March 2 , 2007, Volume 7 Number 9
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
This past Saturday the University of Guam's Field house was transformed into a mini-United Nations of sorts...actually of a very special and localized sort if you will! It was the Guam Girl Scouts' Annual World Thinking Day Event and though I've been personally involved in the last five of these, I am absolutely amazed and thrilled each time when I see how wonderfully creative and talented these young girls are from our island's Girl Scout Troops. Every parent who has a daughter between the ages of 5-17 would be proud to see the impressive growth that takes place in these girls once they've become involved in the diverse activities of Girl Scouting. Girl Scouting is a lot more than just selling Girl Scout Cookies...it's about realizing your dreams!
The collective energy, cheerfulness, respect, attentiveness, curiosity, and enthusiasm displayed by the girls in attendance was something you'd have to be there to understand. There was someone there who's been a big part of this island and region's growth for nearly 50 years, and I'm here to tell you that he certainly "understands" the value of Girl Scouting on Guam. I consider this great man a "living legend", a description he would wave off and play down--he's that humble, but he's also a deeply generous and caring man, and he has been a major benefactor of Guam Girl Scouts. This man is Ken Jones, founder of J & G Enterprises. We were honored by his and his wife Elaine's presence at the World Thinking Day event. [Photo: Girl Scouts, Ken Jones, Vickie Fish and Elaine Jones]
Thank you for your continuing support of the Guam Girl Scouts, Mr. Jones, and May God Bless You!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Special Contest Announcement - "Dine Out On Your Story-Telling"
Win a Free Subscription to Marianas Business Journal and a TGI Friday's $50 Dinner Certificate!
An interesting development has evolved from a story first released in our Feb. 2 newsletter that talked about a bad dinner experience. Well, the restaurant that I did not mentioned by name was TGI Friday's and I am pleased to inform you that they did the right thing by having me return to the restaurant for the same dish, the Balsamic Seared Lamb Chops, which were of the best quality and perfectly prepared this time.
Marianas Business Journal publisher, Maureen Maratita, was fast on the scent of this story when it first hit the Net. Smelling a great opportunity, she conferred with Remko Engleman, TGI Friday's Business Manager, and a concept for a couple of contests was created. The first involves MBJ readers who are asked to submit their own experiences at a restaurant, both the best and the worst. The second contest is for members of the hospitality industry who get the chance to fire back with their best customer experience from the back of the house perspective, as well as their worst customer (I'm betting some of these will be very entertaining!)
The deadline for submission is 5pm Friday, March 16. Stories are to be sent to email@example.com. Winners will be announced in the April 2 issue of the Marianas Business Journal.
Dine Out On Your Story-Telling Contest
Readers can win one MBJ annual subscription and one TGI Friday's $50 dinner certificate for the reader who describes:
1) The best restaurant experience (or a venue that turned a complaint into a great experience)
2) The worst restaurant experience
A Hospitality Industry member can win One MBJ annual subscription for the best description of:
1) The most positive experience with customers from the back of the house
2) The worst customer
Judges are Remko Engelman and Ken Stewart and their decisions are final. Deadline for submissions 5pm Friday, March 16. Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Winners, and the winning stories, will be announced in the April 2, 2007 Marianas Business Journal.
Eating Fresh from The Farm at Islander Terrace
If you hurry and make it down to the Islander Terrace for lunch and dinner from now through Sunday, you will be able to join others in an amazing culinary odyssey where you will discover the raw power of fresh food. Yes, we are honored to have Executive Chef Felix Schoener, from The Farm at San Benito, an exclusive resort spa in the Philippines, visiting the island. Chef Felix is a master of preparing and serving Vegan Cuisine, which is based on a philosophy of integral nourishment. Okay, I have to admit, it's a bit of stretch for some folks who will balk at the mere mention of the term "Vegan", but you should at least open your mind to trying some of Chef Felix's creations...they are vibrant, nutritious dishes that are very appetizing - you may rethink your thoughts about vegan food! Don't worry, for meat eaters there is still a large section of the Islander that's devoted to non-vegan diets.
The Islander Terrace has been beautifully transformed to accentuate the special dishes prepared by Chef Felix, among which are such treats as Organic Whole Wheat Penne with Roasted Garlic, Onion Sauce, Sweet Peas, and Button Mushrooms; Zucchini & Tomato Salae with Basil and Olives; Italian Spinach Salad with Cauliflower; Roasted Root Vegetables with Creamy Polenta; Grilled Vegetable Lasagne and Roasted Vegetable Pate. A large variety of leafy greens awaits at the salad bar, where I saw Chicory, Radicchio, Rocket, Spinach, Salad Cress, Escarole, Belgian Endive, Oak-Leaf Lettuce, and Romaine, with some specially-made salad dressings you to have taste to appreciate. The whole wheat pizza was essentially good. There are also delicious fruit drinks, such as a Watermelon Orange, that are so refreshing you feel a wave of energy overcome you as you drink it. The desserts are masterfully created, using carob in lieu of chocolate. You have to be willing to at least try some of these offerings...in my case I did a bit of a balancing act, eating some lovely lobster Ravioli along with a few other non-vegan items.
Gourmet Vegan at Roy's
A Special Menu Prepared by Chef Felix of the Farm at San Benito Restaurant
I must say that after eating Chef Felix Schoener's five-course degustation menu at Roy's, I was completely impressed by the enormous effort taken to create each course. The presentations were artistically-inspired and really showed Chef Felix's European culinary training, as well as his ability to adapt to Asian cuisine.
What really struck me was the amount of chewing that it required to eat some of the prepared items, since the food was still raw, there was a consistency to the vegetables that needed further "breaking down", which is typically done by cooking. Thus chewing the food is releasing the food's vital nutrients into your body.
The first course was the Amuse Bouche Asparagus Flan with Chives. This was tiny and silky like a custard with a rich vegetable taste. The second course (these courses will change every night) was a Sweet Miso Noodle Soup, which still has me a bit puzzled since try as I did, I could not decipher what some of the ingredients were, especially the "noodle". I thought it was some kind of ginger that had been soaked and became flexible like a noodle...though still with a crunchy texture. There were baby chive slices, too...made me feel a bit like Gulliver trying to eat the miniatures. The broth was excellent.
Next we had the Nori Maki Rolls, Wakame, Avocado, Cucumber, and Ponzu Dip. These were excellent vegetarian sushi rolls. The seaweed was perfect, and really bound together a mouthful of flavor when biting into the center where the avocado and other ingredients reside. The ponzu dip really picked things up...I have to admit, without being able to get information from the chef, it's difficult to tell what the composition is for most of these aside from the major items listed. I thought it a clever take on a high-end Japanese delicacy.
The main course was a Creamy Cauliflower Risotto with Marinated Japanese Mushrooms and Japanese Greens. This dish was as complex as it was tasty, because the variety of mushrooms had been soaked in a vegetarian marinade to intensify the flavor. Moreover, the grittiness of the cauliflower really gave the risotto an authentic rice-like grain. I really enjoyed the flavor of this course...the spinach and shitake and enoki mushrooms were worthy companions.
The final course was a dessert called Tokyo Tiramisu. It had a Tiramisu texture and appearance but lacked a true Tiramisu's decadence, which goes back to a fundamental issue---to eat animal products like eggs, dairy and meat, or not. Eating began is an acquired taste based on a lifestyle change. The food is lighter, so less filling. Your body processes faster and supposedly extracts the food nutrients more efficiently. Bottom line, if you want a large fiesta-sized meal, then this may prove disappointing. However, on the other hand, if you are on the 21 Day De-Tox or the SDA Wellness Center dietary regimen, this would be an exceptional treat! (Degustation Menu $35.00 + s.c.)
PROA Restaurant's Lunch Specials
Today I really took immense pleasure in the work that I do as the Guam Food Guy. When I asked Chris Bejado, Proa's Director of Hospitality, what the daily specials were, he said something about a Pan-seared Malabar Snapper in a Soy-ginger Butter Sauce that came with sauteed vegetables ($14.75), I knew immediately that I was going to have this. However, when my server told me that the other special was a Shrimp Linguine with Herb Mushroom Sauce ($14.75), I paused for a second, took time to refresh myself with some Fiji Water, then decided "what the heck" and ordered both! I rationalized that I would forego the soup and dessert, and then "balutan" whatever I didn't eat!
I dipped my fork through the golden sauce under the snapper for a taste...mmmmm...that was interesting. However, when I cut that first piece of snapper, the reaction was "WOW!" talk about awesome. I think I went into a feeding frenzy...because when I stopped and looked around I noticed that everyone in the room had stopped talking to each other and were staring at me (was I that noisy?) no, it just seemed that way. I was thrilled to find out that Chef Geoffrey will be making this special a regular entree on their revised menu. When you pan-sear a fish, it has a remarkable effect on the texture crisp outside, silky-moist and flaky on the inside. And that sauce of soy, ginger,and butter...let your imagination go to work...these guys are hired!
I have to admit I didn't get to the second entree until all the snapper, veggies and sauce were 'finis', so I decided to sample just a bit and looped a bit of pasta on my fork, placed it in my mouth and....ohhh, they did it again! This was another amazing and exciting discovery twice in one day...two great sauces, totally different...forget about the prawns or jumbo shrimp or whatever...you can get those anywhere, but that herb mushroom sauce was dynamite, plus the linguine gave up other secrets, too, such as asparagus spears. I didn't ask if this dish would be put on the regular menu, but if they wanted my vote, they'd have it now and it's a resounding, YES!
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