November 16, 2007, Volume 7 Number 46
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Today we celebrate following through on a commitment made after our friend and colleague Chef Jeff Hill was tragically lost in a diving accident in September 2004. The Micronesian Chefs' Association made a decision to fund a scholarship program in his memory that would benefit students attending the Guam Community College's Culinary Academy, where Jeff had been doing some part-time instructing.
This past weekend, two checks were presented to the Guam Community College at the beginning of the second MCA-sponsored Texas Hold'em Tournament and Taste & Spirit of Guam Carnival held at the Hyatt Regency. Proceeds from these fundraising events significantly funded these donations. The first check was a $5,000 donation to the Jeff Hill Memorial Foundation, and the second check for $2000 went to the GCC ProStart Program, which provides financial assistance to Guam's high school students participating in the National ProStart Culinary competition. When you consider that Guam's team placed sixth in this year's competition, and, that by the judges' decree, had set the standard for all teams in the knife skills competition, I am sure Jeff would be beaming with pride at our young students' phenomenal achievement.
For me, it is an immeasurable pleasure to know that we MCA members were able to fulfill a promise and keep a commitment to assist deserving students pursue their culinary education. This is how we sustain and maintain the legacy of a man whose life made (and still makes) a difference to the advancement of culinary arts on Guam. May God continue to bless you, Chef Jeff!
It seems much too early this year, but it is Thanksgiving next week. All of us here at GuamDiner.com wish you and yours a very tasty Thanksgiving filled with happy times and great food shared with family, close friends, and acquaintances. We are thankful for all of you, the readers, our restaurant subscribers and all those who support our efforts. Like last year, we will be taking a rare week off from the newsletter, but will return the following week with plenty of great food news and information!"
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
P.S. On behalf of MCA I'd like to also thank the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association for their generous donation of $1,000.00 to MCA from funds raised during the recent Pastries in Paradise.
K57 Tourism & You
Saturday November 17
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 Wanjoo Kim, owner of Margarita's Burritos & BBQ, who will be accompanied by Executive Chef Michael Moral. Also, in the first hour will be Renee Veksler, Health Educator III, GMH Education Department, and Vice President of Get Healthy Guam Coalition. Her topic will be on simple tips to add an extra 2000 steps and ways eat 100 fewer calories daily.
Our second hour will feature a team from the Guam Marriott Resort & Spa that will include Lilibeth Suico, Front Office Manager, Amilyn Salas, Director of Corporate Sales, and Christine Esguerra, Senior Event Manager.
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.
Manhattan Steakhouse Dine & Ride Promotion Winner Announced
Congratulations to Kevin Leon Guerrero, whose key turned the engine of a brand new Harley-Davidson motor cycle during the cocktail drawing ceremony at the Chamorro Ballroom of the Guam Marriott Resort & Spa this past Wednesday night. He was one of ten finalists (from over 700 entries) in the Dine & Ride Promotion held over the past few months at the Marriott's Manhattan Steakhouse. This was the second year for this successful promotion and promises to be even better next year! I can't tell you what a rush it was to hear the sound of that rumbling engine resonate in the ballroom...it was like Dolby surround sound with a vibration you could feel in the air! This is just part of the allure of what they call "Born to be Wild"! The other part is just having a darned good steak!
Guam Food Guy's Picks in October Issue of Directions
"There is no love sincerer than the love of food!" is the quote I used by the late Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw as an intro to my Top Picks article featured in the October issue of Directions Magazine. The opening photo includes Chef Toshiyuki Nakajima of the President Nippon restaurant at the Sheraton Laguna Resort Guam. Be sure to get this "keeper" of an issue that should be out on newsstands soon. Just look for the cover that's graced by Shell Guam's president, Ruben Domingo, who obviously has good reasons to smile! His extraordinary story demonstrates how a career change can boost one's prospects, especially if you are in the business of "finding, extracting, refining, and delivering critical fuels..." to the market. Other great articles (besides mine) are one on Leadership as well as one on Real Estate - is anyone surprised that there are more realtors than ever on Guam?
Incredible India at Hyatt's La Mirenda Restaurant WAS Incredible!
We were all pleased to have a return visit to Guam by Chef Ashwini Salvi of the Hyatt Regency Auckland, New Zealand. Her third visit to the island provided foodies with another opportunity to enjoy the exotic and well-seasoned cuisine of her native India.
Chef Ashwini is a working chef who likes to have a hand in all aspects of preparation and presentation. If you were able to see her during the lunch or dinner buffets during this past week's promotion (which ended on Nov 14), you would have seen her constantly minding the cooking stations and the buffet line. She finds her glory in the cooking!
Chef Ashwini has spent her entire life cooking and pursuing her culinary passion. She has over eleven years of professional education and has developed a vast repertoire of menus representing the various regional cuisines of India.
Among the many items featured were Tandoori Chicken, Achari Gosht (stewed lamb), Goan Prawn Curry, Aloo Matar (spiced potatoes), Lentil Stew, Dosa (rice pancakes), Naan, Chapathi, Mango Lassi (a refreshing yogurt-based drink), and desserts such as Gulab Jamons (dumplings soaked in syrup). It is our hope that Chef Ashwini will return to Guam next year for another fabulous culinary tour of India!
Lone Star Steakhouse
After I wrote my Top Picks article, I had a craving to eat one of the items I featured in my review of Lone Star - their signature Cajun Rib Eye, marinated for over 30 hours! When I arrived for dinner, I ordered my food and received my salad, but was told I had to wait just a few minutes for my "fresh baked hot rolls"...talk about "anticipation!" They most certainly are fresh baked. I don't think I've ever seen butter melt so fast!
The Rib Eye ($31.99) was enormous, perfectly seasoned with rich Cajun spices on the outside, giving way to a luscious pink center. I ate all that I could and was able to get a second meal from my take-home portion of baked potato and savory steak.
What really made the meal memorable was the superb service offered by Mich Villavicencio, who I found to be imminently qualified to give training to servers (on Guam and anywhere). She had a quality that blended attentiveness with sincerity and enthusiasm, and managed all of us in her section with exceptional care. I told her as much and I also made it a point to let Lone Star owner Brian Artero know. I'm sure he's proud of her...we all should be!
The President (Nippon)
Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort
I guess you can tell by the photos just how extraordinary lunch can be at the President. The Sakura Course ($20 + 10% sc) features a Seafood Carpaccio appetizer, salad, and succulent U.S. Beef Strip Loin, along with assorted teppan vegetables, rice, miso soup, oshinko (pickles)and a heavenly ice cream with fresh fruit dessert.
We also had a Kaisen Nabe Bento with Salmon.
I applaud the culinary talent and attention to detail in the fabulous artistic presentations made by Chef Toshiyuki Nakajima. This is also demonstrated in his Assorted Sashimi Platter ($28), which is something to behold. Talk about "melt-in-your-mouth freshness"! The platter includes sweet freshwater shrimp, salmon, red snapper, tuna, calamari, yellow tail, octopus, scallop, and caviar. The use of fresh made wasabi is just icing on a wonderful cake!
Uncle Sim's Ramen
Tumon (across from Sand Castle)
Once you see a memorable caricature, such as the one of Uncle Sim (a smiling face with folded arms), you will most likely be satisfied with the food you're about to eat! This is purely my own formula which is based on someone willing to put their face on a product. If, like Harlan Sanders, you really believe in your food, then chances are other people will too and putting your face on it really shows your confidence.
Open for only about 5 months, Uncle Sim's Ramen is a place that has a bright future. They are in the heart of Tumon, have a very diverse and extensive menu of items besides ramen, and are open daily from 10am to 4am, which ideally suits the late night/early morning appetites of visitors and locals alike who need something sustaining after partying.
This is a clean and charming little eatery that has a counter and booths for eating. It also has a plasma screen TV which was playing an Eric Clapton concert that was awesome.
I went in for a bowl of ramen and ended up ordering the Chasu Ramen ($8.50). Uncle Sim's menu boasts 17 different types of ramen, including Seafood Ramen, KimChee Ramen, Hiyashi Ramen, and Champon Ramen. The pork in my Chasu Ramen was quite tender and well-flavored. It was like a slow-cooked roast pork, and they didn't skimp on the portion. The broth was light, not overly spiced (and blessedly MSG free). The noodles were fresh-tasting and good enough to notice more than once. This bowl comes with a considerable portion of freshly crisp daigo.
In my appetite for lunch diversity I also ordered a Katsu-don ($9.75). I have to confess that this Katsu-don was excellent! It was far better than my last Katsu-don, which was served at a notable hotel restaurant.
The service was very nice thanks to a pleasant young lady named Deborah. While I was eating, I was observing the kitchen people, specifically one chef who would look over at me on occasion. I asked Deborah who he was and she said his name was Chef Wen. He used to work at Bistro Tei Yokozuna, and is a former colleague and present friend of Fumi Nakamura, chef/owner of Ebisu (they are both graduates from Bistro). This guy is good! I was told to come back and try some other items like their sushi and Bento boxes.
I did meet Uncle Sim who came in later and was flattered when he said he's seen my face in magazines and on books. I also found out the he owns a Korean restaurant across from the Hyatt (called Old & New, which he bought from the owners of Po Suk Jung, which I'd reviewed in May 2005). I think I'll be frequenting Uncle Sim's and Old & New in the near future now that I've found a new relation with a caricature as proud as mine - Uncle Sim's!
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