March 18, 2005, Volume 5 Number 11
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
The recent performance of VULA at the UOG Field house (as part of the UOG Charter Day Celebration) affected me deeply and in ways no other theatrical production has ever done in my entire life. VULA means the full moon in Fijian, and the four women actors (three from New Zealand and one from Fiji) who performed in this play that was set in a pool of water, captivated the audience and kept them entranced for the entire production.
VULA represents performing arts at its best, with special relevance for indigenous Pacific Island peoples and anyone who has an affinity for the cultures of this region. I had no idea of what to expect from VULA, and I honestly don't think it's possible to explain it in any written or verbal way that would do it justice. You'll just have to see it performed live, since it encompasses a diverse range of elements including mime, music, chants, songs, wind, lighting effects, water effects (flowing, splashing, raining), mystical illusions and a gamut of expressed emotions portrayed in ways that made connections with the minds and souls of everyone in the audience. For me, VULA was elemental and touched on what I love about living in this Pacific region - the indelible bond between the ocean and the people who interact with it, the commonality of the cultures, and the rich personality of the people.
Although I was able to meet VULA's internationally-acclaimed director, Nina Nawalowalo, at the end of the last performance, I was delighted to run into Nina and three of the lady performers at the Hilton the following night when they were returning from a boat ride. My visiting friend, Dr. Jonathan Morris obligingly took this photo of me with Nina, Fiona Collins, Tausili Mose, and Kasaya Manulevu. I thanked them for their inspiring performance and promised to visit their countries one of these days during my future Pacific dining tours. Kudos also go to Peter Onedera for making this Guam production of VULA possible. You have fed us a rich feast that has only served to "wet" our appetite for more!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Newsletter
ProStart State Culinary Competition - Sat March 19th, Agana Shopping Center
The public is invited to watch the ProStart State Culinary Competition that will take place this Saturday, March 19, at the Agana Shopping Center, around 10am. This contest is part of the ProStart Foodservice Program available for high school students throughout the U.S. who are interested in a career in the culinary arts.
The local competition is sponsored by Guam Community College, which has several satellite classrooms at various high schools which will have teams participating. Each team has had chef mentors coaching them for this competition, the winner of which will attend the National ProStart Student Invitational to be held at Disney World's Contemporary Resort.
The winners of the national contest will be awarded scholarships to assist them in their pursuit a culinary arts education. Unlike other contests that have been judged by taste and presentation, this competition is quite strict, with students having only one hour to prepared a complete three-course meal from scratch, without using any electrical appliances. They will be judged on sanitation, safety, temperature controls, and teamwork, as well as on taste and presentation. This is really a significant event, representing the first time that we'll have a team join in the National Competition. It will be fun to watch!
Pay-Less "Kick the Fat" 5K Fun Run/Walk & Fitness Fair, Sat March 19th
One of Guam's most popular running events is taking place this coming Saturday. The Pay-Less Supermarkets 5K Fun Run/Walk Fitness Fair is designed to help participants "kick the fat!" Show Time at the Chamorro Village is 5:30am and Go Time is 6am. Entry forms are available at Hornet Sporting Goods and at Pay-Less SuperMarkets, with proceeds to benefit Erica's House of Hope and the Capuchin Friars.
Marriott Cafe's Flavors Across Asia Meets Oceans of Flavor Dinner Buffet
It was Tuesday night and I had been tasked (as the Food Guy often is!) to recommend a restaurant with the best seafood to a group of visiting psychiatrists-in-training and students. It just so happened that this was the same night that the Marriott Cafe was launching their Flavors Across Asia Promotion that was merging with their Oceans of Flavor, which I knew to be replete with a variety of seafood creations.
My guests included our good friend, Dr. Jonathon Morris, who visits Guam each year to volunteer services at Mental Health and to teach at UOG, who brought two interns, Rita Krasnova and Elena Nikolskaia, (both natives of Russia now residing in the U.S.) and two students, Erin Lechner and Andrea Pereira. The entire group was completely overwhelmed by the variety and quantity of seafood at this superb buffet, which had several live stations including a Korean Fire Pot, Stir-fried N.Z. Lobster Tail with Veggies, Indonesian Gadu-Gadu, a wide range of Sushi and Sashimi, and Japanese Noodles. Buffet items vary each night, with a selection that ranges from Poached Catfish with Lemon Grass, Oysters Grilled in Ginger Sauce, and Crab Fritter Prodeil to Shrimp and Fish Kelaguens and special Seafood Dim sum by Chef Leland. This dining adventure drew raves and praises from the group, with Elena declaring this buffet as having been the best seafood dining she's had in her life!
The Flavors Across Asia dinner buffet is priced at $35/adult and $17.50 for children, and will run from now until May 15. If you like prime rib, Marriott's is among the best and you can eat to your heart's delight. A Lunch Buffet is running concurrently, and is priced at $15/adults, with a more limited, but still good, selection. Call 648-1610 for reservations and information.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from GuamDiner Newsletter
This weekly feature offers a perspective on the things that were happening in Guam's dining scene this time a year ago. When we look back, we can see where we've been, and this gives us an idea of the progress we've made and perhaps a view to the places we are going.
March 19, 2004, Vol. 4, No. 12
Restaurant Reviewed: Lin's Vietnamese Restaurant - Guam's Taste of Vietnam Reborn
Kelaguen Rules! - Recipes from Maila Ya Ta Fan Boka Kelaguen Contest
"Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining in Guam" Now Taking Space Reservations
If you are interested in placing an ad in the upcoming publication, "Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining in Guam", you can access details on the ad placements, sizes available, and their prices from the rotating large banner at GuamDiner.com or from the permanent banner on the lower right. If you are in a hurry, just click here. This is really exciting stuff, since we've been in need of a comprehensive guide for a long time. So, if you have a business you'd like to prominently promote in this divinely delicious publication, please call 635-7501 for more information on this tasty opportunity.
Around the Island - LTB's New Dinner Menu, Nilo & Clint's Secrets and more!
Le Tasi Bistro has just introduced a new dinner menu that promises to please discriminating palates in their tradition of serving exciting continental classics as well as new fusion creations. New appetizers include Chicken Skewers marinated with Chili Spices, Crab Ravioli and preserved Tuna made with local herbs and hot peppers served over cream cheese toasts. For entrees they have added Chili Con Carne (in their famous crunchy bread bowl), a Fish Burger of the grilled fish of the day on onion bread laced with wasabi aioli, and a French Burger which is really an upscale steak sandwich featuring an 8 oz NY Steak on French roll with onions, mushrooms and blue cheese. Check out all of the new offerings including the Duck a l'Orange. Call 472-7877 for reservations and information.
Nilo and Clint's Bistro (formerly Mulligan's Cafe, in the Tumon Golf Driving Range past Chuck's Steak House) has been gaining new fans every day with their awesome culinary creations by veteran Chef Nilo Vega. During a recent visit I was able to taste Nilo's Yorkshire Pudding served with his Prime Rib. I also saw a diner tackle Nilo's Whole Fried Standing Parrot Fish! Nilo and Clint's is open every day from 11am to 2am (they will take your order at 1:45am without problem!) Clint had me sample one of their best kept secrets, a special hand-made Rocky Road that's to die for...without a doubt, one of the finest ice cream concoctions ever created, not available anywhere else! The second best kept secret shared was an aged Opus X that's part of Clint's personal cigar collection, certainly one that will impress Guam's cigar afficianados. Amazingly, you can't smell cigar smoke in the dining area since they engineered a system to remove the smoke. Nilo and Clint's Bistro changes lunch and dinner menu selections daily. Go eat there and see for yourself! Call 646-8342.
If you're in a rush and looking for great Vietnamese take-out, why not consider Mary's Vietnamese on Rt. 16 in Harmon, who makes the best Fresh Lumpia. I have tried just about everyone's fresh lumpia and Mary's has been the most consistent, filled with the freshest ingredients (chicken, shrimp, lettuce, bean sprouts, and chives) wrapped in a pliant, fresh wrapper. The hoisin peanut dipping sauce is revved up by Mary adding a dollop of hot chili paste. I also had one of Mary's famous Fried Pork Chop plates. Talk about a filling and flavorful take-out meal which you can order by calling 649-5523.
Hava Java Cafe's Chicken Salad Sandwich is famous for making people happy and it's become my personal sandwich of choice, which is actually what you get for $6.75, a lot of choices! The chicken salad is made fresh daily and I order it on a toasted baguette, with lettuce, tomato, red onion, alfalfa sprouts, dill pickles, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and provolone cheese ($.50 extra for cheese). The price also includes a terrific cole slaw and a refillable China Mist Iced Tea or Lavazza Iced Coffee. You just can't go wrong...call in for take out at 477-0600. Don't worry, if they are out of baguettes, or even chicken salad, they've got plenty of other tasty sandwiches, beverages, and pastries.
Izakaya Katsu - Legendary Japanese Cuisine Dazzles Behind the Green Door
Izakaya Katsu, located on the 3rd Floor of Tumon's Central Plaza Bldg., has established a reputation as one of Guam's hot spots for great Japanese food. It's been almost 2-1/2 years since my last review of Katsu, a.k.a.., "the Green Door", a curious alias attributed by the fact that this converted Mah Jong parlor has two green doors, both serving as entrances and exits, with one facing San Vitores, and the other serving as a welcoming landmark for those who ascend the three stories inside the parking garage. Although this latter door has remained relatively unchanged in the five years since I first visited Izakaya Katsu, the immediate area surrounding the door has evolved into an exterior art gallery, blending traditional Japanese sake barrels with floral stained glass, lacquered driftwood, a large shrub's skeletal remains painted in bright colors, looking like some sort of underwater coral formation, and some other miscellaneous collectibles that seem to be laying there awaiting a purpose.
All of this eye candy is just a taste of what you'll see once inside, which happens to be a repository of eclectic art and souvenirs gathered by Katsu's chef/owner, Takeshi Soma, during his travels. It also relects his dual passions, art and food, both over which he has achieved a soul-satisfying mastery. This review took place on two occasions within this past week, the first was during a bustling Saturday night when I was joined by Dr. Jonathon Morris, who was on his annual visit to Guam from Maine's Portland Medical Center, and the second visit was a slower-paced Wednesday night. Jon and I were having our annual "Green Door" dinner, a tradition which has been followed on each of his visits for the past four years, ever since his wife Suzan discovered my first Green Door review while searching the internet from Maine. (Photo L-R: Dr. Morris, Yohko Soma, GFG)
Both nights offered totally different dining experiences, with the second evening's meal being the most relaxed, as well as one that allowed Soma-san to share a few of his special creations made for counter denizens. Although we were seated at the counter on Saturday, it wasn't until Wednesday that I was the recipient of Soma's experimental dishes.
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