June 11 , 2010, Volume 10 Number 11
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Birthdays are one of life's spontaneous celebration events for me. I know I'm going to have a birthday, but I am usually totally in the dark as to how and with whom I will be celebrating the day. I enjoy the an annual rite of passage of sloughing off one year's suit and putting on a new one for the next year. I don't feel any older, but I know that another year has passed and that I'm going to be watching out for the next one to come eventually. The best part of birthdays is celebrating with family & friends. This year I had a special celebration on my birthday with some long-time friends. These are guys I've known going back to the 70s and early 80s. It may seem hard to believe or imagine, but if you combine our ages you'll come up with two centuries of experience! One thing for certain is the underlying bond of friendship these guys share that grows stronger with the passing of years. It's good to have buds like these guys!
Photo L-R: Dan Matsuno; Ken, the Guam Food Guy;
Joe Palacios & Joe Barcinas taken at the
President Nippon (Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort)
Don't forget to join in the fun at this year's Agat Mango Festival this coming Saturday and Sunday at Sagan Bisita in downtown Agat! There will be a barbecue competition on Saturday starting around noon time. The event is open to the public and will be fun for the entire family. If you love mangoes, this is the place to be!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Sugar & Spice
It has been some time since we'd been to Sugar + Spice. Our recent return a few weeks back was a real eye-opener as this charming, Bay Area-esque bistro has remodeled and become a meeting place for wine aficionados on Thursday and Friday nights. They have a Wine Buffet for $27/person, featuring wines from B&G, Woodhaven, Banrock Station, Snoqualmie, Colombia Crest, Red Diamond and Chateau Ste. Michelle. You can order an entree from the menu and drink a variety of wines, as much as you'd like. Sounds like fun! We actually came again for a Saturday morning breakfast and noticed new avant garde posters and artwork on the walls as well as a completely new layout of the dining area, seeming to give it more space.
For breakfast I wanted a good old fashioned spinach omelet and ordered the Omelet My Way (three egg omelet stuffed with cheddar cheese, hickory ham, spinach, and green onions), which came to $13 since I had two extra add-ons. (The regular price is $10, which includes a vegetable and meat item.) For each additional add-on ingredient, you pay $1.50 each. They do a pretty decent job with the omelet and you'll get more ham than you'd expect.
Zee ordered the Breakfast Express ($7) , which has two eggs with your choice of meat and toast. She opted for the Bistro Hash (which you can have as a side for $2.50) as her meat choice, though it is ironically "meatless". It's a potato dish and tasty even without the meat! Sugar & Spice has a complete breakfast menu including their Signature Grand Marnier French Toast, Waffles and Pancakes. They also have Steak or Salmon & Eggs, White Wine Breakfast Salad, Bagelwich, and Classic Eggs Benedict.
Arashi 2 - Comfort Japanese Food
Located Across from the Hyatt Regency Guam
A new Japanese eatery that's open 7 days a week for lunch and late dinner has opened up in the arcade across the street from the Hyatt. This is the second location for Arashi (the other is in Dededo). Arashi promotes itself as having "Comfort Japanese Food" and when you look at the menu, they cover a lot of territory. I recognized my friend Chef Tomo behind the counter and congratulated him on this new venture. He's no longer rolling sushi rolls for the Heiden Chicken outlets in Yigo and Mangilao.
We ordered Kimchee ($2.95), which was very fresh and spicy. We also ordered Tebasaki Chicken Wings ($5.95/5 pcs). These are Nagoya-style wings deep-fried and covered in a sweet soy sauce. I wanted to try out their Pork Cutlet Bowl (Katsu-don) for $8.95. Everything was okay except that they could have used a little more "dashi" broth.
The Yakiniku Salad ($7.95) showed more promise and really tasted great. It has a plentiful amount of grilled beef with garlic chips and green onion on a bed of romaine lettuce, drizzled with a savory yakiniku sauce. I liked this more than everything else I tried.
Zee ordered the Kalbee set, which comes with rice, miso soup, and a small salad. This entree has a lot of beef and it is marinated in the Korean-style as you'd expect.
Other set menu options include Teriyaki Chicken, Grilled Mackerel, Shrimp Tempura, Teriyaki Salmon, Chicken Karaage, and Grilled Salmon. They have soba and udon noodles and old fashioned Yakisoba. They also serve a variety of curry rice dishes as well as Donburi (rice bowls). The Yakiniku bowl and Eel Bowl are popular. Arashi has a Bento Menu for lunch that features an all-you-can-eat salad bar with a choice of main entree. The hours are 11:30am-2pm for lunch, and dinner hours are from 5:30pm to Midnight.
Chef's Table with Ernesto Casetta
May 29, 2010
Prego Italian Ristorante
Westin Resort Guam
Carla Martino and Ernesto Casetta
Casa Vinicolo F.LLI Casetta
Italian wine-maker Ernesto Casetta, of Casa Vinicola F.LLI Casetta, returned to Guam after his first visit two years ago. This time, a unique and special event was held that catered primarily to chefs. 'A Chef's Table' with Ernesto Casetta brought together chefs from a variety of properties to enjoy fellowship and spend quality time with Signor Ernesto while savoring the delectable preparations of the Westin's culinary team paired with a line up of Casetta wines.
Host Chef Andreas Lorenz was able to relax and enjoy the dinner though he had spent hours during the day working with his team to finalize the touches to what proved to be an astonishing menu of imaginative culinary creations. Guest chefs included Rey Dasalla, Executive Chef PIC; Geoffrey Perez, Executive Chef PROA Restaurant; Hermann Grossbichler, Executive Chef Hyatt Regency Guam; and Niji Japanese Restaurant's Chef de Cuisine, Chef Yasu.
Photos clockwise from left: Antipasti, Promotional Material,
Grilled Asparagus Spears, Grilled Lamb, Cookie "Palette & Brush"
with assorted Gelato, Cannelloni stuffed with Lobster
Highlighting the Antipasto selections was Beef Carpaccio with Arugula & Smoked Foie Gras Shavings; Marinated Rare Seared Tuna with dried Tomato and Caper; Grilled Asparagus Spears Wrapped with Parma Ham; Bruschetta with Cod Fish Mousse and Bell Pepper; Marinated Olives, Peppers and Mushrooms; Pizza Bread and Prego's Foccacia.
The guests were wowed by the Homemade Cannelloni filled with Lobster, with Sr. Casetta asking Chef Andreas how he managed to get the green stripes on the pasta? Did he paint these on? Two wines enjoyed with the antipasti were Casetta's Gavi (a light and fanciful wine) and the Langhe Favorita (born from an original vine with a pleasing, structured crispness giving way to a light fruit finish).
The Portate Principali (Main Course) featured a succulent, tender, and flavorful Grilled Lamb Cutlet with Olive Tapenade, Seared Polenta and Edamame Bean Puree with a Barbera D'Alba Red Wine Jus. This was perfectly matched with a resonating, full-bodied Barilin Barbera D'Alba D.O.C.
The Dolci (Dessert) course was an inspiring creation that was literally a "palette of flavors"! The painter's palette and brush were cookies and the pallette was topped by several flavors of gelato. Illy Caffe was served with this dessert along with Casetta's Moscato D'Asti, a refreshingly vivacious sparkling wine that edifies the fruitiness of the Muscat grape. It was a night to remember!
PHO Noodle House
I'd like to do something I've not done in a while, which is excerpting a segment from my original review of Noodle House Pho back in April 2001. The amazing thing is that the prices have only increased by $1 to $2 in the past 9 years! Also, there were no photographs used in our reviews at the time since there was not enough bandwidth locally to transfer the large files to everyone's computers. Here's the review:
"When I received the e-mail from local (and world-renown) artist, Blu Rivard, recommending that I try "this little restaurant in the ITC Building," I didn't know that I'd be reviewing it so soon. It was curiosity, actually, since I'd not eaten there before and I go to the POST OFFICE every day, and have been seeing my foot doctor just down the sidewalk, once every week to inspect my cast. At first, I went in the ITC Bldg. to find Pho's and was told by several people that it was "outside." They then told me they worked for the Bank of Guam and that they eat at Pho's all the time, and that I should try the Pork Chop, the Beef Salad, and their Fried Noodles.
I was in a rush to get to my Guam Girl Scout's Board Meeting, and had about 45 minutes to have an early dinner. Upon entering this nicely decorated, well lit restaurant, I could tell that this was a place of "food worship" as evidenced by the food aromas that lingered. The open kitchen is just behind a counter that serves as a bar, so you can actually watch the meats on the broiler, the stir fry dishes, and the deep fryers. For variety, I ordered the signature Vietnamese Beef Soup ($6.00), Shrimp Lemongrass ($7.00), and the Beef Salad ($6.50).
To drink, I ordered the Iced Coffee (Vietnamese Style-$2.00). Sang Kim, brother to sisters Phuong and Huong, took my order. A plate was delivered with bean sprouts, sweet basil leaves, a local lemon wedge, and romaine lettuce leaves, which was to be added to the soup. He then mixed for me a dipping combination that consisted of Hoisin Sauce and a Hot Chili Sauce, which was for dipping my beef into. The Beef Soup came in a large, steaming bowl, and had beef meatballs, sliced beef, oxtails, and beef tripe! The rich broth also contained onions and rice noodles. This was a tasty, hearty dish, especially when all the ingredients are added. I hadn't eaten beef tripe before, and found it's spongy texture interesting. The pieces of oxtail were perked up by the Hoisin/chili sauce, justifying the ritual of its mixing."
Fast forward to the present, you can see a photo of this Special Vietnamese Beef Soup ($8), aka "Pho" - I have ordered Pho over a dozen times and it's great for relieving the congestion I get from colds. Also, I've become adept at blending my own Pho broth, making it hotter and spicier. We didn't order the Beef Salad but had the Beef Kelaguen ($10) instead. If you like it spicy, tell them so and they'll kick it up a notch. This is a local favorite and the folks at Pho like pleasing us locals! Back to the final item we ordered (the Shrimp Lemongrass, $8 today) in the original review:
"The final entree I enjoyed was the Shrimp Lemongrass. Pho did a good job of blending their ingredients and finely chopping the lemongrass so that it's unique flavor permeated the whole mix of onions, scallions, and sauteed shrimp. This dish comes with two large scoops of steamed rice and a salad portion, certainly enough to satisfy one person."
The beauty about going back in the past is to see how things have changed or if they have remained the same. In this case, the description of the lemongrass is spot on! We were just marveling about the intense flavors of the lemongrass , onions, and garlic. You can't go wrong with this dish. I recommend the Shrimp Kelaguen ($10), too, and if you like Fried Lumpia, well, they've got this down to a science - $7 for a full order of 5 pieces and $5 for a half order of 3 pieces. Pho does take out and special party trays. They are open from Monday - Saturday from 10am-9pm.
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