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November 10 , 2006, Volume 6 Number 45


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

I am often asked by readers and people I encounter if there are any restaurants that are "family-friendly", which translates into an establishment that is great for youngsters and toddlers to have the opportunity to move about unrestricted and even play. Generally, most restaurants are able to accommodate toddlers and some even go all out and have a kid's play section, which is more than just having a special childrens' menu, booster seats, and high chairs. We have some restaurants categorized as "Family Friendly" at GuamDiner.com website.

One really unique event that caters to families with little ones is Wendy's Tamuning Family Fun Night, which is held every Thursday from 5-8pm. Not only do they offer a Special $1.99 Wendy's Kid's Meal, they also have Jingles the Clown for entertainment! Jingles is very popular with the kids and "Jingles" aka Diane Isis Thurber, shapes balloons into all sorts of crazy fun things as well as face painting! This past Thursday I had the pleasure of joining friend and Hava Java Cafe owner, Carol Ragan and her daughter, Jasmine in what has become a favorite weekly fun night out with dinner included. The fun night has caught on so well that many families have become regulars and look forward to reacquainting every Thursday. This recent Thursday was also the birthday celebration for seven-year old Tara Usita-Lee, who is shown in the adjoining photo with Jingles the Clown and Jasmine Ragan. I commend Wendy's for this innovative and entertaining way for families to enjoy a dining experience..the kids have so much fun they don't want to leave!!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

 

Le Tasi Bistro
New Marina Hotel
Hagatna
472-7877

Guam is blessed to have so many marvelous restaurants, and one in particular is Le Tasi Bistro, which happens to be a favorite dining spot for many people, and with good reason - the food is simply fabulous. One of the things we like to do when having dinner at Le Tasi Bistro is to order a variety of appetizers and one entree. On this particular night we truly indulged ourselves in an epicurean fantasy with some of the richest foods you can eat! We started off with the Soupe a L'Oignon ($5.95), which is easily the island's best French onion soup. The picture shows the bronzed cheese crust that caps a bowlful of a savory oniony broth, so good it just makes you dizzy with delight! This was followed by a Ravioli de Crabe a la Creme de Parmesan ($6.50), which is another oven-baked wonder! The crab ravioli is served atop a tomato sauce base and topped with parmesan cream.

This was joined by a Bruschetta con Tomatoe e Basillica( $5.50), which is two pieces of toasted French bread topped with roasted garlic, chopped fresh tomato and basil. Our breath was stolen by the next appetizer, which was the Pate de Campagne ($7.50); Le Tasi Bistro's homemade pate served with toast, sweet pickles, cherry tomato halves, olive oil and an artistic 'signature' of balsamic vinegar. The pate's consistency and fresh taste is addictive, a masterful creation.

We ordered a vegetarian entree called Tofu Tapenade Aux Legumes Grilles ($18.75), which is layers of grilled tofu spread with an rich tapenade over tomato sauce and served with grilled vegetables. The presentation was awesome and inviting, with bright red bell pepper chunks, green broccoli spears, onions, green beans, green bell pepper and zucchini. The three-layers of tofu with olive tapenade interspersed settled in a vibrant marinara sauce. Le Tasi Bistro's trademark garnish is a sprig of basil.

Much to my surprise and wonderment, Chef Bertrand prepared something that was recently introduced to Le Tasi Bistro's Menu, the Foie Gras au Vieux Vinaigre de Vin ($19.50, and worth every penny!!) This fresh sliced duck liver has been pan-seared and served over greens with a reduction of balsamic vinegar. If you've been looking for foie gras, I highly recommend this appetizer. You can check out other new items on Le Tasi Bistro's dinner menu as well as stay informed by reviewing Le Tasi Bistro's Weekly Lunch Specials. You can also purchase artpieces by Judy Flores, a selection of fine wines, as well as delicious, to-die-for pastries and pies!

Pietro Italian Restaurant
Acanta Mall, Tumon
646-4929

Pietro's is settling in to be one of those places people like to go to eat, drink and be merry, and that's kind of what happened to us the other night! (The "merry" part of this can be attributed to those inspired grapes in Villa Antinori's Toscana (2002)). I believe that Pietro's salads have an advantage over many other establishment's since they make their own signature salad dressings which are so good they're sold around the world. We had a Shrimp, Tomato, and Asparagus Salad ($10.95), that was loaded with juicy, plump shrimp along with red onions, sweet tomato chunks, fresh crunchy asparagus spears, and drizzled with Pietro's soy dressing.

The Chicken Wing appetizer ($5.95) is good but made better by squeezing lemon over the fried wings, which seem to have a special marinade flavoring them. When eating Italian, it would seem only natural to try the Minestrone ($4.75), which we did, and much to our delight, we discovered that it was unlike any we've had anywhere else. The vegetables were still firm and the broth was light yet flavorful, with the full freshness of a just-made consomme. An accompaniment of Garlic Bread ($2.50) made for a happy marriage.

Our final item was the Spinach & Bacon Spaghetti ($10.25) entree, which we ordered with the Garlic Oil Sauce (other sauce choices are Tomato, Cream, and Shoyu.) I like bacon and spinach, so this dish was very satisfying. The pasta was cooked al dente and there were lightly-battered fried red onion strips across the top along with tasty bacon chunks. The garlic sauce was well-suited to this dish since the bacon brings a lot of salt and it is a good balance. The spinach in this dish was tossed throughout, with its distinct spinach flavor concentrated in little bunches. Pietro has many intriguing menu items awaiting you!

The Whole Enchilada
Boon's Building
Upper Tumon
64S-ALSA (647-2571)

This cute little eatery has captured the charm and appeal of a Mexican taqueria, so one's first impression is that you'll get the real deal here. You'll get something real here, alright, but you'll have to come without high expectations. This is fundamentally due to Guam's lack of having all of the fresh ingredients available to make the Mexican food you'd have in the American southwest and Mexico. Having said that, we ordered several dishes and were basically satisfied. Our server, Kevin, who'd only been there two weeks, was right on top of our orders as well as other customers. This young man was good, and dispelled the poor service rumors we'd heard. Our chips and salsa were the first to arrive. I liked the salsa, though the chips would have been better if they had been served warmed, they'd have been crisper. I ordered a frozen strawberry margarita ($4.99), which had the right proportions but should have been served more frozen.

The Nacho Supreme ($7.99), from the appetizer menu, goes a long way to being a meal in itself. Seasoned shredded beef was blended in with a melted cheese (the movie theatre type) and wonderful jalepenos. Cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese flecks dotted the top along with a big dollup of sour cream. In the middle was a base of diced tomatoes with refried beans. The chips were oven-baked hot and crisp like they should be. The thing I didn't really like was the guacamole spread. If there are no fresh avocados, I'd prefer no avocado-like substitutes. Everything else combined together and worked for me.

The Barbecue Chicken Tostada ($8.99) is a salad on a crunchy tortilla shell. This entree has a lot of potential and is served with a creamy chipotle ranch dressing. This too can be a meal in itself for a normal eater or just spit between two people. It's a lot of food and beans are filling. I liked the BBQ chicken taste, but didn't like the guacamole, though it was somehow made more palatable by all the other elements, which were fresh.

The final entree we tried was the traditional Tacos ($7.99), which has three tacos filled with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, chunky tomato salsa, Jack and cheddar cheese, and a dollup of sour cream. I ordered two soft flour and one crunchy corn. I liked the flour far better than I did the corn. I poured a little of the salsa from the salsa which came with the chips to deepen the Mexican flavors. If you add some Tapatio Salsa Picante, available on each table in lieu of Tabasco, you'll get plenty of flavor along with some heat! In the center of the plate is a ramekin that has diced cantaloupe and honeydew melon...nice touch. Also on the plate are refried beans and guacamole. I expect that with time The Whole Enchilada will evolve to realize its potential.

Simply Food
Agana Heights
472-2382

You can't get any healthier food than what's served up at Simply Food...as I've said before, it's guilt-free dining! I had the opportunity to have lunch the other day as a guest of artist and realtor, Moe Cotton. I had the one-trip salad bar, and then a self-designed sandwich according the sandwich order form available. I had the Corned Beef ($4.95 basic sandwich) with my choice of bread, Seven-Grain, and four add-ons, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and smoked turkey. I had it heated and with mayo and mustard. To drink I had one of their great Smoothies ($3.95/large) with mango juice and banana. Thanks Moe!

Genji
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Tumon
646-DINE

If you go to the Genji's sushi bar, a small dish full of goodies will come to you as an appetizer. Included in this is some Madai (sea bream), Nama Uni (sea urchin), Ikura (salmon roe), Tobiko (flying fish roe), and sprinkled with sesame seeds along with a small lemon rind slice and a miniature pepper leaf. Talk about fresh seafood! We also had a plate of sashimi, with splendid Maguro (prime tuna), Shake (salmon), Hamachi (young yellowtail), Botanebi (Botan shrimp), Ikura, and Tako (octopus) in a beautiful presentation inspired by Genji Chef de Cuisine Hamada. Though individual item prices range from $3, $4, and $5 with the highest being $10, the bottom line is that you pay for what you get, and Genji's sushi bar has some of the island's finest sushi and sashimi!

Ita dake masu!

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