update january 2007-restaurant closed since ever since
i hate eating at food courts. granted, the food courts in the malls here are slightly more interesting that the ones in the mainland, but i'm convinced a regular diet of mall food will kill my tastebuds and eventually, me. however, i have a limited amount of time to forage for grub at lunch these days, so i have to either plan out my meal (snort) or go somewhere fast.
lately, i've been going to i sengsong chamorro, or, the chamorro village. it's a government subsidized tourist trap basically, with shops and food stalls in a lovely setting by hågatña bay. yes, a mall. but not a particularly productive one (government entity, remember?). it's probably best known for the wednesday night market, but most of the stalls are open throughout the week.
last week, i visited the newly opened halo halo grill. halo halo (hah-loh hah-loh) is a tagalog word literally meaning "mix-mix", and is the name of a tasty ice and milk confection. halo halo grill is owned and run by bob branconnier, a veteran hotel chef/CIA (culinary institute not central intelligence--you never know on guam) alumn and his wife (? i assume) alice, and it has a small but interesting menu. cheap, too, as there is nothing on the menu over $4.
on my first visit, i had the most popular item on the menu: the adobo burrito. filipino-style adobo is cooked, and the meat--pork or chicken--is shredded and layered with lettuce and monterey jack cheese on a giant tortilla, wrapped burrito style, then grilled and served with homemade pico de gallo and tortilla chips. the burrito is so big that you can't properly close the styrofoam container in comes in. there's very little in the spicing of the meat (this one was pork) to suggest that it was adobo (not particularly garlicky nor vinegary), but it was flavourful and delicious all the same. combined with the lettuce and the cheese, the whole thing was very much like eating a california style carnitas (braised pork) burrito. very tasty and very filling. so much so that i didn't have enough room to try their signature dessert--of course, halo halo.
today i returned, and had the newest addition to the menu, the crab sandwich. for 4 buckaroonies, i wasn't expecting real crab, and whaddya know, i didn't get it. however, they don't stint on that krab stuff--it was a substantial patty of krabesque flakes coated in panko breadcrumbs, then deep fried and served on a butter-grilled bun with lettuce, tomato, and some nicely pika jalapeños. the sandwich (and i assume all the grilled sandwiches) are served with nicely spiced natural cut french fries--seriously, some of the best french fries i've had on this island of deep-fried diving. the crabless krabcake was good, it reminded me of those funky japanese fishcakes that look almost natural but aren't, but it didn't quite hold up to the memory of the adobo burrito. still, it was better and more substantial than the tasteless fish sandwiches at most fast food outlets. and yes, it was completely filling so i didn't get the halo halo today, either.
really, there isn't that much on the limited menu, but that's probably a good thing, because at this point, i like 20% of the menu. i'll be back to try the other 80%, including that halo halo.
halo halo grill
at the chamorro village