June 25, 2004, Volume 4 Number 26
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Next week we mark another anniversary of the Guam Diner website and newsletter. It was our June 29, 2001 (Volume 1 Number 1) issue that announced "The Guam Food Guy Has a New Home!" My, how time has flown...and just to think that we have consistently published weekly newsletters since then that have been read by subscribers in different parts of the globe who all have a common tie to Guam - food! I am even more amazed by the evolution of Guam Diner and how we now have a sister site, HawaiiDiner.com, which sends out a bi-weekly newsletter. I was delighted to see their June 18 newsletter that featured a picture of the special limited edition can of SPAMô commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Guam.
The Guam Food Guy's weekly restaurant reviews are broadcast every Friday morning during Newstalk K-57's Jon Anderson Show, a tradition that's continued for nearly four years. The Guam Food Guy's Top 30 picks and Annual Banquet Guides have been regular features in Directions Magazine since 2002, after debuting "It Gives Me Great Pleasure - How I Became the Guam Food Guy" in the December 2000/January 2001 issue of Directions. All of this and more, including numerous tasting events and food contests, have taken place since the very first e-zine I sent out reviewing Boston Pizza on January 19, 2000.
This past week I received a phone call from my mom in Houston, Texas, where she is attending a computer/web class for seniors. She told me how her instructor informed the class that they had a celebrity in their midst, and proceeded to project on their screen the Guam Diner website, which drew a lot of praise and compliments. It certainly made her proud of me, and likewise, I am proud of her for staying up with technology. After all, it was as her "designated kitchen helper" (from "Becoming the Guam Food Guy") that I had my introduction to the wonderful world of cooking here on Guam in 1959. Thank you mom, and thank you, Guam, for igniting my passion for food!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- "Memphis Sweetness" Wins! - 1st Annual Father's Day BBQ Sauce Showdown
- Chuck's Steak House's Famous "Baseball" Cut Steak - You've Got to Try This
- Hilton & Strauss - Classical Music, Food and Win a Round-Trip to Austria!
- Around the Island - Firefly Dinner Specials, King's, Wagaya 88, Michelle's
- Adventures in Bali VI - Alila Ubud's Magical Spa & The Dirty Duck Diner
- The Brown Bag Cafe - Healthy Gourmet Salads, Sandwiches and More
"Memphis Sweetness" Wins! - 1st Annual Father's Day BBQ Sauce Showdown
Overcast skies and occasional downpours did not dampen the spirits nor the competitive fervor of six contestants who bellied up to the BBQ pit to apply their homemade basting sauce to pre-cooked baby backs in a battle for the best finish. The purpose of this 1st Annual Father's Day BBQ Sauce Showdown was to have the winning sauce included as a fourth option for Executive Chef Joe Borja's delectable ribs, a popular item on the Grille at Santa Fe's menu.
Well, victory was "sweet" indeed for Antiwon Ewin, whose "Memphis Sweetness" basted best and won the judges' votes for the tangiest, tastiest, and most bodacious BBQ sauce. Ewin's sauce was "good enough to be bottled and sold", commented Chef Joe. All of the entries were unique with a variety of ingredients and spicy tastes. Winner of the People's Choice award was Ruben Mortera's "Mango Madness", which was voted third place in the official judging. Judges included Tamuning Mayor Connie Duenas, GHRA President & GVB Chairman, Dave Tydingco, 2004 Miss Guam Tourism, Russchel Sebbalos, Chef Joe Borja, and the Guam Food Guy. The event was emceed by Hit Radio 100 Personality, Rick Nauta. All contestants walked away with a variety of prizes, with Memphis Sweetness promising to bring a taste of the genuine South to Santa Fe's menu - a finger lickin' treat you don't want to miss!
Chuck's Steak House's Famous "Baseball" Cut Steak - You've Got to Try This
Cravings. This is something we all get from time to time, and yes, this time it was for beef - a good ole, all-American steak! There's really only been one place on Guam that for the past three decades has been serving steaks consistently, and that place is Chuck's Steak House in Upper Tumon. Now under the experienced management of foodservice veteran, Mr. "B", Chuck's has even made improvements since my last review with the resurrection of their Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms - a standard for us old timers! I also ordered a garlic cheese toast, which has enough for two people.
However, the real deal for this meal was Chuck's famous "Baseball" Cut, which is a 15 oz top sirloin ball of exquisite Certified Angus, charred and seared on the outside and medium rare on the inside - just steak perfection. There were other foodies in the house that night, the Alcorn family of Raytheon sub-contractor Global Food Services, who were enjoying platefuls of Chuck's delicious offerings including their Alaska King Crab legs. These looked really BIG, and from the way diners at various tables were eating them, must have been awfully good, too! This will be something I'll have next time! So when you have a craving for steak, you can count on Chuck's to satisfy that need!
Hilton & Strauss - Classical Music, Food & a Chance to Win a Trip to Austria!
We mentioned this unique dining and musical experience which happens this coming Saturday evening, June 26 in last week's newsletter. We mention it again this week because there has been an amazing development over the past few days which we're sure you'll be interested to know. Austria Air has agreed to provide a Round-Trip Ticket to Vienna, Austria as a prize in the raffle! All tickets purchased for the event will be automatically entered in the drawing and you can increase your chances of winning by purchasing additional raffle tickets at the event. Tickets are still available ($65) and can be purchased and reservations made by calling 646-DINE(3463). Diamond Club members please call 649-5036 for information on rates and benefits for this special event.
Around the Island - Firefly Dinner Specials, King's, Wagaya 88, Michelle's
Firefly Bistro has nightly specials suitable for framing! On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, delight in Firefly's special Three Course Set Menu ($25) that starts off with a Fig & Goat Cheese Salad then you can feast on Firefly Steak Frites and finish of with an Orange Creme Caramel. Thursday Night Wine Special offers diners a free glass of Beringer Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc or Fetzer White Zinfandel with the purchase of any a la carte Dinner entree; and on Friday and Saturday Nights, you can receive a Free Special Appetizer with the purchase of any a la carte Dinner Entree. Call 477-2565 for reservations.
King's Lunch Specials are Hot! Especially the Kadon Pika ($6.75), which I had the other day. King's managers pride themselves on the saying, "if it ain't pika, it ain't 'Kadon Pika'"!! I can vouch that it's definitely "Pika" Kadon Pika! Also, King's gives you large, easy to eat thigh meat pieces instead of the typical bony, stringy, tough old bird you usually get in the more common version. King's makes it very convenient for us time-pressed customers who prefer this effortless and easy-to-eat version.
Wagaya 88 has proven so popular that they have opened a second location in K's Building at the corner of San Vitores and Happy Landing Road. Read the review of their original location in the Blue Lagoon Plaza. Congratulations to the owners and hard working staff of Wagaya 88. The phone number in the new location is 647-8880.
Michelle's Coffee Shop in Mangilao has Breakfast Specials from $2.99 and serves breakfast until 2pm for those of you who like breakfast later while Lunch Specials are served until 5pm. Michelle's menu has expanded to include Peking Duck and Roast Duck (both whole and half portions) and a family of ramen and yakisoba noodle dishes, including Michelle's signature Seafood Yakisoba. The menu has over 89 items. A great value is the Family Dinner Take-out Special for $10.99. You select two main entrees (choices include Mapo Tofu, Chicken Curry, Lemon Chicken, Salt & Pepper Pork Chop plus others) and then add on either Fried Rice, Yakisoba or Steamed Rice - now that's a real meal deal! Call 734-7722.
The Blue Marlin Restaurant in the Guam Plaza Hotel will be offering a very special Sunday Brunch in celebration of Independence, July 4 from 10:30am until 2pm. Their extremely popular Tempura Station will be fired up to go along with all of their other excellent offerings. Reservations are a good idea so call 649-7760 or 646-7803. Adults $18.95 and Children 5-11 years $9.95 plus the customary 10% service charge.
Adventures in Bali VI - Alila Ubud's Magical Spa & The Dirty Duck Diner
After an action-packed day of cycling down from the Volcano and touring the awe-inspiring Taman Burang Bali Bird Park, our Continental-sponsored media group finally arrived at the Alila Ubud, a five-star resort that we were told would make quite an impression. Believe me, it was stunning in its simple, natural beauty and stylish design. Just minutes away from Ubud, Bali's artistic and cultural center, Alila Ubud is perched on a hillside overlooking the Ayung River. We were welcomed with a refreshing beverage and indulgent hospitality - service here comes with big smiles and attentive competence.
We availed ourselves of the opportunity to relax and cool off in the Alila's infinity pool, which seems to flow on over the hills and into the surrounding forests. This pool has been rated by Travel & Leisure Magazine as one of the 50 Most Spectacular Pools in the World. The entire property has the most enchanting atmosphere - it is beautifully landscaped with trees and natural walkways and open terraces that relax the mind, and though you hear the chirping of birds, it is very still, peaceful and soothing to the soul. The accommodations are made for secluded relaxation and communion with nature. There are no televisions nor radios in the suites, which have a contemporary design and function well with traditional Balinese architecture and the balconies open up to inspiring forest views. Alila Ubud certainly lives up to it's 5-Star designation as well as to it's resort destination motto, which is "surprisingly different."
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The Brown Bag Cafe - Healthy Gourmet Salads, Sandwiches and More
Lory Tydingco is one determined lady who knows what she likes and is on a mission to share this with a growing number of loyal customers who can be seen running around town clutching Lory's signature brown bags. The Brown Bag Cafe is Lory's brainchild and home to Guam's largest selection of gourmet salads as well as a host of healthy sandwiches, whole wheat pizzas, wraps, unique baked goods (such as a family of muffins made with cream cheese - how does Mango, Key Lime, Banana, Blueberry, Peach and Strawberry grab you?), quality beverages like Illy espresso and China Mist Tea, and an assortment of exotic packaged food products.
The Brown Bag Cafe is in the DFS Pacifica Building on Chalan San Antonio across the street from LBJ Elementary. The restaurant is right next to Citizen's Security Bank which is where you enter the building to get to The Brown Bag Cafe. Just look for the giant Brown Bag on the building! I stopped in one day after a little banking and got a lot of food. I believe The Brown Bag is the only place where you can get pizza made with a whole wheat crust. I ordered a Pepperoni Pizza ($6.95) from Nora (who, along with Marlene, does a lot of the kitchen magic) which is made fresh by hand and takes about 15 minutes. The pizza's between 7 to 8 inches in diameter and has a soft, refreshingly healthy tasting crust. Buffalo Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese are used. Lory says she'll soon be offering Chicken Adobo and Margarita Pizzas. She also has Garden Pizza with fresh veggies and tofu with cheese for $7.50.
I also ordered my favorite salad - the Mango Salad ($7.95), which is a large, full-sized meal on its own, laden with crisp Romaine lettuce, mangoes, oranges, pecans, tomatoes and feta cheese, with Lory's homemade raspberry vinaigrette which is full of wonderful garlic. This is a great salad and it comes with a herb roll. Other salads are Rainbow Crunch ($6.95); Ginger Chicken ($7.95); Popeye Spinach Salad ($7.95) with fresh spinach leaves, baby greens, mandarin oranges, walnuts, feta cheese and hard boiled eggs with a citrus vinaigrette; Cracked Wheat Salad; and a Cold Salmon Salad for $8.95. The Cold Salmon salad is especially popular as it is Atkins-friendly and also adherent to the South Beach diet regimen. Lory has recently introduced side salads for $4.95, which are smaller versions of these meal-sized salads.
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