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February 7, 2003, Volume 3 Number 6


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Things are moving forward for the island's hotels and eateries, with progress being made weekly. It's still going to take time for things to "normalize", however, we are stalwart people who don't let the surface inconveniences get in the way of having a good time. This typifies our island people--we are resilient, fun-loving, and crazy about our food!

One thing I've noticed about the aftermath of Super Typhoon Pongsona is that many people are appreciating things more. Maybe it's because we were all humbled by the devastating power of nature. We were all in this together, and that allowed us to put aside our differences and work as a team to rebuild our island. I detect a greater sense of gratitude in the people I meet. There's a "quickening" taking place, as people are eager to pick up the pieces of their lives and get back on the track to fulfilling their dreams for their future.

We each have a purpose for being on this earth. Do you know yours? In recalling the difficult circumstances of life after typhoon, we didn't think things could be worse. We were ready to take on the next big calamity, whether it was an earthquake, tsunami, fire, or another typhoon. "Bring it on" was our challenge to whatever Nature would inflict on us. However, it was the space shuttle tragedy that brought us to another level of painful incredulity. Though it didn't bring physical harm to our island, it did bring home the loss of one from our local family, a true-life hero. We should all be brave in facing our destinies and fill each day with a passion for living. That passion was evidenced by the massive volunteer turn-out in the bone marrow donor drive for Justice Taitague. In our own individual ways, we need to "reach for the stars" and do things to make a difference in our lives, just as shuttle pilot Willie McCool did with his. Do what you love, and love what you do - that's one of life's secrets to happiness. Mine is eating!!

In Today's Issue:

  • Fiestan Dinana' Minagof - Chamorro Cultural Fair This Weekend
  • Valentine's Specials Have Something for Every Taste
  • Around the Island - An Abundance of Foodie News
  • Nayon Turo-Turo - A Family's Passion is Sharing Delicious Filipino Food

Fiestan Dinana' Minagof - Chamorro Cultural Fair This Weekend

Nissan Guam will proudly present the Fiestan Dinana' Minagof Chamorro Cultural Fair and Dance Festival starting this Friday and running through the weekend at Gef Pago in Inarajan. Admission is FREE to this fun-filled event, which will feature traditional local foods, entertainment, contests, games, arts, crafts, music and dances. The event is designed to be a "sharing & healing of the culture", according to one of the organizers, Frank Rabon, Director of Pa'a Taotao Tano. Although it's going to be a bit scaled down from it's usual size because of the typhoon recovery, there will still be a grand gathering of people who will celebrate the culture and traditions of our island. Friday's events start at 6pm and last until 10pm. Saturday and Sunday's festivities will start at 9am and should last until around 10pm. The public is urged to attend and sign up for workshops on Storytelling, Creation of Navigation Charts, Ancient Period Dance, Spanish Period Dance, Kantan Chamorrito, Belembaotuyan, Dance Costume and Ornamentation Fashion Show. Sounds like fun!! Call Frank Rabon at 565-9877 or Judy Flores at 828-8040 to register and for more information.

Valentine's Specials Have Something for Every Taste

This upcoming Valentine's Day falls on a Friday and that has created the opportunity to have a "weekend of romance" for all lovers on Guam. There are so many choices for great meals and gifts that everyone can find something perfectly suited for their beloved.

In Hagatna, all of our favorites have specials available including Cup & Saucer's exceptional list of treats and sweets packaged just for Valentine's. Order in advance at 477-2585. And, right next door Firefly Bistro is doing a choice of 2 different set menus that make us hungry just reading them. The special Valentine's Menus will be available both Friday and Saturday night. Call the great crew at Firefly for reservations at 477-2565.

The Old Hagatna Grill outdoes themselves once again with a wonderful menu from Chef Chris. Think things like truffle infused whipped cream, gorgonzola smashed potatoes and Macadamia Nut Chocolate Mousse - oh my! Seating is extremely limited so call David at 472-5885 for reservations.

Carmen's Cha Cha Cha takes the prize for the best value out there - Carmen has created an exceptional "El Dia del Amor" Mexican menu that includes Green Mole Chicken Enchilada for only $16 per person. We're guessing you better get reservations now at 472-7823/4.

The sad news is that Le Tasi Bistro is already fully booked for Friday, February 14 but the great news is that they will be offering an additional night of romance on Saturday! Call Mari Carmen at 472-7877 for details and reservations.

In Tumon the choices are excellent as well. Planet Hollywood Chef Chito has created a totally yummy sounding menu which will be available all weekend and includes a dessert called "Dreamy Mango Creme Brulee" and a special gift from Planet Hollywood. Reservations can be made by calling 647-7827.

Nana's Cafe (the former Sails) has renovated their deck/patio area and you and your loved one can enjoy a true 'Surf & Turf' Valentine's menu while enjoying the expansive ocean view this location is famous for. Call 646-7803 ext. 312 for reservations.

Sam Choy's and UnderWater World are offering the most elaborate of all the events we've seen. The evening opens with cocktails and canapes in the 2nd floor gallery surrounded by exotic marine life. There are too many goodies and cool things associated with this happening to list here but we will tell you that you have the opportunity to have one of the aquarium team swim up to your table to deliver a special love message. Call Aly at 649-9191 ext. 401 to reserve. Heads up on this one since the reservations need to be made and paid for ($150 per couple inclusive) by Wednesday, February 12.

Around the Island - An Abudance of Foodie News

Uncle Bob's Watering Hole (in Piti near Naval Activities Main Gate) is open and serving great steaks again. You can enjoy outdoor open-air dining in their Beer Garden.

Healthy eaters will be delighted to know that Simply Food in Agana Heights has re-opened with limited hours of 11am to 2pm Monday - Friday.

The Micronesia Chefs Association will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 18 at the Westin Resort. Doors open at 7pm and the meeting starts at 8pm. The election of a new vice president to replace the recently transferred Patrick Kennedy is on the agenda.

Bolsa Vietnamese has been doing a thriving business since getting their power back. They are on "hamburger road" in Harmon.

The Marriott's Manhattan Steakhouse has an All-Day Dining Menu in addition to their regular dinner menu. I recently had their Signature Hamburger and it was delicious. They serve it with a touch of class - miniature individual mayonnaise, mustard, and catsup jars - exclusively yours for use on your sandwich.

King's Restaurants offers 24 hour succor to those work weary hungry folk who crave big portions! I recently tried to finish the Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry...the portion was so big it took two waitresses to carry the plate out!! I exaggerated, but it was a lot of food...more than enough for 2 people. Great weekly lunch and dinner specials - try their local favorites for a taste of Guam.

And don't forget about Stanlee's Deli & Liquor Store, where you can get great-tasting "sangers" (Australian for Sandwiches--abbreviated for simplicity).Try their Pastrami and be sure to ask for beet roots (pickled beets) on your sandwich--it'll tingle your taste buds!

Nayon Turo-Turo - A Family's Passion is Sharing Delicious Filipino Food

"We Are Family"...that's the tune and lyrics that come to mind as I watched a continuous procession of customers line-up to order their entree selections at Nayon Turo-Turo Fast Food Center, located in Tamuning's Hafa Adai Exchange. With one of two entrances facing the Hafa Adai I Theatre, it's not difficult to find this increasingly popular eatery that cooks up some of the best Filipino food on island. It is located next door to the original Rambie's (another popular Filipino restaurant that has outlets in the Micronesia Mall and GPO), however, Nayon Turo Turo has elected to stay put and expand their existing location.

"Turo Turo" translates into "Point, Point", since that is what one does when standing in front of the rich variety of hot food entrees in the glass-protected display warmer. You point to this one and to that one, and that's what you'll get. The colorful, assorted foods are a veritable feast of fresh-cooked favorites that are enjoyed throughout all the provinces in the Philippines, and include Kare Kare, Pork Adobo, Lechon, Fried Galunggung (mackerel), Beefsteak Filipino, Mongo Beans, Fish Sinagong, Beef Sinagong, Fried (bangus) Milkfish, Binagoongan Pork, Beef Nilaga, Adobong Pusit (squid), Chicken Tinola, Pancit Guisado, and Vegetables Chop Suey.

One thing that strikes you on entering is how clean and well air-conditioned the large dining room is - it is big enough to easily seat 80 people. Nayon Turo Turo opens at 6am and closes at 5pm, Monday - Saturday. People begin lining up for the lunch service as early as 10:15am, which was about the time I arrived. I witnessed an endless stream of people coming in, standing in line, pointing to their food, and sitting down to eat. Prices are reasonable, with 1 Entree with rice priced at $3.50, 2 Choices for $4.50, and 3 Choices for $5.50. An extra small cup goes for $2.75, while the medium sells for $3.75 and the large cup costs $5.75.

I was introduced to Nayon Turo Turo by an old acquaintance, Andy Padilla. Andy is a friend of the owners, Bernie and Tess Calalo, who with their daughter, Lanie, have made this family-run enterprise a Guam success story. Nayon Turo Turo has been constantly expanding while it's neighbors have been seeing declines in their business. I attribute their success to the personal connection to the food they create and serve. All three are busily involved in the preparation and serving of the food. The prime creative force is Tess, who has always loved cooking and sharing her food, which goes back as far as 1980 when she was selling food in the Harmon Flea Market. This is a hard-working family, who take enormous pride in the service they provide. Speaking of service, Bernie is a retired Navy veteran, and he's managed to keep things "ship shape", something you can tell by how well-organized things are. Believe me, it's not what one expects to find in the Hafa Adai Exchange, which has held an image as a rag-tag, flea market and bazaar.

If you wanted to discover Asian foods, the Philippines has been known as one of the best places to begin your culinary journey, since it is a mixture of East and West. Distinctly Filipino, it has combined food ideas from Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Spanish influences are found throughout, since "adobo" a Spanish stew. I sampled several dishes during my review, and found myself jumping from dish to dish in a frenzied pace to get mouthfuls of delicious tastes and textures in my mouth. The peanut butter based Kare Kare is one of my all-time favorites...with oxtail and tripe. I like to add bagoong (shrimp paste) to this to intensify the flavor. The Lechon (crisp fried pork) was scrumptious, especially when dipped in Mang Tomas' Sauce. The Pork Adobo was tender and succulent, cooked in a savory vinegary spice blend. The Beef Nilaga (soup) was also quite good, having extracted its rich essence from a long-simmered beef bone. I also thought the Mongo beans were wonderfully prepared - just good, down-home comfort food.

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Bon Appetit!

The Guam Food Guy

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

  • Featured Recipes - Valentine's Desserts - Decadent Delights for Lovers
  • Wine Feature - 10 Steps to Ordering Wine in a Romantic Restaurant
  • Other Beverages Feature - Valentine's Cocktails - Try a Cupid's Kiss
  • Health & Nutrition Feature - Chocolate - A Gift Good for the Heart
  • View Past Newsletters - Click here for our Newsletter Archives
  • Submit Your Favorite Recipe - Click here to send

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