February 15, 2013, Volume 13 Number 3
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
It's great to be back on Guam! I just returned from an action packed two week trip (some holiday, some work) to the Mainland where I visited family in Houston and in Tampa, Florida. I had not been in Florida in over 50 years!! I was able to attend my first NAFEM Show (North American Food Equipment Manufacturers) in Orlando so was able to get first hand exposure to the most of the product lines I sell in my "day job"! I was also able to do some cooking and some outstanding restaurant dining in both Houston and Orlando, with reviews to follow in future newsletters.
I am glad I was able to return in time for this Friday night's Auction & Wine-Tasting to Benefit the Guam Girl Scouts! We've sold over 223 tickets and have accumulated some pretty amazing and impressive silent auction items. There will still be tickets at the door of the Infinity Gallery in Nissan Guam's Upper Tumon location. This is one of the island's most respected and enjoyed wine-tasting event.
Finally, our prayers and condolences for those families who lost their loved ones in the recent, senseless killings that took place this past Tuesday night in Tumon's Pleasure Island, the heart & soul of our tourist district. Guam is a safe and marvelous destination. We have to show the world that our islands love and goodwill are much stronger than the fear and hate that has been cast upon us.
Ken, The Guam Food Guy
Just prior to my departure on my 2-week trip to the Mainland, I had noticed new restaurant activity in Anigua. The first was the move of Big Al's BBQ To Go from across Marine Corps Drive to its new location across the parking lot of Mark's Hardware store. We first discovered Big Al's BBQ and wrote about it in our July 6, 2012 Newsletter.
The other restaurant that caught my eye back then has since opened. It is called Johnny's Ocean View Grill and is located on the 2nd floor of the Guam Lock & Key in a place formerly occupied by long-operating Downtown Kieu's. I am curious to find out more about this new eatery, which seems to already have a personality.
Capricciosa Ristorante Italiano
Royal Orchid Hotel
Agana Shopping Center
"Capricciosa means capricious in English." Capricious means whimsical, fantastic, irregular and even unrestrained. It's possible to take this definition to heart when describing this authentic Southern Italian restaurant! After all, the portions are "fantastic" and so large as to appear anything but "regular," although I've been told by management that every ingredient is measured and weighed for consistency - that's precision control for you! The atmosphere and ambiance is light and cheerful - in fact, I don't recall seeing a single frown or scowl on anyone's face...everyone seems to be smiling or laughing (must be in the air!). The service from the wait staff was quite good and I'd say that they showed no "restraint" in assuring that we received attentive service and were satisfied with the entrees. I should also mention that if you are going to either Tumon locations, you may have to wait for 30 minutes as they are both quite busy. The Hagatna location doesn't have as many tourists so you may not experience much of a wait.
I shared dinner tonight with Carol and Jasmine, two of my favorite people. When I talk about "large" portions at Capricciosa, you need to come with other people because these are served family style in large bowls. Our first item to arrive was our Caesar Salad (Insalata - $11.99). This is really a lot of salad - much more than I could eat if I was dining alone. This was well prepared and with ingredients blended together for that classic Ceasar Salad taste - romaine with parmesan cheese, eggs, a hint of anchovy, bacon bits, and topped with crunchy croutons.
We also had an appetizer - the Calamari Fritto (Fried Calamari - $7.25), which was alright. These were golden bronze with a lot of batter. Though the pieces were thick, they were tender. The cocktail sauce had a bit of a kick to it.
\ Our big dish of the night was delivered. It was the Meat Sauce Spaghetti ($17) w/Meatballs ($3 more). This is the favorite of a lot of families. There is enough for everyone. We'd ordered some Garlic bread, which is another one of their popular items, along with their Garlic Cheese bread. What I had been most interested in trying out that night was their Acciughe Pizza, made with Anchovies, Garlic, and Black Olives ($13.99). It was made on thin crust and had a remarkably fresh cheesy taste. I could taste the distinct flavor of the anchovy, which is an acquired taste for many. Other pizzas available include the Meat Lover's Pizza, the Margherita, the Quattro Formagi (four cheese), and their own Capricciosa Pizza, with bacon, ham, and green bell peppers. Capricciosa is open all day Mondays - Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Bring your friends!
Heavenly Veggies - Meals for Success!
Airport Plaza (Near United Tire)
Hours: Monday - Friday
Breakfast: 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Lunch : 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Mon- Thur)
11 a. m. - 2 p.m. ( Friday)
Heavenly Veggies has now been open for a little over 10 months and has been growing in popularity like you wouldn't believe. Known as Guam's whole heartedly vegan health spot, Heavenly Veggies is living up to it's claims to improve blood pressure, lose weight healthily, reverse diabetes, improve cholesterol, have better energy, and increase performance simply by offering affordable home-style meals prepared with love. The foods served here are all natural plant whole foods that are free of cheese, dairy milk, eggs, animal products, trans-fats, cholesterol, MSG and preservatives! Moreover, aside from being nutritious and low calorie, these meals are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, bioflavenoids, lycopenes, phytonutrients, antioxidants, plant proteins, and omega-3-essential oils! Now if that's not a super sales pitch for healthy guilt-free dining, I don't know what is. Oh, I should tell you that the price is pretty reasonable, too, with your main meal costing you $6.50/plate (includes salad or soup).
The Daily Special for today (Tuesday) included Baked Potatoes, Jasmine Brown Rice, Tinaktak in Eggplant, Three Protein Medley, Bok Choy Surprise, Tuesday Veggie Stir Fry, Arroz Caldo Stew, and Fresh Garden Salad. On my plate, I was able to sample more than usual since I was taking photos for this article. The brown rice is excellent, as were the sliced, seasoned potatoes. The Tinaktak was surprisingly good and the Bok Choy was perfect. The Three Protein Medley was interesting with tofu, black eyed peas, and a vegan meat-like crumble.
I opted for a Salad while Zee had the Arroz Caldo stew (soup). My salad was dreamy, with alfafa sprouts, romain lettuce, cucumber, olives, tomato, sunflower seeds, red cabbage, and carrot. I had the special drink blend for the day which was a yummy Black Cherry, Berry, Peach & Mint for $1.75. I even sampled Zee's Arroz Caldo, which was good enough...I wonder if it would be better if they used brown rice in place of white rice? You can order plates to eat in or you can take your food to go. Other items include a Healthy Couscous Veggie Wrap, a Healthy Tofu "Egg-less" Salad Sandwich (made with scrambled tofu with celery, green onions, and home-made Vegenaise, topped with fresh lettuce and tomatoes, on sprouted whole grain bread, with fresh fruits on the side. Smoothies are also available.
So, if you are serious about your health and want to get better, come to Heavenly Veggies where you can also get information on attending Wellness workshops. I will try to eat at least one meal a week there as a means of demonstrating my commitment to reaching a healthier state.
The Affinity of Food and Wine January 25,2013
A Wine Dinner
Westin Resort & Spa
"I cook with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food"!
An amazing wine dinner was held last month at the Westin and I count my blessings that I was on island and able to attend. The occasion was essentially a haute cuisine guided tour led on one hand by Westin Executive Chef Daniel Lenherr, with the fine folks at IWS (Island Wines & Spirits) steering us with the other hand offering perfectly paired libations for each of Chef Daniel's inspired creations. IWS had brought an expert team from one of their principals, the esteemed spirits giant, Moet Hennessy. Andrew McLaren, Travel Retail Director, Moet Hennessy Asia Pacific was the introduced us to the wines served with each course. He was accompanied by Junko Tanaka, Travel Retail Manager, International Key Accounts for Moet Hennessy Asia Pacific.
Invited guests were treated to hors d'oeuvres paired with Chandon Brut on arrival. I recall one particular shrimp appetizer that came with a syringe infused with a flavored liquid. That was a taste of the fun things to come. The ballroom was laid out with two large tables with guests facing each other. The servers worked with precision in bringing out the various courses and pouring the appropriately paired wine with each one. It was a definitely one of the finest dinners in recent memory. You can't go wrong with a high quality champagne starter.
The first course was a Herb Marinated Tuna Carpaccio "Nicoise" paired with the Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label. There is a reason why champagne plays such a prominent role in tantalizing the palate. The Brut Yellow Label exhudes a fresh and playful confidence that resonates fruit notes and aromas. Chef Daniel's team had created the food art with this tribute to Nicoise with quail eggs, cherry tomatoes, and an exquisite herb infused olive oil decorated with edible flowers. The colors were as mesmerizing as the flavors!
The next course, Alaskan King Crab and Cured Salmon Tian, Mango, Lime and Beetroot, was brought out to join the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010. This is one refreshing and very drinkable white wine that's tinged with citrusy grapefruit. Intensely vibrant, this wine is well-bred with an elegance befitting its regal bearing. The Salmon and King Crab was displayed on cobalt blue plate and tightly stacked with both competing for dominance. Both settled for a draw when wowed guests couldn't decide which they preferred and decided on them both together.
Next on the menu was a Duck Breast, Braised Red Cabbage, Shiitake Mushroom, Cherry and Five Spice Sauce. No ordinary duck this!! It was a glorious and magnificent rendering, with a crisp crunchy exterior beyond its nature with a succulent, tenderness that basked in five spice bliss. This fine duck was married to a worthy Cape Mentelle Shiraz 2010, which stood up and embraced the duck with its peppered and aniseed spice notes. A brilliant and notable collaboration. This was followed by an intermezzo palate cleansing by the Green Apple and Mint Refresher.
The main course was brought out to murmurs of guest appreciation. It was Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras, Sweet Potato in a Malbec Reduction. The beef was substantial, cut handsomely revealing an enticing grain of perfectly cooked meat. The pairing was a Terrazas Reserva Malbec, 2009, which delivered a resounding chorus of plum and boysenberry in ripened fullness. Nothing subtle nor shy about this guy who's definitely aromatic. The Foie Gras' richly flavored elegance was cut by the wine. The Sweet Potato was like a party on the palate-fresh processed and bright tasting, almost fruity. This was another superb creation with a sophisticated pairing.
The dessert course finalized the dinner. Goat cheese Cake, Lemon Fresh Raspberries, Dark Chocolate, paired with the Moet & Chandon Moet Imperial Brut. No ordinary Brut, this Moet seduces the palate with its elegant maturity and bright fruitiness. Crisp with notes of apple, pear and lemon, this noble champagne provided the perfect ending for an evening of unabashed uninhibited dining ecstasy where tributes were made and appreciation was showered, especially on the award-winning team lead by Chef Daniel! Bravo, Team Westin! Can't wait until the next chef table!!
L-R Jessica Leon Guerrero, Brand Manager, IWS; Andrew McLaren, Travel Retail Director, Moet Hennessy Asia Pacific; Junko Tanaka, Travel Retail Manager, International Key Accounts, Moet Hennessy Asia Pacific, EJ Calvo, General Manager IWS and Tropical Productions; and Jacqueline "Jackie" Calvo, EJ's bride
L-R, Bernhard Langer, Hotel Manager, Westin Resort Guam, Westin Executive Chef Daniel Lenherr, and Andrew McLaren of Moet Hennessy
Ken the Guam Food Guy
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