinary creations that are bundled and labeled (for lack of a better word) as "German" cuisine. As you will discover, the food served in the Monday Night buffet line comes not only from Germany, but also from countries surrounding Germany, including France, Austria, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland."

Read the review.

10. Al Dente Ristorante - Chef Mirko Embellishes the Perfect Steak October 21, 2005

"I cut a piece of my steak and thought this was it - terrific - literally an ad for perfection. I took two more bites from the strip loin portion and the Italian seasonings...possibly basil or rosemary came through...This steak didn't need any sauces, it was fine as it was, but then again, Chef Mirko had put great effort into preparing a tantalizing trio of sauces - Al Pepe or peppercorn cream, Ai peperoni rossi arrosto or roasted peppers, and Alla pizzaiola or marinara."

Read the review.

Bon Appetit!


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