March 23, 2007, Volume 7 Number 12
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
I don't believe I've ever seen as much culinary activity concentrated in so short a time frame here on Guam as the one in which I'm finding myself immersed! We've just had the High School ProStart Culinary competition, preceded by the opening of the new kitchen for the GCC Culinary Arts Program. This coming weekend there will be six chefs performing cooking demos at the Home & Living Expo at the Micronesia Mall's Expo Hall where I'll be a host/moderator for these sessions on Saturday and Sunday
Preparations are in full swing for the 6th Annual Celebrity Chefs' Cup Competition on April 18 at the SandCastle. But before we get to that annual culinary highlight, there will be a wonderful "Eggstra Special Eggstravaganza" competition on April 13 at the Hyatt Regency during PHARE 2007 followed by the Student Culinary Competition "Yahoo with Wahoo" on April 14. Right after the Chefs' Cup, everyone's favorite fundraiser, the Auction & Wine Tasting Benefit for the Guam Girl Scouts will be on April 20 at the Hyatt, which also happens to coincide with the Grand Opening of the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort at the former Palace Hotel location in Tamuning. Feeling dizzy yet? I didn't even mention that I'm going to be a judge for an Illy cafe Barista competition at the Aqua Resort in Saipan on March 24...hmmmm, guess I'll just have to clone myself!
As you can surmise, we are in for a rush of culinary and hospitality experiences as Chamorro Month winds down to a close, and I'm still working to finalize a distribution program so that people can purchase a copy of our book, "Let's Eat! A Dining Guide to Guam"! Coming soon to a bookstore, newsstand, and website near you!!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
In Today's Issue:
- Home & Living Expo - Chef Demos Sat-Sun, March 24-25, MicMall Expo Hall
- Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail Competition - Sat March 24, Aqua Resort Saipan
- ProStart Student Competition's 2nd Place Winners - Team JFK's Dazzling Dishes
- "Belle Notte" - 6th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup Gala Fundraiser Chef Team Selections Announced
- MCA Receives $2,000 Contribution for Scholarships from UOG Endowment Fund
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
- Around the Island - Horse & Cow's "Howling" Wings, Al Dente's Ultimate Antipasti Buffet
- Proa Restaurant - Discover One of Guam's Newest Culinary Treasures
Home & Living Expo - Chef Demos Sat-Sun, March 24-25, MicMall Expo Hall
Lights, Camera, ACTION! You can watch and learn from the pros during this weekend's Home & Living Expo as six local chefs conduct cooking demonstrations from 11am-2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Participating chefs include Clayton Babas, Executive Chef, Guam Reef Hotel; Chris Aguilar, Executive Chef, Outrigger Guam Resort; Peter Duenas, Executive Chef, Sam Choy's; Christophe Durliat, Executive Chef, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa and Jojo Santo Tomas, Cook/Owner, Jojo's Adobo at the Chamorro Village. For more info and seminar schedules, check out Homelivingexpo.biz
Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail Competition - Sat March 24, Aqua Resort Saipan
Pacific Wine & Spirits, Inc. will be holding the first ever Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail Competition at 9pm at the Aqua Resort Club on Saipan. Competitors from hotels and restaurants will be vying for the title and cash prizes of Best Alcoholic Cocktail and Best Non-Alcoholic Cocktail. Each must contain illy, a premium Italian Coffee distributed by PWS. In addition, a cash prize will be awarded to the competitor who displays the best flaring skills. Saipan's best baristas from Aqua Resort Club, Capricciosa Restaurant, Hyatt Regency, Fiesta Resort & Spa, and Marianas Resort Hotel will be competing. The public is invited to attend, with no entry fee charged. There will be raffle prizes, gift certificates, and other great prizes.
ProStart Student Competition's 2nd Place Winners - Team JFK's Dazzling Dishes
In last week's newsletter, we featured the dishes winning team George Washington prepared for the ProStart Student Culinary competition, and said we'd be featuring the second-place winners in today's edition. When looking at the following dishes, it is truly hard to believe that these were prepared by high school students. Team JFK's mentor chef was Christophe Durliat, Executive Chef of the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. We are all extremely proud of our talented future chefs!
Herewith are Team JFK's magnificent dishes along with descriptions:
Appetizer - "A beautiful display of Jumbo shrimp and tri-colored bell pepper julienne, surrounded by delicate local cucumber slices and infused with a Thai Vinaigrette dressing."
Entree - "Steamed Lapu Lapu seasoned with Chinese herbs and beautifully arranged on a bed of sauteed spinach and Korean mushrooms served with delicious saffron potatoes tourne"
Dessert - "A beautiful display of caramelized, flambeed mangos layered with whipped cream and light pastry discs, arranged on a sweet mango and peppercorn coulis"
"Belle Notte" - 6th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup Gala Fundraiser Chef Team Selections Announced
During a press conference held this past Wednesday at the Outrigger Guam Resort, details of the course and team selections were announced for the upcoming 6th Annual Chef's Cup Competition to be held at the SandCastle on April 18. The Celebrity Chef's Cup is a gala fundraiser held by the University of Guam Endowment Foundation and the Micronesian Chefs' Association. Five chefs and their junior chef assistants from the GCC Culinary Academy compete by preparing a five-course meal that's scored by the audience. This year's theme is "Belle Notte", and it is guaranteed to be a beautiful culinary night filled with Italian delights! This is a fun, multi-media event, which includes videos, skits, entertainment, and live camera feeds showing kitchen action. Below is a Chef Team line-up along with their course:
Sous Chef SandCastle
Jr. Chef Kristian Marquez
Veronica Calvo Perez
Executive Chef Firefly Bistro
Jr. Chef - Chris Poliquit
Executive Chef Guam Reef Hotel
Jr. Chef - Efren Nuezca
Executive Chef Aqua Resort Club Saipan
Jr. Chef - Melina McCrossin
Executive Chef Outrigger Guam Resort
Jr. Chef - Lorena Manibusan
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for the announcement of the exciting courses that'll be served! For more information, contact Flora Baza Quan at 735-2955/6/7.
MCA Receives $2,000 Contribution for Scholarships from UOG Endowment Fund
At the same press conference mentioned above, officers and members of the Micronesian Chefs' Association were delighted to receive a $2000 check for the MCA's share of the proceeds from the 2006 Chef's Cup Competition. These funds will provide scholarships to local students pursuing culinary educations. Presenting the check to MCA President Peter Duenas is Flora Baza Quan, Executive Director of the UOG Endowment Fund. Also in attendance are (L-R) Ronnie Calvo-Perez, MCA Member; Ken Stewart, MCA Director; Gordon Mizusawa, MCA Director; Clayton Babas, MCA Director and Chris Aguilar, MCA Member.
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
March 24, 2006 Vol 6 No 12
Restaurant Reviewed: Yummy Tummy Restaurant - Affordable Fresh Seafood Cooked To Your Liking
5th Annual Celebrity Chefs Cup Competition, March 24, Hyatt Regency Guam
New USO Opens in Tumon's Royal Orchid
Around the Island - Horse & Cow's "Howling" Wings, Al Dente's Ultimate Antipasto Buffet
There's a new kid on the block, and this kid's got WINGS! Yes, the Horse & Cow Pub & Grill has officially opened in Tamuning near the old Ben Franklin Building. It is a haven for submariners who have long anticipated the opening of the Guam location of Horse & Cow. Other Horse & Cow spots are in Bremerton, Washington and San Diego, California.
They have a really impressive sandwich and appetizer menu, but their specialty is chicken wings, including the World Famous H & C Wings. I had a combination of the Medium and the XXX - which burned a few times, and brought tears to my eyes and sweat to my brow! Other versions of the wings are the Gourmet Wings some with wet sauces like Spicy Soy Ginger, Garlic Butter, Oyster Sauce, Vinegar & Salt and others made with dry rubs like Cajun, Ranch, Montreal, Garlic Pepper and Lemon Pepper. Wings can be ordered in quantities from 12 to 100 wings! The burgers look promising, too. The Grilled Onion Burger ($7.75) has Swiss cheese and a mountain of grilled onions! Call 646-2692 for info.
Al Dente's Antipasto Buffet is Guam's ultimate lunch time destination for Italian appetizers and includes cheeses, soups, breads, cured meats, pickled vegetables, marinated seafood, fried calamari, pizzas, smoked seafood, sauces, dressings, and fresh seafood all presented as an amazing array of delicacies. The antipasto buffet includes a dessert buffet and is priced at $21.50 (+SC). You can add an entree (Secondi piatti a scelta) for $5.50, which would bring your check to $27.00 (+ SC). Entree choices usually include a beef, seafood, chicken, and pasta dish, along with a one of Al Dente's renowned pizzas baked in a stone hearth oven. On our most recent visit we were extremely delighted by a vegetarian pasta dish prepared by chef de cuisine, Azziz Nadif along with a special roast lamb pasta treatment that I don't think could have been any better! Go to Al Dente for lunch if it's antipasto you crave. Make your reservations at 647-1234.
Proa Restaurant - Discover One of Guam's Newest Culinary Treasures
There are good restaurants, and there are great restaurants. Proa is a great restaurant. Though it has only been open for about six months, it has already lighted its path as an island favorite and it's really because the food has dazzled people's palates! Although I've had lunch at Proa a number of times, I had not yet been to dinner, and this night's review was one that had mixed elements of good and bad, which is what usually happens in the real world, right? In case you've missed it, Proa is located in Tumon across from GVB overlooking Ypao Beach. It is located where the popular Mom & Pop store, Ypao Beach Store, was for many, many years.
Let me just mention the bad first and get it out of the way. If the word "din" means anything, it was defined anew this Thursday night! In fairness, Proa was hit by an unexpected rush of guests...they were packed with people waiting for seats so it was a good thing I called for a reservation. The acoustics in Proa are quite good, in fact, you could probably hear a guest across the room whispering if it wasn't crowded. Well, tonight, it was crowded, and we had the misfortune of being in close proximity to a table that had a toddler with aspirations of becoming an opera star. So, above all of the usual background noise, which included some really nice easy listening music, the boisterous shrieking of "Pavarotti, Jr." filled the air. Unfortunately, there's little a restaurant can do when guests are unable (or unwilling) to maintain table decorum and manners with their little ones when dining in public. This isn't usually the case at Proa, but since Zee and I found ourselves constantly repeating our conversation as we tried to talk across our table, I feel obligated to mention it so you can be prepared.
The positive side to the noise factor is that it gives Proa an intense, bustling, happening place, with all the energy of your favorite bar or night club, but with fantastic food! There are actually many people who thrive on this buzz...it is like being in the middle of a UN social party, since you hear people speaking in different languages. Fascinating. Believe me, though, the food's so good that you'll be oblivious to practically any distractions.
We ordered a Pellegrino and a Fiji Water to start...these are really wonderful beverages and the effervescence of the Pellegrino stimulates and refreshes my taste buds. Zee added lemon to her Fiji Water for a citrusy twist on a water that I think is one of the Pacific's finest. Our waiter, Curtis, came to take our order and I asked for a glass of Yellow Tail Cabernet to help me unwind from the day's rigorous challenges. We ordered New Zealand Green Shell Mussels with White Wine, Lemon, and Chipolte Chilies ($7.95); Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad with Tomato-Basil Feta Cheese ($9.95); Grilled Roasted Vegetable Panini with Queso Blanco ($8.95), without the cheese, and I had what I'd been craving for a long long time, Dry-Rubbed New York Steak with Tamarind Barbecue Sauce served with Fingerling Potatoes ($17.95).
The New Zealand Mussels were fantastic! Aside from the appealing presentation, these nine mollusks were some of the tastiest I've had in years...aside from wine, lemon and chilies (which I didn't see, but tasted) there were diced onions and ginger in an exquisite broth that I'd pour over each shell before devouring its stubbornly-perched, tender denizen...I could have eaten these all night long! (Now I've got another great reason to go to New Zealand!)
The Grilled Panini sandwich was centered in a large plate. Proa's plate presentations are meant to impress, making the portions appear smaller than they are, so don't be fooled. The grilled vegetables are colorful, with mushrooms, peppers, onions, eggplant, and zucchini, and the ciabatta bread is fresh. I liked the Shoestring Potatoes as well. I didn't have any of Zee's salad, but did get a bite of the sandwich. I would have preferred it with cheese for the additional flavor, but for vegans, this is a beautiful meal.
The Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad was a dream! The first bite revealed a soft and almost powdery feta cheese layered throughout the salad which was dressed with a vinaigrette that had tomato and basil at its core. I dubbed this the "salad you can't stop eating" as I savored mouthful after mouthful of cucumbers, zucchini and wonderfully grilled pieces of eggplant ...it's no wonder it's one of Proa's most popular dishes. I even tossed some of the shoestring fries atop this for extra crunch and taste - a little creative enhancement I might do in the future.
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