February 12, 2010, Volume 10 Number 3
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Love is in the air! I can smell it! I can even taste it! Yes, it's Valentine's Day and there is no shortage of things to do with and for your special someone on February 14. Check out some of the Valentine's Specials posted on our website. For the first time ever, I wanted to give a special Valentine's present to New Kinney's Restaurant, in Agana Heights.
The view from their establishment is breathtaking and brings back memories of when I'd dined in that same location when it was known at the Red Carpet, around 1974. My gift to Fred and Valerie Blas is this free promotion of their Valentine's Special at their restaurant, which is a re-creation of the original Guam legacy eatery located in Barrigada. This hard-working couple deserve our blessings and those who know them will agree!
Valentine's Day Special at New Kinney's Restaurant
It's a lovely special at New Kinney's Restaurant this Valentine. Enjoy a juicy 8 oz. Lobster Tail paired with an 8 oz. New York Steak drizzled with Kinney's signature steak sauce for $35.00. This Valentine special is available Friday, February 12 to Sunday, February 14, 2010.
New Kinney's Restaurant opened in June of 2007 by Fred Blas, Jr. the great grandson of Joaquin Blas who founded the first Kinney's Cafe in 1948. New Kinney's Restaurant features many original menu items including the famous hand battered signature Onion Rings, Fried Chicken, Chop Steak, steaks, and signature sauces; a million dollar view of Guam; and the nostalgia of a fourth generation locally owned restaurant.
New Kinney's Restaurant is located on the lobby level of the Cliff Condo's in Agana Heights and open Monday to Sunday from 11:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M. - 10:00 P.M. For more information please contact Valerie Blas at 477-3092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Valentine's Day! And "Gong Hi Fat Choi" as the 14th is also the start of Year 4047 on the Lunar Calendar - the Year of the Tiger!
Ken, the Guam Food Guy & the Guam Diner Staff
ProStart High School Culinary Competition
Saturday, February 13, 2010 11 a.m.
Agana Shopping Center
It's that time of year again when four local high school teams will compete to win a trip to the mainland USA to compete in the National ProStart Competition. Last year's winning team was Team GW, who ultimately nabbed the 5th place spot in the National Competition. They were featured on the Food Network and were interviewed by celebrity food personality, Guy Fieri. This is a profoundly important event for the people of Guam since we have established a tradition and an expectation for success in culinary competitions. Let's cheer our young future chefs on to go for the gold!
Memorial Celebration for Tommie Lee Stewart
Monday, February 15, 2010
4 - 6 p.m
Jeff's Pirate's Cove
For those people who knew our mother Toni, you will be pleased to know she is returning this weekend along with my brother Carl, his wife, Michele, and their daughters, Brieana & Nataya. We would be honored by your presence as we celebrate her life. It was her wish to make her adopted island home her final resting place. The event starts at 4pm on President's Day Monday and ends at 6pm.
Guam Premier Outlets
Hours 11am-10pm Daily
Another new restaurant made its debut when I was off-island in Houston in early January. Ajisen Ramen is a franchised noodle house chain that boasts over 500 locations throughout Japan and Asia. My first impression was a good one as it was clear they run a class establishment. This Kyushu-based restaurant chain is known for their white "Tonkotsu" broth made from slowly simmered premium pork ribs. They emphasize the health benefits of enjoying the food's natural flavors derived from traditional cooking techniques. There is no MSG used, so that's a relief to many.
I stopped by for lunch alone the other day and was stunned by the enormity of their ramen menu selections. The restaurant is spacious, with solid wood tables and chairs, expansive window views looking across to Ruby Tuesday and Chili's, and seems devoid of any wall art with the exception of a large collection of ramen bowls mounted on a wall. When you first walk in, you are greeted by the entire staff of servers and kitchen staff.
I ordered the Paiku Ramen Karaage Set ($13.90), which is also sold as a ramen only entree for $9.95. You merely upgrade this by adding a number of options, including gyoza, edamame, tonkatsu, side salad, tofu salad, tempura, and kimchee, each having their own price. I also ordered one of my donburi standards, Katsudon ($7.95).
Paiku Ramen has slowly braised succulent pork ribs, crisp kikurage (wood ear) mushrooms, soy eggs, and garnished with a sprinkling of scallions. Each item is listed in the menu description for every entree. Also included in the large bowl are carrots, cabbage, and some onion, along with a generous serving of fresh noodles. I enjoyed the newness and unique combinations of flavors in this dish. The Karaage chicken was okay, too, and not greasy like some others I've had.
The Katsudon had a really good pork flavor and was cooked in the traditional manner, with simmered onions in a broth with an egg over the breaded pork. It wasn't the best I've had, but good enough to have again when I need to get my katsudon fix.
The service here was exceptional and I felt that my server Emilie was genuinely concerned about ensuring that I enjoy my dining experience. You will have to come and try one of the nearly 20 Ramen dishes, including Volcano Ramen, Spicy Ramen, Negi Ramen, and the ultimate Zen Nose Ramen ($12.95), that has medallions of pork and ribs.
Jeff's Pirate's Cove
$10 Pirate's Breakfast Special
A lot of folks have been to scenic Jeff's, but not everyone has tried their $10 Pirate's Breakfast Special which is what we had on two separate Sunday morning occasions. This meal is actually a lot of food, and we really couldn't finish our complete meal - and that is saying something! It comes with coffee, a very tall juice (the choices include Guava, Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry, Apple, and Mango), eggs cooked your way, choice of link sausage, bacon or ham, two pancakes, toast, and a fruit garnish. It's been pretty windy lately so we sat up at the bar. The food is hearty and really fills you up.
It's also nice to eat outdoors with an eye on the ocean which provides a natural high. There is a 10% service charge, but this is offset by your getting a free token for a frozen yogurt dessert treat you get on your way out. Breakfast is served every day, starting at 8am.
One of these days, I'm going to try out Jeff's 911 Hot Sauce! I'll just have to be sure to have a fire extinguisher ready since I've been forewarned that this is pikaka (super spicy!) These are available at the Gift Shop for $15 for a 6-1/2 oz bottle. Heck, it's a nice souvenir just having a picture of that notorious pirate himself, Jeff Pleadwell, on the label!
La Mirenda Restaurant
Chinese New Year Promotion
February 11-21, 6-10 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Guam
It's Chinese New Year "Gong Xi Fa Cai" when we welcome in the year of the Tiger and the Hyatt Regency's La Mirenda is going all out to put on an extra special event bringing in a Chinese chef from Hong Kong to oversee the celebration. They have also decorated the entire restaurant to reflect this joyful and auspicious occasion. We want to extend a hearty "Hafa Adai !"welcome to Chef Ho Chun Hung from the Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Sha Tin. During his ten day stay here he will be preparing and serving traditional Chinese New Year favorites including dumplings, extra long noodles, and seafood creations, along with a long list of other delectable offerings. Chef Ho brings with him 25 years of culinary experience in Beijing, Shanghai and most recently, Hong Kong. The price of this promotion is $39/person and includes free-flowing Tsingtao beer.
Special Note: You do not want to miss the exciting, high-energy spectacle that is the traditional Lion's Dance which will be performed by the Chinese School on Sunday, February 14, at 6pm in the Lobby.
Before I go further, I would like to state that Chinese food is best served and eaten immediately, which is why wok cooking is so elemental to Chinese cuisine. There are items that take more time such as soup, Roast Duck and Chicken, and Char Siu Pork. I say this to qualify this dining experience as I've had many buffets where Chinese food pretty much lost its luster due to over-cooking and other problems, such as soggy batter, dried out meat, and limp vegetables. This can happen in chafing dishes and bain marie (hot water steam tables). For this review, you don't have to worry as Chef Ho is on top of things here, and the foods we ate were essentially superb in quality.
We had to pace ourselves and not eat the regular salad and extensive cold salad and vast seafood spread that Hyatt typically lays out for their dinner buffets. You definitely get your money's worth if you can manage to eat these. We chose to concentrate on the unique offerings that Chef Ho brought to the table. His Crab in Black Bean Sauce was excellent, having one of the best flavors I can recall ever having here. Overall his food is characterized by balanced flavors, with nothing overwhelming, and the natural essence is enjoyed. I don't think I've had a better Corn & Crab Soup which had elements of corn and crab in every spoonful. The Shanghai Bok Choi was crisp and delicately flavored by garlic and ginger, literally exploding in your mouth with sweet goodness.
The Salt Prawns were large and hard to put down - they tasted that good - we were just busy shelling and eating, sucking the flavor off the shells and our fingers.
The Sweet & Sour Pork was really impressive since it showed restraint and not the typical tendency to overpower with vinegar or sweet chili sauce. This dish represented the deft proficiency Master Chef Ho uses in all of his preparations - a focused discipline in balancing the seasonings that enhance the natural flavors. Another great choice was Stir Fry Beef with the crisp vegetables juxtaposed by tender, tasty meat sauted with mushrooms. Yum!
I don't know if it will be available every night, but we had the Wok Fried Pork with Basil , which was just extraordinary. Covered in sesame seeds interspersed with peanuts, this spicy dish has peppers, basil, bok choi, garlic and tender pork. Though it was spicy, it did not take away your breath nor scorch your palate.
The noodle soup station is an assembly line of goodness, where you've got high quality ingredients that you combine in a bowl with noodles. You have meat choices like shrimp, char siu pork, chicken and fish balls; garnishes such as fried garlic chips, red pepper flakes; vegetables and such as green onions, coriander, onion, carrots, boiled eggs, shredded cabbage, mushrooms, long noodles (for prosperity) and egg noodles, fresh spinach and bean sprouts. It's a complete meal in a bowl! The dim sum was alright and in truth it's hard to have the full selection maintained on a buffet unless you have dedicated dim sum cooks preparing it.
I was most impressed by the roasted meats display. This was jaw-dropping beautiful! Plated delicious succulent and magnificent this little section had Roast Duck, Five Spice Roast Chicken, and Char Siu Pork Ribs. If you are a duck or chicken aficionado, this was where you'd be making the return trips.
As far as return trips go, I expect to get back to La Mirenda for some more of Chef Ho's exquisite creations!
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