June 4, 2004, Volume 4 Number 23
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
When Hemingway wrote "A Moveable Feast" in his later years, I am sure he didn't have the island of Guam in mind and, yet, I feel a strong connection between his book's title and the work that I do as a reviewer of restaurants and food experiences here on our little rock in the middle of the big blue Pacific. Though I read that book years ago in my youth, I believe that I might find much more that I can relate to by reading it again in my "maturity". In "A Moveable Feast" Hemingway wrote about his adventures in a life that has been labeled legendary.
Who knows, I may even be inspired to write a book about my food adventures, perhaps with the title, "Life: An Infinite Buffet". This past week's experiences certainly would fill a chapter in that book, with food encounters at Le Tasi Bistro, the ACS Relay for Life, the Great SPAMô Cook-Off, Al Dente, Niji, Hilton's Tree Bar, waffles in the Hyatt's Lobby, Tony Roma's, Fast Freddie's, and May's. Interlaced with the culinary capers would be episodes from a "Getaway from Guam While on Guam" story with the highlights including romantic beach walks, spectacular Tumon sunset panoramas, lavish accommodations with incredible hospitality at the Hyatt Regency, and an evening journey through Tamuning and along Tumon's under-construction, semi-constricted artery, San Vitores Road on top of a double-decker bus.
All this leads up to today's top story, the departure of my companion, Zee, who will be leaving Guam for a year of professional training on the Mainland. Believe me, she will certainly be missed by everyone who has been touched by her inimitable persona and style. Our splendid weekend getaway was the perfect way to celebrate and appreciate our special relationship. Bon voyage and much success with your studies, Lady Zee, and hurry back to take your seat across from me at our life's table! Go with God's blessings!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Holiday Inn's ACS "Taste Of Relay" Dish Soya Poached Salmon - A Real Winner
- Great SPAM Cook-Off Island Style IV - Round 1 Winners & Recipes
- Around the Island - LTB's Energy Drinks, May's Tofu, Kobe Moves
- NMC CREES "Eat Smart, Live Healthy" Food Tip
- Al Dente Ristorante - Inspired New Chef Masters and Enlivens Italian Classics
Holiday Inn's ACS "Taste Of Relay" Dish Soya Poached Salmon - A Real Winner
Last week's American Cancer Society "Relay For Life" Guam event was a phenomenal success, and according to some, probably its best effort to date. A new addition to the activities for "Relay For Life" was the "Taste of Relay" contest, in which teams were to prepare a dish that would be judged on having nutritional content based on ACS guidelines, as well as on presentation and flavor.
The Holiday Inn's submission, Soya Poached Salmon, was the jump-ahead favorite. Created with a Salmon Filet, Bok Choy, Soba Noodles, Tomato Chutney, Miso Broth, Pea Tendrils and Lemongrass, this outstanding preparation impressed both Pepe La Flamme and myself in our judging. Flavors were infused by steaming resulting in an extraordinary combination of taste and texture. Created by Executive Chef Sean, this dish is available at La Brasserie and is one of their most popular sellers. With the trend towards healthier eating, it is easy to see why! This dish is so good it will satisfy anyone, even those who do not usually eat salmon because of its strong flavor since the poaching subdues and tames them admirable. I highly recommend you try this outstanding dish.
Great SPAMô Cook-Off Island Style IV - Round 1 Winners & Recipes
Last Saturday's Great SPAMô Cook-Off at the Micronesia Mall Center Court was well-attended, though short on submissions. Regardless, there were three contestant submissions who move on to compete in the Final Round of the contest in two weeks. The First Place Winning Dish was Triple S "SPAMô, Spinach & Swiss" Quiche prepared by Dona Bushong; Second Place was Soldiers' SPAMô Salvation by Josette Greuling; and the Third Place winner was Shrimp Pasta Alfredo Mmmmagic by Ginny Caceres. The event was fun for the entire family, as special prizes were given out in addition to a raffle for SPAMô Souvenir items. There was also a live performance on stage of some truly talented young women from the BodyArts Dance School, under the direction of Jennifer Brouard. These young ladies performed their routines with poise, grace, and pride, wowing the audience with this rare appearance. Round 2 will take place this coming Saturday, June 5, from 2pm until 4pm. Congratulations to the winning participants and good luck in the finals.
Around the Island - LTB's Energy Drinks, May's Tofu, Kobe Moves
Le Tasi Bistro continues to impress its loyal customers with new menu and dessert creations. We were pleasantly surprised during a recent lunch to discover two new flavored energy drinks that are being sold (exclusively for now) at Le Tasi Bistro. While there's a whole rash of energy drinks on the market, these two are a little different, with both being completely "Sugar-Free" and having "O" carbs. The two flavors of these "XS" Brand Energy Drink are CRAN-GRAPE-CRAZE, which has caffeine, and TROPICAL BLAST, which is caffeine-free. Table tents promote the drinks with a message to "HAVE A BLAST", with the label on the can stating that "High-powered adaptogenic herbs mixed with potent levels of B-Vitamins, and key amino acids, make for a rocket powered lift any time of the day." I can attest to the fact that you'll get a lift, especially if you feel the typical mid-day sluggishness after eating a full meal. Give these a try, and be sure to ask for a slice of LTB's sugar-free cheesecake. It's delicious and healthier, too!
Following along with this healthy eating trend, be sure to try the Tofu Skin Vegetarian Dish at May's Restaurant. This is an excellent dish made from the skins of tofu sauteed in a sauce with fresh crisp snow peas, mushrooms from Japan, carrots and green onions. The tofu skins are thick and have a consistency similar to strands of mozzarella cheese. It's a wonderful treat for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, and loaded with protein!
One of our favorite Japanese restaurants, Kobe, which was in the Royal Orchid Hotel, has a new home at the Guam International Country Club in Dededo. Their telephone number is 637-7466.
NMC CREES "Eat Smart, Live Healthy" Food Tip
I recently noted a special advertisement in the Marianas Variety funded by a USDA CREES Grant. This is one of a series of ads titled "Eat Smart, Live Healthy ....one step at a time!" I consider this great advice and applaud the folks over at the NMC CREES (Northern Marianas College Cooperative Research Extension & Education Service) Program for this intelligent and timely information. This particular ad suggested substituting boiled yam or taro for the usual rice, which is the staple of most diets in our region. According to the ad "It's a healthier alternative because it is high in disease-fighting nutrients that white rice doesn't have." The ad illustrates a comparison between 100 grams (3/4 cup) of boiled yam vs. 100 grams (1/2 cup) of steamed rice. The yam has 116 calories vs. rice's 130; the yam has 4 grams of fiber vs. rice which has 0.3 grams; yam has 14 mg of Calcium vs. 3 mg for rice; and the yam has 12 mg Vitamin C vs the rice which has no Vitamin C. It's a fairly convincing argument for a healthier eating alternative to rice, especially since taro and yam are locally grown.
Al Dente Ristorante - Inspired New Chef Masters and Enlivens Italian Classics
If it's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, then it may follow that the same applies to an appetite, and in this case, the craving for a particular cuisine - Italian, to be precise! We are pleased to report that our appetites and cravings for Italian were recently overwhelmed by the masterful creations served by Al Dente's new Chef De Cuisine, Mirko Agostini, who has arrived on Guam from the Hyatt Hotel Canberra where he was the Sous Chef. Mirko hails from Milan, Italy and previously worked in London's Hyatt Carlton Tower where he began as a Chef de Partie. Mirko has found a new home in Guam and has fashioned a phenomenal menu of Italian classics that have already received "two thumbs up approval" from local foodies.
There are no easy choices when approaching Al Dente's formidable dinner menu. You have to navigate through 8 hot and cold appetizers, 3 soups, 8 pasta dishes, 7 pizzas and 9 Meat & Seafood Entrees - no easy task especially when all of them are screaming "try me" with voluptuous, seductive descriptions (and who said only the French were romantics?). Since we knew we could always return for the others, we settled on the Antipasto Misto ($18.50 with Italian meats, cheese, and seafood with sweet & sour bell peppers); two soups, Minestrone alla lombarda con riso ($8) a vegetable soup "lombardia style" with rice and Zuppa di pesce e frutti di mare con crostone all' aglio ($10.50) a fish & seafood soup with garlic croutons; a pasta dish, Linguine all'amatriciana ($18.50) linguine pasta with pancetta, red onion, garlic, fresh tomato and parmesan cheese; and two entrees, the Polletto ripieno ai funghi avvolto nella pancetta con contorno di patatine e spinaci in salsa di morelle ($24.50) chicken with roast mushroom stuffing wrapped in Pancetta topped with crispy potatoes and accompanied by spinach with morel sauce; and, finally,the Salmone avvolto nel prosciutto crudo di Parma su un letto di fagiolini e peperoni con salsa al limone verde ($27.50) Parma ham wrapped salmon on a bed of green beans and bell peppers with lime sauce.
Those familiar with Al Dente's dinner ritual look forward to a nice starter plate of hot pizza dough slices topped by a little cheese and accompanied by a flavorful aioli dipping sauce. They also offer a special homemade foccacia bread that has a blended sour cream and local eggplant dip that's marvelous. Our attentive server, Sam, got us started on a surprisingly good Australian Merlot (Deakin Estate 2002), which actually went well with everything.
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