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May 19, 2006, Volume 6 Number 20

Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,

When you read this opening I'll already be in Saipan, where I'll be spending some time working with customers, sampling the cuisine, and, most notably, participating as a judge in the Taste of the Marianas Chefs BBQ Competition 2006, which is set for Saturday, May 20. I look forward to this annual event and was sorry to have missed it last year.

You can expect to see highlights and results of this competition in next week's newsletter, along with a round-up of some of my Saipan dining experiences. I don't know about you, but I consider us to be extremely lucky to live in relatively close proximity to Saipan and our other island neighbors of Rota and Tinian especially when you take into account the quality of restaurants we have between us. I can never get to all the restaurants in Saipan I'd like to visit!

This week's newsletter will be brief as I have a lot of trip preparations to make. This week's review of the Hafa Adai Cafe is one that I truly enjoyed doing, since I am always pleased to introduce folks to places that I think they'll like to return to again and again. The secret of the Hafa Adai Cafe is the husband and wife team who run this family business, and who embody the hard work, effort, passion, and vision that it takes to make a place succeed. I think you'll be pleased at this quaint, reasonably priced place that caters to the local tastes.

Ken, The "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • New Chinese Eatery to Open May 22 in Hagatna - e Cafe Chinese Restaurant
  • "Pop & Pour" Premium Wines and Spirits - Now Open on Army Drive (Rt 16)
  • Burger Bash at the Tree Bar
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
  • Hafa Adai Cafe - Another Nice Place to Eat!

New Chinese Eatery to Open May 22 in Hagatna - e Cafe Chinese Restaurant

Located on the corner of one of Guam's busiest intersections is the e Cafe Chinese Restaurant, which will have its soft opening on Monday May 22. You can't miss the newly-painted lime green building with the red sign and banner proclaiming "We Serving Local Favorites Chinese Food and Oriental Delicate Dishes"! Well, I'm sure they'll be pretty good, too!

Lunch will be served Mon-Fri 10:30am-2:30pm and lunch menu has Roast Duck, Chicken with Black Straw Mushrooms, Kung Pao Chicken, and Mixed Vegetable with Garlic Sauce for $6 each. There are a total of 38 items on the lunch menu, with the highest price being $7.50 for Chop Steak. The chef's name is Yi Chi Lo, and he used to work for VIP House Seafood Chinese Restaurant years ago. He said he was the one who introduced Walnut Shrimp to Guam. Now we know who started the Walnut Shrimp craze! e Cafe Chinese Restaurant is surprisingly nice and it's amazing what they did to the space that used to be CopyCat. Let's wish them well. Call for take-out at 472-3388.

"Pop & Pour" Premium Wines and Spirits - Now Open on Army Drive (Rt 16)

You can tell that Guam is really catching up with mainland quality of life standards, especially if you were to drop by a brand new wine and spirits store called Pop & Pour, located in the same building as Toys & Joys, just off of Army Drive on the way to Napa.

Pop & Pour is the brainchild of Becky Chargualaf, a former Guam Public School educator who now wants to educate the people of Guam about the pleasures of enjoying a variety of fine wines. Her store is quite impressive, with sleek dark wood floors and rows of wooden wine display racks. Her growing wine selection is certainly one that should engage and interest even the island's most discriminating wine connoisseurs. Pop & Pour's hours are from 10am-8pm, Mon- Sun and the phone number is 637-WINE (9463). If you have an interest in learning more about wines or if you are looking for a particular kind of wine, or spirits, just drop by and ask Becky. She even has Parrott Bay Coconut Rum - how's that for exotic? You can get a small selection of premium beers there, as well as wine accessories. Check it out!

Burger Bash at the Tree Bar

I support any effort to honor that old American Favorite, the Hamburger! And the Tree Bar's Cabana Grill has gone one step further in paying homage to the American Classic, by internationalizing the burger. I don' t know if it's a limited promotion (I hope not), but if you go to the Hilton Tree Bar at lunchtime, you can order a variety of internationally flavored burgers including a Mediterranean Burger, a Bulgogi Burger, and a Cabana Burger along with classics like Steak Burgers and Philly Burgers. These are all served with fried or spicy potato wedges and vegetable slaw. The prices were in the $9 range. Be sure to allow 10% service charge. These burgers look fairly sizeable. I will certainly try one (or more) when I return. For more information, call 646-DINE.

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

May 20, 2005, Vol 5 No 20

Restaurant Reviewed: Bobby Cadillacs in Tumon - New Food Choices with Old Fashioned Goodness [Editor's Note: This restaurant is no longer open.]

Una Fiestan Espanol" 4th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup - Saturday May 21

Hafa Adai Cafe - Another Nice Place to Eat!

You've heard the saying, "Only your hairdresser knows for sure!" I'll be darned if that isn't the truth, because today when I was telling my hair stylist, Carina Fejerang, owner of Salon Paradis, about the review I was writing, she told me she loves this place, and that she often starts her mornings here! Now that's an endorsement if there ever was one since Carina is not only one of the island's rising business stars, she's also a "foodie" and knows the meaning and taste of good food.

Hafa Adai Cafe is located in Upper Tumon, in the Pacific Plaza, which is across from GTA, and home to Sakura's Kitchen, Zozo's, and Tumon 7 Mart. The front window of the cafe is nearly obscured by a glass and metal shaft, though the orange Hafa Adai Cafe sign manages to shine through and shine on. You'll find it if you're looking. They are on the northernmost end of the complex, and serve breakfast and lunch Mon-Sat 7am-2pm. You have your choice of parking if you come early. You can order take-out by calling 649-8178 or 649-8180.

This place reminds me of how Shirley's used to be when Shirley first started. She made food that people loved to eat, that was really good and wasn't over priced. There was also passion in the kitchen, with someone cooking who really cared about whether you would like the food. How many cooks do you know at any popular breakfast and lunch joints who take a personal interest in how customers feel about their food? You'll find that concern, passion and pride in Bill Hon, who along with his wife, Jozy, has done a remarkable job of building a solid following of customers from all walks of life, who just like simple, home-style meals with flavors from a variety of cuisines.

The menu is nicely organized and even has a few food photos. I ordered a breakfast item, Mix Sausage with Two Eggs ($3.95), which includes your choice of Hot Cakes, Hashbrowns, Toast or Two Scoops of Steamed Rice. I opted for the hot cakes. I also ordered the $5.95 Daily Lunch Special, which was a Combo Grilled Pork Chop with Mahi Mahi. And, to give equal billing to beef, I ordered the Beef Teppanyaki ($7.95), which comes with two scoops of steamed rice and grilled vegetables.

While I was waiting for my food, I sipped a soda and observed others eating their meals in this quaint, somewhat unusually laid out space which used to be a restaurant by day and a night club in the evening. Night club touches linger in the mirrored walls and the TV over the bar counter (no alcohol is served now). It's not fancy, just comfortable.

The Mix Sausage offered longaniza, chorizo and portuguese sausage, a combination I've not seen anywhere else locally. The Longaniza is sweet, the Chorizo is spicy, and the Portuguese sausage is a bit salty, so you have an interesting flavor range. I really liked the pancakes! You get three tasty pancakes, all perfectly cooked and served hot. One thing I really like about this spot is that breakfast is served all day long so you can have spam, corned beef, teriyaki chicken, chicken tocino, bangus, or beef tapa with two eggs any time - not just any style!

A bowl of egg drop and corn soup was placed before me. This is a common lunch starter and it tasted just like anyone elses. I don't particularly care for this as it's usually too starchy for my liking. The next dish to arrive was the Beef Teppanyaki, which was a very sizeable serving of marinated, grilled beef chunks. It was good, flavorful beef, though not tender. It was certainly tasty and worth the chew since each bite gave up a lot of flavor. I liked the two slices of grilled tomato that were laid atop a bed of grilled bean sprouts mixed with sliced bell peppers and onions. This reminded me of what you typically get at the teppan counters...beef and veggies, and reasonably good for the price. It's not tenderloin or sirloin, but still a lot of seasoned beef. It came with finedene and I would occasionally dip beef in this to get a different taste. It didn't need the finedene. There may be a little MSG used in some of the Chinese stir fry dishes; if you don't want any, request that Billy use chicken base for flavoring, or nothing at all.

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