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May 21, 2004, Volume 4 Number 21

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

I was recently touched by what I consider a "good" food news story that made the front page of Wednesday's Marianas Variety. A large color photograph showed four elderly standing behind a large basket of red and green peppers, with all of them smiling and holding local eggplant, squash, bananas, pumpkin, and cucumbers. They were smiling because they and other manamko' were the lucky recipients of approximately $400-500 worth of local fruits and vegetables donated by thirteen Saipan farmers and ranchers as part of the ongoing "mes Lancheros" (Farmers Month) celebrations.

A long table at the Aging Center in China Town was filled with a cornucopia of produce, including manila bananas, bitter melon, long squash, bell pepper, string beans, red pepper, tomatoes, eggplant, avocados, okra, cucumber, and winter squash. What a marvelous demonstration of generosity by these farmers, who showed up in person to make this donation! The fresh produce will feed the manamko' in the Aging Center for nearly two weeks.

What better gift than the nutritious produce harvested from the land! This is a kindness that could easily be adopted by Guam's farmers. What a special way to say thank you to our manamko' and to share the "fruits of our labor." This story made my day, and I'm sure it will brighten up yours as well.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • ACS Relay for Life Adds "Taste of Relay" Healthy Cooking Contest
  • Around the Island - Mermaid Tavern, SPAM Cook-Off, Joyful Graduation Specials
  • Adventures in Bali Part IV - Sobek Cycling from Volcanos thru Villages
  • Saipan's Aqua Resort - Chef Hubert Adds Healthy Creations to Menu
  • Old Hagatna Grill Five Years On - An All Star Menu of Greatest Hits

ACS Relay for Life Adds "Taste of Relay" Healthy Cooking Contest

This year's American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, scheduled for May 28, will feature for the first time a "Taste of Relay" healthy cooking contest. The contest is designed to encourage participating teams "to make healthier choices for their food tables at the event (you can have the bbq, the desserts...but don't forget the grains and the veggies!)", according to ACS Executive Director, Elaine Low. Teams will submit nutritious recipes that follow ACS nutrition guidelines (high fiber/low fat) for review before the event and then bring their prepared dishes for judging on the night of the event. It's a great idea that will further enhance this popular, well-organized event which has consistently enjoyed island-wide support and participation.

Around the Island - Mermaid Tavern, SPAM Cook-Off, Joyful Graduation Specials

There's an interesting new experience waiting for you in Hagatna's GCIC Annex which is home to the Mermaid Tavern at The Great Deep Brewing Company. Presently the tavern is only open for dinner since the raison d'etre for the establishment is the locally-brewed beer. They serve a solid line-up of Famous Po Boy sandwiches (a traditional New Orleans favorite - it's a Southern version a sub sandwich) and you can order Sausage, Chicken, Yellow Fin, and Vegetarian Po Boy amongst others all within the $6.50 - $7.50 range. There are also salads and a family of burgers. They even have some Homemade Southern Gumbo and I can't wait to try some of this! For more info, call 472-BEER (2337).

Attention Spam Lovers!! It's time again for The Great Spam Cook-Off Island Style IV! Round 1 will be Saturday, May 29 with Round 2 the following Saturday, June 5. The finals will be on Saturday, June 12. All events will be held in the Micronesia Mall Center Court. The overall winner will receive a trip for two to Austin, Minnesota, home of Hormel Foods, and includes 5 nights' hotel stay and $1,000 cash. For information about entering the contest call 649-7706.

Joyful Chinese in Tumon has a very special offer for those special Graduation parties and dinners from now through June 30. Choose from one of their special Graduation Set Menus and receive 10% off the meal when you present the coupon available at Graduates, teachers and school employees are all eligible for this special menu and discount. Call 649-8108 for reservations and information.

Adventures in Bali Part IV - Sobek Cycling from Volcanos thru Villages

If you want an exciting, culturally-rich, physically-invigorating, and visually-stimulating travel adventure, then the Sobek Cycling tour is the right answer when you visit Bali. Our Continental-sponsored Media Tour group found this to be one of the best ways to see the beautiful country-side and ordinary Balinese village life first hand and not peering through the windows of an air-conditioned bus. You ride a bus to Mount Batur, a volcano located in Bali's central mountain region, to begin this adventure. Your morning "kopi" (coffee) and refreshments are served in a small restaurant perched on the side of the mountain overlooking Lake Batur, Bali's highest volcanic crater. The air is rarefied and the elevated atmosphere is perfect for composing oneself to be ready for the cycling adventure ahead.

We then took the bus to the Sobek (Sobek is Bali's premier adventure tour operator, known as the "Adventure Specialists") Start Station where we were matched with our mountain bikes and safety helmets. We then received our safety briefing from Hero, our Sobek cycling guide. Once we started on the small country trail it was fairly easy since it was mostly downhill (thank goodness!). Hero had a great sense of humor and entertained us throughout the tour, which, in hindsight, made the long journey more tolerable especially for those not used to cycling. It's amazing how laughter minimizes the aches and pains of muscles rarely used! It also dissipates fear, so that riders can enjoy the freedom of an open road filled with new discoveries, without being hampered by a fear of the unknown.

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Saipan's Aqua Resort - Chef Hubert Adds Healthy Creations to Menu

The Aqua Resort has recently introduced a new and exciting menu creations, including some designed for healthy lifestyles. Along with the Salad a la Greque (Seasoned Greens with Feta and Egg), you can have the American Cobb Salad or a Nicoise Version with Seared Yellow Fin Tuna. The Lemon Yogurt Chicken (a low-cal choice) is baked in a yogurt & herb marinade and served on brown rice with vegetables ($13.50). Another entree is the tender Filet Steak on a tasty Vegetable Stir Fry (an Adkins choice) for $21.50. Another low-fat option is the Steamed Halibut with Garlic & Ginger and Sauteed Greens with Soy for $19.50. A Grilled Ahi Steak on Crisp Salad with Sesame & Peppers is $17, with a final selection, a yogurt based Vegetarian Curry served with white or brown rice and cucumber raita for $11. Kudos to Executive Chef Hubert Friedle for adding these healthy selections to his already impressive menu!

Old Hagatna Grill Five Years On - An All Star Menu of Greatest Hits

There is nothing ordinary about the Old Hagatna Grill, which is one of the many reasons OHG has reached it's successful positioning among the top of Guam's best dining destinations. It's casual, laid-back ambiance relaxes guests so they feel right at home, leaving their minds open to the great food experience they've come to expect. It is a favorite hang-out for lawyers (who seem to hold an informal after hours court along OHG's sturdy polished wood bar; after all, once you've passed the Guam Bar, you're qualified to practice at OHG's "bar!"). Business types, military, and professionals from the public and private sectors are just a few of the regulars you'll find gracing OHG's tables during lunch and dinner hours. Though it's nice to rub elbows and catch up on the latest scuttlebutt, or even to get a preview of tomorrow's headlines, people come to the "Grill" (as it is affectionately called) primarily for one thing - it's fabulous food!

We recently visited the Grill for dinner, where we learned that the current menu highlights the most popular entrees served over the past five years of the Grill's existence. According to owner David Hanley, the menu is designated as OHG's Fifth Anniversary Menu. Regulars will recognize and remember this stellar selection of starters, salads, seafood, pasta, and dinner entrees, all of which have been resurrected in stunning presentations by the Grill's culinary wizards, headed up by Executive Chef, Christopher Aguon. Newcomers will just be impressed.

For appetizers, we opted for the Coconut Crab Cakes ($12) and the Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta ($10). If you love crab cakes, it doesn't get much better than these! Two big, golden-brown coconut toasted patties take center stage on the large plate fringed with a light dusting of cayenne pepper. Three islands of fresh, diced fruit salsa divide pools of Passion Fruit Buerre Blanc. The patties are made with snow crab, sweet pepper and onion, and mixed with an herbed aioli. The flavors are fantastic as you eat bite after bite of crisp outer shell and the moist, tender crab cake blend that goes beyond way good when dipped in the butter sauce and joined with the fruit salsa. Cilantro garnishes are consumed with drizzles of balsamic vinaigrette that lace dramatically through the butter sauce.

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Bon Appetit!

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