I don't recall a time when there's been so much to cover in a newsletter edition! We'll do our best to be brief and touch on the highlights of recommended restaurants. I've been doing a lot of judging recently (PHARE & SMOKIN' GRILLS) and have two more judging events this Sunday that both are part of GUAHAN EARTH DAY events. The first is the "Pork in the Park" competition, (1:00 - 5:00 p.m.) at Adelup, where I'll be judging feral pig prepared grilled or in a pot as in kadu or stew. These wild pigs were part of a hunt this past weekend and it's something I'm looking forward to trying.
The second Sunday event is the "Savor Guam Food Festival" which will be held at the BEACH (at Gun Beach) from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. This will feature GCC's culinary students creating and preparing dishes using fresh local produce and local seafood. Both of these events are part of a trend to utilize more locally grown and harvested foods in our meals. It's also going to be a treat to see how creative our aspiring chefs can be in making something magical with Guam's produce. One recent shining example of this happening was PIC chef Darren Dragon's brilliant creation of a Cherry Tomato Jam. Wow! That a tasty, value-added product from our own local cherry tomatoes!
Finally, if you haven't yet purchased your tickets to tonight's 15th Annual Auction & Wine-Tasting to Benefit the Guam Girl Scouts at the Hyatt Regency Guam, there are still some available for sale at the door. This year's theme is "Ticket to Motown" and this event will feature live entertainment, silent auctions, live auctions, and a superb menu especially created by Executive Chef Josef Budde that will pair well with a variety of wines provided by six prominent local wine distributors. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. You could be the winner of a pair of Round Trip Tickets courtesy of United Airlines. Come join us for a night to remember!!
Ken, the "Guam Food Guy"
Marriott Cafe's Friday Indian Buffet Features Tandoori Chicken
Guam Marriott Resort
Just when you thought things couldn't get better, the Marriott Cafe has enhanced its already popular Indian Buffet Friday with a Tandoor oven that's been roasting up some delectable Tandoori chicken and naan bread. From 11am-2pm every Friday, you can enjoy a wonderful Indian buffet that features dishes like Vegetable Biryani, Garbonzo Beans with Spinach, Egg Masala, Palak Paneer, Crispy Papadam, Fish Curry, various Chutneys, Raitha, and other treats including some terrific vegetarian dishes.
The price of $15 + 10% s.c. is an incredible bargain considering the quality and quantity of food you get. The Indian Buffet is complemented by a wide selection of salads, soup, hot dishes, appetizers, and desserts. You will tantalize your taste buds with this spicy, delicious, and nutritious fare!
Pho Noodle House
This little Vietnamese treasure located on the Ground Floor of the ITC Building next to the House of Brutus has been mentioned several times in this newsletter and I've written two complete reviews over the years.
Owned and operated by Sang Kim and his sibling sisters Phuong and Huong, who do most of the cooking, it's hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. Nonetheless, there are a number of suggested menu items, from Fried or Fresh Lumpia to Lemongrass Chicken (or Beef), Combination Noodles, Beef Salad, Fried Spareribs, and soups such as the one I'm featuring today. Pho aka Vietnamese Beef Soup ($8), is best enjoyed when you prepare it in a particular fashion.
In using a Before and After photo juxtaposition, you can see the soup before and then the soup with all the blended ingredients, which includes fresh basil leaves, lemon, bean sprouts, Sriracha sauce, Hoisin sauce, and red chili pepper paste. Once blended properly and proportionate to your taste preferences, this soup is awesome, and chockfull of be beef from meat balls and sliced beef to tripe.
ParaOceana Business Center
Harmon Loop Road
Here's a picture of what's described as the "best little coffee house on Guam"! I did stop by one day and need to go back to complete my investigation. There may be something to this "claim"! Stay tuned for more in our next GuamDiner Newsletter!
Hilton Bids Farewell to Outgoing GM Nicolaus Priesnitz
& Welcomes New GM Makoto "Earnie" Yasuhara
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
On Monday April 16, the Hilton held a reception in the Micronesian Ballroom that demonstrated why the Hilton remains as a top reception venue for parties and events like this one. The food prepared by Executive Chef Christopher House and his kitchen team was simply delicious!
We said "adios" to our friend Nick Priesnitz who will be going to a new Hilton property in China. We're going to miss his energy, personality, and positive attitude. Nick's a can-do type guy and he did a wonderful job in his tenure as Hilton GM.
We look forward to working with his replacement, Makoto "Earnie" Yasuhara, who comes from an impressive hospitality background, managing some of Nikko's premier properties in Hanoi, Shanghai, and Beverly Hills.
We wish both gentlemen every success in their respective new positions and opportunities. We also extend a welcome to Yoshihito "Yoshie" Shibahata as the new Assistant General Manager, who has joined the Hilton Guam team after a long tenure with the Hyatt Regency Guam, where he was Rooms Division Manager.
The event was well-attended by local VIP's and dignitaries along with Hilton family friends, customers, and vendors.
Rocona Little Cake Shop
Pacifica Commercial Building
It's taken me months to time my visit to coincide with the "OPEN" sign in the window of this petite pastry shop. I usually see a sign that cheerily says "CLOSED". Let me tell you that it was well worth the wait!
I stopped by this charming little shop one day this past week and started ordering from the display case with something approaching abandon! I picked up Stick Shaped Cheese Cake ($2.50), Custard Pudding ($4.00), Milky Roll Cake ($2.50), Gateau Chocolate ($4.50) and Strawberry Shortcake($5). You can also place special orders.
I talked to Rocona's owner, Hiroki Seki, who told me that she closes the store after she's sold all of her baked goods which accounts for me seeing that "CLOSE" sign so often! She is really nice and clearly talented. I took the box of goodies to our office which has some pretty discerning foodies and the consensus was that her pastries were fantastic, especially the strawberry shortcake, which was truly blissful. The cake was soft, not overly sweet , with a vanilla-bean taste augmented by the richest of whipped creams and ripe sweet strawberries. Japan is known for creating some fabulous pastries. This is certainly a testament to that reputation.
2012 Miller Lite Island Flavor Smokin' Grills BBQ Competition
April 15, 2012
Guam International Raceway Park
It was a hot, smoke-filled and fiercely contentious day as some of Guam's elite grill masters hovered over charcoal pits and smokers attempting to garner a prize in this year's Smokin' Grills BBQ Competition. I had the duty of judging this event which I believe has really become an attractive and attention-getting challenge for those who love the thrill of the grill! The die-hard grillers came from restaurants as well as backyards, and all put forth their version of the perfect bbq that Sunday.
This year's top winner and Overall Champion was Team PROA. Their winning entries included Marianas Jerk Marinated Shortribs with Roasted Habanero and Achote Oil; Vietnamese Street Style BBQ Pork Butt with a Lemon Cilantro Splash; and Ginger Chicken with Lemongrass Skewer and Mint and Red Pepper Syrup.
Kudo's to all the participants who came out to play on the grills that day, which included place winners Meskla, Team Shoreline, Tano Mango, yan Guafi, Team GCC, Triple J Fivestar Wholesale and Smoke. Other contenders were Team Adobo (last year's Grand Champ), Abandon Ship, Table 35, and Team Low and Slow. Good luck next year!!
Horse & Cow Steak and Rib Specials
There are two days that are causing a new sensation at Horse and Cow Pub & Grill. This is because both days have night-time dinner specials that'll make you scratch your head and rub your belly! Go figure! Steak Night Tuesdays will give you an 8 oz. C.A.B. Sirloin steak with your choice of Fries or Rice for only $7! You can add a Salad or fully loaded Baked Potato for only $2! This is an in-house special available from 5-9pm Tuesdays. I had this steak and was very impressed with the taste and grain of the meat, which was lean and well-seasoned.
The next night, Wednesday, is the BUCK A' RIB NIGHT, when you can get "One Dollar Pork Ribs". The minimum is five ribs at a time per person. You can add a side for only $2, and this can be Salad, Steak Fries, Rice or Baked Potato. These are some pretty meaty ribs and they have a tomato-based rib sauce. We tried a spicier sauce which kicked them up a notch. This runs from 5-9 p.m. as well.
"From Russia with Love" Unveiled as Theme for the 10th Annual Celebrity Chef's Cup
May 30, 2012
Hyatt Regency Guam
It's time again for five local Executive Chefs to compete for the revered Chef's Cup and this year's theme, "From Russia With Love" has them all scrambling through Wikipedia to find out what the heck do Russians eat!
A press conference was held this past Tuesday at the Outrigger Resort Guam and the five chefs selected their courses. Herewith are the chefs and their course:
Cold Appetizer - Geoffrey Perez, PROA
Soup - David Jones, Outrigger Guam Resort
Hot Appetizer - Chris Aguon, Table 35
Entree - Eddie Chien, Delmonico
Dessert - Daniel Lenherr, Westin Resort Guam
Locally grown fruits and vegetables obtained through the Farmer's Co-op will be used in the preparation of these "mystery" dishes.
This annual event is held in collaboration with the Micronesian Chefs' Association. Stay tuned for more information about this culinary extravaganza, which will most certainly be one of the best shows of the year. For tickets and other information, contact the UOG Endowment Fund's office at 735-2957.
Donne' Dinanche (formerly Brooklyn Cafe)
Royal Orchid Hotel
There's a new buzz in Tumon's "hotel row" and it's about who has the best Chamorro Cuisine? Well, if you have any familiarity with the local language, you would guess that Donne' Dinanche is probably the name of a place where you could get some, right? You're darned right!
But there is more - and this where there is some room for bragging rights. This restaurant serves breakfast and lunch for now, and on the breakfast menu is a Macademia Nut Pancake that's the best tasting pancake on island, and that's the Guam Food Guy saying this! This pancake is every bit as big as Jan Z's famous uber cakes, but it's fluffier and tastes like it was made in Heaven's bakeshop. It comes with a caramel like sauce and doesn't need syrup. It's big enough to share so you can have other things to eat! The price of this pancake creation is $7.
You can have an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet for $10.99 if you buy this specialty item or any of their specialty items, which include the Dinanche Loco Moco, Veggie Omelet, Chamorro Omelet, Mexican Omelet, Latiya Pancakes, and Banana Coconut Waffles. The chefs here bake bread fresh and the buffet includes a selection of standard breakfast treats. Breakfast is served from 7-11am daily. You can still order breakfast items if you are late on Sunday morning!
I also had the Dinanche Loco Moco, which is probably one of the better tasting versions I've ever had. It's all in the DINANCHE! They have a dinanche sampler, with one made using miso, one using the traditional coconut, one using mayo, and even one using wasabi. For the loco moco, the combination of beef, dinanche cream sauce, egg, and rice all converge to deliver one heck of a flavor punch!
So you ask where and how did this place emerge from the obscure, former "dead zone" called the Brooklyn Cafe (hardly anyone knows this name.even those who've gone to Royal Orchid to eat at Singapura, Capricciosa, or Calvi House on the same level).
The secret to this restaurant's amazing success is teamwork, and this team has "A" list experience in F&B and Hospitality. Karla Kaneshiro is the Food and Beverage Manager, and she has recruited her former Sheraton colleague Bernard Manansala as Executive Chef and Nick Pereda as Sous Chef. Nick's the one doing the dinanche and local dishes. He used to work at Meskla and other restaurants. He's sir Pedru Duenas' cousin!
For those who know Karla, she's a super enthusiastic, positive, bundle of joy who makes the world move for her. Now for the other key ingredient - GM who gives a darn! Yes. Karla and her team have the support of hotel GM Mani Moinzadeh, a well-known industry professional who has worked at Marriott, PIC, and Sheraton.
For lunch (served from 11:30am-2:30pm) you can also have that same Dinanche Loco Moco, and other great things like BBQ Chicken or Ribs, Deep Fried Pork Bellies, Beef or Salmon Tinaktak, Chamorro BiSteak, or the fantastic Donne' CheeseBurger - a bona fide two-hander - just look at the picture! The all-you-can-eat Soup and Salad bar is $7.99, and if you add any of the menu items I just listed, the total will be $12.99+ s.c.
Two things that are a bit more expensive ($19.99) are the Kelaguen Trio and the Deep Fried Parrot Fish, which is served "de-boned", seasoned, and fried to a crisp with their special sauces and red or white rice! So how "local" does this sound? They've got plenty of room folks so there's no waiting 20-30 minutes for a seat. With this soup and salad bar, you can start eating as soon as your seated.
This restaurant is still new but the experienced management team is on top of their game and you will certainly not be neglected when you go. You will leave happily full!