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July 2, 2004, Volume 4 Number 27

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The other day I watched a portion of a vintage Ingrid Bergman film in which she played the hapless wife of an Italian fisherman in a very small coastal village near Mt. Etna. The scene that most fascinated me was when the fishermen in their long boats found a school of tuna and cast nets to corral the fish between their boats. As the nets were drawn in, the large tuna began to surface and were herded towards the main fishing boat (these boats were powered by oars, mind you). There were perhaps fifteen fishermen with gaff hooks and long poles who would hook and haul each huge skip jack up into the boat (it would take 3 men with hooks plunged into the body of the tuna to lift the flailing fish). The boats were designed with special inclining wooden ramps that allowed the fish to slide into a sizable holding pit.

All the while the men were singing an old Italian folk song most certainly about fishing. It was really a sight to behold, as these men really had to work hard to bring in these big 300 to 400 pound tuna, not at all like today's mechanized purse seiners and long liners, where machines haul in scores of fish all at once. The fisherman were directly involved in the catching of these wild-eyed tuna, which frantically battled to survive and avoid being caught by the hooked poles. These fishermen, both young and old, were following the traditions of their labor, something they would spend their lives doing. They prayed before and after they fished, asking God for a good catch and thanking Him for abundantly providing them with sustenance from the sea.

Just like the fishermen in the movie, we too, have a relationship with the ocean and depend on it for a variety of seafood and other needs. As all fisherman know, the sea has formidable power and can be temperamental and unpredictable. Our prayers are with the families, friends, and co-workers of the five young men from Sea Walker Tours who met their destinies in the rough seas of Piti this week. May God bless and keep their souls.

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • 4th of July Happenings - Pleasure Island's 6th Annual Street Carnival
  • Sam Choy's, GameWorks & UnderWater World - 5th Anniversary Celebration
  • Around the Island - New Tastes at Le Tasi Bistro - Anyone for Crab Ravioli??
  • Adventures in Bali VII - Kamasan Paintings and Tirta Gangga Water Palace
  • Magellan's International Buffet - A Surprising Difference You'll Enjoy

Weekend Events - Pleasure Island's Street Carnival, "Celebration Hometown USA"

There's plenty to do this weekend in celebration of the 4th of July holiday. Although there are Liberation Carnival events at the Paseo (with rides, entertainment, food, and games of chance), you can do that for the next few weeks until Liberation Day.

This weekend you should go to Tumon, where they're closing the street this Saturday to stage Pleasure Island's 6th Annual Street Carnival, which has become Guam's biggest street party! There will be over 30 booths, with plenty of food and drinks, as well as arts & crafts you can buy. There will be games and activities for the whole family. Some of the live entertainment includes Soul Vibration, Caliente, Baked, Total Control and DJ Mr. Simms. You can expect to be dazzled by magicians, dancers, and performing clowns. The party starts at 6pm and ends at 11pm, and admission is free!

On Independence Day, Sunday, July 4, the Navy will stage their annual "Celebration Hometown USA" at Polaris Point. The event starts at 3pm and lasts until 9pm. It is free and open to the general public, just be sure to bring a photo ID. This fun carnival has game booths, rides, food stalls, and some awesome fireworks - 45 minutes worth, starting at 8pm. Ryan Anderson's Magic Show will be in an entertainment line-up that includes Baba B and Pati (from Hawaii), Keith Floyd playing rhythm & blues, the Armed Forces Band, and a dance performance. You'll also be able to view displays by the Seabees, the Federal Fire Department, and the Base Security Force.

Sam Choy's, GameWorks & UnderWater World - 5th Anniversary Celebration

It's not too late to enter and win two Round Trip Tickets to Bali. These tickets are the Grand Prize for the Fifth Anniversary Celebration for Pleasure Island's Dynamic Trio - Sam Choy's, Gameworks, and UnderWater World. These world-class venues have provided great dining and entertainment to visitors and residents for the past five years and it's hard to even remember what that section of Tumon looked like before they were created. You can enter the contest every time you visit Sam Choy's, Gameworks (they've added 19 new state-of-the art games!)and Underwater World through Saturday, July 3. The Grand Prize drawing will be held at 10pm at the Pleasure Island Street Party Main Stage. For those who want to continue partying after the Pleasure Island festivities have ended at 11pm, Sam Choy's 4th Floor parking lot will feature a roof top Jam Session with 6 local bands.

Around the Island - New Tastes at Le Tasi Bistro - Anyone for Crab Ravioli??

Le Tasi Bistro has done it again with the introduction of sensational new menu items to delight your palate. Two new appetizers, Spicy Poki and a Ravioli de Crabe a la Creme de Parmesan (Crab Ravioli on a bed of tomatoes and topped with Parmesan), both $6.50, have been added to the menu. The Spicy Poki is not like the poki you normally expect. It has a very hot Korean mustard that completely clears your sinuses and the spiced tuna is served on a bed of pickled cabbage slaw. The Crab Ravioli is a treat worth having; served as a casserole with the perfect blend of cheese, marinara and real crab meat.

One fabulous new entree on the menu is Coquille St. Jacques et Crevettes a La Creme de Gingembre (Scallops & Shrimp marinated with ginger, served over pasta and laced with a light creamy sauce) for $18.60. The Scallops are big and cooked perfectly. This dish is quite aromatic, with the fragrance of ginger and green onion coming off the plate before you take your first bite. It is a bona fide example of Euro-Asian Fusion cuisine with the Asian ginger and green onion blending with a classic French seafood and cream dish. You can enjoy these, as well as some other new items, along with regular menu favorites at Le Tasi Bistro in Hagatna.

Adventures in Bali VII - Kamasan Paintings and Tirta Gangga Water Palace

The last day of our Continental-sponsored Bali adventure began with a delightful breakfast at Alila Ubud's open air restaurant. An assortment of fresh baked rolls, carafes of freshly squeezed orange juice, granola, and fresh tropical fruits awaited our group on a long table. The brewed coffee sped my recovery from a trance-like sleep in what had been one of my most restful evenings, and I relished the ham & cheese omelet I'd ordered, which was a good as any I've eaten. Early morning in Bali is peacefully quiet, especially at this hillside resort in the forest. We left this special place on a journey that would take us through countless villages and picturesque scenery in what can only be described as "Amazing Bali".

Among the more fascinating stops we made was a visit to Kamasan village, an artistic community near Klungkung in southeastern Bali, where we were introduced to the Kamasan style of traditional Balinese painting. We visited a school headed by renowned artist, I Nyoman Mandra, who in 1973 was requested by the Indonesian government to teach the traditional painting method to young artists. Opened in 1974, Sanggar Lukis Tradisional Gaya Kamasan, started with ten students. Since that time he has instructed over a hundred different young artists. Student cover their tuition and other expenses through the sale of their art. They have won numerous national and international awards through their creative artistic achievements.

The Kamasan style of traditional painting originates from religious symbols used in rituals and ceremonies and is greatly influenced by Hindu and Buddhist deities and myths that have been popular for centuries. The colors, motifs, and stories are uniquely presented via this intriguing art style which uses natural materials to make the pigments used in the paintings. The School has several rooms, most of them filled with paintings, and with one room having several display cases that show the process involved in creating the paintings. A glue is made from fish or animal skin (and even tree sap) to bind colors to the handmade cotton cloth. The cloth has been especially treated with starch and polished using a cowrie shell, which makes the surface smooth for easy drawing. Once characters and stories have been selected by the artist, a pencil is used to sketch them on the cloth.

Everything used is natural, with the brushes and pens cut from bamboo and the fibers from sugarplum stalks. The different colors are made from minerals such as iron oxide (orange & brown), ochre oxide rocks (yellow), mercuric sulfide (red, or cinnabar from China), carbon and kerosene soot (black), indigo leaves or copper sulfate stones (blue), and calcium (from deer antlers and burned bones) will make white. There are several processes involved in creating these paintings, though most elements are constant, so that body parts are outlined in black and red, hair is always black and skin and wood are brown. The artwork is a collaborative effort, with the initial drawings done by the more accomplished painters and apprentices adding colors. Only the most skilled artisans complete the final details since they have the most experience. Epic Indian myths like Ramayana and Mahabharata are most frequently illustrated in this traditional style of painting. These stories were part of Balinese lore as far back as the 9th century. There are some stories indigenous to Bali, such as the traditional Brayut folktale and Balinese astrological charts (palalintangan).

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Magellan's International Buffet - A Surprising Difference You'll Enjoy

Something's happened at the north end of Tumon Bay, home to Hotel Nikko Guam, which is where I went recently to try out the lunch buffet at the Magellan Restaurant, located on the ground floor. Magellan boasts a fabulous view of the manicured gardens and the beach beyond. This vantage point provides a view of the ocean beyond Tumon, with the dynamic surf pounding the reef line just yards away from a shoreline made more active on this visit by the lingering effects of Typhoon Tingting.

Aptly named after the Spanish explorer who "discovered", Magellan has enjoyed an increasing number of repeat customers who are spreading the word about Magellan's impressive culinary offerings at a price you won't believe. A colorful statue representing a white-bearded Magellan stands just outside the entrance to the restaurant, where he can be seen greeting a statue of a comely Chamorrita in a grass skirt and lei. Though this seems a bit corny, you'll appreciate the quality of the artwork (paintings, carvings, and handicrafts) that decorate Magellan's interior carrying the island paradise theme throughout.

Each month Magellan changes the theme and menu of its buffet. Although my review took place in June during which I experienced their Paradise Lunch Buffet, I am inclined to believe that their July theme, European Lunch Buffet, will be as impressive. The published charge for this lunch buffet is $15, however, if you have a local ID, you will enjoy a price of $9, plus a 10% service charge. For the quality of the food served, I thought that $15 was quite reasonable having paid more for lower-quality buffet food. I mention the "quality" of the food because that's what I believe makes this buffet better than some others.

Take the bread for example. You remember the French bread and rolls that were baked fresh and sold at the Dai Ichi's Le Creole? Well, there's a baker here (Lito, the Pastry Manager) who does a remarkable job. He bakes all kinds of breads (even cheese bread) and both hard and soft crust rolls with the right texture and yeast-flavor that makes good bread great. He also does cakes and pies (the pecan pie was worth having again) and an ube cake was good.

The buffet features a "live" station near the entrance, and the Paradise theme had a "Pot au Feu" as the centerpiece. This hot pot is full of a flavorful broth you pour over a bowl full of meats and vegetables you select. The meats were a variety of juicy sausages (Bratwurst), savory pork links, Portugese Sausage, as well as a side of tender, delicious Corned Beef. The vegetables were celery, cabbage, carrots, and white squash. This was worth having again and I did go back for more corned beef. Other hot items for the theme included Katsu-don, Szechuan Fish, Fresh Oriental Noodles (udon) with Vegetables, Breaded Fried Salmon, Braised Shortribs, and an outstanding Grilled Lamb Chops with a Green Peppercorn Sauce with Eggplant and Red Peppers. There are salad fixings and soup (today's was an Oriental Pork Meatball with Green Vegetables in a savory broth).

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Bon Appetit!

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