August 17, 2007, Volume 7 Number 33
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
"Hail & Farewell"! What's been commonly used for incoming and outgoing people works as easily for Guam's restaurants, and believe me, keeping up with all these eateries is a never-ending task! In the past few weeks we've seen the opening of Gu's Shanghai Bistro in Tumon and Southern Skies (a kiosk) in the GPO Food Court, as well as the closing of The Whole Enchilada in Upper Tumon. Today, Friday, is the grand opening of the latest arrival, Maharani Indian Restaurant in Tumon's Ocean Plaza next to Westin.
Soon to open in Tumon are Margaritas, Burritos and B.B.Q. and the King & I Thai Cuisine, and under construction in the GPO Food Court is King's Quonset Hut. Of course, construction is well underway for Ruby Tuesday in front of GPO, and Chili's is expected during the last part of 2007. We wish these new eateries every success and bid 'adieu' to the departing Whole Enchilada, a restaurant that had its share of troubles since it first opened.
Running a restaurant is not an easy business, but many of us have plenty of fond memories, especially for those outlets that have long since closed their doors.
Just for some fun, let's take a short trip down memory lane, and see if you can recall any of the following restaurants that used to grace our island: Jim's Island House, Surgose's Italian Kitchen, Istimewa, Kimchi Cabana, Latte Restaurant, M's Steak House, Crow's Nest, the Captain's Table, Azuma Restaurant, China House, Malesso Inn, Yakitori House, The Panciteria, Salzburg Chalet, Joe & Flo's Mexican Restaurant, Rocco's Italian Restaurant, Tina Marie's, The Tapa Room, Galleon Grill, Kurumaya Restaurant, Ivory Gourmet Cuisine, J&K Hong Kong Restaurant, Latino's Italian Restaurant, Signature Lounge, American Cafe, Andok's Fast Food, Cool Spot, Mongolian BBQ, Pim's Place, I Natibu, Epicure, Furusato, Papa John's, Greek Freak, The Brig, Ocean Bay Chinese, Sobroso's, Shanghai, Melanzanne, Yakitori Grill, The Pill Box, College Cafe, Joyful Chinese, La Mesa's, Chianti, Planet Noodle & Cafe, Downtown Deli, Bolsa, Wing's, Josephine's Chamorro Kitchen, Wet Willie's, Isabel's Cafe Nouveau, Mini Cafe, Coral Palace, Shiranami, Lotus Garden, Mimi Ramen, Hale Kai Seafood, Korean BBQ, Le Creole, Claret, Pacific Grill, Y Kusina, Shakey's, and Amantes. Do you remember their locations?
This clearly shows you how more than 60 restaurants have come and gone (there are many more) over the years, with some leaving this past year. My career in food service on Guam has given me a unique perspective on and a direct involvement with most of these restaurants. Many are like long lost friends and old acquaintances.
We don't have rosaries or graveyards for restaurants - just for restaurant people. Now there's some food for thought!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday August 18
Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10am-Noon. This week's first hour guest will be Ms. Toshie Ito, founder of Motiva Training and Consulting, who will enlighten us with her valuable insights into customer service, especially in our interactions with visitors to our island.
Second hour guests will include Phoebe Wall and Jesse Bamba from the University of Guam Cooperative Extension Service, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The discussion will be on the viability of growing local herbs and organic produce. We are hoping to also welcome some local farmers who are growing fresh herbs commercially and who may be able to talk about the newly-forming farmers' co-op. This will be an opportunity for you to hear compelling stories about their professions and their passions, which are often synonymous in this industry. Your phone calls are welcome at 477-5757 or *57 on your cell phone.
Taste & Spirit of Guam Carnival
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Saturday August 18 & Sunday August 19
The MCA (Micronesia Chefs' Association ) will be holding a "Taste & Spirit of Guam Carnival" this Saturday and Sunday, August 18 -19, from 2-8pm, at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, just outside the Marianas Ballroom. Delicious food prepared by restaurants like PROA, Old Hagatna Grill, Jamaican Grill, Capricciosa, Sam Choy's, the Hilton Guam (of course), Tu-Nu Technics & Systems, and GCC's Culinary Academy will be for sale to the public.
Similar to the Japan Festival held each year in Ypao Beach, there will be booths selling food for $2-$3 per serving. Attendees will be able to stroll freely among the booths and try whatever strikes their fancy. This event is open to the public and there will be something for the whole family to enjoy. There is no charge for admission. MCA members are currently pre-selling $10 books of tickets. Proceeds from this carnival will go towards tuition scholarships for students enrolled in GCC's Culinary Academy.
The President (Nippon)
Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort
The other day I was privileged to join in what I consider to be a "luxurious" bento dining experience at the Sheraton's The President (Nippon) during lunch. "Samurai Chef" Nakajima clearly out-did himself with this extraordinary spread, which had a rare diversity of fresh seafood ingredients, many flown in from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market.
Although I could write an entire review on this special bento alone, I'm going to single out the elements used in the kaisen-don, which is the sashimi on rice (a version of donburi, which is a bowl of rice with a topping). The President's kaisen-don was the most elaborate I've ever seen, with generous heaps of both ikura (salmon roe) and tabiko (flying fish roe), along with uni (sea urchin), hotate (scallops), sake (salmon), maguro (tuna), kani (crab), buri (yellow-tail), and shredded tomago (Japanese-style omelet). There were cucumber slices as garnish along with gari (pickled ginger), and a dollup of wasabi.
After eating the solo pieces of sashimi, I mixed all of the remaining ingredients after adding a little shoyu and had myself an upscale Japanese "happy meal"! The udon had perfect texture and taste, the kind you'd want to eat all day!
The artistry of Chef Nakajima's presentation is mesmerizing. It's a meal that creates an interesting conflict - to eat it or just gaze at it with admiration. I followed my instinct and ate after I took my pictures. Now I have art and a satisfied palate! Price is $22.50 plus 10% service charge, and includes a dessert of ice cream with fresh fruit.
Gu's Shanghai Bistro
Across from PIC, 3 Fl
We are pleased to introduce and recommend Gu's Shanghai Bistro, which had its soft opening on August 12. Gu's is owned by Chef Gu, a third generation chef, so his food is authentic and genuine Shanghainese in style. They offer a Lunch Buffet Special for $7.50/person, Mon-Sat, which offers salad, rice, noodle, soup and dessert, along with your main course selection.
For the soft opening event, we were treated to what could only be described as a true Chinese Banquet, with eight kinds of cold appetizers, Mixed Seafood Soup, Sauteed Crab with Ginger & Onion, succulent Roast Duck, Sweet & Sour Whole Fish Flower Style, Dongpo Pork, Sauteed Bok Choy with two kinds of mushroom, Fried Noodles with Beef, Eight Treasures Rice Pudding, Jin Yu Man Tang (corn, chicken, kidney beans, and pine nuts), and Blackened Young Chicken Soup of which I had more than one helping.
Everything we ate was quite good, and the duck and crab were exceptional. Chef Gu previously worked at PIC's Toryu & Hanaya, and was the original opening chef at Old Town Chinese Restaurant. We wish him and his family much success. The restaurant is open 7 days a week, and has a large private room that seats 30, and offers a really beautiful atmosphere for your dining pleasure.
Le Tasi Bistro
New Marina Hotel
You can't go wrong when you have any of Le Tasi Bistro's Lunch Specials ($11.95) which offer you a choice of the soup of the day (this day it happened to be tomato, and they make a fabulous tomato soup here), or a salad accompanied by Le Tasi Bistro's famous fresh bread basket, with sliced basil bread, and your main course selection of one of three entrees. The BBQ Marlin I had was moist, well-seasoned with Chef Bertrand's special blend of BBQ spices, and accessorized with sauteed vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, broccoli, celery, and onion). The rice and finedene are apt local touches.
Though you can view the weekly lunch specials on the GuamDiner.com front page, you have to go there to be able to eat this absolutely delicious coconut cream pie shown in this close up, nearly taste-able picture! Dinners at Le Tasi Bistro just extend the pleasure you get during lunch!
Upper Tumon (across from GTA)
It was time for a late lunch (a good way to avoid the lunch rush) and so I was able to sit comfortably at the counter at Sakura's Kitchen and had my choice of watching NHK or reading the paper.
Sakura's Kitchen still has what I consider to be one of the best Katsudon's (Pork Cutlet with Egg on rice) on island, which is what I came today to "re-certify" this designation. The Katsudon is $8.50, and I added an order of the Spicy Tofu ($3.50) a simple, yet delicious, tofu with kimchi, another dish I also like at Sakura's Kitchen.
I noticed that Sakura's Kitchen has a newly-designed, easy-to-read menu with gorgeous food photos. This is something that every restaurant should do - upgrade their menu and merchandise their entrees with great photos.
Sakura's also has a daily bento box special for $6.95. Regular bento boxes run from $7.95-$10.95, so this is a value-priced destination and the food is tasty. I do recommend the Katsudon, but also the Yakisoba, Okonomiyaki, and Spicy Teriyaki Chicken Set.
The Katsudon, by the way, did get "re-certified"...I ate all of my dish, which had stewed onions under the fried and sliced pork cutlet blanketed by an egg, and the savory broth had permeated through the rice, so every bite had taste.
Stanlee's Deli & Liquor Store
Tumon (next to Acanta Mall)
I was just down at Stanlee's the other day for a sanger. I had the Stanlee's Combo Meat with 2 Cheeses and choose to have mine made with Black Forest Ham and Turkey with Provolone and Cheddar on toasted Multi-grain. I think that's enough, but he adds fries, bringing the price to $8.50. I think I'd have been better off ordering just a turkey or ham on plain multi-grain with the works...like I used to in the olden days...it would be healthier!
While I was sitting there, I noticed that several people came in and ordered Stanlee's signature "Guam Burger" ($7.25). This is a huge burger (he makes his own buns). He does have another signature burger called "Stanlee's Burger" which has egg, bacon, cheese, and onions for $8.50.
I don't know how he does it, he keeps on coming up with new concepts and ideas, like his new Home Style Breakfast Menu, which he just launched a few weeks ago. It offers (each $4.95) the following choices:
A. Stack of Pancakes with Eggs, Bacon and Sausage Patti
B. French Toast with Eggs, Bacon and Sausage Patti
C. Bread Muffin with Eggs Benedict and Canadian Bacon
D. Toast and Hard Boiled Eggs and Canadian Bacon
E. Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwich
F. Stack of Pancakes and Fruit Salad and Banana and Cream
All of these include your choice of coffee or tea, and there's even a kid's breakfast menu ($2.50) that has Breakfast Cereal or a Toasted Cheese Sandwich.
Good on ya, Stanley. You just can't keep a good man down! I'm going to have to go there and try his breakfast, but you gotta get there between 8 and 10am.
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