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November 5, 2010, Volume 10 Number 20

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Ever hear of hydroponic lettuce? Would you believe that it's growing here on Guam? This is probably one of the more amazing things going on beneath the radar since most folks would never even know what to look for when it comes to finding a hydroponic farm. Regardless of the building (I hear it's shrouded and has special filters to block out certain ultraviolet rays), the lettuces grown - Red Butter, Green Butter, Red Oak Leaf, Greek Oak Leaf, and Frisee - are available to institutional customers exclusively through International Distributors, Inc.

So, it's more than likely you are already eating some of this Guam-grown hydroponic lettuce if you eat salads at some of the major hotels. It is remarkably fresh and flavorful. There's no dirt used (only water), and it's pesticide free plus the root system is still attached for optimal shelf life. These are literally "living heads" of lettuce! I've seen and sampled these on two separate presentations, one to the MCA (Micronesian Chefs Association) and the other was the GHRA F&B and Marketing Committee.

I'm truly excited about this technology since it could well soon have us growing other produce that has been previously difficult, if not impossible, to grow in large volumes. Next time you are in a hotel or major restaurant, ask if they have any "hydroponic lettuce". You'll immediately notice the difference. It's excitingly fresh!

Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"

Pastries In Paradise 2010 Winners

The Pastries in Paradise 2010 event "A Halloween Treat" held at the Sheraton Laguna Guam on November 1 was a resounding success with many booth participants and sponsors sharing their products with a sizeable crowd of dessert-loving guests.

There were four competitions, with our primary focus on the Judges Cup (since I was a judge) which fielded seven competitors. The theme ingredient for this year's competition was bananas. The top three finishers in the Judge's Cup were:

1st Place - "Banana Trio Dessert", Chef Suharto, Hyatt Regency Guam

2nd Place - "Banana Cutlet & Coconut Curry Gelato", Chef Mark Duenas, Sweet Relief/PROA

3rd Place - "Fried Banana Cheesecake", Chef Ernest Chonggum, Planet Hollywood Guam

I also judged the Torani "Caramel Concoction" Beverage Challenge, and was delighted to see the 1st Place winner was Michelle Rohr of the Basilica Cafe! Her drink was simply delicious and refreshing, just like all the foods they serve there! Second in this event was Franklin San Nicolas of the Sheraton, and in third place, Mark Duenas, Sweet Relief/PROA.

For the Bailey's "Original Irish Creme" Dessert Challenge, first place went to the Hyatt Regency Guam, second to Sweet Relief/PROA, and third was the Sheraton Laguna Guam.

For People's Choice in the Best Of Categories, Sheraton took the Best Booth Design while Hyatt swept Best Presentation, Most Creative, and Best Tasting! How sweet it was! Congratulations to the winners and all the participants!

Chili's Too
Micronesia Mall

If you haven't yet tried or heard about Chili's New Patty Melt ($9.99) that's available for a limited time, you need to put your mouth around one of these bad boys! Although I love the traditional Patty Melt served on dark rye toast, this one takes you on a new taste adventure. It's a grilled burger on Texas toast with Swiss cheese, chipotle-glazed onions and crispy bacon and served with jalapeno-ranch dressing and home-style fries.

Of course, whenever I go to Chili's I make sure to get my Buffalo Wing fix, with Chili's serving my favorite basket of these spicy lovelies for $8.99. My server asked me if I wanted "boneless" and I jokingly retorted, "Have you ever seen a chicken with no bones?" If you don't have bones, you won't have any evidence! Check out Chili's Too at the Mall which offers a relaxing perch for people watching. Of course, they are all watching you eat so it works both ways!

Rock & Roll Cafe Breakfast Treats from 6am-11am
PIC Guam

PIC Guam's best hidden secret is the Rock & Roll Cafe on the lower level where the Skylight Buffet is located. On a Sunday morning (and actually any day of the week) you can avail yourself of a nice selection of breakfast treats. We had Eggs Benedict Royale ($10.95), which features Canadian bacon, turkey, and poached eggs over toasted English muffins. It is topped with a zesty Hollandaise and served with a ton of breakfast potatoes fried to a golden brown. A cluster of fresh grapes comes as edible garnish!

We also had the PIC Loco Moco ($11), which boasts a half pound Certified Angus Beef patty over rice and topped with two eggs cooked any way you like them, along with a savory mushroom gravy. The popular Loco Moco is available all day and not just for breakfast! Other breakfast treats (some are new to the menu) include the Chamorro Breakfast, C.A.B. Sirloin Steak & Eggs, Rock & Roll Omelet, and Banana Pancakes. You can also begin the day with their Healthy Start, which has a lot of fruit, a bran muffin and yogurt.

Lone Star's 15th Anniversary Specials
Lone Star Steak House

If you were lucky enough to get the Lone Star 15th Anniversary Flyer in the newspaper, you can join the celebration by saving significant money on Lone Star's menu items from now through November 23 by using their special coupon offers. One let's you take 15% off your entire bill, another gives you a 20 oz. T-Bone Steak or the 16 oz Prime Rib for just $20.10, and another let's you Party Like it's 1995 with two lunches for $19.95 (Monday-Friday).

We were just there for dinner - on the night when the island-wide power outage struck - and ordered the awesomely delicious Spinach Artichoke Dip ($9.95) which is a creamy blend of spinach and artichoke served with warm tortilla chips.

While Zee had a bowl of Lone Star's Chili ($6.99) to which she added Tabasco to on top of the jalapeno she squeezed dry to make a really spiced up dish, I ordered something I'd not yet had at Lone Star, the 16 oz Prime Rib. I ordered this medium rare and asked for horseradish in addition to the au jus provided. I also opted for brown rice. This is a juicy, tender, and well-seasoned prime rib cut, and I can see why they are proud of their beef.

Of course, there was no way I could eat the entire thing so I did "balutan" for the remainder for later eating enjoyment at home. We mustn't forget Lone Star's famous hot rolls with butter, the ones that literally melt in your mouth. Just try to eat only one! I double dare ya!

PROA'S Lunch Specials with Tova
PROA Restaurant

I was delighted to have the rare opportunity to have lunch with a special friend who insisted on dining at PROA Restaurant since it is her "hands down" favorite Guam restaurant. During a one-day stop over on Guam on her way home to Palau after a trip to Europe, Tova Bornovski (pictured above with PROA's Chris Bejado), co-owner of Fish 'n Fins, Ocean Hunter, and the Barracuda Restaurant, called me and said "let's do lunch" at you know where! Tova is also the author of the highly-acclaimed coffee table tome, "A Taste of Rainbow's End" which is available at Bestseller. [Editor's Note: This book is much more than a beautiful coffee table tome as the recipes are exceptional, easy-to-follow and every single one we've tried yields delicious results. It would make a fabulous gift for the holidays. And, no, we are not getting a residual for this pitch!]

PROA is so busy you need reservations, or if you should plan to walk-in after the lunch crowd around 2pm, and you may be able to get a table. While PROA's menu is full of wonderful choices, however, for lunch, we seriously recommend trying out their Lunch Specials, which is where they perform their creative culinary magic! We decided to do all three specials, sharing the salad, which was a dreamy Ginger Marinated Opakapaka w/crisp Romaine lettuce, carrots, micro- sprouts, edamame, and passion fruit dressing, priced at $17.95.

Tova decided on the Garlic Ginger Sriracha Teriyaki King Salmon with garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed vegetables, with a lobster butter sauce ($22.95). I can't describe how delicious this tasted. I watched longingly as Tova savored each and every bite. She is an epicurean who really cares about the quality of the food she eats. She appreciates PROA and feels they offer a world class product.

Of course I agree and I'd implore you to stop by Tova's Barracuda Restaurant when you visit Palau for some well-prepared Mediterranean-themed dishes where the fish is ultra-fresh and oven-baked artisan breads are served.

My lunch special was another "Wow" moment for me. I had the Pan Seared NY Strip Steak (10 oz.)w/fried potato wedges, garlic parsley lemon remoulade, sauteed vegetables with a thyme demi-reduction ($21.95). This was another treat as you can appreciate how the chefs imagined this meal into delightful reality. Just dipping a little remoulade on each steak morsel greatly enhanced the already succulent and well-seasoned beef. The combination of flavors was memorable and so good that I quickly dissolved any yearning I had for Tova's Teriyaki salmon!

I will have to have Chef Geoffrey make that up for me since I am curious about how that Sriracha chili paste lit up that salmon. We ended our lunch with two perfectly-brewed illy espresso beverages, a latte for Tova and cappucinno for me. An excellent ending to a wonderful meal which combined great conversation and exceptional food.

Dr. Kabob "Naturally Delicious!"
Pacific Bay Hotel
Tumon 646-1555

It was Election Day Tuesday and what better way to celebrate our right to choose our elected leaders than to eat a late (after voting) lunch at a place where the food is truthfully described as "Naturally Delicious!" Dr. Kabob has now been open for just over a month and is causing quite a stir among the island's foodies and healthy-cuisine advocates.

Dr. Kabob is a fast-food version of the Caspian Grill, the island's first restaurant serving Persian cuisine that operated for less than two years in the Blue Lagoon Plaza. It was our first time eating here and rather than trying any of their kabob (skewered meats) dishes, we opted for two wraps and a special of the day.

The first wrap was the Lamb Gyro/Shawarma ($8.75). This is one of the most popular items and they do an excellent job with it. The lamb is grilled on a Gyro cooker from which they slice the meat and then grill it a little more on a griddle. The wrap comes with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and onion, and you get a choice of sauce (I got the gyro sauce). Everything is fresh, delicious, and nutritious! This is the kind of food I believe I could eat every day.

While there, I met Sook Sabeti, owner of Dr. Kabob, and she wanted me to try the Doogh, a bottled yogurt soda beverage ($2.95). She said it needed shaking though I suspect I shook it too much, because it really fizzed when I turned the lid. It finally "calmed down" enough for me to drink it. I can say that yogurt soda is an acquired taste. I know it's good for your system, digestive and otherwise. Definitely best when chilled, better stirred than shaken!

Zee had the Falafel Wrap ($5.95) which was all that you'd expect from falafel (for many of us meat eaters, it's another acquired taste thing and we can remind ourselves that it's what you have to eat if you want to extend your life!

Every day there are specials at Dr. Kabob. We decided on the Ghormeh Sabzi which is described as a green herbs stew with beans ($6.95). This dish is considered the national dish of Persia and commonly called Persian Green Stew. It can be served with beef ($8.95) though the original is vegetarian. It has many green herbs and vegetables, including parsley, chives, green onions, garlic chives, spinach and a few more ingredients that makes this a uniquely-spiced and savory dish. It comes with basmati saffron rice, pita bread, fresh herbs, and a grilled tomato. Other specials for this day were Khoresh Karafs (Celery Stew with Herbs) and Koresh Gheymey (Split Pea Stew with Tomatoes).

Dr. Kabob has a full range of menu items including salads, soups, kabob dishes and combinations, and unique drinks. Side orders include meat skewers, Lavash bread, pita bread, chips, and several types of hummus - Original, Roasted Red Pepper, Cilantro Jalapeno, and Avocado as well as Volcano Feta and Baba Ganoush.

Dr. Kabob also sells food products from the "Sadaf" brand and they distribute this line here. You can get Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmeh), special teas, crackers, rice, falafel mix, nuts, and red dates which are also known as Jujube, or Chinese dates. It's really an exciting concept as they can offer novelty food products that are not restaurant menu items.

I had mentioned in a previous newsletter that Dr. Kabob's kitchen manager is Pedro (pictured above center flanked by staff members), who has a lot of kitchen and restaurant experience, most famous being the legendary Marty's. He is in his element working here and keeps the team motivated and consistent.

Dr. Kabob has take-out, but please order two hours in advance and for catering they need three days advance notice. They are open for lunch through dinner Monday to Saturday and closed on Sundays.

Try Dr. Kabob for excellent Persian Cuisine prepared fresh and served quickly that's affordable and "Naturally Delicious!"

Bon appetit!

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