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June 6, 2008, Volume 8 Number 18


Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The excitement of travel adventures continues as I prepare for a short visit to Houston to attend the birthday roast of my baby brother, Carl, who will be reaching that golden half-century mark. If any of you want to send birthday greetings to him, you can email him at carlste@gmail.com.

The past two weeks have gone by in an extravagant rush with two trips to Saipan, one to serve as the celebrity emcee for the Jr. Chef's competition at the 10th Annual Taste of the Marianas and the other to attend a special wine cocktail event at the Hyatt Regency Saipan. The event was to honor the highly acclaimed wines of Italian wine maker Ernesto Casetta of Casetta Casa Vinicola.

Whenever I visit Saipan I simply run out of time trying to absorb all of the marvelous restaurant experiences our northern island cousin affords. Today's newsletter will touch on some of the Saipan events and the only revolving restaurant in Micronesia! And, we have an added bonus of the review from our sister site, HawaiiDiner.com of a brand new restaurant serving fabulous brunch fare in Honolulu for those of you planning to visit the Land of Aloha.

It's always a pleasure sharing the episodes of my culinary journeys with you, dear friends! Enjoy!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

Traveling to Honolulu? Breakfast Recommendation!

For those of you visiting Oahu this summer, we have a recommendation for a wonderful new restaurant that serves breakfast and brunch fare. Located right on the edge of Waikiki (easily accessible from Ala Moana area), The Cream Pot is a Euro-style cafe featuring real Belgian waffles leavened with yeast and some very interesting interpretations of classics like Eggs Benedict. They use lots of locally grown produce and the specials change every day. Read the full review, The Cream Pot - A Delectable Charmer on the Edge of Waikiki, from our sister site, HawaiiDiner.com.

Anniversary Announcement

The Taj Indian Restaurant in Palau will be celebrating it's Fifth Year Anniversary on June 7! Read about this phenomenal restaurant in our March 28 GuamDiner newsletter. Taj is located in downtown Koror and serves some of the best Indian food in our region. Congratulations to Taj's founder and manager, Robert Scaria!

Internationally-Acclaimed Italian Wine-maker Visits Guam & Saipan

"May friendships, like wine, improve, as time advances. And may we always have old wine, old friends, and young cares." - Author unknown

I found this quote an apt tribute to one special man who recently graced special wine and food events on Guam and Saipan. Ernesto Casetta, whose family has been producing wines from Casa Vinicola Fratelli Casetta in northern Italy's Piemonte region since 1754, attended a wine dinner at the Westin's Prego Italian Restaurant. This dinner featured Casetta wines as part of a six-course dinner prepared by Prego's Italian Chef de Cuisine, Denis Schiavo. [Photo: Ernesto Casetta, Ken Stewart and Carla Martino]

Pacific Wine & Spirits, distributor for Casetta wines, hosted a Wine Cocktail at the Hyatt Regency Saipan's Giovanni's Italian Restaurant. Hyatt's Executive Chef Gabriele Colombo prepared an amazing array of traditional Italian appetizers to pair with the wines that were served, which included a delightfully refreshing sparkling wine, Moscato D'Asti; a Gavi (a delicately fresh white); and a robust and velvety red, Nebbiolo D'Alba Rivere.

All of the guests who attended these wine events were duly impressed by this charming man's amiable demeanor. Though he couldn't speak English, he was able to communicate effectively with gestures and translation assistance from his administrative assistant, Ms. Carla Martino. I hope to visit his winery and the four regions where his grapes are grown sometime in the near future. I know that I've made a new friend who's wine has made me "an old friend"! "Salute!!" Ciao, Ernesto!!

Jr. Chef Cup Competition Winners
Taste of the Marianas
Saturday May 14
American Memorial Park
Garapan, Saipan MP

You had to be there to truly appreciate the spectacular culinary displays created by the seven junior chef teams competing in this year's Chef's Cup Competition.

The Marianas Resort Saipan took 1st Place and will be the keeper of the coveted Chef's Cup for a year. Raising the trophy in triumph is Chef Edgardo Malabayabas and partner Chef Carlito Equia who won with their "Marpi's Red Hot Tropical Barbecue Savour" which used broiled Certified Angus Beef chuck rolled and stuffed with chili and fresh herbs.

In second place was the Fiesta Resort Saipan's team comprised of Edgardo Casing and Alfredo Capacio with their entry, "Barbecue Ground Chuck Roll with Island Fruits & Watermelon Sauce." Winning third place were RIchard Santo and Nestor Mosquito of the Aqua Resort Club Saipan with their "Roast Beef of Chuck".

This competition was sponsored by Triple J Five Star Wholesale who distributes Certified Angus Beef, as well as the Hotel Association of the Northern Marianas, and the Marianas Visitor's Authority. I sincerely believe that all teams should consider themselves winners from just participating. BRAVO, CHEFS!!

Revolving Restaurant 360
8th Floor Marianas Business Plaza
Susupe, Lauru Loop
Saipan, MP
670-234-1610

The Revolving Restaurant 360 has quickly become one of Saipan's most popular dining experiences since when you eat here you literally come "full circle"! Yes, it is Micronesia's only rotating restaurant and offers a fantastic panoramic view of central Saipan. We had lunch at 360 and were equally "moved" by the food, which I thought was pretty good.

We started with a few appetizers such as the French Onion Soup ($6), which was richly flavored and topped by more than enough Gruyere cheese. We also had the Gambas al Ajillo ($9), which were savory prawns baked in a flavorful garlic butter sauce. The Scallops Wrapped in Bacon ($7.50) was our third appetizer with a taste far beyond its simple presentation, which had bacon wrapped scallops circling around a spicy cocktail sauce.

Other dishes included a lunch special, Hamburger Steak ($9.95), for which actually was a great value since they use Certified Angus Beef. This came with a soup or salad, and had a generous amount of vegetables to go with the beef patty that was crowned by an egg.

We wanted to try the 360 Burger with French Fries (served with soup of the day or salad, $9.95)...this also had a C.A.B. patty, which assured a high quality beef with lots of flavor.

Now that I think of it, we really ordered a lot of food, considering there were three of us! We had "The Kitchen Sink" Pizza ($14), which was an impressive combination of sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, garlic, onions, black olives, and fresh tomatoes. This was a respectable pizza!

360 is truly a happening place...it's a tourist attraction just from its point of viewing Saipan! There is an impressive wine list and attentive servers who aim to please. I am looking forward to a repeat visit, or should I say "another spin"!

Bon Appetit!

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