Guam Diner Bytes: The Cafeteria
I finally was able to honor a year old commitment to come and try the great food at The Cafeteria. Owner and chef, Aileem Euh Cruz, had purchased some chef coats at our store and I had told her I would come by and try their food and I finally did! It was not planned as I was in the neighborhood and it was just before lunch.
I had never been in here and was immediately surprised by the size of their kitchen. It was a production kitchen (they do a lot of large party trays, which is definitely good to know). Would you believe they have nine different fried rice party trays? you can also get kadon pika, chicken estufao, bisteak, beef tinaktak, spicy squid, pork belly, fried pork chop, and fried chicken trays, ranging from half trays to full trays, and for really big parties the “deep trays.”
When I arrived I thought about breakfast first since I had missed mine that particular day. So I decided on The Cafeteria ($10.95), which is one of their fried rice dishes that is made with Ham, Portuguese sausage, and the breakfast link sausage. You get two eggs any way you like them. I had mine sunny side up.
I was making a big exception to my limited rice consumption regimen. It was Friday, and these fried rice dishes reminded me of my early days in Saipan when eating at the Pacific Gardenia Hotel’s El Segundo Restaurant. The Fried Rice Supreme was our classic breakfast choice as it had fried rice, a ring of Char-Broiled Portuguese sausage pieces and two eggs sunny side up! So I was justified in eating this. What I didn’t know was that the folks at The Cafeteria don’t food around!
When my order was delivered, I stopped the server and asked if this dish was mine or somebody else’s since it was huge. It looked like fried rice for six! I had them take it back and bring me back 1/4 of this plate.
The fourth plate with two eggs was a regular size portion at other restaurants. My first bite was an “OMG” moment. However they managed this, and maybe I’ve been deprived, but I thought that it was one of the best fried rice dishes I’ve had in a very long time.
I also decided to order something else that I could photograph and taste, before taking the majority back to my office for my crew. I ordered the Dried Beef and Pork Belly Lunch Combo ($12.95) with Chapchae. When this plate came it had some of their famous homemade dinanche. I did sample the dried beef and the pork belly.
The pork belly I liked but the dried beef was much drier than I like, and it was hard to eat! Must be the type of beef or maybe my teeth are getting old! While I was there I ran into a few people I knew and they were raving about the place. What I saw everyone else eating looked awesome so I know this is a serious place for good food.
I had been offered some free ahu (warm young coconut dessert that’s like a soup only sweeter), but I’d passed. I was curious about one of the jars that was dark (the other was Donne Denanche). This dark one was Coconut Jam. Both are available for $10.00 and the coconut jam is on their appetizer called Coconut Toast ($3.95). Aileem had given me these to sample.
I did put some on toast after sharing some with my office staff. Aileem makes this as one of her specialties. She’s amazing and the staff I encountered at the Cafeteria were very outgoing and eager to assist. I’ve got to go back soon!