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December 27, 2002, Volume 2 Number 51


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Christmas was great and now we're on our way to a blazing New Year! I guess when all things are considered, I'd certainly rather be here on Guam right now with the post-typhoon recovery than in the Northeastern U.S., where they are experiencing a frosty winter storm. Someone told me that it was better to shovel sand than snow...I guess it's a question of preference.

One would never have known that Guam was climbing its way out of the devastation wreaked by a super typhoon if they were at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Christmas Day Brunch! Well over a thousand people were fed in several outlets, including the Islander Terrace and the Marianas Ballroom. The variety and quality of the food was terrific, and the early concerns about limited seating, missing reservations, and food shortages were soon dispelled as the Hilton's capable staff worked in "overdrive" to replenish dishes. Yes, there were some delays, but if you were patient (as we all need to be at times like these), everything was delivered. The marvelous entertainment provided by veteran performer Romy Poblete was augmented by a surprise performance by Enzo Turrini (Nissan Motors) who wished the audience Buon Natal (Italian for Merry Christmas), and then dazzled them with rousing renditions of "O Solo Mio" and "Amor." There were whoops, cheers and clapping hands as he sang his heart out, with many joining him in what could only be described as karaoke en masse. Desmond Fonseca, Hilton's Restaurants Manager, gave a command dance performance...it was really a fun way to do Christmas - island style!

In Today's Issue:

  • Rising from the Ashes - Many Restaurants Rebuild & Re-Open
  • Sanitation Bulletin #2 - Water Concerns
  • New Year's Specials - Hilton Guam Resort & Spa Has It All
  • Around the Island - Vitales, Jeff's Pirate's Cove, Marty's, Elite Bakery
  • Listing of Open Restaurants - Request for Reader Feedback
  • Outback Steakhouse - Where Bonzer Times Start With Awesome Tucker!

Rising from the Ashes - Many Restaurants Rebuild & Re-Open

It was as though a bomb had hit...that was my impression as I looked through the windows of Hava Java Cafe in the Agana Shopping Center. From outside I could see past a blown out wall into what was left of the Moylan's Insurance offices and further on into the Primo Surf showroom. It was surreal...the sunlight flowed in and the blue sky was the new ceiling for what used to be the building's roof. Yet, hope was evident that one of Guam's favorite java shops would resurrect with the message on a posted sign stating that Hava Java's re-opening site would be next to the Agana Shopping Center office, at some time in the future. Tony Roma's (in the Royal Orchid) appeared to be destroyed, but has since reopened, with Capricciosa expected to follow in January. Uncle Bob's in Piti was hit hard - with the roof of its dining area destroyed...yet they expect to re-open. The Old Hagatna Grill and Le Tasi Bistro have had some equipment damage that has kept them from opening...we're still awaiting word from the owners about their opening times. The Onward Beach Resort's Le Premier, Caravel, Cafe Terrace Plaza, and Sagano Japanese Restaurants have reopened. Tinige Ansianu has reopened, with the Outrigger doing a phenomenal reparation job to their lobby and rooms. Sam Choy's is back up and running. It will be some time before the Okura and Nikko hotels will reopen. Utage and Coral Palace at the Palace Hotel will be re-opening soon, and Nana's Cafe should be open for business before January 1.

We are hopeful that Ban Thai will be able to open after suffering major damage. The Fuji Ichiban Tamuning location may not be re-opening, and we don't know the status of the northern Tumon restaurant, which was seriously damaged by the collapse of an adjoining wall. Thanh Phuong Restaurant and Aji Ichi in the arcade across from Nissan Auto City in Upper Tumon restaurant were both destroyed. Winchell's in Dededo reopened after suffering significant damage - drive thru service, only. Pojo's is still working to re-open. Roy's is open as is PIC's Bistro. We will let you know of the status of other restaurants as we receive more updates.

Sanitation Bulletin #2 - Water Concerns

It's really frustrating not being able to get your favorite fountain drinks or to have ice with your drinks. There's good reason for this and we all need to be cautious with the consumption of water at any restaurant or fast food outlets. I have just heard from a reliable source that even Ultra Violet (UV) treatment of water may not be sufficient alone due to the high level of fecal coliform contaminants in the water. The water will also need to be properly chlorinated. This is just another level of safety we need to keep in mind when ordering beverages. Only restaurants that have both sanitizing treatments in place and properly functioning are considered to have safe water for beverage and ice, according to our source. Do you know how hard it's been just to get a cup of coffee? At least when you get it you may feel some sense of security from knowing that the water's been boiled!

New Year's Specials - Hilton Guam Resort & Spa Has It All

The Hilton Guam is going all out this year to ensure that there is something for everyone this New Year. The Orient Express will depart from the Marianas Ballroom on New Year's Eve with buffet food stations making stops for Mediterranean and Oriental dishes, appetizer and dessert buffets will be featured along with plated service, all-night open bar and champagne toast! Guarantee health and prosperity by eating Year End Noodles in the lobby from 11pm - 2am on New Year's Eve. Come back on New Year's Day for the New Year's Brunch at Islander Terrace and then enjoy the Rice Pounding ritual by the Tree Bar. Round out the events with dinner at Roy's.

Around the Island - Vitales, Jeff's Pirate's Cove, Marty's, Elite Bakery

Vitale's Italian Ristorante has reopened and is offering locals a 30% discount on pizza and pasta dishes.

Jeff's Pirate's Cove has been up and running, and just held another successful arts and crafts fair. Jeff's offers their signature Cheeseburger and Island Fiesta Plate, and they also have gyros and other Greek treats from the Greek Freak!

The Combination Fajitas and BBQ Beef Ribs at Marty's Mexican Merienda will go a long way to making you forget your typhoon woes.

We were treated to delicious, piping hot gingerbread man cookies from Tamuning's Elite Bakery - something you have to try.

Lone Star Steakhouse continues to do a brisk lunch and dinner business as diners crowd in for their favorite salads, burgers, steaks, chicken and seafood dishes...although we'll all be happier when the full selection of vegetable ingredients are available.

The Lumpia House located near the tri-intersection of Rts. 8, 10 and 16 is open and serving their famous lumpia and other tasty Vietnamese dishes.

I wasn't happy with a Wendy's experience that provided just a burger with no lettuce, tomato, or onion...and sold at the same price...(I know I shouldn't be too critical, but McDonald's and Burger King were able to come through with some kind of vegetable!).

Hard Rock Cafe offered a special 40% local discount, and I can tell you that we found our server, Angie, to have just the right attitude and good natured personality to make any evening special.

Lee Garden in Dededo has reopened and they have a big generator powering up their building...great $5 lunch specials and tasty dinner treats.

Sushi Tairyo has been really drawing in the customers, who are always amazed at how clean this smoke-free eatery is that sells high-quality sushi favorites that are priced to meet one's budget.

Jamaican Grill's plates and platters still deliver uniquely savory island bbq ribs and jerk chicken.

Listing of Open Restaurants - Request for Reader Feedback

We are compiling a list of open restaurants and would like to get feedback from our readers (the dining public and restaurant operators) on any restaurants that are open or are planning on re-opening. We expect to have this available in our next edition of our newsletter. Send your information to me at guamfoodguy@guamdiner.com or to webmaster@guamdiner.com. You can also page 720-7130 and we'll get back to you directly.

Outback Steakhouse - Where Bonzer Times Start With Awesome Tucker!

It was deja vu - eating at Outback Steakhouse on Christmas Eve during a typhoon recovery! The coincidence was uncanny, and I vividly remembered the positive impressions I had from the truly remarkable energy exhibited by the Outback's staff who worked ceaselessly to make the evening dining experience as satisfying as it is during "normal" times. We ate at Outback on Christmas Eve 1997, which was our last supper on Guam before flying on Christmas Day to visit family in Hawaii to get away from the recovery ordeal following Typhoon Paka. Although Super Typhoon Pongsona was far more devastating than Paka, you never would have known it since the Outback, located in Tumon's Pacific Place, didn't miss a beat and was up, running, and serving meals right after Pongsona crippled the island.

"Jam-packed" is the only way to describe the Outback experience...in fact, some people who are really hungry decide to go elsewhere since they don't like to wait. Yes, it was supposed to be up to an hour & a half wait, but we were lucky to find two seats in the busy bar area, which is a preferred spot to eat if you want to watch a little TV (they have two big monitors). After the stress of Christmas Eve's last minute shopping and the work-day wind down, I couldn't have imagined a better way to soothe my savage beast than to have a refreshing, frozen Gold Coast Rita, blended perfectly with Cuervo Gold.

Our server, Maia Perez, was so engaging and friendly that we almost forgot we were there to eat...just got caught up in the light conversation! She agreed that the "Aussie-Tizer" (appetizer) we selected (Ripper Shrimp -$12.95) would be a terrific way to start the night. The Outback recently added this appetizer (if you haven't been there for a while, they changed their menu about 2 months ago). The Ripper Shrimp is a half-pound of boiled peel and eat shrimp that are served on a bed of ice along with a zesty cocktail sauce. The serving dish is a stainless steel mini-pail that is stacked with ice, then layered with what seemed like a dozen or more good-sized shrimp. They were delicious!

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Bon Appetit!

The Guam Food Guy

Don't miss this week's features at GuamDiner.com!

  • Featured Recipes - Lemon Pepper Tuna - There Won't Be Any Leftovers!
  • Wine Feature - Champagne or Nothing - The Real Deal
  • Other Beverages Feature - Champagne Cocktails - A Delicious Change
  • Health & Nutrition Feature - Make a Commitment to Health in 2003
  • View Past Newsletters - Click here for our Newsletter Archives
  • Submit Your Favorite Recipe - Click here to send

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Copyright 2002 Guam Diner