July 13, 2007, Volume 7 Number 28
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
If you've not yet seen the Pixar animated film, "RATATOUILLE", I whole-heartedly recommend it to you, with the same unbridled enthusiasm that I'd recommend a superb dining experience! "RATATOUILLE" is about the exciting adventures of a rat named Remy who has a dream to be a great chef (modeled after his culinary hero, the recently-departed French chef Auguste Gusteau). Gusteau's "ghost" continuously appears throughout the film to both exhort Remy to follow his dream and to admonish him whenever he'd slip back into thieving "rat-pack" behaviors.
Remy's unlikely pairing up with the young Parisian kitchen garbage boy, Linguine, takes you to an uproarious series of events and circumstances that will have you exploding in laughter while other scenes will touch your heart and pull tears from your eyes. It is a watershed movie for me, in that it reflects so much of the world and life that I live in being a food reviewer and a supplier of various products used by chefs, from uniforms to utensils. I believe adults will find as much, if not more, enjoyment from this great film as children would, since there are many terms and concepts that require an adult awareness.
It does well in promoting the belief that "anyone can cook", and truly, if Remy the rat can be a super-star chef (as improbably as this seems), then anyone (rat or human) should be able to do the same, providing you've got a well-defined sense of taste and the creative and financial resources of Disney and Pixar! Go see it!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail Competition
Friday July 13
Pacific Wine & Spirits, Inc. is pleased to announce that the first ever Guam Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail Competition will take place at 9pm on Friday, July 13, 2007, at T.G.I. Friday's. Competitors from hotels and restaurants on Guam will be vying for the title "Best Alcoholic Cocktail". 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will receive cash, a trophy, and a ticket to Saipan to compete against Saipan's top baristas in the Bravo! Barista illy Cocktail Competition Grand Finale Competition on July 21, 2007, with the ultimate prize of a return ticket to Italy, the home of illy coffee. [Editor's Note: Photos are from Saipan's event held in March 2007.]
Each cocktail must contain illy, a premium Italian coffee distributed by Pacific Wine & Spirits. The island's best baristas from Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, House of Brutus, Hyatt Regency Guam, Outrigger Guam Resort, Planet Hollywood, & T.G.I. Friday's will be competing.
The public is invited to come along and watch the competition. Entry to the event is free. There will be complimentary pupus and drink specials all night, as well as great giveaways. Entertainment will be provided by emcee DJ Fredtastic and DJ Noly. The event is sponsored by illy caffe, Hit Radio 100, & T.G.I. Friday's.
For more information, please contact Anneliese Wenden, Program Coordinator, at 898-7322 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Mark Lim, Market Coordinator at 888-8475.
Summer Wine Dinner at Old Hagatna Grill
Saturday July 14
If you haven't done so already, call now to make reservations for the Old Hagatna Grill's Summer Wine Dinner this Saturday night! You will be treated to an exquisite four course dinner inspired by OHG's Executive Chef, Christopher Aguon. Each course will consist of the freshest ingredients creatively prepared to infuse the simmering flavors of summer, and will be paired with selected fine wines best suited for this summer repast.
The Summer Wine Dinner Menu and Pairings
House-cured Norwegian Salmon & Chive crepe roulades with fried Capers, fresh Dill Creme Fraiche, & Olive oil marinated Cucumbers
Robert Mondavi Private Reserve Chardonnay
Hearts of Romaine salad, poached Pears, spicy candied walnuts, with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette.
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Grigio
Coffee crusted Hanger Steak & Proscuitto wrapped Scallops with Sage infused Demi Glace and Port wine reduction over smoked Bacon roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes.
Arboleda Cabernet Sauvignon
Mocha Pate Napoleans with mint-scented Strawberries
Bottega Dark Chocolate Grappa
Seating is limited so reserve now by calling 472-5885. Admission is $70 per person.
Former Guam Residents Don & Judy Breeding Celebrate 50th Anniversary in Houston
A very special gathering took place on June 23, 2007 at the Woodlands Resort, a suburb of Houston, Texas. It was an occasion celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Don & Judy Breeding's wedding, and was well-attended by many friends and former employees of Continental Air Micronesia, for which Don was the Guam-based President during the 80's and 90's. My brother Carl works as a "Red Coat" with Continental in Houston and he and his wife, Michele (a Continental flight attendant), were among the guests. The Breedings have many fond memories of their stay on Guam and both were quite active in business and social circles, and deeply committed to many community organizations.
Among the group pictured with Don & Judy Breeding are former Air Mike VP Customer Service, Curt Bourg & wife Denise; former VP Flight Operations Al Spain & wife Sandie; Chris & Rose Collins; former VP & CEO James Kupferschmid & wife Lynn; Bill & Censia Thompson (Bill was President of Atkins Kroll and Censia was the first flight attendant of Micronesian descent hired by Continental Air Micronesia); Jon & Jackie Strandhagen; Ken & Grace Low (China Arts); and Carl & Michele Stewart. Also attending, but not pictured, were Shufen Rakay, former Director and Marty Woodward, former VP for Human Resources. We are pleased to share this photo of this special celebration with all the friends and acquaintances of the Breedings who were unable to attend.
The happy gathering also served as a reunion for many who worked for Continental during that "high-flying" era of great expansion. Although it's been more than a decade since the Breeding's departure, Guam will always have a special place in their hearts and minds, just as it does for the former executives and families of the airline that's been a major force in our region's growth and prosperity. Congratulations, Don & Judy! May you continue to enjoy the best of life, just as you shared your best with us!
Dhonson Plaza (Next to Josie's Tavern)
Sichuan Kitchen is Guam's Chinese "Hot Pot" destination, specializing in Chongquing Hot Pot, using Sichuan peppers. However, there are times when you may just want to try one or several of Sichuan Kitchen's a la carte menu items, which includes a line-up of Sichuan specialties as well as Cantonese favorites. We ordered one of the noodle dish variations (Fried Wide Noodles with Vegetables $10), along with one of my favorite beef dishes, a savory Braised Beef in Hot Bowl ($10), the Yang Chow Fried Rice ($6), and a really tasty fresh vegetable of the day, sauteed Chinese Lettuce ($7).
In the film, "RATATOUILLE", the idea of tasting one ingredient and then combining it with another, was illustrated as a way to enjoy the extraordinary flavors of blending different items. The Fried Wide Noodles is a perfect example of how several really good ingredients are combined to make an excellent dish, so that each bite is filled with green onion, cabbage, carrot, bean sprout, ginger, garlic, and that terrific wide flour noodle! Adding a little hoisin and sesame oil also contribute to this dish. The regular version of this dish has beef, but if you are vegetarian, this is quite suitable, and there's no MSG!
The Braised Beef in Hot Bowl (not to be confused with "hot pot") is something I have a particular craving for since the beef is so tender and flavorful I just like putting a piece atop my rice with some of the rich gravy and a piece of green onion and cabbage or bok choy, which puts me in my special "food heaven"! Other ingredients that have simmered in this stew are bell pepper, Sichuan peppers, onions, and carrots.
Sichuan Kitchen's Yang Chow Fried Rice is among the better fried rices served on island. I like it's freshness and even blending of ingredients (ham, egg, green onion, green peas, carrots, and shrimp). It's also a reasonable portion with enough for four to share.
Everyday there is a different fresh vegetable of the day, which can be Kang Kong, Chinese Broccoli or Baby Bok Choy. Today's was Chinese Lettuce, and it was surprisingly flavorful, with a lot of garlic mixed in with the still crisp lettuce spears. There's a reason why so many people are enjoying their Sichuan Kitchen experiences time after time after time!
Hanagi Restaurant Lunch Buffet
Pacific Island's Club
There's been a change at PIC, though it may be hard to distinguish at first. I'm talking about the lunch buffet in what used to be the Hanaya and Toryu Restaurants which were located on the ground level of the PIC. The restaurant names have been changed, with the Hanaya (Japanese restaurant) now called Hanagi. The Toryu (Chinese) is now called Welcaruba.
To be fair, the transition would be more distinct had I come for dinner, which is only a la carte service. The lunch buffet is generally the same as the previous lunch, and this time I focused on the Japanese side with the tempura, sashimi, udon, sushi, poki, and kakiage. The teppanyaki line, however, seems significantly different since they are doing cook-to-order grilling, akin to Mongolian in that you provide the vegetable ingredients such as onions, eggplant, mushrooms, cabbage, red bell pepper, sprouts and they do the cooking. The teppan is prepared in an assembly-like line and embellished with a flare-up, which adds some excitement to the meal.
The food is good and frankly, I think it's too much to eat both buffets especially since the Chinese has a number of hot items as well as some salad items. PIC has been consistent in using high quality ingredients in its food offerings so I don't think people will complain about the food quality. The buffet price last year was $17 (+10% ), and I have to confirm if it's changed.
I am looking forward to a return visit at dinner so that I can get a better sense of the changes that have taken place this past year to two restaurants that have created their own tradition of blending the best of two worlds.
La Mirenda Restaurant - New Rejuvenating Lunch Sensations
Hyatt Regency Guam
There's a refreshing new trend taking place at the Hyatt's La Mirenda, and it's a far departure from the traditional, set-in stone daily and weekly theme buffets that are prevalent among the island's hotel outlets. This new buffet offering is a lot more playful and flexible, and I might add, completely unpredictable. In fact, it's almost like the chef has been given a "mystery basket" of fresh ingredients and commanded to make a series of meals, including a different type of sandwich feature each day.
This new lighter-fare buffet offering appeals to those looking for quality above quantity, and extraordinary over the mundane, which mean that a lot of thought and creativity have gone into the formation of this meal. Inspired by Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler, the buffets promise to be an ever-changing culinary landscape using fresh and unique beverages, salad ingredient combinations, salad dressings, marinated salads, and key "signature" salads, a variety of fresh-baked breads, cheeses, soups, hot entrees, and specialty sandwich creations. You could eat there every day for a month and not have the same meal repeated twice! How's that for fulfilling that ultimate indulgent request, "surprise me!!"
One day I was surprised to taste an unforgettable and thirst-quenching house lemonade - I don't know where they got it, but I'd like to visit that house! Other unique cool beverages available in stylish dispensers were Iced Green Tea, Raspberry Tea, and Passion Fruit Iced Tea. I also tasted the Iced Green Tea and can tell you it's far superior in capturing the essence of green tea than anything available I've had in a bottle.
The special sandwich surprise was made with Pita Bread and featured Tandoori Chicken as the meat. Other garnishes included Moroccan salad, Julienne lettuce, yogurt, and tahini (sesame seed sauce). Ohh, this was tasty, light, and fun to eat and to watch the cook's create it in front of you.
Other sandwich creations use a medley of bread types, meats, and garnishes, so you'll find Ciabatta, Pan de Sal, Baguettes, Panini and Multi-grain breads wrapped around such diverse meats at Champaign Ham with Brie, or BBQ Pork Loin with Coleslaw, or Marinated Grilled Chicken with Arugula & Red Pepper, or a Slow Roasted Turkey with Tomatillo and Cheddar Cheese, or Slow-roasted Brisket of Beef with Coleslaw, or a hot grilled Panini with Prosciutto, tomato and basil.
A "signature" salad available on my visit was Salad Nicoise with Seared Tuna. Other signature salads will be Green-lipped mussels with "Salsa Verde", Mediterranean style seafood salad, and Thai Glass noodles salad with prawns. The idea is to create a number of salads made around one primary ingredient, such as Bean, Beetroot, Radish, Carrots, Artichokes, Cucumber, Celery, Pasta, Potatoes, and Tomato, Imagine, a salad made with plum tomatoes, Spanish onions, and mozzarella cheese, or a Waldorf Salad!
The hot dishes are a delightful surprise, too, and the Moroccan style roast lamb with herb couscous was a treat, as was the Braised Beef Brisket with creamed spinach! You, too, can be impressed when Chef Hermann puts out a slow roasted Leg of Lamb with Ratatouille, or Farfalle (or penne) with Salmon Cream Sauce, or Spanish Seafood Paella, or Pork Loin Roasted with Prunes. Hmmmm, this is a lot to consider and definitely a lot of imagination. I'm glad he doesn't put it all out at once - it's better to have it parsed out over the course of a week.
The price of admission for these lunch selections is $22.50. I didn't even talk about Hyatt's decadent desserts! I can't wait to be surprised...can you?
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