February 25, 2011, Volume 11 Number 4
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It's been an incredibly busy week with many food-related activities literally "filling my plate"! Last Thursday I was up at Andersen Air Force Base doing a Guam Food Guy presentation to the AESC (Andersen Enlisted Spouses' Club). This was one of those great sharing events where I guide the audience through the best dining experiences using my laptop projecting large images of delicious meals I've had. I was asked to bring some local food and had my friend, Peter Duenas, chef/owner of Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro prepare some Tinala Katne (Dried Beef), Hinetnon Tapon (Clam & Spinach Dip), Chamoru Flatbread, and Finadene Dinanche, which the adventurous palates enjoyed.
Then this past Monday evening the annual MCA Christmas Party was at the Westin and as one can imagine there was food galore! On Tuesday I attended a luncheon/press conference at Meskla for Benevita Cocosugar where Pacific Rim Brokers donated proceeds to the Guam Diabetes Association. On Wednesday I attended a luncheon at The View in the Marriott for the launch of Hafa Adai Magazine, the in-flight magazine for the new airline, Fly Guam. I was pleased to see an article I wrote published in this attractive publication.
This week's newsletter has further evidence of my dining exploits with my dinner visit to Samurai Seaport Restaurant on Wednesday and my discovery of the relatively new eatery at the Nikko called the Rocky Mountain Restaurant on Thursday. As I've said many times before, it's impossible to get bored on Guam when you're as busy as I am!
On a more somber note, I'd like to take this moment to offer my sincere condolences to the family of the late Ray Rojas, Manager of Guam Community College's Bookstore, who passed Thursday from an early morning traffic accident. I worked closely with Ray providing chef apparel for the GCC Culinary Academy. We will all miss his smiling face and outgoing personality.
Ken. the "Guam Food Guy"
Simon Sanchez ProStart Culinary Team Wins ProStart Competition
It was a long-awaited victory for Vicky Schrage, the instructor for the Simon Sanchez ProStart Team as they garnered first place over rival, George Washington High School, who has won the past two years. Sanchez has come in second place for the past seven years. The Sanchez Team scored 94 out of 100, edging out GW by four points. They will now travel to Kansas City in May to compete at the National ProStart Competition. Team Captain Jericho Hutchison lead his team-members Jasmine Nadres, Regine Olarte and Bruce Inciong in preparing three courses within a three hour window with actual cooking time of just one hour. The team's mentor chef was Hyatt Regency Guam's new Executive Chef, Josef Budde.
Simon Sanchez ProStart Culinary Team (L-R), Vicky Schrage, Instructor; Regine Olarte; Jasmine Nadres; Jericho Hutchison, Team Captain; Bruce Inciong, and Mentor Chef Josef Budde, Executive Chef Hyatt Regency Guam
On K57's Tourism & You Guam Food Guy Show Simon Sanchez ProStart Culinary Team (L-R), Mentor Chef Josef Budde, Executive Chef Hyatt Regency Gua); Bruce Inciong, Jericho Hutchison, Team Captain; Jasmine Nadres; Vicky Schrag, Instructor, and Regine Olarte
The menu prepared and served by the Sanchez team was inspired and inventive, and demonstrated an amazing proficiency in completing all three courses with excellent scorings. The photos below depict these glorious creations:
First Course: Crispy Crab Cakes with Salad Bouquet Served with Brown Butter Finadene
Second Course: Sauteed Veal Loin wrapped in Pancetta with Spinach and Provolone Cheese, Pumpkin Gnocchi with Black Sea Salt, Served with Vichy Baby Carrots, Futed Mushrooms, and Pan-Jus
Dessert: "Melting Moments" Layers of Grand Marnier flavored Chocolate Mousse, Marinated Strawberries
We congratulate Team Sanchez for their winning performance and wish them success in their Mainland competition.
(Across GPO, next to Kar Kar Restaurant)
A new cafe has opened in the former Kim Chee Complex (across from GPO), which has been remodeled as the new home for Princess Jolie and Expressions Studio. This cafe is called Haley's Castle and they serve illy caffe and other beverages such as smoothies, frappes, etc. along with Sandwich Sensations (make them your own way) and Pancake Pleasures, which was our reason for going.
We stopped by one Saturday morning (they open at 7am) and ordered two versions from their pancake menu. I had the Haley & Paradis Blue Blueberry Pancakes which consists of two blueberry-filled panckaes served with maple syrup ($7). Zee had Gina's Crunchy Peanut Butter Pancakes (just like they sound), served with maple syrup also for $7. We both had hot Mochas to drink at $4.75 each.
The food was alright and we noticed the menu has a lot of other interesting pancake creations including a "make your own option" with different fillings and ingredients. There was no doubt that our blueberry pancake was blue and that the peanut butter pancake was definitely a crunch fest! For the money I'd have liked a side of bacon or sausage link. But the again, this is a boutique cafe where you can use your imagination to make what your heart desires! We'll have to come back here to see how they progress and develop their food concept. It's a good start.
PIC's Rock & Roll Cafe Tumon 646-9171
It was late, I was in Tumon and I needed to eat! I remembered that PIC's Rock & Roll Cafe was open and that they've got a lot of fun stuff on their menu so off I went. I ordered one of their Specialty Pizzas ($14.50) which had Pepperoni, Marinara, and Cheese. It certainly looked big and appealing when it came. It was good, though I'd like a little more pepperoni.
I also ordered the Crispy Fried Chicken with Steamed Rice, Vegetables, and Sweet & Sour Pineapple Sauce ($12.95). I had a craving for the chicken and ordering two items would provide me with a second meal from leftovers at home. The chicken was cooked very well though it could have been a little moister. I liked the vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli) as they were still quite crunchy and well-seasoned. It is fun to people watch here, as the tourists from Korea and Japan (and their kids) really like the American-style menu items here as well as the big portions.
Rocky Mountain Restaurant
1F Hotel Nikko Guam
Open 11am-2pm Lunch 6-10pm Dinner
If (like me) you've not been to the Nikko Hotel in a while, you'll be pleasantly surprised and certainly impressed by the remodeling of the entrance way to the Lobby. White brick walls on either side of the walkway form barriers for infinity pools on both sides. The walkway is framed by dark wooden planks that curve like a giant rib cage as you slowly walk from the parking area to the Lobby. It's like a totally different property and definitely a step up!
Also new is the Rocky Mountain Restaurant, located on the first floor next to Magellan Coffee Shop, in the space previously occupied for years by Evening Dew. Rocky Mountain opened in December 2010 and is not owned by the hotel, rather it is a concession owned by a private business. For the time being as they are working on developing their menu strategy, they are offering what they call "Healthy Japanese Nabe" - nabe is essentially a hearty soup and can contain many types of ingredients. One of the versions they offer is Chiritori-Nabe which has vegetables and meats stewed in a miso-based special sauce. The dish resembles the Chinese hot pot in that you cook the stew/soup at the table from a large cooking pan that holds a mound of thinly sliced beef covering a blend of vegetables such as onions, carrots, bean sprouts, and chopped cabbage.
There are also cubes of meat that look like (yes, you guessed it) SPAM! All of this cooks slowly in the pan, usually about 8-10 minutes until done. A bowl of steamed rice is included and udon noodles, which you place in the nabe blend to heat up.I ordered some Kimchee ($3) as a side dish.
What I didn't realize was that this Chiritori-Nabe meal is an all-you-can-eat experience. For dinner the price is $19.80 (for locals it's $16.80) The lunch price is $12.80 (locals pay $9.80). I kept eating and cooking and had a few swallows of Draft Kirin Beer which was on special for $2.
The beef is good quality and thinly sliced like shabu shabu. You can get more of this, and vegetables, and udon and Spam, as much as you can eat within a limit of 90 minutes. I couldn't even finish my first pan of food so that tells you they don't skimp on their portions!
Rocky Mountain Restaurant is a cowboy-themed restaurant, with a lot of Western wall art, signs, and even horseshoes. I told my server, Orlando, that I don't know if many will consider this nabe all that healthy since it is served with SPAM - he just replied that you can move it to the side! I guess that's one way of getting around it. The other is to order the dish without SPAM. Either way, I think locals will love this place once they they've tasted this flavorful meat filled dish.
Samurai Seaport Steak & Wine Company
Fiesta Resort Guam
This write up is a follow up to our November 2006 review of Samurai Seaport, which still carries on giving people what they want. I recently went for dinner and saw that they had Carlsberg Beer on special for $2.95 during Happy Hour from 6-8:30pm and that's a great value. I'll be sure to arriver earlier next time so I can avail myself of it!
I wasn't sure what I wanted to eat, but while looking over the menu I spotted the Super Specials offerings which featured a Live Maine Lobster Dinner, a New York Steak & Lobster Tail, or a New York Steak & Maine Lobster, each offered for only $39.95 (plus 10% service charge). These entrees include the Salad & Appetizer Bar (if you dine before 9pm), Teppanyaki Vegetables, Rice, and Miso Soup. They also have the FOR TWO COURSE ($70), which features two New York Steaks and one Whole Live Maine Lobster which is really an excellent deal for two people.
While I wasn't interested in the salad bar having had my fill of salad earlier that day, I definitely felt a craving for Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon ($12), which I ordered. While I sat there I was greeted by Samurai Manager Albert Sison who even brought me out a plate of Seared Tuna with Garlic & Green Onion which I ate and liked. He said it came from the appetizer bar. I also chatted with Sous Chef Willie Besabe, who does the Western-style menu items.
While I was eating my appetizer I must have regained my appetite because I ordered another menu item, this time from Chef Willie's Western Dinner Specials Menu which has pasta, seafood, Surf & Turf, and even rack of lamb from the grill which I think I must come back for one night. However, I decided on the Baked Alaskan King Crab Legs ( $41.95), which is a huge portion of King Crab baked in its own juices topped with lemon butter sauce and fresh basil.
I watched as my teppan chef Sonny deftly prepared the seafood and vegetables, cutting them and cooking on the grill. The lobster tail was huge, and he placed the cooked lobster meat back in the shell. The meat was sweet and I dipped it in the melted butter. I dipped my bacon-wrapped shrimp in the ponzu sauce. The New York steak was cooked medium rare and grilled with garlic. I dipped it in the Samurai's unique finadene which is made with a little sake. The combination of flavors was edifying as I moved from tofu to onion to steak to bell pepper, to lobster, to shrimp.
Then while I was still working on this my Alaska King Crab Legs came out! WOW!!! This was simply awesome! I hadn't had these baked before and now I'm hooked! They were so moist and juicy with a taste I can't describe as the basil imparts its own unique taste. The meat separated easily from the thick shell legs. This dish has good broccoli, asparagus, bell pepper, carrots, and a baked tomato dusted with parmesan. This was fantastic - the meat was sweet and seemed to last forever. When I thought things couldn't get better, Chef Sonny put a bowl of Garlic Fried Rice in front of me! Talk about tasty!
I managed to finish this feast. It had been too long since I'd been here and now I've got to make up for lost time. I talked with Samurai's veteran Executive Chef, Yoshikatsu Yoshiyaki, who has been at this establishment from the beginning and previously cooked at the much-loved and much-missed Kurumaya Seahorse before. What a special night this was for me as I re-connected with a restaurant I'd been missing for some time. I feel like the "Prodigal Food Guy" at times! No worries all is good now!
Ita dake masu!
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