March 30, 2007, Volume 7 Number 13
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
What an amazing week! I'm still playing catch up with the events that already happened, and there are even more great events on the way! I'm looking forward to this Saturday's Make-A-Wish Foundation's special wish granting for 15-year old Soichiro Sano, who will be coming to Guam along with his parents and sister, and a Make-A-Wish Japan Chapter volunteer. Soichiro has been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). Make-A-Wish Japan is making it possible for his wish which is to "...come to Guam and eat a 'Big Steak'"! He is certainly coming to the right place, as I'm sure he'll have his fill of great steaks!
There will be the "Steak Cook-off" at PIC's Bistro and Soichiro will choose his favorite steak from one of three contenders. The executive chefs from Hilton (Christophe Durliat), Hyatt (Hermann Grossbichler), and PIC (Andrew Edwards) will be "charring up some beef" to get Soichiro's nod! A little fun may be involved by having Soichiro step up to the grill to do a little cooking himself since he'll be aptly dressed in a personalized chef's coat, apron, and toque hat. Other big steak wish events include a visit to Lone Star and to Outback. Guam's hospitality doesn't end there...Soichiro and his family can hop aboard the Red Trolley at any time, and they'll be feeding the sharks at Underwater World, and enjoying the resort activities at PIC during their stay.
We want to extend our congratulations to the staff and management of Planet Hollywood on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary - has it been that long? I remember meeting Don Johnson during the opening celebration...it was a stellar evening. GM Marie Guerrero was there and if memory serves, she was operating the elevator for the famous TV and film star. A lot of employees are still part of the PH family, including our good friend Executive Chef Chito Iglopas. Kudos to Planet Hollywood Guam for bringing your special brand of excitement and entertainment to our island's hospitality offerings!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
"Frank's Coming to Town!"
The "Buzz" is out! Is it true? It was just "heard on the set" that a special performer will be bringing a night of fantastic entertainment, "Sinatra-Style", at the upcoming "Bella Notte" Chef's Cup Competition fund-raiser produced by the UOG Endowment Foundation in partnership with the Micronesian Chefs' Association on April 18 at the SandCastle. Coming to Guam is an bonafide Frank Sinatra impersonator who not only looks like the "Chairman", but sounds like "ole blue eyes" himself! Check out FrankTribute.com for more on this fascinating performer who has played all around the country, bringing back fond memories and happy recollections of that golden-voiced troubadour who made songs like "New York, New York" famous anthems. "Bella Notte" will indeed be a beautiful night in Italian and in any language, featuring gourmet Italian cuisine, fine wines, fun skits, and superb entertainment - all for a worthy cause.
For more information on getting your tickets for this 6th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup Dinner Extravaganza, contact Flora Baza Quan at 735-2955/6/7.
First Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail Competition in Saipan Brews Success & Sets Stage for a Guam Event
An amazing combination of stunning flaring skills, imaginative cocktail blends, and exotic non-alcoholic chilled espresso creations were all present at the first ever Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail competition this past Saturday at Saipan's Aqua Resort Club. Patrick Eissa of Hyatt Regency Saipan won first in the Non-Alcoholic Category with is "Izzel My Nizzel Dizzel"; Ronnie Gueverra from Fiesta Resort & Spa took first in the Alcoholic Category with his "Beat D' Heat"; and the flaring contest was won by Jaymar Torres from Aqua Resort Club. It was thrilling, engaging, and a splendid way to watch the pros show their stuff. The competition was sponsored by illy caffe, an ultra-premium Italian coffee distributed by Pacific Wine & Spirits. This event was such a blast on Saipan that the organizers are looking to launch a competition here on Guam. This should well develop into one of the region's most exciting annual events, complete with celebrity judges, special trophies, and a parade of prizes.
Aqua Resort Club
When a history of this time in the Marianas is written, there will certainly be a page about a special place where fond memories were made and superb culinary creations reigned supreme, just as majestically as the name for which this place is named, "Raraina", the "Queen". I had occasion to visit my old friend, Chef Hubert Friedle, at the Aqua Resort Club, where I, as fate would have it, was only able to stay one night and had time for only one meal before returning to Guam early the next morning. My wish was to have that unique special set dinner menu that I'd dreamed about, the one with the Chilean Sea Bass ($40). It starts out with an appealing appetizer, Smoked Duck and Foie Gras Salad with Black Berries. This dish varied textures and flavors, with balsamic intensity and the sweet fruitiness from the berry. Crisp asparagus supported the sultry buttery richness of the foie gras that landed on a cushion of greens padded with smoked duck. It was a seductive advance to the next course.
The Corn Tortilla Soup's name understated the incredible taste and authentic Mexican heritage of this simple, well-constructed dish. Strips of toasted corn chips were layered throughout the thick cumin-infused tomato broth along with morsels of tender chicken, fresh avocado, and Parmesan (an anomaly that adapted well) squares, all scattered about like flotsam and jetsam, in a classic collision of flavors to make the perfect blend.
The main course was a stunning Chilean Sea Bass on Ratatouille Olive Tapenade and Brown Rice, garnished with fresh dill and basil, and slices of lime - this course's rustic colors were true to the natural flavors each represented. The tapenade made with premium mezzetta olives was layered above and below the succulent sea bass, which ironically tasted neutral up against the festival of flavors jumping out of the sauted vegetable ratatouille. The brown rice performed admirably, playing a supportive role with its natural earthy character. Combined though, these made a brilliant whole, and exemplified Chef Hubert's experienced culinary wizardry. The presentation is classic, with the plate's rim forming perpetual white waves in a round shell embracing and celebrating this rare, delectable denizen of the deep.
Dessert was a sublime treat - Coconut Dacquoise with Lime Jelly! This classic confection has a long tradition and is well worth the time consuming process for creating it. Two layers of coconut meringue are separated by a citrusy layer of jelly, and a cookie sail wedged to a corner, with a presentation meant for a competition or to just impress the breath out of you! Attentive and deferential service is the standard at Raraina. Aqua Resort Club is a remote escape from the clamor of life - a destination designed to relax, inspire, and pamper - another good reason to dine at Raraina.
Turnjai Thai Restaurant
Tamuning (Near A.C. Auto, Across from Lexus Showroom)
Turnjai Thai is one of those out-of-the-way secret places that once you've found it, you'll always go back! We went for a late lunch the other day, so I passed on the lunch buffet which is a good value at $8, and ordered a la carte. I'm having fun expanding my meals to include more vegetarian options....oddly enough, as much as I love meat, I'm still surprised by how "free and easy" the vegetarian foods taste and feel compared to meat-based dishes. I shared some of Zee's Fresh Spring Rolls ($6) these were presented beautifully...each roll looked like a little vegetable cocoon...and the hoisin sauce brought another level of pleasure. Basil, mint, sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, and rice noodle. Simple. Rewarding!
I ordered the Chicken Penang ($8). After my first bite I realized that this Turnjai can really cook. It's got to be one of the better Penang's on island...if not the best. She puts bamboo shoots, red bell pepper, and a generous quantity of tender chicken pieces, all immersed in an ultra thick and creamy coconut curry sauce. It is also topped by thinly sliced pieces of kaffir lime leaf...accentuating and defining Thai cuisine.
The Ni Pad Thai ($7) with veggies and tofu rather than meat looked appetizing and Zee obviously enjoyed it. However, I concentrated on my Penang for the rest of the meal. Turnjai has adjusted its hours of operation. For Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday they are closed for dinner, serving lunch only. From Thursday - Sunday, dinner is from 5-9pm. There is also a Sunday Brunch service at Turnjai Thai! It's from 9am- 2pm, and offers something unique, and since it is not in a hotel - you can park in front and walk right in the door!
Le Tasi Bistro
New Marina Hotel
Certainly one of the island's most beloved eateries for those who are passionate about food, Le Tasi Bistro brings home-style country French cuisine and tapas, which are assorted delicacies eaten as appetizers in Spain. There really is no place like Le Tasi Bistro, especially on most week nights, since there is no waiting for tables or fighting crowds. It is one of the most serene, romantic meals you can have, and you get to listen to Gypsy Kings or similar world instrumental music that lift the spirit while sipping a glass of Torres Sangre de Toro and dining on excellent food.
Le Tasi Bistro is a haven for vegetarians. Just look at the Crostini a la Provencale ($7.25). It's a glorious trio of tastes and textures on toasted wedges. The tapenade is marvelously chopped to an explosive freshness - it seems as if mincing the olives so finely gives a wonderfully intense taste! The Garbonzo paste on the other toast wedge is a nice surprise...eating just a bit makes you only want more, and you haven't had garbonzo beans ever taste so good, either. It's Chef Bertrand's secret seasoning. The tomatoes are simply tossed with olive oil and basil - amazing how well it works.
Another vegetarian treat is the Pates au Basilic ($14.50), which is linguini sauted with pesto, topped with a tomato coulis. (Shrimp lovers can add shrimp to the dish for an additional $4.) The flavor of the fresh pesto is terrific on the pasta and intriguing with the tomato coulis. The fresh vegetables that can be added to the dish depends on what's seasonally available. It's just an alternate way to enjoy a meal when going meatless - add zucchini, summer squash, red bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomato. Garnish with fresh basil. This is great eating, and healthy too.
Of course, Le Tasi Bistro is also famous for its sauces, which go well with the various meat choices. By the way, Le Tasi Bistro recently added a new item to its menu.They replaced the duck with "le T-Bone Steak" (16 oz./$24.95) . I ordered this Medium Rare and it came out perfectly cooked. The steak is dressed in a green peppercorn sauce and is joined by au gratin potatoes and fresh vegetables, in this case they were crisp snow peas, baked carrots, and blanched broccoli. The steak was certainly worthy...and that green peppercorn sauce was...oooh la la, tres, tres bien!
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