September 8, 2006, Volume 6 Number 36
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well on the island of Guam, and especially in the restaurant industry! I don't think I can remember a time when so many people were involved in little start-up restaurant businesses. This is in addition to those who are doing "bigger things" like of Chili's, Hooter's, and Bubba Gump's.
Consider Jhamnong Kraitong, who recently left The Westin Resort Guam as Executive Sous Chef to open his own Thai restaurant, called "Andaman, Thai & Western Cuisine", which will open October 16 in the former Duangdee Thai location in the Tamuning COST-U-LESS complex. Or Jojo Santo Tomas, former Lifestyle writer for the PDN, who will be opening (or is just open) "Jojo's Adobo", in the Chamorro Village, right next door to another aspiring entrepreneur, Elaine Damian, who started "The Shrimp Shack" some six months ago. Chamorro Village is also home to DIPSTIXX, a dessert shop, started by Maryann Perez, former general manager of a fast food chain. Then there is "The Whole Enchilada", a brand new Mexican restaurant (see below). The list continues to develop, with Boston Pizza expanding, Noble's Pizza moving into to Tumon's Central Bldg just below Izakaya Katsu aka "The Green Door", and more. It's simply amazing!
This week's review of the Chamorro Village's Wednesday Night Market is an update of the review I did in June 2002, and there have been notable changes to this event which has become a local institution. One big change for readers and websurfers of this site is will the addition of color photos, which were not yet a feature of the newsletter in June 2002. Amazing how time makes all things possible. The Chamorro Village is a place where it seems that everything is possible and available for sale! It's got to be the island's most dynamic visitor attraction.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Get Healthy Guam - Step By Step Fall Program Starts Soon!
- The Whole Enchilada - Fine Mexican Dining Now Open in Upper Tumon
- Jamaican Grill Honors Policemen, Firemen, And Paramedics on Monday Sept 11
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
- Around the Island - Le Tasi Bistro, Jan Z's, May's Adjusts Hours
- Chamorro Village Wednesday Night Market - Something for Everyone and More
Get Healthy Guam - 'Time to FALL into a Good Habit!'
Six-week Fall lifestyle programs are being offered at Nuform, Innovative Fitness for Women, Paradise Fitness Center in Dededo (regular class and online class), and at the Fiesta Resort pool (youth and adults). $30 fee per person.
3-hour Qigong seminars will be offered at the PIC, Tasa Banquet room on 9/16 for seniors, 9/23 for active adults, and 10/14 for competitive athletes. Qigong boosts morale and peak performance by improving physical health and enhancing mental faculties. $30 fee per person per seminar.
For more information, please contact Renee Veksler at 647-2351/2350, email@example.com. Classes and Seminars begin mid-September.
The Whole Enchilada - Fine Mexican Dining Now Open in Upper Tumon
I'd heard about The Whole Enchilada opening up in the Boon's Plaza, near PostNet in Upper Tumon (formerly Yong's Chinese), so I dropped by to take a look-see.
The festive decor is fabulous, and has transformed this little eatery into a genuine south-of-the-border cantina. I hear the Margaritas are mean and the menu is, for Mexican food lovers, "a dream come true". Though I've not eaten here yet, the menu covers a range of Salads, they have Home Made Tortilla Soup, Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas including Crab, Tuna, Spinach & Mushroom, and Veggie, Enchiladas (Spinach, Chicken and Sour Cream, Shrimp Mazatlan, and Enchilada Suizas) priced from $6.99 - $8.49, Fajitas, and traditional favorites like Carne Asada, Pollo Fresco, Chile Verde, Fish Escabeche, Menudo, and a Mexican Chicken Sandwich for $6.99. They even have a kid's menu, called "Little Amigos Meals", which has a Tijuana Taco, Cabo Cheese Quesadillla, Mazatlan Chicken Fingers and the Puerto Vallarta Pizza for only $6.99 each! They've got Mexican cervezas, too. This promising little restaurant will certainly gain a lot of attention if their food meets their ambiance. It is an ambitious undertaking for owner Michelle Garcia. Call 64S-ALSA for more information.
Jamaican Grill Honors Policemen, Firemen, And Paramedics on Monday Sept 11
Jamaican Grill is extending a special free lunch invitation to all of Guam's Policemen, Firemen, and Paramedics this Sunday to honor their fallen comrades called to duty during the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks in the United States, as well as to show appreciation to the service they provide the local community. Jamaican Grill wants to recognize these efforts and thank them for the support given to the community.
- Lunch will be from 10am-4pm, with the following restrictions:
- You must be in uniform or have identification
- This applies to all active Guam Policemen, Firemen, and Paramedics
- This is for In-House orders only
The menu includes the Chicken & Ribs Combo Plate, Red or Jamaican Rice, House Salad, and one Large Mango Tea.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
Sept 9 2005 Vol 5 No 36
Restaurant Reviewed: Siam Thai Restaurant- Serving Tantalizing Thai Cuisine at Reduced Prices
Tasty Cookies + Worthy Cause = Girl Scout Cookies for Katrina Sept 10 & 11
"Hav an avo" at Hava Java Cafe - Free Avocado Enhances Superb Sandwiches
Jamaican Grill Honors Policemen, Firemen and Paramedics with Free Lunch on Sunday September 11
Around the Island - Le Tasi Bistro, Jan Z's, May's Adjusts Hours
Le Tasi Bistro is one of those places about which everyone agrees - the food is superb! If Guam was a major metropolitan city, this place would always be packed because great food draws people. Today I went to have the Hungarian Goulash (one of Thursday's featured Lunch Specials, which you can see posted at GuamDiner.com.) Unfortunately, the last order was taken just as we arrived , so we opted for the Pasta with Carbonara Sauce and the Pork Chop with Apple Sauce. The pasta was so-so though the pumpkin soup was quite good, and they do have basil bread again. I really enjoyed the Pork Chop - its gravy was flavorful, and the meat was tender. The apple wasn't a sauce, rather it was cut up into a few chunks, baked, and put atop the plate. The basil leaf garnish is always something I love to munch on during the course of my meal...something about "green leafy things" seems naturally nutritious! The dessert selections we made were for a slice of the banana cream pie and the pecan pie. For $11.50, it's a great lunch and a special view of the bay.
We went to Jan Z's on Sunday morning for the Pancake breakfast...they make the biggest doggone pancakes, and the single is enough for two people to share, though some folks eat the 3-stackers! On the special menu board that day was the Breakfast Burrito, for $7, which included some of the tastiest home fries that I've had in a while. I think the pancake was $4...and when combined with that Burrito, it's a one-two knock-out punch. The drive down there is spectacular with lots of ocean vistas, but get there before 11am, as it'll get awfully busy, with service delays that'll frustrate those who are in a hurry...so have a Bloody Mary and enjoy the day!
May's Restaurant, one of my favorite Chinese Restaurants, located across from GPO in the Kim Chee Complex, has changed it's Wednesday hours and is no longer open for dinner. It's a night off for the staff and management. So, remember, don't go to May's on Wednesday night!! Go to Chamorro Village!!
Chamorro Village Wednesday Night Market - Something for Everyone and More
Though it's been over four years since my last review, I have returned several times, at least once or twice a year, to this hyper-crowded, exciting shopping and dining extravaganza, and I can honestly say that it's gotten better with age! There are so many new services and products being offered to locals and visitors alike, with more ethnic participation. There are Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Micronesian foods and products, which I think reflects the best of capitalism and the free enterprise system.
In the previous review, we didn't yet have photos to go with our story. This review has more photos and less words, and gives those who'd like a peek of the events, products, services, and entertainment that takes place on Wednesdays a real idea of all that's happening during Chamorro Village's Wednesday Night Market. A familiar sight during the late afternoon as you drive up and down Marine Corps Drive in Hagatna are the families gathering around their makeshift booths and stalls, with some members near the open-fire bbq drums grilling up spare-ribs, marinated chicken, tinala katne, steak, squid, sausages, and shortribs. If your car windows are down, you will catch wafts of the mesmerizing bbq aroma, which compels you to want to stop and try some, or at least to seriously think about coming back. It is, after all, the biggest village fiesta held once every Wednesday, and everyone goes to the fiesta for the bbq.
I arrived after 7pm and the crowds had already swollen to at least a thousand people (or so it seemed). There are trolleys and tour buses, and cars parked up and down the side roads of Hagatna, as well as in the parking lots around the Paseo.The ever present one-choice $3, two-choice $4, three-choice $5, signs are posted on the tables behind a row of chafing dishes that are filled with corn fritters, fried tilapia, bbq ribs, bbq chicken, pork and chicken skewers for a $1 each, pancit, chap chae, grilled corn, hot dogs, beef steak, whole grilled squid, beef, chicken, and shrimp kelaguens, corn dogs, pork chops, chorizos, meat loaf, kadon pika, vegetables, red rice, cole slaw, and corn chowder. As I said, "like a fiesta".
There is a constant negotiation in this buy-sell relationship between visitors who are drawn by appearance, aroma, large signs, big tables, and well-layered chafers, packed with an abundance of food. The choices are countless, and many times temptation is satisfied more by convenience than by comparative analysis.
Along with food is a plethora of souvenir items that are home-made - the shell creature collections by Maggie's are adorable - as well as machine made, including clothing, toys, hats, message buttons, necklaces, bracelets, picture frames, clocks, wood carvings, Guam stickers, flower leis, ifit carvings, balsa carvings, paintings by Victoria Sayrs, Micronesian maps, sharks, handicrafts, navigation charts, and just about anything you can imagine.
There is live entertainment, including a dance troup that does Polynesian and Chamorro dance, as well as a live band that plays in the grand hall. This band play "oldies but goodies", with songs that makes the audience (some of the more mature members)get up and dance the jitterbug, the hop, or whatever the mood makes. It's just guaranteed fun!
Beverages are big here, since it gets hot and you have to drink something. Some stands sell Melon Juice, Mango Juice, and Coconut Juice, for $2-$3 per cup. One relative newcomer to the beverage scene is a group that sells frozen fruit drink blends, like Mango Season (mango juice and coconut), a Pina Colada (pineapple Juice with coconut syrup), Passion Peach (pineapple-orange, cocktail peaches, and peach puree and coconut syrup), and Passion Banana. These blended concoctions were going for $4, and they came with a fresh slice of Pineapple and red cherry garnish, and thick straws so you can easily suck the frozen fruit.
One of the tables had Thai food items, with one particular plastic tray filled with a dozen little "tapko" shooters...like a tapioca with nuts wrapped in a banana leaf cup, from which you extract the tapioca with your tongue in one quick motion. This was a tasty and refreshing dessert, which I bought. I think it was $4. I also picked up a bag of the Jerky Twist & Twirl, locally made beef jerky, with one Teriyaki Flavor and the other a spicy one with boonie peppers.
It was good to run into Jojo Santo Tomas, who is opening up his own little business, Jojo's Adobo, where you can "taste the love". His menu board lists three items, the Peping's Adobo, their signature dish, selling for $7; a Chinese Chicken Salad ($4.50 sm/$8 lg), and the Aloha Pigwich ($7.50), which is a kalua-style pork piled high atop a fresh baked pan de sal roll. I was able to sample some of Jojo's Chalakiles, which are true to his word of making his food "fusion"...I thought they were excellent. Jojo joins other long-standing success stories like Jamaican Grill, Padrino's Italian Cuisine, Kusinan Ari, Mt Lam Lam Snow and Ice Cream, and newcomers like Dipstixx and The Shrimp Shack. It's a great incubator for quality outlets.
The Chamorro Village Wednesday Night Market is something that should be extended to more days...there are many visitors who are unable to experience this...if you look at the many happy faces of our visitors as they shop for a bargain...well, that's known as shopper's bliss. The action starts around 5pm and ends around 10pm.
Make Chamorro Village your Wednesday night destination, especially if you have guests from off lsland. It's fun for the family, too!
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