February 27 , 2009, Volume 9 Number 5
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It's hard to believe February's nearly over and we're about to launch into March, which is also Chamorro Month!! Biba Chamoru!! Biba Guahan! We are also into the Lenten season and one can find seafood offerings all around the island.
I can hardly wait to see what's going to be happening food wise for me this month, but I can say with some certainty that a new Chamorro Fusion restaurant will be opening in Hagatna and I'm filled with excited anticipation for when their doors open so I can sit down at one of Chef Peter's tables and eat! Yes, I'm talking about Meskla Chamorro Fusion Restaurant, the baby of Chef Peter Duenas, the Outdoor Chef! Stay tuned for more culinary adventures destined to happen between now and the next Diner Bytes!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Team GW Bags First Place Trophy
ProStart High School Culinary Competition
It is always a great honor to participate as a judge in a culinary competition. Perhaps my most favorite of these events is the one I judged last Saturday, the Fifth Annual ProStart High School Culinary Competition held at the Agana Shopping Center. This is such a profoundly important event for me and for our island! Imagine, high school students pitting their newly acquired skills against other students in a rigidly judged culinary competition.
I joined eight Executive Chefs in judging this event, with each of us having different areas of observation, including Shipping & Receiving, Appearance, Knife Skills, Team Presentation & Work Skills, Safety and Sanitation, Product Taste/ Finished Product and Menu/Recipe Presentation.
Four schools participated, George Washington, JFK, Simon Sanchez, and Southern High, with each having a Mentor Chef as well as their high school instructor. Each team had to prepare from scratch an Appetizer, Entree, and Dessert, all in an hour's time! Although there could only be one first place winner, I have to say that all the students and chefs who participated were winners. I don't think anyone could be more pleased than Barry Mead, the Director of Culinary Arts for Guam Community College, organizer of this yearly event.
On to the results! Team GW won first place, closely followed by Team Simon Sanchez. Third place went to Team Southern High and Fourth place was taken by Team JFK. Team GW will be travelling to San Diego in April to compete in the National ProStart Culinary Competition, along with their Mentor Chef, Andreas Lorenz, Westin's Director of Kitchens and GCC instructor, Frank Evangelista. [Photo L-R: Frank Evangelista, GCC Instructor; Christine Dudan Cruz, Team GW; Ria Aquinde, Team GW; Rendel Paul Carolino, Team GW; Andreas Lorenz, Mentor Chef and Brandon Thomas Naputi Sapp, Team GW]
TEAM GW'S WINNING MENU
Appetizer - Smoked Rock Lobster Tail with Mango Salsa and Coconut Dressing
Entree - Open Red Snapper Lasagna with Bell Pepper & Eggplant Ragout and Chorizo Cream
Dessert - Banana Spring Rolls and Rum & Raisin Ice Cream
The dessert was probably the most remarkable and challenging, since it was hand-made within the time limit and delivered to the judges in perfect condition. The lasagna was made from scratch as well while the smoked lobster tail was simply divine.
We wish Team GW success in the nationals! It would be great to bring home a trophy this year!
8th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup Competition
Wednesday March 25
Hyatt Regency Guam
It's that time of year again! Yes, four chefs will be competing against reigning champion, Executive Chef Chris Aguilar of the Outrigger Guam Resort, in the University of Guam Endowment Foundation/Micronesia Chefs' Association's 8th Annual Chef's Cup. The theme for this year's event is "'The Big Easy' A Taste of New Orleans". Battling to seize the title from Chef Aguilar will be Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler, Hyatt Regency Guam; Executive Sous Chef Daniel Lenherr, Westin Resort Guam; Executive Chef Michael Moral, Margarita's and Executive Chef Geoffrey Perez, PROA Restaurant.
The photo was taken during a MCA/UOGEF luncheon meeting recently held at Colors Restaurant/Red, and includes committee members, MCA board members, and the five competing chefs. For tickets and information to this fabulous and entertaining event, call the UOGEF at 735-2955/56/57, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Fish Story
My how time flies! I have had a continuing dream about a fish I consumed at PROA on December 29, 2008. I've been meaning to write about the experience so I could get it out of my system! The fish I had was a Whole Fried Parrot Fish with a Ponzu Butter Sauce. It also came with lemon finadene and rice. This was a lunch special priced at $19.95 for a 1-1/2 lb. fish, however, I came late and they had run out of the smaller fish, so I had a 2-1/2 pound Parrot Fish and paid a little more but it was worth it! So many people watched me savor each bite and I even offered to share, but I ate the whole thing!
Speaking of PROA, they have just launched new LUNCH & DINNER Menus, featuring completely new appetizers and entrees. You can get a Baby Spinach Salad with Roma Tomatoes, Tempura-fried Enoki Mushrooms, Smoked Bacon and Balsamic Whole-grain Mustard Dressing ($12.95), Grilled Alaskan King Crab Legs, marinated in Basil and Garlic and served with sticky rice and Citrus Butter Sauce (Petite $22.95/ Half lb, Regular $41.95/1 lb), and a Hawaiian Pink Rock Salt Pressed Ribeye Steak with Red Bliss Smashed Potatoes, Caramelized Pineapple, and Li Hing Mui Compound Butter! Wow! That's just some of what you'll see at lunch and trust me, the dinner menus is just as great. Check out both new menus on PROA's diner page. Regular customers needn't fret either as they will continue to offer their signature Hibachi BBQ Ribs, Chicken, and Short ribs basted with their "finger-licking good" Marianas Glaze!
It has to be love at first bite - or is it lust at first sight - you tell me! Either way you cut it, this is one heck of a burger and is the Featured Burger at Colors Restaurant/Red in the Acanta Mall. With a menu description as big as its stature, this sandwich is called Captain Jack's "Steak" Cheeseburger ($15). It is made with 100% Certified Angus Beef freshly ground 8 oz. Rib Eye, fried Sharp Jack Cheese, Red's Special Sauce, Lettuce, Tomatoes, and is sandwiched between freshly-baked sesame seed hamburger buns. It can be ordered with either steak wedges or thin & crispy potatoes. I confess that I didn't order this myself, but was given a chunk to sample, and it was truly heavenly. (Thanks Jim H. - he knows his C.A.B.!) I don't know how long this burger will be available, but I hope they can keep it on long enough for me to return for an entire one to enjoy by myself! This burger certainly qualifies as one of our best burger picks!
Awesome Thai To Go
Nit's Thai Cuisine
I've got to give credit to Vivian Bui for her insistence that Nit's Thai is among the best! We ordered take-out one day this week and I had one of her Stir-Fry Dishes, the Pad Bai-Kra Proa ($7) with Thai sauce, chili peppers, string beans and Thai basil. I had mine with minced pork. Vivian had the same dish however since it was Ash Wednesday she had it with Shrimp ($8). Our other office staff had the Pha-naeng with Beef ($7).
I think the exclamation "WOW" is an understatement! Her cooking is fabulous! This is one of my favorite Thai dishes and I know she aimed right for my heart! Even though her "medium" temperature had a lot of peppers (so much so that I had to separate them), it was still delicious and so good that I ate the entire container. It was a lot of meat and surprisingly small rice portions which I like.
The shrimp in Vivian's dish were huge. The Pha-naeng is sliced tender meat in coconut milk, with red pepper and fresh lime leaves. It's commonly called Penang. Nit's is just awesome. There is a lot of beef for $7 and I can't wait to try her other dishes.
Thank you, Wanit "Nit" Sattang Limtiaco! You are following your passion and doing a wonderful job with your cooking. Nit's is open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm and has Saturday hours too.
Hard Rock Cafe
"Our roots are in the Southern cooking of our founder's hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Nothing's more authentically, delectably Memphis than Bar-B-Que. That's why we don't trust anybody else to smoke our ribs and chicken, we do it all ourselves slowly, lovingly right back there in our in-house smoker." - HRC SMOKEHOUSE Menu
Hard Rock Cafe Guam has launched a fantastic SMOKEHOUSE Menu Line-up of delectable eats! We were invited by our good friend, Kotwal Singh, HRC's Executive Chef, to try out some of the Smokehouse Menu creations they've been making since their recent acquisition of a new large smoker. We literally went "hog wild" over the food which was really mouth-watering and finger sucking good!
Among the dishes we had were the Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Chicken ($19.95) described as their famous Southern-style, half chicken, rubbed, grilled, and basted in their authentic Hickory Bar-B-Que sauce. It's served with seasoned fries, ranch beans and fresh coleslaw. All the main courses have these tasty condiments which really compliment the smoked barbecue. The chicken is of superior quality and the smoke permeated throughout the meat. It was moist and cooked perfectly. The barbecue sauce is flavorful, yet doesn't overwhelm the smoked taste of the meat.
We also had the Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Ribs ($27.95), described as a full rack of West Tennessee-style ribs rubbed and then basted with their authentic Hickory Bar-B-Que sauce and cooked to perfection so the meat falls right off the bone! (half rack $18.95). These are some serious ribs and I'm just glad that there's a real heavy duty professional smoker on island that can bring out the best in foods!
Another platter in our food parade was the Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Combo (Trio Combo $34.95). This had the best of three Smokehouse items - the chicken, ribs, and Bar-B-Que Beef Brisket. This was served with seasoned fries, baked beans and fresh coleslaw. I particularly want to note that this coleslaw is really good, and not your usual mayonnaise based slaw, it uses vinegar and has some other fun ingredients.
One of our more memorable items were the Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings, which are enormous. We had them Buffalo Style with what was probably Classic Rock Hot Sauce (they have a proprietary mix). This is served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. I don't have the price of these but they were probably in the $12-$14 range. We'd never had smoked wings before - not fried, not baked - just smoked and they were sooooo good!
Before I forget, I noticed one of the Sides on the Smokehouse menu was a Mac & Cheese dish, which happened to be called the Twisted Mac & Cheese ($5.95). This is a winner, especially if you are a mac & cheese fanatic! It has twisted cavatappi pasta, tossed in a lightly spiced 3-cheese sauce with roasted peppers and topped with Romano Parsley bread crumbs. It has a bit of a lingering zing to it.
The two sandwiches we had were the Hickory Smoked Pulled-Pork Sandwich ($12.95) and the Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich, ($14.95). Both of these were excellent, however, the brisket was my favorite..there was so much tender beef between the buns! We have finally been able to verify and confirm that the Hard Rock Cafe has taken the lead in providing top notch authentic smoked Southern-style barbecue to Guam's dining experience! Kudos, HRC!!
Tamuning (just past Pizza Hut, previously Sichuan Kitchen)
Just recently opened and rumored to be one of the better Chinese restaurants on Guam, Guangzhou (translates as "Lotus") will take your taste buds down memory lane where you will re-visit the legendary dim sum of the Pacific Star's Lotus Garden. This is a first look and there are things you should know before coming. 1) Bring cash, no credit cards accepted yet. 2) Speak slowly, since English is a second language. 3) Embrace the sound of Chinese people dining joyously which is the background sound track to this place!
We had two dim sum items, Har Gau (steamed shrimp dumpling $5) and Shu Mai (steamed pork dumpling $4). Both were superb! There were four pieces in each basket, and the shrimp were well-seasoned and substantial. There's a lot of pork in the shu main as well and it was easily one of the best we've had on Guam. Had we known the dim sum was so big we'd have ordered less.
We also ordered Honey Walnut Shrimp ($8). These were also quite good, in fact, they were darned good! Big, juicy, fresh tasting and with a blended sauce that didn't have that overly sweet and cloying mayonnaise flavor to it. The plate had marinated peaches and it seemed like some kind of rice wine was used with them.
The Five Spice Beef Shank Appetizer ($6) was also a larger portion than we expected. It was good like everything else we had. However, the Pan Fried Noodles with Beef ($8) was a little disappointing. I didn't care for the noodles, which seemed to be a little stale. The other ingredients of beef and yellow and green onions atop the noodles were very good though - it was really just the noodles that didn't measure up.
Finally, the Sauted Diced Chicken with Cashew Nuts ($7.50), brought us back from the slump of the Pan Fried Noodles. The celery, carrots, bell pepper, and onions were cooked perfectly and still retained their natural crunch. The cashews were plentiful and fresh. The sauce was flavorful but light, and I noticed no MSG. We will return to Guangzhou for a more serious dining experience. I encourage and recommend you to visit Guangzhou!
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