February 13, 2004, Volume 4 Number 7
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Happy Valentine's to all you lovers of life, where ever you are! Writing this weekly column is a wonderful way to "journal" my thoughts and to share what I consider to be valuable as well as interesting culinary information and other noteworthy news. I remember how 10 years ago we were just being introduced to a new global communications resource called the internet, and that we would be able to send messages to people around the world without using a fax machine. We were all excited about Netscape then, and all the techies were getting into "web design". (Do you think anyone in 1988 would have the foggiest idea what a "webmaster", "web browser", or even a "web site" was?) Imagine the looks you'd get from people if you told them to "google" you - they'd think you were nuts!
Well, thanks to this amazing Internet, my weekly "journalling" is accessible to the world and is virtually archived - not printed paper stored in some specific place - but electronically stored in myriad locations, all searchable with keystrokes on a keyboard typing in addresses and clicking on links. What amazes me is how practical this is and how it applies to everyday living. A recent visit to Boston Pizza in Tumon proves the point. A military dependent eating there with friends said my face looked familiar and wondered if I was the Guam Food Guy. She then said she visited the GuamDiner.com website quite often to look for places to eat, and she thanked me. All because of the internet.
This line of thought got me to thinking about Valentine's past and one in particular came to mind. Two years ago I performed love songs in a Valentine's Day Dinner Musical called "Let Me Call You Sweetheart", at Le Tasi Bistro. This three night performance was an enriching experience, both for the audience and our performing troupe, called "Circle of Friends". This event was highlighted in our February 15 2002 issue (Vol 2 No 7). The intro also mentioned that the Greek Freak was closing its doors in Upper Tumon and that the legendary Seahorse would soon be closing its Tumon beach landmark location. A newcomer to Guam today wouldn't be able to relate to the immense popularity of The Seahorse. I touched on notable anniversaries then - Hilton's 30th, the Nikko's 10th, and Planet Hollywood's 5th. Though I missed the Hilton's opening, I did attend the Nikko's, recalling the splendid laser light show on a water wall, making the image of a 747 Jumbo jet fly through the spray and mist! I attended Planet Hollywood's opening and met actor Don Johnson. It's astonishing how quickly our present becomes our past so I recommend that we all do great and fun things often and frequently to ensure a timeless treasure of wonderful memories to archive!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Le Tasi Bistro Introduces Sugar-Free Desserts - Yum, Yum!
- Watch Wyland Paint NOW! - Talented Artist Departs Soon
- Around the Island: Jerky Twist Whirls with Flavor!, Divine Coconut-Pecan Cake
- Saipan Hyatt's Mardi Gras & New Orleans Food Fest to Features Chef Jeff Hill
- Fast Wok Restaurant - Pack'em In, Feed'em Fast with Fresh, Tasty Oriental Food
Le Tasi Bistro Introduces Sugar-Free Desserts - Yum, Yum!
Guilt-free desserts? Yes, they've got them at Le Tasi Bistro, Guam's favorite European eatery located on the ground floor adjacent to the Hamilton Hotel along Marine Drive. Today we tried the Cappuccino Cheesecake, which was surprisingly flavorful & lightly sweetened (you really didn't miss the sugar). Also available in their line-up of sugar-free desserts are a lemon cheesecake and carrot cake. These desserts represent a continuing trend for healthier ingredients and food choices in the restaurant business, with the sugar-free aspect addressing diabetic dietary concerns. LTB is making these desserts using Nutrasweet as a replacement for sugar. Special orders are welcome and can be made by calling 472-7877. We wish them well, just as they wish the same wellness for their many customers. Check out Le Tasi Bistro's weekly lunch specials posted every week at GuamDiner.com.
Watch Wyland Paint NOW! - Talented Artist Departs Soon
If you are reading this and it's Friday (or even Saturday), then you should go to the airport and watch the internationally acclaimed marine artist, Wyland, paint his 92nd mural above the Continental Ticket Area. I visited on Wednesday and was introduced to Wyland as the "Guam Food Guy" by Paula Bent of the Guam Tropical Dive Station, the dynamite lady who was the prime organizer in making Wyland's Guam visit a reality. This gentle, fun-loving, spirited man has transformed the airport already, imparting a new light, life, and vision. He loves what he's doing and loves sharing his work with people - getting them involved and interacting with them as he works. His progress on creating the mural is amazing! Be sure you go see him work (it's not really work for him..it seems more like "play".) Check it out.
Around the Island: Jerky Twist Whirls with Flavor!, Divine Coconut-Pecan Cake
At last weekend's Thai Festival at the Holiday Inn, we were introduced to a new product that's taking the island literally by "storm". The typhoon satellite image is the trademark on the label for Jerky Twist, which is available in two flavors: Regular made with beef, soy sauce, honey and spices, and Pika which features many spices of the fiery variety! The flavor, taste, aroma, and texture of both jerkys is superb. Considering this is a mom & pop operation it is truly a testament to entrepenuership! This is one great jerky that has potential. Currently, the jerky is available to the public only at the Chamorro village for $5/pack and a pretty generous portion for the money, too. The beef is from New Zealand, and the marination and curing is one of Guam's best-kept secrets. For more information on this fantastic jerky (the Pika is filled with red pepper seeds, so be forewarned - it's really good 'n hot!), contact John at email@example.com.
It was a fantasy come true with a taste beyond description - soft, moist, angel food cake consistency with a light creamy frosting layered with a coconut pecan blend. The stars were the fresh pecans that we brought home from our recent trip to Mississippi. We requested the folks at Y Kusina create a cake utilizing the precious pecans and they rose to the occasion with a divine composition made with stature, integrity, and deep-down goodness. Call Y Kusina at 646-2052 and make your dream cake a reality!
Saipan Hyatt's Mardi Gras & New Orleans Food Fest to Features Chef Jeff Hill
Something special is happening later this month when SandCastle Guam's Executive Chef Jeff Hill makes a guest chef appearance at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, where he will be collaborating with Hyatt's Executive Chef Dino Jones. A fabulous New Orleans menu will be prepared and served, with such goodies as Shrimp Remolaude; Chicken & Seafood Gumbo; Blackened Red Fish; Oysters Rockefeller, Bienvielle and Casino; Shrimp Etouffee, Jambalaya, Boiled Crabs, and more, much more! Dinners will be served on Feb 21, 22, 23 (Lundi Gras) and 24 (Mardi Gras) which will close this special guest chef promotion with a bang! Be sure to check out the SandCastle Magic Show when you are visiting Saipan, too. We'll post more information about this event as more information becomes available.
Fast Wok Restaurant - Pack'em In, Feed'em Fast with Fresh, Tasty Oriental Food
If you are looking for a quick lunch or dinner, with fresh, made-to-order food, then you'll probably be glad to know that Fast Wok Restaurant is open and operating in the Oka Plaza Annex adjacent to Pay-Less Supermarket. Since their November opening (they took over Yummy Tummy and changed the name), owners Mindy and, her husband and Chef, Jackie Li have been gradually increasing their customer numbers by serving quick, delicious, and fairly inexpensive meals, especially during lunch. Fast Wok's name is appropriate, as it seems that everything is cooked and served with speed as priority one. Fast Wok serves lunch daily with extended hours of 10:30am until 3pm and dinner six nights a week, Monday to Saturday from 5:30pm until 10pm. The daily lunch specials are really packing in crowds with a price that's hard to beat - $4.95! There may be lower priced lunch specials at other restaurants, however when you consider the portion size and quality of the meal such as the Fried Half Chicken which is regularly priced at $6.95, it is a great bargain.
Fast Wok's sign describes the restaurant as serving Vietnamese Oriental Cuisine, which leads one to believe that Vietnamese is probably their major emphasis. My observation the other day was that Cantonese Chinese was prevalent and that most of the diners were Chinese. When I first walked in for lunch, there was not an empty seat nor table in the house (they seat about 30 people at 8 different sized tables). It was around 12:30pm and there was a line of people ordering and picking up take-out (which you can get by calling 647-8989). I left and returned in about 25 minutes when things had cooled down a bit and I was able to get a table. I recognized my server, Mei, who is a veteran in Guam's restaurant business, having worked for years at the legendary Istimewa, then Shirley's (built in nearly the same 'Sleepy Lagoon' location where Istimewa once stood). She showed me the board that listed about 4 or 5 lunch specials for the day and asked for my order. I asked what the fresh vegetables were today, and she said they had Chinese Broccoli ($8), which is s special item not on the menu and subject to availability. I did order the Crispy Fried Chicken Special after seeing a pile of golden friend chicken at another table which Mei confirmed was one of the $4.95 Lunch Specials. I scanned the 35 item menu and decided to also try the Shrimp Fried Noodle dish ($6.95).
During the course of receiving my food, the lunch swarm cleared out, and by the time I had my second course (broccoli was first, then chicken), the place was almost empty (about 1:15). So, as a rule it may be best to arrive early, between 11am and noon, or go for a late lunch after 1pm, and you should have no problem getting seated. The Chinese Broccoli was marvelous, with thick green crisp stalks freshly sauteed with crunchy garlic slices, served in a oyster sauce blended with a wine base. It was a dish I could have eaten by itself all day long, with each bite imparting a vitality unique to the essence of fresh produce. I guess people would think me strange if they watched me eat, since I was marvelling at this beautiful dish, not just taking pictures, but savoring each mouthful and spooning up that lovely fragrant sauce. This is why I enjoy what I do, since I really appreciate food that's well-prepared, and the fresher, the better.
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