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January 19, 2007, Volume 7 Number 3


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The world is full of fantastic dining adventures and exotic cuisines, the exploring of which is one of the main reasons for travelling to different countries in far away places. What continues to amaze me is the high concentration of superb food tastings right here on our very own island. Just ask anyone who's lived here in the past about what they miss the most, and you'll come up with "the food" usually near the top of the list of things they'll tell you.

For me, I'm smack dab in the middle of what I will describe as a "culinary renaissance" having witnessed the evolution of our hospitality industry over the past 30 years, and I personally know many of the people who are at the forefront of this movement. We at GuamDiner.com are proud to recognize and honor these creative visionaries who have in their own way carved out a niche in Guam's culinary landscape.

This past week I attended the 12th Anniversary Celebration and Grand Re-Opening Ribbon Cutting ceremony of Jamaican Grill's Chamorro Village location, which, if you haven't seen it, is an extraordinary transformation. It makes me proud to know my good friends, Tim Murphy and Frank Kenney, two hard-working and extremely persistent believers in a dream they transformed into a grand reality that has positively impacted the lives of thousands and provided career opportunities and jobs for many residents.

Their fun-loving care-free attitude exemplified in their logo embodies an island spirit that bridges Carribbean spices with Micronesian tastes, resulting in an entertaining dining destination where the only thing that's "serious" is the "food" (YA MON!)!

Congratulations, Frank & Tim, on your first 12 years, and on the legacy you've created. It's a legacy of flavor, and makes Jamaican Grill a place we'll always recommend!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday Jan 20, 10am-Noon

Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy's segment of K57's "Tourism & You"Show, from 10am-Noon. This week's first hour guests will be Shiyang Lawlor of Sichuan Kitchen, who will be joined by her husband, Paul Lawlor, a lawyer who is teaching law in China. We will learn more about the new and exciting dining experience of Sichuan Hot Pot which they recently introduced to Guam. Our second hour guest will be Jeff Pleadwell, founder and proprietor of Jeff's Pirate's Cove, considered by many to be one of the island's best overall destinations for food, fun, culture, and natural beauty.

These interviews will offer unique and interesting insights into the people behind the scenes at the island's restaurants. This will be an opportunity for you to hear compelling stories about their professions and their passions, which are often synonymous in this industry for people of their caliber. Your phone calls are welcome at 477-5757 or *57 on your cell phone.

Crossroads Cafe
The Captain Company Bldg.
Hagatna
477-2233

If I had a list of some of Guam's "best-kept" secrets, I can tell you now that Crossroads Cafe would be on it! Now there are many who know this place well enough that it's no secret to them, however, as far as I'm concerned, this place is still a "hidden treasure" just waiting to be mined! During my dining experience this week (I dropped by here nearly a year ago when they first opened, just never got there to eat), I sampled several menu items, two of which are already on my "Best of" list - the Crossroads Club ($8), and the Mac-n Cheese ($3). I also had the Pika Pasta ($8), and Shrimp Fried Rice ($6), both of which are serious contenders. The Crossroads Club is described as a "traditional triple-decker lightly toasted sandwich w/bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, turkey, ham, shredded cheese blend and onions", and this is just "reading the cover"! It's when I bit into this incredibly flavorful sandwich that I could taste the complex high-quality ingredients (smoked ham and turkey), and thinly-sliced onions. Although they were white, they worked just fine in place of the usual red onion. All I know is I kept biting and peering into the sandwich to ferret out its secrets....it tasted that good! Though it seems a bit pricey, it's worth it, and comes with a choice of cole slaw or a fresh garden salad which I recommend with their awesome house raspberry vinaigrette.

The Mac-n Cheese was actually just a forkful that guests at another table wanted me to try - and it was simply the best macaroni and cheese dish I have ever eaten outside of my mama's kitchen! This is no package or box mix...it's the real deal...loads of melted jack and cheddar cheeses covering perfectly cooked macaroni. It's the quality of the cheese that makes the difference here. Forget them calories....this is comfort food!!

The Pika Pasta has a unique pika cream sauce and comes with three pieces of shrimp and two slices of what looks like panini-grilled garlic toast. Served on an appealing triangular ceramic plate, the pasta really becomes wonderfully "pika" when you toss in some of the crushed red pepper that's served with the dish. I really liked how they made and served the Fried Rice, which is mold-shaped as a mound, with each ingredient still visible, both to the eye and to the palate, since I tasted the sauted onions, green & red bell peppers, carrots and mushrooms. I just can't wait until my next visit when I'll go for the Omelet, or Crossroads Philly or The Chicago or the Denver! Hours are currently 10-11:30am for breakfast and lunch until 2pm, with dinner from 6-10pm.

La Brasserie
Holiday Resort Guam
Tumon
647-7272 ext 213/214

When I saw the menu elements to this special Hong Kong Buffet with Dim Sum Corner, I knew I wanted to try it, especially since I know how well my friend, Philip De Duong, Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director, can prepare food. He is probably the single-most resourceful and diversified chef on island who specializes in Asian cuisines. He can make everything himself and has managed to train his staff in art of preparing many Asian entrees. I tried some really good dim sum like the Char Sui Bao and Sui Mai, as well as a flavorful radish cake. The chicken feet were excellent, with a spicy gravy that I'd not had anywhere else before. The buffet has a complete cold appetizer selection which has such delights as Soy Sauce Chicken, Sushi Rolls, Thai-style Mussels, Fresh Lumpia, Char Siu Pork, Beef Shanks, and more. Among the hot items were Walnut Shrimp, Steamed Fish Filet, Kalbi, and Crispy Pork Belly aka Crispy Pata, with some Mang Tomas sauce - wow, bad for you but "out-of-this-world" delicious!

The desserts were Japanese cakes and fresh baked custard-stuffed rolls, along with custard tarts plus ice cream and fresh fruits. The price is $12+ 10% service charge for adults. The bay view from this spaciously elegant restaurant (near palatial) is uplifting, especially on brilliantly sunny days when the ocean's a pristine aquamarine color. This special menu will be running throughout next week...these usually change each week, but since this one has so many new elements, they want to extend it. This is a must try!

Pattaya Thai
Tamuning
647-7467

There's been a proliferation of wonderful Thai restaurants in the past 3 months, however, there are many who still swear by the special flavors available at Pattaya, located in Tamuning just down the street from Alupang Beach Tower in the direction of Mark's Sporting Goods, Buddies Billiards, and UriJip Korean BBQ. Pattaya's menu emphasizes the words "Authentic Thai Food" with good reason, since Pattaya only serves authentic Thai cuisine, and there are many "foodies" who swear by this restaurant. Pattaya is owned by Pim Sonepoo, the force behind the legendary Pim's Place, one of the island's best Thai spots in the roaring 90's. At Pattaya, Pim cooks each dish to order. The Shrimp Toast ($7.50) is a great starter, and if you've never had it, I highly recommend it since it's a bona fide palate pleaser! A shrimp blend is spread on bread and grilled, then served on a plate with a dipping sauce that's chockful of peanuts, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, fish sauce and other ingredients, making what we'd call an excellent concoction!

We also ordered a dish that Pim makes especially for Zee - a savory, tantalizing Tuna Salad, that blends lime juice with mint, coriander, red onions,and red pepper, which is served on a plate with lettuce leaves and cucumber. This dish is not on the menu but sells for $8. It's like the Chicken Salad she has on her menu, only substitutes tuna. It's worth the wait for her to marinate the tuna with that citrus wash!

A final dish that I had been craving was Pim's Basil Chicken "Kai Pad Baikraproa" ($8) chopped up for me and served "Thai style" with an egg on top. It's a delicious blend of minced chicken with garlic, mushrooms, long beans, hot basil and chilis...I remember relishing this dish over a decade ago...at a time when I was able to eat it "nuclear" hot! Today I'm content with the mild to medium spicy.

Pim is one of the more experienced Thai restaurant operators and is very personable. She's in the kitchen most of the time cooking up these wonderful dishes. She does not use MSG and can prepare almost any dish on her menu as a Vegetarian meal so just ask. If you don't see your favorite Thai dish listed, ask her and she'll try to accommodate you!

You can find Guam Food Guy links and reviews at the following sites:

www.guamdiner.com

www.guamcell.com

www.k57.com

www.guam.net

www.mymicronesia.com

www.guam-online.com

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Copyright 2006 Guam Diner