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September 12, 2003, Volume 3 Number 37

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

What do you say to Roy Yamaguchi after you've just sampled some of his new menu creations? How about "thank you." That's what he graciously said to me after I lavished praise on the exciting bold new flavors I savored during the first night launch of "Roy Yamaguchi's Cooking Menu" at Roy's in the Hilton Guam. Maybe it's because I'm a restaurant reviewer and a maniac about everything food-related, but I happen to believe that we are EXTREMELY privileged to have such a distinguished, globally-recognized mega-chef on our island involved in the preparation of innovative dishes he's just created.

As I consumed each dish in his 5-course menu, I was astonished by the freshness of the ingredients, the juxtapositioning of flavors and textures, and the sheer originality of these food creations. I watched him work with Chef de Cuisine Eddie Chien and his team. He moved gracefully in the kitchen working the skillets and saute pans, demonstrating his techniques on a one-on-one basis with these employees - there are people who'd pay to be taught by Roy Yamaguchi himself. In fact, there is a Cooking Class set for Thursday night, however it'll probably be completely filled by the time this newsletter reaches you. It's marvelous having this culinary genius here, sharing his talents and showing new ways to enjoy seafood. Roy's trademark blending of Asia-Pacific and European cooking is the basis for what he likes to refer to as Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine. Be sure to make it down to Roy's by the 14th to try out his new menu, which is outlined later in this newsletter along with some of my "tasting notes." Thank you, Roy!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

Carmen's Dia De la Independencia Menu - A Real Reason to Celebrate

Most Americans know very little about the true history of Mexico and believe Cinco de Mayo to be the equivalent of our Independence Day. In fact, September 16 is celebrated as Independence Day in Mexico and it commemorates the beginning of the struggle for Mexican independence from Spain which lasted 11 long years.

The evening of Saturday, September 13 at Carmen's, our own little "corner" of Mexico on Guam, will prepare a very special menu to celebrate this holiday. For only $18 per person you can enjoy a 3-course meal of Mexican favorites. Live entertainment will be happening and, of course, Carmen's bar will be at the ready with your favorite beverages. Reservations are recommended. The fun starts at 6:30pm so call 472-7283/4 to save your place. VIVA MEXICO!

Roy Yamaguchi's Cooking Menu - Roy's Restaurant September 10-14

This famous chef continues to build on his reputation for innovative combinations of flavors and ingredients. His skills were demonstrated with the Cooking Menu which I enjoyed on Wednesday evening. You too can enjoy these culinary creations but only until September 14. The price is $55 per person and is subject to the usual 10% service charge. Reservations are highly recommended. Call 646-DINE(3463).

The menu and my notes follow:

  • Sashimi of Hamachi with Uni Puree & Sizzling Truffle Oil
  • Foie Gras with Sweetbread Pudding & Red Wine Sauce
  • Seared Moi with Edamame Puree & Lobster Crab Sauce
  • Grilled Filet with Kauai Prawns and Hamakua Mushrooms in a Inamona Jus
  • Lemon Grass and Vanilla Panna Cotta

The Hamachi sashimi is brilliantly conceived, with bright orange oil colors and microgreens, and a melt-in-your mouth goodness. Flavors are uncharted, bold, and unique, so it is difficult to describe or compare - just great to eat!

The Foie Gras has a delicate deliciousness and creamy consistency. It's seared to give it a slight crust and the red wine sauce reduction gives it a flavor that reminds me of grilled unagi which also has a similar consistency. This traditional European haute cuisine dish makes an island transition with the sweetbread pudding. Roy's rendering is magical.

The Seared Moi has complex flavors and mixed textures. Moi is a specially-cultivated Hawaiian fish. In this dish the skin is cooked crisp, with the delicate meat just beneath. It has a distinct fish flavor that is soon cut by the pureed edamame, which has a mild taste, but a thick consistency. The Lobster Crab Sauce is pure bliss...based on his lobster cognac butter sauce with an added bonus of crab meat.

The Grilled Filet with Kauai Prawns & Hamakua Mushrooms was a WOW main course, with imported sweet prawns (these fresh water prawns are raised humanely and are not bleached) and special mushrooms in another Roy's original sauce. The presentation is stunning with tastes to match.

The Lemon Grass and Vanilla Panna Cotta has an infused intensity that belies the soft creamy texture. It seems that the essence of both are captured in a sweet blend that is balanced by the tartness of the fresh berries.

Around the Island - Chef Singh at Holiday Inn, Simply Foods, Marianas Trench

Great culinary strides are afoot at the Holiday Inn Resort Guam now that Chef Singh (formerly of HRC) is on board. Chef Singh has created a week's worth of value-priced theme lunch buffets, featuring a live cooking station. Join him for Asian Monday, Italian Tuesday, Wok Wednesday, Tijuana Thursday, and Fisherman Friday, all for $11.99 (10% service charge will be added) including Iced Tea. Lunch is served 11am- 2pm. Reservations are welcome, just call 647-7272 ext. 214.

Simply Foods was the "right answer" when I had dental work done that prevented me from "chewing"....I could "suck" down a refreshing, nutritious Mango/Banana Tofu Shake for $3.95. I was even able to swallow my companion's delicious Tofu Spinach Lasagne ($5.99) it just melted in my mouth. We split a vanilla frozen yogurt (is 8 oz. considered small?) for $1.95 it was sizeable. I call this place a "feel better" place to eat, 'cause you always "feel better" after eating here!

We went to Rambie's Kamayan VIP Opening however we didn't eat...the place was packed and there was no seating. The size of this restaurant is overwhelming with an elaborate, elegant interior that really gives this place a class ranking of its own. There are large tanks filled with live shrimp and tilapia, as well as crabs, lobster and other seafood. The restaurant will serve an extensive American-style breakfast as well as barbecue, steaks, Filipino food, and more. This restaurant is a reflection of the personality and style of its charismatic owner, fast food entrepreneur Nita Baldovino. I know you'll be amazed by it.

The Marianas Trench was within walking distance of Rambie's and we were able to find seating. Their Phad Thai and Papaya Salad are sure bets. The Pad Kra Pao was pika pika (ordered at Number 5, which is just the beginning of "hot" for the Trench.) The Trench's new location is a vast improvement over its former digs.

If you've not yet had King's Macadamia Nut Pancakes for breakfast, you're missing out. Heck, there's no reason you can't have them for lunch or dinner...they're just plain good any time of the day! I must be addicted, since I had them twice this past week!

T.G.I. Friday's New Lunch Line-Up Features Good Values and Great Tastes

It was already past two o'clock when I was heading out for a late lunch, and I wanted to try something brand new and different. Did I ever find both (and more) at T.G.I. Friday's with their new Lunch Line-Up. A lot of my reviews have not elaborated on the service at many restaurants, however, T. G.I. Friday's has some of the most attentive and personable servers I've encountered...these young folks really enjoy their work and they sport be-medaled suspenders to prove it!

When I looked at Friday's menu I was surprised to see the extent of the changes that have been made. I'd been away too long, and now that I was going to have lunch, I had to make a tough decision - of the 7 daily lunch specials ($9.95 with soup & a Pepsi product), which ONE should I choose? I asked my server, Dan, for his recommendation. He suggested that I try the Chicken Finger BLT if I felt like a sandwich or if I was in a mood for something really different, the Tossed Tomato-Basil Chicken, with both being his personal favorites. I perused the menu, scanned their elements, and each sounded so appealing that I was left with no other choice but to order BOTH!

T.G.I. Friday's daily value lunch includes a cup of their Soup of the Day and your choice of any Pepsi product, tea or coffee with free refills. Today's "soup du jour" happened to be Clam Chowder. It was delivered in a handled bowl and I liked how they sprinkled some spices (paprika, pepper, and parsley) and bacon bits on top which gave it a nice coloring. Yet it was my first bite that really made the impression. This was a terrific clam chowder, probably one of the best I've had in a long time. The potato chunks were cooked al dente so they imparted a freshness you don't get with canned chowders or from soggy over-cooked potatoes. The skins were left intact, too, which helps retain their natural shape as well as the many nutrients within. There were also plenty of meaty clam pieces in the chowder. I was impressed.

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