March 9, 2007, Volume 7 Number 10
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Biba Chamoru! It's Chamorro Month and we are already off to a great start with many food events on this month's agenda. This week we were honored to attend the opening of the new Culinary Arts Kitchen and Auditorium at Guam Community College. It was the combined efforts of many people which made this new educational kitchen possible thereby raising the academic level of the program which allows graduating students from GCC's two-year culinary academy program to transfer these credits to a four-year program in Hawaii.
Much of the credit for this progress must be given to Barry Mead, the Dept. Chair for Tourism and Hospitality and Director of Culinary Arts, and to the involvement of such great local chefs as Clayton Babas, Guam Reef Hotel; Peter Duenas, Sam Choy's Guam USA; Christophe Durliat, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa as well as the hands-on classroom work of Chef Instructor Kevin Dietrichs. For me, it is was like attending the graduation of a family member, since I was involved when the original GCC kitchen was begun and have spent many years supporting, encouraging, and cheering on the progress of this culinary program that is so essential to enhancing the quality of the island's foodservice offerings.
For all of the invited guests who attended the ceremony, there was no doubt about the value of the culinary education that's occurred so far. They could literally taste it from all the hors D'oeuvres prepared and served by the students...talk about delicious! Kudos to all involved in achieving this academic milestone, one that is certain to open up phenomenal opportunities for our island's youth who are looking to pursue a career in hospitality. Who knows, the Emeril, Bobby Flay, or Roy Yamaguchi of the future may be a GCC Culinary Academy attendee! Now wouldn't that be something to write home about?!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Westin Resort Guam's Tenth Anniversary Celebration Event a Rousing Success!
- ProStart Student Culinary Competition - March 10, Agana Shopping Center
- GPO's Annual Best Kelaguen Contest - March 10, Guam Premier Outlets
- Submit Your Entries for the Special Contest "Dine Out On Your Story-Telling"
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner.com Newsletter
- Around the Island - Bistro Lunch Special, Curry Kebab Dinner, Latte Stone Cafe Breakfast
- Chopstix - Japanese Restaurant, Brings a New Style and Taste to Upper Tumon
Westin Resort Guam's Tenth Anniversary Celebration Event a Rousing Success!
It was a party to remember, and if you love food as much as I do, then it was a food affair to remember! Yes, the Westin Resort Guam celebrated its Tenth Anniversary Appreciation Party with a lavish outlay of fabulous food, a variety of wines and other beverages, including premium waters from Fiji and Italy - interesting how far across the water we bring water!
Each of the Westin restaurants, Prego, Cafe Kalachucha, Starlight BBQ, and concession partner restaurants, Lufuku Chinese and Issin Japanese, set up live cooking stations throughout Cafe Kalachucha's sprawling, multi-level dining area. I don't recall seeing as much fresh seafood on display at a hotel function ever. Everything including roast duck, pasta, tempura, roast pig, sashimi, sushi, bbq chicken, steamed basa filet, sweet & sour pork, oysters, shrimp, salads, pastries, bbq shortribs, and more (much more!) than even I was able to eat, was satisfyingly delicious.
Congratulations to the Westin's team of associates and management for a job well done over the past ten years. I was there when they opened and they have indeed improved with age! We also would like to take this opportunity to welcome the Westin's new General Manager, Krister Svensson and his family to Guam. [Photo L-R: Krister Svensson, General Manager; Margie Perez, Director of Human Resources; Denis Schiavo, Prego Chef de Cuisine, and Andreas Lorenz, Executive Chef]
ProStart Student Culinary Competition - March 10, Agana Shopping Center
The public is invited to attend the ProStart Student Culinary Competition that at the Agana Shopping Center on Saturday, March 10. This is the third ProStart Student Culinary Competition for Guam's high school student and it has been growing in popularity as family members, friends, fellow students, and an appreciative public watch the student teams prepare three courses of appetizer, entree, and dessert. The teams are coached and trained by mentor chefs from the island's premier hotel and restaurants, and the students are responsible for creating their menu as well as preparing everything completely from scratch, all within a designated time frame. It's truly exciting! The winning high school team will be competing in the National ProStart competition to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina in April 2007. The event's schedule will be announced in this Saturday's Pacific Daily News.
GPO's Annual Best Kelaguen Contest - March 10, Guam Premier Outlets
Get your tastebuds ready for some pika treats at this coming Saturday at GPO's Annual Best Kelaguen Contest, in front of Nike Sports, from Noon-2pm. The public tasting is from 1:30- 2pm, at the conclusion of which will be the announcement of winners. Cash prizes will be given out for the best chicken, beef and seafood kelaguens with first, second and third places. Participation is limited to 36 entrants, and the deadline to register is by 5pm on Friday, March 9. Call 647-1583 for more information.
Submit Your Entries for the "Dine Out On Your Story-Telling" Contest
Announced last week in the GuamDiner.com newsletter, two contests have been created offering a chance to win an MBJ subscription and dinner certificate at TGI Friday's. 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!)
Dine Out On Your Story-Telling Contest Details
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.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
March 10, 2006 Vol 6 No 10
Restaurant Reviewed: 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
Congratulations, Remo! Former Hyatt Guam Exec. Chef New President of Le Toques Blanches Korea
Around the Island - Bistro Lunch Special, Curry Kebab Dinner, Latte Stone Cafe Breakfast
For $16, you can't go wrong...the Bistro's renowned original lunch special creations are enticing to read (check them out each week at GuamDiner's Lunch Specials) and satisfying to taste. I was there this past Tuesday when I was challenged by my choices to vote. Would it be the Hoisin-glazed Roast Loin of Pork with Pineapple Chutney OR Grilled Salmon in Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce OR Linguini Noodles with Shrimp and Scallop in Pesto Cream Sauce?
I chose the salmon and was happy with my decision. The soup was a Saffron Rice, so I asked for the salad and it was no ordinary side salad - the greens included salad cress, chicory, cucumber, and what looked like little gem lettuce. This was joined by red onions, red bell pepper, julienned carrot, red cabbage, inoki mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and black olives. Now that, is a salad! The grilled salmon didn't disappoint, either. I was intrigued by the use of a mushroom bordelaise sauce...it really held the salmon up in a different light, and my palate smiled. Amazingly, we were too full for dessert! Good job, Chef Willy!
The Curry Kebab is one of my favorite restaurants since it serves Indian food which I consider to be one of the ultimate cuisines when it comes to flavor and taste. Although many find that the service could use some improvement, the food always satisfies me in a very big way. Take the Apple Salad ($5.50), where else can you get so refreshing a treat? It looks as gorgeous as it tastes, and you know what they say about "an apple a day"! If you don't want to sort through the many a la carte items, just order the Dinner Special ($17.95), which has a choice of Tandoori Jumbo Prawns, Tandoori Chicken or Grilled Lamb Chops, plus your choice of either beef, chicken, fish or shrimp curry, a salad, vegetables, Naan bread, mint and sweet chili sauce, and orange slices. We also shared a Mushroom Soup for $4.95. The Curry Kebab is also opening up a new bar called The Taj Mahal Bar.
Props to Liz Gerber's Latte Stone Cafe for bringing memorable Eggs Benedict back to Tumon! After some coaxing and trial and error, I think I've had the best Eggs Benedict ($8.95) they've ever made this past Sunday! The Hollandaise had just the right amount of lemon and a perfect consistency and there was no mistaking my favorite meat layer - Canadian Bacon - all lean, no fat, but lots of flavor! Zee had the Oatmeal ($3.75) which comes with cranberry and brown sugar add-ins on the side. The coffee's great here though I have to say the muffin we had needed more work. For ambiance, elegance, inspiration, and spirit-raising, I don't think there's a better place than this colorful outdoor/indoor eatery at Tumon's Acanta Mall on a Sunday morning...one can literally sit and chat for hours...we certainly did.
Chopstix - Japanese Restaurant Brings a New Style and Taste to Upper Tumon
Chopstix is an exception to one of my rules, which is to not review restaurants when they have just opened. I went for the first time on Thursday night and decided that anyone could come in here and get served some really good Japanese food. Not only that, you'll also find that though Chopstix may look really "Japanese" (enough to intimidate some non-Japanese from wanting to stay after peeking in the door), this place will make locals feel at home for reasons you'll understand shortly.
Located in the East-West Center right next to Truong's Vietnamese Restaurant, Chopstix opened up just over a month ago. It is the labor of love for husband and wife team, Mike and Kaori Sablan (did you get that? "S-a-b-l-a-n", and yes, he speaks Japanese). The restaurant's new, but they owned a restaurant in Japan for almost 20 years, specializing there in Kalbi and other Korean cuisine choices prepared to Japanese tastes. This explained the Grilled Kalbi ($13) on the menu that I didn't have since I didn't know the background until after I ordered, it is, as Mike informed me, one of their house specialties. Everything else, however, is made strictly Japanese which really pleases the many local Japanese residents who are glad Chopstix has opened its doors.
Chopstix is a restaurant with personality...it's the kind of place that people will easily identify with when it comes to taking their friends and colleagues out for lunch or dinner without having to fight the crowds and parking challenges in lower Tumon. The personality is also evident in the logo, which has a pair of crossed chop sticks forming the "X" at the end of the name, and a ""smiling" bowl of rice replacing the rising sun national icon. You can see the playfulness and cleverness of the owners in the logo with the smiling bowl of rice a demonstration of sheer genius for marketing types...imagine all the "happy meals" you could make! It's also a pretty place, where you'll spend time gazing at a variety of inset art pieces and a china display case with some classically designed pieces are for sale. It's an attractive, clean, and relaxing environment, with contemporary Japanese music playing in the background. The overall effect of the ambiance created by the aesthetics makes it like being in Japan.
The price point for lunch at Chopstix excludes the fast food, 1-choice, 2-choice, 3-choice for $5.95 set, but it is not outrageous given the quality of the food and the thoughtful preparation. Lunch time prices start at $6.75 for Fried Noodle Udon and Fried Noodle Soba, which are ideal meals for Japanese working folk, but not as substantive for locals who like meat and volume. Curry & Rice at $9 is the next lowest priced item and everything else works up by increments to $13.75 where three entrees - Mixed Grill, Seafood Plate, and Mixed Fry share the tier.
For dinner, the same entrees remain and they also include soup, rice, and a vegetable. There is also an a la carte menu in the evening and you can order Croquette (two pieces) for $4.75, Japanese Style Salad ($6.50) and Yakitori (three pieces $5.25. I ordered the salad and yakitori along with Katusdon (pork cutlet egg bowl) $11 and Tempura ($11.75). The tempura is definitely different, and in a good way. I noticed that the batter didn't expand the way most do as they use a higher quality tempura mix, plus (and this is a big one), they fry the tempura in sesame oil, which imparts a distinct flavor and gives a tight crispness. The tempura green bean was extraordinary and a lovely piece of white fish was included along with the usual shrimp. I really enjoyed eating each and every piece. The miso soup was among the best I've had in a while because they showed great restraint...it was delicate and not overly salty.
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