May 11 , 2007, Volume 7 Number 19
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
The month of May is well underway and the celebrations of last weekend's Cinco de Mayo are but a distant memory for most folks. A lucky few celebrated Cinco de Mayo at a private bash featuring a fiesta of excellent home-style Mexican creations and free flowing frozen Margaritas. My only regret is that the experience only comes around once a year! Another fun celebration is slated for the end of the month that everyone is invited to. Taste of the Marianas on Saipan which includes a great culinary competition is set for May 26. I'll be there and next week's newsletter will have more details on TOM.
There is, however, one May event that outshines all others, including those in other months as well, and that is this weekend's Mother's Day celebration. Yes, Sunday May 13 will be one of those extraordinarily busy days. Hotels and restaurants have really put on a great showing this year with fabulous buffets and Sunday brunches, some of which we've included in our Mother's Day Specials. Notable among these is newcomer Sichuan Kitchen, which is offering four different set menu specials, two of which are for their unique Chongquing Hot Pot. Imagine, 4-6 people can enjoy an entire Hot Pot experience for $48, and 8-10 people can have Hot Pot for $68 - that is an incredible value!
Also notable is the special Sunday Brunch at Sam Choy's, which is offering the only advertised Chamorro selection that includes Churisos Chamoru, Tinala Katni, Tasaho Babui Ma Fohe, Tinaktak Manok, Chicken Kelaguen, Tatiyas, Finadene Dinanche, Latiya, and Bunelos Aga. This is in addition to an already elaborate buffet spread filled with their signature fare.
If you want to extend your Mother's Day festivities, you can start this Friday at Lone Star, which offers a Steak & Lobster Special throughout the weekend! And, don't forget to order a dreamy chocolate special Mother's Day cake from award-winning chef Ronnie Perez-Calvo's Cup & Saucer Bakery or any of her special Mother's Day-themed cookies, baskets and gifts.
Where ever you go with Mom to celebrate, I am sure you will find that this year's menu selections are probably the best I've observed in the past few years..after all, don't Moms deserve the best! Happy Day to all Moms!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Special Announcement: "Let's Get Grilling Guam!"
Guam's Ultimate Grilling Competition II - June 16, Governor's Complex, Adelup
The Pacific Island Grillers for Education, a non-profit organization established in 2005 to raise funds to support education and promote tourism awareness in the public schools, is pleased to announce Guam's Ultimate Grilling Competition II.
According to a release, "The Pacific Island Grillers intends to bring together Guam's best Grillers to compete in the ULTIMATE GRILLING EVENT of the year."
Proceeds will be earmarked for Special Education needs and for the Tourism Education Council (TEC).
Admission is free to the public, with entertainment for the kids, live music, and fun activities. The categories for the competition will include Chicken, Beef, Pork Ribs, and a featured competition will be Budweiser's BBQ Challenge.
There will be more than $10,000 in cash and prizes awarded this year! For contestants, there will be a limit of one entry per category, with a category entry fee of $50. For $150, a contestant can enter all three categories including the Budweiser BBQ Challenge. Organizers will provide all of the meat for each category (approximately 10 lbs per category), ice, and a 20 x 20 space under a tent. All food must be prepared on site and on your grill.
Prizes for the main categories (Chicken, Beef, and Pork Ribs):
1st Place - Trophy plus $1000 per category
2nd Place - Trophy plus $500 per category
3rd Place - Trophy plus $250 per category
A single prize will be awarded to the winning team of the Budweiser BBQ Challenge: Budweiser Bow Tie BBQ Grilll, Bud Beverage Cart, Bud Light Canopy, and BBQ Grill Tool Kit
The GRAND CHAMPION will win $1,500 cash and the Championship Belt valued at $1600.
The PEOPLE'S CHOICE Award will receive a Budweiser Bow Tie BBQ Grilll, Bud Beverage Cart, Bud Light Canopy, and BBQ Grill Tool Kit.
The competition will be limited to 40 (Forty) teams, so sign up today!
Attention: If YOU would like to be one of the Judges, there are open slots available right now! Contact Steve Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 632-8003, ext 103. Contact Steve as well for general event information.
For entry information, contact Reuel Drilon at 632-8003, ext 136, or email him at email@example.com
M.Y. Fast Food
Harmon (next to GPA)
Every now and then I get these cravings for Filipino food and I was pleasantly surprised to stop by a relatively new (to me) eatery called M.Y. Fast Food on Army Drive (aka Rte 16) next to GPA. M.Y. Fast Food is owned by Ofelita "Gigi" Y.Magtoto, and she really means business when it comes to operating a clean and efficient restaurant and catering business. I was impressed with the air-conditioning, the separation of the kitchen from the quaintly-decorated dining room, and the cleanliness of the everything including the rest rooms.
M.Y. Fast Food is just that, fast food, so it's one-choice ($3.75), two-choice ($4.75), and 3-choice ($6.50), with extra rice at $.50. This is for the prepared food in the food warmers. If you want a la carte items, you can order and wait for them to be prepared. There are large posters on the walls and windows showing color pictures of all of the available foods that can be ordered for special occasions, as well as including some a la carte. These posters boldly state "NO MSG"!
I went for some of the available choices such as my all-time favorite Filipino dish, Kare-Kare, adding some bagoong (the dried shrimp paste condiment that some folks find a tad strong). I love the simmered peanut butter blended sauce with vegetables and tender oxtail. It's soooo good...I say "ma sarap!"
I also had a bowl of Chicken Tinola, a soup that I really like as well. It's a bit tart, but really good for when you need some comfort food...especially if it has malungay leaves inside.
The other item I had was something I don't have often, but when I do I really go crazy - it's Crispy Pata (deep-fried pork hocks), which are things one just has to have to know the goodness of bad! There is a sauce that uses garlic, vinegar and soy sauce to cut the 'grease' from this crisped pile of meat, gristle, and skin...it does sound a bit savage and that's one aspect of its appeal! At least you can take solace in the fact that it's well-done. Kudo's to Gigi! Her little eatery serves a universe of Filipino favorites, and you can end your meal with a refreshing halo-halo. Mabuhay!
Tachibana Japanese Cuisine
Tumon (across Grand Plaza)
If you want to just go somewhere to be impressed, you can go to Tachibana. Food presentation and taste get high marks from all. For a quiet and relaxing business lunch, it's ideal. During a recent lunch meeting we ordered several items and walked away rubbing our bellies in disbelief!
The first to arrive was a Beef Curry entree ($9). This was actually better than I'd expected, since I don't usually get too excited over Japanese curry dishes...yet, this tasted about as good as I've ever had, and had lots of tender beef and stewed onions in a savory, thick curry gravy with a rash of pickled red ginger. This was accompanied by a side salad that had among its ingredients thinly-shredded pieces of omelet...it was something unusual that caught my eye, and then my mouth. It was a different variation and texture for eggs in salad,
Tachibana introduced the Sakura Lunch Box ($25) sometime after I visited last year, when I had the Ume Bento Box ($15), which impressed the heck out of me then. The Sakura bento is the Ume on steroids - you have to be a serious eater to work your way through this multi-coursed meal resting in neat little compartments in front of you! Where does one begin? The fresh Sea Bream sashimi? The steamed egg chawanmushi (custard)? Tempura? The ikura(salmon roe) served in a small bowl next to sliced rare beef, fried tofu, and other elements - truthfully, too many items to even name. I do have to mention a stuffed cabbage with green beans that was great. Also included is Koshihikari rice, unique to Tachibana and is grown by farmers in Niigata, Japan.
The third entree for lunch, Katsu-don ($10) was one I'd had before. It's a pork cutlet dish with egg, onions, and a broth that is something I seemed to have adopted as a quick filler-upper whenever I visited Japan...I just liked the combination of pork, egg, onions, and that really tasty rice....yes, rice does have taste! Our meal ended with a bowl of premium green tea ice cream. I still need to visit Tachibana for the Yakiniku bbq set. For lunch, I think you'll be impressed...just order reasonably or you'll be too full!
2nd Floor Tumon Plaza Arcade
across from the DFS Galleria
Quoting from "LET'S EAT, A DINING GUIDE TO GUAM 2007", I wrote:
"Bella Italia! Of all the Italian Restaurants on Guam(and the Italian wannabe's), Vitale's is the only one that preserves the authentic old country recipes." p.43
Though I wrote that short intro to a much longer description in the book, my impression was strongly reinforced again this past weekend when we went on Sunday for lunch and had a meal that was served that night as leftovers and the following Monday night, with each meal tasting as good as the first!
What we ordered was the Spaghetti Pepperocino and Garlic ($10.95), probably the best combination of garlic, peppers, pasta, and olive oil you'll get in this part of the Pacific. This is a dish we could eat all day! In fact this one we finished during lunch. As with all entrees here, it came a toasted garlic loaf (home made) that's cut in four pieces.
We ordered one of Vitale's legendary pizzas. If you doubt this, one bite will clarify that it is the dough...there's magic in the dough! We had a split pizza, one-half was Veggie Milano with onions, green peppers, green & black olives, mushrooms, and fresh tomatoes; the other half (mine) was 'hog-wild' - the Meat Roma with double cheese, ham, sausage, Canadian bacon, ground beef, and pepperoni. Our 12" Pizza was $17.50 and we took home most of it, and I ordered a Spaghetti with tomato sauce and two of Vitale's home-made Italian sausages to go. This was about $13.
Vitale's is preparing to launch a new menu with a lot of new items such as Spaghetti Carbonara, Angel Spaghetti with Shrimp, Spaghetti with Fresh Mushroom, Garlic, and Spinach, Manicotti with Meat Balls, and Cannelloni with Meat Balls. It's just taken good to a greater level!
Hava Java Cafe
Hagatna (behind the Post Office)
Get ready for a new taste sensation that "kicks it up a notch"! Yes, this "BAM" experience is something you can have on any sandwich you order at Hava Java Cafe when you ask for the "Pika Mayo" or "Donne Mayonnaise" when ordering your sandwich. It's so new that it's not even on the printed sandwich order forms, so you'll just have to ask. I discovered this last Saturday while talking to one of Hava Java's staff who said to add this donne mayo to the sandwich to spice it up...man did it ever. I had a Pastrami on toasted wheat with a gamut of veggies and melted provolone cheese ($6.95) and includes iced tea and cole slaw.
Of course, now that I've had this sandwich with pika mayo, there is no going back to regular mayo...it's "boring"! Hava Java Cafe is now home to the Hafa Adai Pika Mayo sandwiches, which you can enjoy with what I consider to be the best espresso-based beverages (hot or cold) in the Marianas - check it out!
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