We're well into the holiday season and if you've not sent off your packages to the Mainland by now, they may not arrive before Christmas Day! I spent most of a day shopping, then wrapping and packing about 14 USPS Flat Rate Boxes. The Main Postal Facility in Barrigada didn't have much of a line so there wasn't the anticipated long wait (unless you were behind me!!). The satisfaction of having sent off "heaps" (this is a New Zealand phrase which translates as "lots or tons" - thanks to Anneliese W. for sharing) of Guam products to family and friends in the Mainland is my Christmas gift to me! It's like playing Santa when you're filling out the gift tags after personally wrapping gifts. Sure wish I could be there to see their expressions when they open their presents!
Speaking of playing Santa, I had that opportunity this past Sunday afternoon at the 'Tis the Seasoning! Holiday Tasting Event at the Agana Shopping Center. Yes, the event organizer, Janet Kerrebrock of Sweet Mango Marketing, somehow persuaded me to take on the job of being Santa during the raffle drawing. Once I was suited up, something came over me and I began to "channel" the spirit of Christmas and Santa Claus! "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!", I boisterously proclaimed. "HO HO HO!!" I even bought candy canes at one of the stores nearby so I could give them out to children and anyone who wanted one. The expression of awe and wonder on the faces of children overwhelmed me...I was Santa! During the event I was on stage with Super Chef (Robert Walter) and emcee Julius Santos. Super Chef was making the case to give Santa healthier snacks like fruits and vegetables instead of cookies and candy. We had fun making the case for healthy choices. Now, if we could just do this everyday!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Guam Food Guy and the Guamdiner.com team!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Coming Soon - Kracked Egg, Brown Bag Cafe, Beachin' Shrimp, Brix Pub N Pizza, Frost Bite
So many new places coming to town it's hard to keep up with all the change!! As you can see from the photo, big fluffy pancakes will be the stacking up in Tumon in the retail mall housing Burger King across from Tumon Sands Plaza. The new eatery concept is called the Kracked Egg and it will be joined by sister restaurant, The Brown Bag Cafe sometime in the first quarter of 2013. Also opening up in 2013 is Beachin' Shrimp (in the old Bully's location beneath Vitale's) in the Plaza. You 'll definitely get your "shrimp on" with this intriguing concept that'll feature shrimp a number of ways with patio and indoor dining options. Brix Pub N Pizza is taking over the recently closed Domani Pietro in the Blue Lagoon Plaza. This is a food venture by the folks who operate W and Molly's. The wait is almost over for you PROA fans who are chomping at the bit for the Hagatna store to open...it's a greatly expanded PROA...we should all be proud of our colleagues at PROA...they are Guam's own and Guam grown!
Congratulations to Merle Huang Macalalag and her team on their successful opening of Frost Bite in the Star Building (between Pika's Cafe and Benii). I was hoping to get down for a tasting but got side-tracked! There's a huge buzz over her new shop's main product, Snow Ice. It's not frozen yogurt nor ice cream. They've self-described it as "the Lexus of shaved ice" with a smooth appearance that's uniquely delicate (almost floral in its layering). It's made with fruit purees and mixed with milk. There are non-dairy options, too. The flavors in this low calorie concoction include Mango, Strawberry, Coffee, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Green Tea, and Cookies n Cream, with more to come! Looks and sounds yummy! Can't wait to try this, Merle!!
Pika's Cafe (NOW OPEN!!)
Star Building (across from St. John's School)
HOORAY! Yes, Pika's Cafe is finally open and serving a menu full of great grub! I stopped in for breakfast on Tuesday and found plenty of seating (unlike the previous Friday, which was had a few challenges). I guess timing is everything. During the course of breakfast the place did start to fill up. The new location is twice as big and has an awesome view of Marine Corps Drive, St. John's and even some ocean from a few choice tables. Pika's is definitely the go-to place with their impressive breakfast menu that's created to cater to nearly every dining preference. There are a few new items on the breakfast menu and I actually tried something I'd had before with new options. The Benedict Dela Cruz ($10.50) has 2 poached eggs, Chamorro sausage, English muffin, Hollandaise sauce, and is served with red potatoes. I was able to add Spinach and Tomatoes for $1.50. This is an excellent creation with a decent Hollandaise sauce and flavorful sausage.
I ordered a new item, the "O.O.G. - Only on Guam " ($9.50), which has Tinalan katne, 2 eggs any style, steamed rice, and finadene. They have a really cute eye bowl they are using to put their donne in along with green onions and calamansi. The beef is sooooo tender! I just ate the meat and left the rice and eggs (sorry...needed it for the photo op). Other new breakfast eats include the Local Scramble - Corned beef, eggplant, red potatoes, scrambled eggs, served with rice and finadene, and the Ham and Fondue Omelet. Owner Lenny Fejeran brought me over a slice of their dessert of the day - the Pumpkin Cheesecake. This was one of those divine creations...I couldn't help but eat it all! My next adventure will be to have Pika's Lunch! Congrats to Pika, Lenny, and their whole team on a successful move to this ideal and spacious location better suited to meet the demands of a voracious (but appreciative) public!
Menya Sanji Guam
2nd Floor (between OutBack and Capricciosa)
Open 11:00 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
"Sanji" Ramen has recently opened up for business in the location formerly occupied by Gyoza Yatai. Sanji Ramen is part of a franchise with a well-developed menu and service concept. The ambiance is Japanese modern with large framed paintings of warriors. The seating is comfortable and they have plenty of room inside with some tables outside on the balcony. The view overlooking Tumon is awesome. They are planning to have their Grand Opening this Saturday, December 15. I think they will do well here since locals like ramen and Sanji has a varied selection of ramen combinations along with entrees that complement their main ramen dishes. They even had Tsukemen, which has the ramen noodles served separately from the broth. This is "dipping" ramen, where you just dip the amount of noodles you need into the soup. I've not done this so I'm looking forward to try this.
Sanji makes their noodles fresh. If you need extra noodles with your order, they are available at no charge. I opted for the Sanji Ramen ($7.95) which has a pork base with soy sauce taste. This had a couple of thick slices of grilled tender pork belly, along with half a boiled egg, sliced green onions, and seasoned bamboo shoots. The grilled pork gives the meat a barbecued appearance, making it more appealing. I wanted to try other items on the menu so I ordered the Kara age Set ($4.95) and the Gyoza Set($4.95). These are actually add-ons to the main ramen entree and each comes with a salad. The salad is a very refined cole slaw (chopped finer and very fresh tasting) with corn. The Kara age chicken is crisp and not greasy. I wanted a little more flavor, and got it making a little finadene. The gyoza are grilled and pretty good. I also ordered some kimchee ($2.95) to get some more variety.
Sanji has Oden as a dining option, with 6 varieties. You can use deep fried burdock, Japanese radish, boiled fish, a tubular roll of boiled fish paste and more. For dessert, there is almond pudding and an Italian specialty called Catalana. It is a creme brulee served chilled on a cake with fresh whipped cream and blueberry sauce. It's a very appealing and surprisingly refreshing dessert. For just opening, Sanji is doing quite well and the staff is courteous and attentive. I will definitely return.
Le Tasi Bistro @ Katre Bistro
122 Archbishop FC Flores St.
Behind Bank of Hawaii and across from Alpha's Insurance & Caliente
This is an unprecedented revisit of a restaurant reviewed in our most recent newsletter. Talk about a dream date!! Zee & I were joined by Bertrand and Mari Carmen Haurillon, the owners of Le Tasi Bistro bakery in Yigo. We had been wanting to have dinner out with them for longer than I could remember. As mentioned in our review of Katre Bistro, they serve Le Tasi Bistro's pies and cheese cakes for dessert. This was Bertrand & Mari Carmen's first time eating at Katre. If you remember LTB, it was one of Guam's favorite little restaurants, Le Tasi Bistro was legendary with a very romantic, fable-like story behind its creation and inception. It was about two young foreigners, a Frenchman and his Spanish bride, coming to an island and opening a small restaurant with an ocean view.
This night proved to be an amazing culinary event, with us sampling and sharing dishes. It could have been a movie - such was the excitement and sense of discovery taking place around this table. We had the Thai Salad, the Bruschetta, the Spiced Shrimp Gambas, and the Crostini Open Faced Sandwich with Ham, Tomato, Mozzarella, Arugula and Roasted Peppers. These were items I'd already written about. New items were the Aglio Olio ($11.95) which was made with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, Anchovies and Parsley. It is normally served with Julienne Chicken with Pesto, however Zee had this without the anchovy and chicken.
We ordered three main courses, starting with the Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic Vermouth, Cream, served with rice ($15.95). This was Mari Carmen's order and she loved the flavors. One of the comments Bertrand & I shared a lot was "old school" when talking about the cooking and serving techniques of Chef/owner Roxs Cailao. Some of his cooking reminded Mari Carmen of Bertrand's. The dinner was a group critique of Chef Cailao's diverse menu by four bona fide foodies!
We also ordered and Ox Tongue (a popular favorite - $12.95), which was phenomenal! The tenderness of the meat (some folks are squeamish about eating tongue because of some mental illusion) achieved perfection. The last entree was the Roast Spring Chicken with Olive Oil, Garlic, Cilantro, and Lemon Juice served over pasta with Mushroom and Pesto ($12.95). This became an instant hit amongst all of us, and Zee will ordered next time with no meat. The pesto bathed the pasta magically!
We were then honored to have a broadly smiling Chef Roxs join our table and we all got better acquainted. We capped off the night with a slice each of Le Tasi Bistro's Pecan Pie and Mocha Cheesecake. It was wonderful enjoying this dessert with these two special friends we've known and loved for so many years! Now we have a new friend to play with in Hagatna!
Bon Appetit! Ken The Guam Food Guy