October 5, 2007, Volume 7 Number 40
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
If you are reading this newsletter you are sharing in the phenomenal success of the Internet, which has exceeded anyone's expectations in how it has completely re-shaped our lives. I find it amazing that I can write this e-zine in simple text from my home office laptop in the wee hours of the morning and find it published in a newsletter format with photos less than eight hours later. This newsletter is sent to several thousand email addresses both on and off island, and can be viewed by anyone in the world with Internet access. Like it or not, we are now totally dependent on the Internet, and as you will see in the very near future, how we use the Internet in our daily lives will change in ways that we could only have imagined possible when portrayed in some futuristic movie. For me, this transforms the biblical adage that "there's nothing new under the sun" into there's always something new awaiting discovery.
Speaking of discoveries, I'll be the first to admit to the limits of my food explorations, and this is underscored in this week's DinerBytes section on the Mandarin Restaurant in Agana. I want to thank people like Michael Ko for bringing to my attention the existence and changes in restaurants which I have paid slight attention to. In this instance, Michael invited me to Mandarin, which I had not once visited as Food Guy since I was under the false impression that it had not changed from the dilapidated and worn condition it was in some 10 years ago when I last dined there. I hadn't realized that the Mandarin Restaurant was acquired a few years ago by a young couple, Mei & Li, who have transformed it into a charming, clean, and popular little eatery (for those few who do know) that serves some pretty tasty food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. [Photo L-R: Michael Ko; Ken Stewart; Mei, Owner Mandarin Restaurant]
If you know of any restaurants which merit attention that I've overlooked, please let me know. You'll be helping a lot of people find a new place to eat. Moreover, you'll be helping me, and that's something I truly appreciate.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Pastries in Paradise
A Decade of Decadence
Saturday Oct 13, 2007
If it's October, it means it's time again for the abundant sweet indulgences Pastries in Paradise bring to the Island's sweet tooth. This year's event will be at the Guam Hotel Okura in the Orchid Room next Saturday evening, from 6-10pm.
Splendid displays of a variety of confectionery art will fill the room along with the aromatic fragrance of chocolate and other delicious ingredients. This is the event where pastry chefs from major hotel and restaurants show their stuff and attendees have their fill of an incredible amount of delectable edibles.
Aside from dessert creations, there will be beverage samplings from industry participants. Various competitions liven the scene with such titles as Bailey's Irish Cream Dessert Challenge, Torani Sugar Free Beverage Competition, Judge's Cup, and People's Choice Awards up for grabs. Entertainment will be provided by Maseha.
Don't miss this 10th year celebration of the sweetest part of living on Guam, Pastries in Paradise. Proceeds support the Lend-A-Hand Guam Chapter and the Micronesian Chefs' Association. Tickets are on sale now at the Pacific Daily News and the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association. Tickets are $20 per adult (12 & up) and $10 per child (ages 6-1l), and entitle you to unlimited sampling! For more information, call GHRA at 649-1447, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hagatna (next to Sirena Plaza)
Was I ever pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Mei when I walked into Mandarin Restaurant on Saturday for lunch. She worked at May's Restaurant in Tamuning for a number of years and left to open Mandarin with her husband, Li, who was a cook at May's, just two years ago. This long time eatery has been totally renovated and converted into an impressive and attractive Chinese restaurant. They are open for breakfast (Mon-Sat, 6:30-10am), lunch (Mon-Sat, 10am-2:30pm), and Dinner (Daily 2:30-10pm) an amazingly accommodating dining schedule compared to other Chinese eateries!
I've heard it on good authority that the breakfasts are really good and reasonably priced starting at just $3.50, for a variety of local favorites like Spam or Corned Beef with Eggs. Lunch specials are numerous, and run the gamut of traditional Chinese favorites, from several Egg Fu Yung entrees to Singapore Fried Noodles. As I was the special guest at a table of three, we were treated to a mini-banquet of foods including an excellent Roast Duck (priced by portion size from $8-$30), a succulent deep-fried Lapu Lapu with Sweet & Sour Sauce, Shrimp Fried Rice, and Fried Squid. Mei brought out a special secret dipping sauce they use for the duck that really enhances the rich meat.
Bottom line on this place - superb food at a great value - I'll be back!
Latte Stone Cafe
I can enthusiastically recommend the Steak & Eggs Weekend ($12.95).special at Latte Stone Cafe! The New York Steak I had with my eggs and rice was perfectly cooked and well-seasoned. I didn't need to add anything, but still enjoyed dipping pieces into my finedene. Owner Liz Gerber made it a point to put a round boonie pepper from her garden in my finedene. Being the brave one, I sliced it up and ate piece after fiery piece. It was good and plenty pika!
Zee had a Veggie Wrap ($7.95); we experimented with some dipping sauces to enhance and augment the natural ingredients.
To her credit, Liz has been conjuring up some really fine desserts and pastries, and even had us test ride a really delicious cherry parfait with creamy tofu and crumbled Oreo cookies as a base.
This coffee house continues to grow in popularity as it improves in quality!
Chung Hae Korean BBQ
Fujita Road (next to Marty's)
We had the pleasure of running into former Guam residents Alex and Susan Fields (now residing in Japan) at Chung Hae Korean BBQ. They stopped in by chance after walking from the Hyatt. We suggested the Kalbi which he ordered and loved. I had my favorite soup, Yukgaejong (Spicy Beef Soup $12). This is an experience in heat you'll never forget with chunks of beef, egg, and green onion. The savory red peppered broth somehow balances the heat with an addictive flavor. Zee's dish was Kimchi Chigae (Kimchee Stew with Tofu $12), which is served in a boiling cauldron. The comments for first timers Alex and Susan was that the food was seasoned and flavored just right, and that the portions were more than generous.
Chung Hae is a place you have to experience. It's quiet and very homey, and you'll be greeted by the jovial and ever-smiling owner, Hyun. She'll suggest something for you if you can't decide on which dish to order. She even sampled both our tables with an order of Pa Jeon, a green onion pancake/crepe-like round, which was really good with the special sesame dipping sauce. It's people like Hyun who give our restaurants their unique personality and human touch!
Gabriel's House of Pasta
Hagatna (facing Chief Quipuha)
If you are looking for a better Eggplant Parmegiana, you can "fo getta boud it" because you won't find one better than Gabe's!
I dropped in for lunch the other day and was told to try this lunch special ($10.25). I ordered the salad and Garlic Bread ($3.75), and there's a reason why they're calling it legendary - it's not recommended for a low carb, low-garlic diet! This bread's smothered in their home-made garlic butter and crowned with shredded parmesan cheese.
The Eggplant Parmegiana was a dream dish made with local eggplants, each bite added another layer of satisfaction as I savored the fresh tomato marinara sauce blended in with the spaghetti pasta and the melted parmesan cheese that blanketed the dish. This is an entree that gives chef/partner Joe Borja some braggin' rights and I had to take some home since the portion is so big.
Gabriel's has recently built a bar that you can't help but see when you walk in. This place is making big waves in Agana, and there are people already ear-marking this place as their favorite Italian restaurant. The Eggplant Parmegiana is pretty convincing!
Latin Night Dinner & Dance
New Wednesday Theme Dinner Buffet
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Ole! Hilton's Islander Terrace has done it again. They have taken the island by surprise by offering a totally new dinner experience featuring salsa dancing. I attended the launch of this exciting new Wednesday dinner buffet theme night this week.
I'm still in awe (as well as thoroughly stuffed) from the extraordinary buffet spread of Latin American culinary favorites, including spicy Beef Mole; Huevos Rancheros colorfully displayed in a pan with scrambled eggs flanked by sour cream and guacamole with salsa dividing lines; a zesty Gazpacho; Oyster Shooters with Tequila Cocktail; a majestic Paella Valenciana; Chicken Enchiladas; Tamales; an entire live cooking station featuring fresh made Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, and Tostadas; tender Marinated Pork Ribs with Salsa Verde; Tequila Lime Chicken; Tortilla Soup; Red Chili Con Carne; Mexican Stir-Fry Vegetables, and grilled marinated skewers of lamb, chicken and beef, each having a special pairing sauce to use once cooked. There are appetizers galore and a complete selection of garden-fresh salad ingredients. Truthfully, too much food to even sample during one meal, so you need to come every Wednesday Night!
There is also an array of Latino-inspired desserts, like the Argentine Dulce de Leche; Huevos Rellos; Crepes de Platano (banana crepes); Bonelos; Churros; Pastel de Pasa Nuez (raisin nut cake); Huevos Regales (royal eggs topped with raisins and cinnamon sticks); Spanish Cream, and more.
Executive Chef Christophe Durliat has taken his culinary team to new heights with this South of the Border culinary panorama of spicy, seasoned foods and richly sweet desserts. The number and veracity of dipping sauces like Salsa Verde and Pico de Gallo was most impressive, since these are the most difficult to replicate. It's amazing what roasted tomatillos can create.
Complementing and enhancing this Latino food fest are salsa and meringue dance moves with dance instructor, David Peele, who serves as emcee and DJ. He is joined by his lovely wife Tomoe, and both dance with diners who want to show their stuff or first timers who want to learn the moves. I worked up my courage to stand in line to learn a line samba. The happy sounds of this fun-filled night could be heard in the Hilton's lobby, and there were many onlookers gazing over the rail above at the dancers below.
The price for admission for this dinner and dance show (including lessons), is only $38. Conchay Toro and Frontera wines are freely poured along with a welcoming refreshing Sangria. This is a worthy event, so put on your dancing shoes and bring it on!
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