September 14, 2007, Volume 7 Number 37
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Mega-Kudo's to Premier Hotel & Resort (PHR) Group and Ken Asset Management for their leadership and vision in supporting the revitalization of Gef Pago Park in Inalahan! A three-hour adventure called "Experience Guam Cultural Tour" is in the works to start in October, and will give visitors an opportunity to have hands-on interaction creating traditional crafts and making local foods like coconut milk and coconut candy, as well as barbecuing their own meats with local marinades.
The Historic Inalahan Foundation has been created to manage this transformation so that Gef Pago will be able to receive the required funding to develop this tourism experience, which is something that visitors have been seeking when they come to Guam. A major fund raising event is happening this Saturday at the Country Club of the Pacific (another PHR property). It is called the PHR/Ken Group's 1st Annual Drive for Charity, and is a golf tournament with the proceeds benefiting the Historic Inalahan Foundation.
It is commendable that PHR has taken up the challenge to assist the people of Inalahan (Inarajan) as well as the people of Guam by seeing the "gem" in what had been a rather dire situation for Gef Pago. The PHR group has an unprecedented influence since it owns some of the islands most prominent properties, including the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort, Hyatt Regency, P.I.C., and the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa.
We wish to thank PHR President Hayato "Jack" Yoshino for his commitment to improving the island's cultural experiences. You can expect to see more wonderful things happening here on our island, especially if you can work in partnership with like-minded people who see the need to polish this gem we call home so that others will have culturally rich visits when they come.
Ken the "Guam Food Guy"
K57 Tourism & You
Saturday Sept 15 10am-Noon
GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show this Saturday and you won't want to miss any of our guests. This week's first hour guests will include Chris Bejado, Director of Hospitality and partner in PROA Restaurant, as well as Erica Taijeron and Joe Borja, co-owners of Gabriel's House of Pasta in Hagatna.
Our second hour continues our interview with Gabriel's, and will also feature a chat with Carol Ragan, owner of Hava Java Cafe in Hagatna. These interviews 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.
Spicy Thai Noodle Place & Thai Food Store
San Antonio, Saipan
It's been a few years since I last visited the Spicy Thai Noodle Place. Of the three main Thai restaurants on Saipan, it's one considered by local Thai residents to be the best. This is my assessment as well. My only regret about eating here was that I was alone and was limited in what I could order and sample. To drink, I ordered a Thai Coffee with Milk ($1.50), which is a departure from my regular Thai Ice Tea. I enjoyed the change.
The worn menu shows color photos of each dish and describes them in English and in Thai script, and all the prices are fairly inexpensive in comparison to comparable dishes at Guam's Thai restaurants. I ordered the Beef BBQ Spicy Salad ($6.95), the Penang Curry with Shrimp ($6.95), and the Pork Spicy Basil with Rice & Egg ($7.95), the latter being one of my favorite dishes.
The Beef Salad has an interesting flavor and had a very large amount of hot stir-fried beef with red onions and scallions. It was a lot more meat than I expected and I wasn't able to eat all of it. Definitely designed to serve more than one.
The Penang was served in a flower-decorated rarebit, which competed for attention with the colorful Penang. The red bell peppers contrasted with the green basil leaves, and the plump white shrimp gleamed through the golden curry's surface, begging to be eaten!
I don't know exactly when I first fell in love with the Spicy Basil Pork and Egg combination, but I believe it may have been at Pim's Place. Pad Kra Praow (the Thai name) usually combines chilies, garlic, hot basil, and ground pork along with a fried egg on top of steamed rice. Their version at this dish adds carrots, onions and whole cloves of garlic, which really enhance the overall taste and character of this dish. I finished all of this dish except for a good portion of the rice.
I'll have to come back more often to explore the other great dishes at Spicy Thai Noodle House & Thai Food Store, one of Saipan's special hidden secrets!
Hyatt Regency Saipan
Giovanni's has one of the best Italian fine dining experiences in the region. There are a number of reasons why this is so, but one of them is the masterful culinary skills of the Executive Chef, Gabriele Colombo, who has a well established reputation within Hyatt International.
The ambiance at Giovanni's is certainly one set for romance or a love affair with food. Piano playing in the background and polite, deferential service is just a tad short of pampering. I was joined by some colleagues and we all shared in this exquisite feast. The menu selections are numerous; with each entree inviting you to return again and again - how can anyone have so many favorites!
We started with the Antipasti Misti Della Casa, a selection of appetizers from the antipasto table ($15). This included such delights as a creamy Buffalo Mozzarella with Plum Tomatoes and Arugula Pine Nut Pesto, Gratinated Baby Sea Scallops, King Prawns with Orange and Caper Salsa, a profusion of sun-dried tomatoes, grilled zucchini, shaved Parmesan cheese, sauteed onion, Parma ham, hard salami, and crostini. This complemented a plate of fresh baked sour dough loaves and bread sticks.
We had a bowl of the Funghi Trifolati Sauteed Forest Mushrooms ($4), which was an unexpected treat. I couldn't begin to name the variety of mushrooms in this lovely dish.
I had the Fettuccine della Casa con Salsa Certosina ($16), described on the menu as home-made saffron fettuccine with veal, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil cream sauce. I requested that they substitute the saffron fettuccine with the fresh spinach pasta that was part of that night's dinner special (Fresh Spinach Pasta with Shrimp and Bell Pepper in Basil Pesto). Wow! What a sensational dish this was! It was prepared to perfection with the special texture and taste that comes from freshly-made pasta. The bits of veal, sun-dried tomato, pine nuts, mushroom, and melted cheese all combined to bring me to a rare level of culinary ecstasy.
The Salmone in Crosta con Salsa Basilico, pan-fried Atlantic salmon in almond crust on grilled vegetables with fine herb cream sauce, ($22) was ordered by one of our group and I sampled a piece of this delicate, extremely fresh salmon. It was on par with my pasta dish. A fantastic presentation with extraordinary flavor and freshness. The grilled vegetables (potato, carrot, onion, asparagus, broccoli, and bell pepper) were suitable companions and not the least bit overcooked. The toasted almond crust opened to a melt-in-your mouth pink salmon that could not have tasted any better, especially with the herb cream sauce enhanced by fresh dill.
We all shared in a decadent Mud Pie that only continued to showcase Giovanni's bragging rights for extraordinary and mesmerizing cuisine.
Healthy food can taste delicious, too, which is why so many people flock to Simply Food for lunch during the week. I have to really work on monitoring my dietary intake and have to balance what I eat with exercise so making a point to find healthy options is important to me. The Daily Special ($5.99) on the board was the Veggie Wrap, which is served with a saffron brown rice. These wraps are huge and bursting with nutritious goodness! Tomato, cucumber, romaine lettuce, carrots, black beans, red cabbage, and some kind of meat-substitute similar to ham (maybe Wham). The wrap comes with a savory dipping sauce similar to a light Ranch dressing.
Zee had the Mushroom Loaf with Whole Wheat Rolls ($5.99, add a salad for $2.25), which really looks good. In truth, it tastes pretty good, too. I had more than one bite, and also had one of her whole wheat rolls. These are terrific, and I sopped up all of the gravy that came with her loaf with my wheat roll. I can't over-emphasize the life-sustaining value the food at Simply Food represents. Everyone who is looking to improve their quality of life and well-being should have this place book-marked as a healthy dining destination.
King's Quonset Hut
GPO Food Court
King's Restaurants have always kept local food in the forefront. Now they have gone one step further and opened a cleverly-designed fast food eatery in the Guam Premier Outlets' Food Court. King's Quonset Hut is a brilliant concept since it incorporates a lot of local favorites in its offerings, offers 1, 2 & 3-choice plates, with a lot of side dishes, and popular local desserts.
Unlike the fast food stalls at Chamorro Village, King's Quonset Hut operates indoors, so there are no flies and the climate is controlled assuring dining comfort. (Thank goodness for air-conditioning!) The big question, though, is, "How's the food?"
Actually, it's pretty good, and getting better. King's Quonset Hut's motto is "Taste of Home", and that's what they are trying to provide in their menu. The prices for their plates are :
1 Choice $5.75
2 Choice $6.35
3 Choice $7.25
This includes your choice of white or red rice, choice of salad, and pancit. They offer a la carte entrees or specials like the Oxtail Soup ($7.85, includes your choice of rice) served today. Another special was the HC Franks, aka "Chorizos Pak-Pak".
I sampled a few items in an effort to get an idea of how the food is. I had a tender, lean and slightly seasoned Pork Steak and dipped it in the Mang Tomas sauce that I was given for my piece of lechon (it was just a bite-sized piece). I also had Shrimp Patties, Tamales Gisu which were nice and pika, very tasty! Plus some of the eggplant (Birenghas) which was a soothing treat, nice and cold accented by lemon. The Pancit was a bit dry, and is something they are working on to improve. The Red Rice would pass muster with most lovers of this local rice dish. The Tinala Katne (dried beef) used a good cut of beef, so it had the grain of roast beef. It wasn't as salty as some that I've had.
I didn't try these, but you can get Chicken Kelaguen ($2.75) or Shrimp Kelaguen ($3.25). They offer Tityas( $.75 for 2 pcs) and Gollai Hagon Suni ($2.25 small) and a rather odd sounding dish, Chicken Ala King in a Tortilla Bowl ($3 for 2).
They just opened this week so they are really brand new. One really nice touch is that they offer local desserts like Ahu ($2), Kalamai ($2), Latiya ($2), Coconut Candy ($2.75), Bonelos ($2.75), Bonelos Dago (banana doughnuts $2.75) and the signature dessert from the restaurant, King's Crepe a la Mode.
King's Quonset Hut is an idea whose time has come. I think they're going to make a lot of people happy, especially tourists who will now be able to have access to a wide selection of Chamorro foods in a more convenient location, available seven days a week!
You can find Guam Food Guy links and reviews at the following sites:
Also available on Your GUAMCELL web-enabled phone