October 24, 2003, Volume 3 Number 43
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
"Biba Y Kusina"!! We definitely have a reason to celebrate. Y Kusina Restaurant, which serves some of the island's best Chamorro food, started serving dinner two weeks ago, and will offer delicious home-cooked local favorites Monday through Saturday from 5 to 9pm. I just stopped by for a quick meal before starting today's newsletter and I could barely contain my excitement when my plate of Dried Beef (Tinala Katne $9) was placed before me. I was further elevated when Arlene Pangelinan brought out her famous Shrimp Kelaguen along with fried titiyas - these are best eaten when hot, as they are crunchy and full of that "hot cooked corn flavor", providing the perfect match for Arlene's awesome kelaguen. We reviewed this restaurant in March ("Y Kusina- Chamorro Food So Good You Can't Stop Eating!") and knew then that the Cepeda clan who operate this eatery was onto a good thing that was destined to get better. Until now, the biggest disappointment about Guam's dining selections was the fact that there was no place to get quality Chamorro food for dinner on a regular basis. Y Kusina is located on the ground floor of the blue building housing Delisle's Beauty Shop & Supply, behind Tick Tock and across from Mark's Sporting Goods in Tamuning. Prices are reasonable, with nothing on the menu costing more than $9.50. So if you want great home-style Pork Chop, Fried Chicken, Chili Garlic Shrimp, Katne, Steak & Onion, Shrimp Kelaguen, and daily specials (tonight was Meat Loaf), Y Kusina will not disappoint. Call for take-out at 646-2052.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- MCA Gala Dinner - October 25, Outrigger Guam Resort
- Experience Little Italy with the "Godfather" - Al Dente October 21 - 31
- Guam Food Guy Pens "Changing Tastes" - Directions Magazine October Issue
- Around the Island - Gloria Jean's, Capricciosa, Islander Terrace, New Eateries
- Joyful Chinese Restaurant - Tumon's Chinese Treasure, Where Fresh is Best
MCA Gala Dinner - October 25, Outrigger Guam Resort
It is not too late to join the funa and spend some time getting up close and personal with some of Guam's best chefs. Plan to attend the 4th Annual Micronesian Chefs' Association Gala Dinner this Saturday night at the Outrigger Guam Resort. Tickets for this 4-course dinner extravaganza are $40 for members and $50 for non-members. The MCA "Frank Guzman" Chef of the Year Award 2003 will be presented, along with the Allied Member of the Year 2003. Music will be performed by Caliente, and the Guam Food Guy will be the Master of Ceremony. In spite of prior notifications otherwise, admission can be paid at the door. Cocktails start at 6pm sharp, and the Outrigger is offering a special $99 + tax rate for Saturday night. Come on and join the fun! We look forward to seeing you there!
Experience Little Italy with the "Godfather" - Al Dente October 21 - 31
La Vita e Bella! (Life is beautiful!) That's what you'll be feeling after you experience Guam's "Little Italy" this week and next at Al Dente Ristorante in the Hyatt. You'll be amazed at how the corridor leading to Al Dente from the lobby has been transformed to capture the spirit of Lower Manhattan's famous ethnic enclave, Little Italy, complete with street signs (Mulberry Street, Canal, Grand and Hester), cafe table's and Italian banners. Although Little Italy boasts over 40 restaurants, Guam's Little Italy at Al Dente has the great fortune and privilege to feature the wonderful home-style culinary creations of visiting chef Frank DiGiacomo, real-life godfather (goomba) to the Hyatt's Executive Chef, Michael Bongiorno. When you encounter Chef Frank, you'll realize that this man has been marinated in the traditional cooking methods and techniques that have been passed down through generations. In fact, testamentary photos from the DiGiacomo family album are on exhibit near Al Dente's entrance.
An impressive selection of homestyle dishes will be served daily from 6-10 pm, with such items as Braciole, Escarole & Beans, Spinach Cannelloni, "Godfather's" Ravioli, Osso Bucco, Eggplant Parmiggiano, Pizza Alle Carciofi & Melanzane (artichokes, basil, eggplant & mozzarella cheese), Shrimp Scampi, and Manicotti. Complimentary San Pellegrino and Aqua Panna Italian waters are also featured, and are joined by premium Italian wines with a wine buffet available for $18 per person, and Illy Caffe espresso beverages will be served along with your dessert choice.
My dining excursion began with Clams Oreginata (Clams baked with herb butter and breadcrumbs) - which was absolutely scrumptious! If you like clams, these will please ya! For the soup course I opted for the Zuppa Di Pesce (traditional Tuscan seafood soup), which had a pile of mussels, fish, clams, calamari, scallops, and shrimp in a marvelous broth that was reduced from boiling clams, veggies and spices. I sampled from two main courses, both of which were exceptional. The first was an Eggplant Parmiggiano laden with Mozzarella cheese and delicious fresh eggplant in a rich gravy. I then had Chef Frank's home-made Italian sausages, starring in his Sausage & Peppers (sweet or hot sausage sauteed with peppers and onions). You can certainly tell the difference between fresh made sausage and those sold in the stores - a night and day difference!
Special dinner entertainment will be offered on October 24 & 25, with the Italian Duo of Mario Dalla Pozza and Bruno Dalla Pozza, who will be visiting from Saipan's Hyatt Regency. You don't want to miss the fun, or any of the great lunch specials at Al Dente, featuring Guam's best Antipasto buffet. Call 647-1234 for reservations. Bongiorno!
Guam Food Guy Pens "Changing Tastes" - Directions Magazine October Issue
Get your copy of the October Directions Magazine, the cover of which features new GuamCell Communications chief, Mark Chamberlain, as he takes over the reins at this regional communications powerhouse. What you will also get is a chance to see a Charles Leddy illustration showing the Guam Food Guy, Ken Stewart, hanging from a plate. The cool thing about this picture is that it is a "trimmed down" version of the GFG, which follows the theme of his article called, "Changing Tastes, Guam's Restaurants Adapt Menus for Healthier Lifestyles". Hear what some of Guam's top restaurant operators and chefs have to say about trends in the eating habits and choices of consumers. Look for the magazine at a newstand or bookstore nearest to you.
Around the Island - Gloria Jean's, Capricciosa, Islander Terrace, New Eateries
Gloria Jean's is back! Now you can enjoy your favorite Gloria Jean's coffee beverage at the entrance of the JPP Super Store (in the Guam Plaza Hotel), near McDonald's and T.G.I.F. on San Vitores Road. Gloria Jean's Guam is operated by Na Tres, Inc., dba Kahulu Blends, a locally-owned firm that will be serving coffee from a factory-made coffee cart. Gloria Jean's saying is "You can't bag a better bean", and based on 3 different coffees I sampled, I can understand their pride. The Colombian Supremo, GJ Special Blend, and the Butter Toffee coffees are made with 100% Arabica Beans, and each has a distinct flavor, aroma, and taste. The Butter Toffee is memorable, especially if you like flavored coffees, with it's caramel toffee flavoring. We wish them success in their business.
Capricciosa is coming to Hagatna! That news should cause excitement for residents up and down the East and West coast of Central and Southern Guam. This restaurant continues to draw throngs of local residents who can't seem to get enough their unique pasta creations. I recently experienced a dish I'd not yet had...the Shrimp & Spinach Gratin with Rigatoni in Cream Sauce. It was quite good.
Next time you are at the Islander Terrace in the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, you'll notice several fish tanks filled with live tilapia, lobster, and crab. These are a new addition to the food offerings during the Islander's Theme Buffets. Fresh seafood has universal appeal, and I applaud the entrepreneurs who are setting up these fish tanks in restaurants, as this really upgrades the quality of the seafood selections. I predict that you'll see more and more of these tanks around the island as restaurant operators see the benefits of offering fresh, live seafood to guests.
Quizno's has opened a new location in Yigo which should be welcome news to all the lovers of their famous toasted sandwiches who live and/or work in the northern part of the island. Their number is 653-2418.
There is a new fast food outlet at Micronesian Mall with the name "Aloha Grill". The name might lead you to believe it is a Hawaiian Plate Lunch place but it is a Mongolian BBQ eatery along the lines of Mongo Mongo in the Guam Premier Outlets. I haven't had the chance to try it yet but it's hard to go wrong with Monglian BBQ as long as the ingredients are fresh and there are ample choices for creating your own sauce blend.
Joyful Chinese Restaurant - Tumon's Chinese Treasure, Where Fresh is Best
"Nothing pleases me more than to recommend a great place to eat, and this is one of those restaurants that excels in many aspects considered important to diners who are looking for quality experiences." I wrote this excerpt when I reviewed this restaurant in August 2002 and although Typhoon Pongsona gutted this restaurant, the message still applies. Located in the 3rd Floor of the Asahi Building directly across the street from the Pacific Islands Club, Joyful Chinese Restaurant retains its position as one of the top Sichuan and Cantonese restaurants on Guam. The one impression that lingers is how different the entree taste in comparison to other Chinese restaurants. The difference is elemental in the ingredients and fundamental in the preparation.
The Kang Kong that I had was not just different - it was the freshest tasting, greenest, and crispiest I've had in ages, and I've eaten plenty of Kang Kong at other places, most of it good. Jing Xiong, one of three owners (she and her sibling, James, run this business along with partner, Chef Jackie Chen), told me that they don't buy their Kang Kong from stores or wholesalers - they get it direct from farmers who specialize in growing it. Unfortunately, it may not always be available, but when it is, you'll immediately taste and feel the difference in your mouth. The crisp texture and vibrant color indicates the "just picked garden freshness" of this sauteed treat. You may think I'm exaggerating, or even crazy, but I really tasted the "life" in this vegetable - it's energy and spirit - as if it were the best that it could be.
With a dinner menu boasting over 130 entrees (including appetizers and soups), I was limited in what I could order since I made the mistake of eating Chinese unaccompanied, so I only had three other courses; Ma-Po To-Fu with Szechwan Sauce ($9); Salt & Pepper Shrimp ($13); and Roast Duck (Standard $7.50, Half $14.50, Whole $28). The large bowl of Ma-Po To-Fu had a rich appearance and a striking aroma that released vegetable flavors blended with spicy chilies. The first taste ranked it as superior. The following bites were to analyze and understand why and how. The diced red and green bell peppers were plentiful, with onion and garlic blended. There was also one other element - preserved vegetable - which gave the broth a distinct pickled tartness. What was certainly evident in this entree was that the chef preparing it wanted the fresh vegetable ingredients to dominate the blend. Yes, there was ground pork in this version along with the silk tofu and pepper sauce, however, Jing emphasized that a vegetarian version was available and that vegetarians really liked their meatless Ma-Po To-Fu.
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