As March winds down to an end just in time for us to take a "breather", we're hard back at it again in April with events piling up by the day! You want to be sure to attend PHARE (Pacific Hotel & Restaurant Expo) on April 12-13 at the Hyatt Regency Guam, which is back after a year hiatus. If you are in the hospitality industry, this event has a little something for every aspect of your business. A week later on April 20th is our 15th Annual Auction & Wine Tasting Event for the benefit of the Guam Girl Scouts. This year's theme is a "Ticket to Motown" featuring live cooking stations, live entertainment, and a variety of wines from local vendors. Advance tickets can be purchased from Guam Girl Scouts Board Members and, of course, I am one, so don't hesitate to ask!
This week's newsletter is bursting with so much information to cover I need to jump right into it! Please join me for this exciting ride down Guam's culinary highway!
Ken, The "Guam Food Guy"
Chopstix - A Japanese Restaurant
153 Martyr Street
If you've not yet been to Chopstix in Hagatna, you are missing out on one of Guam's hidden Japanese treasures. The food is authentic and prepared fresh by Kaori Sablan. We were there for dinner one night and it is well worth the drive from Tamuning to Hagatna to eat Japanese!
We had the Gyoza to start ($6), which was dispatched quickly accompanied by my Asahi and Zee's cold sake. We also tried the Spicy Chicken Karaage ($9.75), which was a different take on this Japanese-style fried chicken, with sesame seeds sprinkled over lightly battered and spicy chicken thigh pieces. What we didn't get in crispness was more than made up for in juiciness and taste.
I had been craving Kaori's Katsudon (Pork Cutlet Egg Bowl Set, $14.25) which I have certified to be the best on island. It's probably more expensive than most others, however, it is well worth the money and you sure can't beat the quality. Everything in her version of this iconic dish is fresh and she is generous with the broth so that nothing dries out. This dinner set comes with salad, which is a combo of green salad on one side and a very fresh homemade macaroni salad on the other as well as pickled radish.
Earlier in the day I had also been craving the curry, and that was reinforced when owner Mike Sablan carried a steaming plate to another customer. The aroma was so powerful that I had to order Chicken Cutlet Curry ($14.50), which also comes with the salad and pickled radish. This was another satisfying selection.
Chopstix does have a lunch menu featuring special prices. Located in Hagatna just down the street from Cup & Saucer and across from Calvo's Insurance, you don't want to miss out on this really delicious, well prepared Japanese food.
Simon Sanchez Wins ProStart High School Culinary Competition 2012
It was deja vu for the Simon Sanchez ProStart team when the results were announced at last Friday's competition in GCC's Multipurpose Auditorium. They edged out the JFK Islander's Team to take first place and the opportunity to represent Guam in the National ProStart Competition in Baltimore, Maryland later in April. Sanchez competed against teams from George Washington and Southern High School as well. There were six Department of Defense Schools participating in a competition amongst themselves. The team from Kadena, Okinawa, took first place honors in this group.
As is our tradition, we are presenting the three-course meal that the winning team prepared:
Salmon En Papillote on a bed of Spinach with Dill Vinaigrette
Braised Deboned Chicken Leg "Duxelle" with Pan Sauce, Potato Croquette and Sauteed Baby Carrots Cafe
Steamed Orange Chocolate Cake, Candied Orange Peel, Orange Sauce and Caramel Brittle
Congratulations to Team Simon Sanchez on their outstanding performance! We also congratulate their Instructor and Mentor Chef, Vickie Schrage. [L-R: Regine Olarte, Jasmine Nadres (Captain), Leyann Lusung, Marivic Capati, and alternate Macdaniel Dimla]
There were many amazing creations from some of the competing teams. I wanted to highlight one dessert that I thought was exceptional. It was George Washington High School's Chocolate-Haupia Pudding Bowl - a multi-colored Chocolate Bowl filled with a combination of Chocolate Haupia Pudding and Rich Tiramisu Cream topped with Chopped Macadamia Nuts and toasted Coconut served on a Peach Coulis This dessert is one you'd buy when dining out! It was an incredibly delectable dessert creation. Good work, Team GW!
Pancakes for Charity
March 25, 2012
Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort
Congratulations to Pacific Financial Company on their 2nd Annual Pancakes for Charity Fundraising event benefiting the Make A Wish Foundation. This year a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Cantate, who performed several sets during the event. This event has become so successful that they literally sold out! There were pancake contests (tossing, flipping, and stacking) as well as raffles galore. I don't think I've ever seen so many pancakes stacked up and tossed around! Next year's event promises to be even bigger!
Delmonico Kitchen & Bar
There's something special about Delmonico in the Bayview Hotel and that something special is the Executive Chef, Eddie Chien. His mastery of culinary has been demonstrated many times over the past twenty years.
I stopped by Delmonico one night after missing the deadline to try out their Dinanache Burger, which is part of their 365 Burger Promotion, or as I call it their "Burger-thon"! They are creating a new burger variation each day for a year with zero repeats and serving these during lunch, which ends at 2pm.
So, I had dinner instead, and couldn't decide if I would have steak or a fish dish for dinner. I opted for the Fresh Salmon ($16) Teppan Cajun Seared with Lemon Soy Butter Sauce. This was an utterly delightful dish, with the salmon cooked perfectly. Eddie's sauce creations are magical, and the lemon soy butter sauce married well with the salmon and its Cajun dusted surface.
I returned the next day after finding out on Delmonico's FB page what their burger feature would be today. I saw it was the Muenster Burger (#21 in the series) . It was a juicy Angus burger with smoked Muenster cheese and a nice red tomato slice, crisp lettuce and toppings. I wasn't sure which side of the burger to approach as it was fairly large. The meal sells for $12 and comes with seasoned fries and your choice of salad or soup.
I can't wait until my next burger experience! Eddie's always coming up with something new and different and delicious!
Benkay Japanese Restaurant
Hotel Nikko Guam
Benkay Japanese Restaurant is revered thanks to its long tradition of quality. Located in the Nikko Hotel, Benkay's prices are geared for tourists although they still retain a viable local customer base thanks to the consistent excellence of the food and the serene atmosphere.
I was fortunate enough to visit Benkey recently for a private luncheon and order the Benkay Shoukado Bento ($25). This traditional Bento set features a sashimi appetizer, tempura as the deep fried dish, the grilled dish was cod, chawanmushi (savory egg custard), rice, miso soup, oshinko (pickles) and dessert. It's always a visual and taste experience to eat a well-executed Bento since the presentation, seasonality and taste are all carefully considered. Bento truly is an art form that one must respect and appreciate. Wouldn't it be great if there was a bento competition? I'd love to be a judge!
The other dish we had was one we shared - Special Nigiri Sushi-Zen ($35). I did manage to get one of the pieces of Uni (sea urchin roe) sushi, along with a shrimp and tuna. I missed getting the Tobiko (flying fish roe). For sushi, it's better to go to Benkay's sushi counter to order a la carte. I would have loved to have the hamachi toro!
MCA's Maila' ta Fan Chesa - A Resounding Success!
Last Friday's 1st ever Maila' ta Fan Chesa was a labor of love built on a foundation of shared visions and dreams. These visions and dreams were from some of the island's top chefs, farmers, and vendors. The event chair person was Shana Guzman Pangelinan, President of International Distributors, Inc. She did an amazing job of organizing this event and keeping all the participants on track in producing one of Guam's most memorable gatherings.
The challenge of using six local produce items from different village locations and preparing an appetizer, beverage and dessert was something only chefs could achieve, and achieve they did! Local basil, bananas, coconut, mango, starfruit and papaya were the main fruits and could be embellished or infused with anything else, including lemongrass and culantro. The Farmer's Co-Op was also there in full force and displays of produce never seen before by many were set up for viewing.
Among some of the creations were:
Mango Boonie Pepper Glazed Prawns with Pickled Green Mango Salad
Minted Mango Cocktail
Basil Lemon and Crispy Biscotti
Caramelized Papaya with Raspberry-Lime Gelato
Coconut Barbecue Spare Ribs with Spicy Tomato Jam
North Side Beef Terrine & Yigollo Banana Salad
Smoked Spanner Crab Atop Star Fruit Gelee with Marinated Cucumbers and Peppers, Spicy Tomato Water and Warm Star Fruit Salsa
There was a cold display competition between four student teams from Guam Community College's Culinary Arts Academy. Team CPK won first place with their carvings, molecular gastronomy, terrines, mousse creations, and presentations. The contestants were judged on the artistic and culinary skills. All teams did a fabulous job with their culinary artistic creations.
We also had a visit from Saipan's Kagman High School, whose chef instructor, Frank Sablan brought five students to view the ProStart Competition and tour GCC Tourism & Hospitality Program.
Please take time to view the photo gallery link to this event. Next year's will be even more spectacular! Congratulations to the Micronesian Chef's Association on a job exceptionally done!
Suphan Thai Restaurant
DNA Plaza (near Yogurtland & Cost-U-Less)
When I mentioned Suphan Thai in our previous newsletter I had not yet eaten there, and had only the endorsements of folks who had been there for their "tasting event" about the quality of the food. Now, after having eaten at Suphan for dinner, I can confidently recommend Suphan Thai Restaurant to you as a positive dining experience. Suphan has only been open for about three weeks and the menu is very focused as they plan to expand from core menu items as the restaurant develops. They expect to offer beer and wine later this year, too.
When you enter Suphan, you will encounter walls filled with photos, paintings, and artwork from Thailand. You will hear Thai music playing on the video monitor. You will see people eating Thai food and smiling! You will probably be greeted by Brad Jiblits, owner of Suphan Thai, who will seat you and give you menus. Once you order, you will receive complimentary "chips and salsa", which is their Thai version of an appetizer while you wait for your order. They give you a small plate that has Som Tom (papaya salad) and sweet sticky rice. That's really thoughtful!
We ordered Sa-Tay ($8) Which is meat (choice of pork or chicken) marinated with fresh herbs and spices, grilled on a stick and served with peanut sauce. We received five large skewers of tender and succulent chicken that was grilled just long enough. The homemade peanut sauce was mild and tasty. I did order a Thai Tea which I thought wasn't strong enough. That was my only complaint!
For our next order we had Fresh Lumpia ($8) which is rice paper wrapped with deep fried tofu, egg, mixed vegetables and noodle served with homemade sauce. There are six pieces (enough to share) and they are really fresh and really meatless! I know a lot of vegetarians who would enjoy this fresh lumpia. All of their food has NO MSG, as well.
We told Brad we'd have Medium-Heat for our entrees and if we needed more heat, we could add our own red pepper. Our next dish was the Red Curry Bamboo, cooked with coconut milk, bamboo shoots and fresh basil (Chicken, Beef or Tofu $9, Shrimp $10) and we went with the the Shrimp option. We were told by Brad that he and his Thai wife, Prathum, ("'Thum" pronounced "Toom") pick fresh bamboo shoots and use young coconut in making their Red Curry. Just by looking you can see there's a different layering of ingredients. You can taste the difference. The basil on top is from Thum's garden. The shrimp were big and juicy! No skimping here!
Our last entree was Pad Thai - Thailand's classic stir noodle dish made with egg, tofu green onion, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts, (Chicken or Tofu - $9.00, Shrimp - $10) . We had the chicken version and were we surprised by the portion. I squeezed the lemon over the sprouts and noodles, blended in the red pepper and peanuts. Our first bite convinced us to have more! It was an excellent Pad Thai. Like a few other folks, we rate a Thai restaurant by its Pad Thai. This is definitely worthy! Other dishes to try are the Noodle Soup, which Brad says is Thum's specialty. The Penang is also recommended. We'll definitely come back. Supan Thai is open from 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. Monday - Saturday!
The Beer Gourmet Dinner
A Culinary Experience with Anheuser-Busch
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
March 27 2012
We had an extraordinary evening that was educational, entertaining, and palate-pleasing! Thanks to the generosity of ABInBev and Ambros, Inc., sponsors of this gourmet dinner, we were able to discover more about beer than we'd learned during the greater parts of our lives. We all were totally enthralled by the humor, wisdom, passion, and knowledge of George Reisch, the visiting Brewmaster of Anheiser-Busch, who is also the Director of Brewmaster Outreach and a former President of the Master Brewers Association of the America's. Let's just say he's one of the world's leading authority's on the subject of beer (5th Generation Brewmaster) and we were honored to have him as our host and tour guide for this special dinner. The Hilton's culinary team, lead by Executive Chef Chris House, rose to the occasion and prepared a splendid 5-course meal that paired exquisitely with a selection of beers, including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Beck's, and Michelob's AmberBock.
Before the dinner during the cocktail, we all sampled beers and ate a range of hors d'oeuvres and canapes that were made for pairing with our beers. We met George Reisch and were immediately taken by his vibrant personality and worldly sense of humor! Over the course of the night, we all grew to appreciate this fine man and look forward to catching up with him again! Learning how to pour and drink beer were lessons not lost on us. We also learned the secret of hops and malted barley, and had the opportunity to touch, smell and chew the barley grains. We learned about the proper glasses to use for drinking beers and how beers are brewed to reach certain styles such as a Premium Lager or a German Style Pilsner, like Beck's. Our emcee for dinner was our own Travis Coffman, who was the perfect pairing for this illustrious brewmaster and Hilton's dynamic executive chef.
The dinner pairings were magnificent(or maybe I was just influenced by the beers!). Let's show and tell! The Scallop and Lobster Medallion Bouillabaisse Tomato Broth Essence of Budweiser, Herb Crostini, Paired with Budweiser was a warming starter. We took our time sipping the beer and savoring the broth. It was fun but also good-tasting.
The second course, Braised Beef Lengua, Yukon Gold Potato, Baby Brussel Sprouts, Turnips, Chinese Ham Broth infused with Stella Artois, Paired with Stella Artois was an eye-opener for some when they learned they were about to eat beef tongue! Of course it was delicious with a visually enticing presentation of food art, if you will! The edible flowers and baby sprouts were in this magical broth with the ultra tender, thinly-sliced tongue. George had been talking all night about using beer to cook with, even in lieu of water when boiling noodles! The beer infusions in this meal were great. Stella Artois has a flavor profile that is slightly sweet with a crisp, clean hop finish. Yummy!
Our next course was a cold intermezzo consisting of Orange Sorbet, Star Anise and Sesame Infused Tuile, Lemongrass and Coriander Simple Syrup, Hoegaarded Pipette, paired with Hoegaarden. This was an interactive exercise as the pipette was loaded with Hoegaarden and we were given free rein to drizzle to our hearts content. Amazingly, the pairing and blending of ingredients left me with a taste that I described as Cream Soda. As Hoegaarden's style is a Belgian White Beer (WitBier), it is a wheat beer with a hazy, yellowish color. Its aroma (yes, we learned that beers can be appreciated for their aromas!) is a little spicy with hints of coriander and orange. A blend that's a little sweet and a little sour.
The main course was a universal favorite (beer makes you hungry) due to its heartiness and flavors. It was Slow Cooked Becks Beer Simmered Boneless Short Rib with Herbed Spaetzle and Pommes Frittes, paired with Beck's. This was excellent and the Spaetzle underneath the beef was scrumptious since it was soaking up the sauces from the beef. I was amused by some people's comments about not finding the bone in these short ribs. They were supposed to be "boneless"! he fresh local green beans were crisp and mimicked the crispy crunch of the Pomme Frittes atop the tender superbly braised beef. The Beck's pairing was spot on, and described as having "wonderful floral and fruity European Noble hop Aromas." There's that blue-blood breeding at work!
Finally, our Dessert Course consisted of an Amberbock Creme Brulee with Scotch Infusion Paired with AmberBock. This was my first time having AmberBock, which is a American-style Dark Lager. Described as having a "deep brown color with aroma notes of Noble hops, caramel, red fruit, citrus and spice," with a taste that "is slightly sweet, malty and nutty with a fine-balanced bitterness." I am sure this was also a perfect pairing, as the creme brulee had a sweet candy-like crunch on first bite with hints of caramelized sugar. I believe the Scotch element had cooked off, leaving a residue of flavor. The peaches and cherries were had simmered in the mix and made for a sweet ending of a divine dinner.
The evening closed with George personally autographing a book that was brought for this occasion titled "Great Food Great Beer: The Anheuser-Busch Cookbook", featuring 185 recipes for pairing beef with food! What a gift! Thanks again, Ambros, Inc,., ABInBev, and George Reisch! It's been a pleasure to last a lifetime! Bravo team Hilton - you continue to impress!!!
Ken the Guam Food Guy