October 27 , 2006, Volume 6 Number 43
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
"Trick or Treat"!! Yes, Halloween is next week and the neighborhood streets and shopping centers will be filled with costumed little ghouls, witches, ghosts, villains, super-heroes, princesses, and cartoon characters, all reciting that perennial solicitation, "Trick or Treat", to get some candy tossed into their bags or plastic pumpkins. Let's humor and encourage our youngsters to play out their Halloween fantasies, which are meant to be a harmless form of entertainment. Let's just "treat" and not resort to any "tricks", since the connotation has become more negative than playful. For those driving, be extra vigilant in watching out for any little ones who may dart out into the road...drive slowly in the neighborhoods. It's one of the rare times when people (though disguised in costumes) interact with people they don't know, and do so in the spirit of trust and willing participation. Let's keep it fun and safe!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
News from the Restaurant Scene
If you hadn't noticed, there have been some recent restaurant closures, all in Tumon. Simple Teppanyaki, Chamorro Garden, and Isla Steak & Grill have closed their doors. However, just as the last piece of furniture was removed from the Isla Steak location next to Flowers by Tand and across from Ipao Beach Park, the new occupant put up their sign, New Dragon Restaurant (formerly Red Dragon) with plans to open soon. There is activity in the Simple Teppanyaki location at the Central Building as well, so look for a new tenant in the near future. On the other side of that same building, Noble Roman's Pizza will be opening soon. Stay tuned for details.
Out of Tumon, we are watching for the impending opening of Andaman Thai Restaurant (formerly Duangdee ) in the Cost-U-Less Tamuning. We are excited to see former Westin executive chef Jhamnong Kraitong venture into the restaurant business outside of a hotel...let's give him our support!
Breathe - Thoughtful Breathing Enhances Life
Linda Frank, Yoga Instructor br> Special to GuamDiner.com
As a practitioner and teacher of the many facets of yoga, I have discovered the magic in the use of breathing. All of us have the tendency to take our breathing for granted, but without it I wouldn't be writing this article at the moment...in fact, I wouldn't be doing much of anything.
In yoga we learn to breathe correctly from the diaphragm, and to monitor our stress levels through the breath. Are we in a hurry and therefore driving too fast and getting ticketed? Yes, I'm guilty of that, but I finally got 'it' after my last ticket. No matter how much in a hurry I am, I'm now working on 'Making haste slowly'. I do this by slowing down my breath. How many of you, when behind a slow moving car or in a line at the bank hold their breath? And then get more irritated? Next time, try breathing in and out of the nostrils, counting each breath from 30 to 1, letting the exhalations be a little longer than the inhalations, and guaranteed, you'll become more relaxed.
How many of you eat while you're doing some of the following activities? Listening to the news, engaged in animated conversations at a social gathering...while driving...in other words, not really paying attention to what you're putting into your mouth. As a result, you're probably overeating, not chewing the food properly, and consequently, not digesting the food well.
I've had wonderful opportunities at Yoga Trainings and Retreats to learn better eating habits which I would like to share with you. The following are optimal practices for eating.
Even if you take a couple of these suggestions to heart, you will soon discover the importance of mindful breathing and eating. They both go hand in hand, or rather hand to mouth quite nicely.
- Sit while eating, not in your moving car seat, but in a place which has a lovely, quiet atmosphere.
- Before indulging give thanks for your food, the people and things in your life.
- Notice if you're feeling stressed by witnessing your breath. If you are breathing rapidly, slow it down, may be with your eyes closed for a few minutes to help calm your nervous system.
- Eat in silence.
- Chew your food slowly.
- When you're at a gathering, see if you can still practice some of the tips. Such as sitting in a secluded area, and if sitting with others, make sure they are of the optimistic nature.
Blue Lagoon Plaza
I've been meaning to drop by the Caspian Grill House of Kabob and found out that they recently started to close on Monday nights. So, we went there on a Sunday and had a few good things to eat. It's too bad we were a day late for the belly dancer performance every Saturday night, around 8pm. We started off with the Appetizer Combo which featured "Maast O'Kheyar", homemade yogurt accented with diced cucumber and parsley; "Dolma", grape leaves stuffed with Basmati rice and vegetables; "Kashk O'Badenjan", a mixture of sauteed eggplant, onions, garlic, and yogurt; "Hummus", a blend of mashed chickpeas, tahini sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh garlic; and "Falafel", deep-fried garbanzo beans with Mediterranean spices served with Caspian dip with Naan Bread ($8.99). Talk about taste and texture diversity!
I then ordered a Greek Salad ($5.99), which had fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese crumbled throughout, pepperonicini, black olives, and dolma, served with Caspian's savory house dressing. It met my expectation for taste.
Zee ordered the Gyro Sandwich ($5.99) and thoroughly enjoyed her half (left me the other, as she tapped out from the considerable and filling appetizer). This is one of Caspian's most popular items, with slow-roasted, sliced beef and lamb that are specially seasoned and served with lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, onions, bell peppers and cucumber sauce, wrapped in foil.
I ordered the Caspian Combo 3 ($17.99), which combines a Lamb Kabob with a Kubideh Kabob (kubideh is lean ground beef with grated onions and special seasonings). This is served with Basmati rice, Shirazii salad and comes with Naan bread and Maast O Kheyar for dipping. After the appetizer and half of the Gyro, I concentrated on finishing the meat...the lamb was tender and well-seasoned, and the kubideh is a unique meat, made with spice and onions. We were asked to sample a relatively new item, the Spicy Chicken Kabob, which should definitely be a hit with locals who like "pika"...the outside is coated with a curry-like spice that does bring up the temperature a bit!. Our service was very good this time.
Royal Orchid Hotel
Agana Shopping Center
This was the first time I'd been to Tony Roma's and didn't order ribs right off the bat. I wanted to try some new things and that's what I did. The Tony's Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast ($12.49) was recommended, and I was really impressed with this cool, refreshing, flavor-filled combination of crisp vegetables interlaced with crispy won-ton noodle strips, black & white sesame seeds, and grilled chicken with a smoke-flavored glaze. The bowl is chilled and comes out with the wide rim glistening with condensation...the chicken breast is sliced hot from grilling and placed over the salad. The cilantro's pervasive herb taste was partnered with Tony Roma's festive Pan Asian Dressing - it brought a lot of excitement to this scintillating salad.
After the salad I was momentarily mesmerized by the Ultimate Seafood Platter ($39.99) that was placed in front of me! This was a lot of food by anyone's standard, with two ears of corn, a fully stuffed baked potato with melted cheese, a steamed lobster tail, grilled salmon fillet and grilled shrimp on a skewer. The salmon was basted with a marvelous marinade, which made every bite of it delicious, though I'd have preferred it a little less done. The lobster tail was firm and sweet, and the shrimp were "barbie perfect", layered atop a really good rice pilaf. It's a great meal I'd easily recommend.
OK...I did order a regular slab of Original Baby Backs ($18.49), just to be sure that they were as good as I'd last remembered...they were! Alongside was Tony Roma's excellent cole slaw, definitely one of the best available in any restaurant here.
I was supposed to be finished, but was informed that I had to try out some of Tony's "Sweet Stuff!" The Fried Oreo Cookies ($4.49) were not what I'd expected...they were totally greaseless, with no soggy batter. Each Oreo was crisp, it seemed like they used a corn flake coating or something similar. The Vanilla Dreyer's Ice Cream was dreamy and the cinnamon-dusted plate decorated with chocolate-syrup under scores really gave this decadent dessert the green light to eat. I still can't believe I ate it all!
Grill & Curry Restaurant
Probably the biggest surprise for me food-wise this week was the unexpectedly tasty food with a super-low price that filled each plate I saw at the Grill & Curry Restaurant in the Day's Inn on Ipao Road in Tamuning. This was the original Tamuning location for May's Restaurant and is now owned by Alan Ping, who used to have Alan's Cafe in the Harmon Industrial Strip. I've never had as much meat in restaurant fried rice as I got in Grill & Curry's Shrimp & Bacon Fried Rice ($5.95)! This was exceedingly generous, with plenty of fair-sized shrimp and lots of bacon...and surprisingly not greasy as one would expect.
The Red Curry Chicken Thai Style ($6.95) is another house specialty. Yes, there was definitely a Thai taste, though not as many Thai veggies. The surprise is that they bring out a loaf of hot baked homemade French bread which they also use for their under-priced Vietnamese Sandwich ($3.50)!
The Roast Duck ($6.50) was on special (they have a Lunch & Dinner Special Flyer for every two weeks). It was exceptional - someone in the kitchen knows their duck! This plate comes with a dressed salad and a bowl of rice.
Grill & Curry's open for breakfast & lunch (6:30am-2pm), and dinner (6-9pm) daily. Lunch specials are in the $5-$6 range, and breakfast goes for $2.95-$5 and includes a free newspaper! If you go, keep an eye out for Byron Broughton, as he's gotta be one of their best salespeople - he'll give you tips on the menu and what to order. The cuisine is Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Local - this place has great potential!
Though reviewed last week, this place has some astonishingly good food! We had three new dishes the other night that you should know about. The Honey Walnut Shrimp ($10.00, on their Cantonese Menu) is one of the best we've had - it's not loaded down with mayonnaise and pineapple - each shrimp is lightly battered and slightly coated, so the taste is clean and not overly sweet.
On the first page of the Sichuan Menu is the Fried Chicken with Dry Chili Peppers ($8), I think the word "fried" gives the wrong impression...this is "stir-fried" and not "deep-fried". I've been eating for a long time, and I can tell when someone's serious, and Chef Li is blazing! This is one pika entree that is full of tasty ingredients like green and white onions, red and green bell peppers, garlic, and dried red chili peppers, which really season this dish. It's also beautiful to look at! Yummee!
Since we are on a mission for the ultimate wings, we gave their Spicy Sichuan Chicken Wings ($8) a shot. As you can see in the photo, there's a lot of red spice flecks coating the chicken wings, which are fried crispy; no raw or undercooked chicken here. They are flavorful though maybe with a bit more salt than some folks would like, and the red stuff is red pepper, so beware...they'll have your lips buzzing.
O'kim's Steak & Seafood House
Across from PIC
It hasn't been that long since I'd reviewed O'kim's (November 2005), however, they've gone through a major change that I think will appeal to more local residents. Although we had dinner, O'kim's has a reasonably priced Lunch Special with a Teppanyaki Salad Bar (by itself it's $9.99 for adults, $5.99 for kids). The Salad Bar is included when you order an entree (N.Y. Steak, $15.99), Kalbee ($13.99), Chicken Cutlet ($13.99), and Grilled Shrimp ($14.99).
During dinner, this Teppanyaki Salad Bar is busy, with live cooking stations and a good selection of appetizer items to eat. The dinner menu has been re-structured so we tried out a couple of entrees like the Lobster & Steak ($55) and the Teppanyaki Course ($60 for people). We had half this course, which included a really good yakisoba, lobster, steak, vegetable, prawn, fish (tuna coated with bread crumbs and griddle-cooked) and kalbee. The menu also states entertainment, which happens to be a great pyrotechnic demonstration by the teppan chef. Ours was Jr., and he was really cookin'! There was a white creamy tartar sauce that went with the seafood entrees that had a great flavor and complimented the prawns, lobster, and tuna.
The Steak & Lobster was reminiscent of my earlier review, wherein I talked about O'kim's obsession with creative sauces. This was one that partially covered the lobster tail, and I would have been happier without the sauce. The meat was grilled to medium, and the portion was appropriate for the meal size. The music being played at night was both soothing and engaging, and we commented on it's sophistication and elegance, which created a romantic ambience. I'll have to come back for lunch and get back with a more complete review.
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