August 10, 2007, Volume 7 Number 32
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
I recently came across an article by Scott Joseph, restaurant critic for the Orlando Sentinel in Florida. His article, titled "Bill of (Diners') Rights", was written in an attempt to mirror the Passengers' Bill of Rights created by Jet Blue's CEO when it was having severe customer service challenges last winter.The following is an excerpt from the article in which Joseph portrays how a restaurant owner would similarly state the rights of his customers:
"If something is not right with your food, please tell the server who checks back with you after it has been served. We need to know if the food is overcooked or undercooked, or if it is not hot enough. We'd also like to know if the dish is just something you don't like, or it wasn't what you thought it would be. If any of these problems exist, the dish will be removed, and you may either request the same dish be done to your liking, or you may ask for something else. Either way, your request will go to the front of the line and be done as quickly as possible. The server will offer to keep your companions' food warm while the mistake is being corrected. It is important that you let someone know you're dissatisfied right now, tonight. If you wait until tomorrow to call and complain, there is nothing I or my managers can do to make tonight more pleasant." (Excerpted from "Bill of (Diners') Rights" by Scott Joseph, Restaurant Critic for the Orlando Sentinel, Aug 5, 2007 )
Have you ever received this kind of treatment from a restaurant? I don't know how many of you have ever expressed your disappointment or dis-satisfaction with an entree or meal when dining, however I do believe not enough of us do it right then and there when it can make a difference. The reality is that you as a customer have a lot of rights that can be exercised when needed. The only way the service quality and standards at our restaurants will improve is by your speaking up when things aren't right. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic in raising this issue. What do you think?
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Taste & Spirit of Guam Carnival
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Saturday August 18 & Sunday August 19
The MCA (Micronesia Chefs' Association ) will be holding a "Taste & Spirit of Guam Carnival" next Saturday and Sunday, August 18 -19, from 2-8pm, at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, just outside the Marianas Ballroom. Delicious food and beverages, some prepared by MCA members, will be for sale to the public.
Similar to the Japan Festival held each year in Ypao Beach, there will be booths selling food for $2-$3 per serving. Attendees will be able to stroll freely among the booths and try whatever strikes their fancy. This event is open to the public and there will be something for the whole family to enjoy. There is no charge for admission. MCA members are currently pre-selling $10 books of tickets. Proceeds from this carnival will go towards tuition scholarships for students enrolled in GCC's Culinary Academy.
Roy's Restaurant Presents
Creations by Chef Tyler Mahler from Roy's San Francisco
Premium Night, Wine Dinner and Cooking Class
Thursday, Friday & Saturday August 16, 17 & 18
A Premium Night with Chef Tyler will be held on Thursday August 16 from 5:30-10pm in Roy's Lounge. Chef Tyler will prepare a series of appetizers paired with several featured wines.
A Wine Dinner featuring Kendall Jackson Wines and a pairing menu prepared by Roy's San Francisco chef, Tyler Mahler will be held at Roy's at 6:30pm on Friday August 17.
A Cooking Class with Chef Tyler is scheduled for Saturday August 18 from 11am-2:30pm, with attendees treated to a three-course lunch at Roy's.
For information, call 646-DINE.
Juxtaposition - A Difference Between Day & Night
"To meat, or not to meat"? That is the question! I had an interesting day last Friday, when I enjoyed what I call "guilt-free dining" at Simply Food in Hagatna Heights for lunch. I had the Friday special, which was Thai Curry ($5.99) with a side salad for $2.25. This was an amazing meal since there was so much brown rice in the center of the plate that no one was able to finish it! The curry was decent and vegetable laden, with a meat substitute that had the texture of tender chicken. The salad was excellent, as was the Berry Nice Smoothie ($3.75). In the photo is a side of the soup of the day, which was a bean soup, so thick that you could stand your spoon up in it!
So, it should be no surprise in my "see-saw" world of culinary adventure that I should have a bona fide "meat" dinner at Izakaya Katsu aka the "Green Door", where I had their signature Ribeye Steak ($25). Though I was with a group, and a lot of other food items were ordered, three of us had the steak, which has an incomparable taste from its unique blend of seasonings. Tender, succulent, and served exactly to your desired temperature on a bed of bean sprouts that capture the flavorful drippings of this noble steak!
Like I said, interesting day and interesting night!
Pacific Islands Club
How far would you go for a good steak? Well, if you are in Saipan, you can drive down to San Antonio where you'll find the beautiful, fun-filled PIC Saipan, a true vacation resort in every sense of the word. The Seaside Grill is a superb restaurant perched overlooking the Philippine Sea. I had dinner with one of my favorite dining companions, Orleyne, and we decided to go by land and sea with our choices. I ordered the Grilled T-Bone Steak ($35), which came with a twice-baked potato stuffed with bacon and a side of vegetables. The T-Bone was no ordinary T-Bone -i t was genuine Certified Angus Beef served with a rich red wine demi sauce. My salad appetizer was made with fresh greens and had a large piece of Ciabatta bread slathered with tomato salsa and garlic butter. The steak was magnificent!
Orleyne ordered the Whole Fried Parrot Fish with Vegetable Fried Rice and Tamarind Mint Sauce ($25). This was described on the menu as a Pacific Rim parrot fish marinated in tamarind, soy sauce and red chili, then pan fried and served with vegetable fried rice. I was given a generous portion of this fish and have to admit that it was something totally new and certainly worth recommending. It was light, cooked just to the right flakiness, and fresh...very fresh. The dipping sauce seemed to have a hint of fish sauce. I understand that the Seaside Grill's menu will be changing soon so if you want to eat these particular entrees, you may want to hurry up and fly over to beautiful Saipan for a weekend of relaxation and great dining at PIC's Seaside Grill.
I was looking for an excuse to have that phenomenal steak again...and thank goodness it was Zee who suggested going to Outback for her birthday dinner! I don't really like the Bloomin' Onion ($7.95), since I find them a bit heavy on the grease...come on, they are battered and deep-fried onions after all! They do look good and managed to eat a few and dip some in Outback's tangy sauce...it met the definition of vegetarian appetizer and that is what the Birthday Girl wanted. For an entree she ordered Walhalla Pasta ($13.95) with no meat, but more vegetables instead. They accommodated her request and she was satisfied with what was an appealing entree.
For me, it required no menu perusing to pick the steak I wanted: Prime New York Steak & Crab Dinner ($49.95), featuring U.S.D.A. certified Prime Angus Beef - certainly one of the most succulent, tender, and flavorful cuts of beef I've had and the best steak I've ever had at Outback. The King Crab legs were fantastic, too, and I remember pulling apart a cracked leg and extracting a large piece of crab meat, enough to fill a can! It's just something you can't do with the ordinary crab legs served around the island buffets. The steak experience for me is visceral...I don't apologize to anyone for the unabashed pleasure and fulfillment I get from having a superior steak! I did less talking and lots of eating. (I did listen, though!) I'm going to have to find another event to celebrate so I can have this steak again.. USDA certified "Prime" Angus Beef - it just don't get better than that!
Ipao Beach Park Entrance
You can expect to be pleased when dining at PROA, still one of the Guam's newest arrivals as they approach their first year. When having lunch, I seem to have a very difficult time just ordering one entree. Though I was in a hurry and even placed my order by phone in advance of my arrival requesting the Pork Rib Chop with demi-glace reduction with rice ($12.95). I've had this before and it didn't disappoint, but I couldn't resist ordering a bowl of the day's soup, which was a delightful Fish Chowder for $3.95.
Chef Geoffrey Perez and crew are culinary artisans, so you can anticipate that their food will be any thing but simple fare. The soup had a rich complexity with julienned potatoes (skin-on which I love), celery, carrots, onions, bacon and fish bits...all in a light cream broth with fresh herbs.
I was fine when I had first arrived at the restaurant and committed to having just my pork chop when I saw Chef Geoffrey tossing some pasta....that did it! I ordered a second entree, the Grilled Chicken Linquine with Roasted Vegetable Primavera ($12.95). Of course, I knew what I was doing...eat a little and take a lot home as balutan. I knew it would make a lovely dinner for two and it did! The pasta in this dish had whole mustard seeds in a luxuriously rich sauce. The mushrooms and cut veggies (eggplant and zucchini) were appreciated add-ins. The chicken breast portions were generous and notably moist.
The redeeming factor is I was able to avoid having dessert! (Next time I'll give in to temptation!)
Bistro at PIC has always been a destination I look forward to visiting, for either lunch or dinner. The advantage of going for lunch is that you get that incredible panoramic view of Tumon Bay...the ocean and waves are mesmerizing! Another advantage to having lunch at Bistro is no matter what you order, your going to get a basket of Bistro's famous biscuits. These are just too much when you add butter!
Instead of choosing one of the three daily specials, I wanted to try something totally different so I ordered from the a la carte menu. (By the way, all of Bistro's menus and specials are posted on GuamDiner.com). My choice was easy. I picked the Prime Rib Panini ($14.50) which is grilled and served on a French baguette with bacon, finadene aioli, crispy fried onions, and Caesar salad. I think there was some association at play here, since I'd been craving PIC's Prime Rib and I thought it would be interesting to see how they'd make panini with sliced beef. It was really quite good, and came with that special thick bacon PIC has. I still don't know about the finadene aioli...I wasn't sure what to expect when dipping my sandwich in it. The basic premise of this meal was sound, though, and it's hard not to enjoy a grilled sandwich filled with beef and bacon.
I couldn't help but notice that a table nearby had ordered one of my favorite Bistro creations, the Crab Cakes Benedict ($16). These are lump crab cakes with poached eggs on toasted English muffins, served with pesto hollandaise sauce along with a Caesar salad. One of the parties at the table had ordered an interesting variation, Bun Less Burgers Benedict ($14), which are ground sirloin burgers centered on beef steak tomatoes and onion, then covered with a Bernaise sauce. This is something I've not yet tried, but I will in the future.
It's hard to believe I had room for dessert, but I did manage to enjoy a slice of Chocolate Rum Cake ($7). This was a lavish treat...visually, one of those desserts you'd call a "pastry from Paradise!'. The rum flavoring was light...it was the chocolate that was strong!
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