As 2010 glides to a smooth landing in the annals of time, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers and restaurant subscribers for their unwavering support over the years. We are approaching the middle of our Tenth year of publishing the Guam Diner Newsletter and it quite amazing to our entire team to have come this far. Reflecting on my early days as the Guam Food Guy (which was actually prior to the debut of GuamDiner.com), I realized that more than a decade has already passed with this "alter ego", if you will! I don't know what kind of authority that ascribes to me but I can say that I've eaten a lot of food and it has been a fantastic experience which I hope to continue so long as I can hold on to a fork, knife and spoon or chopsticks.
Be sure to check out the New Year's Specials at GuamDiner.com - some of the menu selections are off the charts, with some hotels really laying out elaborate culinary feasts!
From all of us at GuamDiner.com, we wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year Celebration! Enjoy the fireworks and festive activities and events where ever they are held! Let's make 2011 a year to remember!
Ken, the Guam Food Guy
Hava Java Cafe
Ste 102-103 AFIA Building (behind Hagatna Post Office and next to Mermaid Tavern)
Anyone who has followed by dining exploits over the years knows that I am a dedicated fan of the awesome sandwiches created at Hava Java Cafe in Hagatna, which remains as my overall favorite coffee house. I wanted to share details of two sandwiches I recently had on two separate occasions. The first is my personal favorite, the Chicken Salad Sandwich on a toasted French Baguette ($8.25). The price includes refillable China Mist Iced Tea, tangy fresh homemade Coleslaw and, for this order, an additional .50 for a slice of Provolone cheese.
Owner Carol Ragan's orange-colored "Make Me A Sandwich" order sheet details all of the possible options for your sandwich. For me, in addition to the aforementioned Provolone cheese, I like lettuce, tomato, red onion, alfalfa sprouts, dill pickles, mayonnaise, and hot English mustard. Although some other sandwich shops try to imitate this sandwich, none has even come close.
The second sandwich is Pastrami on Toasted Whole Wheat ($8.45), which includes Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, pickles, mayonnaise and American mustard. Iced tea and cole slaw are also included in this price. I like this sandwich too and recommend it with Pika Mayo (donne pepper infused mayo) when available.
Both sandwiches were expertly prepared by Eugenia, one of Carol's long time managers. With all the new coffee houses flooding the market, it's reassuring to know there is one you can always count on! Hava Java Cafe for great eats and excellent Lavazza espresso-based brews and other beverages.
Lone Star Guam's Comfort Lunch
Although it has a price tag of $17.99, it is the best Chopped Steak you can get made with 12 ounces of fresh, juicy ground steak accompanied by your choice of sauteed mushrooms or sauteed onions (or both), two piping hot dinner rolls, your choice of salad (Caesar or Dinner) and your choice of starch. As you can see, I had brown rice. One of the best parts of this meal was the mound of mushrooms that were simply delicious and just bursting with buttered flavor.
You should be aware that this is a fairly hefty piece of meat being four ounces larger than their biggest burger so you have to pace yourself. I also need to clarify for those who see the term "chopped steak" and think of the stir-fried local version of beef strips or chunks and vegetables. This is ground steak, not beef pieces and it is ground from steak-quality beef, not hamburger grade.
You should also check out some of Lone Star's Power Lunch Specials, which feature Chicken Parmesan on Penne and Panko Crusted Salmon, along with three other special entrees featured one day of the week.
Revolving Restaurant 360
8th Floor Marianas Business Plaza
Susupe, Lauru Loop
I had occasion to experience a fabulous glass (or two) of wine while visiting Saipan's Revolving Restaurant 360. It was a 2005 Marques de Caceros Rioja. Below are the tasting notes to give you some insight to this delightful vintage.
"Bright ruby red color. Lively bouquet with notes of red fruit that add a pleasant freshness softened by a discreet touch of vanilla. Deliciously full in the mouth where silky, well-integrated tannins highlight the wine's fruit. Good length in which the complexity of flavors come through delicately.
A perfect accompaniment to Mediterranean cuisine, fried food, grilled vegetables, pulses, paella and other rice dishes, pasta, fish in tomato sauce, ham, chorizo, pate, beef (roast, stewed or grilled) and cheese (mild or medium matured)."
You can enjoy this wine along with other fine wines with CAB Steak and Prime Rib dinners at Revolving Restaurant 360.
McKraut's Fast Food Expansion
If you didn't see it you wouldn't believe it. McKraut's is expanding big time! Although Lutz's charming fast food stand still operates in front of this new super structure, it won't be much longer (perhaps a few months) before the new beer garden and restaurant opens up.
We stopped by over the weekend and were impressed with the progress. There is a lot of space inside along with a large bar plus plenty of seating and clean rest rooms to provide relief for many a weary traveler.
One of the relatively new menu items is Smoked Bratwurst on Basil Bread with German Krautsalad, Dijon Mustard, and Pommes Frites (French fries) for $7.15. This is, along with his Veal Bratwurst (also $7.15), makes for a signature meal well worth the long drive to Malojoj. Other popular items are the Half-pound Black Angus Burger ($8.25), Broiled Salmon Filet on Bun with Seasoned Wedge Fries ($7.50), and Buffalo Wings with Salad, French fries, or Rice for $5.
Stop by McKraut's as you circumnavigate the island. It's food you can't find anywhere else. Just ask their customers, many of whom are from the surrounding villages while others come from Tumon and even Yigo! It's a true foodie pit stop!
Tentekomai's Japanese Pub & Tempura House "Kanda"
The Plaza Bayview
We had occasion to stop by Tentekomai in the Plaza where you'll find (off to the right as you enter the establishment) the Japanese Pub & Tempura House "Kanda", with a dining counter and several tables. While Tentekomai has a selection of tasty ramen, udon, and curry dishes, the pub operated by Chef Kanda is the destination for those seeking a relaxing izakaya-type dining experience.
I was determined to focus on tempura, but when we arrived we saw another patron with a kettle atop a portable gas burner enjoying Kaki Dote Nabe aka Oyster Hot Pot ($15) from the Specials board and decided to have that along with a few other items including tempura and some appetizers.
The Kaki Dote Nabe's bowl had a special miso paste blend coating the inside which helped to create the soup's broth which also contained mushrooms, green onions, tofu, rice noodles and cabbage. A plate of fresh oysters is provided and we put those into the boiling broth. This dish turned out to be an excellent choice.
I will , however, return and do a feature on Chef Kanda's "Tempura" experience, which is really one of the specialty items he prepares. You can get the Tempura Bento Box ($20), the Tempura Course ($40), and the Tempura Kaiseki-Zen ($60). We split the Tempura Moriawase ($16), which was actually a teaser for the complete tempura experience offered by Chef Kanda, who has over 50 bottles of varying gourmet salts to dip your tempura in for a variety of taste sensations. We did have one which was a curry-type blend that provided a surprising enhancement.
Quite by accident we also were able to sample some of Chef Kanda's house-made tofu, something we'd not had since we discovered it at Kai Restaurant when Kanda used to run it a few years ago. It is really a treat.
The Guam Food Guy's "Top Ten" Reviews for 2010
The useful thing about lists is that they give people an easy-to-follow guide of places to try especially if they haven't been there yet or are new to Guam. Unfortunately, lists are by nature limited, and don't give a full representation of the numerous excellent options not on the list.
The reviews and/or newsletters are listed in chronological order so their placement is not based on any particular ranking. I hope you have an opportunity to experience these places and that you like them as much as I did!
Guam Diner Newsletter for January 15, 2010 - Tribute to Toni Stewart, Artista Caffe & Bistro Opens and Why I Love Kai Restaurant
January 15th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 1
Guam Diner Newsletter for February 25, 2010 - Team GW Wins ProStart, Family Visit & Eating, Review of Fortune Cookie Cafe
February 26th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 4
Guam Diner Bytes for March 26, 2010 - Salzburg Chalet - Blast from the Past, Izakaya Katsu Annual Reunion, P.I.C. Lunch Wows, Roy's Visit and Wine Dinner with Sandro Bottega at Al Dente
March 26th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 6
Guam Diner Bytes for April 9, 2010 - Two Hot Restaurants Coming, Calvi Korean, Maxi's Opens & 'A Taste of Southeast Asia' at Palm Cafe Offers a Feast of Flavor
April 9th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 7
GuamDiner Bytes for April 30, 2010 - Talofofo Banana Festival, Fisherman's Cove Opens, Michelle's Coffee Shop, Churrasco Brazilian BBQ Open
April 30th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 8
GuamDiner Bytes for June 25, 2010 - More Closings, We love Thai Kitchen, Ernesto's Saipan Dinner, Seorabol, Papa G's Noodles & Meskla Do
June 25th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 12
GuamDiner.com Newsletter for August 27, 2010 - 500 Restaurants on Guam and more to come, Brutus Lunch Deal, Sushi Ebisu Rocks, Vitale's, Roy's New Review
August 27th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 16
GuamDiner Bytes for Oct. 1, 2010 - St. John's Healthy Lunchbox Competition, Dining Notes - Margaritas, PROA, Lone Star; Chowon and Palau's Magnificent The Taj
October 1st, 2010, Volume 10 Number 18
GuamDinerBytes for Oct. 22, 2010 - Halloween, Pastries in Paradise, Dr. Kabob Opens, Oktoberfest Round Up, Manhattan Steakhouse Dine & Ride V
October 22nd, 2010, Volume 10 Number 19
GuamDinerBytes for Nov 19 2010 - Happenings, Congratulations Chef Kerner, Chef Li at Spring Kitchen, Chowon Korean, Cajun Delights Opens, Sesomjai, Michelle's & Super Foods at Islander
November 19th, 2010, Volume 10 Number 21
Happy New Year!