May 9, 2008, Volume 8 Number 16
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Welcome to our second bi-weekly edition of the GuamDiner.com newsletter! So much has transpired in the two weeks since our last newsletter that we must follow the previous newsletter's format of briefly touching on the highlights of our many food experiences and events. In keeping with the adage that a "picture is worth a thousand words", we're going to use more photographs to tell our stories at the expense of more words. We'd also like to take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt Mother's Day wishes to all you moms...we thank you for the love and care you've given!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Chili's Breaks Ground at GPO!
We were delighted to learn that Chili's Grill & Bar will be opening later this year at Guam Premier Outlets in the vacant lot directly in front of Wendy's along Chalan San Antonio. I attended the Ground Breaking Ceremony on May 5 held at 6pm and was delighted to find out that, immediately after the dignitaries made their speeches and blessings were bestowed on the site, we would be treated to refreshments! [Photo: Brian Artero and Gov. Felix Camacho]
These were not just your usual refreshments, either. Brian Artero, President of Lone Star Steakhouse, is heading up this Chili's venture, and he served those inimitable Chili's Buffalo Wings that I've been flying to Houston to eat! They were identical! Congratulations to Brian and his dynamic team for bringing another outstanding dining destination to Guam's table.
UOG Endowment Foundation Makes Donation to MCA
On May 7, Thomas J. "Jerry" Calvo, Chairperson, Gala Dinner Organizing Committee & Board Member of UOG Endowment Foundation, Inc., presented proceeds from the 7th Annual Chef's Cup Competition held March 26 to Micronesian Chefs' Association President, Peter Duenas, Executive Chef of Sam Choy's Guam U.S.A. Also shown in the photo are Flora Baza Quan, UOGEF Executive Director, and Ken Stewart, MCA Board Member and the Guam Food Guy.
A Taste of Bali at the Palm Cafe - May 9-10
You have just two more days to enjoy some of the richly spiced Balinese cuisine being served at the Outrigger Guam Resort's Palm Cafe. The Taste of Bali promotion started on May 6 as a sumptuous dinner buffet featuring a variety of specially prepared foods including Beef & Fish Sate with Peanut Sauce, Shredded Chicken and Tomato Sambal, Tuna Salad with Shallots and Lemon Grass Dressing, Steamed Fish in Banana Leaf, Balinese Lamb Stew, Prawn Sambal in Coconut Milk, Pork and Sweet Soya Sauce, Coconut Haupia, Sticky Rice Dumpling, Sweet Pumpkin Cake, and Black Rice Pudding.
These foods are from the renowned Balinese restaurant and cooking school called Bumbu Bali located in Nusa Dua. Bumbu Bali is owned and operated by our friend, Heinz Von Holzen, who wasn't able to make the trip this year, but sent his chefs as culinary emissaries instead.
This Friday night (May 9) you can enjoy some Balinese specialties as part of the Hafa Adai Dinner Buffet that will also feature Chamorro favorites. On Saturday May 10, which is the final evening of the promotion, you can enjoy Balinese specialties as part of Palm Cafe's acclaimed Prime Rib and Crab Dinner Buffet. Each night you will be able to enter to win a trip for 2 to Bali courtesy of Continental Airlines. Don't miss this opportunity to tantalize and thrill your palate with food from the "Islands of the Gods"!
Basilica Cafe offers you a quick getaway to the refreshing tastes of the Carribbean! The Cafe serves up an assortment of hot lunch plates, sandwiches, wraps, homemade pastries, and beverages. Owned and managed by Leone Rohr, the Cafe is adjacent to the Basilica Gift Shop. Many of the items served on the menu are influenced by Leone's Virgin Islands roots, so the flavors offer diners a departure from the usual lunch options available on our Pacific island.
We started off with a Johnny Cake ($1) and a Pate ($3), which is like a beef empanada. Both of these are popular Carribbean snacks. As main entrees, we had the Bahama Baked Chicken ($9) and a Jammin' Chicken Veggie Wrap ($8).
The Baked Chicken was tender, moist, and lightly seasoned. The accompanying brown rice was also a big hit, since it was also moist with a delicate flavor that made you crave more.
The Chicken Wrap was also worth the visit, though the tortilla wrap could have benefitted from a little pre-heating to soften it up more.
We were also treated by Leone to a "sampling" of her famous meat loaf...oh was that delightful! And we were decidedly full after finishing this homemade feast so capably prepared and served in portions that will appease even big appetites. To drink, I had the Calypso Fruit Iced Tea ($2) and my partner had the Blended Mocha Frappe ($3.75). The Cafe also makes real milk shakes. They are open Mon-Fri from 10am-4pm. I think you'll be impressed with this little eatery, which deserves a few more visits from me!
Benson Celebrity Chef Kitchen at Home & Living Expo Wows Crowds
Mouth-watering treats were cooked up and served during the two-day long Home & Living Expo 2008 at the MicMall's Expo Hall. Among the chefs participating in cooking demonstrations were two GCC chef instructors, Kevin Dietrichs and Paul Kerner, who respectively prepared Red Rice Sushi Rolls and Haupia Squares.
Also in the line up was Chef Chris Aguilar, Executive Chef at the Outrigger Guam Resort, who made a crowd-pleasing Mesquite Smoked Flank Steak with Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Corn Salsa with Avocado Cream.
Colors Restaurant Executive Chef Eddie Chien and his team held two sessions and prepared Yukhe-style Ahi Tartar with Tempura Egg Yolk and Scallion Emulsion, Sio Pao "Bread" (the house bread at Colors), and a very popular Kim Chi Yaki Udon.
Sam Choy's Guam Executive Chef Peter Duenas served a surprisingly tasty and seemingly incongruous pairing of Wasabi Cheesecake and Spicy Tuna Tartare garnished with tobikko.
Planet Hollywood's Executive Chef Chito Iglopas observed as another PH chef, Albert Pingul, demonstrated making deep-fried Lasagna Lumpia. The Westin Resort Guam's Sous Chef Todd Eclavea prepared a spicy Thai favorite, Phat Prik Chicken, and was assisted by Guam's First Lady, Joanne Camacho, who served sample plates to an amazed and grateful audience.
Featured in the photo is Westin's new Pastry Chef, Eddie Martinez, whose award-winning cakes have swept the Pastries in Paradise and other dessert competitions during his long tenure at LSG Sky Chefs. Chef Eddie demonstrated how to decorate a simple chiffon cake with fresh fruit and whipped cream. He made a lot of people happy when he opened up his box filled with sample size portions of his famous Strawberry Shortcake! It was a great show with plenty of great food memories.
Asparagus Promotion at Marriott's Manhattan Steakhouse
Treat yourself to an array of delicious asparagus creations at the Manhattan Steakhouse this month. This annual event features the prized white asparagus stalks and the traditional green, prepared in a variety of manners and combinations. You can have the Cream of Asparagus Soup with grilled Focaccia and Brie Cheese, or savor hot appetizers such as Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Asparagus Au Gratin with Camembert Cheese, or Asparagus with Bacon Polonaise.
Cold appetizers include Chilled Asparagus with Proscuitto, Caesar Style Asparagus Salad with Crostini, and Chilled Asparagus with Zested Lemon Dressing.
Of course, you can't leave without sampling the irresistible entrees, which include the Panfried Salmon on a bed of Green Asparagus, Asparagus with Seared Scallops and Scampi Butter, and the White and Green Asparagus and Rock Lobster Tail. I had the Asparagus with Grilled Beef Tenderloin ($37.50), which was just downright awesome! If you love asparagus as most of us do, it's not better celebrated anywhere else like it is a the Marriott's Manhattan Steakhouse. Call for reservations at 649-7827.
Sweet Relief Pastry Shop
Sweet Relief Pastry Shop at PROA Restaurant had its soft opening this week. I tried a slice of the Coconut Banana Cream Pie and it was divinely decadent. They have an assortment of other fine pastries, including tarts and cheesecakes. Call 646-7762 for orders.
Kiko's Lounge & Grill
I've finally found a new hangout for local favorites in Tumon and it's called Kiko's Lounge & Grill, located on Fujita Road adjacent to the former Marty's location. Kiko's will actually be having their Grand Opening on Friday May 9, starting at 6pm. and will have DJ's, a live remote, happy hour prices on beverages, and their famously delicious Ribeye and New York steaks will be on special for $12.
Now, let's get to why I just love this place! I went for lunch twice, and had their Tinala Katne (Dried Beef) with fried Titiyas ($10). These were nice big meaty chunks with just enough moisture inside to allow you to chew. They had a great smoke flavoring and were complemented by a superb homemade donne dinanche.
This is a meal in itself, but since I was test-driving the menu, I also ordered the Ribeye Steak ($16), which came with rice and steamed vegetables, as well as a salad. The steak was better than I thought it would be...fully flavored with their secret marinade and grilled just the way you want it. They pride themselves on their steaks, and I can see why!
Rounding out my first lunch, I had the Kadon Pika ($9), which sealed the deal for me! The flavor of the broth was my local dream come true and it was loaded with tender, succulent chicken pieces. Aiia day!
So I went back on another visit and had the Pork Adobo ($9), which was yet another palate-pleaser.
Man, these guys were hitting home runs! Kiko's is owned by Frank Lujan, whose nickname is "Kiko". He also has a Kiko's location in Anigua and he used to own Downtown Kieu's in Anigua.
I did sneak back in one night after another event and had the Kiko's Pika Wings ($6) and the Fried Pork Chops ($10), both of which were FANTASTIC! Kiko's is a laid-back, quiet place where you can sing Karaoke at nights at the bar.
It has a large dining area for families or groups to eat. The chef, Tony (I call him Tony the Tiger), is a guy who's mastered the local tastes. Weekday specials include Kadon Katne (Mon), Ham Hocks (Tues), Hamburger Steak with Mashed Potatoes (Wed), Chicken Chalakilies (Thurs), and Eskabeche (Fri). Kiko's will very likely be one of Tumon's special local hideaways, where you can always count on a cold beer and great tasting local food!
Central Perk Cafe Breakfast
I can't tell you how they do it, but these guys at Central Perk have managed to re-invent some of our favorite foods - even breakfast fare. Breakfast starts at 8am with a modest menu of waffles, Banana French Toast, and egg creations. We started with the Honey Wheat Waffle ($6.50), which totally changed our concept of waffles. It was a moist cake-like creation, with an intoxicatingly addictive goodness, which meant we couldn't stop eating forkful after forkful until it was gone!
I then had the Egg Omelet with Italian Sausage, Roasted Red Pepper & Sun Dried Tomatoes ($7.50). This was served with roasted Peruvian Potatoes - these are purple!
The final item we'd ordered was the Miso Egg Sandwich with Grilled Sausage ($7). This was a little more on the acquired taste scale, and I probably wouldn't order it next time. It's also a large portion with lots of bread. It didn't work for me, not nearly in the way the waffle did. Next time I have to try their Egg's Benedict with Apple Sausage ($11), which is one of their house specialties.
Chaopraya Thai Cuisine
Their sign is hard to miss, which is good because their name is difficult for most of us to pronounce. The sign has the phrase "eat @ Thai", which is meant more as an invitation than a location, but it could also be, and probably is, meant to be both. I was alerted to Chaopraya's opening and under new ownership by Carl & Clara Peterson, who had been there a couple of times and told Lek the owner that they'd tell me to come by and check it out.
Well, I did, and it's certainly worth returning. Chaopraya is located in the same place that used to be Ploy Thai, Sabai Dee, and Binh Minh - that's a real legacy! The menu still has Ploy Thai's name and items on it, so it'll have to change at some point in the future. The new owners just took over in January.
We had the Vietnamese Fresh Lumpia ($6), which had one of the best presentations I'd ever seen, however, it still fell short of Mary's taste, which is my gold standard. The Papaya Salad ($7) was prepared just right. The Combination Pad Thai ($10) also passed the test, with just the right amount of natural flavors.
The Green Curry with Shrimp (Kang Keaw - $10) was the best of all, with a rich, spiced, and flavorful broth with lots of shrimp and veggies...this was a taste I could appreciate. I also ordered the Pad Kra Praow (Basil Pork) Thai-style with Crispy Egg ($10), which is not on their menu so they had to mince pork for me. It was pretty good, though I still like Andaman's and Thai Kitchen's better. Lek used to work at Siam, so she's had plenty of Thai experience. We'll have to come back and spend some time eating through their menu.
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