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May 2, 2003, Volume 3 Number 18

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

More new restaurants are on the way! How do they do it and why? Whatever the reason is, we all benefit when a new restaurant or dining experience comes to our island. The restaurant business is a tough one, with many restaurants failing after a year or two of operation. If you can make it past 4 years, your chances for staying in business are pretty good. For a location of our size, I am still amazed at the diversity of dining choices available to us. Just do a search of Cuisine Styles at and you'll see the extent of offerings available.

I really like the work I do when reviewing restaurants, not only because I'm able to taste new foods, but also because I get a chance to meet the folks who make it all happen, those who are "inspired" to serve their culinary creations to please others. The "human" side of this business is very interesting and appealing, and I'm always pleased to see pioneering eateries take root and grow, all through the inspired efforts of their founders. Some examples of this inspiration (and perspiration, since the efforts are arduous!) are Shirley's, Le Tasi Bistro, Jamaican Grill, Hava Java Cafe, Old Hagatna Grill, and Carmen's, all of which are in Hagatna. What it all comes down to is that the food business is a people business - a "people who please people" business. Chef/Owners are the people who can tell you how it all started and why they do what they do. Mulligan Cafe's Nilo Vega has a story, as does May Li of May's Restaurant. They love what they do and it shows in their food.

Today's review introduces a brand new restaurant, Padrino's, which is a family-owned, Italian eatery in the Chamorro Village. And, I've just been notified by a reader of yet another new restaurant, Bari Bari Asian Cuisine & Bar, located in the Blue Lagoon Plaza, which features Korean-Japanese fusion cuisine. Now that sounds like some exciting "food for thought"! Stay tuned and keep me posted of any new restaurants you hear about!

Ken, The Guam Food Guy

In Today's Issue:

5th Annual Taste of the Marianas 2003 - Saipan Makes A Culinary Statement

If you are planning on a taking a weekend getaway trip to Saipan during the month of May, it's a great time to enjoy one of the CNMI's most famous culinary activities, The Taste of the Marianas. The following info is courtesy of the Marianas Visitor Authority website.

The Taste of the Marianas kicks off on Saturday, May 3, 2003, with a ribbon cutting ceremony, and will be held every Saturday during the month of May from 6pm to 10pm at the American Memorial Park. Island style huts will be occupied by members of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands (HANMI) whose finest chefs will prepare some of the islandís best and favorite dishes. The huts will also house local restaurant outlets and local artists selling arts and crafts. Visitors will be entertained all night long by live bands and local dance groups.

Different competitions will be held each Saturday Night:

  • May 3 - Eating Competition. Chefs will provide a full course meal for participants who will compete with one another during an obstacle course to determine who can eat and finish in the shortest amount of time. This is a new event.
  • May 10 - Bartenders Competition. The Northern Marianas Bartenders Association will feature the islands best bartenders who will compete for best showmanship and best concoction of beverages.
  • May 17 - Chef Competition
  • May 24 - Local Style BBQ Rib competition. For BBQ fanatics, a local style BBQ ribs competition will give participants the opportunity to prove that his/her ribs are truly the best on island. Also, a new event.
  • May 31 - Pastry Competition

Sounds like a good reason to visit Saipan and have some fun - see you there!

Cafe Sauvage, Maui - Former Local Chef's Restaurant Rates High Marks

We are delighted to give a proud "shout out" and "attaboy" to Chef Dean Louie, one of the founders of the Old Hagatna Grill and previous chef at PIC Saipan, for the growing success of his Lahaina, Maui restaurant, Cafe Sauvage. The Honolulu Advertiser selected Cafe Sauvage as one the Hawaii's Top 150 restaurants. Cafe Sauvage also won an award at the 2002 "Taste of Lahaina" and receives numerous favorable comments at both and from guestbook visitors to the Cafe Sauvage website. This is excellent for a relatively new restaurant, now in its second year of operation. Chef Dean is partnered with Jeff Felice, who also was one of the founders of the Old Hagatna Grill. Congratulations on a job well done! We look forward to hearing more great things about Cafe Sauvage and hopefully eating there sometime soon! Those of you planning a trip to Maui can reserve via their website or by phone at 808-661-7600.

Around the Island - Hava Java, Teriyaki House, All Things Thai, Sakura's

Hava Java Cafe is serving their legendary coffee and espresso beverages at the Agana Shopping Center. Don't be deterred by the construction barriers around the old Town House, a section of which appears to block (but doesn't) the South Arcade entrance. Enter and you will be greeted by the smiling faces of the Hava Java staff. I can't help but promote one of my favorite sandwiches, the Chicken Salad Sandwich on a Toasted Baguette. Call 477-0600 to order for take-out. Try one soon!

The Teriyaki House, previously located in the typhoon-destroyed Agana Shopping Center Food Court, is now located on Route 8 in Maite.

The positive votes pour in for TimeOut Sport's Bar's All-You-Can-Eat Thai Food Buffet. In a short time they have established themselves as a place for great Thai food, and are also doing a lot of take-out meals. Call them at 647-4929.

Speaking of Thai, the Marianas Trench has moved to a new location in the Hafa Adai Exchange and are looking to re-open in the very near future.

And "Thainally", Ban Thai, one of Tumon's (and Guam's) favorite spots, is also undergoing the final stages of re-construction and we hope to see them open again real soon.

Sakura's Kitchen still remains a place to go for specialty Japanese cuisine at affordable prices. Katsudon, Spicy Teriyaki Chicken, Chicken Curry Cutlets, and Okono-miyaki (Japanese Bacon Pizza) are well worth trying. They are also happy to do take-out orders, call 647-1623.

Due to popular demand Planet Hollywood has brought back their Steak Adventure Menu - we must just be an island of meat lovers! Check out the complete offering which includes soup, your choice of steak and Banana Kahlua Cheescake for $29.95. Call them at 647-7827 for information.

The Eyes of Guam on Louisville - Sir Cherokee To Run in The Kentucky Derby

A notable event happens in Louisville, Kentucky this coming Saturday, May 3 (EST) when Sir Cherokee, a 3-year old thoroughbred, runs for the roses in the 129th running of The Kentucky Derby. The proud owners of Sir Cherokee are well known Guam residents, Ken & Elaine Jones through their stud farm, Domino Stud of Lexington, Kentucky. At the time of this newsletter, Sir Cherokee had odds of 15-1 and is in the number 3 post position. We send our best wishes out to Sir Cherokee and encourage supporters to toast this event with a traditional Mint Julep!

Padrino's - "The Best Ciao in Town!"

The "word is out" - there's a place in Hagatna where you can get high quality Italian pasta dishes that'll knock your socks off without burning a hole in your pocket. Padrino's, Guam's newest Italian eatery made its debut three weeks ago and is located in the Chamorro Village in the Sagan Chumocho hut (Kiosk 32B), a few paces down from the Chill Out Kite Shop. Padrino's is owned by the Leon Guerrero family, with the name "Padrino's" (godfather in Italian) deriving from Vince Leon Guerrero's college work experience with Godfather's Pizza. It was there he nurtured the dream of eventually having a family-run restaurant serving Italian food. He has partnered with brother, Martin "D" Leon Guerrero and his nephew, Martin "P" to start Padrino's. Martin P. is the chef at Padrino's. The sign above the order window says it all, "Padrino's - The Best Ciao in Town" an obvious but cute play on the Italian greeting and the chow we eat.

You'll see Martin P.'s photo on the cover of an issue of "Fiesta." The picture shows a younger Martin holding up a pizza he made during his stint at Al Dente in the Hyatt Regency Guam. Although there's no pizza at Padrino's, there are a few special "skillet" pasta meals that have people raving and clamoring for more. Martin did not learn all of his cooking skills at home. He is a 1992 graduate of the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, and has applied his culinary talents in several places, including Al Dente from 1997 - 2000. Martin certainly brings a caliber of culinary talent not normally seen at the Chamorro Village, however, what better place for a local guy to show his stuff!

The Padrino's menu is simple and features six pasta entrees and two salads. The salads are a Caesar ($6.50) and Mediterranean Pasta ($6.50). You can add chicken to these for an additional $2. The pastas include a Fettuccinni Alfredo ($7.50, w/Chicken, $8.50, w/Shrimp), Fusilli Bolognese ($7.00), Pesto Fusilli ($8.00), Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage ($8.50), Spaghetti Ratatouille ($8.50), and Linquine Vongule ($8.50). All these pastas are cooked 'al dente' and served take-out style, in large plastic disposable bowls with lids, which you carry to one of the tables in a dining area shared with their neighboring kiosk, Pagoda Fast Food.

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Buon Appetito!

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