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May 23, 2008, Volume 8 Number 17

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

WOW! It's really hard to contain my excitement! I'm going to Saipan this weekend to attend the Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival and Beer Garden. Yes, I am once again honored and delighted to have been invited by Triple J Five Star Wholesale Foods, in conjunction with Certified Angus Beef (CAB), and the Hotel Association of the Northern Marianas (HANMI) to be the emcee for the Annual Chef's Competition, which will be held at the American Park this Saturday, May 24, at 7:30pm.

This competition is designed for junior level chefs who will be vying for the coveted roving "Chef's Cup", which will be theirs to keep for a year. Hyatt Regency Saipan will be defending the title at this year's event, which will feature Certified Angus Beef (CAB) Chuck Roll as the key ingredient. The winning teams will share in $1,000 in cash prizes donated by HANMI, with $500 awarded to first place, $300 to second, and $200 for the third place finisher.

This is the 10th year for the Taste of the Marianas Food Festival and Beer Garden. HANMI was instrumental in developing this event as part of the "1999 Visit the Marianas Year" celebration. This is my fifth year being involved and the first 3 for which I participated as a judge. The Taste of the Marianas is a month-long festival, held every Saturday for the month of May. It's extraordinary fun for the entire family! There's nothing quite like it happening on Guam just yet, so come on over if you've got the'll have a blast! I know I will! [Photo: Fruit Carving from last year's Taste of the Marianas]

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

Around the Island Restaurant News & Events

Old Hagatna Grill will launch Saturday light lunch starting at 2pm this coming Saturday May 24. The following Sunday, May 25, OHG will open for breakfast and for lunch, in addition to their already established dinner service. In essence, OHG will open at 8am and will serve food all day long. Stay tuned for new menu additions and special dinners.

On May 29, Jojo Santo Tomas, of Jojo's Adobo fame, will be the guest chef at SandCastle's Manhattan Lounge Thursday Happy Hour, from 6-9pm. Tentative menu items featured are Seafood Kelaguen with four kinds of onions, Smoked Marlin Salad, Eggplant Dip, Tinala Katne, Pan de Sal for making your own "Aloha Pigwich" from juicy smoked pork, Ginger Chicken, and fresh oven-baked "Balate Bread". There is a two drink minimum and proceeds will go to the Jeff Hill Memorial Scholarship Fund to assist culinary students in furthering their education.

Cafe Kalachucha's Asian Sensations
Wednesday Nights 6-9pm
Westin Resort Guam

Get your passports ready because you are going on an Asian culinary tour! Cafe Kalachucha's Asian Sensations is the perfect gateway to experience the diverse cuisines of our neighboring Asian countries, one bite at a time.

Begin with fresh Japanese appetizers like Hiyayako tofu (chilled bean curd topped with scallion, fresh grated ginger, grated radish, and tobbiko all with a ponzu sauce), sushi, sashimi, and soba noodles. Move on to a veritable curry feast with an awesome spread of curries from India, Thailand, and Vietnam in iron cauldrons, along with Naan bread.

You'll also find fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Tempura, Tom Yum Soup, Roast Duck, and probably the best Char-siu Pork I've ever had! They used tender pork butt that simply melts in your mouth.

Other items included Teriyaki Salmon, Beef & Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, Pancit, Mongolian BBQ, Snow Crab, Gyoza, Kalbi, assorted salads, fresh rolls, and couscous.

Of course there was more there than I could eat, so I sampled as much as I could and had another trip for that succulent Char siu Pork.

One of the most notable improvements was the desserts! There was a heavenly Banana Cream Pie, Coconut Cake, Chocolate cakes, and other sublime pastries that were the creations of Westin's new Pastry Chef, Eddie Martinez, formerly of LSG Sky Chefs.

The price of this extravaganza is only $29.95 for adults with a 10% service charge. There is also free-flowing Heineken.

Curry Kebab
Hafa Adai Exchange

If you'd like to enjoy a light meal of spiced delights, go to the Curry Kebab. The Mulligatawny Soup is a rich-flavored, spicy broth topped with caramelized onions and tender morsels of lamb ($4.95). If you don't care for lamb or any meats, you can't go wrong with Curry Kebab's Tomato Soup (one the island's best) or their Mushroom Soup. All of these soups can be described as intensely flavored"!

After having this soup, you can refresh and stimulate your palate with the cool refreshing taste of the Apple Salad ($5.50). The wafer thin slices of apple are blended with onions, raisins, and chives and bathed in a light, naturally sweetened dressing.

I then had a Chicken Saag ($10.95), which is curried chicken cooked with spinach, fresh herbs, and spices. It has a thick sauce that marries well with the saffron rice. We had some Cilantro naan bread to accompany this meal. It was really light and easy eating this night, with flavors and spices that lingered on the palate and warmed the belly!

Flamingo Restaurant #2
Monticello Plaza (near Cost-U-Less)

Dongman Chang's done it again!! Yes, the great Dongman, proprietor of Flamingo Restaurant in Anigua, had replicated his family's long established restaurant brand of local-style Japanese favorites and opened this second location in Tamuning's heartland earlier this month.

We had no choice but to indulge in Flamingo's crisp panko fried Onion Rings ($5.50/small), before we progressed to favorite combination plates, a #20 which features Yakitori, Shrimp, and Beef Tatsuta ($11) and includes miso soup, salad and steamed rice, and a # 26 with Yakitori, Shrimp, and Chicken Tatsuta also $11. These are foods you can only eat every so often - they taste so good, how can one resist?

I also ordered something not fried, the Spicy BBQ Chicken ($8), which is becoming one of my preferred favorite Flamingo dishes. It's got a kickin' Korean-style bbq sauce on it and I think it's fabulous!

Congratulations to Dongman Chang and his family on this new venture. He'll be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week at his Tamuning location, and features all day dining.

Vitale's Italian Ristorante
Plaza Arcade 2F

When it comes to eating the real deal in American-Italian food, you'll find it at Vitale's, where there's "no fooling around". People who eat at Vitale's find comfort in his food. It's one of the last great refuges for those who appreciate authentic home-cooked Italian cuisine. It's not the formal or classic Italian pedigree you'll find at Prego, it's those familiar everyday dishes that fill the menu pages at Vitale's and you just can't find these anywhere else. We started with the 2 Meatball Side Appetizer ($4), which comes smothered in a thick, sweet marinara sauce, the kind you like to sop up with your garlic bread or even a soup spoon.

Then we ordered a Ravioli (Meat, Cheese or Combo)for $13.95. These delightful noodle dough dumplings are stuffed with a special ricotta cheese or a meat mixture, then covered with either a meat or tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. I can't even write this without feeling a twinge in my taste buds. This dish comes hot baked from the oven and that cheese can be pulled nearly a foot before it breaks...delicious!

I had a special creation - the Gina Spaghetti ($12.95) which has fresh tomatoes, garlic and onions. It's a little spicy, too. I had Italian sausage added because I am addicted to Joe Vitale's sausage - it's home-made. You get a complimentary garlic bread with each pasta entree, otherwise you can buy the plain garlic bread for $2.75. There's lots of it, too.

"Mange! Mange! " means "Eat! Eat!" and that's exactly what you'll be doing when you join other Italian food lovers who dine at Vitale's Italian Ristorante.

May's Restaurant
Kim Chee Building (across from GPO)

May's Restaurant is a place you can count on having good home-style Chinese food. I really like her Wonton Soup ($7), which is enough for four people. There are plenty of meat-filled wonton dumplings and baby bok choy in May's flavorful broth.

I really like May's Salt & Pepper Shrimp ($10), which are some of the best on the island. You can eat the entire shrimp since it is fried to a crisp. The onions, garlic, and chili pieces are also good to eat with the shrimp.

My companion wanted to try the Kalbi from the Lunch/Dinner Special Menu ($7). I didn't really care much for this since it wasn't prepared Korean style (I love Korean food) and wouldn't dream of ordering Kalbi in a Chinese restaurant.

The other choice was the Stir Fry Fresh White Noodles With Beef ($11), which is a definite winner and verifiable Chinese! Next time we'll try the Fried Vermicelli Singapore Style ($11) which May highly recommends. May's is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is closed on Wednesday nights. If you like dim sum, May's does a pretty decent job during lunch time.

Choi's Korean Restaurant
(near Airport Industrial Center)

Okay. Here's one you can take to the bank. Choi's Korean Restaurant has the best Kalbi Lunch Special ($10.95). I've had this same dish four times in the past 2 weeks. They are one of our neighbors, so I can walk from the office to Choi's and pick up a take-out order - but it's not merely convenient, it's also tasty!

The pan chan is adequate and is made with quality ingredients and spices, sans MSG. The kimchee is served bundled, which presents a nice aesthetic in itself, but it is also fresh tasting. The Kalbi is tender and also flavored just right so that you get the benefit of the peppery marinade and the caramelized bbq sauce as it grills with the beef. Although I didn't take a photo of the take-out version (I should have and will next time), it is something you should see, since it is evident that they take great pride in packaging their food so that the presentation will impress you.

I give Choi's a hearty two thumbs up for great lunches, including their Beef Rib Soup ($8.95), Spicy Beef & Leek Soup ($8.95), and Spicy Stir-Fried Pork or Squid, both $8.95. Dinners are also a worthy experience. Choi's is still new, and they are growing in popularity as more diners discover their taste for the first time. It's a taste well worth repeating!

Chal Mokkeisumnida!

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