October 26 , 2007, Volume 7 Number 43
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
If you didn't know it already, you should be aware of it now - there is a restaurant "epidemic" on Guam! With each passing week, there are reports of new eateries being planned or about to open never mind the ones that have opened that I've yet to try, such as Uncle Sims's Ramen shop, located across from SandCastle, or Benii Japanese Restaurant, in the Star Building across from St. John's in Upper Tumon. I heard today from a reliable source that there will be a new Japanese restaurant in Hagatna, in the building previously occupied by Sundance Restaurant. There's a new Vietnamese restaurant, a new Korean restaurant, and yet another Chinese restaurant in the works. It seems that everyone who can hold a wok or frying pan wants to open a restaurant!
It's getting to be a full-time job just keeping up with all of these changes in our restaurant landscape, and another job trying to eat at all of them! I'm going to have to enlist the support of a Food Guy Posse to help in rounding up some of these new places. Just send your alerts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, maybe we'll be able to "break bread" or "spoon rice" together at one of these new dining spots. Wouldn't that be fun?
It's Halloween next week and we are imploring all to be extra vigilant in assuring a safe and fun time for our costumed youngsters who are playing out their Halloween fantasies. Be watchful and careful while driving through neighborhoods at night. Let's make sure we have safe "tricks" and fun "treats". May we all have a Happy Halloween!
In closing, we at GuamDiner wish to convey our deepest sympathies to the family of the late Senator Antonio Reyes Unpingco, whose unexpected passing has caused bereavement to thousands of people who knew him, both on and off-island. He was certainly one of our island's finest statesmen and will be remembered for his visionary leadership, his countless achievements, and many years of devoted service to the people of Guam. He was and will always be one of island's "heroes" who made the world a better place for all of us and for future generations.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Margarita's Burritos & BBQ Opens with a Bang!
- Bellissimo! Prego Launches "Beautiful" Italian Lunch Service on Oct 31
- Jamaican Grill - A Craving Begging to Be Filled
- Guam Fishermen's Co-op - The Bounty of the Sea Awaits
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner.com Newsletter
- This Week's Review - Seafood Chef's "Fresh Seafood Market" Have it Your Way!
Margarita's Burritos & BBQ Opens with a Bang!
This past Tuesday night was the long-awaited unveiling of entrepreneur Wanjoo Kim's (of Fishbowl fame) new restaurant venture, Margarita's Burritos & BBQ, located in Tumon, next door to the Acanta Mall, in the location formerly occupied by Chamorro Gardens and The Bounty. The restaurant has excellent visibility along Pale San Vitores and is certain to draw crowds from those passing by the brightly-lit glass-walled interior. It is an exciting concept and extremely well executed, with a Mexican-themed menu and a show kitchen.
True to its name, customers will not be disappointed in the Margaritas, which are flavored with real fruit (Pineapple, Mango, Peach, Strawberry, and Lychee), along with the standard lime margaritas served on the rocks, frozen, and by the pitcher.
At the VIP Opening party, guests were treated to Super Nachos loaded with Carne Guisado (Stewed Steak $7.95), Quesadillas with Pollo Asado ($7.95), and BBQ Spareribs (4-5 pieces on a BBQ Plate priced at $11.95). These ribs are marinated and slowly cooked, and are not your typical "BBQ". They have what I'd consider an original taste, not super spicy nor hot, rather they have a deep simmered flavor from a combination of spices. What is nice and pika is the homemade hot sauce, which is made with local boonie peppers! The salsas are good and the guacamole had real avocados you could taste. We added a little lemon to get a bit more zip.
Though we didn't have any at the opening launch, I'm looking forward to trying the Burritos: Regular $6.95 meat, rice, beans; Special $7.95 meat, rice, cheese, salsa, beans; Super $8.95 meat, rice beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. There is a Veggie Burrito for $7.95. I'm also looking forward to their Whole Rotisserie Chicken (to go special $10.95). I was told by Executive Chef Michael Moral that the chicken has a special rub marinating both inside and outside. A Meat Taco is $3.95 and the Fish Taco (something that everyone's been raving about) is $4.95. They also offer a variety of salads including Taco, Grilled Cilantro Pesto Chicken, and Grilled Fish plus homemade churros for dessert. There's even a Kid's menu with a Mini-Cheese Quesadilla for $4.95 and a Mini-Burrito for $5.95.
Margarita's is destined to be a happening place, and will likely become one of Tumon's "hot spots", especially when we have visiting ships. The large outside deck allows great street visibility and there's enough room inside to accommodate 100 people! Margarita's hours are from 11am-10pm and they do have parking in the rear. Call for take-out at 649-1231.
Bellissimo! Prego Launches "Beautiful" Italian Lunch Service on Oct 31
At long last Prego will be serving lunch! That's great news for many who've been waiting for this to happen. Starting October 31 Prego will be featuring classic Italian recipes prepared by Prego Chef de Cuisine Denis Schiavo. Prego Italian Restaurant, located in the Westin Resort Guam, has been revered for having among the finest and truly authentic Italian cuisine in a casually elegant setting. For reservations and more information, call 647-0915.
Jamaican Grill - A Craving Begging to Be Filled
This is a true story! It happened today when I ran into Tim Murphy, co-owner of Jamaican Grill. Little did he know that the jerk bbq aroma he was wearing from a cooking session was driving me crazy with hunger - a hunger that became so intense that I drove all the way to the Hagatna location in Chamorro Village to satisfy my craving for Ya Mon - Jamaican Jerk BBQ! I ordered the Combo (Jerk Chicken & Ribs, $10.50), which now comes with a choice of Soup or Salad along with your choice of rice. I didn't realize they had a soup and opted for that instead of my regular salad. The soup was Jamaican Country Soup, which is a hearty, flavorful, and well-spiced blend of many ingredients, including beans, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and pork. It was perfect for the rainy weather we've been having. I couldn't help thinking it'd be great on two scoops of rice!
Of course, when it came to eating the rest of my meal, I worked my way through three big, meaty, and juicy ribs, and two sizeable pieces of chicken. I ate as much of the Jamaican rice as I could handle. The good thing is that I totally satisfied my craving!
The folks at Jamaican Grill are constantly figuring out new ways to take care of customers, through a variety of promotions, party platters, fund-raising plates, etc. Even their paper place mat turns over to become a thrilling and fun coloring & quiz page showing our tropical paradise with a Kid's Menu and both Jamaican Grill restaurant locations. That's serious fun and definitely "Serious Food"! Ya Mon!
Guam Fishermen's Co-op - The Bounty of the Sea Awaits
After visiting Jamaican Grill, I dropped by the Guam Fishermen's Co-Op, which adjoins the Greg D. Perez Marina in Hagatna. This is the place to go if you want to buy fresh yellowfin, marlin, wahoo, mahi, bonita fillets, steaks or parts, as well as assorted reef fish (tataga, hangon, hiyok, gupao, mafute, laggua, and other seafood that's available. For over 30 years the Fishermen's Co-Op has been a source for fresh seafood caught by local fishermen. If you're looking for a quick snack or appetizers, the Co-Op's display cases also have pre-packaged trays of kelaguens and pokis. The salmon kelaguen is quite popular. The staff at the Co-Op are very professional and courteous, and you can be assured that the fish are all properly handled in accordance with HACCP guidelines, which monitor the fish temperatures until they are sold to consumers. The Fishermen's Co-Op is open daily from 10am-7pm. You can call 472-6323 to get more information or to see what's just been caught!
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner.com Newsletter
October 27, 2006, Vol 6 No 43
Caspian Grill, Tony Roma's, Grill & Curry, Sichuan Kitchen, O'Kim's Steak & Seafood
Breathe - Thoughtful Breathing Enhances Life Special Yoga article by Linda Frank
This Week's Review - Seafood Chef's "Fresh Seafood Market" Have it Your Way!
Imagine you are in a seafood market and you see a Maine lobster crawling around with a group of buddies in a tank. "That's the one I want," you think, but how do you want to eat it? At Seafood Chef, there are 14 ways you can have your lobster prepared, whether it's Sauteed with Garlic, or Ginger & Onion, or Chili Sauce, or Black Beans, or with Black Beans & Chili, or with Oyster Sauce, or Grilled with Lemon Butter Sauce, or Tandoori Style, or Teppanyaki grilled, or just plain Steamed, or how about Steamed with Garlic, or Charcoal-broiled with Salt, or how about the most natural state Lobster Sashimi with Miso Soup! This is just one of the denizens of the deep that you can have prepared "your way" at Seafood Chef, Guam's only seafood market restaurant that offers such a wide variety of fish, crabs, lobster, mussels, oysters, and squid prepared in all sorts of ways.
Seafood Chef is located in Tamuning, across from the Post Office on the 2nd floor of the building that used to be Hakubotan Duty Free. Though most local people are familiar with the Seafood Chef's value-priced all you can eat lunch buffet ($9 +10% sc Mon-Fri, $10 +10 % sc Sat & Sun), not a lot of folks know about this impressive seafood market concept, which when you actually break down the numbers, isn't as expensive as one would think when you compare to what you'd pay for a seafood entree at any of Guam's major restaurants.
Seafood Chef's Seafood Market opens daily at 6pm and closes at 9pm, with last orders placed at 8:30. You can call for reservations at 649-0233/34, or just come in with your friends or family. They should be able to accommodate you since they can seat up to 300 people! The way things work here are pretty straightforward. Once seated at a numbered table, you bring your matching number placard with you to the seafood market area, which is where the full selection of iced fish and live lobsters are displayed. You'll see that each type of fish are priced by the pound, with Parrot Fish selling for $17/lb, Big Squid for $19/lb, Lapu Lapu for $28/lb, and Green Mussels for $18/lb., as examples. You can get whatever you want, decide on how you want it prepared (there are plenty of options available), have it bagged and put in your basket. This gets weighed and you are back to your table where you can enjoy a few sips of a tropical drink, glass of wine, or cold, refreshing beer, before you go to the self-serve salad bar, which is included in your dinner. You also receive a bowl of egg drop and corn soup.
For this review, I had the pleasure of being joined by Sheila and her daughter, Karin, who both are seafood lovers (I had no idea how much Karin relishes seafood!) We made our selection which included a steamed lobster with garlic sauce, a steamed parrot fish with ginger and green onions in soy sauce, and jumbo prawns cooked two ways one broiled with salt and the other sauteed with garlic. We also had an order of Kang Kong sauteed with garlic. You could say that we got our garlic fix that night!
The prawns were really big, firm, and juicy, and I guess the best way to approach eating here is to explore other ways you can have your food prepared, whether it's with black bean sauce or teppanyaki-style or with chili sauce. The same goes for the lobster, which had sweet and firm meat. Cooking styles can alter the taste and flavor, as well as texture, especially with lobster.
One of the things we wanted that night was one of the most popular items Seafood Chef has, and it's their trademark flounder that's deep-fried kaarage-style and served seemingly upright! I returned the following week and had that flounder and man, it not only had a compelling presentation, it tasted as good as it looked! It comes with Seafood Chef's special ponzu sauce and has a few green bell peppers intermixed with the lightly battered chunks of fish that are piled up within the "u" -shaped fish carcass (head and tail form the top of the u). You can even have this remaining body further fried to make it extra crispy which is a delicacy in itself and loaded with calcium, no doubt.
There are so many combinations of food and preparation possibilities that it may be a bit over-whelming. There are several fixed priced set menu, ranging from $100 - $280, with the latter serving 5-6 people a range of entrees including lobster, crab, red snapper, seafood soups, noodle combinations, sauteed mussels, fried fish, fried shrimp with mayo and fruit, and the salad bar. These are geared towards the tourists who are pleased with the full range of the meal and the set price.
For locals, there is a Chef's Dinner Special Menu, that has appetizers like Squid Calamari ($6.50), Baked Mussels w/cheese (6pcs/$6.50), a soup like Prawns Sinigang for $15, or Clam Tinola for $15. KangKong sauteed with garlic is $7 and Shrimp Chopsuey is $10. The Seafood Specials are pretty reasonable, too, with Blue Crab (w/black bean or red curry paste) for $12, Charcoal broiled Squid with ginger soy sauce $10, and deep fried Lapu-Lapu with Sweet & Sour Sauce (which is a real local favorite), or with chili or garlic, or steamed with soy sauce in ginger & onion. The Lapu Lapu is sold at $28/lb and this also includes soup, salad bar, rice, and dessert. There's even a Mixed Seafood Platter, which combines blue crab, mussel, prawns and squid.
As you can see, there's an amazing variety of choices here, and for beef lovers, you can even order a steak that can be served teppanyaki-style or grilled whole.
Seafood Chef is owned and operated by the KALS Corporation, which is run by Tom and Magi Kallingal. Seafood Chef's experienced General Manager is Koichi Takai, who knows this fish market business inside and out. He is assisted by Roland Merto, who is a master of hospitality. The service at Seafood Chef is quite attentive and the experience of most guests has been quite positive. Try the Seafood Chef's Seafood Market as a new way to enjoy the bounty of the sea by having it prepared "your way"!
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