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March 17, 2006, Volume 6 Number 11


Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Did you know that there are over 150 restaurants in Tumon alone? There are even more under construction, with some opening soon. It's a very exciting time for residents and visitors alike, since there are more dining options than ever before!

One that is already in soft-opening mode is The Samurai Seaport Steak & Wine Company at the newly-opened Fiesta Resort Guam. During this period they are offering weekly lunch specials such as a Grilled Salmon Set and a Saba Misoni Set (both $13.95) as well as Teppanyaki Selections. And, Haagen-Dazs has added two new sleek shops. One at the Plaza Corner Shop and the other in the Fiesta Resort Cafe, both offering pastries, Illy espresso beverages (try the Iced Cafe Mocha), and luxury ice cream treats such as a Banana Split Dazzler, or a Dulce de Leche Shake. If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, there's an intriguingly named new restaurant being built in the Blue Lagoon Plaza - the sign reads 'Caspian Grill' and that's more than enough to peak my curiosity.

It seems that every time I stop by the Acanta Mall's Latte Stone Cafe, I discover new dessert and pastry creations that have been getting better and better. Today I shared a delectable Pistachio Cake along with a superb Bread Pudding. The Acanta Mall is working to make Thursday nights a miniature Chamorro Village. If you have something to sell, you may want to come down to Acanta Mall on Thursdays, since the tourists are there in abundance. This event and place has the capacity to evolve into something bigger that could really draw in the numbers.

As I said, it is an exciting time, with many new developments and changes. The Duty Free Galleria has really morphed into an entirely new retail concept - it's a newly energized collection of chic boutiques. Just amazing! We're going to see more and more shops and eateries open up, folks, so hold on to your seats, because things are really taking off!

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ken the "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • K57 "Tourism & You" GFG Program Celebrates Chamorro Month Sat March 18, 10am
  • ProStart State Culinary Competition - Sat March 18th, Guam Premier Outlets
  • Green Door Reunion Dinner - Tasty Tradition Continues with The Morrises
  • 5th Annual Celebrity Chefs' Cup - March 24 Hyatt Regency Guam Ballroom
  • XTICER Off-Road Triathlon Hits the Big Time In Guam - March 25
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guamdiner Newsletter
  • Around the Island - Palm Cafe's Mongolian BBQ Lunch Buffet, Ploy Thai Cuisine, Planet Hollywood Chamorro Food Festival
  • Central Perk Cafe Offers a Big Fresh Taste of Home-made Goodness

K57 "Tourism & You" GFG Program Celebrates Chamorro Month Sat March 18, 10am

Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy's segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10am-12 noon. This week's guests will be showcasing the food and activities that celebrate the island's cultural heritage. In the first hour, our guest will be Randy Cepeda, general manager of Y Kusina, Guam's best Chamorro restaurant. Our second hour's guests will be a dynamic duo from Planet Hollywood general manager, Marie Guerrero and sales manager, Amber San Gil, who will talk about Planet Hollywood's Chamorro Food Festival and the special Chamorro entertainment group, Guma' Palu Li'e', that performs on Saturday nights. Please call and join in on the discussion, at 477-5757 or with cellular, dial *57.

ProStart State Culinary Competition - Sat March 18th, Guam Premier Outlets

The public is invited to watch the ProStart State Culinary Competition that will take place this Saturday, March 18, at the Guam Premier Outlet's Food Court around 10am. This contest is part of the ProStart Foodservice Program available for high school students throughout the U.S. who are interested in a career in the culinary arts.

The local competition is sponsored by Guam Community College, which has several satellite classrooms at various high schools that will have teams participating. Each team was assigned a chef mentors to coach them for this competition, the winner of which will attend the National ProStart Student Invitational, to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina April 30 - May 2, 2006.

The winners of the national contest will be awarded scholarships to assist them in their pursuit a culinary arts education. Unlike other contests that have been judged by taste and presentation, this competition is quite strict, with students having only one hour to prepared a complete three-course meal from scratch, without using any electrical appliances. They will be judged on sanitation, safety, temperature controls, and teamwork, as well as on taste and presentation. This is really a significant event, and is the second year that Guam will be able to send a team to join in the National Competition. It will be fun to watch!

Green Door Reunion Dinner - Tasty Tradition Continues with The Morrises

It was a welcome and much anticipated pleasure to once again unite with Dr. Jonathon Morris and his lovely life partner, Suzan, over an "anniversary dinner" at Tumon's Izakaya Katsu, aka "The Green Door", one of the best Japanese restaurants around. The Morrises returned to Guam recently for their annual visit from Portland, Maine. Dr. Morris is a psychiatrist who has spent two weeks every year since 1994 on Guam working with the Department of Mental Health. This was our 5th reunion, and Katsu's signature Tofu Steak, Panko-Battered Prawns, and Unagi were signature dishes we relished as we've done during previous visits. For this visit, Jon and Suzan were accompanied by two grad student Interns, Deborah Rabinowitz and Amanda Thompson, both of whom have fallen in love with Guam. [Photo L-R: Ken Stewart; Yokho Soma; Suzan Morris; Dr. Jonathan Morris; Deborah Rabinowitz; Amanda Thompson and Zenobia Lynn]

My introduction is an example of what the modern internet age can do as it stemmed from Suzan reading my online review of Izakaya Katsu prior to their visit in March 2002 which lead to an exchange of emails, an engagement to dine and, as they say, the rest is history! Katsu has some excellent new salad creations as well as what's purported to be one of the best-tasting Ribeye Steaks on island. Say hello to owner, Yokho Soma, when you visit. Call 647-0247 for reservations and information.

5th Annual Celebrity Chefs' Cup - March 24 Hyatt Regency Guam Ballroom

There's only one week left before the island's most exciting culinary competition takes place, and all bets are on for who's going to take home the coveted Chefs' Cup at next Friday's "stellar" fund-raising event, that's organized by the University of Guam Endowment Foundation and the Micronesian Chefs' Association. As is the tradition each year, five teams, each representing a major hotel or restaurant, and with each preparing one course from an elaborate 5-course menu, will compete against the other teams in a contest to garner the most points. The audience will be casting the ballots to determine who wins. The voting will take into consideration the presentation, taste, and creativity of the particular dish. Proceeds from this fund-raising event will be going towards the construction of new campus facilities as well as towards scholarships for junior chefs.

This year the teams are comprised of an Executive chef; two 'Celebrity' chefs, one a business executive and the other a media personality, and two Junior chefs.

Team One
Executive Chef: Peter Duenas, Sam Choy's
Celebrity Chefs: Monte Mesa and Santi Sablan
Junior Chefs: Carol Perez and Tricia Baker
Dish: First Course (Cold Appetizer) - Rock Lobster Spring Rolls with Bouquet of Mesclun Greens, Vietnamese Mint-infused Vinaigrette, Boonie Pepper Oil, and Seasoned Crab Roe.

Team Two
Executive Chef: Clayton Babas, Guam Reef Hotel
Celebrity Chefs: Mike Benito and Joy James
Junior Chefs: Jessica Bryant and Cherinne Guerrero
Dish: Second Course (Hot Appetizer) - Grilled Corn and Coconut Tamales with Kalua Style Beef Brisket on Roasted Eggplant and Boonie Pepper Dinanche

Team Three
Executive Chef: Chris Aguilar, Outrigger Resort Guam
Celebrity Chefs: Robert Hernandez and Amier Younis
Junior Chefs: Justin Mansapit and Chris Egana
Dish: Third Course (Soup) - Smoked Paprika Chicken with Chorizo Sausage and Ancho Chili Broth with Lentils

Team Four
Executive Chef: Hermann Grossbichler, Hyatt Regency Guam
Celebrity Chefs: Fong Wu and Jay Pascua
Junior Chefs: Christopher Divina and Leo Batoyon
Dish: Fourth Course (Entree) - Lemon and Thyme Roasted Poussin filled with Black Truffle Risotto, served with market fresh Chanterelles, Runner Beans, and Semi-dried Vine.

Team 5
Executive Chef: Veronica Perez, Firefly Bistro
Celebrity Chefs: Kurt Moylan and Jojo Santo Tomas
Junior Chefs: Audria Borja and Flora Burce
Dish: Fifth Course (Dessert) - 'Psychedelic Island' Rich Layer of Rum-laced Chocolate Cake & Tropical White Fudge, Candied Ginger Shortbread, Exotic Fruit Sauces, Coconut Tres Leches

This super-charged entertainment event starts at 6pm with tickets price at $150 per person. For more information, contact 735-2956. See you there!

XTICER Off-Road Triathlon Hits the Big Time In Guam - March 25

And, if you're looking to burn some calories, may we suggest:

"Hyper Event Promotions, in conjunction with the Guam Triathlon Federation, is producing the Michelob Ultra XTICER Off-Road Triathlon, on March 25 beginning at 7:30am at the USO in Piti. Although this is the third year for the event, it has elevated its status in off-road triathlon by becoming an official Nissan Xterra Points Series (NXPS) Race in the world's largest and most successful off-road triathlon series.

The XTICER combines a 1km swim in the waters just behind the USO in Piti, followed by a mountain bike up Nimitz Hill and around the Guam High School area, climbing up into the technical terrain atop Mt. Alutom, and finishing with a 5k trail run up in the same area. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers.

The men's race will feature some familiar local triathletes such as Jude Baker. He'll have his hands full with Courtney Cardenas, XTERRA Regional champion from California, who is a confirmed participant in the race.

It looks to be even more heated in the women's race as 2004 XTERRA World Champion, Jamie Whitmore from California, and 2005 XTERRA Saipan Champion, Renata Bucher from Switzerland, battle it out in a preview of the following week's duel at the XTERRA Saipan Championship. Whitmore, the winningest XTERRA athlete, male or female, is no stranger to the trails of Guam, having ridden parts of the Mt. Alutom course during a visit in 2004. "I was able to visit Guam for a short time as a guest speaker at a triathlon clinic" says Whitmore. "I was also able to get out on the bike and check out some of the trails. I remember it started raining and I got my first taste of the Guam mud!"

Although Jamie Whitmore, Courtney Cardenas and Renata Bucher are all world-class triathletes, the Michelob Ultra XTICER Off-Road Triathlon is open to local athletes as well as relay teams. It's an especially nice tune-up race for those participating in the XTERRA Saipan Championship on April 1st.

Race registration can be done online at www.active.com or sign up in person at Hornet Sports in Tamuning or MTB Outfitters in Agana. Last day to register will be Wednesday, March 22nd during the pre-race mixer/registration packet pick up at the Pacific Islands Club beachside deck. Entry fees are $50 individual and $90 for relay teams. A portion of the net proceeds will benefit the EMC Cancer Foundation and the Guam Triathlon Federation. Participating sponsors include Pacific Islands Club, Fox Racing, Smith Sports, and Hornet Sports."

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

March 18, 2005 Vol 5 No 11

Restaurant Reviewed: Izakaya Katsu - Legendary Japanese Cuisine Dazzles Behind the Green Door

Highlights:
ProStart State Culinary Competition - Sat March 19th, Agana Shopping Center
Marriott Cafe's Flavors Across Asia Meets Oceans of Flavor Dinner Buffet

Around the Island - Palm Cafe's Mongolian BBQ Lunch Buffet, Ploy Thai Cuisine, Planet Hollywood Chamorro Food Festival

For a super good value, be sure to drop by the Outrigger's Palm Cafe for their various Lunch Buffets. We especially like the Thursday offering which is the Mongolian BBQ Buffet. There's already a lot of food in the cold and hot buffet sections, however, when you get to the grill, you can choose from beef, shrimp, chicken and vegetables and a variety of oils. The cook made mine perfectly spicy with hot oil and garlic. Wow - that was an aromatic olfactory rush! The price is great, too at only $12.50 (plus 10% sc). There's a lot of food offered beyond the Mongolian BBQ section but we recommend having them grill up your favorite meat, seafood and veggies. Check out the other lunch buffet specials at GuamDiner.com.

Ploy Thai Cuisine is located in the Tamuning Cinema Arcade across from Alupang Beach Tower, the same spot that was Sabai Dee, and previous to that, the legendary Binh Minh. This history may help explain why this little eatery has added Vietnamese cuisine to its selection of Thai standards. We had a zesty Papaya Salad ($7), along with Spicy Noodles or Pad Ki Mow ($8) made with onions, mushrooms, egg, bamboo shoots, bell pepper, basil and chicken. We also ordered a the Spicy Chicken or Phat Ka Pao ($7), which has oyster sauce, garlic, bamboo shoots, onions, bell pepper, and basil. All the ingredients were fresh and, if anything, we could have ordered everything a little spicier. This restaurant also has a Vietnamese menu. Lunch specials are $5 and $6. What I didn't realize is that Ploy Thai is owned by Kay Castro, the widow of old friend Fred Castro, former Guam EPA Administrator. There is a photo and plaque of Fred behind the bar. The restaurant is very peaceful with soothing Thai music playing in the background, and a new paint job has really brightened everything up! For take out, call 649-8424.

Planet Hollywood's Chamorro Food Festival is up for eating the entire month of March. We recently tried the Kelaguen Sampler ($8.50), which has three small dishes of Shrimp, Chicken and Fish Kelaguen. One good thing they've done is not make these too spicy. They put a red boonie pepper on the plate for you to add to your liking. The sampler has only two Titiya wedges, however, you can request more if you need. We also had the Chalakilis ($4.25) a favorite local soup, made with chicken, rice, local spices and seasonings. The main course, Fiestan' Tasi ($12.95), was awesome, since it had a whole deep fried local catch, this day it was a parrotfish. We had two finadenes, a soy-based and a clear lemon, which was better suited for fish. We also tried the Dessert Sampler ($6.50), which consisted of three local favorites, Latiya, Tomales, and Mango Ice Cream. The Latiya is more of an angel food cake, so don't expect it to taste like what you usually get at parties. The ice cream's a hit and, interestingly, it does have a taste link to Latiya. I'll have to go back for Ham Hock with Mongo Beans ($12.95), Oxtail Kadu ($14.95), and the Fiesta Plate ($18.95), which has marinated ribs and chicken with red rice!

Central Perk Cafe Offers a Big Fresh Taste of Home-made Goodness

You've heard the saying that good things happen to those who wait...well, I don't think I needed to wait so long to try one of the excellent soup and sandwich combinations at Central Perk Cafe, located in the Yu-Han Building in Anigua. You can't miss Central Perk Cafe's green awning, it clearly locates the storefront. All you need to know is that they open early at 7am and close at 4pm Monday Friday and they are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Though I've been into Central Perk Cafe for pastries, coffee drinks and smoothies, I had not yet sat down to rest and enjoy the scenery. It has to be one of the most charming little boutique cafes on island. It's cozy, colorfully decorated, and intimate, and leaves you to your solitude, if that's what you're seeking.

I arrived just before 3pm for a late lunch after having exhausted myself after five Career Day Sessions at Guam South High School. I was so thirsty I ordered a Passion Fruit Smoothie ($4) and an Iced Tropical Green Tea. My server, Rhiannon, pleasantly explained different menu items to me and I settled on a Soup & Sandwich Combo (full size $8.50), and selected a Pastrami Sandwich on Multi-Grain, adding Alfalfa Sprouts, Tomatoes, Pickles, Onions, Lettuce, Black & Green Olives, and Cucumbers. I also had Spicy Mayo, Dijon Mustard, and Provolone Cheese. It turned out to be a lot of sandwich! I was more than happy with this as I initially wanted a hamburger since I'd heard a lot of good things about their big, hand-made burgers. However, they didn't have any available at the time of my visit. Fortunately, the pastrami turned out to be an excellent second-choice.

The sandwich was big, yet I was able to hold each half easily and bite without too much effort. I noticed the bread quality...not as good as my personal brand, but better than most I've had at other sandwich shops. Although there were many ingredients stacked in the sandwich, I was still able to taste and distinguish the pastrami. The sandwich was remarkable, the kind I'd eat again. What this told me was that someone in charge of Central Perk Cafe really cared about the quality of their food.

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Bon appetit!

Don't miss this week's features at GuamDiner.com!

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www.mymicronesia.com

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