March 16, 2007, Volume 7 Number 11
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
"Hallelujah!!" It's finally here!!! Yes, the long-anticipated delivery of the premiere edition of "LET'S EAT! A Guide to Dining on Guam, 2007" happened this past week and I have been literally on Cloud Nine with the pride and excitement of a new daddy just having his first born child!
Initial responses and reactions to the book have been both enthusiastic and encouraging, with everyone asking where and when will the book be available for purchase. Off-islanders have asked to buy copies online. We will be providing information on distribution locations in the very near future. We are expecting to have the book available at all bookstores, military exchanges, restaurants, gift shops, and service stations. The book is a handy pocket guide that lists nearly all of Guam's restaurants, and includes recipes by local chefs, beautiful color food shots, reviews, frequently-asked-questions, a calendar of events, Food Guy favorites, and a glossary of some common food terms in Chamorro, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Chinese. There are even coupons with special offers that more than pay for the price of the book, which retails for just $7.95.
"Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining on Guam, 2007" is a collaboration between GuamDiner.com and Directions Magazine, and has been in development for the past two years. I want to personally thank all of those who were involved in producing "Let's Eat", and especially to the advertisers who had the faith (and patience!) to invest in a dream. We are extremely thrilled and humbled by this first edition - it is truly an impressive work that showcases the vast selection of restaurants comprising our island's diverse culinary culture, arguably with some of the most authentic Asian tastes found outside of their native countries. Biba Guahan! Gof mannge! Itadake-masu! Chal Mokkeisumnida! Buon Appetito! Bon Appetit!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday March 17, 10am-Noon
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10am-Noon. This week's first hour guests will be members of the team behind PROA Restaurant (Chris Bejado, Chef Geoffrey Perez, and Ryan Chiguina). PROA has enjoyed sensational success since its opening this past year with imaginative culinary innovations that make food taste as superb as it looks.
Our second hour guests will be Executive Chef Peter Duenas of Sam Choy's Guam USA, who is also president of the Micronesia Chefs' Association; Executive Chef Hermman Grossbichler of the Hyatt Regency Guam, MCA Chef Director, and Bertrand Haurillon, chef/owner of Le Tasi Bistro. These interviews will offer unique and interesting insights into the people behind the scenes at the island's restaurants. This will be an opportunity for you to hear compelling stories about their professions and their passions, which are often synonymous in this industry for people of their caliber. Your phone calls are welcome at 477-5757 or *57 on your cell phone.
Team GW Wins Third Annual ProStart Competition
Last Saturday's ProStart Student Culinary Competition held in the Agana Shopping Center showcased the amazing talents of members from four high school teams vying for the chance to travel to North Carolina to compete in the National ProStart Competition in April. Aside from demonstrating culinary skills that encompassed all aspects of professional kitchen work, these motivated young people had a lot of heart, and it is understandable how emotions can run high to overflowing, both with joy and with disappointment.
In my book, everyone participating was a winner. As a judge involved in the final tasting phase of this competition, I concurred with my fellow judges (all executive chefs) that these bright young people were workplace ready so high was their level of competence. By a very narrow margin, the George Washington Team, under the mentorship of Sam Choy's Executive Chef Peter Duenas, took top honors, eclipsing the two-time winners from the JFK Tourism Academy who were mentored by Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Executive Chef, Christophe Durliat. [Photo L-R: Prego Chef de Cuisine/Westin Chef de Cuisine, Denis Schiavo; Outrigger Executive Chef, Chris Aguilar; Chef/Owner Le Tasi Bistro, Bertrand Haurillon; PIC Executive Chef, Andrew Edwards; Westin Executive Chef, Andreas Lorenz; Sam Choy's Guam Executive Chef, Peter Duenas; Hyatt Executive Chef, Hermann Grossbichler; GCC Program Director, Barry Mead; Hilton Guam Executive Chef, Christophe Durliat; Reef Hotel Executive Chef, Clayton Babas; Planet Hollywood Executive Chef, Chito Iglopas and GCC Chef Instructor, Kevin Dietrichs]
Although we'd like to show you all of the dishes that were presented that day, we will just show those from the winning team today, and will show the 2nd place team's creations in next week's newsletter. The judging criteria was comprehensive, and these photos don't reveal the tremendous effort and meticulous attention to detail that took place in the center court.
GW's Winning Menu
Reconstructed Beef Kelaguen Carpaccio with Boonie Pepper Aioli
Pacific Reef Fish and Shrimp Hash Lumpia with Purple Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, and Sweet Chili Sauce
Melting Chocolate Lava Cake with Raspberry Coulis and Fresh Berries
6th Annual Reunion and Celebration
Izakaya Katsu, "the Green Door"
A reunion with a tasty tradition was again enjoyed at Tumon's Izakaya Katsu, one of my favorite Japanese restaurants, when Dr. Jonathon Morris returned for his 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. On this occasion of our 6th reunion (has it really been six years?) at Katsu, we celebrated the long-anticipated publication of "Let's Eat! A Guide to Dining on Guam 2007", which I can be seen holding in the picture with Yokho Soma, co-owner of Katsu, and Jon. Our introduction is an example of what the modern internet age can do as it stemmed from Jon's wife Suzan (who was unable to make the trip this year) 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!
Islander Terrace Launches Monday Night Steak & Lobster Buffet
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Last Monday's first Steak & Lobster Buffet was a resounding success if one judges success by attendance. The Islander Terrace was jam-packed with people intent on getting their share of the succulent grilled steak and tasty little lobster tails that were cooked up on the Islander Terrace's induction griddles. If you are a carnivore, this is the ultimate feast for you!
The chilled display case at the entrance showed an impressive array of strip loin, tenderloin, and ribeye steaks - talk about enticement! What amazed me is how the Hilton's kitchen team was able to keep "meat on the table" so to speak. How they managed to keep a supply of freshly grilled steaks available for the continuous wave of customers with their plates outstretched was quite an accomplishment! The only complaint I heard, which isn't my experience, was that they were unable to keep up with the demand for grilled lobster tails.
One entree I especially enjoyed was the Lobster Ravioli, which was something I'd had before during the Healthy Dining Experience at the Islander a few weeks back. I also noticed there were a few vegetarian dishes from the Farm, however, I concentrated on the steaks and a really abundant salad bar. In fact, I had no room for bread, soup, or dessert. There was free-flowing Heineken available which I didn't get to enjoy as I had to go back to work after dinner. For $36 one definitely gets their money's worth. Kudos to Chef Christophe Durliat and his hard-work kitchen team for an amazing output!
You'll have a lot more than just the luck of the Irish when eating at Firefly - you'll have some awesome Irish delicacies that are being offered as St. Patrick's Lunch Specials. Start off with Shamrock Soup ($4.95), a thick and creamy sweet pea soup garnished and flavored with a lemon mint creme fraiche. One of my companions had the Pulled Corned Beef Sandwich ($13.95), a visual masterpiece overflowing with caramelized onions, melted cheese, and Dijon aioli, atop an onion roll. And, Firefly's Spicy Fries are awesome!
The sandwich I had wasn't Irish - it was actually kind of Chinese. The Peking Chicken Sandwich ($12.95), is a towering plateful. It comes on an onion roll that contains crispy-delicious hoisin-honey glazed chicken thighs, aioli, lettuce, tomato, & green onion. Spicy fries are included. This is a great and unique creation. It was as big in taste as it was in stature, and I ate every last bite.
One of the other featured St. Patrick's Lunch Specials is an Emerald Isle Salad ($12.95), which is a lovely salad with seasonal green vegetables and fruits tossed in a tangy passion fruit vinaigrette. You can add either Pesto Grilled Chicken ($16.95) or Herb Pesto Grilled Tuna ($18.95) to the salad to create an entree. Finish off the "Green Day" celebration with an Irish Cream Parfait which features layers of dark fudge brownie laced with an Irish Cream Liqueur. Good job, Chef Ronnie Calvo-Perez, on sharing the fun and exciting culinary creations that keep appearing on your menus!
Now that Jamaican Grill has renovated their Chamorro Village location to be more accommodating like it's Tumon location, people like me who enjoy air conditioning don't have an excuse to go somewhere else...it's a fantastic improvement, making it one of Hagatna's most colorfully decorated restaurants with a fun island-style ambiance. It's like eating in a theme park. However, as everyone knows, beauty is only skin deep, but taste goes all the way to the bone! So even though Jamaican Grill as great atmosphere, we are there to feast on what comes off those fire-powered grills!
We started off with two appetizers, Jerk Chicken Kelaguen ($7.95), a flavorful play on a local favorite with a jerk twist served with corn titiyas, and a platter of fresh Sashimi (10 pcs/$5.95). They are only a stone's throw from the Fisherman's Co-Op so it just don't get much fresher than this, folks. My beverage of choice at the Grill is the "Splash" ($2.50 for a large one), which is named after Jamaica's Reggae Sunsplash Music Festival. It is a refreshing blend of mango, guava, and pineapple juice.
I ordered my beloved Chicken & Rib Combo ($9.75) which comes with the house salad drizzled in the Grill's proprietary fruity vinaigrette and Jamaican Rice. I can't think of any more pleasurable dining activity than to eat with close friends who enjoy the meaty ribs and juicy chicken as much as I do. My tres amigos, Joe B., Paul, and Jojo are serious eaters, and with me, could probably do some pretty decent Jamaican Grill commercials, except we'd be eating all the props! But that's okay, cause my other buddies, Tim and Frank, created Jamaican Grill's "serious food" for "serious eaters" like us! YA MON!
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