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November 2, 2007, Volume 7 Number 44

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Need a vacation, but don't have time to fly? Well, you can do it right here on Guam by merely staying at one of our own resort properties!

We had an opportunity a few weekends ago to spend a night in a Deluxe Ocean View Room at the Outrigger Guam Resort, thanks to a winning auction bid at the Guam Girl Scouts' fund-raiser earlier this year. I remember while I was bidding in the silent auction that I really wanted to win the Outrigger room package since that was one property where I had never stayed. We were not at all disappointed, in fact, it was a such relaxing getaway that it was impossible to consider going out on the town that Saturday night. The view overlooking Tumon Bay and the beach below was captivating, keeping us mesmerized by the "city lights" at night and by the azure blue waters stretching out along the white sand beach all the way down to the Hilton. I had Wi-Fi so felt right at home with my laptop and all of my email, and there was even NHK, which we watch whenever we can since the news and stories are always so interesting, especially when they're translated or subtitled in English.

The Outrigger's vacation actually starts right at check-in, since their staff has internalized the spirit of "inafa' maolek" (hospitality), and it seemed second nature to those who took care of us. We experienced this during dinner as well, but as I said, we really didn't need to leave the room to be entertained. Just the evening before we attended the Guam Women's Club Auction and Wine Tasting Fundraiser to Benefit the Sugar Plum Tree charity, so the rest we had was what I'd call "intense relaxation"!

So, the next time you are thinking about "de-stressing" but want to do it without buying an airline ticket, consider staying at the Outrigger Guam Resort - believe me, you won't miss out on anything that's more important than your well-being!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

A Special Event You May Not Know About

Hu Nae Hao Kanta Presents "A Gospel Celebration"
Saturday, November 10, 8pm
St. Jude Church

This musical event is highlighted by guest conductor and gospel pianist, Mack Brandon, and features Cantate and the Seventh Day Adventist Choir. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, and can be purchased at Faith Bookstore and Marianas Electronics. So come and get into "the spirit"!

Prime Rib & Crab Dinner Buffet
Saturday Nights
Palm Cafe
Outrigger Guam Resort

This is certainly one popular buffet where reservations are strongly recommended! We're talking about a buffet that features two favorite foods for most people - Prime Rib and Crab Legs! For only $26.95 (+11% s.c.), you can avail yourself of as much tender, succulent Roast Prime Rib of Beef and big buttered King Crab Legs as you can eat! Plus, if you like beer, you can have as much Heineken and Coors beer as you want. Moreover, the buffet has an extensive salad bar, a variety of hot entrees, soups, and desserts (which I never got to, though they were tempting!)

I just love Prime Rib, especially when I can use horse radish and a little au jus. If you like finedene with your beef, they've got that, too.

I really didn't want to get too full from the appetizers, so I had to restrict myself to just a few items like steamed shrimp, sashimi, chicken kelaguen, and kimchi. Then I tried some Beef Kalbi Short Ribs, Teriyaki Chicken, Char-Siu Pork, Sweet & Sour Lapu Lapu, Stir-Fried Noodles with Vegetables, and Fried Rice. I could only make two trips for more Prime Rib & Crab Legs, but I was satisfied!

Zee opted for the vegetarian course and ordered the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with angel hair pasta, which was a generous portion and very satisfying (for her) after having finished a large house salad.

One of the highlights for me was the bottle of Blackstone Merlot, which I gleefully indulged in without reservation since I wasn't driving and could take my time enjoying. It is a wine to be appreciated, and believe me, I did. This fabulous Saturday buffet starts at 6pm and ends at 10. Come early and watch the sunset. Even better, make this your home and stay all night! We did!!

Blue Plate
Imperial Suites Hotel
Tumon Heights

Looking for an enchanting venue for Sunday breakfast that's not part of hotel row? Blue Plate is just such a place and probably the only place on Guam where you can select your own "table mood." What's that? Yes, a "table mood", which is something you can create by choosing the type of table for dining, and believe me, Blue Plate has quite an assortment of 'mood tables"! You can go Modern, Classic American, Traditional, Elegant, or Antique, and even these have different elevations. I had a craving for two things, Pancakes and the Blue Plate S.O.S., so I got both! The Pancakes with Bacon are $5.95 and if you want fruit, add a $1.

The S.O.S. is $7.50, and their version of the classic Chip Beef on Toast is tricked out with Chorizo in addition to the ground beef, creamy gravy and a nicely-prepared serving of scrambled eggs. I ate this and savored every bite!

Zee had the Belgian Waffle with sausage ($6.50), and gave me the sausage. The coffee's pretty good here, too, and our server, Dee, made us feel right at home, which certainly made it a pleasure leaving her a nice gratuity! Blue Plate is open from 7:30am-2pm for Sunday breakfast. Come and explore their menu for other selections, and see what mood you suits you!

Bellissimo! hours
Prego Italian Restaurant
Westin Resort Guam

The much-anticipated and long-awaited lunch opening of Prego Italian Restaurant occurred on October 31. I had the privilege of sampling the menu two days prior and can tell you in one word what I thought about the food prepared, presented, and served: "Exquisite!"

If you heard the phrase, "be inspired", you would certainly find its meaning at this unique lunch dining experience. Even the definition of "Bellissimo" is realized, as it means "wonderful and very beautiful", and when you see Prego by day with its awe-inspiring ocean view, you'll agree with their reasons for calling this special lunch by that romantically-inspired name. Diners will have two dining choices: you can elect to have just the selection of appetizers and desserts for $19.95 per person or you can expand your dining adventure by adding one main course choice for $24.95 per person (plus a 10% s.c.).

If I get the concept right, you are able to graze from an assortment of antipasti appetizers like Italian Frittata, Roast Veal Tuna Sauce, Marinated Tuna Mediterranean Style, Parma Raw Ham with Cantaloupe Melon, an appealing presentation of Caesar Salad in a Glass with a bacon strip, baked parmesan cheese stick, romaine leaves, and dressing at the bottom, Shrimp Flavored with Orange, Pinzimonio (vegetable sticks), Smoked Duck Salad, Salmon Carpaccio, and Cold Tomato Soup in a shooter glass. Sounds like fun, right?

The bread of the day will vary but you might get an oven baked pizza or other Italian specialty.All the appetizers are in small dish portions, which I think's a much better way to enjoy food without over-indulging.

For the main course, we were given small dish samples of the main dishes that will be available. The current selections are Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms; Spaghetti Pescatora with Assorted Seafood; Fetuccine Siciliana with Tomato, Bell Pepper and Olive; Pan-fried Salmon with Lemon Saffron Sauce on a bed of Couscous; Beef Tagliata Style with Arucola and Shaved Parmesan; and, Napolitan Roll Stuffed with Parma Ham, Eggplant on Saffron Risotto. Sound delish, right? Well, they were!!

The desserts were equally dreamy, with Blueberry Panna Cotta, Mango Panna Cotta, Tiramisu, Brownies, Tarts, a selection of fresh fruits, and Biscotti. Chef de Cuisine Denis Schiavo has once again proven his mastery of authentic Italian cuisine. Bravo, Chef!

Benii Japanese Restaurant
Star Building (across from St. John's)
Upper Tumon

Most things just seem too good to be true, especially when you are getting an incredible deal. Then, there are those exceptions. Benii Japanese Restaurant is definitely an exception, and I think you'll agree once you go there for lunch or dinner and try their food. In my opinion, it is probably one of the best value for money Japanese restaurants on Guam, especially when you consider the sophisticated ambiance of the interior, which makes your wallet tighten up just by walking in!

Upon entering Benii, you are greeted by a sleek, well-designed contemporary eatery that's quite cozy in spite of its high-style. It's not meant to be big in size, just big in taste, without paying a small fortune. I'm still scratching my head thinking that the owners are living in another time period, long past.

Let's get to the food. I was a guest of my long-time friend, Manu Melwani, who owns the complex that houses Benii (there's ongoing construction here for a second floor). Benii opened only two weeks earlier. I was not prepared for the amount of food served nor the speed at which the dishes arrived. I can attest to the taste of each dish though, and I was impressed.

We had the Dragon Roll ($7.95), which had a lot of grilled eel atop a tempura shrimp roll. The dishes used for all items served were striking and quite classy, even the tea cups were unique artistic expressions.

The next dish was a Spicy Tuna Roll ($3.95), which was colorfully presented with green leafy butter lettuce on each end with golden tabiko (flying fish roe) sprinkled on top, with green onion slices and sesame seeds, and a spicy sauce that added another dimension of flavor to the maguro.

Next came a house specialty, the Tuna Poki ($4.95), which was a generous heap of seasoned tuna that would make for good snacking at anytime, especially with beer).

We were all smiles when we were presented with the Assorted Sashimi (five kinds, $20). This was a large platter filled with salmon, squid, tuna, octopus, and red snapper. In fact, the fileted remnants of the fish was mounted on the plate propped up by a wooden skewer. It was a pretty compelling and unexpected visual, which did not deter us from devouring it!

Then we were served the Assorted Tempura ($8.95), which had five big shrimp, some tempura cherry tomatoes (a first for me!), snappper, eggplant, and a vegetable fritter made with onions, carrots, and potato. An earlier dish we had was a Tofu Salad ($4.95), which was enough for three people to share.

The last thing delivered, which I didn't even try since I was too full, was another house specialty, Tempura Ice Cream ($3.95).

As I said, all quite reasonably priced! When you go to Benii and see the extensive menu, you'll already be planning your next visit. The chef making this great food is our old friend Tomoaki (Tomo) Shibata, whom I first met at the Garlic House. He's certainly in his element now. Also part of the team behind Benii is manager Nina Lee, who brings a dynamic energy and focus to the mix. I'm really impressed with this new addition to Guam's restaurant scene, and hope you will be too!

Bon appetit!

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