January 18, 2013, Volume 13 Number 1
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Miss me last week? So did I!! I was recovering from an accidental fall I took on January 2. Fortunately no bones were broken. I just had a few pulled muscles, sprains, and a bruised ego. I also reconfirmed the theory about gravity which says that injuries don't occur when falling, rather most happen during the sudden stop. My food guy girth and padding did much to cushion the fall on the sloping grade where I fell. On the other hand, that same girth and padding increased the impact of the ground collision. I need to be more careful as falls can be problematic as we reach those higher mid-life numbers! Happy New Year, all the same!!!
To make up for last week we'll do a second newsletter next week and then return to our regular bi-weekly schedule. 2013 promised to be another banner year for our island's dining scene. We should have some terrific eating experiences...I sure hope some of you can join me and share this happy burden! Let me know! Volunteers are always welcome!!!
Ken, the Guam Food Guy!
The end of the year saw the end of the road for a few notable restaurants. Singapura in the Royal Orchid threw in the towel after an amazing run. This was a high-profile establishment, however, the numbers just didn't work. Most recently another highly visible restaurant, Logan Farms, shuttered its Upper Tumon Marine Corps Drive location. It's not an easy business and it takes a lot more than just having good tasting food to be successful. In this business the criterion for success is "staying open"!
New restaurants are on their way! OISHI! Japanese Curry House should be opening soon in the same place (Star Bldg.) where Pika's Cafe was operating before they moved. Chalupa's Mexican Grill recently opened in the Micronesian Mall (next to Denny's). Chalupa's features a build your own burrito, taco, burrito bowl and salad. They also offer a whopping 1.5 pound Giant Burrito!! Another new eatery will be the return of Island Napu (in Tamuning) next to Roasted. The venerable Linda's Cafe in East Agana is going through a major makeover with the gang from DFRNT making magic in the kitchen. Can't wait to try their new burger that's been hyped in the social media! New restaurants in Tumon, Hagatna, and Dededo are on the horizon and a huge steak house with a commanding view of Tumon, Tamuning, and Harmon is slated to be open in the first quarter of 2013.
Farewell Chef House!
Hilton Executive Chef Hits the Road!
Earlier this month I attended a small gathering of friends and colleagues and bid farewell to Executive Chef Christopher House. One of the best things about the work I do is having the opportunity to meet and befriend talented culinary professionals like Chef House. I've seen many come and go, however, Chef House is one of the exceptional executive chefs and I believe this is partly due to his being a Marine (Semper Fi!) Chef House was a powerful communicator to the Hilton's customers. He created amazing menus for wine dinner pairings as well as beer and vodka pairings! He developed a lot of young talented culinarians and always gave credit to his team. I know many of you who knew him will miss his hard-charging charismatic approach to getting things accomplished. They will miss his hearty laughter and affable nature. He is definitely a memorable personality and we wish him well on his "road trip" adventure across the USA and up to his home in Maine. I'm sure where ever he eventually winds up he'll make a big impression!! Good luck, Chef House!!
16th Auction & Wine Tasting Fundraiser for the Benefit of the Guam Girl Scouts
Friday February 15, 2013
Infiniti Art Gallery
Nissan, Upper Tumon
Ticket Price - $75.00
Get your tickets to the penultimate auction & wine-tasting from the folks who originated these "auctions & wine-tastings" that have flourished these past few years. This is our first time having this event outside a hotel and we have rolled back our ticket prices and brought back the popular silent auction tables that so many of you missed at our last two auction and wine-tasting fund-raisers. This year's event has some super-awesome items you can bid on, the likes of which have never been seen before! Get your tickets today from a Guam Girl Scout board member (I'm one) or by calling the Guam Girl Scout Center in Tamuning (646-5652). Stay tuned for this year's Girl Scout Cookie Launch next week!
Katya Grineva - World Renowned Russian Concert Pianist
I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting and spending time with Katya Grineva during her brief visit to Guam during the New Year's holiday. Katya has been described by the New York Times as "...liquid, dreamlike," and she has shared her musical gift with presidents, dignitaries and some of the poorest citizens in countries around the globe. She has made musical history by being the first female solo pianist to grace the stage of Carnegie Hall's historic Isaac Stern Auditorium for the 12th time! You can visit www.katyagrineva.com to read more about her and to hear some of her performances. She literally caresses the keys of the piano so gracefully that the sounds float out of the piano's soul! If you are interested in acquiring some of her CDs and one DVD of her Katya Grineva Live In Singapore concert performance from her Asia/Pacific Tour 2010, you can contact me at email@example.com . I am helping Katya by holding on to these pending her next visit which may be in March. These are left over from her New Year's concert at the Hilton.
ParaOceana Business Center
Harmon Loop Road
PH - n/a (TBA)
Facebook's been all abuzz about this newly-opened Filipino restaurant that soon to incorporate a lounge (lunch by day and lounge by night). There were 2248 invitations sent to the social network neighborhood and I saw a few posts attesting to what they considered the best Kare Kare in town! Add to this the fact that one of the partners in this enterprise is Shelly Calvo aka the Dining Diva, who is one hard-working lady with a lot on her plates! She, partner Alex Nicasio, and Tess Malang Cruz seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Fast food (1-choice, 2-choice, 3-choice) served from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. is ideal for the on-the-go lunch crowd. This is a stylized, polished cafe, not your typical Filipino fast food eatery.
I did have the opportunity to try out some of the food and I have to agree about the Kare Kare, it was awesome! The sauce was richer and silkier than any other I've had and they added a little lechon kawali which really kicked it up a notch! Kare Kare is one of my all-time favorite Filipino foods with its awesome peanut sauce blended with vegetables and meat (oxtail and tripe), and now they've put in a little lechon kawali (juicy crispy deep fried pork). I also had some Chicken Tinola soup, Pork Dinuguan (Pork Fritada), Pinakbet (Filipino Mixed Vegetables), Adobong Pusit (squid), and Pork Adobo. This place is still very new and they are working through some of those operational issues that affect new places. It's CASH only for now. Prices are reasonable ( $4.75 for One Choice, $6.75 for Two Choices, and $8.75 for Three). Each comes with a scoop of steamed white rice. Soda, Juice, and Iced Tea is $2.00 and water is $1.50. A la carte entrees are planned oce they open the lounge at night. "MASA" is short for masarap, which means the best!
Star Bldg (down the hall from Pika's Cafe )
Get ready for a refreshing and delectable treat that's so cool it's like eating flavored snow! Frost Bite was recently opened by Merle Huang Macalaglag, whose worked in hospitality for 25 years and whose family has a long-operating bakery (Huang's Cake Shop in Maite). I finally was able to stop by to try out Frost Bite's frozen cotton candy-like creation. What I had was a Signature Mango ($6.95) and the recently added new Lychee ($5.95) flavor, which includes 2 toppings. It's really hard to describe these "snow bowls" as the ice is shaved thinly into long ribbons so that you need to use a fork and not a spoon to eat. This is a pretty place to sit and enjoy this special treat with family and friends. Parking's much better in the late afternoon and night after Pika's Cafe closes!
These dessert treats use real fruit (mango) and Konjac, which is a starch from the root of the konjac plant grown in Taiwan, Japan and China. This fibrous material is known in Japan as konnyaku, and is made into food that looks like squares or strips of stiff gelatin, with a slightly rubbery texture. It is considered a health food and considered good for "intestinal function"! One of the ingredients on the Signature Mango was condensed milk, which really adds a richness to the blend. There are mango chunks and konjac squares that are mango flavored. This dish doesn't melt fast and is intriguing to watch as you eat and enjoy it. The Lychee was awesome - a real fruit taste sensation! Mochi balls were in this and the shredded ribbons looked like grated coconut! It just has the most rewarding mouth feel of any dessert...probably be the right thing after eating hot Thai or Chamoro. Other flavors are Chocolate, Green Tea, Peanut Butter, Cookies 'n Cream and Coffee. Also new are Strawberry-Banana-Chocolate. There are non-dairy choices for Mao and Strawberry. Hours are 12 noon - 9:00 p.m. This is a wonderful frozen dessert destination and a healthier one at that!
Papa John's Pizza
Dededo (former Blockbuster Bldg)
For Dine-In, Carry-Out, or Delivery
In a continuous march to bring out popular franchise brands, the owners of Guam's Submarina franchise have opened Papa John's this past year and so far it's been a success! This one location is shared with a Submarina as well as a soon-to-open frozen yogurt franchise called YoMazing! Premium Frozen Yogurt. It's kind of like a self-contained mini-food court. It fits well with the young family demographic, and the brand names are recognized by the military customers (who get a discount here along with seniors over 55). I can't remember when I last had a Papa John's Pizza pie (maybe 10 years), so this is closed to being totally new to me. I asked which was the most popular Pizza and they said it was the Chicken Spinach Alfredo (Grilled Chicken, and cheese with Spinach and Garlic Parmesan Alfredo sauce ($16.99 for a 12" Medium). I didn't order one but did take a photo of someone else and later persuaded some guys to let me try a piece of one of theirs. I enjoyed "The Works" better.
The Works has Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon (ham), Italian Sausage, Freshly sliced Onions, Green Peppers, Mushrooms, Black Olives and Cheese ($16.99 in the Original Hand Tossed Dough (thin crust pizzas are only available in the 14 inch large). They also have 8" Personal Pizzas for their Chicken Bacon Ranch, Hawaiian, and Margherita Pizzas. One of the interesting things they offer is a Special Garlic Dipping Sauce that comes in a container and is used for bread sticks or pizza. I was surprised by this light garlic sauce. This was provided FREE with my original crust pizza along with a free Pepperoncini.
I also ordered one of Papa's Wings ($7.99) and wanted them cooked without any sauce. I had the Buffalo Hot Sauce on the side along with a Barbeque sauce. The wings were ok. Other sides include Cheesesticks, Breadsticks, Chicken Poppers, Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks, and Cinnapie, none of which I bothered to have. I had enough pizza to last me a while. Papa John's takes pride in their pizzas, claiming that they use better ingredients to make better pizza. I think they are on to something with this strategy. It's all about ingredients! Now that Papa's in the House, we may be able to see who will win Guam's pizza war! They are open from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.
The Point Lobby Lounge
The Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort
Over the years I've had many occasions to visit the Point Lobby Lounge for a meeting where I had a Starbuck's coffee drink or a glass of wine, however, it wasn't until recently that I finally got the "point" of the Point, and it had to do with some compellingly good eats. At the Point, you will be treated to an incomparable sunset that will mesmerize you will sipping on a premium wine or a tropical cocktail. The plush ambiance of the Point also boasts a stateliness due to the high ceiling and architectural embellishments around a spacious room with wine rack display walls. Nothing subtle about a premium bottle of wine awaiting your selection. There's no doubt the concept at the Point is to impress above and beyond the magnificent garden view, infinity pool, and breathtaking azure sea spanning the horizon. While sitting for hours during lunch I realized I could sit for hours here and lose track of time!
So here I was, sipping on my Starbuck's Iced Double Mocha gazing at some lucky visitors wading in the infinity pool. They were having fun in the sun and I was fully dressed wishing I wasn't! My table was right on the window and I was just about to jump up and run outside to the pool when my lunch order arrived! I had ordered the Laguna Club Sandwich ( $12.50) with bacon, chicken, lettuce, tomato, and fried egg. It wasn't just a sandwich - it was plated art, a sculpture made of toasted bread, sliced cucumbers, onion, and tomato, buttressed by a pile of golden brown steakhouse fries! WOW! Someone went to sandwich school!!! I freed the frilled toothpick holding the massive sandwich half together so I could take a bite. This was a remarkably great club sandwich. Moreover, the chicken thigh pieces were baked, well-seasoned, and juicy and not the usual thin-slices of chicken you get in a Club. Even the mayo (which I usually hold) played a role in making this a sinfully satisfying sandwich that I should have shared with someone else but was compelled to eat on my own!
I also discovered that the Point's impressive menu features healthy organic dining choices including a Veggie Sandwich, Chicken Wrap, and Salmon Caesar Sandwich along with a selection of refreshing natural fruit juices that are good for the body. What I didn't tell you was that I was nearly at the same spot a few nights before listening to the mellow performance of a musician singing old standards while playing the piano. It was that night that I was sampling the Point's menu along with a companion. We started out with the BBQ Chicken Wings ($13) (Marinated with barbecue Sauce and served with steamed white rice). These are also a little pika (spicy hot, but in a good way!). I'm not a big fan of Fried Spring Rolls ($8.50), but these were not bad. They were crisp and crunchy and went well with the sweet chili dipping sauce.
While my companion went for the Beef Tenderloin ($35) Served with red wine sauce, steakhouse fries and seasonal vegetables, I ordered something I'd been hearing about from the staff and other customers at the Point---the Sheraton Laguna Burger ($15.50), made with a 100% Pure Beef burger on a toasted sesame bun, with tomato, onion and 2 slices of cheddar cheese. I was told that it was their most popular sandwich and had been ordered repeatedly by returning customers. I could see why. The onions had marvelous grill lines from laying on the char-broiler, and the melted cheddar blanketed that thick juicy burger patty. I stacked it together and cut it in half. It was a burger worth remembering. We call it a two-hander. Writing about it now after the time has passed has made me hungry for this same sandwich again! Anyone want to join me? I got the point, so can you! Come to the Point Lobby Lounge for a relaxing, appetizing and satisfying stay.
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