March 10, 2006, Volume 6 Number 10
Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Biba Chamoru! That's right, folks, March is Chamorro Month and the celebrations are well under way. I was able to drop by Guam Premier Outlets this past Saturday and sampled some of the entrees in the GPO Annual Kelaguen Contest. I had been asked earlier by friend and colleague Jojo Santo Tomas to stop by and try his kelaguen entrees. I figured if Jojo was going to be in this contest that he was going to win something, and did he ever!!! Jojo and his team-mate, "Big Mike" Rozanski, garnered the 1st Place Prize in the Beef Kelaguen contest, and placed 2nd in both the Chicken and Seafood Kelaguen contests. Other 1st Place finishers were Leonard Baza in the Seafood Kelaguen category, and Cecil Orsini for his Chicken Kelaguen. Each 1st Place winner took home a cash prize of $250. Congratulations to all the winners and participants in this local culinary event, which even featured a Binadu (venison) Kelaguen, which I found to be more tender than expected. [Photo: L-R Roque Aguon, MC & Power 98 Program Director; Leonard Baza, Seafood Kelaguen 1st Place; Jojo Santo Tomas, Beef Kelaguen 1st Place; Cecil Orsini, Chicken Kelaguen 1st Place and Suzanne Perez, GPO Event Coordinator.]
Be sure to celebrate Chamorro month yourself by going to your favorite local eatery. I'll definitely be making some rounds by going to Y Kusina, Planet Hollywood, Jeff's Pirates Cove, King's, Denny's, a few of the hotels like the Outrigger's Palm Cafe and the Hilton's Islander Terrace, and the Chamorro Village to get a taste of our local cuisine. For those who like to dabble in making new dishes, check out the Local Recipes on GuamDiner.com. We welcome new submissions, too!
Ken, The "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Creole & Jazz Festival at Hyatt's La Mirenda Ends March 12
- Planet Hollywood Guam's Chamorro Food Festival Celebrates Chamorro Month
- Brown Bag Cafe - Take Out a Wrap
- Congratulations, Remo! Former Hyatt Guam Exec. Chef New President of Le Toques Blanches Korea
- MCA General Membership Meeting - 7pm March 13, Westin Resort Guam
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter Archives
- Around the Island - Vitale's Splendid Sandwiches, Duangdee Thai's Savory Yellow Curry, Denny's Local Specials
- Chung Suk Gol - All Night Korean Dining Where the Writing's On the Walls
Creole & Jazz Festival at Hyatt's La Mirenda Ends March 12
Don't miss out on the fabulous Cajun and Creole preparations of New Orleans native, Chef Troy Landry, now being served during La Mirenda's lunch and dinner buffets in a special promotion aptly called the Creole & Jazz Festival.
I had a chance to follow up on my dinner experience of the previous week and do the lunch on Wednesday. This time I made sure that I had one of the famous Po'Boys, made with shrimp, fried oysters, and crawfish...on a marvelous French baguette along with lettuce, tomatoes, and a savory remoulade sauce! I also had some more of Chef Troy's delicious Seafood Gumbo, a chunk of his fiery Jalapeno Cornbread, a helping of Pasta Jambalaya, some luscious Prime Rib in Gravy with Wild Rice, Catfish, Pork Tenderloin, Shrimp Creole, and some Smoked Duck. Now I've got to figure out a way to get back down there for just one more helping of this awesome Cajun/Creole cuisine, since I have to wait another year for New Orleans to come to Guam. Make your reservations and get on over to the Hyatt's La Mirenda this weekend!
Planet Hollywood Guam's Chamorro Food Festival Celebrates Chamorro Month
From now until the end of the month, Planet Hollywood Guam is pleased to announce that they'll be celebrating Chamorro culture through local cuisine and entertainment. According to a press release, "Chef Chito has taken classic Chamorro dishes and presented them with a Hollywood flair. Patrons may enjoy the appetizer, a Kelaguen Trio of shrimp, chicken and fish; soup Chalikilis just how nana makes it; favorite entrees such as Ham Hock with Mongo Beans, Oxtail Kadu, Beef Tinaktak, Fried Local Catch or a hearty Fiesta Plate. Then, the perfect end to any meal a dessert sampler made in heaven of Latiya, Tomales and Mango Ice Cream." The prices are quite reasonable, with the Fiestan' Tasi (whole fried local catch) going for $12.95 which is the same price for Tinktak and Ham Hocks. In addition, there will be a special type of entertainment put on by "Guma' Palu Li'e", a group that will be performing traditional-style Chamorro chant and dance. This will be held on Saturday evenings starting at 7:30pm.For reservations or more information, call 647-7827.
Brown Bag Cafe - Take Out a Wrap
If you can see this picture, then it's something you should emulate (or even duplicate) if you really want to share in the taste of a really good wrap! I bought this Chicken & Mango Wrap with Wasabi Aioli at The Brown Bag Cafe in Tamuning (they are in the Shell HQ building next to Citizens Security Bank) to take back to the office. The wrap, which is stuffed with chunks of chicken breast, cucumber, sprouts, lettuce, and sweet mango, was $7.95 and the big Chocolate & Banana Muffin was $2.50. Lori Tydingco's expanding little eatery sells a variety of foods that are healthier choices. Her other locations are in the Hagatna Cathedral and most recently on Naval Station. She has even expanded to the Philippines, where she has a cafe set up in Manila. If you still see the picture, you'll see a little bottle of the latest sparkling beverage that's creating a sensation at Guam restaurants. This is San Pellegrino's Aranciata Rossa, a red sparkling orange beverage, imported from Italy.This beverage blends fresh citrus fruit with the famous San Pellegrino sparkling water. Other flavors are Pompelmo (grapefruit), Limonata (Lemon)and Aranciata Amara (bitter orange). Healthy, refreshing, and tasty, with 12% fruit - there's a lot of good in these small bottles with their distinct orange-peel textured surface!
Congratulations, Remo! Former Hyatt Guam Exec. Chef New President of Le Toques Blanches Korea
We just received a message from our good friend, Remo Berdux, formerly Executive Chef of Hyatt Regency Guam and currently the Executive Chef of the Ritz-Carlton Seoul, that he has been elected the next President of Les Toques Blanches Korea, a distinguished international culinary organization. Remo had been serving as Vice President for the past year. He was the President of the Micronesian Chefs' Association for two years during his tenure at the Hyatt. To see a recent picture of Remo and to find out more about the Toques Blanches in Korea, visit their website which should be updated soon with the recent election info. Congratulations, again, Remo! I now have to take a trip to Korea during his term as President to establish culinary relations!
MCA General Membership Meeting - 7pm March 13, Westin Resort Guam
The March 2006 General Membership Meeting of the Micronesian Chefs' Association is scheduled for 7pm Monday, March 13 at the Westin Resort Guam's Unnai Function Room. Members are encouraged to bring guests and prospective members.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
Feb 25, 2005 Vol 5 No 9
Restaurant Reviewed: Sam Choy's Guam, Where A Big Taste of Aloha Meets our Own Hafa Adai
GPO's Best Kelaguen Contest Winners
GFG Interviewed Live on Radio Australia
Around the Island - Vitale's Splendid Sandwiches, Duangdee Thai's Savory Yellow Curry, Denny's Local Specials
"Mama mia, now that's Italian!!" is what you're going to exclaim after your first bite of Vitale's King Sub Sandwich made with Pepperoni, Ham, Mushrooms, and Sausage and lots of Mozzarella Cheese, for $6.95. The toasted sesame roll is made by Vitale, which explains why it is so much better than typical bakery bread. Vitale's also makes their own sausage. During our visit the other night we also tried the Spaghetti Pepperocino with Garlic Oil ($9.95) and it was a resounding WOW! dish. If you like meatballs, Vitale's makes the real deal - old style traditional Italian meat balls in a rich marinara sauce. Drop by Vitale's Italian Ristorante in Tumon, just above Bully's and 7-11 across from the DFS Galleria.
Duangdee Thai Restaurant, located in the Monticello Plaza (home of Tamuning's COST-U-LESS), is slowly gaining in popularity as more and more people have discovered this quiet and even scenic hideaway, where every entree is cooked to order. The other night we tried an item which was new to us, Yellow Curry with Shrimp ($9.99). This is made with curry powder, coconut milk, onions, carrots, and diced potatoes, and has a unique flavor that distinguishes it from the more popular Red and Green curries. This is primarily since the latter two are made with red and green Chili pastes as a base for their curry blend. I noticed another table's getting served a whole fried fish - it looked really good and now I've got a pressing reason to go back soon! Call 646-9779 for more information.
Denny's Guam has introduced some value-priced local specials for weeknight dining, and I thought it would be good to test drive the Oxtail Soup that is served Tuesday and Thursday, for $7.65. It was served in a big bowl with about six pieces of tender oxtail, cabbage, and onions. The protocol is to put two scoops of rice in the bowl in the soup broth It was okay and I admit I like my Mom's version better. With all the rice they give you, it's understandable why this dish is so popular with locals. Other local specials I'd like to try eventually are Chicken Tinola ($7.25), on Wednesday, Pork Sinigang ($7.25), served on Friday, and Adobo served on Monday. These specials are available at both Tamuning and Micronesia Mall Denny's locations.
Chung Suk Gol - All Night Korean Dining Where the Writing's On the Walls
There are times when one has to venture into the unknown, the unfamiliar, and even the bizarre to discover and experience different and new culinary creations. Chung Suk Gol, located in Upper Tumon's East-West Center, just above Red Chicken and Truong's, seemed to embody all three "mysteries". In fact, the first few thoughts that came to my mind when we first entered this second story crypt-like hideaway were wondering what were we doing here and whether anyone else was going to join us.
From the outside, all you see is bamboo poles running from floor to ceiling behind the front glass windows, and the doors have cardboard posted up against the inside with scrawling writing all over...you'd think this place was abandoned even before entering. Yet there are people who know better, and these people are from another dimension in time. After all, the opening hours for Chung Suk Gol Restaurant and Lounge are from 6pm-6am, and from what we determined from our 'early' visit (around 7-ish), was that the real action must take place after midnight or even later, like 2 or 3am, when everything else has closed or is shutting down.
The people who frequent Chung Suk Gol have found an intriguing way to combat boredom and to pass the time waiting for service which was noticeably sparse. What they do and have been doing is overwhelmingly and almost insanely - they have written all over the walls, the wooden partitions and even the ceiling at Chung Suk Gol...it's bordering on cultish, since the room is eerily dark. Once your eyes adjust, and you listen to the soulful sounds of contemporary Korean heartache songs, your curiosity takes over. This is a restaurant, too, which is why we came, and after having a bottle of water delivered with the menus, we placed our order with Jien, who we found out later, was not only a server, but also doubled as a cook. During our entire stay there, Jien was the only person working at Chung Suk Gol, and she had to serve and prepare food for three different tables.
The menu is easy to read and has photos illustrating the various entrees. We wanted to keep things simple, so we ordered Galbi, the ever popular Korean-style marinated short ribs ($16), Bulgogi ($12), and then something totally unusual for me that we'd been told by a friend to try, a dish called Duk Bol Gi, which Jien said was the Sauteed Spicy Rice Cake ($10). There were photos for all three dishes, and I couldn't decipher what all of the food elements were in the spicy rice cake picture.
While we waited, we just kept looking around the room, fixing on certain spots and noticing familiar names of people or businesses. There is a huge candle in the middle of the floor. When I say huge, it's like a mound that's 2 feet tall and it seems to have just dripped in place for a couple of years. Jien told us that this restaurant had been here for 9 years. The writings on the wall made it look like a lot longer!
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