January 20, 2006, Volume 6 Number 3
Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,
People always ask me if I ever get tired of the "same old, same old" food that's served in the places I eat. Well, truthfully, no I don't. That's because I eat around so much I don't have a chance to bore my palate. When I have cravings for certain foods or cuisine types, I indulge myself, and try not to overdo it. The operative word there is "try"; I always was an "over achiever"!
Seriously, though, there are some restaurants which I promote nearly every opportunity that I can primarily because they offer unusual dining experiences. Restaurants like The Garlic House, Chung Hae Korean BBQ, Izakaya Katsu, Le Tasi Bistro, The Curry Kebab, Uri Jip, Y Kusina, Doraku, Sabai Dee, Mary's Vietnamese, Hava Java Cafe, and May's Restaurant are among the places you may hear me talking about with excitement and enthusiasm. If you have a chance to read any of the reviews and commentary about these in newsletters, you'll understand why.
This week's review of Kai Restaurant is yet another of those fabulous dining adventures that I've already started telling people to try. Though not listed as a Vegetarian restaurant, this place will soon become a hit with vegans since they have fresh tofu made at your table, and 12 kinds of vegetable sushi served a la carte! Eringi mushrooms, pickled papaya, or takana (pickled mustard leaves) are a few of the meatless sushi rolls you can savor. It's also fun to learn something new about the foods we eat, to be introduced to exciting tastes and flavors, like yuzo kosho, which is a citron flavored pepper that's a bright emerald green with an intensity as great if not greater than wasabi. Mixing a dab of this with some splashes of dashi, bring perfection to the bowl of fresh made hot tofu served at Kai Restaurant.
This is why I love doing what I do. When readers or listeners heed my words and explore these places themselves, I get mostly positive comments and lots of gratitude. It all really comes down to one thing, and that's called "sharing the love". It's something we should observe and embrace every time we are with family and friends, because you never know what tomorrow brings. Share the love, every day.
Ken, the Guam Food Guy
In Today's Issue:
- K57 "Tourism & You" Guam Food Guy Program Saturday January 21 10am
- Latte Stone Cafe's Sunday Breakfast - A Refreshing Change
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter
- Around the Island - World Cafe's Stowaway Burger, Sabai Dee Fresh Lumpia, Firefly New Menus
- Kai Restaurant - Creative Japanese Cuisine Captures Hearts, Minds & Tummies
K57 "Tourism & You" Guam Food Guy Program Saturday January 21 10am
Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy's segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10-11am. This week's guests will be Hermann Grossbichler, Executive Chef of the Hyatt Regency Guam, and the newly-elected President of the Micronesian Chefs' Association. Joining him will be Gordon Misuzawa, Marketing Director for Plus Marketing, and an Allied Director of the MCA. Topics to be discussed are some of the planned activities of the association, as well as about some of the achievements and contributions they've made to the community. If you are interested in becoming a chef or being affiliated with the chefs, you are welcome to call and join in on the conversation. Call 477-5700, or *57 on your cell phone.
Latte Stone Cafe's Sunday Breakfast - A Refreshing Change
I have to let folks know that Latte Stone Cafe is evolving as a magnet to attract the weekend folks who don't want to do the big buffet thing, but who want a quality, right-sized meal in a classy environment. I had just such a meal this past weekend when our Sunday brought us to this Acanta Mall get away that used to be the home of Jungle Java.
Huevos Rancheros! Do I hear an "ole"??!! Priced at $6.95, you get two eggs atop hot beans and chorizo on a flour tortilla. There's some green onion garnish along with a few standing corn chips, and a fresh orange slice. The salsa's got that zesty fresh tomato flavor and when all the ingredients are blended, you've got a winner. The other dish we had was the Breakfast Wrap ($6.95), which is a sizable flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, diced ham, and cheese. This is cut diagonally and the tortilla shell has grill marks, which look as good as they taste. This dish comes with perfectly fried russet potatoes cooked ranch style. There are about five different daily coffees in airpots. Specialty espresso drinks are available, too, hot or cold.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter
Jan 21 2005 Vol 5 No 3
Restaurant Reviewed: Corridos 848 Salad Bar Lunch Buffet - Value Beyond Belief
Roy's Tasting Menu Is a Nightly Surprise
Chef Jeff Hill Memorial Scholarship Fund Donation
Around the Island - World Cafe's Stowaway Burger, Sabai Dee Fresh Lumpia, New Menu at Firefly
Some things you have to eat to believe. I've encountered a lot of burgers in my life, so I've already come to a general idea of how I like my burgers made. I had the Stowaway Burger at Fiesta Resort's World Cafe ($8.95). This is a 6 oz. burger that has two flavorful slices of bacon and two slices of American Cheese, which melt beautifully down the sides of this glorious sandwich. This burger is char-broiled, and when take your first bite, it's like eating in the great outdoors! The quality of the meat makes this a successful burger, one of the best tasting I've had in Tumon. They use ground chuck and sirloin, with just the right amount of fat to give this burger the "sizzle" and the "drizzle" that are the hallmarks of a supreme Cheeseburger. It comes with tomato slices, lettuce, sliced onion, and a pickle wedge. It's called a "two-hander", which means you've got no better way to eat it. Sure, it's going to be a little messy, but that's the fun of this kind of burger. The buns are grilled on the inside. I do think they'll have to modify the bottom bun (make it a bit thicker/stronger) so it can retain its texture. Still, at least to my preference, it's not size that matters...it's purely taste.
Although I've been to Sabai Dee Thai Restaurant plenty of times, I'd not yet tried their Fresh Lumpia ($7) appetizer, which was recommended to me by my new friends, Candy and Andy Sholtes of the Frank Cable. I met them there on a Saturday and they'd swore the Fresh Lumpia was outstanding (they didn't know who I was until a little later). I took them at their word and when I saw what Tim Palacios, Sabai Dee's owner, created, I was overwhelmed. She put three fresh lumpia on a plate, along with peanut sauce. On my first bite I could tell the difference. She put a whole celery stalk inside with the other regular vegetable elements. The shrimp were big as well. It was a refreshing and filling appetizer, and one that I'll now certainly recommend to others as well. Thanks Andy and Candy!
Chef/owner Ronnie Perez has revamped the menu at Firefly Bistro yet again, adding some South Asian influenced dishes for the next couple of months. Her culinary riffs on various world cuisines are one of the reasons customers keep coming back. Of course, the usual favorites are always there but the seasonal changes allow her and the staff to flex their cooking skills and please customers at the same time. A Taste of India offers lunch time selections like a Spring Lamb Burger on a Curry-Cilantro Roll with Fruit Chutney. And, Firefly's popular Tuesday & Wednesday night Three-Course Set Menu for $29.95 starts with Naan Bread and Mulligatawny Soup moves on to New Zealand Spring Lamb Kebab with Himalayan Rice Pilaf and finishes with Warm Coconut Beignets and Homemade Kulfi Ice Cream, Rose & Lavender Syrup and Lavender Petals - sounds so good!
Kai Restaurant - Creative Japanese Cuisine Captures Hearts, Minds & Tummies
There's both wisdom and truth to the saying, "All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait". That's certainly how I could summarize the dining experience we had at Kai Restaurant in Tumon's Blue Lagoon Plaza. Kai has been open for just over six months and has already established itself as a rendezvous stop for a group of regular patrons, many of whom have their own personalized bottles of sake or shochu that they can pour from on each visit. Although Kai is situated in between two popular Japanese restaurants, Kaiten Sushi Tairyo and Aji Ichi, Kai holds its own place as being more of a Japanese izakaya or pub. Kai appeals to those who are looking to unwind after a long hard day of work, and serves a range of libations, from top level wines, sakes, and shochus. In this fashion, food is prepared to complement the beverages, and the portion sizes are purposely small along with the prices to give couples and small parties access to more dishes than they'd normally eat.
Kai has a long, blond wood counter where diners sit to drink and place their orders to the waitresses or to Chef Toshiaki Kanda, a long-time Guam resident who has cooked in a number of places, including the now closed Utage Japanese Restaurant (now Y Kusina at the Palace Hotel) and Aji Hey Japanese Restaurant (now Beef Bowl). Kanda-san is a true master of the craft. It's apparent in everything he touches and puts out in front of the customer. Many regulars talk directly with Kanda about a certain dish or ingredient, which is one of the pleasures of sitting at the counter. On the wall behind Chef Kanda hang small banners showing the special dishes for the day, all written in Japanese. There is one sign board in the front of the dining room that has some of these translated into English. The other place to go is Kai's menu, which is easy to read with nice graphics and color schemes.
To start your appetite, take a look at the offerings on the counter. There are large platters filled with prepared foods like Chikuzenni (diced vegetables simmered with soy sauce) or Meibutsu Papaya Kinpira (fried and sweetened slices of papaya), or Nanban Zuke (deep fried fish seasoned with vinegar and soy sauce). These are $3.50 for a small plate. The selections change on a regular basis so be sure to check what might be different. One of the specials the day I was there was boiled daikon radish with dried shrimp, and was a nice complement to the shochu I was drinking.
I was joined by my friend, Chie, a former resident of Guam who worked at our Japan Consulate. Chie now resides in Tokyo and she was the one who introduced me to Doraku, that superb Japanese restaurant located in the Pia Resort. This time, I'd invited Chie and we both were in for quite a night of incredible eating. Our first surprise was an elaborate sashimi on ice presentation, with squid rolled with perilla leaf, maguro tuna, red snapper, and abalone. Mr. Kawanami, proprietor of Kai, was there and recommended that we try a special seasoning sauce blend instead of shoyu and wasabi. It was fresher tasting, and less salty than soy sauce. The sashimi was arranged in the top center of the ice bowl. This was something not seen everyday!
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