July 30, 2010, Volume 10 Number 14
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It's certainly good to be home! My holiday to the Mainland was extremely satisfying and I did manage to soak up enough family love to last me until the next time! I have so much for which to be grateful! The last segment of my visit had me flying to Vancouver, B.C. and driving from there to Clarkston, Washington, where my daughter Avril's family resides. My grandson Carl has grown so much and will be 10 next month. It was back in April 2002 when I first held him (believe me, he was much lighter then). In the collage below, you can see I was playing grandpa with him on my back in a swimming pool. I should be more mindful of the physical strains this kind of exercise requires!
My short few days with Avril, Cathlin, Carl, Emily and Rachel can best be described as concentrated bliss. Hopefully, one day they will all be able to make the long journey to see Guam as they've heard so much about our beautiful tropical island. It's wonderful being home and though it may sound trite, it really is a truism that home is where the heart is.
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday July 31, 2010
Listen up this Saturday morning for the Guam Food Guy segment of K57's "Tourism & You" Show, from 10am-Noon. Our first hour guests will feature Ruben Mortera of Island Napu Restaurant , followed by a chat with Susan Park, owner of Churrasco Brazilian BBQ & Salad Bar, who will be joined by her Executive Chef, Michael Moral.
Featured in our second hour will be Mary Torre, President of the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association. She will be talking about TASTE Guam which will be held on August 7, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency.
Feel free to participate by calling *57 on your cell phone or 477-5757. I'm sure we are going to have a lively conversation and restaurants and food are things that everyone has an opinion about!
Taste Guam! 3rd Annual Food Fair
Hyatt Regency Guam
The Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association will be hosting the 3rd annual Taste Guam! This event will feature Guam's local food vendors and beverage suppliers and is a fund raising event, which will benefit the GCC Culinary Arts Academy, the Micronesian Chefs' Association, and the GHRA scholarship programs to be held at the Hyatt Regency Guam on Saturday, August 7, 2010. Taste Guam! is an opportunity for local vendors to promote their business, feature the company's talents and skills, as well as sell their products at a minimal cost of $1 to $5. It is also an opportunity for hotels, restaurants, bakeries and other confectioneries to showcase their culinary talent to the public. This fun and savory event, which will host culinary competitions and fun entertainment, will begin at 5:00 pm and end at 10:00 pm.
9th Annual UOGEF/MCA Celebrity Chef's Cup
October 20, 2010
Hyatt Regency Guam
It's time again for the culinary battle of the year to take place with swinging spatulas and grinding graters the weapons of choice in this epic quest for the 1st place spot and the opportunity to have bragging rights to the coveted JUDGES CUP trophy!
On Thursday afternoon a press conference was held in the lobby of the Outrigger Guam Resort during which the five competing chefs were introduced. The chefs also held two drawings, the first to determine which of the five courses they would be preparing. The second drawing was significantly influenced by this year's theme, which is Mediterranean, with the chefs having to draw for the country (Italy, France, Greece, Morocco, and Spain) whose cuisine would be the inspiration for their chosen course.
Below are the results of the drawings in order of the courses showing the chef and country:
1st Course Cold Appetizer - Rey Dasalla, Executive Chef, Pacific Islands Club. Italy
2nd Course Soup - Christophe Durliat, Executive Chef, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. Morocco 3rd Course Hot Appetizer - Daniel Lenherr, Executive Sous Chef, Westin Resort Guam, France
4th Course Main Entree - Michael Moral, Executive Chef, Churrasco Brazilian BBQ. Spain
5th Course Dessert - Chris Aguilar, Executive Chef, Outrigger Guam Resort, Greece
This is the first time in the event's history that we've had previous champions, in this case, two-time winners chefs Christophe Durliat, and Chris Aguilar will compete against defending champion, Daniel Lenherr. More information will be available soon! [Photo: L-R Christophe Durliat, Executive Chef, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa; Peter Duenas, Executive Chef/owner, Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro and Meskla Dos, and MCA President; Daniel Lenherr, Executive Sous Chef, Westin Guam Resort and defending champion; Michael Moral, Executive Chef, Churraso Brazilian BBQ; Rey Dasalla, Executive Chef, PIC Guam; Chris Aguilar, Executive Chef, Outrigger Guam Resort; and Mark Mendiola, Executive Director, University of Guam Endowment Foundation]
Island Napu Restaurant
We had the opportunity to re-visit Island Napu Restaurant, located across Marine Corps Drive from the St. John's faculty parking lot, just before you turn right to East West Rental's entrance. This colorful, atmospheric eatery has certainly been evolving as many customers have discovered their comfort food donburis, done island-style!
I was informed by Island Napu's General Manager, Ruben Mortera, that they had some new menu items that I should try. When he said that one was a Kahlua Pork Lumpia, I was a bit concerned because of the deep-fried nature of this item, but once I tried it, all such thoughts faded completely away!
We arrived for dinner and though there were only a handful of customers, the tables gradually began to fill up with families. I knew they had their finger on the pulse of the local market since the prices are very reasonable and the portions are large.
The aforementioned Kahlua Pork Lumpia ($6.95) is on the Pupus menu, along with delicious Garlicky Chicken Wings. The Lumpia comes with a sweet and sour chili dipping sauce. The presentation is simple with a bean sprout garnish with tossed chives. What's immediately noticeable is the large amount of Kahlua pork they put in each lumpia. One bite and it's Aloha Baby! Forget da grease!!!
Zee ordered the Bulgogi-Don (solo - $8.50) with brown rice which is an nice optional choice. She was in the mood for Korean and even requested some kimchi to accompany this dish since her palate had that extra Korean "itch" to scratch! Napu makes their own kimchi and a plate of that was delivered freshly-cut with a flair. The bulgogi-don bowl was filled with cabbage, broccoli, green onions, carrot slivers, and bean sprouts stir-fried with tender slices of marinated beef, punctuated by sesame seeds. It was really a very flavorful rendering of bulgogi, done Napu-style. Of course, the portion was enough for two people even though it was considered a single serving!
Ruben made several recommendations and I will definitely come back for the Meat Loaf with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce, but I went with his suggestion of the Fish and Pork Lau Lau Set ($11.95). The set includes garden salad and miso soup. It turned out to be a terrific choice. The plate makes a stunning presentation though next time I'll get the brown rice for the health benefit and nice contrast. The lau lau (which translates as many leaves) was wrapped in a ti leaf and topped by a chili pepper. Ruben had mentioned this version was a little on the spicy side unlike the traditional lau lau which can be rather bland. It wasn't hot hot but you will definitely get a little zing from the chopped peppers within. The steamed pork and basa filet were mixed with spinach(in coconut milk) and the flavor imparted by the ti leaf gave it a natural savor that embraces you with its taste. The lau lau comes with sauted seasonal vegetables and rice.
Island Napu will soon be offering a range of Frappes and Sorbes (which are fruit puree smoothies), and will be creating a dessert bar. Look for more good things from Island Napu!
Birthdays are always special occasions and these events allow indulgences that are usually avoided. On the other hand, following that line of reasoning makes every day my birthday!! Seriously, though, I do want to thank Zee for treating me to a very special Outback dinner since she knew I was craving that special combination they have the marries the best of land and sea.
We ordered some wine with Zee choosing the Robert Mondavi Private Selection Johannisberg Riesling and I had a glass of the Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon. If you've not been to Outback in the past few months, they have done a stunning make over of their wine list, even serving the highly popular Petalo Moscato.
For starters, we had the Billabong Ribs ($9.95), that are tender and enhanced by an Asian style sweet BBQ sauce and served atop a bed of rice pilaf. I thought this was a great way to start the meal. Soon after this arrived, our server brought us the pail of Ripper Shrimp ($12.99), a pound of boiled peel n' eat shrimp. These come chilled with a zesty cocktail sauce. The dish is something of an optical illusion with the bucket appearing to overflow with jumbo prawns and though there is ice and lettuce under the shrimp, you get plenty of shrimp to share.
Dinner at Outback wouldn't be right if you didn't get a few chunks of their proprietary Honey Wheat Bushman Bread. This is an elemental part of the Outback dining experience.
Since we had two substantial appetizers, we decided to split the main course, which was the Prime CAB New York Steak and Crab Dinner ($49.95). This was preceded by the Caesar salad, which was alright. The Prime C.A.B. New York is the highest quality and most flavorful for me. I like mine Medium Rare and cut off a few of the more done pieces for Zee, who also found this grade to be the finest. The Red Alaska King Crab legs that Outback serves are a very special crab leg specially selected for Outback. These are huge, sweet, and meaty.
What a delicious and satisfying meal! You thought it was over, right? Not so! Birthday dinners need a little celebration, though I didn't want a lot of attention so our server discreetly brought us another favorite, their ultra decadent signature dessert, the Chocolate Thunder from Down Under. This is made with a very generous pecan brownie crowned with a smoothly rich vanilla ice cream. This gets drizzled with a classic warm chocolate sauce and finished with chocolate shavings and whipped cream! It sounds like a dream and it is! Thanks for helping me to celebrate another great birthday, Team Outback!
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