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April 22, 2005, Volume 5 Number 16


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The recent PHARE 2005 (Pacific Hotel & Restaurant Expo) was chock-full of activities, including food competitions, seminars, displays, food-tasting, product demonstrations, educational forums, destination promotions, a bartending competition, and beverage-tasting (which equaled the food in popularity). It was a splendid event of which the organizers and participants should be proud. I was heavily involved as a judge in two separate food competitions.

I was also deeply interested in learning more about the fascinating culinary work being done by the two visiting Australian celebrity chefs, Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin "BJ" Christie, who were on Guam doing a promotion called "Dining Down Under, an Australian food festival" at La Mirenda. I was honored to be posted on Chef Benjamin's website for an article I'd written about their visit. If you are a foodie, you'll find this site amazing, since the same page (on his blog) has other celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver and Neil Perry, as well as other famous people such as Prince Charles, all in some way involved in some activity with Benjamin and Vic, both of whom travel throughout the world promoting the new Australian fusion cuisine, for which they are blazing new trails.

Another significant highlight that PHARE brought me was my reunion with my old buddy and colleague Nicolas Tsikis, Corporate Executive Chef for Alto-Shaam, a leading food equipment manufacturer, represented locally by JWS. Nick and I first met in 1991, when he came to Guam to support a cooking seminar I'd put together when I was with AK Hotel & Restaurant Supply. Nick is originally from Greece and is a naturalized American. He has won international awards in competitions and is highly respected in the food service industry. We were fortunate to have Chef Nick help with the judging of both competitions. His years of experience and thorough food knowledge provided invaluable insights to the judging process. Those who were fortunate to have spent any time with Chef Nick could easily see how lovable and genuine this guy is when it comes to food and enjoying life. Nick has worked in Australia with both Chef Vic and Chef Benjamin, and I can't help but count my blessings that I've been able to spend quality time with all three of these gentlemen, all here at the same time in a little place called Guam!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy!"

In Today's Issue:

  • Guam Girl Scouts 8th Annual Auction and Wine Tasting - April 22 Hyatt Regency
  • PHARE 2005 Competition Winners - From the Pros to the Students
  • "Relatively Speaking" - Directed by Jefferson Cronin, UOG, April 26-30th
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter
  • GuamDiner Lunch Specials - Check These Out!!!
  • Holiday Inn's Fresh Market Monday Lunch Buffet's Flavors of the Pacific
  • "Let's Eat" Dining Guide to Guam - Now Taking Space Reservations
  • Around the Island - Bobby Cadillac's, Fuji Ichi-ban 1 Closes for Reno, Lin's
  • Sundance Fast Food - Specializing in Home-Cooked Local Favorites

Guam Girl Scouts 8th Annual Auction and Wine Tasting - April 22 Hyatt Regency

The only place you should be this Friday night is in the Hyatt Regency Guam's Ballroom where you will be treated to a fantastic night of exclusive culinary delights prepared by Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler. These foods will be paired with a variety of wines from seven local wine distributors.

There will be door prizes and silent auction items galore, with off-island trips, a Lexus, an Infiniti, a motorcycle, and more awaiting your generous bidding. After all, this is for an extraordinary cause, that of benefiting one of Guam's most significant non-profit organizations - the Guam Girl Scouts, who this year will be celebrating their 70th anniversary of growing girls strong on Guam! Just look at our women leaders - many of whom were active Girl Scouts! The $40 donation you pay to join the festivities (which start at 6:30pm and last til 10pm) is tax-deductible! See you there!! Tickets will be available at the door!

PHARE 2005 Competition Winners - From the Pros to the Students

This year's PHARE 2005 had two terrific food competitions, which included some of the best entry submissions ever, and an exciting Bartending competition. We are pleased to list the winners of all three events, as follows:

"BASA FILET THE YAMASA WAY" Culinary Competition sponsored by Quality Distributors, Yamasa Soy Sauce and Matson Navigation

Winners:
First Place: Clayton Babas, Chef de Cuisine, Bistro at PIC, for his Smoked Basa and Lump Crab Cakes with Sweet Soy Butter and Tropical Fruit Salsa
Second Place: Renato Ton Varias, Sam Choy's
Third Place: Robert Branconnier, Executive Chef, SandCastle
People's Choice: Chris Egana, Outrigger Guam Resort

SMIRNOFF Original Vodka's "Twist and Shout" Bartending Competition Held at Planet Hollywood

Winners:
First Place: Aldrin Villaluz, TGI Friday's
Second Place: Gabriel Perez, Planet Hollywood
Third Place: Brian Machie, TGI Friday's

"YAHOO WAHOO" Student Culinary Competition Sponsored By Triple J Five Star Wholesale Foods and the Guam Community College Culinary Academy

Winners:
First Place: G.E.E. C2 (Gia Parsons, Team Leader)
Second Place: GCC/GW
Third Place: Southern High School
People's Choice: John F. Kennedy High School

Congratulations to all the contestants. The scores were all very close. Just showing up and participating makes you a winner!

"Relatively Speaking" - Directed by Jefferson Cronin, UOG, April 26-30th

Next week, starting Tuesday April 26 and running through Saturday April 30, a few members of the Theatre Guam family will be appearing in UOG's latest production, "Relatively Speaking" by Alan Ayckbourne. This comedy is quite funny and the curtain time is 8pm. The entertainment value is a "relatively" affordable $7.50! Let's support the UOG theatre, our Theatre Guam colleagues and fellow thespians, and the grand master himself, our own "Falstaff", Jefferson Cronin, who is making his guest directorial debut for this entertaining production. See you there!

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

April 23, 2004 , Vol 4 No. 17

Restaurant Reviewed: Red Dragon Restaurant - Tumon's Newest Chinese Eatery Appeals to Budget-minded

Highlights: Chef Ronnie Guillermo wins Yamasa Competition

GuamDiner.com Lunch Specials - Check These Out!!!

You don't know what you're missing if you are not checking out the GuamDiner Lunch Specials each day to see what's cooking at some of the island's popular eateries. Our newest postings for weekly lunch specials include Y Kusina Restaurant, who now joins such notables as Le Tasi Bistro, Planet Hollywood, The Curry Kebab, Stanlee's (now Bobby Cadillac's), Marriott Cafe, La Brasserie, Uncle Bob's, Nuts & Grains, Cup & Saucer, Firefly Bistro, Lone Star Steakhouse and May's Restaurant, with more to come. Now you don't have to try to figure out whether today is Chicken Chalakilis or Kadon Manok if you're in the mood for Chamorro. You don't have to guess what's the best day for Le Tasi Bistro's famous Roast Chicken or their Paella, or when La Brasserie's going Mongolian (they've got one of the best set-ups and values). So, join the informed who let their keyboards do the walking to find out what's on special for lunch today at GuamDiner.com!

Holiday Inn's Fresh Market Monday Lunch Buffet's Flavors of the Pacific

There's nothing better than a relaxing lunch (I mean meditatingly so - especially when you gaze out those large windows to the azure waters of Tumon Bay) at La Brasserie where Monday's Fresh Market Lunch Buffet sets you on an ever-changing menu of destination dining throughout the Pacific Rim for only $9.00 +10% and all the Shangri-la tea you can drink!

This past Monday I had Chickpeas with Curry Emulsion and Red Chiles (India), Chicken Kelaguen (Guam), and Fried Beancurd Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing (Indonesia). A savory Thai Soup Station, featuring Tom Ga Kai ( with fresh mahi mahi, mussels, spinach, bean sprouts, green onions, cubed radish, tomato, and onion, all sauteed in butter before blending in the spicy sour soup blend). Also featured in the hot line was Lemon Chicken (China), Bulgogi (Korea), Fried Lumpia (Vietnam), Chow Kway Ted (Singapore) and good ole' Red Rice from Guam! You can travel a lot of places to eat food from different countries, but no where can you go further with your dollars than La Brasserie at the Holiday Inn Resort Guam. Check out their specials each day when planning your lunch!

"Let's Eat!" Dining Guide to 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 - Bobby Cadillac's, Fuji Ichi-ban 1 Closes for Reno, Lin's

Bobby Cadillac's has roared into Tumon via Saipan and is already serving some of its classic burgers and pizzas in the old Stanlee's location next to the Acanta Mall. Stanlee's is still operating a separate beverage business, selling wines, imported beers, distilled spirits, soft drinks, and juices, and some Australian imported snacks and cookies. The two businesses share the building, but with a separate entrance and exit. Bobby Cadillac's pre-opening menu features some of Stanlee's famous Sangers, such as Australian Lamb, Black Forest or Honey, Ham, Pastrami, Combo Meat, Proscciuto, and Corned Beef, on Multi-grain, Sourdoughs, French White, or Rye. As time goes on, though, these sandwiches will probably be phased out as part of the transition, so you better come get them while you can! Bobby Cadillac's features a large selection of goodies, from the Cadillac Dogs and Cadillac Burgers as well as other great sandwiches. Bobby Cadillac's also has a serious pizza oven that'll crank out large and medium pizzas with a variety of toppings, priced between $11.75-$18.50. These pizzas are likely to become the talk of the town, and will probably be everyone's take-out choice. Coming soon will be a complete menu with Broasted Chicken, Salads, Fish & Chips, and American-style breakfasts plus much, much more. Bobby Cadillac's has a full-on dining area with large bench-type tables - ideal for the serious work of eating great food. Call 646-2530 for information

Fuji Ichi-Ban 1 is closed temporarily for renovation, and scheduled to re-open on April 24th, with a new look and possibly some new menu items.

Lin's Vietnamese, known as Guam's Taste of Vietnam, is located near Olympia Market in Tamuning, across the street from Hornet Bicycles. I stopped by the other night and ordered Chicken with Lemon Grass ($7) and a Fried Pork Chop ($7). The good thing about their pork chop is that they slice it to make sure that it's cooked thoroughly. The Chicken with Lemon Grass is relatively large, giving you your money's worth. Lin's reputation has been growing steadily and was recently featured in the Guam Federation of Teachers newspaper as one of the choice spots for good Vietnamese. They are open daily from 11am-11pm. They do a great take-out business. Call 647-4432.

Nana's Cafe is offering a special lunch service honoring Administrative Professionals and Secretaries starting Monday April 25 and lasting through Friday April 29. You can select an entree, order a special bento box, or two of Chef Kishimoto's specials for only $12.50 inclusive, in a meal that includes the all-you-can-eat salad bar, shumai, dessert, and iced tea. The Bento Box features Shrimp Tempura, Assorted Sashimi, Broiled Fish, Roast Beef, and Pickles. The two special entrees are Steamed Lapu & Assorted Seafood in Lobster Sauce or Baby Back Ribs & Black Angus Beef Tenderloin Steak with Mashed Potatoes. If you know how well Chef Kishimoto prepares his sauces, you don't want to miss this lunch! For reservations, call 646-7803 Ext 378 and 312.

Sundance Fast Food - Specializing in Home-Cooked Local Favorites

The best thing about being the Food Guy is that I have an unlimited opportunity to discover new places to eat or even new foods at places I've visited before. Although I've been reviewing restaurants and eating my way through Guam and Saipan one bite at time, I'm still finding special gems where diners get more than their money's worth for food with flavors that linger. One such place is Sundance Fast Food, located adjacent to the Bank of Hawaii building in Hagatna. Sundance previously was located in the Superior Court Complex, and they have a satellite location in the Bank of Guam Headquarters Building on the ground floor. This new location for Sundance is directly across from the Alpha Insurance offices, and the road that leads there starts at the Agana Cathedral intersection.

Sundance Fast Food is owned by Mercy Wenzell, who has been operating her business for seven years. I had always been curious about Sundance and their recent relocation prompted my long-overdue visit (the Court's lack of parking deterred me from earlier reviews). When I arrived at Sundance it was already 1:20pm, so I'd missed the lunch rush (Sundance's hours are 7am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday). However, I had also missed the lunch specials, and noticed only tiny remnants of the six specials listed remaining in the hot food line.

Sundance has the typical One-Choice, Two-Choice, Three-Choice fast food service that's very popular for those folks in a hurry to pick up food and go. The prices for this option are $3.95, $4.95, and $6.50 respectively. I was in a quandary since the remnants of the specials (Beef Kare Kare, Baked Chicken, Chicken Kadon Pika, Mongo Beans, Combo Pancit, and Fish Cutlet) actually looked appealing, but not sufficient for a review on their own. There was one cutlet left (which disappeared while I deliberated), a bowlful of Kare Kare, scraps of chicken, no Kadon Pika, some Mongo Beans, and Pancit that had seen better days. There were also pre-packaged sandwiches piled up...tuna, cheese, egg, ham, etc., which I didn't want to bother trying. In fact, it was the posted lunch menu that prompted my decision to stay and review, instead of return the next day at 10 or 11 in the morning to get first dibs on their prepared hot food selections.

I really wanted to capture the flavors of Sundance's Chamorro, Filipino, and American specialties, so I ordered the Half Fried Chicken ($6), Beef Chopsteak ($6.99), and the Pancit Bihon with Shrimp ($5.99). I bypassed other items listed such as Fried Whole Tilapia ($5.99), Chicken Stir Fry with Vegetables, $5.99, and Fried Parrot Fish, $8.50. I talked to several other employees before I met Mercy. After I introduced myself (there was some puzzlement over my photo taking!), Mercy offered me a taste of the remaining lunch specials, as well as what she boasted of as a mean (and very popular) Beef Katne. Even before any of the other dishes arrived, she brought out a Banana Turon (fried eggroll made with ripe banana, as long as a Vietnamese lumpia). This was just made and I let it cool a bit before eating. It was delicious, crisp on the outside, not oily, and the banana was sweet - a real treat which is why this such a popular Filipino and local favorite.

First to arrive was a tray with the steaming Chopped Steak, a small bowl of the Beef Kare Kare, Macaroni Salad, a bowl of Mongo Beans, two huge mounds of Steamed Rice, and a portion of Bagoong (dried fermented shrimp paste) to accompany my Kare Kare which is the only way for me to enjoy it. I let the Chopped Steak cool while I portioned out the Kare Kare and Mongo Beans. The Kare Kare with Bagoong (which Mercy said she made herself) was fantastic! The long green beans still had a firmness, the tripe was flavorful and tender, as was the big chunk of beef. The peanut sauce base and Bagoong are a match made in heaven. The Mongo Beans were also exceptional, with that awesome down-home, soup stock, comfort food goodness that makes you want to move in. Mercy's cooks used tender pork butt in this along with ground shrimp and bittermelon, which had not trace of bitterness at all...it had been cooked out.

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