Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Happy New Year (Belated!)!
It is really hard to believe it is already 2016! What an amazing year 2015 was and I am even more excited about the prospects for 2016! Please accept my apologies for the delay in publishing this first newsletter of the year! I have been pre-occupied and had some commitments that engaged my time and energy. I don't know about your but it seems that we have seen one of the largest increases in new restaurants in 2015 than we have in a number of years. If you think Guam is growing, you should see what is happening in Saipan! Pretty soon they will have more restaurants than people!!
I have found my heart in Saipan and this beautiful sunset illustrates how inspiring Saipan's natural beauty is! This year promises to be a year of significant change for the region's economic prospects as we are seeing a virtual boom going on that will raise the construction opportunities. It is exciting. Imagine, an OUTBACK & BUBBA GUMP's in Saipan!! If you would have suggested that two years ago I would have called you "crazy"!
Finally, we want to thank you for your continued readership and continuing interest in our restaurant commentaries and updates on Guam's culinary scene. We are humbled by your loyalty!
Ken the Guam Food Guy!
New Year's Day Traditional Lunch at Issin Japanese Restaurant
Westin Resort Guam
It seemed like deja vu as we once again welcomed the new year by observing a centuries old Japanese custom - eating a bowl of Ozoni, the traditional mochi soup garnished with yuzu peel and mitsuba. Ozoni has the glutinous mochi rice cake in savory dashi (soup stock) along with mushrooms, carrots, onions, and chicken. The mochi is grilled in a broiler to soften it up and to brown the outside, giving it a distinctive toasted rice taste. The bowls of Ozoni cost $8.00 each. As this is not on the menu, it is a special they should have available. If you are interested in ordering it for next year's first day of the new year, you can contact Issin's owner, Tom Iizuka, to order Ozoni for New Year's day lunch when making your reservation.
The New Caffe Cino
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
I don't think "WOW" is a big enough word to express the phenomenal "makeover", "renovation", or re-creation of Caffe Cino, which has been completely transformed into an inviting destination! The magical wizards and elves at the Hilton created an entirely new outlet complete with private rooms, breathtaking vistas, relaxing seating, and an expanded menu of goodies to eat and beverages to drink. This is now a full-blown outlet that gives you eating space and working space...there's WiFi and electrical outlets galore for those who need to recharge their electronics as they re-charge themselves!! And it is always 24/7!!!
Kudo's Team Hilton for making this major space innovation a new form of recreation! It happens at the Hilton!!
Jia Asian Bistro
Guam Plaza Hotel
If you haven't noticed yet there is a new "buzz" going on over at Jia Asian Bistro located in the Lobby of the Guam Plaza Hotel! I had an opportunity to stop by recently was quite impressed with how they have made some enhancements to their buffet selections and stations. There was a very active crowd of lunchtime diners who were filling their plates as fast as the staff could replenish the buffet dishes.
Yes, the buzz is real and you will see more evidence of this as time moves forward. You will see some tremendous things happen at Guam Plaza as they have brought on a new culinary and f&b team that brings a wealth of experience. We are quite excited about these new developments at Guam Plaza Hotel. We will keep you posted as changes are announced.
Chamorro Chip Cafe / Boston Pizza Company Open A New Facility in Tamuning
Entrance to DNA Plaza (Cost U Less)
Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday - Sunday
Take Out Orders Welcome
Drive Thru Available
Well he has certainly done it this time!! "He", to whom I am referring to, is entrepreneur and avid "biker" Bob "The Cookie Man" McLaughlin, founder of Chamorro Chip Cookies? Do you know anyone who has not tasted the crispy sweet mini cookies known as Chamorro Chips? They now have a new home adjacent to Applebee's and the entrance to DNA Plaza. The large interior of the cafe is quite inviting and has a number of historic Chamorro art pieces depicting the lifestyle and activities of the ancient villagers. There are plenty of places available to sit down and enjoy your coffee beverages, smoothies, tea creations, or anything they make. I didn't come here though to try the sandwiches, salads or cookies - I came for the PIZZA!
Yes I have a history with Boston Pizza! It was my first ever "review" if you could call it that! It was essentially how I began this process of becoming the Guam Food Guy! It was sometime around 2000 that I had tried Boston Pizza for the first time and today I went in to this new, modern facility (complete with drive thru window) and ordered one of these humongous 19" pizzas that Bob takes great pride in creating! I ordered the whole 19" pizza with Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, and Fresh Mushrooms. The total price for this over-sized pizza was $25.00. All it takes is one bite to know that this is no ordinary pizza! I tried one piece out of my take-out box while it was still piping hot! OMG! Food Nirvana!! These were large slices (first I had it cut into 8 pieces, then later 16 so I could take to my office where it caused a sensation!
Pizza can be purchased by the slice or whole. There are a number of topping selections available. The Veggie Pizza has tomato, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and black olives, all for $24.00 for the whole pizza or $4.25/slice. The sandwiches here are quite affordable, and mostly priced below $5.00. Even the beverages cost less than most I've seen at other coffee spots.
I can honestly say that Bob's pizzas are downright awesome! He has been able to keep his recipes and tastes consistent and has trained his new young team quite well! They are so enthusiastic and eager to please! The Chamorro Chip Cafe has healthy choices as well, including their Signature Acai Bowl and Acai Smoothie. There is even the Sambazon Amazon Energy Acai Berry Energy Drink). It is a lightly carbonated organic beverage that is quite rich in anti-oxidants. For $4.00 it better be rich in anti-oxidants. The taste is pleasant so it's not hard to swallow!
Congrats to you, Bob & Frannie McLaughlin! Thanks for making and creating these two amazing major brands - Chamorro Chips and Boston Pizza! Now they are together in their own building! Call to order take out or you can dine in! You can even drive thru for some drinks and a pizza slice of your choice! Fantastic!
Ken the GFG
Guam Food Guy's Top 10 Reviews for 2015
These lists are useful in providing an easy-to-follow guide of places to try or may have missed, however, they are by nature limited and don't give a full representation of the many excellent options not appearing on the list. These reviews and/or newsletters are listed in chronological order so their placement is not any indication of ranking. I hope you have the opportunity to experience these places and get a chance to enjoy them as I did! This list also gives us some time of looking back over some of the major culinary events that took place in 2015, some of which were ground-breaking!
Guam Diner Newsletter for December 18, 2015 - Merry Christmas!, Furusato Japanese Restaurant, Certified Angus Beef Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Pho Basi Vietnamese Restaurant
December 18th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 20
Guam Diner Newsletter for October 20, 2015 - MCA's SALON CULINAIRE 2015, World Cafe's Sunday Brunch Extravaganza, Nami Restaurant - Taking Donburi to the Next Level
October 20th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 18
Guam Diner Newsletter for August 7, 2015 - MCA's Chef Team Excels in New Zealand, Zozo Restaurant Vietnamese Cuisine, Tribes of Tunisia Dinner Buffet, Ginen I Tasi, 9th Street Rotary Treats
August 7th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 14
Guam Diner Newsletter for July 24, 2015 - Team Asu Smokehouse, Vino Spanish Bar Launches Tapas Menu, Eat Street Grill
July 24th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 13
Guam Diner Newsletter for June 19, 2015 - TOM Chef's Competition, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Happiness Chinese Restaurant, Taste Does Filipino that's Ang Sarap!, Osawa Family, Kitchen Lingo
June 19th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 11
Guam Diner Newsletter for May 28, 2015 - Flavors of Thailand, Taste of the Marianas, Mark Dell'Isola, 18th Annual Auction & Wine-Tasting to Benefit the Guam Girl Scouts, McKraut's, Bistro
May 28th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 10
Guam Diner Newsletter for May 8, 2015 - 18th Annual Auction & Wine-Tasting to Benefit the Girl Scouts, Kitchen Lingo, Cup & Saucer Bakery and Crepe Cafe, The Deli at Meskla, Nayon Express Restaurant
May 8th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 9
Guam Diner Newsletter for April 10, 2015 - Meskla Dos Burger Challenge Bests Guam Food Guy & Visiting Saipan Chef, Culinary Tour of Tuscany, Tama Takoyaki Cafe
April 10th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 7
Guam Diner Newsletter for January 30, 2015 - Outback's Now Open For Lunch, Spring Chinese Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Guam's Penultimate Wine Dinner, Mai Teppanyaki
January 30th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 2
Guam Diner Newsletter for January 9, 2015 - New Year's Day Traditional Lunch at Issin Japanese Restaurant, Kar Kar Restaurant, Sea Grill Restaurant Lunch Treats, Mi-Dahm Restaurant
January 9th, 2015, Volume 15 Number 1