I don't know about you, but this year is off to a rapid pace and January evaporated in a haze of activity! It's already February and by the time we send our next newsletter it will be past Valentine's so Happy Valentine's Day! Be sure to make your reservations soon as places are already filling up! Check with our great restaurant subscribers to see Valentine's Day Specials which are being added daily!
I've really enjoyed watching our island's restaurant repertoire expand and improve over the years. One of the darlings of Guam's restaurant patrons is PROA Restaurant, which has been open for more than five years. This restaurant has demonstrated amazing staying power and seems to increase in demand and popularity each year. They have just launched new menus for lunch and dinner, and also feature a new beverage menu. When people are asked for recommendations about a good restaurant, PROA is usually one of the suggestions. It's best, though to make reservations to ensure that you get a table for the time you want to dine.
Two other relatively new restaurants getting attention are Table 35 and Shoreline. Both of these show great promise and offer diners unique and compelling menu selections.
I wonder if 2012 will bring any other locally-owned restaurants having the creativity and energy demonstrated by the folks at PROA, Table 35, and Shoreline? You never know! and we certainly hope so!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Tumon Trade Center, Ground Floor
When I am asked to recommend a spot for great ramen, I suggest Menkui Ramen without hesitation! I have been enjoying their authentic ramen dishes for nearly four years. My "usual" has been the green onion-laden Special Negi Ramen ($10.50) before I became addicted to Menkui's Chasyu Men ($10.50), which has the tenderest and tastiest pork loin slices. WIth no MSG in the broth and superb noodles, this is a soup you love to savor as you eat! I try not to eat at Menkui too often because I enjoy the "homecoming" I receive after a long absence as I taste the ramen and slurp the delicious broth while sitting at the counter watching NHK! Just as the truth about absence making the heart grow fonder, the same applies to the love of food. Try Menkui for a mouthful of that lovin' feelin'!
Von's Oven Chicken
Route 4 (next to McDonald's)
I finally made it to Von's Chicken and was glad to know they offer a tasty selection of reasonably priced meals, for dine-in or take-out. The menu is fairly simple. They serve chicken, chicken, chicken and chicken several different ways and with distinctly different tastes.
I tried two of the basics. Chicken orders at Von's are either Half or by Full Box.I ordered a Half of Original Chicken for $11 (Full/$20). The Original Chicken is oven baked and popular for its tender texture and light taste, however this taste will be influenced by the dipping sauces you choose. Served on a sizzling platter, the Original's golden-bronzed pieces have definitely spent some quality time in the oven. They are juicy and not dried out. There are three sauces available: Hot Volcano, BBQ Honey Mustard and Rainbow Gold - one choice is included with your order and the other two are optional for $1 each. The Hot Volcano lives up to its name and it is certainly "pika"! The BBQ Honey Mustard is like it sounds, whereas the Rainbow Gold is like a sweet & sour. I guess I could have tried mixing them together to get a unique blend.
The other meal I ordered was the Gold Wings Chicken (fried chicken wings with sweet garlic and teriyaki sauce) and it is the same price as the Original - Half/$11, Full/$20. For the Half, you get about 10 wings and they look like fried chicken wings with a light batter. The sweet garlic and teriyaki sauce is not too heavy, but you can taste the flavors without being overwhelmed by them. These are good and it's easy to see why they are among the most popular items here. They are safe to eat and won't burn your mouth the way the Barbecue Chicken (roasted with spicy bbq sauce) can if you aren't careful! The chicken meals come with a salad and a small radish side dish.
Von's is a Korean franchise and they have two other locations on Guam, one in Harmon on Hamburger Highway and the other at UOG. The new Hagatna location has plenty of seating and is family-friendly. They are open from 11am-10pm daily. They do a LOT of take-out orders.
Corporate Thursdays@The Beach
How about a touch of class on the beach, or more precisely at the Beach Bar at Gun Beach? Starting next Thursday, Corporate Thursdays at the Beach debuts and will feature a wine tasting with a special appetizer selection paired with some high profile vintages.
I was invited for an advance tasting of this special promotion by Pacific Wine & Spirits whose wines are highlighted. The tasting starts early, around 5:30pm and lasts until around 7pm. You'll be able to catch a glorious sunset if you get there in time. The price is $10, which is an incredible value considering what you are about to experience. Just check out the pairing menu below and see for yourself:
Chamorro Gazpacho Martini paired with Bottega Petalo Spumante (Italy) "Our Chamorro interpretation of cold gazpacho, vegetable soup perfect for Guam's sunny days. Finely diced bits of cucumber, celery, onion in tomato puree infused with local herbs, extra virgin olive oil and a touch of Pohnpei pepper."
Grilled BBQ Chicken Skewers paired with Simi Sauvignon Blanc (California) Tender succulent boneless skinless chicken coated in a zesty mango glaze and grilled to perfection.
Tinian Beach Mini Burger paired with Decoy By Duckhorn Pinot Noir (Andersen Valley, Ca) Angus Beef Beach Burger made with fresh Fire-hot Tinian pepper paste mixed right in the burger.
On your table you'll have a place mat with the menu printed on it along with an area where your glasses and appetizers will be placed. The colorful menu indicates the aroma and taste profiles for each of the varietals, which really do match the appetizers.
I really liked the local twist in the Chamorro Gazpacho Martini, using Pohnpei pepper and local herbs.
The Tinian Beach Mini Burger seems much bigger than just "mini" and its taste is far bigger than its size! Don't fret, it's not pika spicy hot just well flavored!
I don't know how long this promotion will run, however, you should make it a point to come to the beach and see what a lovely venue it is for this classy event. I was impressed with the quality of the foods that were put up against these three wines. It was much better than I had expected to eat at a beach bar! Then again, this is no ordinary beach bar, is it? Come see for yourself - you'll be amazed!
I can't tell you how many times I've eaten at Jamaican Grill (or was served Jamaican Grill food) over the past 16 or 17 years since they've first opened. I'm proud of owners Frank Kenney and Tim Murphy for what they've achieved and for their contribution to the island's economy and its tourism product.
I remember the different times I've had fish, either tuna, marlin or mahi. So when Zee ordered the Fried Jerk Parrotfish( $14.95), I just about jumped out of my seat! I love parrotfish and I was elated (as was Zee) to find out they had it. I had already set my mind on my regular Combo, and figured I'd just taste her fish. It was really quite good and I promised myself to have it in the future.
For dessert our server Lani convinced us to try the Triple Chocolate Coconut Cake ($6). This has to be shared - It was so rich and surprisingly tasty.
Desperados Restaurant & Cantina
2nd Floor Ocean Plaza Building
Next to Westin
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. I guess that's about the same for me when it came to eating at Desperados, which offers Tex-Mex and Mexican standards. My first visit was in August of last year and compared to my visit this past Wednesday, the difference was literally night & day! The food had "taste" this time! I was quite impressed with this vast improvement. Adding to the overall positive experience were Brittany and Judy who provided great service and made a sincere effort to please the customers.
Desperados has put some key people in the right positions (especially in the kitchen) and the Refried Beans and Spanish Rice were both pretty good. I had one of the Tex-Mex Combo Plates ($10.95) for the TRES (three choices) and had a beef taco, chicken enchilada, and chile relleno. I really enjoyed the taco and the chicken enchilada. The relleno was okay.
I also ordered a Quesadilla ($8.95), that classic of soft flour tortilla loaded with cheese and your choice of ground beef, shredded beef or chicken filling, served with sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo (you can Fajita-style steak or chicken for an additional $1.95) ($8.95). This quesadilla came with Fajita chicken. I ate one piece and brought the remaining pieces to the office where the staff really enjoyed them.
Desperados' Lunch Menu has a number of selections priced at $9.95 that features Desperado Tacos, Macho Nachos, Lunch Fajitas, Chingalingas, Chop Steak, and a Desperado Burger. Of course they have their full dinner men of Mexican favorites.
The bar is well-designed and allows for watching sporting events and they do have something happening for Super Bowl this coming Monday. If you like Margaritas, they have been making them for years at Marty's, (Desperados derives it origins from Marty's Mexican Merienda and Cantina).
They are open for lunch and dinner from 11am-10pm, with the full bar open until Midnight. I am glad that I returned to Desperados for a second taste. It was much better than the first time and now worth recommending and sharing with others.