January 27, 2006, Volume 6 Number 4
Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,
As January draws to a close we are again reminded of the constancy of change. One of our favorite Thai restaurants has undergone an ownership change. Sabai Dee Thai will soon be known as Ploy Thai Cuisine Restaurant. I heard that Sabai Dee Thai owner Tim Palacios will remain on premises for a short while during this transition. We wish the new owners success in their future operation and hope that they will carry on with the culinary passion demonstrated by Tim.
We are also anxious for the re-opening of Tumon's Pacific Grill, which should be happening soon. Original owner Thiruchelvam Vadivel has retained the name of this eatery located next to Flowers by Tand and across from Ipao Beach Park. I was pleased to run into Gene "Genshiro" Obara, previously of the Westin Resort, Tasuke Restaurant, and now Executive Chef of the soon to open, Samurai Seaport Steak & Wine Company. This is another of the restaurants slated for the Fiesta Resort Guam and will be in the location formerly occupied by Shimbashi. Samurai will feature Prime U.S.Beef and U.S. Kobe as part of their teppanyaki service along with lobster and seafood.
Fueling the rumor mill is word that Bubba Gump's will be locating in part of the space being vacated by GameWorks. This is just another in a series of major changes taking place on our island. We're even going to have a Kappa Kitchen opening soon next to the Fuji Ichiban across from the Reef Hotel. And for those who are wondering, yes, Wing's Chinese is back in business in its same old Tamuning location across Marine Corps Drive from American Music, and they're even serving breakfast!.
With all the changes happening on Guam, it's an even greater task for me to stay on top of the changes happening in Saipan. I have been making a few visits in the past two months and have been impressed (re-impressed) with the range and quality of dining options available on our neighboring island to the north. This week's review is kind of a brief round-up of some of the restaurants I visited. Proportionate to Guam, there are as many, if not more, restaurants on Saipan, if you compare populations. Though the hotels have some choice outlets, there are many more restaurants outside of hotels that I've not even listed, so we do have our work cut out for us in updating our directory. One thing is certain for both Guam and Saipan's futures, and that is that we'll never run out of places to eat!
Kung Hee Fat Choy! Be sure to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Sunday January 29!
Ken, The Guam Food Guy
In Today's Issue:
- McDonald's 7th Annual 5K Run Against Crime - Saturday Jan 28
- Go Before It's Gone! Dr. Jackson's Personal Collection at KAHA til Feb 1
- Art B.C. - Infiniti Art Gallery Presents Sal Bidaure & Ron Castro Jan 27-Feb 4
- Beaucanon Estate Winemaker's Dinner - A Successful Pairing of Food & Wine
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter
- Around the Island - Genji's Splendid Dinner, Chuck's "Last" T-Bone
- Saipan Highlights - Miyako, Wild Bill's & Aqua Resort Lunch Beach BBQ
McDonald's 7th Annual 5K Run Against Crime - Saturday Jan 28
It may or may not be a race that I'll run in, but is sure is one race I'll definitely support! McDonald's is once again presenting its 7th Annual 5K Run Against Crime to celebrate Guam Crime Stoppers this Saturday, January 28. Showtime is 5:15am and Go Time is 6am. Pre-Registration Fee is $5 at Hornet Sporting Goods, $10 on Race Day. The location of this event is at the McDonald's in Hagatna.
Go Before It's Gone! Dr. Jackson's Personal Collection at KAHA til Feb 1
If you've not been to see Dr. Marilyn Malloy Jackson's personal collection of works entitled, "Highlights & Memoirs of African American Culture", now on display at the KAHA Gallery at Two Lover's Point, I highly recommend it.
This exhibit consists of static displays, posters, photos, paintings, newspaper and magazine clips and covers, just about every print medium covering the achievements of African Americans. You will see entertainers, sports figures, inventors, writers, politicians, religious leaders, civil rights activists, and historical figures, from Black cowboys to sharecroppers. A tribute to Rosa Parks is featured, as well as to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and you will see information about three African American legends who passed away this year including publishing icon John H. Johnson, Luther Vandross, and the inimitable Ray Charles.
I sincerely believe that anyone who spends 15 minutes to an hour in this exhibit will walk away having learned something significant. You will be amazed by how many commonly used inventions were discovered by African Americans, including such mundane things as water sprinklers, fire extinguishers, door knobs, door locks, the disposable syringe, and the photo embossing machine. (Did I forget to mention the traffic light?) You'll be captivated by a display of the life & times of mega star Billie Holliday. This very same display held several tourists enthralled while I was there. The exhibit runs through February 1, so you have this weekend and a few more days to make this visit...it's like walking through printed versions of the Discovery Channel, BET, and the History Channel. Check it out!
Art B.C. - Infiniti Art Gallery Presents Sal Bidaure & Ron Castro Jan 27-Feb 4
This is another worthwhile art happening, with an opening night reception this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Infiniti Art Gallery in the Nissan Showroom in Upper Tumon. The exhibit features works by two of the island's most prolific and talented artists. We need to support our local talents.
Beaucanon Estate Winemaker's Dinner - A Successful Pairing of Food & Wine
TJ's at the Hyatt Regency Guam was the place to be this past Wednesday night when Vintner Louis de Coninck walked guests through an elaborate dinner featuring Beaucanon Estate wines that were paired with the culinary creations of Hyatt Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler. The event was hosted by Quality Distributors, who are the local representatives for Beaucanon Estate Wines. Among the wines enjoyed with pre-dinner canapes were the Beaucanon Estate Chardonnay and Merlot 2001. [Photo: L-R Hermann Grossbichler, Executive Chef Hyatt Regency Guam; Louis de Coninck, Vinter, Beaucanon Estate; George Lai, President, Quality Distributors]
The dinner pairings were as follows:
Seared Scallops, Snow Peas, Roasted Capsicums, Sea Urchin Cappuccino
Jacques de Coninck Reserve Chardonnay 1999
Homemade Potato Gnocchi with Duck Ragout and Pecorino Romano Cheese
Beaucanon Estate Trifecta 2000
Slowly Roasted Rack of Lamb Scented with Rosemary, Baked Mediterranean
Vegetables and Preserved Lemon Couscous
Beaucanon/Jacque de Coninck Selection Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Although I enjoyed the Chardonnay and was pleasantly surprised by the smoothly complex Merlot that was served, I was once again smitten by Beaucanon's Trifecta, which for red wine lovers like me, is a special treat. The Trifecta blends 66% Cabernet, 30% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. It is a rich wine resplendent with spices, intense black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors that embellish the tannins that finish softly on the palate. The Pecorino Romano Cheese and Gnocchi were suitable companions for this wine, which I felt could have been equally enjoyed with the Rack of Lamb served for the main course. Chef Hermann's dessert course stole the show for choco-philes with his Chocolate Two Ways. The chocolate pie was Fort Knox rich and lovely, and nearly matched by the pistachio mousse in a delectable dark chocolate cup. Kudos to winemaker Louis, Quality Distributors, and the Hyatt team for a memorable evening of ecstatic consumption!
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter
Jan 28 2005 Vol 5 No 4
Restaurant Reviewed: Marriott Cafe's Flavors of Japan - A Japanese Culinary Excursion
Chef Durliat's International Cuisine Experience Visits Poland Saturday Jan 29
Hy's Beaucanon Wine Dinner Features Vintner Louis de Coninck
Indian Night Tsunami Fund Raiser, Guam Hotel Okura, Sunday Feb 6
Around the Island - Genji's Splendid Dinner, Chuck's "Last" T-Bone
A recent follow-up visit to Genji reaffirmed my assessment that things are improving at this newly-reopened and long-awaited Japanese hot spot in the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. A noticeable improvement was seen in the time, detail, and craftsmanship of the teppan cooks who can now spend more time in front of teppan counter customers prepping their entrees. Genji Chef de Cuisine Hamada mesmerized me with his artistic sashimi and sushi appetizers embellished by Hamada's sauce innovations, and the absolute best suimono (clear soup) I've had outside of Japan and better than most I've had there. To answer the question asked by many about US Kobe Beef. It's a beautifully-marbled beef that's tender, flavorful, and a close second in quality to Japanese Kobe Beef. The KAZE (Wind) Set Menu I had this time was notably better in presentation and delivery than was my first experience with the same course. Every restaurant, even the great ones, have to have a "settle in" time. I look forward to my next Genji Japanese Restaurant dining experience.
Chuck's "Last" T-Bone Steak!
No, Chuck's is not running out of T-bones! I just happened to order the last T-bone sold that night, since we arrived at 9:48pm for a late dinner. But I'll tell you what, for the money ($24.75), it has to be one of the best-flavored values I've had and this is the second one I've eaten down to the bone. For some of us long-timers, Chuck's is considered "old school". It was on Guam and a hot spot here before OutBack, Lone Star, and Hy's. It pre-dates Tony Roma's, Denny's, Shirley's, and a few other restaurants - I can't remember if it was here before King's, but I know it was here in the 70's. Chuck's is not a place where you go for the atmosphere and ambiance - I guess the best way of putting it is that the ambiance and atmosphere of Chuck's is that chunk of Certified Angus Beef that's on your plate!
Saipan Highlights - Miyako, Wild Bill's & Aqua Resort Lunch Beach BBQ
If you are travelling to Saipan for the first time, you may be surprised by the culinary diversity available to our smaller neighbor to the north. Interestingly enough, there are many residents from both Guam and Saipan who claim that they have better dining experiences in Saipan than on Guam. I don't know if it's a fact that's ever been objectively determined. I have had wonderful and exciting meals in both places, and yes, there are some things that are done better on Guam and there are other things that are done better in Saipan, so let's just say that it's a draw and not worry about who's better - let's just appreciate both places! Isn't that a diplomatic solution?
Though I've been to many places during my trips to Saipan, my most recent travels have afforded me an opportunity to explore some new dining experiences. The three that I'd like to share with you are the Miyako Lunch Buffet at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Wild Bill's Thai Cuisine, and the new Lunch Beach BBQ at the Aqua Resort Club, one of Saipan's best kept secret hideaways.
Miyako Lunch Buffet
I don't know why I'd not dined at Miyako Japanese Restaurant during all of my prior visits to Saipan. I'd frequented the Hyatt a lot over the years, spending more time at Kili Terrace and Giovanni's. I am glad that I did finally indulge in the Miyako experience, and believe it or not, the special Japanese Lunch Buffet offers diners a sampling of Miyako's best cuisine. For $22 (plus service charge), you get an all-you-can-eat selection of Sushi, Sashimi, Tempura, Noodles, Soup, and more. There are no windows in Miyako, so it has an inherent dimness that makes it seem that you are always having dinner in an exclusive Japanese enclave. The atmosphere is intimate and the luncheon is so popular that you should seriously consider making reservations by calling (670) 233-1234.
The food stations are laid out in several areas so it's possible to start at either the sashimi, cold salad section or at the soup station. One particularly interesting station had salmon and saba pieces slow-grilling over hot coals. This was a nice feature, since seafood grilling while you watch adds the extra cache of fresh-off-the-grill authenticity to the meal. I also loaded up on several different sushi types and sashimi, only to find out later that the chef was already making me a special sushi selection so I had to eat two different sushi collections. Did I mind? Not at all! The quality was superb. I also treated myself to udon, vegetable stew, tempura, salad, vegetables, stewed eggplant, tofu, chawanmushi, and grilled chicken. I didn't think I'd had room, but I even managed a few pieces of fruit and green tea cake.
Miyako's a la carte lunch menu includes the Unajyu Set (Broiled Sea Eel, $22), Futami Set (Appetizer, Udon and Tuna Roll, $18), Ebi Tendon (Rice topped with Deep Fried Prawns, $15), and Tori Kuwayaki Don( Rice topped with Grilled Chicken, $11). A bowl of Chasoba (Cold Green Tea Noodles) is $11, and Tempura Udon or Soba is $15.50.
I have to make it a point to return for dinner at Miyako, or perhaps just sit at the sushi counter and sip sake while eating the chef's special sushi and sashimi preparations. Doesn't that sound like marvelous fun?
Wild Bill's Bar & Grill
Another worthwhile spot in Saipan is the relatively new pub and restaurant called Wild Bill's Bar & Grill, which is located in Garapan about a block away from Thai House. I was told about this place by several people, but it wasn't until I ran into Bill Curry and his wife Somjai on Guam that they told me I needed to get to their new place and try out their Thai food. Wild Bill's boasts a diverse menu selection, including a variety of hot sandwiches from Roast Beef ($6.25) to burgers such as the Bacon Cheeseburger ($5), Country Fried Steak ($7), Fried Chicken ($6.50), Steaks, Seafood Entrees, Combinations, and more. They also have a Thai food section on their menu, which is what I came to eat this time.
I ordered the Gai Kra Praow (Chicken with Sweet Basil $7 ), Pad Thai ($7), and was given a sample of their signature fresh rolls (Summer Rolls, $7,) which were mixed bean thread noodles and vegetables with shrimp, served with peanut sauce. The rolls were awesome...not just great tasting, especially when dipped in the hot, as in warmed, spicy peanut sauce with generous chopped nuts floating atop, but also great in stature and number. There were eight halves that each seemed to be about as big as the regular-sized ones I'm used to getting. I ate what I could, and brought the rest to the staff at my hotel.
The Pad Thai was pretty good, too, and I portioned half for take-out. I really enjoyed the Gai Kra Praow. I had this dish Thai Style, with the fried egg on top. It was as good as I've had at my favorite Guam Thai restaurants, with nice red bell peppers and fragrant basil infused throughout. It has to be one of my favorite Thai dishes...certainly an aromatic delight for me!
Wild Bill's is open for breakfast, too, and serves Omelettes, Pork Chops, Chamorro Breakfasts, Beef Tapa, Breakfast Steaks, Pancakes, French Toast, Hash Browns,and Fried Rice. Their phone number is (670) 233-3372 for take-out and they are open from 7am-10pm.
Aqua Resort Lunch Beach BBQ
For those of you who fantasize about living the lifestyle of the rich and famous, I've got good news for you! You can do it for real at the Aqua Resort Club, where you can enjoy a BBQ Lunch at a canopied table just feet away from the rolling surf. The recently introduced Lunch BBQ is a spin-off of their popular Sunset BBQ dinner. Lunch is only $18for adults and $9 for children, and is available Monday-Friday from 11am-2pm.
All you do is choose your meats (marinated chicken, top sirloin, short ribs, tuna, parrotfish) that are then taken by the cook to a bbq grill. You also get ears of corn to bbq, and you can choose either white or red rice or a baked potato with all the toppings. A salad and steamed vegetables are also offered. For a beverage, we were treated to fresh coconut juice over ice.
What a tropical dream meal this was! The view is absolutely fantastic, with beautiful white sandy beaches stretching south and north, no buildings blocking or intruding on the scenic vista. The aquamarine sea was mesmerizing, and sitting at the table eating the hot just-barbecued meats and dipping pieces in finadene to localize the experience made this a luncheon you don't want to leave. It's like a private and exclusive picnic on the beach with your own personal chef! Moreover, if you have the time and are not a hotel guest, you can still avail yourself of the pool at no charge and even receive a free beach towel, so you can just relax and soak up the sun after sating your hunger. You can also get 20% off on all marine activities, which include windsurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking.
I can't think of a better way to enjoy lunch in paradise than to spend it there at the remote and ultra-relaxing Aqua Resort. I may even put my swimming trunks in my briefcase on my next business visit there! Better yet, plan on spending the weekend after your Friday BBQ Beach Lunch at the Aqua Resort Club, so you can enjoy Raraina for fine dining and the Costa Terrace for lavish buffet spreads. Call Aqua Resort at (670) 322-1234
Now doesn't a Saipan visit sound appealing?
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