Tag Archives: Guam

Tony Romas – Hagatna

When the in-laws call for a last minute dinner, how can you refuse? Bear bumped into them at Docomo. He was there to disconnect our cable and home phone and they were they connecting theirs.

After paying so much for cable with HD channels, we came to the conclusion we no longer needed it since Apple TV suits our needs and we can Netflix & Hulu. When we did watch any cable channels it was for news or Food Network, both of which we can find online. We rarely receive calls on our home phone so we figured that it was pointless to continue paying for it. We kept our internet and Bear’s cellular active but all others are gone along with the expensive bill that came along with them.

To our surprise there were $4-$5 happy hour specials on beer, cocktails, and appetizers from 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Happy hour starts at 2:00 pm? Bear was already there when I arrived at 6:15 pm and we immediately placed orders for beer and spinach artichoke dips while we waited for the rest of the family to arrive.

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Doesn’t look busy but it got busy later. That’s Bear enjoying Stella.

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Bear seating available for those wanting a more informal dining experience or the men who want to tune into the ESPN.

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Happy hour spinach artichoke dip $5 but half the size of regular order.

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They provide The Guam Daily Post for your reading pleasure as you wait for your food along with a basket or two or three of fresh hot baguette with butter.

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Although I wanted to order this baby but it was the in-laws treat.

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So I got the miniature version of the lobster. I had a small appetite tonight and the coconut shrimp appetizer and a bowl of french onion soup seemed fitting. Plus I’ve learned over time that I never finish my full size meal. Appetizers are perfect portions to avoid leftovers. By the way, Tony Romas’s french onion soup is one of the best I’ve tried on island.

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The rest of the family ordered 1/2 rack ribs.

Tony Romas – Hagatna
Agana Shopping Center
Open daily: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Happy hour (Mon-Fri) 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Passion: Dining

Pika’s Cafe

Pika's Cafe
Pika’s Cafe

We started going to Pika’s Cafe when they first opened their doors and were located on the opposite end of the building they are currently located. The former location was smaller with only approximately 20 seats. Since expanding, they have grown their image and brand to be one of the island’s favorite breakfast and lunch joints with locals and visitors.

Bear was craving for their breakfast kimchee & bulgogi fried rice and salmon benedict so we rushed over and got there by 10:00 am knowing breakfast service ends at 10:30 am. We were told upon signing the wait list that it’ll be a 10 minute wait so we were happy that we’ll still be able to order breakfast.

During our wait outside one server opened the door as guests were leaving and mentioned that they would be opening on Sundays. I was surprised but saw it coming seeing with how popular the restaurant has become.

I would always tell others that Pika, co-owner of Pika’s Cafe, had mentioned during a Guam Women’s Chamber round table meeting that one of her conditions to her husband before opening the restaurant was that Sunday’s would be their family day to spend time with their children so opening on Sunday was off limits. I always thought this was a great ground rule and example for business owners with children. However on that same token I always thought Sunday was one day that many locals and visitors dined out and was a day that most restaurants should open their doors, especially the popular ones.

I checked their Facebook page and it confirmed January 22 as their first Sunday operation. Yay! We don’t only have Saturday to dine there. The wait would not be as long now that weekend diners have a choice or… are Sunday church goers going to be our next hurdle. The struggle is real with a restaurant in such demand. We need a plan of attack.

With that said, we finally got seated after 30 minutes and the lunch menu was now in effect. Bummers!

Coffee
Coffee first

Our server was courteous and consistently checked on us even as busy as they were.

Our server did not mention to us about opening on Sunday. Yet, I wonder if the owners dedicated another day of the week as their family day or is it still Sunday and they are entrusting the Sunday operation to their dedicated and hard working staff members to keep the restaurant afloat.

Breakfast at Pika's
Lunch at Pika’s

Bear ordered the Classic Burger Champ with Fried Egg. It was a very tasty burger and the ciabata bun, lana sauce, and avocado was a nice touch on the classic burger. However, he would have liked the the classic burger condiments of ketchup, mayo, and mustard in the burger or on the side. The burger was served alone with no starch. Regular or shoe string fries would complete the $15.00 dish. A small portion of fried taro, lemai, or banana chips would add an island touch.

Classic Burger
Classic Burger Champ $15.00

I was glad to a different item and ordered the Shrimp Club panini. The chili aioli had a slight kick and the panini was grilled to perfection. At $14.00, I also would have liked a starch to accompany my meal and maybe a creamy dipping sauce like ranch dressing to mellow down the chili aioli.

Shrimp Panini
Shrimp Club $14.00

I am glad to see how successful Pika’s Cafe has become. They have won in different categories for Pika’s Best over the years. We will continue to dine here even without the condiments and starches. It is one of our highly recommended places to visiting family, friends, and clients.

Pika’s Cafe $$
Open daily: 7:30am-3:00pm
888 N. Marine Corps Drive
Star Building,
Tumon
(Chamorro directions: across St. John’s school)
671-647-PIKA (7452)

View their menus at:
To Go: http://tinyurl.com/PikasToGo2015
Kids: http://tinyurl.com/PikasKids2013
Catering & Private Party Menu: http://tinyurl.com/Catering2014Pikas

Passion: Dining

Sesame Garlic Pasta

Of all the pasta meals I make, this one is Bear’s favorite. It is so simple and easy . The ingredients worketogether in harmony and is truly the “less is more” meal since it is not a saucy pasta dish nor completely dry.

Kitchen Gadget
Pasta Noodle Measurer (1-4 servings)

Measure 4 servings of pasta. I use this kitchen gadget to help. I make 4 servings so we have leftovers for lunch or if Bear decides to go for a second or third serving.

Yes… you read correctly. Boil your pasta in a frying pan. After discovering this, I no longer boil my pasta the traditional way – fill a pot of 8-9 cups water with salt, wait for it to boil, then throw in my pasta. I use the method above for all types of pasta.

Add pasta to pan and add cold water and turn on stove. The pasta will not stick to each other. As the water becomes a simmer, give the pasta a stir. Cook pasta until al dente. I do not follow the recommended package cooking time since the pasta is already started cooking while the water was heating up. You’ll find less pasta water in the pan and perfectly cooked pasta.

While boiling your pasta, prepare ingredients for the sesame garlic sauce.

Sauce Ingredients

Combine ingredients into small pan and simmer for 1-2 minutes until brown sugar dissolves and ingredients soften and blend together, reserving 2 tsp green onion for garnish. I ran out of sesame seeds as my usual garnish for this dish.

Simple Sauce

It may not seem like there is enough sauce to coat the pasta but it is.

Simmer sauce

When pasta is done, drain over another bowl so you can obtain some pasta water.

Drain pasta

Reserve 4 tbsp pasta water

Pasta water

Season shrimp with salt & black pepper and fry in the same frying pan you used to boil pasta, 2-3 minutes on each side (depending on the size of shrimp).

Fry shrimp

Add the 4 tbsp of reserved pasta water

Add pasta water

Mix in the drained pasta with shrimp and toss toss immediately.

Pasta & Shrimp

Turn off heat and add sesame garlic sauce and toss until pasta is fully coated

Pour sauce and toss

Add the 2 tsp reserved green onion. I would also added sesame seeds but that’s on my next grocery run.

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Enjoy! This is the point where Bear would sarcastically tell me to stopping eating it because it’s horrible and he would spare me from such a terrible dish by eating all of it 🙂

Sesame Garlic Pasta

Sesame Garlic Pasta

4 servings pasta
4 tbsp reserved pasta water
14 pcs large shrimp
salt & black pepper

Sauce
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk green onions, chopped
– – reserve 2 tsp for garnish
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp spoon brown sugar (dark or light)
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp butter
Sesame seeds

Boil pasta in frying pan until al dente. While pasta is cooking make the sauce.

Combine all sauce ingredients into simmer for 2-3 minutes until brown sugar dissolves and ingredients soften & blend together.

Once pasta is cooked, drain in colander over large bowl and reserve 4 tbsp pasta water.

Season shrimp with salt and black pepper. Fry/saute in the same frying pan used to boil pasta until fully cooked, 2-3 minutes per side. Add reserved pasta water to shrimp then add drained pasta and toss immediately.

Turn off heat and add sauce to pasta. Toss until fully coated. Garnish with sesame seeds and 2 tsp reserved green onion.

screen-shotBear’s way of showing his love for this pasta.

Passion: Kitchen Kreations

About The Beautique Life

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Follow us and come along on our many outdoor and travel adventures, dining experiences, family gatherings, cooking/baking creations, and life on paradise Guam.

We promise to give our honest non-bias unsponsored (unless mentioned) reviews and will not skimp or alter the recipes we share. We are experimental cooks/bakers which brings joy into our kitchen and appreciation for our meals.

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Cruising Around the Island

Mom occasionally likes to drive around the island and even though we stop by the normal sites, it never gets old. Sunday’s cruise around the island didn’t seem so promising with the heavy rain falls but the sun made its presence as soon as we exited the central part of the island. With 2 cars, we took the Yona route and worked our way down south trying to catch Hotnu Bakery before they closed at 2pm… it was 1:00pm when we started.

Tucked in the middle of the small village of Inarajan, Hotnu Bakery offers freshly baked breads and pizza that are cooked up in a traditional Spanish style brick oven. Open only 3 days of the week, locals and visitors can order mouth-watering items and watch as they are cooked in the 600°F hutnu with flaming bamboo.

Located within the George Flores Old Store and History Center, visitors can view artifacts, learn a bit about Guam’s history, and purchase handmade items of Guam.

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We luckily reached the bakery in time and was able to grab 1 tuba bread and 2 coconut breads that just came out of the hotnu.

I didn’t take good photos the items this visit but here are photos of items purchased from previous visits to the bakery.

Hotnu Bakery
138 San Jose Avenue, Inarajan
Thursday: 4pm-8pmWeekends: 8am-2pm

9″ breads are $8 – coconut, butter, tuba, and cinnamon roll
16″ pizzas are $13-$15 – pepperoni, chicken ranch, and supreme

We took our goodies and made our way to the Inarajan pools. Here are few historic homes we passed on our way to the pools. While you are in the village, be sure can stop by the Chief Gadao statue, Gef Pa’go Chamorro Cultural Village, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

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The weather held up allowing many island residents & visitors to enjoy the pools. We were going to go up the stairs built across the pools but when we saw one guy fall in attempt to climb it we decided it wasn’t such a great idea since the rainfall may have left the steps slippery. Thankfully the guy was okay and escaped with no major injury to his spine.

We devoured our breads and moved onto Merizo pier. The pier was crowded with parties so we parked ourselves slightly past the piers which offered good shade to sit and relax while enjoying the view Cocos Island and jet skiers in the lagoon.

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Last stop was Fort Soledad, Umatac.

Ayden even hooked up with a Harley gal.

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However, with the recent passing of Fort Soledad’s carabao man, Big John Tedtaotao, the stop was just not the same. We are used to seeing him at the front pavilion with his beloved carabao Betsy. Here are the last photos we took with Big John & Betsy. May he rest in peace. We hope to see Betsy there again with a family member who will continue Big John’s loving tradition. (tear)

Passion: Island Life

VIP Restaurant

This past weekend we celebrated my mother and sister’s birthday at one of my mother’s favorite buffets, VIP House Chinese Seafood Restaurant aka VIP Restaurant. Mom’s birthday was on Saturday the 14th and Nita’s on Sunday the 15th.

cakecupcakes

Before mom and Nita arrived, we set the table with their personal size birthday cake and pistachio cupcakes that we bought from Crown Bakery. We love that Crown Bakery has a variety of grab & go personal size cakes that are simply decorated and you can add a personal message, as we did. Our gathering was bitter sweet since my son and little sis & family live off-island. Mom was able to Facetime with them before lunch. Of course, we know that dad was watching over us and smiling down at mom.

The buffet offers 4 sections – fruits/appetizers, salad, hot items, and soups/dim sum. Coffee and tea are included. The self-serve ice cream station of approximately 6 different flavors helps complete your meal. I say it’s my palette cleanser station but that just helps me sleep guilt free at night.

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My buffet favorites are the fresh lumpia with peanut sauce, gin dui (sesame balls with red bean filling), bean sprout salad, fried wontons with sweet chili dipping sauce, and honey walnut shrimp. Bear’s favorites are the sashimi, kimchi, fresh lumpia, salt & pepper pork chop, and hot & sour soup.

Located within Pacific Bay Hotel in Tumon, the restaurant is ideal for small to large gatherings. Grab a quick bite to eat with coworkers, celebrate various occasions, or meet with clients.

Sections in main dining room contain 8pax rounds as well as regular tables for 2-4pax. Private rooms can accommodate up to 20 or more people. As a matter of fact, my company celebrated my birthday last year in one of the two private rooms which allowed us to setup gifts and laugh as loud as we wanted without disturbing other restaurant guests.

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Voted Pika’s Best Chinese Food in 2014, 2015 and 2016 says it all. I am very pleased that they revamped their menu and atmosphere.

VIP Restaurant, Pacific Bay Hotel
1000 San Vitores Road, Tumon
(Chamorro directions: next to Dr. Kabob, left of Churassco)
671-649-3222/8001
Open daily for lunch and dinner
Reservations recommended for groups 8 or more people

Passion: Dining, Familia

Thunder Chicken

After naming every restaurant in Tumon for dinner with our daughter Sera last night we decided on Thunder Chicken. We went to our usual spot, Tairyo Sushi, the other night and wanted to try something different.

We discovered this Korean fusion restaurant months after they opened their doors in 2015 and we’re glad did. A slow stroll through Tumon to find a restaurant we hadn’t tried and a quick glimpse under Jamaican Grill was all it took. Something in its name gets us every time. Finding parking can be troublesome with limited parking shared by Jamaican Grill and ABC Store customers. Fortunately, I was early and found parking in the front.

This Korea franchise restaurant is located in Tumon near other restaurants and shops. You can miss it from the main street since it is set back within the parking structure, and partially hidden by the Jamaican Grill staircase. The white rope lighting is attempt to draw customers inside.

You’ll notice the unique decor going on, something you’ll find in a burger/pub joint. License plates from around world, sports memorabilia, and beer ads adorn the walls. Tiki gods greet you at the entrance. There is open seating as well as 4 pax tables in semi private cubicles.

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The prices are quite reasonable unless you want to try every flavor of chicken offered – Crispy, Soy Sauce, Seasoned, Chili, Onion7 Soy Sauce, Onion, Garlic, Green Onion, and Crispy Bonesless/Wing. Half orders are offered at $13.00, whole orders at $22.00-$24.00, as well as 1/2 Crispy and 1/2 Your Choice at $22.00.

Our Order
Fried Dumplings $5.00
1/2 Crispy and 1/2 Your Choice $22.00
– comes with side salad
Fried Rice $8.00
Cheese Corn $8.00 (1st time to order)

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Order up

Their menu contains many items with their chicken being the main focus. Cutlets, soups/stews, fried/steamed egg, squid, udon, ramon, rice cake, shrimp, french fries, onion rings, rice balls, and even chicken feet & gizzard. Did I mention it is Korean Fusion.

It was our first time ordering the cheese corn and it was surprisingly addicting. I’m a sucker for corn and when paired with cheese… OMGosh! I feel like placing a to go order of this. Sweet corn, butter, and mozzarella cheese. The fried rice has julienned cabbage, onion, & green onion with scrambled eggs.

The menu warns that their chicken is lightly seasoned but don’t let that fool you if  you are sensitive to spicy dishes like I am. It is Korean franchised, owned, and operated…enough said. The crispy chicken was, like the warning, lightly seasoned but tolerable. The garlic chicken on the other hand leaves a nice kick at the back of your throat but my warning… you won’t be able to stop eating it.

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Fried dumpling/gyoza
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Cheese corn
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Cheese corn goodness
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1/2 crispy, 1/2 garlic

Thunder Chicken Tumon
Carol Rose Tumon Plaza
Located across P.I.C. Hotel, under Jamaican Grill
Phone: 649-8088
http://www.mythunder.co.kr

Passion: Dining