20070117

3 for '007: pt.1, guam: jojo's adobo.



i'm not a fan of "best of" lists, as i think "best" is a subjective term with indeterminate variables, disguised as an objective study; i much prefer finding out people's favourites, as you already know that there are personal biases involved. i'd spent a lot of time in guam, manila and los angeles last year, and am likely to spend more time in all three place in this year. i've had great meals everywhere, but have three favourites from 2006 that i hope some of you might try in 2007. they may not make anyone's "best" list, but they are definitely different, and what attracts me to them is the overall tastiness of the food, genial and prompt service, and the consistency of both. that's gotta count for something, right?

jojo's adobo sign


currently my favourite restaurant in guam isn't a restaurant per se, but really just a food stall at the chamorro village. jojo's adobo is a small kitchen with a small menu that serves big lunches five days a week, and dinner at the wednesday night markets. the kitchen is manned by owner jojo santo tomas, and "big" mike rozanski; the food is a pretty accurate representation of what guamanian home cooking is all about: a mix of well-prepared chamorro, filipino, and american food, served in generous portions. i've tried everything on the permanent menu, quite a few of the daily specials, and so far i've found that all of the offerings are fresh, hearty, fairly priced, and very tasty. it's like what your mom would make, especially if your mom was a big local dude.

jojo's adobo menu


there are three items on the permanent menu: peping's adobo (from jojo's father's recipe for a popular filipino stew), chinese chicken salad, and the aloha pigwich. the adobo is made with sage-rubbed pork, simmered in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and caramelized onions, then served on a bed of white rice. this particular adobo is quite savoury and not particularly piquant from the vinegar--there's just a smooth, slight acidity in with the sweet onions, milky tender pork, and mellowed garlic.

jojo's adobo

jojo's chinese chicken salad jojo's aloha pigwich


the chinese chicken salad is made with finely shredded nappa cabbage, red cabbage, green onions, and marinated chicken breast, and served with a gingery vinaigrette, slivered almonds, and fried rice paper wrapper crunchies. it, too, is quite tender as i believe the younger cabbage leaves are used, and make a fine vehicle for the asian-inspired dressing. the pigwich is filled with a generous amount of kalua-style shredded pork, smoky and sweet, and served on a freshly baked french roll with sautéed cabbage and onions on the side.

jojo's tofu jojo's kalbi adobo


some of the daily specials include a pan-fried tofu in an asian green sauce made with ginger, garlic, green onions, and cilantro, and an adobo made with korean-style kalbi beef shortribs. both are quite generous in portions and in flavour, even though you could technically classify the tofu as the 'healthier' and 'lighter' option as it is vegan, and very clean in its flavours (although lighter might be debatable as i think you get a full block o' tofu). the shortrib adobo is a serious stick-to-your-ribs affair that can take you an afternoon to get through as you suck the tender meat and rich gravy off the soft bones that fill the bowl. would this be healthier as you probably won't eat for a couple meals afterwards? perhaps not. one of the most popular items seems to be the "green fish": a tilapia fillet pan-fried in one of two green sauces: the asian-inspired one like the sauce used with the pan-fried tofu, or an italian-inspired basil pesto. there is also a "green steak" available, cooked the same way only with slices of tender sirloin steak.

jojo's green fish 1


although the menu is small, everything is quite tasty, the prices are relatively low, and there is enough variety in the daily specials that you can visit every week without getting bored. both jojo and mike are friendly guys, and jojo will email you every sunday with a list of the specials for the week. there is a definite relaxed attitude about the place, but they are quite serious about the food; they try very hard to get your meal out to you in the a reasonable amount of time, without sacrificing flavour or quality. stop by if you have a chance.



jojo's adobo
chamorro village, next to the main pavilion and shrimp shack.
671.477.DOBO.


part 2 of 3 of '007

part 3 of 3 for '007



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23 comments:

Looks delicious, unfortunately I don't see myself being in the vacinity this year!

(laughing) hi beccy! no, i suppose not. i wish i could say i'll be going to your part of the world, but i don't see that happening this year, either.

Hi Santos - Wellll, how much is Airfare from LA to Guam this time of year??? ;o)

mmmmmmmmmmmm....:)

Hi Santos!

Kirk, you don't even want to know the answer to that question.

I know Jojo personally and Mike's mother is a good friend of my mom's so I'm glad they're doing well.

I can personally attest to Jojo's love of good food and his skill as a cook. I'm not surprised the food is great. Just another thing I miss about Guam!

Next time you eat there, tell him Fran said hi!

YES!

(you just asked me if I wanted you to Fed Ex all that food to me, right?)

kirk, it would be cheaper for you to fly to manila or japan then get a tourist flight from there than a direct flight from la. bah! but at least you can hit up some great food stops along the way!

this place is really a guy place to go--the portions are huge, and there's a definite emphasis of meat on the menu. they've even got this thing called the "man meal": an HC Miller frankfurter (churisos pak-pak here) that has been parboiled and grilled to bursting tumescence, then laid strategically between two scoops of white rice, and covered in a doctored garlicky chili. and um, a squirt of graphically unnecessary sour cream. :eye roll: boys, i tell you!

poppy, i was really surprised with how excellent the adobo is. everything else is quite good too.

fran, i will! i can't go there too often because i'll end up rolling on the floor from overeating....but i go there enough as it is :)

ah, tokyoastrogirl, if i could i would! it's worth shipping.

The food looks really delicious. Wish I could have one of those :)

anne, it's pretty great that everything's done in a kitchen that can't be more than 6'x 6' or something like that. goes to show what you can do if you set your mind to it.

Happy New Year, Santos! Thanks for this...I haven't been there yet and plan to check it out next week. (BTW, thanks again for your help with the coconut extract search.)

hi beatrice! happy new year to you! have you been baking anything lately? i'm taking a bit of a break after the holidays :)

santos i never made my adobo with sage to be honest all my adobo are never the same I just add what ever comes to my mind or what ever spice I see which I think will spice up the flavour.

I love sage my first real encounter of this was in France when it was served some kind of amuse bouche deep fried.

In Italy at the boat (am home woot!) our Italian engineer once came to the galley and asked if I can toss the pasta with SALVIA... "you know what is SALVIA shalimar" My French and my Italian maybe just enough to pick up certain words but in terms of food words am actually well versed!!!

I feel like flying to Guam such a long way from our side though but am sure a hopping distance from Manila!!!!

If only I could just "drop by"! It all looks so good. Your pictures are lovely.

schatzli, i know, i was surprised by the sage, but it reminds me of the medicinal oregano that we sometimes use in adobo if we can't get the other stuff. i love dee-fried sage! so tasty. so eighties :)

hello mary jane! (laughing) yes, i know, "dropping by" to guam is somewhat of a logistical nightmare. i believe it may be something that military personnel are required to do with parachutes from time to time as well :)

S,

I think I need to pay a visit to Guam soon. The last time I was there was in '97. The food looks great!

Damn - why am I surrounded by sandwich joints and baked-potato-with-baked-beans places?!? Everything here looks fab but I must single out the tilapia as looking particularly yumlicious, and the pigwich - well, what's not to like there?!

jeanne, carb central! you'll appreciate those potatoes in the coming ice age :P but really, yes, what's not to like here??

reid, come on by!

$40 worth of food from jojo's? well, i am not surprised at all. the food's delicious, at least the pork adobo i ordered.

wait, did jojo tell you how much food i ordered?! crap. i didn't eat it all myself. really.

haha, he's quite talkative that guy. good guy.

try the pigwich. sarap.

Santos, you rock. Fran, miss cooking for you. everyone, thanks for the love.