Although I should be rejoicing and celebrating a recent life change for one of our chef colleagues, I am reminded instead of the haunting lyrics and melancholy melody of George Harrison's song, "All Things Must Pass". In case you are wondering who I'm talking about, it's our friend and fellow MCA Board Member Andreas Lorenz, the former Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage in Charge of Kitchens for the Westin Resort Guam.
Chef Andreas with his lovely wife, Merce, and their Guam-born son, Kai, have left Guam for China, where Andreas will be part of the pre-opening team for the St. Regis Sanya in Yalong Bay, Hainan, China. He will be the Director of Kitchens there and it will be an exciting opportunity for him and his family. Face it....it's a fantastic career move, nevertheless, Andreas will be missed here by many. Aside from being the Vice-President of the Micronesian Chefs' Association, he was the mentor chef for the George Washington High School Pro-Start team, which in 2009 took 4th place in the nation and appeared on the Food Network in an interview with Guy Fieri!
There are many achievements by this hard-working, affable chef. He was always looking for new and better ways to do things, exploring new cooking techniques, and always willing to share and inspire. He was a "techie-chef", using an iPhone and preferring to read electronic catalogs in lieu of paper copies. He set up the MCA Facebook page and was actively updating and posting to it. He oversaw the renovation of Cafe Kalachucha converting it into the ultra modern interactive dining sensation called taste. Prego's Bellissimo hours was launched and Prego has a robust new menu all under his guidance.
Well, I've covered some of the major accomplishments of this good man and friend. We know he'll do well and that he and his family will always have a home here on Guam. Aufedersein, Andreas!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Pista Sa Nayon Sa Guam!
Filipino Food Festival at Alize Restaurant
June 4-19, 2011
Guam Reef Hotel
You've only got three more days to savor the delicious, fresh, and authentic tastes of Filipino cuisine prepared by visiting chefs from Cebu's famous Plantation Bay Resort & Spa! I was fortunate to receive an invitation from the Reef's Promotion Manager, Chito de Guzman, to attend the food festival this past Wednesday. There was so much food and I did my best to try it all. I understand that some of the featured menu items change each day, so what I had may not be available if you visit today, Saturday or Sunday.
One extra bonus for me was to be introduced to visiting celebrity beauty queens from the Philippines who were here to attend the Miss Earth Guam Pageant. Chito introduced me to Frank Santos, the CEO/President, who then introduced me to Karla Henry, Miss Earth 2008, and to Patricia Tumulak, Miss Earth Philippines Fire 2009. I was honored and certainly enchanted by their poise, gracefulness, beauty, and pleasing personalities. Like me, they were there primarily to EAT!
Among the food items featured this day was Bulalo Soup (Beef Shank), Shrimp Sinigang, Pinakbet (steamed tropical vegetables with anchovy), Rellenadong Hipon (stuffed shrimp w/sweet tomato sauce), Palabok, Longanisa Fried Rice, Pork Sisig, Kalderatang Baka (Filipino beef stew), Lechon Kawali, Puso Ng Saging sa Gata (banana heart salad in coconut milk), Pandesal at Margarina (Pinoy sweet bread with butter), Halo Halo, Ensaymada, Leche Flan, Polveron, Turon, Maja Mais, and more pastries.
The Bulalo soup was absolutely wonderful with a fresh and fortifying flavor with ginger and tender beef shank and vegetables. I also was taken by the Pork Sisig, which was prepared Ilocano-style. It was an exciting dish with loads of flavor. The Palabok was also quite nice, with the fresh orange tinted noodles sprinkled with garlic chips and green onions.
I was introduced to the visiting chefs from Cebu's Plantation Bay Resort & Spa. Chef Jonathon Concon, Sous Chef Jose Napoles, and Chef de Partie Danilo Intong took great pride in describing the foods and making sure that I tried everything. Pastry Chef Danilo brought me another pandesal when he thought I just might need another! They were also impressed to meet the visiting beauty queens and didn't hesitate to get in a photo op with them! The Reef Hotel has hosted this event for years and they have done an outstanding job in bringing to Guam the unique and wonderful tastes of the Philippines. Mabuhay!
Tamuning ( Between Airport Mobil & Triple J Auto)
Open 6:30am-6:30pm Mon-Sat
It's a trend with no end! That's what seems to be happening in the world of coffee houses on Guam! Everyone wants to get in on the caffeine bandwagon!
One of the latest entries to the market has something different to offer that sets them apart from the rest. They actually roast their coffee beans on site and believe me, you can taste the difference with their freshly roasted and brewed espresso drinks. I had a perfect Cappuccino ($4.50) and though I did things in reverse by stopping by for lunch before ever trying breakfast, I was quite impressed with this place where you can't help but relax no matter how busy you are.
I met the two owners, Tiffany Fernandez and Maria San Nicolas. They've got a good handle on what they intend to do and are blessed to have an awesome, hard-working and motivated staff. Only open for about three weeks in a newly refurbished building, the Marine Corps Drive location can be a blessing and a curse because there is only one turn in that you have to make to get to Roasted, and sometimes the traffic is moving too fast. However, I believe these two ladies are undeterred by this challenge and will keep growing their customer base by extending a good product to the consumer. They will soon be selling roasted beans to customers under their brand, Slingstone Coffee, which eventually will be distributed throughout the island. Yes, these ladies are ambitious, and I applaud them!
For lunch I had the Roasted Dip ($8.50) of house roasted (see that use of "roast" again?!) beef with a creamy horseradish spread, dressed with grilled onions and melted cheese served with their take on an au jus dipping sauce. This was a pretty decent sandwich. They obviously care how the meat is cooked and it seemed the au jus had a hint of wine. This was a gourmet take on the standard French Dip.
There are other lunch items such as The Day After Fiesta Ham Sandwich ($7.50) which is a large (HUSKY) sandwich with baked ham, creamy mustard sauce and melted cheese. They have Chicken Salad and Crab Salad sandwiches in petite ($4.50) and husky ($7.50) sizes. They also have a Veggie sandwich, some pre-made salads, cookies, and signature muffins and cupcakes.
The breakfast I had on Thursday was actually all they had left after a wild morning rush that wiped them out. A lot of their products are pre made and sold as take-out for the busy on-the-go working person. I ordered Fried Rice ($2.75) and a Fiesta Breakfast Sandwich ($3.50), which was delicious. They use a baked ham and you can taste the difference, plus they had plenty of it! No skimping or corner-cutting here! In addition to the plentiful baked ham, the sandwich boasted egg and cheddar cheese. Other breakfast fare includes a Breakfast Burrito ($3.75), Oatmeal with Brown Sugar & Milk ($4), and Granola.
Of course, their claim to fame will be their coffees and they have some from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Brazil, which you can get served as a "Pour Over" or as an espresso blend for lattes, cappuccinos, and Americano . Also available are Frappes, Smoothies, Hot Chocolate and Gourmet Teas.
All in all, they're off to a good start and have been seeing repeat customers along with new ones everyday. The word is getting out! Roasted will become a quality of life issue here on our island!!
Marine Drive (across from Blockbuster and before Alupang Beach Tower)
Open from 7am-7pm Mon-Sat
Yet another new coffee house/cafe has opened its doors for business. Sugarnomics has been open now for about five weeks. They are actually a specialty bakery and pastry shop since one of the owners, Tess Yao, trained at the prestigious French Culinary Institute. They do custom order cakes, pastries and offer catering services.
You can tell before you walk in the door that your in for an adventure. Just look at that giant wire whisk hanging on the outside! This is a cute and offbeat kind of place it was described as "quirky" in a published write up and maybe that's a better description than "cute".
In addition to the pastries and baked goods, they offer coffee drinks with a 12 oz. Cafe Latte ($3.50) and a 16 oz. for $4 with Cappuccinos at the same price. They have breakfast items too, including Granola with maple honey and syrup and dried fruit ($4), and French Toast with maple butter syrup ($4.50) using a house made bread. They have a "BS" Breakfast Sandwich ($6.25) featuring two bacon slices, two eggs, cheese, arugula and aioli. I'll have to come back for breakfast. I did have lunch there on Thursday.
I'd heard about this particular sandwich so I had to try it out. It's called the Cuban ($8.50) and is made with really juicy roast pork, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles. The bread is a soft roll and the sandwich is grilled like a panini. The bread is their own special recipe, so it's something you have to try. The Cuban is a very sizeable sandwich and could be easily shared.
One of the things I enjoyed at lunch was the Milo Dino ($3.50/16 oz.), which is a malted chocolate beverage that's quite refreshing. I remember the Milo candy bars and this has the same flavor profile.
Tess's husband is Andy Figueroa and he's the one behind these sandwich creations. I have to tell you about the Grilled Cheese Peppered Bacon Sandwich ($6.50). It features three kinds of cheese (Gruyere, mozzarella, and Swiss) along with peppered bacon. There are cookies, cakes and pastries with different ingredients that'll make you scratch your head before you eat it, then you'll rub your tummy craving more! Try Sugarnomics, you'll find something you've never had before!
A Celebration of Taste & Fusion with Roy Yamaguchi
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Roy's has celebrated its 20th year of operation here on Guam! Roy Yamaguchi was here for three days, however, some of the menu creations will be available at Roy's for the next month. I was fortunate to have been part of a company dinner party that was able to accommodate my need to taste a variety of menu items and to photograph them, which is something I wouldn't have been able to do as an individual or a couple.
Among the dishes we ordered was a Cassoulet of Lobster, Shrimp and Scallop with Chinese Congee and Lobster Sauce ($23), which was something probably best not shared! I had some scallop from this with the congee and lobster sauce - this was dreamy.
Next was a Warm Thai-style Crab Dynamite with Avocadoes, Mangos, and Hearts of Palm Salad ($16), which was easier to share. The hearts of palm were shaved atop a pile of mixed greens with enticingly seasoned crab.
The first two appetizers were new creations and the next, Prosciutto-wrapped Scallops topped with Melted Foie Gras ($16) was one a Roy Classic. You know this is a worthy dish just from the description! It was fortunately shareable.
Another new appetizer was Hamachi Sashimi with Avocado, Hearts of Palm and Finadene Ponzu ($19). One of Roy's objectives is to start creating some dishes that have some Chamorro or local origins or influences. This worked wonderfully with his ponzu sauce. The sashimi was the melt in your mouth tender and the dish had a wonderful overall flavor.
We were then delivered a grouper dish described on the menu as "Gadao" with roasted root veggies and black bean crab sauce ($27) and this fish preparation was a favorite amongst our less meat-craving members.
The next entrees we shared were all done using the sous vide cooking method, which is cooking vacuum-sealed in a water bath at low temperature for hours. The first of these was the Kurobuta Pork Belly Chamorro Style, Green Beans, Finadene Chimchuri sauce ($31). Oh my, this was do "die for" (of course I didn't yet, but it certainly has to be on the menu in heaven!) This had been cooked for more than 24 hours and the meat was firm, yet tender and exquisitely flavored. Not everyone wanted to try this so I ate most of it myself. I had heard Roy himself say that this was one of his personal favorites he was interviewed by Ray Gibson on K57. With the local long beans, this is a dish I'd be proud to designate as a gourmet fusion Guam cuisine choice. (Please note that we had the pork belly and the beef dishes sliced in the kitchen prior to serving to facilitate sharing.)
Speaking of beef, where's the beef? The 48 Hour Wagyu Short Ribs with Seasonal Veggies and Scallop Potatoes ($36) was a major home run and one of the high points of the dinner. It was food nirvana, no less.The meat could not have been any more tender and still keep its form and integrity. It was a dream steak.
Finally, we had the Sous Vide Lamb Rack with Vietnamese Flavors, Mango Pain Perdu and Red Wine Curry Sauce ($39). Probably the best lamb I've ever eaten. This was that good and so marvelously tender with a texture that gave up the meat without resistance. It was on par with the steak in its exquisite perfection.
We all agreed that the Achuete Rice (red rice) was more intensely flavored than any red rice on island. It was grand, but to be honest, we didn't have a lot of room for rice. We barely were able to finish our Hot Chocolate Melting Souffles! With Roy Yamaguchi himself in the house, how can one be tied down by dietary constraints? Kudos to Chef Dennis Salenga and his hard-working kitchen team who make dinner happen when Roy isn't "in the house"!