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August 6, 2004, Volume 4 Number 32

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

If you like seafood, then you'd better plan on attending this coming Saturday's 6th Annual Fisherman's Festival to be held at the Guam Fishermen's Co-op, starting at 10 in the morning and lasting until 6 that evening. I've attended the last few years and can attest that this is one of the island's best kept secrets, and truly fun for the whole family. This festival is part of the 9th Annual Marianas International Fishing Derby, which runs both Saturday and Sunday. The Festival will feature demonstrations, games and educational exhibits. Children will be able to create fish art, where they paint small inanimate fish with deep-hued tempera paint, then press paper around the fish's body, creating a beautiful (and original) work of art. The kids really loved this activity last year.

Although there will not be a Kelaguen Contest in this year's festival, there will still be plenty of fresh seafood sampling. Manny Duenas, GFC President, impressed me last year with his Smoked Marlin, which is fabulous any way you eat it, and they prepared it several ways (the Marlin Dip spread on Sky Flakes was a hit!). His Marlin Burgers are awesome, both for taste and health! You can also expect to sample Marlin Kebabs, Marlin Cutlets, and Marlin Poki. The public is invited to this free event, which the Co-Op is holding to promote awareness of the abundant sea-life in the waters surrounding Guam. If you've not been to the Fisherman's Co-Op's Seafood Market, you should make it a point to drop in and see the variety of fresh fish and crustaceans that are available for purchase. You can also purchase some great prepared take-out dishes, including salmon sashimi and poki.

Those who didn't attend last year's event were disappointed about missing out on this free seafood extravaganza, with many claiming they didn't hear about it in time. Well, now that you've heard about it, I hope to see you there. Just make sure you show up with an appetite - I promise you'll be delighted!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

Bestseller Cafe - New Menu Items Add Up to Delicious Eats!

Ronnie Calvo-Perez has done it again! This time, she has ramped up her menu at Bestseller Cafe (in the GPO Annex in Tamuning) with new Breakfast, Lunch, and Dessert & Snack items. Among some of the new morning additions are Pain au Chocolat, Almond Croissant made with Dubouchette Amaretto, homemade Granola, Wheat & Fruit Muffins, Orange-Raisin Scone, and Sticky Buns. (I can vouch for the Orange-Raisin Scone - it's a doozy, big and flavorful!).

Lunches now feature savory Ciabatta Breads, Deli Sandwiches on Honey Wheat Buns, Panini, exotic Salads, Vegetarian Quiche, and Stockpot Gourmet Soups. Many items are pre-packaged and presented in a refrigerated display case, and can be eaten at one of the Cafe's tables or taken to go. For snacks and desserts, while having an Espresso Blend, you can indulge in an Apple Hazelnut & Berry-Cheese Crostata, Chocolate-Hazelnut & Passion Fruit Tartlets, Spicy Ginger & Citrus Teacakes, homemade Biscotti, Coconut Macaroons, Fudge Brownies, Pumpkin Crunch Bar, N.Y. Style Cheesecake, and Bread Pudding. I treated myself to an Apple Turnover the other was the best I've had in a long time, made with quality ingredients with nothing missing!

In case you didn't know, Bestseller Cafe is open daily with varying hours as follows:

Mon-Thur 7am - 9pm
Fri 7am-10pm
Sat 9am-10pm
Sun 10am-8pm

Lunch items are available after 10:30am. Bestseller Cafe is an ideal place to relax and chat with friends while eating. It's also a place where you can get one of Ronnie's signature Cinnamon Rolls, made fresh daily at her Cup & Saucer Bakery! Kudos to Ronnie and her team for giving us more quality menu choices.

"Eat Smart, Live Healthy" - CREES Ad Advises Reducing Salt

In another NMC CREES (Northern Marianas Cooperative Research, Extension and Education Service) ad published in the Marianas Variety, people are advised to limit their daily sodium (salt) intake to less than 2400 milligrams (about 1-1/4 teaspoons of salt a day). The ad states, "Since we eat a lot of processed foods and use soy sauce and monosodium glutamate (Aji) as staple flavorings, our salt intake can average between 6 to 8 teaspoons a day. That's a lot of salt! A diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure or hypertension, which is a contributor to strokes and heart attacks." The CREES ad recommends the following tips to "shake the salt habit":

- "Cook with only small amounts of added salt(do not add aji or MSG)
- Experiment with different herbs and spices (ginger is a tasty substitute)
- Read food labels for sodium content - Limit intakes of high-sodium foods like canned & processed meats, chips, canned soups, ramen, processed cheese, bouillon cubes, miso"

We realize that foods eaten with no salt seem close to tasteless, however, over time and as your taste buds adjust as you wean yourself from this "pernicious salt habit, you'll be able to enjoy the natural, undisguised flavors of many of the foods we love to eat. Once you've done this, you'll be amazed at your reaction to salted foods - something you'll notice immediately. Read the labels of the foods you buy - you'll feel healthier and you may live longer!

International Bowling Competition Brings 27 Nationalities to Guam

When Joey Miranda III (Secretary General of the Guam Bowling Congress) told me last year about an International Bowling Competition coming to Guam, I had no idea that we'd be hosting 171 bowlers from 27 countries this week! Suddenly, I saw recent newspaper articles featuring tall Swedish guys and a lithe Korean lass tossing a ball down a Central Lanes alley.

The Mexican women's team won the Doubles Gold Medal in the 8th World Tenpin Bowling Youth Championship this week, defeating Team USA, and the Swedish team took the Gold in the men's competition. The tournament will continue this week and ends on Saturday with the Master's Division. This explains all the young foreigners in colorful jackets and polo shirts walking through our stores and shopping centers. Some of the countries attending are Korea, Venezuela, Thailand, the Philippines, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. This is a perfect opportunity for us to show some of our warm "Hafa Adai" hospitality to these young visitors (and their adult chaperones) so they take back great memories of their experiences on Guam.

Around the Island - Curry Kebab, Giant Lobster & Steak, MCA General Meeting

There are few places that I'll never tire of recommending, and one of them is the Curry Kebab, located across from AK in Tamuning's Hafa Adai Exchange. It's one of the island's "classic culinary adventures"; eating here is akin to being transported to another land, which in this case happens to be India. Though they are still working on improving their service, they've got their food pretty well down. I sampled an Onion Bajji (not on the menu, though they do have Vegetable Bajji and Shrimp Bajji as appetizers) which is a fried fritter served with several chutneys. It's a spicy, inspired starter that glorifies the onion. The Mushroom Soup is a must-have, too, with flavors and textures from mushrooms and caramelized onions blended with fresh herbs, making it uniquely noteworthy. They do marvelous things with their other soups, as well. The Lamb Korma was an unexpected surprise, filled with cubed chunks of tender lamb cooked in a savory sauce blend. Many folks are discovering Indian cuisine for the first time by ordering some of the Curry Kebab's specialties. They are excitedly telling their friends and coming back for seconds!

Did you know that there is a genuine Chamorro jungle dining experience in the heart of Tumon? Local families and visitors to our island are discovering the "thrill of the grill" as they self-cook premium grade meats and fresh seafood on barbecue grills in the tables of Giant Lobster & Steak's "jungle garden". A special 20% local and military discount is offered on all menu entrees. This is a real bargain when you consider that Giant Lobster serves high quality Alaska King Crab Legs, Live Maine Lobster, Mahi, and Steaks. You'll love the Chicken Kelaguen that's an appetizer with the Chamorro Style Self BBQ. No other place in Tumon can match Giant Lobster & Steak's outdoor jungle dining experience with hanging plants, trees, plants, and flowers. You can't miss the burning tiki torches as they light up the night on the second story deck overlooking San Vitores Road. Go there both for the food and the adventure!

The Micronesian Chefs' Association will hold their monthly general membership meeting this coming Monday, August 9 at the Palace Hotel conference room. On the agenda will be details for the upcoming co-sponsorship of the 1st Annual Governor's BBQ Competition slated for late September. Doors open at 7pm with the meeting starting promptly at 8:30pm.

Don't forget about Movie Madness at Planet Hollywood. Receive a stamp on your Movie Madness Dining Card for every $10 spent at Planet Hollywood and when you have collected 10 stamps you get two free movie tickets to the movie of your choice at the Micronesia Mall Theatres. With all of the great summer blockbusters showing now, enjoy some of the fine food and beverage from Planet Hollywood and see a movie for free! Call 647-STAR (7827) for more information.

Taste of the Rio Grande at Manhattan tonight! Chef Jeff will tempt your tastebuds with Mexican and Southwestern dishes including Quesadillas, a Tostada Bar, Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas and Peach Cobbler among other favorites. The fiesta starts at 6pm in Manhattan at the SandCastle.

Carmen's Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant - Where Good Only Gets Better

I was honored with an invite to join a family birthday dinner for my friend, Carol, recently and was doubly pleased to learn that it would be held at Carmen's Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant in Hagatna. I didn't realize until that night how much I miss eating good Mexican food. Although I'd been meaning to return since my April 2001 review, I can honestly say the only person who has suffered from this absence is me - and I am glad to tell you that the suffering is over!

Positioned directly across the street from the Hagatna Cathedral, Carmen's occupies the ground floor of a two-story building that has glass window walls on two sides so that diners can view the goings on outside (if they wish). The atmosphere is lively, with Mexican music filling the background and brightly-hued walls contrasting with native art pieces, including paintings, sombreros, fiery red habaneras, and other authentic atmosphere enhancers. The real action, though, is all in the food that's served at Carmen's.

The first thing to hit the table once our group was settled down (including Carol's adorable baby daughter, Jasmine) was Carmen's signature tortilla chips ($3.50) that are made fresh daily. The chips are red, yellow, and dark blue, and once you start dipping them in one or both of the two sauces (the mild one combines fresh bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, corn, and cilantro, while the other is a zesty red pepper salsa), it is next to impossible to stop eating them.

Carmen's menu is straightforward, with Botanas (appetizers); Lite Fare (salads and tostadas); A La Carte items; Platos Especiales (Carne Asada Plate - $12.50); Platos (there are four, I selected Plate 2 which has two soft shell tacos); and two Vegetarian entrees, a Vegetarian Burrito ($7.50) and the Lorenza ($7). Our server, Celeste, was really on top of things, re-filling our Iced Tea glasses and managing the table so that nothing was left empty or in the way. She was assisted by another server, James, and both diligently catered to our group.

For my taco plate I asked for one beef and one chicken taco. These are BIG tacos, and come with Mexican rice and beans, mild salsa, guacamole and sour cream. (The Chicken Taco Plate is $9 and the Steak Plate is $9.50). I guess my plate cost $9.25. The homemade soft flour tortillas are thick with brown grill marks coloring their otherwise white surfaces. They were both packed with their respective meats. The meats had been marinated, grilled, and cut into small cubes to extend the flavors. I remember them being terrific the first time, and I marveled that they were even better! They were both so good I couldn't tell you which one I liked better. The Mexican rice was light and fluffy and seemed fresher than what I've had at other restaurants. The beans were good and topped with melting, shredded Monterey Jack.

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Mucho gusto!

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