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November 7, 2008, Volume 8 Number 29

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

This has been an amazing week. I've been alive for more than half a century and was around when President John F. Kennedy inspired the nation and the world. That was my first personal experience and set the bench mark for me as to how a single man could move the world. The second time I recall having the same feeling about an individual impacting the world was when Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa. And now, this week, another man has emerged as having the same profound effect on me and on people across the planet. Barack Obama, president-elect of the United States of America!

Obama's selection as our next president is certainly something all Americans should view as a remarkable achievement for our country regardless of party affiliation. I don't recall any election when the outcome held so much of the world's attention. The spontaneous celebrations that erupted when Obama's victory was proclaimed reminded me somewhat of the elation of the crowds cheering the American liberators entering Paris at the end of WWII.

I don't know about you, but I feel more optimistic about the future of the world than I have in a while (and I'm a very optimistic person), and that's in spite of the enormity of the challenges facing us economically and politically.

My sincere hope is that the simple campaign slogan that seemed to be the mantra of Obama's supporters: "Yes we can"! proves to be prophetic and that even 50 or 100 years from now these "power-filled" words will still hold true and become part of this generation's legacy to the world.

God has blessed the United States of America with this phenomenal story of a citizen's ascension to the highest position in government. It's truly an American success, and brings to mind the inspirational words of Napoleon Hill: 'If you conceive and believe, you will achieve!"

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

Genji@Roy's Japanese Lunch
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa

For some time we all knew something was missing at the Hilton, and lo & behold, it just came back! Yes, it's truly deja vu now that Genji Japanese restaurant has 'channeled" into Roy's once again! This past Monday Roy's restaurant opened its doors to a substantial crowd of happy customers who were among the first to enjoy Genji's famed teppanyaki dishes. As done previously during an earlier reconstruction of Genji, a modified version of Genji's teppan menu and all-you-can eat appetizer bar has been set up within Roy's. I think it's a fabulous location for lunch, whether dining for business or pleasure. It's win-win since you have the beautiful ambiance of Roy's fine dining experience during the daytime, while enjoying the expansive view of Tumon, not to mention the quality Japanese food that's part of the Hilton's culinary culture.

There are several dining options available to suit your appetite. If you want to eat a light meal, you can order the All-you-can-eat Appetizer Bar that includes salad, sashimi, sushi selections, Japanese appetizers, and a specialty of the day. This will cost you $16.50 (plus 10% s.c.) and includes a Dessert Bar with fresh fruit, ice cream, and cakes. For just a little bit more, you can go all the way and choose among several Main Courses which include the Appetizer Buffet and Dessert Buffet. These selections include the Teppanyaki Steak, Chicken, Seafood, Combo, Unadon, Ebi Tempura and Hamachi Kama Shioyaki or Teriyaki style (that's grilled yellowtail neck with salt or teriyaki sauce for $23).

We opted for the Teppanyaki Seafood ($24.50) with teppan salmon, prawns, and scallops, along with the Teppanyaki Combo, that featured New York Steak, salmon, and prawns ($24). After placing our orders, we helped ourselves to the Appetizer Bar, and I loaded up on some sashimi and sushi items. I assumed the Chawanmushi (egg custard) was the specialty appetizer, since only a few of these were available. I think people will enjoy this temporary arrangement and the novelty of having Roy's open for lunch with a Japanese menu. It's not everything you used to get at Genji, but it is a good representation of their most popular courses. It's also in a very special place - somewhere you'd like to be dining for lunch or dinner!

California Pizza Kitchen
Lower Lobby Level
Holiday Resort & Spa Guam

We returned to California Pizza Kitchen as promised to further delve into some of CPK's diverse menu offerings. We thought we'd try out a salad dish, perhaps a soup, another pizza we hadn't had yet, as well as which ever pasta struck our fancy. The three soup choices at CPK can be ordered in a cup size or bowl, with the added feature of being able to have 'Two in a Bowl" (aptly named so) for $6.99 (10% s.c.). The Sedona Tortilla Soup ($3.99/$6.99) and Dakota Smashed Pea & Barley Soup ($3.99/$5.99) make a winning combination that tastes as good as it looks paired side-by-side and makes an ideal vegetarian selection.. The Sedona Tortilla Soup has vine-ripened tomatoes, tomatillos, and corn with mild green chilies seasoned with Southwestern spices. It is garnished with crispy corn tortilla chips. The Dakota Smashed Pea has barley, carrots, onions and savory herbs. The other soup featured is Potato Leek Soup.

There are several salads. However, the one that co-founder Larry Flax suggested I try when I'd met him during CPK's opening was the Miso Salad ($13.99/half $10.99). Talk about cultural diversity in a salad!! The Miso Salad has shredded Napa cabbage, fresh avocadoes, julienne cucumbers, edamame, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, cilantro, crispy rice noodles and crispy wontons tossed with a Miso dressing. The salad almost looks like a cole slaw, but once you take a bite, you are in for a treat that makes you want to eat more and more! It has a fresh crunch and is flavorful and nutritious. You can taste how each ingredient contributes its own flavor and texture.

When it came to our pizza choice for the evening, we opted for an enticing taste of old Italy as discovered in the Sicilian ($14.75), which blends a spicy marinara sauce with sweet Italian sausage, spicy Capicola ham, julienne salami, Fontina, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Finishing touches on this majestic pizza are fresh oregano and basil. This has a delightful thin crust and really captures the essence of its genuine Italian ingredient blend. Come on now, nobody else has Capicola ham on their pizzas! That's something Tony Soprano must have insisted on!

CPK has a small selection of pastas, each having their own distinct personality and flavor profile. Speaking of flavor, can you imagine anything more imaginatively spiced than Kung Pao Spaghetti ($10.99)? This has a fiery Kung Pao sauce and blends it with garlic, green onions, peanuts, and hot chilies! Add stir-fried chicken ($2.75), shrimp ($4.75) or both for $6.75. This is one of those super creative dishes conjured up from the world-travellin' owners who wanted to bring the exotic flavors of Asia to the U.S. This dish is distinctly Chinese, and has the dark long chilies to prove it! Now, for our next visit, we're going to order light on the entree and heavy on the desserts!

Choi's Korean Restaurant
Near Airport Industrial Center
Across from Airport Hotel

Gamjatang (Pork Bone & Potato Soup) Dinner Experience

Ever since Choi's Restaurant opened over a year ago, I'd promised myself and owner John Cho and his lovely wife Choi that I'd come and have their Pork Rib Soup with Potatoes ($40), as described in their menu.. I was told it was a Korean delicacy and that it was a large meal, enough to feed 3-4 people. The Korean name for this dish is Gamjatang, which literally translates as Potato Soup. The pork bone used is pork neck bones, and this is where the action and fun begin, since pig neck bones are much larger than chicken or turkey neck bones which most people are familiar with and used to eating. The preparation of this dish takes a long time, with many cleansings of the pork neck bones through continuous boiling and rinsing. The other key ingredient is the wild sesame leaves (perilla leaves), which impart a very fragrant aroma and spice to the broth, replacing any porcine odor.

When you order this dish, you will first receive your ban chan (small dishes of appetizers, consisting of kimchis and pickled vegetables). This night we were given an egg-white soup, that was like a tofu custard.

When the kettle is brought in it is already steaming hot from the kitchen, and then it is put on a gas burner at your table, which starts it boiling again. The broth is red with chili powder spice, garlic, ground sesame seeds, onion, ginger, and pepper seeds. Chinese cabbage and bok choy are used in this version, and after some stirring and further cooking down the wild sesame (perilla) leaves are layered on top. Finally, you can ladle some broth, potatoes, and a neck bone piece into your bowl. As for me, I eat Korean style, with my fingers. Yes, it's messy, but you get right to the meat of the matter and really clean the bones. Talk about tender! The meat separates easily from the bone with a little prodding, but there's also gristle attached. The object is to break the bones apart into smaller pieces (I call these "jewelry", since there's little else you can do with these bones when I'm through with them except wear them!)

More formal eating requires patience and skill with chopsticks and spoon, as you pick at the meat. And, of course, you'll never separate a bone with chopsticks! Anyway, fair warning - this dish is not for the faint hearted! If you have a low spice tolerance, you can watch others eat this dish from a safe distance. This is intensely-spiced - it's the nature of the soup, which is known for its curative powers if you have a cold. It's also an excellent hang over soup.

When Koreans eat Gamjatang, they drink Shoju or beer. I had to drink beer since it was a week night, but next time, I'll come on a Friday or Saturday and go 'hog wild" with a bottle of a special Shoju that Choi's has from a famous Korean resort region. Come try Gamjatang at Choi's Restaurant. It's what you can call "Seoul food"!

Andaman Restaurant
Monticello Plaza (Cost-U-Less complex)

We stopped by Andaman Restaurant for another Thai fix and discovered something new that we'd not yet tried, Nuar Yang Naam Tok (barbecue boneless beef back steak) served with Narm Jaew which is a dip created from fresh lemon juice combined with fish sauce, roasted rice, and green onion, $11.50. Now I don't know if Chef/Owner Jhamnong Kraitong really uses beef back steak, as this delightful treat seemed to use a really tender New York Steak that was grilled, sliced, and ready to be dipped in that savory sauce. It's a dreamy "chasah" if you are local and having beers. This comes with a side salad, which is more like an after thought to give you a little vegetation to go with that awesome grilled protein!

We also had the Tofu Soup (small, $8), which has a clear chicken broth filled with tofu, mushrooms, pork, shrimp, broccoli, green onions, cilantro, and bean thread soup. This soup's great for warming a cold, and the small bowl's enough for two. If you like a spicier taste, add some chili sauce to this since it's intentionally on the bland side, allowing you to taste the individual ingredients. Jhamnong's preparation style is Royal Thai, where flavor-layering is essential.

Chef Jhamnong's Caesar Salad ($9) is a classic, made with crisp Romaine lettuce tossed in an anchovy lemon garlic dressing and doused with parmesan cheese.

I had a craving for Andaman's Green Curry with Pork ($9) and was satisfied as always with the rich simmered blend of coconut milk, curry powder, local eggplant, red bell pepper, bamboo shoots, local pumpkin, and fresh basil. I had it medium spicy and guess I could have had it hotter. The pork was plentiful and tender. There was enough left to bring home for a light repast. We're always pleased with Andaman. After all, it's a restaurant we've helped to make world famous - just Google 'Andaman Restaurant" and see where our little Tamuning eatery ends up in the virtual universe!!

Bon appetit!

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