February 25, 2010, Volume 10 Number 4
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It sure was great having my brother Carl and his family back on Guam again! Their recent visit to attend our mother's Memorial Celebration at Jeff''s Pirate's Cove gave them the opportunity to reconnect with friends, to visit their old "stomping grounds", to meet new friends, and to get their fill of some of the island's ''restaurants.
Though we didn't have every meal together, the ones we shared included 'taste' at the Westin for Valentine's Sunday Brunch, as well as Jan Z's (where they were "blown away" by the uber-large pancakes), to Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill, Ajisen Ramen, Chili's, and Jamaican Grill.
Sharing some of Guam's unique restaurant experiences with visiting family or friends (such as the food tour adventures with Chelsea and Omy who'd visited from Japan last November) is always a satisfying high point of a Guam vacation.
My nieces, Brieana and NaTaya so enjoyed the balmy beaches of Ipan and Tumon, that it brought home the point that living on Guam is its own reward and 'that we should be thankful that we live in a destination where people choose to visit for their holidays and take photos of the natural beauty we often take for granted. Guam's natural beauty is timeless and ageless, and most visitor's leave with a sense of awe and wonder about our local hospitality.
Perhaps we need to remind ourselves about our good fortune for living here, and to instill a sense of awe and wonder in our daily lives. Wouldn't you agree?
Ken, the Guam Food Guy
In Today's Issue:
- Team GW Wins ProStart High School Culinary Competition
- Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill - A Family Night of Fun, Food and Song
- Jamaican Thai Night at Chamorro Village
- Happy 75th Birthday Celebration for Guam Girl Scouts March 7
- This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guam Diner Newsletter
- Fortune Cookie Cafe - Tasty Thai with a Chinese Twist!
Team GW Wins ProStart High School Culinary Competition
[Photo L-R, Frank Evangelista, GW ProStart Instructor; Albert Caliyo; Chef Andreas Lorenz, Westin's Director of Kitchens and Mentor Chef; Vicenta Mendiola; Charmaine Eusebio, Team Captain and Jhorge Gonzales]
It was a deja vu repeat of last year's razor-thin margin of victory for Team GW!
It has always been both an honor and pleasure for me to participate as a judge for these competitions, and this was the 6th year for this amazing event held in the Main Court of the Agana Shopping Center.
Four teams representing George Washington, JFK, Simon Sanchez, and Southern High competed to win the first place position that would entitle them to travel to Overland Park, Kansas to participate in the Ninth Annual National ProStart Invitational set to begin on April 30.
Each team is coached by a Mentor Chef as well as their high school instructor, and they have to prepare from scratch an Appetizer, Entree, and Dessert in an hour's time.
Last year, GW secured the top spot by beating Team Simon Sanchez by the narrowest of leads, and the win the year was almost an exact repeat for Team GW.
All were winners in my book as all four teams performed exceptionally well, adhering to the most rigid of standards and demonstrating impressive levels of skill, talent, and teamwork.
For the remaining results, Third place was taken by Team JFK and Fourth place went to Southern High School.
Team GW's Winning Menu
Appetizer - Tuna and King Crab Roll, Avocado Salsa, Orange Caviar and Paint
Entree - Spiced Cod Fillet, Chorizo and Tomato Sauce, Eggplant and Chickpea Puree, Saffron Air
Dessert - Banana and Chocolate Ravioli, Coconut Ice Cream, Glazed Mango
Last year's menu placed GW fourth in the nation. We wish Team GW every success in bringing home the 1st Place Trophy this year!
Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill - A Family Night of Fun, Food and Song
[Photo: Mico & Stevie Scott]
One of the highlights of last week's visit by the "Stewarts of Atasocita" was our dinner party held at Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill, where we went specifically to support and be entertained by the awesome song performance of Mico & Stevie Scott, who play on Sundays and Tuesdays from 6 til 9pm. It was the night after the Memorial Celebration for our mother, Toni Stewart, and we were delighted to have a combination of long-time friends and new ones attending.
[Photo L-R counterclockwise: Dan Bradley, Ken The GFG, Pastor Ernest Turner, Pastor Pearl Turner, Zee Lynn, Brieana Stewart, Carl Stewart (standing), NaTaya Stewart, Annette Donner (standing), Michele Stewart, Chris Toran, and George Brasuel]
Our table was the center of attention since we seemed to be part of the entertainment, with brother Carl and his daughter NaTaya taking over the microphone to serenade and sing along with Mico and Stevie.
We shared different dishes, including TBLG's Nacho's ($9.95), which I'd never had before and actually enjoyed; Seared Ahi ($9.95); BBQ Ribs ($16.95), which have a unique cherry-flavored bbq sauce that I thought was much tastier with these ribs than finadene; Chicken Kelaguen ($7.95), which always surprises people when they find really good kelaguen in Tumon; Shrimp Cocktail ($9.95), and' New York Steak ($27.95). It was a memorable night of fun, food, song, and dancing, which brought several of us to the dance floor to sway along to Mico & Stevie's soulful rendition of "Unforgettable", that marvelous duet which was made possible by the legendary Nat King Cole and daughter, Natalie singing together through technology. It was an unforgettable night!
Jamaican Thai Night at Chamorro Village
On the visiting Stewart family's last night, we based ourselves at Jamaican Grill though some in our party begged permission to bring in some other fare sold at the Wednesday Night Market, which is a must-go for any visitor to Guam.
I was going to try something different on their menu however when I found out that they had fresh Mahi Mahi, I ordered the Triple Combo( $14.50), which had the Ribs, Chicken & Mahi with Jamaican Rice and Salad. I shared a rib with Carl as he was dining on a fiesta plate from one of the bbq stands so he would have his requisite taste of Jamaica's savory spice blend.'
Zee was in a mood for Thai and Nit's Thai Cuisine was the place to go that night. The Combo Pad Thai ($8) was worth the wait as was the Papaya Salad ($6), both of which are made to order. We were' joined by friends, Vince & Donnes Leon Guerrero and their family, as well as Bonnie Church, who will be opening her Mexican restaurant, Just Tacos, in Tumon in the next few months.
Happy 75th Birthday Celebration for Guam Girl Scouts
Sunday, March 7, 1-4pm
Sheraton Laguna Resort
Everyone is invited and admission is free!
Save the day! On Sunday, March 7, The Guam Girl Scouts will be celebrating 75 years of Girl Scouting on Guam with an island-wide birthday party at the Sheraton Laguna Resort Ballroom. We encourage those interested in learning more about Girl Scouting to come and attend. There will be many activities such as making s'mores, scrapbooking, making friendship bracelets, face painting, learning how to braid hair, and story-telling, all at different stations within the ballroom. There will also be displays of vintage uniforms and picture displays of Girl Scouts on Guam through the ages. It's an event you don't want to miss!
This Time Last Year - Highlights from the Guam Diner Newsletter - February 27th, 2009, Volume 9 Number 5
Team GW Wins ProStart Culinary Competition
UOG/MCA Chef's Cup Competition Announced
PROA Fish Story
First Look at Guangzhou
Fortune Cookie Cafe - Tasty Thai with a Chinese Twist!
Dededo (across from the Dededo Flea Market)
Harmon Loop Road
If I've learned one thing about restaurants is they mimic the old adage, "don't judge a book by its cover", you can't judge a restaurant by its outside appearance, its name, and location. The Fortune Cookie Cafe is probably not the kind of restaurant people would want to stop at if they happened to be driving by on Marine Corps Drive in Dededo or on Harmon Loop Road. I am sure glad we made it a point to stop by, more out of curiosity than for visiting some where new.
Why curious? Good question. According to the owners, Peter and Grace San Nicolas, Fortune Cookie Cafe opened 3 months ago as a Chinese and Thai restaurant. I wanted to see how this combination of two great culinary cultures would work. Well, it seems that the Thai culture won out, and the menu is pretty much exclusively Thai though there are some unwritten exceptions. That's the charm of this place it's flexibility. It can be whichever you want! If you like Sweet & Sour Pork or Shrimp Fried Rice, or Won Ton Soup or Salt & Pepper Shrimp instead of Thai food - no problem!
If you can see beyond the ramshackle, still-under-construction, road-side vegetable-stand-fish-market appearance of the Fortune Cookie Cafe and manage to park in the unfinished rocky, dusty parking lot (which is actually quite spacious), you will find a diamond in the rough inside once you walk in the doors. The left wall of the restaurant has Thai paintings and artwork while the right has Chinese paintings and artwork. Kind of a strange Asian dichotomy but who really cares about such things when you are eating good food!
We were greeted first by Grace (who is Chinese), she gave us our menus and took our drink orders, and then later were welcomed by her husband, Peter, who is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and whose life seems to have taken an amazing turn as he has found himself running a Thai restaurant on his native island home of Guam. It's an intriguing story that you'll have to get him to tell you one day!
We ordered Chicken Satay (Gai Satay- $8.50) from the Appetizers menu, Beef Salad (Yam Neur- $8), the Stir-Fried Kang Kong (Phat Boon Fai Dang - $7), the Spicy Pork with Basil (not on the menu per se, which shows Chicken, Beef and Prawns as choices, but is known as Phat Krapow Mee - $ 9), and Green Curry with Prawns ( Gang Khoum Whan Kung).
The first to arrive was the Phat Krapow Mee (Thai -style, with fried egg). This is a dish I always order and it was prepared as I requested with pork ground. It was a nice surprise coming out first and I actually didn't try it until after we had the satay, which was among the best we've had! The skewers have a glaze outside that I thought was coconut-based. There are two dipping bowls on the plate, with one containing a rich spicy peanut sauce and the other "Thai Finadene" which uses fish sauce as a base. I went dip crazy...incapable of deciding which I liked better. Seriously, you could eat these all day! The flavor of my Phat Krapow Mee, as good as it was, seemed overshadowed by the intensity of these two dipping sauces. I've had stronger basil flavor at other places.
The Beef Salad (Yam Neur) was a home-run! It touched all the flavor bases and had fresh, crisp salad ingredients of cucumber, red onion, sweet cherry tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, and lettuce with tender beef slices, all doused with that amazingly flavorful and spicy dressing made with fish sauce, lime juice, mint leaves, brown sugar, garlic, red peppers, and water.
The Green Curry was also a winner - intensely flavored and chockful of bamboo shoots, eggplant, green beans, green chilies, and shrimp in a masterfully prepared curry blend that left your palate abuzz with flavor and tingling with a little heat(all dishes were prepared to a temperature level of 4 out of 10).
We were given a free item to sample by the chef who'd heard that I was in the house. I was delighted to see Mama Pod come out after her Papaya Salad was delivered. I've known her for years as she cooked during her years at Ban Thai. She's definitely got her "groove on" in this kitchen! The Papaya Salad seemed to refresh and replenish our palates. Again, well prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Though I thought we were finished with a few bags to take out as balutan, we received some piping hot Fried Local Bananas which were notably greaseless and very good eating.
Fortune Cookie Cafe is still a restaurant under construction and as time goes on you will see more interior decorations and exterior improvements. The seating capacity is for 80, but they can accommodate more if needed. They offer a very popular lunch buffet Monday-Saturday for $9.50 including Iced Tea, and $11 on Sunday. They are open daily from 10:30am-2pm for lunch and from 5:30-10pm for dinner. Party tray and take-out orders are welcome. Fortune Cookie Cafe is located next to a fresh fish market which certainly makes life easier for Peter and Grace during Lent! If you order in advance, you can request a larger sized fish than the typical 1.5 lb. fish they serve. I truly believe that fortune has graced the folks at Fortune Cookie Cafe.
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