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March 27, 2009, Volume 9 Number 7

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

It seems hard to believe that March is nearly over and that April is just around the corner! As March comes to a close, we've still got a little more celebrating of Chamorro month to do and are happy to report that Chef Peter Duenas' Meskla Chamorro Fusion Bistro is looking to "soft open" on Monday, March 30. We'll certainly have more to report on our impressions and experiences at Meskla after it opens in our next newsletter.

April has a few goodies in store for us, as well, with a major one being the 12th Annual Auction & Wine Tasting to benefit the Guam Girl Scouts. It is to be held on April 24 from 6-10 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Guam. Advance ticket sales can save you significantly(up to $20 for both entrance and raffle tickets for two travel prizes donated by Continental Airlines(one trip for two to Palau and one trip for two to Cairns). Tickets are available from GGSI Board members and at Java Junction, Rexall, Nissan Upper Tumon, the Buzz, and at the Girl Scout Service Center, where Visa &M/C payments are accepted). It's the premier wine-tasting fund-raiser of the year and one you don't want to miss! There will be an exquisite spread of international cuisines prepared by Hyatt's Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler, as well as an array of intriguing auction items and door prizes. It's great fun for an even greater cause!

This week's newsletter is somewhat abbreviated due to emergency dental work for our editor. I can promise you a fun filled newsletter in two weeks which will features a guest review submitted by former Guam resident Norman Clow, who now resides in Las Vegas. You won't want to miss his write up on the new Chamorro restaurant True Island BBQ located in Las Vegas. I will also re-cap a fabulous dinner at Roy's with Roy Yamaguchi himself in the kitchen and my annual Izakaya Katsu dinner with Dr. Jonathan Morris of Portland, Maine!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

First Things First - GHRA's First Ever Cooking Class Still Has Seats Available!

The upcoming Weekend Chef cooking class which happens tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, at PIC's Bistro still has seats available. The flyer below shows the pertinent details, however, you need to call GHRA today to book your seat. Call Bina at 649-1447 as soon as you read this!

Westin Clinches Judge's Cup at 8th Annual Chef's Cup Competition

The Westin Resort Guam's Executive Sous Chef Daniel Lenherr impressed six judges (five chefs and myself) to win the coveted Chef's Cup Trophy for the UOGEF/MCA Chef's Cup Competition that was held this past Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Guam's Grand Ball Room. This year's theme was "The Big Easy" - a Taste of New Orleans, and Westin's Hot Appetizer Course topped the other four courses in the judges' tallies. It was Chef Daniel's aromatic Hickory Smoked Tiger Prawn and Bayou Shrimp Cake accompanied by a Bell Pepper, Avocado, and Grilled Corn Relish garnished with garden greens and cucumber ribbons which won our tastebuds and garnered our votes.

The People's Choice Trophy went to two-time champion Executive Chef Christopher Aguilar of the Outrigger Guam Resort, whose team prepared a sumptuous Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Southern Style Sweet Potato Ice Cream and a Pecan Praline Brandy Snap.

Each of the five teams did an exceptional job of getting all the courses prepared and delivered in record time. The video productions of all the teams reached a new level of uproarious and outrageous humor. The Best Video performance went to Team PROA Restaurant, headed up by Executive Chef Geoffrey Perez. Perez's assigned course was the entree and he executed a fabulous (and complicated) Braised Duck Leg Confit with Corn Meal Crusted Okra, Mashed Potato topped with an Andouille Sausage Demi Glace. These events seem to get better and better! I am sure next year's will have some real treats in store for us!

Old Hagatna Grill
2009 Four-Course Set Menu - A Steal at $20.09!

OHG's 2009 Four-Course Set Menu is a big hit and a definite winner in view of the belt-tightening that's got diners looking for affordable values at dinner time. Imagine, a complete four-course dinner for only $20.09? That's almost hard to believe, however, I can vouch that you will certainly get more for your money with this meal. I had the opportunity to try this twice, the first time was in early March when I had a Coconut Chicken with Mango and Chili as my main course. I had originally wanted to have the Rib Eye during that visit, however, they had just sold out!

This time, I was able to get the Rib Eye as my main entree. The course line-up includes a soup (Spring Onion and Squash), salad (Greens, Raspberry and Walnut), choice of one of three entrees (Steak, Seafood, or Chicken), and a Dessert (Mango & Coconut Pie or Coffee & Raisin Bread Pudding).

There is the chance that some variations can take place. For example, I wanted the soup de jour, instead of the set menu selection, so I had the Italian Sausage Bisque (something totally different and really delicious, with crispy fresh made croutons).

The salad had lettuce and cabbage drizzled with a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. The walnuts were plentiful and fresh ground black pepper enhanced the flavor all the more. I was impressed.

It was the main entree, the Grilled Rib Eye Blue Cheese Herb Butter that proved the piece de resistance and reall wowed me. A full 10 oz. bone-in rib eye infused with garlic and fresh herbs then grilled to my preferred medium temperature for this cut of meat. The Blue Cheese Herb Butter had already melted and flowed down over the top of the steak and each slice was tender, juicy, and deliciously seasoned. The steak rests on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and comes with grilled fresh vegetables (broccoli, red bell pepper, and eggplant at this meal). For the money, this was worth much more than the $20.09 price tag!

The featured dessert for the 2009 Set Menu was Mango & Coconut Pie, however I asked the server if they had the Upside Down Pumpkin Pie that I'd had earlier in March and that I wanted Zee to try. It is a home-cooked recipe from Jennifer Duffie that I thought was marvelous and worth having again. Chef Sandy Santiago embellished it a bit and we had some home made ice cream with it.

I need to mention that there were two appetizers that Zee had while I had the Set Menu. She had the Spinach Dip ($9.25) which comes with a generous amount of toasted French bread (garlic crostinis) and a savory blend of feta, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

She also had the Lettuce Wraps ($10.75), stuffed with ground chicken stir-fried with shitake mushrooms and toasted pine nuts with two dipping sauces. I'd not had these before and just had a little of the ground chicken mix. It was quite good and I'll be sure to eat a whole wrap next time with bean sprouts, carrot and lettuce. I was already too full from my four courses and a few wedges of irresistible Spinach Dip. Kudos to Chef Sandy and GM David for bringing the Old Hag around to it's rightful culinary destination status!

PROA Restaurant
More New Menu Items
Across from Ipao Beach & GVB

Well, I was finally able to test drive some of the new items on PROA's menu today during lunch. I really need to come in a small group so we can share dishes!

I had the Proa-style Beggars Purse ($10.95) of sushi grade ahi tuna prepared poke-style, encased in a fresh furikake crepe and wasabi-soy butter sauce. When it arrived, I was really impressed by its majestic presentation, since every other beggar's purses I've had have been really small. On the side are pickled onion slices, which make a really a nice taste accompaniment to the poke inside the crepe. The crepe is huge, and once opened filled my plate it was over 14" in diameter and I had to cut it up and eat only pieces. It did manage to absorb a lot of the wasabi soy butter sauce, but in the end there was just too much crepe for me to finish, though I did like the taste as well as the poke.

I love all the soups made by the team at PROA - they are creative and intensely flavored. Today's was a Beef Vegetable ($4.95). It had carrots, celery, onion, beef, and potato. It was like a beef stew but had enough broth to make it a hearty soup with all the rich taste of a really good beef stew.

The main entree for me today was the Pan-seared, Cracked Black Pepper-Crusted Pork Loin with Brandy Pan Sauce and Fried Onions( $16.95). If you like peppercorns, you will be totally happy with this pepper-packed loin that are sealed to the top of this juicy, pork loin. The brandy pan sauce is another flavor treat that is something that has to be experienced to really understand how well it blends with the fried onions. The accompaniment of Russet Potato Wedges were plentiful and oven roasted, along with Zucchini.

For some reason, I was already full and had to bring the rest of the big loin home with about half the potatoes as this is a large-portioned meal. I am convinced that all of PROA's meals are targeting the "big" appetites! I have to come back and work my way through all the new items Chef Geoffrey and his team have rolled out. Please try out some of PROA's new entrees and send us your thoughts and observations. I'd like to know what you really enjoy so I can try it, too!

Bon appetit!

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