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May 7, 2004, Volume 4 Number 19


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Congratulations to Hyatt Regency Guam's Executive Chef Michael Bonjiorno and his team for winning first place in last week's 3rd Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup Competition. The Hyatt team took home the coveted Chef's Cup with their Hot Appetizer course called "Trio of Eastern and Western Delicacies." Coming in a close second was a sensational Chamorro Fish Chowder prepared by Outrigger's team, headed up by Chef Tomasso Fois. Other competing courses were submitted by SandCastle Chef, Jeff Hill, the P.I.C. team headed by Chef Andrew Edwards, and last, but not least, Team Hilton, lead by defending 2-time champion and MCA President, Christophe Durliat, who created a spectacular dessert called "April in Paris - A Chocolate Fantasy" and I was most fortunate to be on this team.

It was an amazing event, and included a fabulous dining experience, superb entertainment featuring Asia's Songbird, mega-star Regine Velasquez, and other fund-raising activities for the attendees. One special event held was the Gourmet Meal Raffle, which gives one a chance to win a meal prepared for four at your house by your choice from among the competing chef's. This year's lucky winner was Holiday Inn General Manager, Joseph Zitnik, who we just learned will soon be leaving Guam for a posting at a new property in China. We will certainly miss our friend, Joseph, and his lovely wife, Pom (who spearheaded several Thai festivals this past year at the Holiday Inn), and wish them and their son the best in their future endeavors.

All of the teams competing in the Chef's Cup were winners, and this was no where more evident than in the kitchens where the teams collaborated and assisted each other in plating all the courses. The coordination and singleness of purpose was impressive. It was a happy event, as well as an educational one for the 1st year GCC Culinary Arts students who assisted with the presentation and plating. It was "culinary poetry in motion!"

And last but certainly not least, I would like to extend a sincere greeting of well wishes to all the moms in the world - Happy Mother's Day - enjoy your day!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

Mother's Day Specials - 'Breakfast in Bed' plus Many Choices to Dine with Mom

For those of you who keep the tradition of "Breakfast in Bed" alive or if you'd like to try doing this special treat for Mom, see a complete guide to creating the perfect "Breakfast in Bed" for Mom.

And, in keeping with America's most popular day-to-dine out holiday, Mother's Day, Guam restaurants are going above and beyond to help you show your appreciation for Mom. You can check out all of the specials by going to the front page of GuamDiner.com and clicking on the Mother's Day banner. Here are some of the highlights:

Le Tasi Bistro - While they will not be open on Mother's Day they are offering a version of the popular "Feast-To-Go" for Mother's Day. You can choose from Prime Rib Roast, Roast Leg of Lamb or Whole Poached Salmon accompanied by their famous Gratin Potatoes, Vegetables or Salad and choice of Cake or Pie. You need to place a deposit and reserve no later than 12 Noon Friday, May 7. Call them at 472-7877 for information.

Sam Choy's - This cool blue Tumon restaurant will be laying out a lavish Champagne Brunch Buffet which will include a Fried Mini Crab Cakes Station (that has to be a first!) and a Live Banana Flambe Station. Call them at 649-6637 for reservations. Oh, and don't forget that Jesse & Ruby will be there to entertain Mom.

Prego - This romantic Italian restaurant in the Westin has come up with a unique and wonderful idea which will give Mom and Dad a chance to spend some quality time together over a specially created 5-course Menu for Two. So, spend the day with the family but finish off a perfect day with a dinner for just the two of you. Call 647-0910 for information and reservations.

Planet Hollywood - They are pulling out all the stops for this Mother's Day event and offering 2 different seating times along with one of the most elaborate spreads I've ever seen them offer. They are going to have a Roast Pig in addition to the usual Beef Roast. The Kid's Corner is not to be missed. For the adults, they will be pouring Korbel Brut Champagne and free flowing Coors Light. Make your reservations now by calling 647-7827 (STAR).

Guam Plaza Hotel - Each of their great restaurants is offering something special for Mother's Day from the Blue Marlin, Nana's Cafe (25% off Mom's meal!) and the Palace Chinese Restaurant. You can call them at 649-7760.

May's Restaurant - If your Mom loves Chinese food, this is an excellent choice. May will be offering Special Menu Items just for Mother's Day and she has also created a series of 3 Set Menus which you can select from based on your family size. Call May's at 647-3188 to make your reservations.

Around the Island - Tasuke Restaurant, Wara, Planet Hollywood Coupon

You don't often hear much about Tasuke Restaurant, located in the arcade across from the Hyatt Hotel in Tumon. It's just a quaint, little inn that gives diners a brief rest from the hubbub of San Vitores. Once you enter there's either the plaintive plucking sounds of the koto or some other music that's distinctly Japanese, which soothes you with a calming tranquility. There's a large selection of Japanese foods from sushi to ramen. However, I like to go there for appetizers such as gyoza, tofu kimchi, cucumber kimchi, boiled pork ribs, deep fried octopus, edamame, and broiled mackerel (saba). This place has variety and the service is good, thanks to the experienced touch of owner, Tom Iizuka, who also owns the legendary Issin Japanese Restaurant in the Westin. You can call them at 646-5212.

A new restaurant has opened in the Ocean Plaza Building in Tumon which reflects one of the latest trends in dining out. Named Wara it is an Italian-Japanese restaurant which serves fresh pasta in a variety of preparations. I haven't had the opportunity to try this place yet but you can be sure that I will be checking it out soon! Their phone number is 649-6767.

Clip the coupon from Planet Hollywood and when you order an entree from their Chamorro Menu the coupon entitles you to $1.50 off Miller Light Draft Beer. You really need to try their great Chamorro dishes which were brought back by popular demand after making what was supposed to be a short-term run during Chamorro Month in March. There is always something new going on at Planet Hollywood! Call them at 647-STAR (7827) for reservations and information.

"Virtual Flight" - Uplifting Fund Raiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation

On Saturday May 15, Continental Airlines and Tiffany & Co. are joining with the Make-a-Wish-Foundation of Guam for a unique fund raiser entitled "Virtual Flight For Wishes." Attendees aka "passengers" will go to the airport, check through Security and head to Wish Gate 009 for boarding on Wish Flight 001. The event will feature a Continental hosted cocktail hour at the gate with celebrity servers and a silent auction. One lucky person will win the privilege of being Wish Flight 001's pilot. All "passengers" will earn 1000 Continental One-Pass Miles, First Class Dining, a beautiful gift from Tiffany's, and a chance to win other prizes. Make your reservations by May 7th by calling 649-9474. Fare for this event us $250 for BusinessFirst seating and $150 for Economy seating.

Visit the CNMI - Taste of the Marianas and Tinian's Hot Pepper Festival

May is tourism month in the Northern Marianas and a series of fun events will be taking place in the weeks ahead. May 14 is "Wear Red Day," so everyone in the tourism industry will be wearing red to emphasize the importance of the industry and its value to the community. The First Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival is scheduled to be held on Saturday May 15 from 10am to 10pm at Taga Beach Park. That's going to be a blast! Tinian is famous for having some of the region's best donne (boonie) peppers which they use to create some unique and pika products.

The 6th Annual Taste of the Marianas and International Food Festival and Beer Garden launches on Saturday May 15 and will continue every Thursday through June 12. There will be various food tastings and competitions among the hotel chefs. This event will be staged in Garapan, with more information forthcoming about the venue and schedule. Stay tuned!

More Bali Adventure - Waterbom Park Full of Thrills for the Entire Family!

When you take your family to Bali on one of Continental's special package tours, be sure to plan a day of excitement and fun at Waterbom Park, located within walking distance of Kuta Beach. Opened in 1993, Waterbom Park offers a fantastic range of activities, including the Boogie Ride, Jungle Ride (a slide for nature lovers which takes you through natural habitats), Lazy River, Eurobungy Trampoline, Raft River (Indonesia's longest water ride), Race Track, Pleasure Pool, and the Bombastic Aquatic Playground & Kiddy Park, where kids can frolic in a safe, supervised setting. And, to appeal to mom while the kids frolic, there is a Mandara Spa.

The one attraction I vividly remember is the latest and fastest slide, "Smashdown." I didn't realize until after I'd seen the literature on this ride that you can actually experience a weightless sensation when accelerating to 70 km/h. I took photos of this ride from a covered observation bridge near the bottom. Our group was fascinated by the brave riders who sped down the watery jet ways, shrieking, screaming and then laughing as they made their swift descent.

Since we were only going to be at the park for a limited time, I decided that I was at least going to go down one of the slides and I determined that it should be one of the less intimidating ones. After changing into my trunks, I went over to the entrance way of the water slides; a big, towering structure with several decks and platforms for the different types of slide rides. I remember getting winded as I made my long upward journey - a climb which will give you a real work out! I asked a strapping teenage boy, who seemed to be on his umpteenth ascent up the stairs, for directions to one of the rides and he pointed upward with a smile. We talked a bit during the climb, and I remember him telling me to go up a final flight of stairs as he departed for his rafting ride.

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Se Somjai Restaurant - New Bayside Home For A Venerable Thai Favorite

If you like Thai food and have never tried Somjai Vongjalorn's special home-style Thai cuisine, then you owe it to yourself and your taste buds to stop at her brand new home in East Hagatna between Bob's Whispering Palms and Cars Plus. Though she's re-named Somjai "Se Somjai" (she was originally thinking of having two locations, but later changed her mind), the new location has certainly given her more space and lots more parking behind the building - in fact, when you park in any of the designated spaces, you'll probably be transfixed by the mesmerizing bay view, a gentle breeze and the sound of the waves lapping up against the shoreline just a few feet away.

The restaurant is big, with two dining areas...the restaurant has tripled the seating capacity from the last location which was hidden away in Tamuning across from AK. This new place demands attention and filling...you know how it is with nature "abhorring a vacuum" and the same should go for this place. Somjai's followers and fans have been coming in, but more people need to come and experience Somjai's warm and sweet hospitality. She's just a darling as she walks out and talks to customers. You can feel that she genuinely loves welcoming her guests and really wants to make sure you are enjoying your meal just as though you were a guest in her home...she's that sincere!

We started off with an appetizer we'd heard about, the Deep Fried Pork ($10). This is probably one of the best fried pork dishes I've ever had, and seems to be an ideal "appetite whetter." You've got to try this, since it is cooked to an ideal doneness (not dry, but still tender and juicy) in a crisp, lightly seasoned batter. The sweet chili dipping sauce is what takes this appetizer to stardom. Sliced green onions and chopped peppers adorn the flavorful sauce, which is more and more awesome bite after spicy bite!

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Bon Appetit!

Don't miss this week's features at GuamDiner.com!

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Copyright 2004 Guam Diner