Can it really be 2012? Yes, it is, and for Guam, it's going to be a year full of culinary opportunities and achievements. Despite of what will and won't happen with the military build-up and movement of Marines from Okinawa to Guam(something that will eventually take place), Guam will continue to progress as we further explore new tourism opportunities and continue to service and develop our established visitor markets of Japan, Korea and Taiwan. New restaurant concepts, tourist attractions, shopping experiences, sports tourism, film productions, and improved educational facilities will keep us all quite busy. I haven't even touched on all the planned and ongoing construction that is on the books. This covers roads, new buildings, renovations, new housing/apartment developments and military construction projects.
We should count our blessings as things are going much better for us than for our northern neighbors in Saipan, Tinian and Rota. Though the immediate prospects for the CNMI are bleak, things will improve in the long run. After all, the natural beauty of these islands will always attract people who will find ways to get there.
This week's newsletter will include the Top Ten Newsletter/Reviews for 2011. This will be our 442nd newsletter. We appreciate your loyalty and readership as we endeavor to keep you informed on the latest developments in our region's restaurants and eateries.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy" and the staff of GuamDiner.com
Guam Premiere Outlets (Food Court)
Agana Shopping Center
Froots is one of my most neglected dining experiences because as often as I have a wrap or smoothie, I neglect to talk about it. The problem is that I always get something to-go and eat while I'm driving or in the office. So, this last time I took a photo of my Club Value Wrap($6.99), which is on a grilled Spinach Tortilla and has Ham, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Tomatoes, Romaine Lettuce and Mayonnaise. I also had a Smooth Toucan smoothie, ($4.99/16 oz). This smoothie blends strawberries, bananas, orange juice and fat-free yogurt. I have ordered the same thing probably 10 times in the past year. I will have to return to Froots and spend some time going through their menu of healthy nutritional foods and beverages. Maybe I'll get a Wheat Grass shot! Or even a Southwest Specialty Wrap! Just as they advertise, at Froots you will "Eat Delicious and Smile"!
Logan Farms Honey Glazed Hams and Market Cafe
Upper Tumon (old Burger King location)
My curiosity finally got the best of me and dismissing my overly-busy schedule for a moment, I dropped by Logan Farms on Wednesday where I didn't eat but spent some time talking to franchise owner Scott Reed. I was definitely impressed by what I saw here(they've had a soft opening and will be holding a grand opening in mid-January which is right around the corner!). Some of the corporate folks from Houston will be here for this event.
Reed explained that they had over 700 gift certificates purchased during the holidays. He would have been really pleased if they'd had their stock of turkeys on island in time for Thanksgiving! This market cafe is a neat concept since you can buy a hot American-style prepared meal - Mama's Meatloaf, Turkey, Smoked Sausage, Honey Glazed Ham, Rotisserie Chicken, and Shrimp Creole are all choices with sides like Red Beans and Rice, Green Beans, or Macaroni & Cheese. They plan to have deli sandwiches (Muffuletta, Pesto Cuban, Spicy Chicken, Classic Club, Signature Ham, Honey Turkey Roast Beef, Chicken Salad or Fried Shrimp) in mid-January. They offer a daily plate special for $7.95 which was meatloaf on Wednesday and is pictured above.
The frozen display cases contain a variety of items you can purchase, including packaged brand products like Corn Casserole, Macaroni & Cheese, Smoked Beef Brisket, Marinated Spare Ribs, Smoked Turkey, TurDucKen Rolls, Stuffed Chicken, Filet Mignons (these are huge Center Cut beauties), and Turkey Giblet Gravy.
I'm am eager to try out their Honey Glazed Ham and rotisserie chicken. Also, you can purchase New Orleans Gourmet Red Beans, Black Eyed Peas, and Creamy 9-Bean packages. I can see myself coming here at least once a week to eat and to shop.
Margarita's Burritos & BBQ
Wanjoo was right. The previous photo I took of Margarita's Super Nachos wasn't so super. This time the photo does justice! For $7.99, I have to admit Margarita's Super Nachos with Beef was so laden with crisp tortilla chips covered with homemade beans, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, black olives, sour cream, culantro, seasoned beef, and nacho cheese that I was munching away continuously. It was pretty good and I was glad to have had this opportunity to revise my opinion and update the photo. I could eat this again and probably will!
Zee ordered the Taco Salad($10.99) that had beef in a crisp taco shell with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, pico de gallo, black olives, cheese, jalapenos, and sour cream. She seemed pleased, however, I think every Mexican restaurant will be grateful to have a reliable supply of vine-ripened tomatoes!
My entree was the Combo Plate( $12.99), which had one-quarter Baked Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Mexican rice, and homemade beans. This meal was satisfactory and I didn't mind that the Rotisserie oven wasn't working - the chicken was fine, well-seasoned and cooked with juice remaining. Ribs were ok. The Mexican rice tasted pretty good.better than I'd had here before. The beans were also good enough to finish.
I'll have to come back for some enchiladas and chile relleno. The Margarita's Steak with Pesto Butter's also worth trying. The "El Pueblo" culantro pesto butter makes this a gourmet treat.
Palm Ridge Inn
Cajun Delight's another place I've been meaning to return to after being away for months! Cajun Delight has food cooked with love and soul, and this love and soul comes from "Mama Peaches" aka Pearl Turner!
The Awesome Cajun Lunch Menu offers a good representation of Cajun Delight's culinary repertoire, and is a little less costly than the dinner menu's price. I started out with a small Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo($4.95). The down-home goodness of this gumbo is something you have to eat to appreciate! Delicious! Don't get the large bowl if you are on your own, you'll get too full for lunch!
I ordered the Smothered Porkchops ($12.95) with an extra chop ($5.95). This comes with either Jambalaya Rice (which I had) or Dirty Rice, Collard Greens, and Mama Peaches' Sweet Cornbread. I like my cornbread sweet, though not everyone does. The chops were tender and well-seasoned. This is one of their house specialties. I also think people should try the Crawfish Etouffe. Mama Pearl gave me a sample and it really delivers!
Zee had the 4-Piece Fried Chicken Basket ($12.95) and had it with Dirty Rice, Collard Greens, and Sweet Cornbread. This is one of those traditional southern fried chicken experiences. Mama Peaches has her own secret recipe.
I ended my meal with a dessert - the Baby Peach Cobbler ($4.95 ). This is served hot with vanilla ice cream that just melts into creamy deliciousness.
The food at Cajun Delight's the real deal, and first-timers like the authentic tastes and flavors that remind them of eating in Louisiana. That's why the name says it all!
Guam Food Guy's Top 10 Reviews for 2011
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!
GuamDinerBytes for Jan. 14, 2011 - Openings, 9th Annual Chefs' Cup Info, Golden Coffee Shop, Chopstix, Nit's, Delmonico's, Tu Re & Singapura
January 14th, 2011, Volume 11 Number 1
GuamDinerBytes for March 11, 2011 - Call for Restaurant Service Feedback, ProStart 2nd Place Winners, Saipan Round Up and a Must-Dine Recommendation for Cafe Urashima
March 11th, 2011, Volume 11 Number 5
GuamDinerBytes for March 25, 2011 - Thoughts on Japan Disaster, Green Door 10th Reunion, Ebisu Lunch Special, Nit's, Seafood Chef, Pier 65 and Jimmy's Izakaya
March 25th, 2011, Volume 11 Number 6
GuamDinerBytes for April 15 2011 - Smokin' Grills BBQ Competition, GFG & TOT Donate to Kagman HS, Sakura, Delmonico and VIP Chinese
April 15th, 2011, Volume 11 Number 8
GuamDinerBytes for July 1, 2011 - Happy 4th, Adios Seamen's Club, Pika's Cafe, Taiwanese Cooking Extravaganza, Caliente's New Dishes, Mosa's Hot Box Hits the Road, Hawaii Special: FAIRYCAKES808
July 1st, 2011, Volume 11 Number 13
GuamDiner Bytes for Sept 2, 2011 - Spectacular Farmer-Chef Grill Night Event, Lone Star Power Lunch, Old Town Chinese Goes Upscale at Aurora
September 2nd, 2011, Volume 11 Number 16
GuamDiner Bytes for Sept 23, 2011 - Josephine P. Cruz Tribute, Mico & Stevie, Churrasco New Menu Items, Khaohom Thai Opens, Lolah's, Naked Fish & Manhattan Steakhouse
September 23rd, 2011, Volume 11 Number 17
GuamDiner Bytes for Oct 7, 2011 - Tribute to Steve Jobs, Pastries in Paradise Winners, Lone Star New Menu, Island Girl Coffee, Pochon I & Al Dente New Menu
October 7th, 2011, Volume 11 Number 18
GuamDiner Bytes for Nov 18, 2011 - Destination Okinawa Pt.2, Happy Thanksgiving!, Infusion Cafe and Jamaican Grill Open, PROA Rules, Pika's Cafe & Hafa Adai Cafe
November 18th, 2011, Volume 11 Number 21
GuamDiner Bytes for Dec 2, 2011 - PROA Birthday, Table 35 New Dinner Items, Chowon, Cabalen & Palm Cafe Japanese Lunch Extravaganza
December 2nd, 2011, Volume 11 Number 22