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April 2, 2004, Volume 4 Number 14


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The sweet, smoked-spiced aroma of Cajun cooking reached all the way out into the Hyatt's lobby and sent my appetite into over-drive as I knew my expectations for a dandy New Orleans supper were about to be met. They weren't only met, they were exceeded! For the next few days (until April 4), La Mirenda is celebrating "Creole + Jazz - A New Orleans Festival", and has brought out two chefs from the Hyatt Regency New Orleans to dazzle your taste buds with authentic Creole delights, and wonderful nightly Jazz performances by local artists such as Patrick Palomo, Mike DiAmore, Noel Santos and Jim Nabong.

Chef Charles Miles (who visited here in 1994 for a New Orleans bash at TJ's) and Chef Paul Freimuth, are cooking up a storm and serving a heapful of Creole standards including a rich, hearty Gumbo, Seafood Jambalaya, Etouffee, Blackened Catfish in a Creole Cream Sauce, and more entrees and appetizers than you can eat in one sitting! Chefs Paul and Charles have brought out special meats and ingredients you just can't get here every day (or even any day!).

You know you're in Cajun country when you taste the Smoked Pigtail and Okra, and if you're lucky to be there when they are cooking at the live action station, don't miss they Crawfish Monica with Penne Pasta! This fresh-cooked dish features uniquely-spiced Tasso Ham, which gives an incredible flavor to the pasta, vegetable, crawfish, and cheese blend, infused with a Chardonnay. To accompany your Cajun feast, La Mirenda is offering a New Orleans favorite cocktail, the Hurricane, which is a blend of light and dark rums, orange curacao, and tropical juices. It's light, refreshing, and goes down easily. Save room for the Pecan Pie - it's a real treat!

Lunch buffets are $16 and Dinner is $32 (plus the usual service charges). I suggest you call for reservations at 647-1234 'cause it was packed even on Tuesday. Go to La Mirenda for a taste of New Orleans and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city known for its superb cuisine and great jazz!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Okura Debuts Traditional French Dinner Showcasing Creations by Chef Arai
  • Around the Island - Le Creole Closes, Manhattan Happy Hour, Heiden Chicken
  • Horace Bristol Photographic Exhibit at GPO - March 7 through April 10
  • The Guam Family Business Conference 2004 - April 7 & 8, Hyatt Regency
  • GVB Excellence In Tourism Awards - Nominations Due by April 5
  • Subway Wraps - A Fast & Tasty Way to Healthier Eating

Okura Debuts Traditional French Dinner Showcasing Creations by Chef Arai

On March 27, The Sunflower Restaurant at the Guam Hotel Okura was the setting for an elegant dining experience featuring a "Menu Degustation" of traditional French cuisine prepared by Chef Katsuhiko Arai. The full course meal was paired with wines which proved to be ideally matched with each dish. Chef Arai masterfully presented his creations with classic French precision, with the use of sauces, colors, and textures - truly artistic!

This event revives the golden era of the Flamboyan, Okura's fine dining legend which has been closed due to 9/11 and the subsequent typhoons. This event may become a regular monthly happening (we certainly hope so) where Chef Arai can share his exquisite French culinary talents. Bravo, Chef Arai!

The evening's menu included:

Le Salade de Jambon cru et Thon au Sauce Pisteau - Proscuitto and ahi tuna seared with sauce

Le Fricassee de Escargot et Riz de Veau ala Bourguignon - Escargot in sauce with creamed veal on a baked wonton shell

Le Filet de Saumon et Lardefume a la Maconnaise - Fragrant, fruity smoked salmon filet

Le Carre d'Agneau ala Bordelaise - Robust lamb chops in a wine sauce

Salade Vert - Green salad

Le Fromage - Cheese course

Les tours d'Framboise avec Fruits Frais - A magical strawberry and fruit dessert

The wines paired were a BV Coastal Sauvignon Blanc, BV Coastal Chardonnay, Monterey Pinot Noir, and BV Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon.

Around the Island - Le Creole Closes, Manhattan Happy Hour, Heiden Chicken

On March 31 the Guam Dai Ichi Hotel's Le Creole Restaurant served its last lunch buffet. It was a bittersweet experience, much like the closing of that other Tumon landmark, Seahorse. However, with the Dai Ichi, there will at least be a resurrection in what is expected to be a new and better incarnation. The view of Tumon's beach and bay beyond are incomparable and will no doubt be utilized. Yesterday's buffet had a marvelous selection and they served more than usual as they cooked almost everything in the chiller! The popular French Baguettes were sold quickly, as were pastries and rolls in the display case - Dai Ichi was legendary for their accomplished pastry chefs and bakers. Though there will most likely not be another Le Creole, we look forward to welcoming a renovated, re-energized, and dynamic hotel with new outlets replacing Shimbashi and Claret as well. In the meantime, it will be "hard hat city"! Adios, old friends!

Chef Jeff is back in rare form this week with a special April Fool's Day Happy Hour at Manhattan! You will find Lobster Bisque on the buffet as well as Baked Oysters, Beef Brochettes and a French dessert rarely if ever seen on Guam - a "Crouqe en Bouche" which is a culinary work of art crafted from tiny cream puffs in the shape of a pine tree and drizzled with sweet caramel or chocolate - oh my! The fun starts at 6pm.

Heiden Fried Chicken held a Grand Opening for a crowd of over 250 people this past Tuesday at its new location in Mangilao, just off Rt. 10 on the way to UOG in the former Isabel's Cafe Nouveau location. Heiden is part of a 250-plus chain of fried chicken outlets in Korea, and features Chicken plates starting at $4.99 (4 pcs w/rice, salad, corn & radish), as well as Combo Plates, a Shrimp Plate and Chicken Nuggets. To go orders are welcome and can be made by calling 734-4443 from 11am-9:30pm.

Horace Bristol Photographic Exhibit at GPO - March 7 through April 10

Here's something definitely worth seeing at least once and that is the fabulous collection of black & white photos taken by Horace Bristol. Among the over 100 photographs are 24 vintage photographs of post-war Guam. Bristol was a photographer for LIFE Magazine and took pictures for the military throughout Asia.

Each photo is infused with humanity, telling more than just a thousand words - you will find yourself transfixed by these compelling images! Don't delay (as I did), but go and see for yourself - appreciate this artists unique perspectives as he captured the moment's essence of his subject, from Balinese farmers to displaced American workers lining up for a 3-cent bath. The Guam scenes and people are so real you'll swear you've seen some of the smiling faces of the people photographed around the island! Kudos for the Guam Humanities Council and the other sponsors for bringing Horace Bristol's "Stories From Life" to Guam!

The Guam Family Business Conference 2004 - April 7 & 8, Hyatt Regency

On Wednesday, April 7, Dr. James Lea, a nationally-known authority on family-owned businesses, will be holding a two-day conference which will provide valuable information on the rewards and challenges of running a family business. The seminars are intended for family companies of any size, as well as for professionals who provide services to these businesses. The conference is being presented by the employees of Directions and the Bank of Hawaii. For more registration information, go to GuamTraining.com or call 635-7501.

GVB Excellence In Tourism Awards - Nominations Due by April 5

Nominations for the GVB's Excellence In Tourism Awards must be submitted by 5pm on Monday, April 5. Application packets can be picked up at the GVB office in Tumon or can be e-mailed to you if you email them at dada@visitguam.org. This year's theme is "It's a Small World After All". This theme is based on the premise that our island has become a special destination for our Asian visitors, who are able to easily travel to Guam on the many flights available, as well as plan their visits ahead by accessing Guam info on the Internet. Guam's unique hospitality and warmth has made many positive lasting impressions on visitors from around the world. In this sense, Guam has become a "Big Island in a Small World" - now that's something to pat ourselves on the back about! The awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 1 and we will bring you more information about this event as the date approaches.

Subway Wraps - A Fast & Tasty Way to Healthier Eating

We take a lot of things for granted when we eat at restaurants and generally assume that the food we eat is nourishing, satisfying, as well as safe. That's a lot of assumptions to make, especially on an island with such a diverse ethnic blend of cuisines, methods of preparation, and long-lived habits. The truth about eating is that it's all about the choices we make. It's very personal, and in many cases startling. Were you aware that the Centers for Disease Control has proclaimed obesity as the number one health concern in the U.S.? Our children are being subjected to ailments related to obesity, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, cancer, and circulatory/respiratory diseases. A stunning statistic is that 15% (that's 9 million!) of children aged 6 to 19 are considered overweight, with more at risk of becoming so. I've said it once and I'll say it again, proper healthy eating habits start at home and kids should be educated, both at home and at school about nutrition. The emotional impact of being obese on young people can affect their self-esteem and well-being. What do we do? What can we do?

Well, one easy choice is to go to Subway, where you can eat fresh-made food and get an education about nutrition. We know about the low-carb movement and what's known as the Atkins Diet plan. I'm not on the plan, but I do understand that I can benefit by controlling my carbohydrate intake. The Atkins-Friendly Wrap offered by Subway is an ideal way to reduce carbs and get a good source of protein (assuming you're not a vegetarian). There are two Atkins-Friendly Wraps, the Chicken Bacon Ranch Wrap ($4.99 - 8 net carbs) and the Turkey Bacon Melt Wrap ($4.49 - 11 net carbs). We stopped by Subway (actually it took 2 trips, one to Tumon and the other to Barrigada) to try these new wraps we'd heard so much about. They must be popular since Tumon was sold out. The wrap which holds all of the goodies is made with soy flour, wheat flour, and sesame flour.

We asked for the standard formulation to get the advertised nutritional value of each offering: The Chicken Bacon Ranch has 480 Calories, 240 from fat, whereas the Turkey & Bacon Melt has 430 Calories, 230 from fat. Both have good fat values for the Atkins plan, with 40 grams of protein for the chicken and 32 grams for the turkey, as well a good fiber count of 11 & 12 grams respectively. The fiber reduces the carb values, so you end up with "Net carbs". The sodium levels are up there though, at 1340 for the chicken and 1650 for the turkey. The sodium can be reduced if you have to watch your sodium intake by limiting cheese, bacon, salt and olives. We wanted the full benefit of the flavor of these two wraps and I have to admit they were REALLY good-tasting and adequate for a meal. Both wraps are made with bell peppers, red onions, olives, and cheese, with the chicken getting some Ranch dressing and the turkey getting the savory Chipotle Southwest Sauce. They are micro-waved to melt the cheese and heat the meats, as well as seal the wrap. The consistency and chewiness of the wrap is appealing to me, and I could easily eat this particular wrap with anything. Our diets have conditioned us to eating more volume, so these wraps appear (they are) small. I'm not advocating this plan, but low-carb dieters will appreciate the benefit the wraps offer. For 50 cents more, you can reduce your carbs on any 6" Regular Sub by converting it into a wrap. On my next go around on these wraps I'm going to add some more veggies to my ingredient mix.

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Bon appetit!

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