February 16, 2007, Volume 7 Number 7
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Last Friday I was honored to spend my early morning participating at Andersen Elementary School's Career Day 2007. In three different class sessions, I shared my experiences as the Guam Food Guy (for career purposes I was labeled "Food Critic") with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade level students. I was overwhelmed by their genuine interest in food, dining, restaurants, and the Internet. They asked intelligent and provocative questions and conducted themselves far better than I'd expected. It was really fun for me to see so many young minds reaching out and stretching with the possibilities...all of my classes went over limit as the kids didn't want to leave.
Of course, I must give part of the credit to the variety of snacks I was passing out for taste-testing, which included fruit-flavored gummies, asparagus biscuits, dark chocolates, milk chocolates, and spicy rice crackers. The purpose of these samplings was to have the students express their thoughts and impressions of the flavors and textures of the foods they ate. The experience was as educational for me as it was for them, since I had the opportunity to interact on a one-on-one basis with nearly 75 young inquiring spirits, who gave good answers to my questions and asked many more. The experience reinforced the deep respect I have for all teachers.
"Go Fly A Kite!!" That's exactly what you will be able to do this Saturday and Sunday at the War in the Pacific National Park in Asan for the 3rd Annual Kites for Wishes Event, which has been expanded to two days to meet popular demand. I remember participating last year by trying to anchor a huge Bear & Cat Kite in the center field [pictured above]. I've heard that this year there will be even larger kites along with the many international kite flyers who will be filling the skies with their magical airborne displays.
Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year! Be sure to celebrate what is officially called "Spring Festival" with the Lunar New Year starting this Sunday, February 18! According to the ancient Chinese calendar, it is year 4704-4705, which is the year of the Pig or Boar. The 15-day celebration is a time for great feasting and family gatherings. Keep on the lookout for the customary Dragon Dance, which will be taking place at different hotels and businesses.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday February 17, 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 guest will be Dongman Chang, owner of Flamingo Restaurant, whose family also owns the popular Korean restaurant, Uri Jip, located in Tamuning. Our second hour guest will be Ludwig "Lutz" Uhmeyer, owner of McKraut's Fast Food in Malojloj. Lutz also owns Hansa Imports, a international specialty beverage business. 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.
Kudos to Saipan's Aqua Resort Club For Supporting "Beautify CNMI!"
I'd like to challenge Guam's hospitality industry to "step up to the plate " and do something in the same spirit of Saipan's Aqua Resort Club, which is a proud partner of "Beautify CNMI!", an organization involved in promoting environmental awareness. ARC Saipan is donating a portion of its revenues received during its Champagne Sunday Brunch, Wednesday Night Mongolian BBQ Dinner Buffet, and Friday Seafood Night Buffet to "Beautify CNMI!" We commend ARC Saipan for its generous support of this worthy campaign to keep the CNMI pristine and attractive for visitors and residents alike - it is a perfect example of corporate community involvement in a way that improves our quality of life.
McKraut's Fast Food
Move over, McDonald's - McKraut's is here to stay!! Yes, if you drive all the way down to Malojloj on Rte 4, you will eventually come to a small, colorful building with three canopied tables in a large yard. Of course, you'll see signs all over the place telling you you're at McKraut's Fast Food, which happens to be owned by one of Guam's most colorful characters, Ludwig "Lutz" Uhmeyer, originally from Germany. Being a man of great vision, Lutz decided to build his food stand on the front section of the property he uses for his home and for beverage import business, Hansa Imports.
We drove down to have one of McKraut's signature items, Bratwurst with Basil Bread ($6.25) and comes with German Krautsalad, Dijon Mustard and Pommes Frites - that's French Fries to us Americans. We also ordered the Polish Hot Dog in Bun ($2.50). The Bratwurst is excellent, and can be garnished with sauerkraut, onions, relish, catsup, and mayo if you wish.
One of the more popular items that people buy are his Seasoned Potato Wedges ($2.25) with Sweet Chili Sauce and Ranch Dressing. Now these REALLY tasty, crispy and seasoned on the outside, and steamy, soft "potatoe-y" on the inside.
Wanting to know what all the fuss was about the burgers since McKraut's sells a lot of burgers (something McDonald's has been monitoring very closely), we had a Cheeseburger Sandwich ($3.25), and it came with onion, tomato, lettuce, pickle, cheese, and nice toasted buns, to which we added a little catsup, mustard, and mayo - it had just about everything you wanted in a burger...the meat was seasoned to enhance the overall taste of this burger...I'd certainly have another one.
We had no idea we'd end up spending nearly five hours in this pastoral retreat from the big city. We lost all track of time chatting with Lutz and catching up on our many adventures. In that time we also watched Lutz get up from our table to take care of customer orders - they kept pulling in the parking lot and ordering food, most of it take-out, while others decided to relax and enjoy their meals in the open air dining area. The business at this little eatery has really picked up since my last drive-by in August 2005. It's really become a village "magnet" for the fries, burgers, sandwiches, onion rings, and cold drinks like Holsten Lemon non-alcoholic beer or Schneider's "Doc" Orange Lemonade. A phrase at the bottom of the menu board is a disclaimer that says it all: "Not Healthy But Tasty"!
As we watched the sun set and the evening's multi-hued sky change, we ordered yet another "signature" item, McKraut's Chuck Sirloin Steak on Toasted Kaiser Roll with Grilled Onion and Cheese ($6.25) with French Fries. The fries are awesome, crisp and fresh tasting....Lutz uses soy bean oil, which makes for a better tasting fry. The steak has been marinated in a secret blend of herbs and spices; look out, Outback! It's a fair chunk of meat for a steak sandwich.
McKraut's is open weekdays from 11am-9:30pm, Saturdays Noon-10pm and Sundays Noon-9pm. Come on down to Malojloj for a dining treat - it's worth the drive!
If you failed to see the ad in yesterday's paper, Flamingo Restaurant announced the return of the original owner and Flamingo's is back under "old" management. This was necessary since in the absence of Dongman Chang, this place had deteriorated significantly. So, all you old Flamingo-lovers, this is a "heads-up" that Dongman's back!
We dropped by this past Saturday and had a few combination dishes we'd been craving as well as one that Dongman wanted us to try, his Spicy Chicken ($8), which is featured as a lunch special. It comes with their trademark shredded cabbage salad and house dressing, steamed rice, and miso soup. He says locals love it and it's one of their more popular dishes....you taste it you'll see why. It's got that Korean BBQ taste from the red pepper spice which is borderline pika and it just makes you wanna go back for more!
I had the No. 20, which is two Fried Shrimp, two Yakitori Skewers, and a pile of Beef Tatsuta ($10). All entrees come with soup, salad, and steamed rice. There's something about Flamingo's food that's addictive--once you've grown accustomed to the taste, you'll "bookmark" it for later visits. The shrimp comes with a tartar sauce for dipping and the tatsuta comes with finadene. The Yakitori sticks have a little char on the edges of the meat where it caramelized from the sugar in the yakitori sauce. I could eat these all day!
Another dish we had featured Flamingo's famous onion rings along with tatsuta, chicken and beef. This was a great snack, and if you eat enough of them, they'd fill you up as a meal, but I prefer the yakitori. Flamingo Restaurant is open 10am-9:30pm, Monday through Saturday.
Central Perk Cafe
Central Perk Cafe has expanded its hours to include evening hours. They are now open Monday - Saturday for breakfast and lunch from 7am-2pm and for dinner from 5-9pm. They are also serving wine now! My, we have come a long way since my March 2006 review. My little cozy lounge cafe's grown up! I'll have to come at night to appreciate it's evening aura.
This visit, though, was in the daytime range, and I happened to have a Tuna Panini ($6.50) and I gladly paid an extra $1 for additional veggies (alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, olives), with provolone cheese on a sweet focaccia bread which was almost like a fresh baked cake, only denser. I liked the addition of a pasta salad - kind of a seasoned rigatoni. I had a banana mocha coffee beverage with a dash of amaretto. It's a wonder what Torani flavoring can do! One of my dining companions had a Turkey on Wheat from the Build Your Own Sandwich Menu, with prices starting at $6.50.
I later received a plate of Steak Fries that were supposed to come with my Panini. These were topped with what I believe is their Spicy Mayo that has wasabi in it. This was an interesting combination, and though I liked the fries, I was too full from my panini to finish them. I've still got to visit for breakfast and come at night.
Uri Jip Korean Cuisine
Tamuning, Beneath Buddies Billiards
There are many who will agree that Uri Jip is one of Guam's best Korean restaurants. There's something unpretentious and welcoming about this place. Maybe it's because the name "uri jip" translated means "our home" - so you are a treated as a guest in the home of the Chang family.
I have a lot of friends from all ethnic backgrounds and they seem to like how Uri Jip prepares and serves their food and the Uri jip taste. For me, I am a fanatic about their Kalbi ($18) and love their generous offering of those delightful little side dishes known as "pan chan" which include the requisite kimchee, bean sprouts and more. Being such a fan of the kalbi, I have yet to try their Yukgaejong (hot & spicy beef soup), which I've heard is quite good. I need to compare it to my favorite place for Yukgaejong, Chung Hae Korean BBQ, next to Marty's & Gan Day Restaurant in Tumon.
During lunch, Uri Jip has several specials, including Kalbi and Bulgogi. Dinner time allows more time to relax. For me, it's a bottle of Jinro Soju, a popular Korean adult beverage - a unique, smooth drink that is almost tasteless like vodka without the high alcohol content. I like on ice with a bit of water added to dilute it.
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