May 27, 2005, Volume 5 Number 21
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
As you read this newsletter I'm in Houston, Texas, attending my niece Brieana's high school graduation. So far, it's been a great family gathering, allowing me the opportunity to see loved ones I see maybe once a year. I still can't believe how much time has passed since I first saw Brieana, when I had returned to Guam in January 1988, and she was just a few months old. Both Brieana and her younger (by one year exactly) sister, Nataya, were born on Guam. I watched them grow from children into young girls, and gradually mature into young women, now they both work at Cold Stone Creamery to earn money and gain experience in the working world.
Graduation's a major life event for all of us and, for the graduate, nothing's more fulfilling and rewarding than to have family members there to support and honor them with their loving presence. We are all so very proud of you, Brieana Winona Marissa Stewart, and we congratulate you on achieving this significant milestone in your life. We wish you success in your educational pursuits and hope your life is filled by realizing your dreams. This message goes out to Brieana and all new graduates! Go with God's Blessings, take time for yourself, and live with a passionate enthusiasm.
Ken, "The Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- 4th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup Winners - Cooking & Comedy Bring Victory
- Shula's Steak 2 - Awesome Wings & Superb Steaks at Successful Sports Bar
- Melvin Leialoha Kiaaina, Sr. Memorial Benefit Luau, June 2, Hilton Guam
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
- "Let's Eat!" Dining Guide to Guam - Now Taking Space Reservations
- Around the Island - The Garlic House, Summer Programs at NuForm Fitness
- Aji Ichi's Success Revealed - Consistent Quality Affordably-Priced
4th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup Winners - Cooking & Comedy Bring Victory
Congratulations to the Outrigger Guam Resort & Spa's Culinary Team, headed by Executive Chef Chris Aguilar, for taking the coveted Chef's Cup award home in the Chef's Cup Competition at the Hyatt Regency Guam on May 21. The Outrigger team won with a stunning fourth course of "Ragout Salvaje de Seta con Chorizo y Filete de la Ternera con Polenta de Pimenton Ahumada" which translates to Veal Tenderloin with Chorizo Sausage, Wild Mushroom Ragout and Smoked Paprika Polenta. Media Personalities, Nathan Denight of RevTV and Jay Pascua of Glimpses partnered with Chef Chris' Outrigger team to clinch the victory. Jay Pascua's comic mastery and multi-ethnic delivery literally had the audience rolling on the floor laughing out loud. Pictured is the Outrigger's culinary team: (L-R) Chris Egana, Jr. Chef; Mike Del Rosario, Chef Tournant; Leo Santiago, Chef Tournant and Executive Chef Christopher Aguilar.
The event was a very successful fund-raiser for the University of Guam's Endowment Foundation and for the Micronesian Chefs' Association. This collaboration is the 4th and, according to those who've attended the previous competitions, the best so far. All of the teams competing performed well and truly enjoyed a camaraderie unique to denizens of the kitchen.
Shula's Steak 2 - Awesome Wings & Superb Steaks at Successful Sports Bar
One of the trials of modern travel is the occasional "bump" off a flight but when this happened to me in Newark the other night I wandered into great sports bar, Shula's Steak 2. This is part of an amazing restaurant phenomenon which has been successfully expanding and winning accolades with the same fervor, devotion, and commitment that it's founder demonstrated in a brilliant coaching career that took the Miami Dolphins to the top of the NFL. Yes, we're talking about the legendary coach, Don Shula, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame, holder of 2 Super Bowl rings, with 347 NFL victories (the most NFL wins ever), and the only coach, who in 1972, lead his team to an undefeated Perfect Season, truly an unmatched accomplishment.
Don Shula and his son Dave, ventured into the restaurant business selling delicious Certified Angus Beef steaks. The first concept of several chains they operate is called Shula's Steak House. Another brand, and the one I visited, is Shula's 2, which is a much more casual sports bar that also serves steaks and other fare. Located in the Wyndham Hotel, I was impressed by the wall to wall TV monitors that showed football and basketball teams. It was the best sports bar concept I've ever seen with sports memorabilia and jerseys everywhere.
My late arrival to the restaurant limited me to a late night menu, which had some appetizers, salads, and sandwiches and a selection of beers that would be the envy of every bar on Guam (I settled for a Molson's Canadian). I also decided on the "Wings by the Pound" from the appetizer menu ($8.50). These were absolutely delicious, confirming what my server, Wanda, bragged about. They came with a rich and chunky blue cheese (served in two containers), and plenty of crisp celery stalks The chicken was crisp and spicy...not drenched in sauce, but full of maximum flavor. I'll have to come back and try the steaks...the photos of them looked marvelous. If you want to know more about Shula's, and would like to find one when travelling throughout the States, check out their website: Donshula.com.
Melvin Leialoha Kiaaina, Sr. Memorial Benefit Luau, June 2, Hilton Guam
The Hui Aikane Golf Club will be hosting a great and unique Hawaiian "eating experience" on Thursday June 2 at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa from 6:30pm- 10:30pm. As many of you know, Melvin was the beloved patriarch of the Kiaaina clan and the luau pays tribute to his contributions to the community, his love of golf and raises money for the Shriners Transportation Fund.
The Melvin Leialoha Kiaaina,Sr. Memorial Benefit Luau, is an authentic Hawaiian Luau, and such traditional Hawaiian favorites as Kalua Pig, Lomi Lomi Salmon, Poi, Poke, Chicken Long Rice, Steamed Rice, Haupia, and other great dishes will be served and we can guarantee that they'll make your mouth water! Tickets are $30 a person and can be purchased at the door until all seats are taken, or you can reserve in advance at 472-2200 (ask for Roland). There will be Hawaiian music and entertainment.
This event is a precursor to the 12th Annual Aloha Golf Classic, a two day tournament scheduled for June 4 and 5. The entry fee for the tournament is $150 until May 26 (after it's $160) and includes entry to the luau. Both the luau and golf tournament are fund-raising events to benefit the Shriners Transportation Fund, monies from which have assisted some 900 local participants who received medical treatment, usually for burns or orthopedic related cases, covering travel to and from the Shriners Hospital in Honolulu.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
May 28, 2004 , Vol 4 No. 22
Restaurant Reviewed: The Mermaid Tavern at The Great Deep Brewing Company - Excellent Beer & Food
GuamDiner.com's Sister Site Launches in the Aloha State
Great SPAM Cook-Off Island Style IV
Adventures in Bali Part V - Taman Burung Bali Bird Park
"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 - The Garlic House, Summer Programs at NuForm Fitness
If you've not been to the Garlic House yet, you are missing something unique. After reviewing the Garlic House last month, I returned one night for a follow up visit to try a few other items. I'd been told by Yumiko Shimoda, The Garlic House's owner, that many customers had come up to their place in the Tumon Bay Capital Hotel, just above Tarza Water Park. She also said that she was sorry that some customers were inconvenienced by a broken air-conditioner that has since been replaced. When I arrived, the place was teeming with Japanese customers. I ordered a Garlic and Shrimp Cocktail ($4.98), the Garlic Shrimp Thai Style ($15.98), and the Seafood Garlic Fried Rice, Small Size($9.98). The Fried Rice arrived first, and the intoxicating garlic-laced aroma wafted up from the steaming rice, that was filled with mussel shells, squid, whole shrimp, and covered by a sunny-side up egg garnished with slivered spring onions. After mixing this up, I set to eating this promising dish, and wasn't disappointed. I really liked how chef Shibata-san blended the flavors and the textures of the seafood. The next dish was the Garlic Shrimp Thai Style. This was served in a bowl that had 8 whole shrimp shaped like the spokes of a wheel forming a circle, covered with a sweet spicy chili sauce. These tasted more Singaporean than Thai, and compared to the other dishes I've had, they were O.K. The next item I had was the Garlic and Shrimp Cocktail. This is a garlic lover's dream. The shrimp cocktail is served in the classic shrimp cocktail glass with sliced lemon rings in a circle garnishing what appeared to be whole pieces of sauteed garlic mixed in with a ceviche-like salsa and headless shrimp. Eating this would definitely require that you avail yourself of some of the mints at the checkout counter. I liked it since it had a very pronounced garlic potency that was cut a bit by the tomato salsa's sweetness. The shrimp was there, lightly marinated in lemon juice, but truly surpassed in flavor by the garlic's intensity. If you go to The Garlic House, check out their menu and specials on line at the GuamDiner.com website, where you can also print out a 10% discount coupon.
Pepe LaFlamme of NuForm Fitness is introducing a series of new programs designed to make your summer healthier and fun. Starting next week on Wednesday June 1 the NuForm Walking Club will take to the streets at 6pm and continues on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The program includes initial assessment and one month follow-up, nutritional & exercise information, a NuForm Towel, a VIP Pass for NuForm Pilates Classes and more. After the walk, you are invited to join in for a safe and highly effective Ab Session and post-workout Stretch; including towel and use of the luxury locker room, shower, sauna, aqua-massage and tanning facility. Call NuForm Fitness at 646-3676 for details and pricing (it's reasonable!)
Aji Ichi's Success Revealed - Consistent Quality Affordably-Priced
Aji Ichi Japanese Restaurant has come of age in its relatively new Blue Lagoon Plaza location, next to Wagaya 88. Aji Ichi's owner, Keiko Tsuraga, has operated this popular restaurant at several locations for over 23 years and her efforts have made the name Aji Ichi synonymous with quality and affordability - two critical factors in customer satisfaction. I would further define the "quality" benchmark to include food quality and service quality. This new location is the third operating unit with additional locations in Upper Tumon across from Nissan Motors and a fast-food outlet in the GPO Food Court. This new restaurant is the most spacious and decorative, and its ambiance with high ceilings and tasteful Japanese art work makes this an appealing and comfortable eatery.
For this review, I ate lunch on two different occasions, trying the Sushi Box ($11.25) on my first visit, and a selection of a la carte menu items, including Spicy Tofu ($3.50), Edamame ($2.75), the Aji Ichi Roll ($4), and the Katsu-don Set ($8) on my subsequent visit. The Sushi Box is one of Aji Ichi's best overall samplings of their food, short of having one of their ramen or noodle dishes. The Sushi Box includes three pieces of Sushi (maguro, ika, and ebi); three pieces of California Roll made with imitation crab, real avocado, nori and sprinkled with tobiko; Chicken Karaage; Shrimp Tempura; Maguro Sashimi; Cucumber Pickles; Miso Soup, and Rice. California rolls and tempura are immensely popular with local residents. The California roll is actually an "inside-out" sushi roll, and quite popular around the world. Ironically, it's not very popular in Japan essentially because the Japanese are accustomed to and prefer the nori on the outside of the typical sushi roll. People who weren't used to eating dried seaweed seemed to have a hard time biting into them, so the California Roll was created and put the nori on the inside. That's a piece of food trivia I'd not known about until recently.
The Aji Ichi Roll, in comparison, is prepared traditionally, and in my opinion, has a much better taste, flavor, and texture experience, and that's not taking away from the goodness of their California roll. They've got a nice hot piece of panko fried shrimp inside along with fresh chunks of avocado and cucumber laced with a spicy filling akin to an aioli. The nori is crisp outside and each bite just seems to explode in your mouth with fresh flavors. It's a dish I could eat over and over again.
The Spicy Tofu was an unexpected surprise, since I anticipated a strong kimchee base flavor and received a light, refreshing spicy marinara-like sauce that had cabbage and other vegetables atop a cold tofu block. This dish has a lot of things working for it like sliced spring onions and what may have been tomato...just a lot of fresh flavors that weren't fermented.
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