January 14, 2011, Volume 11 Number 1
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
2011 is off to a rapid start that's leaving me literally breathless in my efforts to keep abreast of all that's happening on the island's restaurant scene! This week's Diner Bytes is evidence of the profusion of new eateries that have recently opened their doors.
One of the most promising and exciting culinary ventures is the new Singapura Authentic Singapore Cuisine, which is having a very soft opening on Friday, January 14. Operated by a team of seasoned food service professionals, this restaurant, located on the 2nd Floor of the Royal Orchid Hotel, will most likely become a favorite dining spot for the island's foodie elite.
If you are a Katsu-don lover like me, then you'll share in my delight to have finally found the best Katsu-don - that miracle of pork cutlet resting on rice in a soupy broth topped with an egg - on island at Chopstix in Hagatna!
Finally, after some delay, we are excited about the 9th Annual Chef's Cup that will be held on February 2 at the Hyatt Regency Guam. If you haven't got your tickets to this exciting annual event, which features a Mediterranean theme this year, there may be a few left!
As I said, a lot of exciting things happening on Isla Guahan!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
GFG Hosts K57 "Tourism & You" Food Guy Show
Saturday January 15, 2011
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 Mark Mendiola, Executive Director of the UOG Endowment Foundation and Andreas Lorenz, Executive Chef in Charge of Food & Beverage at the Westin Resort Guam and Vice-President of the Micronesian Chefs Association. They will be talking about the 9th Chef's Cup. Also in this first hour segment we'll be joined by Executive Chef Eddie Chien of Delmonico Kitchen & Bar.
In our second hour, we'll welcome Shana Guzman Pangelinan, President of International Distributors and NyahJoe Cruz, Sales Representative for IDI, who will inform us about some of the fantastic locally grown produce they are distributing, especially some of the hydroponic lettuce products. Finishing up this second segment will be Carol Ragan, owner of Hagatna's Hava Java Cafe.
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 about which everyone has an opinion!
UOGEF/MCA 9th Chefs Cup
February 2, 2011
Hyatt Regency Guam
If you've not yet acquired a ticket to one of the most entertaining gala events of the year, then you should call the UOG Endowment Foundation office at 735-2955/57 between 8am-5pm (week days) as soon as possible!
This year's theme is "Mamma Mia! A Taste of the Mediterranean!" It's a fabulous fund-raiser that will leave you in stitches from laughing so hard at the antics of your fellow islanders performing in video vignettes. Moreover, you will feast in style on a five course/five country dinner prepared by top chefs who will be competing for the coveted Judges Cup and People's Choice Award.
Whet your appetite by previewing the evening's menu, with each chef-created course, as outlined below:
1st Course - Cold Appetizer/Italy
Executive Chef Rey Dasalla, Pacific Islands Club
Tuna Carpaccio with roasted Baby Beets and Lemon Olive Oil
Marinated Scallops with pureed Avocado
Garlic Shrimp Bruschetta with Pesto and Tomato
2nd Course - Soup/Morocco
Executive Chef Peter Duenas, Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro
Moroccan-spiced Pumpkin Soup with Olive-oil poached Shrimp and stuffed Moroccan Flatbread
3rd Course Hot Appetizer/France
Executive Sous Chef Daniel Lenherr, Westin Resort Guam
Hot Smoked Lobster served with Crab Cake and sweet, semi-dried Tomato Fondue
4th Course Entree/Spain
Executive Chef Michael Moral, Churrasco Brazilian BBQ
Braised Beef Tenderloin in Rioja Sauce
5th Course Dessert/Greece
Executive Chef Geoffrey Perez, PROA Restaurant
Honey Lavender Kataifi with tangerine Gelato, Strawberry Leather-Pistachio Dust
Now that's just awesome, n'est pas? I can't wait to savor these flavors from the Mediterranean. Come down and join us for a fun-filled night to remember!
Golden Coffee Shop
There's certainly no shortage of coffee shops on Guam and that's a good thing! Golden Coffee Shop opened last fall and has been steadily building its customer base They are just down from Rev & Tax and next door to Besta Market. They offer a full menu selection for breakfast, lunch & dinner, similar to Shirley's, Kar-Kar (formerly May's), Vivian's, and Michelle's Coffee Shop. In fact, Bing, one of the owners, came from Michelle's. We stopped for breakfast and recommend trying to get there before 11am on Sunday since while they'll still serve breakfast, they are commencing lunch service.
I ordered the Shrimp Scramble ($6.50) with Fried Rice (add $1). I also ordered a side of Chamorro Sausage (8 pcs/$3.99). They don't skimp on the shrimp in this filling breakfast. The fried rice was tasty and not greasy.
I also ordered a side order of pancakes ($3.95), which surprised us as they were huge and apparently trying to compete with Jan Z's ginormous version! Zee had the Cheese Omelet with Wheat Toast ($6.75).
Although this breakfast was quite good and reasonably priced, Bing told us to try the lunch specialties, like Orange Chicken and the spicy General Tso's Chicken. I'm sure I'll be back for lunch and dinner.
Chopstix - A Japanese Restaurant
153 Martyr Street
It was a Friday night and we decided to go to Hagatna and see how Chopstix was doing. It was quiet when we got there but soon we warmed things up by chatting with owners Mike & Kaori Sablan. They are enjoying a very busy lunch crowd and dinners can be busy, too.
There is no question that Kaori takes enormous pride in creating some of the best-tasting Japanese food you'll find on island. This is what I experienced with my Katsu-don (pork cutlet egg rice bowl $12.75). This comes as a set for dine-in which includes salad and miso soup while the take-out version ($9) does not. I've ordered Katsu-don all over and had a favorite established already, however Kaori's bowl was "perfect" this night! The broth permeated the rice so every bite to the bottom of the bowl was flavorful. The cutlet, egg, and onions couldn't have been better cooked. The dish was so fresh that I marveled with every bite. In addition to the aforementioned miso soup and salad (green and macaroni), there is sliced daigo that was pika-licious!
The Katsu-don so excites me still, I jumped ahead of myself writing this review! I cannot fail to mention the Agi Nasu (grilled eggplant with meat sauce) appetizer before our entrees. This is not on the menu, but ask to see if they have it since it depends upon the availability of eggplant. The local Japanese go crazy over this spooning and scooping the hot eggplant up with the delicious meat sauce.
Zee's had been craving the Japanese version of hamburger steak for a while and Chopstix's offering of Hamburger Steak and Potato Croquette ($14) really hit the spot from both a taste and presentation point of view. The dish is dramatically served on a sizzling platter, with fresh steamed carrots, broccoli, and corn kernels. The croquette is panko-crusted for extra crispness. The beef gravy on the hamburger steak is rich and satisfying - certainly ranking high in the category of favored comfort foods - like my Katsu-don!
Also, I need to mention that Chopstix is one of the only places that serves Starbuck's Ice Cream - I didn't know they had this, but the Mocha's just divine and a great finish to an excellent meal.
Nit's Thai Cuisine
Route 8, Purple Heart Highway
Barrigada (next to Golden Sea Restaurant)
"Thank you, Wanit "Nit" Sattang Limtiaco! You are following your passion and doing a wonderful job with your cooking." This is the last line of my February 27, 2009 newsletter article on Nit's Thai Cuisine in the Chamorro Village.
She just opened her new eatery on January 7 and we stopped by to congratulate her on fulfilling her vision of opening a stand-alone restaurant. Her Chamorro Village experience helped establish her reputation for quality and propelled her to this next step.
Nit's is spacious, clean, air-conditioned, and has plenty of parking. Thai music plays in the background and one wall has a marvelous scenic mural. Thai art pieces are placed around the walls adding to the pleasant atmosphere.
We started out with the Fried Chicken Wings ($8). Of all the Thai restaurants here (and we have many good, even great ones), I have to admit that Nit's special Thai seasonings make these among the best I've had.
We also had the Combination Pad Thai ($9), that had both chicken and shrimp. I used some "Thai finadene" to kick these noodles up a notch.
Next came our Papaya Salad ($7), which was quite tasty, though we could have used a bit more heat. We'd asked for medium-heat, but it wasn't quite as spicy as we expected. Still, all the ingredients were fresh and layered for an appealing presentation.
Our final dish was the Chicken Pha-naeng ($9), which actually had enough pepper to make it past medium. It was richly flavored, though, we have other Pha-naengs we prefer.
Again, it is great to have Nit finally at her own full-service restaurant, with Lunch Specials starting at just $5. This will certainly become a favorite Thai dining spot for many!
Delmonico Kitchen & Bar
I have to admit to feeling a bit deprived for taking so long to drop by and visit my old friend Chef Eddie Chien at Delmonico Kitchen & Bar in the Bayview Hotel in the space formerly known as Sereno's.
This is certainly a destination eatery where food is to be enjoyed along with wine, beer, shots, and cocktails. I will certainly be back with more company to do a full-on review of this worthy restaurant. Today, however, I can share with you my Mac & Cheese experience, backed up by a burger that was delectable to the max!
Everything about Delmonico is visually engaging, from the menu to the walls to the tables to the bar and even the people! So when you start perusing the menu and the description of the dishes, your imagination kicks into high gear and you are already savoring your meal before you get it.
Delmonico's Creamy Mac-N-Cheese made with a Jack cheese blend and offered in either Spicy or Regular ($6, add chicken for $2, crab for $3) is probably as good as it gets. Thick, cheesy, flavored with spices and onions, this dish concentrates and maximizes the mac & cheese experience. No macaroni here, but Rigatoni beautifully cooked al dente with a taste that compels you to eat more.
I ordered the KB Ultimate Steak Burger with 8 oz Angus Beef & Griddled Cheese ($11). The sesame seed-topped buns are grilled and embrace a man-sized portion of beef topped by a crunchy-crispy layer of griddled cheese - think of it like a cheese "cookie". The burger was one that you'd just love to eat with red, juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and a side of home fries.
There are plenty of other items on this engaging menu that I will certainly get back to try. I know now what I've been missing!
I need to briefly comment on a new menu item at Ruby Tuesdays. We went for the Garden Bar and I wanted a mini-combo. I discovered that they have a couple of new menu items and one was the Salmon Cake Minis with fresh leaf lettuce, tomato, and sweet, spicy chili sauce, $15.99 with Garden Bar. (Budget-minded hint: get there before 3pm and you can have these for $12.99!) These have an amazing amount of salmon chunks compressed between two soft buns. I'll have to try the Buffalo Chicken Minis next time! Good job guys!
Tu Re Cafe (formerly Barista Blends)
One of the recent newcomers to Guam is a sleek, well-designed and sophisticated cafe named "Tu Re" which means "You again". I kind of felt that way the other day when I dropped by and returned again looking for my lost cell phone!
It's no mystery why this place continues to stay busy with customers enjoying the outdoor beach front deck. Co-owners Jadeen Tuncap and Roxanne Garrido have put their personal imprimatur on this place, bestowing upon it a defined grace, style, and passion. Their culinary team is headed up by Chef Glenn Taitano, and he's is joined by award-winning Pastry Chef Gary Cruz, formerly of the Nikko Hotel. Tu Re certainly qualifies as a local establishment!
I briefly stopped by for a late lunch and ordered the Black Jack Salad ($8.65) , which has seared Pacific salmon, Pepper Jack cheese, corn, black beans, tomato, Iceberg lettuce, Chipolte ranch dressing, and a Patty Melt ($7.95).
I was more impressed by the ingredient-laden salad than the Patty Melt, which while it did have the right flavors of caramelized onions complementing the melted Swiss cheese, the patty itself was rather small, but maybe that;s how it was designed.
I didn't get a chance to try another sandwich, the Chicken Pesto with seared chicken breast, Provolone, red onion, tomato, and roasted garlic pesto on a baguette ($8.95). I learned that this is one of their more popular sandwiches. Sandwiches come with a fruit bowl companion. Illy coffee and China Mist Tea. They also have a selection of wines.
Tu Re is not open for dinner but they do have a breakfast selection I'm eager to try including the BLT Bagel with Avocado, Breakfast Burrito, Spinach & Bacon Panini, and Tu Re Pancakes.
I did have the opportunity to eat some of Chef Gary's pastries, namely the White Chocolate Cheesecake, the Chocolate Cupcake, and a Cream Puff. With the azure blue waters in the background of the photo I took, these epitomize the phrase "pastries in paradise"! I will make it a point to come back for sunset and wine! What a marvelous place to kick back & enjoy our island's beauty!
Singapura Authentic Singapore Cuisine
Royal Orchid Hotel, 2nd floor
Singapura brings to Guam a delightful variety of foods reflecting the diverse culture of Singapore, which blends Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian culinary traditions. This restaurant is brand spanking new and though I've been asked by management not to over-promote them as they don't want to be inundated with customers during this soft-opening period, I can say that guests will probably be very pleased with the style and aesthetics of this restaurant. The ambiance is distinctly Asian, and the menu selections, which celebrate the most popular Singapore preparations for lobster, prawns, scallops, and crab, are impressive.
In addition to the seafood offerings, you will find soups, (an intriguing one is a pork rib soup called Ba Kut Teh), salads, stir-fried vegetable creations, and appetizers like the Crispy Fried Shrimp with Chinese Spices, Crispy Fried Prawn Paste Chicken Wings, Wok Fried Clams with Sambal Sauce and Steamed Mussels with Oyster Sauce any of which should stimulate your palate!
One of the most enticing dishes is the Hainan Chicken Rice aka Singapore Chicken Rice ($11.99). This is Singapore's most famous national dish and features aromatic rice and tender poached chicken served with three distinct sauces for dipping - chili, ginger and sweet soy.
Finally, we recommend trying the Sauteed Ribs with Coffee Sauce ($15.99). These tender ribs are sauted in a house made coffee-flavored sauce, accented with a dash of cinnamon, and are finger-licking tasty!
There are more fabulous treats awaiting you (and me) and credit needs to be given to Darren Talai, Managing Director and John Trinidad, General Manager as well as the rest of their team for expanding Guam's culinary sophistication to a new level. It is a brilliantly-conceived and well-executed concept that will astonish the dining public! Why go to Singapore when Singapura can bring Singapore's exotic cuisines to you?
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