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October 28, 2005, Volume 5 Number 43


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

While I was viewing last year's newsletter in our archive file, I noticed a recipe prepared by my good friend Remo Berdux, Executive Chef of the Ritz Carlton Seoul (formerly the Executive Chef for the Hyatt Regency Guam). The recipe was Sesame Seared Tuna Cakes with Curry Dressing, and though it has been in our site's Recipe section for some time, seeing it again made me think about how fortunate we are to interact with so many talented and creative chefs, with many who have left Guam still staying in touch.

During a recent trip to Saipan, I met with the Executive Chef of the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Gabriele Colombo, who knows Remo and who also knows former Al Dente Chef Alessandro Mancuso, who is now Executive Chef at the Hyatt Regency La Manga in Spain. It's really a small world when it comes to chefs and members of the hospitality industry.

On Saipan, both David Spitzer, Executive Chef of the Dai Ichi Hotel Saipan Beach and Hubert Friedle, Executive Chef of the Aqua Resort Club Saipan, are listed in our Chef Profiles section and both have worked as chefs on Guam. Saipan's Dai Ichi is owned by Asia Pacific Hotels, who will be re-branding the Dai Ichi into a Fiesta Resort, just as they are doing with the former Dai Ichi Hotel here on Guam. I was given a tour of the kitchens, restaurant, and pool areas earlier this week by Executive Chef Bob Branconnier, who is also the Director of Food & Beverage for the new hotel. I was duly impressed with this property's transformation (more like a metamorphosis!), and although it's still a work in progress, I am confident everyone will be amazed and delighted by what this hotel will offer residents and visitors when they do open later this year.

This past Sunday brought another chef surprise when my channel-surfing put two familiar faces on the TV screen. These two faces belonged to none-other-than our good friends, chefs Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie, whose cooking show, "Dining Down Under" was playing on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.) Channel 40. You might recall that both Vic and Benjamin were here in April doing the Australian Food Promotion at the Hyatt which coincided with this year's PHARE show. This show is broadcast all throughout the Asia Pacific region, with an audience of millions! The show included another member of their team, Mark McCluskey who prepared a Paperbark Smoked Duck with an Illawarra Plum Sauce, while Vic prepared Lemony Ricotta Figs. It was cool watching Benjamin and Vic interact playfully on the set - just as they did when they were here. I'm still using some of Vic Cherikoff's seasonings and spices made from indigenous Australian plants and herbs when I cook. These are great men who are making big changes in the culinary world, who are (as they say in their byline), "Turning international cuisine upside down". I think it's really cool that Guam is an active participant in regional hospitality, don't you?

Ken, "The Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • Last Call for Y Kusina's Chamorro Sunday Brunch - Don't Miss October 30
  • Jeff's Pirates' Cove's Seafood (and Greek) Treasures - Great Views Too!
  • Guest Chef Ashwini Salvi Brings the Magic of India to La Mirenda - Nov 1-10
  • Guam Food Guy Reveals Picks in October's Directions Magazine
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
  • Around the Island -Jungle Java Closes Acanta Mall Shop, OHG's Delectable Penne, Chung Hae Goes Japanese
  • House of Chin Fe - Familiar Tastes in Brand New Digs

Last Call for Y Kusina's Chamorro Sunday Brunch - Don't Miss October 30

If you've heard about but not yet tried the Y Kusina's Chamorro Sunday Brunch, then you'd better call and make reservations for this Sunday, October 30, as it will be the last regular Chamorro Sunday Brunch at this popular eatery at the Palace Hotel. The quantity and quality of the Chamorro foods offered will astound you and you really don't want to miss this last opportunity to enjoy this special treat. Brunch starts at 11am with service until 2:30pm. Y Kusina will still be open on Sundays, but will be serving an a la carte menu. Call 646-2052.

Jeff's Pirates' Cove's Seafood (and Greek) Treasures - Great Views Too!

If you are as crazy about seafood as I am, then you'll be delighted with Jeff's Seafood Platter($22), which has Fried Shrimp, Fried Calamari, Fried Scallops, Fried Tuna, Calamari Kelaguen, Marlin Kelaguen, Scallop Kelaguen Baked Potato and a Garden Salad. During a recent late Friday excursion to scenic Ipan, I bopped into Jeff's and was treated to a sampler of fried shrimp, scallops, and calamari, which are covered in Orange Panko flour which gives them a rich golden color after frying. The quality of the shrimp and scallops is excellent, with a size to match. I did try a bite of Scallop Kelaguen(who else has Scallop Kelaguen?, or even Calamari Kelaguen?). This is one good reason to go to Jeff's! If you like Greek Food, Jeff's is the place for this as well. Sara's new Greek menu has a Gyro Platter (Greek-style lamb or chicken topped with fresh veggies and served with tsiziki, hummus, baba ghanouge and pita bread for $10) and other favorite Greek eats, including Spanokopita, a Falafel Fold, Greek Salad, and Baklava. Need I say more? Get on down to Jeff's and enjoy awesome foods in one of the island's special attractions.

Guest Chef Ashwini Salvi Brings the Magic of India to La Mirenda - Nov 1-10

The Hyatt Regency Guam will welcome award-winning guest chef, Ashwini Salvi, from the Hyatt Regency Auckland, next month. In a promotion called "The Magic of India at La Mirenda", diners will "experience the sights, sounds and epicurean delights of Magical India". According to a media release, some of the foods Chef Salvi will prepare include: "Aloo Chaat, which is a spicy and tangy potato salad; Poppadums, which are deep fried crispy lentil crackers; and Dosas, which are very popular in South India, made of rice flour stuffed with spiced potatoes and served with Sambar and chutney."

Chef Salvi will also "cook-up a few timeless favorites such as Tandoori Chicken, Lamb Madras Curry, Prawn Malabari Curry, Seekh Kebab, Jeera rice and much more including a few desserts inspired by the region." Daily Lunch Buffets are $20/person, and Dinner is $35/ person, with CATH discounts applicable. On Saturday, November 5, and during Sunday Brunch on the 6th, guests will be treated to a pageantry of traditional Indian music, entertainment and a fashion show. There will also be an Outdoor Marketplace where you can buy traditional clothing and jewelry from India. Call 647-1234 for more information and reservations.

Guam Food Guy Reveals Picks in October's Directions Magazine

The October 2005 issue of Directions Magazine is hot off the press and should be arriving in mailboxes and at bookstores soon. Featured on the cover is Vern Perez, of the Civil Service Commission, who says he wants to be the next Attorney General! Another hot story is the Guam Food Guy's top picks for Appetizers, Entrees, and Desserts. This is the second year for this useful guide to special eats at great places. Get your copy of the October issue of Directions Magazine, and you'll get an in depth look at the "Business of Goodbye", which addresses the costs involved for paying last respects. And with weather as unpredictable as it's been, this month's edition will tell you all you need to do to prepare for the inevitable next typhoon.

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

October 29, 2004, Vol 4 No 44

Restaurant Reviewed: Synergy Cafe - Where Good Only Gets Better

Highlights: GMH E.R. Meals Get a "B" - Heroic Staff Gets An A+

Around the Island -Jungle Java Closes Acanta Mall Shop, OHG's Delectable Penne, Chung Hae Goes Japanese

If you hadn't noticed, Jungle Java has closed its Acanta Mall location, which is the birthplace of this legendary coffee shop cafe. Fear not, since you can still get your favorite Jungle Java espresso beverages at their Outrigger location as well as at their new shop in the Star Building in Upper Tumon. In fact, they will soon be offering breakfast items at both locations along with their famous wraps, sandwiches and tasty pastries. I have been assured that they will still feature their Eggs Benedict, which I consider one of the island's best! And though Acanta Mall is losing this famous eatery, residents should be pleased with the arrival of Pietro, a new Japanese-Italian restaurant concept that's the reason for all that construction activity at the mall. Stay tuned for more!

Some have often wondered why regulars always eat lunch at Old Hagatna Grill. One reason is because the lunch menu is different than the dinner menu. The other reason is because everything on the lunch menu is so awesome you have to go their a lot to eat your way through it! My latest recommendation? Try the Seared Scallops Over Penne with Green Beans, Asparagus, and Spinach in a Pesto Butter Sauce ($12.50). I don't think I ever put my fork and spoon down while eating this glorious meal. The scallops are huge, plump, and juicy, and the pesto butter sauce will leave you licking your lips all day! I was impressed with the abundance of local long green beans, and I love asparagus. This is a big portion so don't bother with getting any appetizers or salads...you'll get plenty to eat!

Chung Hae Korean BBQ has diversified its menu and is now offering some pretty good Japanese food. For $8.50 you can now enjoy a variety of cutlet choices, udons and, everyone's favorite, Pork Ginger. For $5 you can get a decent California Roll and a Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll. These and other Japanese dishes are now being offered since Chung Hae has welcomed a Japanese chef on board. For those who may remember, it's Chef Osamu, who used to cook at the Bistro Tei Yokozuna that is now occupied by Beef Bowl. Chef Osamu has many years of cooking experience. During a recent visit, Chef Osamu prepared a plate of fried sushi, which was kind of a novelty having fried tempura batter on the outside of my sushi roll. Chung Hae is open late, and will accept orders until 1am. They close at 2am.

House of Chin Fe - Familiar Tastes in Brand New Digs

It had been a few years since I had eaten at the House of Chin Fee...in fact, I wasn't even the Food Guy when I was there last. I remember that I really liked the Shrimp Egg Foo Young. I recall having Saimin, and Pork Chow Mein, because they had that special taste and texture that comes from home-made noodles. My other visits have been obscured by time (House of Chin Fee originally opened in 1962) and I probably had my first meal in 1974 or thereabouts. There weren't a lot of places then and that was a place for what we considered good old-fashioned home-cooked Chinese.

I don't even know why the name was spelled Chin Fee since the founder's name was Chin Fe...I guess somewhere someone wanted to make sure that the "e" sound wouldn't end up with an "ay" sound, like the e in "saute". I do know that in recent years I didn't frequent the old restaurant since it had become rather dilapidated, and I was so busy reviewing other restaurants that were in better physical shape or just newer that I didn't take the time. In its previous state, this long-time Anigua eatery posed a bit of a quandary for me, since there were some good menu items to recommend, but not a particularly good environment. The new House of Chin Fe, with its contemporary design, attractive and spacious dining room featuring comfortable seating, and plenty of parking outside, removed any reservations I previously had about recommending it.

House of Chin Fe's owner is Ed Wong, who took over running the restaurant in 1984. He started construction on this new, expansive structure nearly a year ago last November and they held a soft opening on September 23. They have retained the same old Chinese favorites such as Shanghai Fried Rice ($6.95 which we tried), Chop Suey, Chow Mein, a family of soups, Shrimp with Broccoli, Beef with Bell Peppers, and Sweet & Sour Pork, to name a few and expanded the menu to include American standards. You will now find Steaks and Chops, Country Style Chicken, Burgers and Sandwiches. Ed has also has added a breakfast menu with a "Build Your Omelette" section. You can order Pancakes, Waffles, and even French Toast, and can expect sides such as Portuguese Sausage, Chamorro Sausage, Corned Beef Hash, and Sausage Patties. For the heartier appetites, you can order a Sirloin Steak & Eggs or Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs, both $7.50.

We finally went to dinner this week and decided to try both East and West, so we had Honey Walnut Shrimp ($9.95), Wonton Mein Soup ($6), Shanghai Fried Rice ($6.95), and T-Bone Steak ($14.50). We'd ordered Oolong Tea from our server Michelle, who was really quite attentive and spent the night making sure we were fine. The Honey Walnut Shrimp had a lot of glazed walnuts that took up one side of the plate. The thick battered shrimp were pretty good and the sauce was light and not overly-laden with mayonnaise, as is the case with most Honey Walnut Shrimp dishes. The portion was ample.

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Bon Appetit!

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