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September 26, 2008, Volume 8 Number 26

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

I can't say for certain, but I am going to guess that the month of September has seen a near record number of new openings. Among these are Papa G's Noodle Station, That's Amore!, Port of Mocha Coffee House, California Pizza Kitchen, Barista Blends, and Expresso, which is a new drive-thru coffee kiosk located in the Compadres Mall. We'll probably do a tally at the end of this year to see if 2008 is a record year. My hunch is that it will probably come really close if it doesn't grab it.

On the hotel scene, we are expecting that we'll soon see the re-opening of the Flamboyan fine dining restaurant at the Aurora Guam Resort & Spa, formerly the Guam Okura Hotel. The Flamboyan was one of Guam's most elegant fine dining establishments which hosted many romantic dinners and celebratory events for years. There's lot to cover in today's newsletter so we'll cut to the chase and get right to the reporting!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

Battle of the Sous Chefs - Thursday October 2, 2008
Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort Guam

"Who will be Guam's Top Sous Chef?" That's the question we'll know the answer to when the ballots have been tallied at next week's Battle of the Sous Chefs dinner event being presented by the University of Guam Endowment Foundation and the Micronesian Chefs' Association.

The five competing chef teams are:
Robert Rhoden, Team Hilton
Gene Soledad, Team Outrigger
Bernard Manansala, Team Sheraton
Carlton Olkerill, Team Firefly
Ivan Mendiola, Team Proa

These chefs will all be joined by celebrity chefs and will prepare courses using local produce. Moreover, each course is to incorporate a Beatles' song in its name. This will be in keeping with the 60's and 70's era dress code along with the featured guest entertainment group, Area One, which is Manila's Beatles Sensation. The event starts off with cocktails at 5:30pm and dinner at 6:30pm. Tickets and information for this fund-raising event can be obtained by calling 735-2957.

Stellar Lineup Graces GFG Tourism & You Show

This past Saturday's K57 Tourism & You's Guam Food Guy Show was action packed with stimulating food talk and mouth watering presentations, so much so that I wanted to share some photos from that show( Sat. Sept 20).

I had invited Andaman Thai Restaurant chef/owner Jhamnong Kraitong as one of my first hour guests. He was followed by the PIC chef team who were busy plating four new dishes they are featuring on the Bistro menu. The first was "the ultimate cowboy steak" ($59), a 20 oz. of bone-in rib eye steak (C.A.B.), served with port wine reduction sauce, Tabasco onions, and twice baked potato. When we cut this succulent steak up into bite size pieces we were convinced that this was a steak to reckon with! Talk about flavor!

Not to be outdone was a gigantic "pork osso buco" ($24), served with prosciutto tomato sauce and saffron mushroom risotto. This was probably the tenderest braised pork I've ever had - just a marvelously seasoned entree.

Two desserts were featured that I thought were fabulous. They prepared a creme brulee sample r($8), which they create daily using a trio of different flavors, and the chocolate fondue for 2 (dinner only, $18). This is truly a decadent spread, with fresh fruit, lady fingers, chocolate brownies, and marshmallow. (For all the details, check out the Bistro's new dinner menu.)

I was happy to be able to have these chefs assembled on the show as is evidenced by this photo, which features [L-R, PIC Executive Chef Rey Dasalla; Fumiya Nakamura, chef/owner, Sushi Ebisu; Ken Stewart, the GFG; Thony Benitez, Exec Sous Chef, PIC and Sean Fulford, Exec Sous Chef, PIC newly arrived from Austin, Texas] We always have a fantastic time doing live radio food shows every third Saturday of the month.

Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!

Three new coffee places recently opened, with the newest being Barista Blends (479-2233), which is located in East Hagatna. This is a very impressive coffee house, with features a full range of espresso-based beverages. There are baked goods and wraps along with Panini sandwiches. Most impressive is the outdoor patio deck that seats guests facing Hagatna Bay. It's beautiful.

Another coffee house opened in the Acanta Mall. This is The Port of Mocha Coffee House (649-CHAI), which serves espresso, signature mochas, smoothies and pastries.

A unique addition to Guam's coffee spots is Expresso (632-0697), which is Guam's first coffee drive thru! It's in the Compadres Mall Parking Lot in Harmon between Community First and King's Restaurant. I had the Green Tea Matcha ($3.50), which is a soothing and refreshing blended drink.

What's really interesting is that the September issue of Directions Magazine features the Island Brews coffee article, something I do each year. Now I have three more places to add to next year's listing!

California Pizza Kitchen
Lower Lobby Level
Holiday Resort and Spa Guam
647-4888

The long-anticipated re-opening of California Pizza kitchen was both glamorous and generous, with invited guests getting a sampling of CPK's exotic menu creations. As stated in their releases, CPK has "perfected the art of mixing and matching unexpected ingredients to create unforgettable flavors, from Mango Tandoori Chicken Pizza to Chicken Tequila Fettuccine, from Thai Crunch Salad to Avocado Egg Rolls".

It's been seven years since a CPK first opened here in this location for just a brief time. The new CPK is a complete renovation and certainly designed to compete in today's fast-paced and aggressive theme restaurant environment.

I had the opportunity to meet CPK's co-founder, Larry Flax, who shared his excitement about this new restaurant opening on Guam. He recommended I try one of their newest menu innovations, the Miso Salad ($13.99/ $10.99 half), which has shredded Napa cabbage with fresh avocado, julienne cucumbers, edamame, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, cilantro, crispy rice noodles and crispy wontons tossed in a Miso dressing. This comes with your choice of chicken or shrimp. Unfortunately, I'd already ordered our selections so I will have to do the salad and pastas during my next visit to CPK. [Photo: CPK co-founder Larry Flax on the left and Darren Talai, Vice-President & C.O.O., WDI International, Inc. at right]

We ordered the Spinach Artichoke Dip ($10.75), which comes with blue and white corn tortilla chips.

We had the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza ($12.50), which has red onions and smoked chicken with bbq sauce. It's actually a pretty flavorful pizza that justifies its popularity. We also ordered the Mushroom, Pepperoni, and Sausage Pizza ($12.50), which pretty much met my expectations. I should be a bit more adventurous on my future pizza selections and try the Jamaican Jerk or Thai Chicken pizzas. There are plenty of pizzas to choose from including a four cheese and the Sicilian which features a spicy marinara sauce with sweet Italian sausage, spicy Capiccola ham, julienne salami, and fontina, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses topped with oregano and basil. We'll just have to do this one bite at a time!

Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill
2nd Floor
La Isla Plaza
Tumon
646-9898

Every time I drop in to dine at Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill I always walk away satisfied with a big grin on my face and a full belly! You can eat inside or outside in TBLG's garden deck. This place is a real center of activity, for both locals and visitors. The food quality is consistently good and the portions are generous.

We started out with some light appetizers, including Smoked Salmon ($9.95) and Seared Ahi ($9.95). The salmon is thinly sliced and melts in your mouth. It comes with the requisite capers and onions. This is an excellent appetizer and certainly a healthy choice! The seared ahi is crusted with Cajun spice. It comes with a wasabi and aioli sauce.

For the main course I ordered the Tenderloin Steak and Alaska King Crab Legs ($44.95). All entrees include hot vegetables and your choice of steamed rice, baked potato, or home fries. For an additional $1.99 you can have the all you can eat salad bar. My steak was Certified Angus Beef and I had it prepared medium rare. It was perfect! Look for more good news about Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill. This place has a bright future indeed!

 

"Build Your Own Tacos!!!" Lunch Special
Margarita's Burritos & BBQ
Tumon
649-1231

Margarita's Burritos & BBQ are spot on with their new "Build Your Own Tacos" Lunch Special, which let's you eat all you can for $9.95 (+10% sc). If you like Mexican and don't have time for a la carte entrees to be prepared, you may find these tacos to be the right answer to satisfy your lunch cravings without compromising your budget. For $9.95, you can't go wrong!

Executive Chef Michael Moral has set up a simple but tasty buffet offering Pollo Asado (chicken) and ground beef Picadillo, which you can scoop into either a crunchy corn tortilla or fold into a soft white flour tortilla. Standard add-on condiments are Jack cheese, cheddar cheese,shredded cabbage, shredded Lettuce, diced tomatoes, black olives, diced red onions, salsa fresca, jalapenos, sour cream, mild sauce and hot sauce.

The buffet also features a soup and dessert, which today was mango filled crepes topped with a strawberry sauce. I ate a number of tacos and mixed and matched and put all the condiments I was craving in the tacos so I could just enjoy the combinations of flavors and fresh textures in my mouth. You really get your money's worth here. This Build Your Own Taco lunch buffet is available Mon-Fri from 11am-2:30pm. The banner really says it best "New ! Quick! Yum!"

Bon appetit!

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www.guam-online.com

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