Meskla Features Healthy Choice Menu Items
Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro
In keeping with Chamorro Month, I am pleased to recommend to vegetarians and anybody else who likes tasty food to go to Meskla in Hagatna and try out some of their new Healthy Choice Menu Items, in particular their Tofu Kadon Pika ($14.95), which has Tofu cubes cooked in a local style coconut kadon' pika sauce with garlic and onions, served over brown rice. I was dining there with Zee one night after seeing Chef Peter Duenas' new menu at a MCA Board Lunch. When I told her they had Tofu Kadon Pika she wasn't exactly overcome with excitement but still interested in trying it out. It is absolutely delicious with as bona fide a kadon pika flavor as you get with the real chicken kadon pika!! It's spicy and rich! The tofu is so easy to eat (no bones and no struggle) and makes for perfect leftover (if you have any left over that is!!). I am also proud to proclaim that this creation is VEGAN APPROVED, which something his menu didn't state. Chef Peter assured me that this Tofu Kadon is Vegan Approved.
I ordered two other dishes off this new menu. The first was a lovely Steamed Snapper and Cucumber-Citrus Salad ($16.50), which features a lighter than air steamed snapper filet topped with a zesty cucumber-citrus salad. I can't recall having a better snapper salad creation. Just awesome how delicate the snapper is...a very nutritious and healthy dining experience!
The 3rd entree was Chef Peter's Herb Grilled Chicken Breast & Brown Rice ($17.50), boasting 2 Herb marinated chicken breasts grilled to order and served with steamed brown rice and steamed vegetables. I added some finadene dinanche to kick it up a notch.
Two other new Healthy Choice Menu Items we didn't have to opportunity to try are Brown Rice and Vegetable Pilaf ($14.50 Vegan Approved), lightly seasoned brown rice and assorted vegetables cooked in a light vegetable broth; and Grilled Vegetables & Tofu Steak Salad ($15.95), which offers grilled vegetables of the day tossed in a light balsamic olive oil dressing and served over a warm tofu steak and garden greens. Bravo Chef Peter!!
Ono Hawaiian Bar-B-Que & Dessert Bar Hamburger Highway
(formerly Mr. Chen's, Next to Inland Builders)
Open Daily 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
One of the great food adventures in Hawaii are the little eateries serving Plate Lunches, which typically have a scoop (or two) of rice, a salad (or kimchi), and a protein (Pulehu Beef, Pork Loin Katsu, or Garlic Sesame Chicken). Moreover, these places are popular because they are affordable. Well now you can get your taste of the Hawaiian Islands right here on Guam with affordable prices and impressive portions at a newly-opened restaurant called Ono Hawaiian Bar-B-Que & Dessert Bar.
Now, don't be put off by appearances! The surrounding area and exterior may not look all that inviting, but once you open the door and walk in, you are struck by colorful Hawaiian imagery. The restaurant is spacious and clean. There's even a very large poster(it's more like a wall chart or bill board) of OHB's menu selections, all prepared and advertised in brilliantly colored plated food photos. My goodness, if the food could only taste as good as it looks in these pictures!! I ordered several dishes, one from the OHB Specialty Dishes side of the menu and two from the Plate Lunch menu. The OHB Specialty pasta dishes come with Garlic Bread, just like my Shrimp Scampi Linguini ($9.75), which tasted as good (if not better) as I've had anywhere else for twice the price. The shrimp are plentiful and the creamy cheese and garlic sauce was really good, so good that I couldn't help but concentrate on this dish until I finished it. The Plate Lunch I ordered was the Hawaiian BBQ Spareribs ($5.75 mini) which has 1 scoop of rice and a little less meat than the Regular size ($7.75). The ribs had a semi-sweet tangy bbq sauce and were generously sprinkled with sesame seeds. My salad choice was kimchi.
My second Plate Lunch was the Hawaiian Huli Huli Chicken ($5.75 /mini, $8.75 for Reg). This time I had the regular portion with two scoops of rice and half a chicken. I also had the macaroni salad (large serving). Most of this dish I took back to the office and shared. The chicken was juicy and tasted like the Huli Huli I've had in Hawaii.
Some of the other Plate lunches featured are Mochiko Chicken, Bar-B-Que Kalbi Ribs, Cold Ginger Chicken, Beef Chopsteak, and Teriyaki Beef. Some of the OHB Specialty Dishes are Seafood Pasta Pomodoro, Hawaiian Loco Moco, Double Beef Burger, Fish & Chips, Walnut Shrimp, and Seafood Stuffed Coconut Shrimp, and Aloha Fried Rice with 2 Eggs. Now doesn't all of this sound good? OHB offers take-out, catering and will host private functions. They can seat around 50 people. While I was there, they didn't yet have their dessert bar set up. It's still a work in progress.
12th Annual Reunion and Celebration Izakaya Katsu Restaurant
aka "The Green Door"
3rd Floor Central Building
We commemorated another anniversary of our special friendship with Dr. Jonathon Morris, a psychiatrist based in Portland, Maine, who has been making annual two-week visits volunteering his time at the Dept. of Mental Health for the past 20 years. He usually brings graduate students for in-service training when he comes to Guam. One of the featured highlights of the Guam trip is to dine with the Guam Food Guy at the legendary "Green Door". On this trip, Jon had two students, Katie Kuntz and Melody Jones, who thoroughly enjoyed their first visit to Guam. We typically order many of the same entrees we've had before so that we can expose the students to the signature dishes of Green Door, including their famous Tofu Steak, Fried Garlic, Chicken Salad, Fried Shrimp, and Ribeye Steak. This time Katsu's owner/manager, Yokho, said they had new special fried oysters. We ordered these and they were an instant hit!! It was another happy and sweet reunion with a very dear and special friend! Until next year, Dr. Jon!
Sushi Ebisu Japanese Restaurant
I'm often asked about a favorite restaurant of mine and I usually cite a handful of places I really like. One of these is Ebisu. There are actually a lot of reasons why I like (more like LOVE) Ebisu. The salmon is unique. A special smoked salmon that is always fresh and enhances any dish that uses it. The jazz that plays during dinner. When sitting at the sushi counter you can relax and sip your sake, beer, or wine and listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Nina Simone, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis, Benny Goodman, or Max Roach. There's just no where else that I've been that has this wide-ranging Jazz repertoire playing on their sound system. It's the owner, Fumiya Nakamura's passion, or at least one of them. The other is food-serving and preparing awesome, delicious, and memorable Japanese cuisine.
Zee and I went for a Wednesday night dinner at Ebisu and sat at the sushi counter so we could chat with Fumi-san while he worked. I ordered a list of things, while Zee ordered the Yasai Curry (Assorted Vegetables and Curry - $10). She had brought her own brown rice and had them prepare it. This is becoming more of a trend as health-conscious diners are bringing their own ingredients to be substituted, which usually is white rice. Ebisu's curry is richly flavored with a bit of a pika zing to it. The vegetables included red and green bell peppers, onions, eggplant, pumpkin, and carrot.
I started out with a Sashimi Sampler ($17.50), which features 5 kinds of seafood. Typically it has Maguro (red tuna), Hamachi (yellowtail), Salmon, Ika (squid), and Tako (Octopus). I am always impressed with the presentation of the Sashimi sampler-it's an art form and I love taking it's picture. However, it's the freshness of this sashimi that places Ebisu at the top of the rankings.
The Hamachi Kama (yellowtail collar-$13) I ordered came next. This dish is a favorite of mine where ever I order it. The fish is set under a broiler and grilled. The meat under the strong skin steams to a tender moistness that I add a squeeze of lemon or calamansi to with shoyu and ground radish. This also is most excellent eating! Next came my Alaska Sushi Roll ($12.50), one of Fumi's specialties-American - style sushi rolls. His Nigiri Sushi is excellent however, it's the American rolls that are most popular. The Alaska has a paper-thin layer of sliced radish that sits atop the salmon. Inside is essentially a California roll with a crabmeat blend and avocado.
Before my last order (Butakushi-skewered pork with sauce - $5) was delivered, Chef Fumi gave us a special "Service" dish (sampler) of fresh tako (octopus) with a miso-based sauce with no oil. It has cucumber slices and a watercress garnish with a lemon wedge...just a beautifully crafted dish. Delicious too! My Butakushi is consistently tasty, which is why I order it. Two strips are served. Good eats!!! So now you know why I like Ebisu so much...it's food therapy!!!!
Guam was once again graced by the energetic presence of Sandro Bottega, proprietor of Italy's famed Distilleria Bottega. These are the folks who have created some of Guam's favorite sparkling wines including the "Wine of Love" Petalo Moscato and Fragolino Rosso. Other beverages in their stable of wines are Prosecco, Pino Grigio, Soave Classico, Il Vino Dei Poeti Sant' Antimo DOC, Limoncino, and a family of Grappas, in particular a White Chocolate that is a preferred favorite of many!
For this Sunday afternoon's dining and imbibing occasion, Hyatt Regency Guam's Executive Chef Mirko Agostino created a sublime menu of classic Italian favorites to be served in an authentic family-style table dining arrangement. Chef Mirko and his team worked diligently to match their menu courses to the hand-picked wines that Sandro wanted served.
The Antipasto was wide-ranging, and included a cold cut selection of Sopressata, Mortadella, prosciutto crudo, grissini, an olive selection, sun-dried tomatoes, a bruschetta trio - tomato, mushroom and eggplant. Some of the vegetable dishes included garlic roasted asparagus, sauteed mint zucchini, and grilled eggplant, capsicum and onion with extra virgin olive oil.
The Pasta line up had porcini mushroom with parmigiano cheese risotto as well as a seafood and saffron risotto. The four cheese pasta was also a hit amongst the assembled guests. One of my favorites was the homemade Tagliatelle (sausages, ragu, and red wine.)
It's really hard to describe and explain the amount of food that was served along with wines over this nearly 3 hour luncheon. There was more food still after the Pasta! Meat and Fish selections included Brasato Beef, Involtini Pizzaiola, Polenta, Roasted Vegetables, super Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Roasted pumpkin, and Baby Octopus Leghorn style. A crowning finish was a special Sea Bass Fillet with capers, anchovies and lemon.
For those who had room for dessert, Chef Mirko dazzled us with his Gelato in a chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, along with a very moist and tasty orange cake, and a ricotta and pine nuts cake. Who could forget one of everyone's favorite Italian dessert -Tiramisu!
Sandro wanted to show his appreciation to the Hyatt and presented a Bottega Gold Bottle to the Hyatt's Management, the Hyatt's F&B Director, and one to Executive Chef Mirko (shown in photo with emcee Guam Food Guy Ken Stewart and Sandro Bottega.
What a phenomenal day...this what we all would love to be able to do more often! Eat, Drink, and Be Happy! BRAVO to Chef Mirko and the Al Dente kitchen and service staff team members for holding a splendid event that will be talked about for months to come! Thank you, Sandro Bottega, for sharing the dream by putting it in a bottle!!
Ken The Guam Food Guy