March 26 , 2010, Volume 10 Number 6
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It almost seems like deja vu since it was around this time last year that we were bidding adios to March and were covering two special visitors to Guam on their annual missions - Dr. Jonathan Morris of the Maine Medical Center and Roy Yamaguchi, world renowned chef/founder of Roy's Restaurants. Time flies! Today's newsletter will feature these two gentlemen and will also highlight an extraordinary wine dinner at the Hyatt Regency Guam, during which attendees were introduced to the passionate and energetic Italian winemaker, Sandro Bottega of Distilleria Bottega. They make the locally-popular sparkling wines Petalo Spumante and Fragolino Rosso, in addition to a large variety of wines and award-winning grappas.
March is also Chamorro month and there is still time to celebrate by enjoying the special weekday lunches at Lone Star Steakhouse as well as the Hafa Adai Friday Lunch Buffet and Hafa Adai Friday Dinner Buffet at the Outrigger's Palm Cafe. While you are there you should make reservations for their Easter Sunday Brunch (click to see menu) on April 4 (yes it's that time of year again!)
I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but I did have the opportunity to feast on Palm Cafe's latest buffet sensation, "A Taste of Southeast Asia" last night, which is on every Thursday. It features authentic dishes from such exotic destinations at Vietnam, Singapore, India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. There will be a full review in our next newsletter, however, I do recommend you check it out yourself next Thursday. It is certainly worthy of your dining dollars and will save you a small fortune in air fare!
Speaking of saving money in air fare, you could be the lucky winner of airline tickets compliments of Continental Airlines if you purchase a raffle ticket for next month's Auction and Wine-Tasting for the benefit of the Guam Girl Scouts on April 23 in the Hyatt Regency Guam. Get your tickets now from Girl Scout Board members (or call 646-5652) for what will be a spectacular night of fun in support of a great locally-funded organization!
Ken the "Guam Food Guy"
Blast from the Past!
Reader Shares Memories of Tumon's Legendary Salzburg Chalet
Do you remember the Salzburg Chalet? It was a charming little restaurant on San Vitores Road located in the same building that is now home to Ban Thai. Some of you may recall that prior to Ban Thai and post-Salzburg Chalet, the building housed Leo's, which had a VW beetle protruding from the wall! Well, we recently received an email from a former resident recalling his favorite dining experiences at the Salzburg Chalet and we wanted to share this with you along with scanned images he sent of their business card, as shown below:
"Hello, I have fond memories of eating at the Salzburg Chalet with my parents. Me and my brother as kids there had paper routes and would take my mom and dad out for special occasions. I would get the steak with the sauteed onions on top that you could eat with a just a fork. I have never had any steak compare to the steaks I used to get at the Chalet and nobody can seem to get the onions sauteed correctly. Then we would get the crepe with vanilla ice-cream topped with whipped cream, chocolate and almonds.
We lived there 1977 through 1980. I am now 45 and my mom passed away February 27. I was going through her stuff and found an old business card from the Salzburg Chalet. It made wonder if it still existed. Does it?
Find attached a jpg file of the business card thought you might like to have a copy.
Sincerely, William A Frederick II"
Wow! What a place! Sure brings back memories for me! How about you?
Asian Lunch Fest at PIC's Hanagi and Welcaruba Restaurants
One of the island's best-kept secrets has gone more public now that you're reading this! It has been some time since my last review of this special Pan-Asian feast featuring Japanese cuisine with foods from Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. The food was pretty good back then as I recall and I was intrigued by two restaurants combining their different culinary personalities into one! Well, the good news is that PIC has completely re-vamped and enhanced the Hanagi/Welcaruba Asian lunch buffet and offers local residents and visiting guests a unique and affordable dining experience that'll have them coming back for more.
The Hanagi section is devoted solely to the foods of Japan, where you can get Sashimi, Sushi, Teppanyaki, fried foods like Chicken Katsu, Tempura, Ebi-Yasai Karaage, Kakuni (simmered black pork belly), Kiriboshi-Daikon (simmered radish skin) and soups, including Rikyu-Jiru (sesame-flavored miso soup) and O-Den (simmered fish cake).
The soup station is visually striking as you see the dramatic wrought-iron tripods with chains suspending large cauldrons of soup being heated over flames. There are little condiment bowls in front containing mustard and green onions.
There is more than enough food here to satisfy your appetite without even going to the Welcaruba side, but that wouldn't be fun, would it? For me, the Welcaruba selection features freshly-made Asian favorites that are notably improved over the previous entrees. Why? Because they changed the serving technology and now prepare smaller batches of each entree to assure a freshness you just can't get with large batch preparations.
An original entree that has become one of Welcaruba's most popular is the Bibimbab station, where you can build your own bibimbab to suit your taste. This Korean standard is something usually served in a bowl that contains a set amount of ingredients that you blend together. Here you can get one egg or two (or more - who cares - indulge yourself!), get the rice you want, seasoned vegetables, and add as much chili sauce. It's cool! You could make this station your entire lunch!
Other delicious entrees include Prawns in Hot Chili Sauce, Chap Chae, Braised Oxtail (Soggori Jajeam, pictured above), Sinagang, Chicken Curry, and Special Fried Rice.
Be sure to leave room for desserts. Here they have really done their homework and have prepared a nice selection of Filipino favorites, such as Sapin-Sapin (steamed rice pudding with coconut), Puto (rice cake), and Pichi-Pichi (cassava coconut cake). You can also get fresh fruits like cantaloupe and honey dew melon along with assorted cakes. One special do-it-yourself dessert treat is Halo-Halo, and there is a complete set-up of all the right ingredients from red & green palm nut, jack fruit, ube paste, macapuno, and tapioca to sweet red beans, which you combine with ice cream and sweet milk. That's why "halo-halo" means "mix"!
Impressed? Well, how much do you think all of this will set you back? Would you believe you can feast on all of these Asian delights for only $17 inclusive and that means no 10% sevice charge! Sunday's lunch buffet offers even more selections, with a price of only $19 inclusive. Lunch time is from 12 noon-2pm, and reservations are recommended since these separate dining rooms can fill up quickly!
Another Green Door Reunion with Dr. Jon Morris
Every March for the last 17 years (hard to believe it's been that long!) psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Morris visits Guam to do some volunteer work at the Department of Mental Health and UOG. He usually is accompanied by interns and we make it a point to have a "reunion" dinner at Tumon's Izakaya Katsu, "the Green Door".
On this working visit Jon brought to Guam Katie Dolbec, who will soon be graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, as well as Shonda Janke, who is preparing to graduate from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. The amazing coincidence is that I have dined with Shonda before at Old Hagatna Grill, when she was here at AAFB in 2001 with her husband Rich Stedronsky. The world is too small! Jon's team was also joined by Maria Taitague, a staff member of the Department of Mental Health.
As usual, we had a delightful time introducing the newbies to Green Door's specialties including their Tofu Steak and Fried Garlic. We're already looking forward to next year's visit!
[Photo: L-R Ken, the Guam Food Guy; Shonda Janke, UTMB Galveston; Katie Dolbec, UVCM; Dr. Jon Morris, Maine Medical Center; Yokho Soma, Izakaya Katsu proprietor; Maria Taitague, Department of Mental Health.]
Roy Yamaguchi (himself) Returns to Roy's
If Roy Yamaguchi comes to town, you simply have to go. Every time he arrives, he brings and shares new and exciting food combinations from his very fertile culinary mind - it makes me wonder if he has patents for all of his creations?! Roy has to be the Thomas Edison of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, which now encompasses the flavors of the Pacific Rim. On his visit earlier this month, Roy did something different. He expanded the menu selections and dining options to give diners more choices. This was a departure from previous set menu dinners. Our group had the good fortune to sample a number of the courses, which is something I would not have been able to do on my own. We're going to give you a quick tour of what became an unforgettable evening of gastronomic indulgence.
We started out with the Clams with Chorizo, Oranges, Fennel and Curry ($15), which was a brilliant and exciting combination of flavors and tastes, with cubes of spicy chorizo sausage layered in a clam shell with fennel accented by cilantro in a savory curry broth surprised by the sweet citric burst of orange slices.
This was followed by a beautifully-plated Hamachi Sashimi with Avocado, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Jalapeno Ponzu ($15.95). This was a dynamic balance of texture and flavor that both refreshed and teased the palate, leaving you craving more. The hamachi was just-caught fresh and the marriage of grapefruit with the piquant jalapeno ponzu was intoxicating. (Note: we shared Roy's appetizer canoe that contained his famous classic appetizers - Szechuan Baby Back Ribs, Shrimp Sticks, Crab Cake and Blackened Ahi. Today, however, we defer to the new.)
Next we had the Sousvide of Australian Wagyu Beef Filet with a Horseradish Mustard Crust and Root Vegetables ($45). This amazing creation featured fork-tender beef slow cooked to perfection.
We also had two seafood creations, Olive-oil Poached Hamachi with Arare Crunch, Prosciutto and Parsnip Puree ($32) and Salmon with Sweet Onion Soubise and White Wine Cream Sauce ($29). Both of these were equally awesome. The prosciutto in the Hamachi dish was dried to a crispy flavorful crunch and the white cream sauce on the perfectly cooked salmon was divinely inspired, with everyone battling to get the last spoonful.
We ended with a selection of desserts, which included Roy's classic Melting Chocolate Souffle ($13.95),which still gives me goose-bumps when I eat it. Each time I have this it always seems a first-time tasting for me - it's that good! I didn't have room for the Hazelnut Chocolate Crunch Bar( $9.95) nor the Trio of Creme Brulee featuring Green Tea, Cream and Kona Coffee flavors ($11.95).
I understand that some of these special creations and others not mentioned will be on the menu at Roy's going forward. I'm sure they'll make the necessary notations letting you know these are Roy's latest inventions! Thank you, Roy, for making another delightful dining fantasy come true.
Wine & Dine With Sandro Bottega - A Night of Passionate Indulgence!
It was a night to remember, and to this day, the praises of that glorious, fun-filled extraordinary evening are still resonating in the minds and hearts of those who attended. This event was as much a celebration of life and a tribute to artistic creations, including poetry, paintings, sculptures, and music as it was about food and wine.
This evening the "Oscars" went to the creations in the realm of food and wine and the way these can be magically transformed in the hands of talented artists in these realms. Guam was honored by the presence of third generation scion of Italy's Distilleria Bottega, Sandro Bottega, a bona fide Renaissance man who is a passionate advocate and marketer of his family's wine products. (Sandro's products are distributed locally by Pacific Wine and Spirits, who co-sponsored the event with Distilleria Bottega.) Many local residents are already familiar with Bottega's popular sparkling wines including Petalo Spumante and Fragolino Rosso. This night introduced several new products to the market during the course of a sensational dinner at the Hyatt's Al Dente Ristorante.
Al Dente Chef Jo Ong collaborated with Executive Chef Hermann Grossbichler to create a menu that ideally paired the featured wines with rustic, simple, and fresh Italian cuisine that was served family-style. Following Fragolino Rosso cocktails in the Lounge, the guests were led into Al Dente where they sat down to enjoy the first appetizer course of Antipasto Misto which included Mortadella con Olivia Siciliano (mortadella is a deli meat from Bologna studded with pistachio nuts), and Caprino alla salsa Rossa (goat cheese with spicy tomato sauce), and Funghi Marinate (marinated mushrooms). The green Sicilian olives were bursting with fresh flavor - a real treat! This appetizer course was paired with Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco Brut D.O.C., which pleased the palate with its fresh fruitiness and floral bouquet. A final appetizer was the Carpaccio di tonno (tuna carpaccio), which finished nicely with the scintillating, lively Prosecco.
A duo of pastas followed the appetizer course, accompanied by a crowd-pleasing Vino Dei Poeti Rose Brut (these distinguished titles come from the immense joy and pleasure that "poets, artists and art lovers raise their glasses to toast to the joy of being alive and drink their beloved light, fragrant Italian sparkling wine.") The Rose Brut has an intense pink color and radiates a clarity you can almost feel through the glass. Its lively taste is soft on the palate and evokes a mix of berries, apples and currants. Chef Jo's culinary team at Al Dente first put out a Canneloni ai Funghi con spinaci e ricotta (mushroom, spinach and ricotta cannelloni) followed by a magnificently sumptuous Rigatoni con salsiccia e salvio (rigatoni with Italian sausage, sage, cherry tomato and chili, which was one of my favorites!)
Throughout the dinner, Sandro deftly went from table to table, engaging all the guests and toasting them in celebration. It was impossible to resist Sandro's passionate exhortations and his genuine love of his wines.
The main course was Osso Bucco con risotto Milanese e gremolata (oven braised veal shanks, saffron risotto and gremolata) with Brodetto di san benedetto del tronto (fish stew san benedetto style). Gremolata is a condiment made from finely minced garlic, parsley, and lemon zest, and traditionally served with veal but it can also enhance seafood. Pairing with the main course was a splendid red elegantly titled Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore D.O.C. This dry, full-bodied red brought the fresh fruit aromas of cherries and pomegranate, with a spice finish. The plating of the fish stew with the Osso bucco was a last-minute change that turned out well. I think it was easier to serve this way rather than family style. The meat was cooked perfectly with flavors that caressed the taste buds and it paired exquisitely with the double-fermented Ripasso.
The event ended with a lovely dessert selection of confections infused with Bottega's fragrant grappas, including Tiramisu con grappa, Baba al grappa, Panna cotta con salsa di aranci, and Grappa-infused gelato. It was a night of many firsts as well as a night of many toasts! Here's to you, Sandro Bottega and to Team Hyatt!
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