August 11, 2006, Volume 6 Number 32
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
A few months ago we reported on a novel project that involved businesses and organizations painting carabaos and placing them in conspicuous places near their operations. Many of you have seen these colorful creatures positioned around the major business and community sponsors, mostly painted in the company logos or colors, or representing recognizable aspects of that particular business.
The other night we saw one that we wanted to share with you as it represents just how creative some businesses are when developing a "personality" and a "face" for their carabao that would best reflect their corporate spirit or philosophy. If you've not yet seen her, here's Wendy's carabao, modeled after Dave Thomas's iconic caricature of his daughter, Wendy.
This is definitely one of those O.O.G's (Only on Guam), which is something you won't find in any other country - not yet at any rate! We thought you'd find this to be an interesting, food-related bit of trivia that shows our community spirit and support of the arts, even if it is just painting a carabao! Good job, Wendy's!
This week's DinerBytes revisits some of our favorite spots - Mary's Vietnamese, Simply Food, and The Curry Kebab.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Aqua Resort Club Saipan Dinner Concert Featuring Mico & Stevie - Sat, August 12
This week we are travelling to Saipan to enjoy one of Guam's top performing duos, Mico & Stevie, at a French 5-Course Dinner at Aqua Resort Club's exclusive fine dining destination, the Raraina Restaurant. Mico & Stevie are renowned for their stylish renderings of contemporary jazz & R&B, and soul classics, along with their own original compositions. The dinner concert is $50 per person, and includes one glass each of a red and white wine from Robert Mondavi's Private Selection. Doors open at 6pm with dinner starting promptly at 6:30. Aqua Resort's Executive Chef, Hubert Friedle, has created an exquisite menu designed to tantalize the palate, outlined below:
Ceviche of Scallops and Shrimp with Papaya Salsa and Greens
Corn Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Avocado
Lime Sherbet with Tequila
Certified Angus Beef New York Striploin with Crimini, Champignons, Burgundy Sauce and Garlic Mashed Potato
Passion Fruit Mousse and Chocolate Delice on Fruit Coulis
On Sunday, August 13, a Cocktail Concert will take place at 7pm at Aqua Resort Club's 'Vino Bar'. These are events you don't want to miss. Stay tuned for coverage of this first time ever event in next week's newsletter!
Mary's Vietnamese Restaurant
Rt. 16, Harmon (across Iglesia ni Christo)
Whenever I'm asked about a Vietnamese restaurant, my first thought is about Mary's Fresh Lumpia ($6). It's really a reflex response, since I've praised Mary's fresh lumpia for what seems like forever. When dipped in owner Mary To's hoisin peanut sauce, which is laced with crushed boonie peppers (Mary makes her own donne and offers crushed pepper for sale) and shredded carrot, her fresh lumpia has a taste like no other, and all of the fresh ingredients from the shrimp, chunks of chicken, rice noodles, lettuce, to spicy chives combine in your mouth, to give you a "Wow" experience"!
We ordered the Fried Pork Chops ($7.50), for which Mary's is also famous, and we weren't disappointed. Two large golden-brown chops glisten atop a mound of steamed rice and nestle up against a cool pile of lettuce layered with sliced local cucumbers. Her finadene comes with a generous dollop of crushed pepper to make this a pika finadene sauce you won't soon forget.
Since I wanted to take a photo of a fish dish, I asked for a Fried Fish with Lemongrass ($12). The other fish I really like there is the Fried Fish with Ginger ($12). Mary suggested we try a new addition to her menu, the Basa Fillet with Black Bean Sauce($10). Since that was just a fillet, and I wanted an entire fish, we had the Lemongrass, which also had lots of pepper on the outside. This was a super-flavorful tilapia, which was good, but could have been better had it not been frozen. Had we arrived earlier, not just before closing, we would have had a fresh one. Nevertheless, this fish was alive with taste once we were eating it.
Other things to try at Mary's are Sinigang with Shrimp and Crispy Egg Noodles. Mary's is located on Rt. 16 across the street from Iglesia Ni Cristo, on the 2nd floor. Hours are from 11am-8:30pm daily. Take-out is welcome and can be ordered by calling 649-5523.
Agana Heights (across from Government House)
If there was ever a thing called eating with a conscience, that's probably how I'd describe eating at Simply Food, which is an all-vegetarian restaurant. For most who eat there, however, it is a matter of preference. We stopped there the other day for lunch, the only meal they serve (11am-2pm, Mon-Fri), and had a few of the items on the regular menu. I had the Cheese Lasagna w/Garlic Bread ($5.99) and side salad (single trip to the salad bar is $2.25). This lasagna is loaded with cheese, and a rich marinara sauce that does a good job of disguising the fact that it's a meatless dish. The garlic bread pieces are substantial (not for the low-carb dieters!) and have a fresh-baked taste and texture.
Zee ordered the Reuben Sandwich, made with soy corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Vegenaise on rye ($4.25). She also had one of the soups of the day, a flavorful Corn Soup. The sandwich is amazingly good, and really comes close to the taste experience of a traditional Reuben Sandwich. I ordered a Smoothie which allows you to create your own by choosing the fruit and juice ($2.95 small/$3.95 large). I combined strawberry and mango (additional fruit $0.50) with guava juice, which made for an awesome smoothie.
One entree we saw everyone else ordering - it seemed like there were a lot of participants of the 21-day DeTox program eating in the restaurant - was a Tuno Wrap served with Black Bean & Corn Salad ($5.99). I can't describe how it tasted, but judging from the sheer numbers of people who ordered it, I could tell it was really delicious.
You can't beat "guilt-free" eating and you can do this by having the daily specials for August, which include entrees like Brown Rice & Curry, Avocado Pocket Pita served with Chips and Hummus, Thai Curry with Brown Rice. On Mondays, the August special is Chamorro food with Chicken Kelaguen, Chalakilis, Spinach & Brown Red Rice. So whatever day of the week it is, you can be assured of eating "guilt-free" and healthily at Simply Food.
The Curry Kebab
Hafa Adai Exchange, Tamuning
No other restaurant on Guam celebrates the glories of spice the way the Curry Kebab does! The very bottom of their menu is a procession of those aromatic, life-affirming natural essences we call spices, with exotic names like coriander, tumeric, cinnamon, caraway, fenugreek, ginger root, mustard, cardamom, peppercorns, and cloves. Red and green chilies also play a key role in making the magic of Indian cuisine, as they do with so many others. Our adventure starts with a soup appetizer, called Mulligatawny Soup, which is a piquantly-spiced, plethora of flavors in a broth that's almost impossible to describe, except that it imparts a heat you love to eat. This soup has garlic, cloves, curry powder, ginger, cayenne pepper, cumin seeds, onions, green onions, salt, pepper, chicken stock, bits of chicken, apples, parsley, and lemon juice. Through an interesting fluke of the Internet, the menu mis-spelled Mulligatawny soup as "Mulligawatny," and a previous review picked up the typo and made a place for this new name. However it's spelled, it all comes down to an extremely delicious soup you'll need to share with someone ($4.95) as the portion is hearty!
Something we've had as a side dish or garnish, but not as an appetizer was the Apple Salad ($4.95). After that Mulligatawny Soup, this brought a palate pleasing refreshment that extended for the entire meal. I don't know about you, but I can't help but agree with Ben Franklin's adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Though I'm fond of apples, I don't think I've had apples I've fallen in love with, and that's exactly what chef/owner Ashok Pandian must have intended to happen, since these sliced apples, sweet onion slices, tomato, and fresh parsley on a bed of lettuce explode with flavor. The dressing that's been drizzled over this salad has citrus juice, the natural apple juice, perhaps some sugar, and maybe something else (grape juice?), but it's just darned good eating, and something you can probably eat all by itself and be happy!
The two main dishes we ordered along with our Cilantro Naan Bread ($2.70) was a Beef Chili Fry ($11.95), which is a spicy stir fry of Certified Angus Beef with fresh chilies, ginger, garlic, herbs and spices, resulting in a thick, paste-like coating on strips of beef, kind of like a chop steak. This was ordered spicy, and that's what we received.
The other entree was the Lamb Tikka Masala ($12.95). This has lean lamb chunks that have been roast in the tandoor oven then cooked in a creamy tomato sauce with a spice/herb blend. This is a richer, creamier blend, more like a stew that's garnished with parsley. The combination of these with the white rice(usually there's saffron rice, but not this night), naan bread, and apple salad made me completely happy, reminding me of the best part of my work.
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