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Guam Diner Newsletter, January 4, 2002, Volume 2, Number 1

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Welcome to 2002! Last century, sometime in the early 70's, I can clearly remember standing on the beach in Tumon, admiring its natural beauty and serenity. Though many folks often compared Guam to Hawaii (only twenty years earlier), I would never have imagined the degree to which Guam has developed today. In truth, I would have had a hard time envisioning my life thirty years into the future...we were excited enough about the 70's and the 80's...the 90's were too far off to grasp and 2000 plus was considered "science fiction"! Now we are here, atop a small volcanic rock jutting out from the Pacific's depths, uniquely situated geographically, politically, socially, economically, culturally, technologically and, most pertinent to this newsletter, gastronomically!

Thirty years ago, Guam didn't have King's, Lone Star, Shirley's, Carl's Jr., Burger King, Pizza Hut, Winchell's, Hard Rock Cafe, Outback Steakhouse, Marty's, Jungle Java, Old Hagatna Grill, Roy's, Hy's Steak House, La Mesa's, Prego, Le Tasi Bistro, Hava Java Cafe, Thai Kitchen nor Jamaican Grill to name just a few of today's popular eateries. Can you imagine dining on Guam without having any of these open for business? For a surprising and interesting look back in time, be sure to read "A Guide to Dining on Guam" circa 1973, as excerpted from GLIMPSES OF GUAM - Volume Thirteen (see article below).

For those of you who missed the Japanese New Year's Ceremony, MOCHI-TSUKI and KAGAMI-WARI, at the Guam Reef Hotel be sure to make it next year! I attended this traditional event on Tuesday, and it was both entertaining and educational. Mr. Yano, the President of the Guam Reef Hotel assisted by Mr. Ilio and Mr. Hata, (General Manager and Asst. General Manager) cracked open the sake barrel in the hotel's lobby to get things started. Everyone in attendance from the hotel guests and the general public (there were even a few GFG newsletter readers) was welcome to share in a good luck toast for the New Year. The Mochi-Tuski, or pounding sweet rice to make mochi (rice cake), was the highlight of the ceremony, since the hotel's top management, and then anyone willing and interested, was able to pick up the "kine", a large wooden mallet and pound the special sticky rice into a gooey paste. This was a sight to see, with the chef squatting down next to the "usu" (large bowl) and hand-kneading the mochi between the pounding blows of the kine. Every swing of the mallet-like kine (it was as long as an axe and as heavy as a pick-axe) evoked a chant from the crowd "hoosho", and the deftness and speed of the chef, who barely missed getting his hand smashed to a pulp, was awesome.

I even had a chance to swing the kine, which impressed my hosts by my not missing the bowl! Eating the mochi, which was divided and rolled in a corn starch-like powder "katakuri", then dipped in a choice of condiments (sweet red beans, shredded radish, 100% soy bean powder or a unique, syrupy soy-teriyaki sauce), was both satisfying to the taste and exhilarating to the spirit. It is believed that the ceremony will bring the blessings of good health and happiness to those in attendance and it is also performed to strengthen the bonds of friendship. Let there be peace on Earth and goodwill to all, and may we eat fabulous food in 2002!


In Today's Issue
  • "A Guide To Dining on Guam" Circa 1973, From GLIMPSES OF GUAM
  • Gift of Life - January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
  • St. John's Chamber Music Series Presents Renown Soprano - Jan 11 & 12
  • The Inn Spot - Offering Quality Cuisine at Affordable Prices

"A Guide To Dining on Guam" Circa 1973, From GLIMPSES OF GUAM, VOLUME THIRTEEN
(Editor - Charles Denight, Jr., Published by Garrison & McCarter, Inc.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find amongst my archives this guide to Guam's dining options in 1973. The writer is not identified, although his introductory comments are worth sharing:

" Yech!! That was once the reaction of Guam gourmets to the local restaurants. They complained about the food, the service and the variety. Perhaps some of the more fastidious are complaining still, but this writer feels that there are several fine restaurants and quite a few more that could be called good on Guam today.

We've listed many of them below, but lacking that certain skill of the palate, have not attempted to rate the local beaneries. If you hear of a restaurant that is not listed here go ahead and try it. We're only trying to give you an idea of what's available and inclusion or exclusion does not indicate a restaurant's worth."

For the purposes of this ezine, I am listing each restaurant's name and location. Amazingly, to their credit, some of these establishments are still open, while many are now legends in Guam's culinary folklore.

The Restaurants:

Azuma Restaurant - Tokyu Hotel
China House - Dai Ichi Hotel
Crow's Nest - Sinajana
Flamboyan Restaurant - Okura Hotel
Galleon Grill - Guam Hilton
Genji Restaurant - Atop Tanaka Bldg., Marine Dr., Tamuning
Islander Restaurant - Guam Hilton
Malesso Inn - Merizo
Istimewa Restaurant - Tamuning
Jim's Island House - Anigua
Kabuki Restaurant - Tamuning
Kinney's Cafe - Mangilao
Kurumaya Restaurant - Dai Ichi Hotel
Latte Restaurant - Fujita Hotel
M's Steak House - Dededo
Red Carpet - Cliff Hotel, Agana
Surgose's Italian Kitchen - Between Agana & Tamuning on Marine Drive
Sushi Bar - Fujita Hotel (Guam's only sushi bar at the time)
Teppan Yaki - Okura Hotel
Toh-ka-lin - Okura Hotel
Toppers Coffee Shop - Tamuning
Yakitori House - Yakitori 1 is in Yigo, Yakitori II on Marine Drive in East Agana

(Advertised but not listed: Joe & Flo's Mexican and Rocco's Italian Restaurant)


Gift of Life - January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month

A special appreciation "Breakfast for Heroes" will be held on Saturday, January 12, 2002 at the Somnak Ballroom of the Westin Hotel for 2001 blood donors. A second mailing with a reminder and donor card went out recently and RSVP's are still being accepted by calling 477-9303 or by logging on to www.giftoflifeguam.com and click on RSVP. You can also see the schedule of events for Blood Donor Month.

An added bonus for last year's blood donors is the Donor Discount Card, which was mailed recently, and offers savings at the various establishments shown below who are sponsoring the card:

Carmen's Cha Cha Cha - 10% off Food
Copykat - 10% off Studio Packages & Photo Processing
Hava Java Cafe - 10% off Sandwiches
La Mesa's Mexican Cuisine - 10% off Entrees
Le Tasi Bistro - 10% off Dinner Entrees

Show your card & save!


St. John's Chamber Music Series Presents Renowned Soprano - January 11 & 12

For an excellent entertainment experience, be sure to attend the first of a series of four Chamber Music concerts that will be held between now and April. Next weekend you can enjoy the magnificent voice of New York soprano Ms. Erika Wueschner, who has appeared previously on Guam performing in La Boheme and Carmina Burana. Proceeds from these concerts will benefit local charities including Erica's House, Salvation Army, VARO, and Sanctuary, Inc. Joining her will be Scottish Classical Guitarist Adam Thomas Brown. For Season Passes and more information on this event, call 646-1708.


The Inn Spot - Offering Quality Cuisine at Affordable Prices

Although it is my practice to wait a few months for a new restaurant to "work out its bugs" before reviewing it, I felt compelled to make an exception for The Inn Spot, Tamuning's latest entry into the Guam dining scene. Located in the brand new Hunter's Inn on Ipao Road, just down from the Tower of London, The Inn Spot applies the owner's philosophy about rooms to its food. Co-owner Jim Hunter, along with his wife, Lydia (the "boss"), describes Hunter's Inn as Guam's Quality Low-Cost Leader, which is "for the Economy-Minded Traveler Who Doesn't Want to Sacrifice Quality". You can substitute "traveler" with "diner" and you'll see how Hunter's winning entrepreneurial drive has worked magic with his other ventures, including Hunter's Rent-A-Car.

Signs for The Inn Spot Restaurant have a logo that includes the symbols for male and female. Perhaps this was intended to be a "cute" reference to romanticism. It's a curiosity and I wouldn't let that get in the way of enjoying the excellent cuisine awaiting you. One of the first impressions you'll have about the interior of The Inn Spot is how the color blue--actually various shades of blue and aquamarine-- dominates, in the tablecloths and on the walls, which showcase a selection of world-renowned marine artist Blu Rivard's works. Rivard, who has made Guam his home, joined me for lunch, after asking me to stop by and try the cuisine. I didn't need much convincing, since I knew that Chef Pedro "Mr. 'O'" Ochoa was responsible for the culinary creations. The Inn Spot is open daily for breakfast from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m..

The Inn Spot Bill of Fare has the look, feel and selection of an upscale diner, more of what you'd expect to find in some of Tumon's hotels. For Starters, you can order The Inn Spot's Delectable Dozen, which is half-a-dozen chilled and peeled succulent shrimp complimented with fried crab meat and breaded mussels, with a choice of cocktail, wasabi teriyaki or tartar sauces $9.99. The Oven-Baked Mexican Bread Pizza $5.50, is a must have, and a meal in itself, topped with spicy Chorizo sausage, mushrooms, red & green peppers, onions, olives and fresh Jalapeno peppers . A generous amount of mozzarella makes this appetizer a one-of-a-kind treat that will soon develop a following of its own.

Bon Appetit!

The Guam Food Guy


Don't miss this week's features at guamdiner.com!
  • Featured Recipe - Thai Shrimp Salad
  • Wine Feature - Anything but...Chardonnay?
  • Health & Nutrition Feature - Supplements - Getting Past the Hype from Dave Slagle
  • Other Beverages Feature - Speciality Beers Explained
  • View Past Newsletters - Click here for our Newsletter Archives

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