April 26, 2013, Volume 13 Number 8
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Bravo! Biba Guahan! Congratulations to the four Simon Sanchez High School ProStart Culinary students who have just returned from Baltimore, Maryland with a trophy and gold medals after garnering first place in the National ProStart High School Culinary Arts competition! I am devoting this first "Front Page" of our newsletter to this major achievement that's taken many years! In the culinary world, this is truly BIG NEWS and a huge success for Guam. As a member of the Micronesian Chefs Association, I have participated in and been supportive of the ProStart High School Culinary Arts program since the very first competition. Guam Diner has also covered this annual event. We were excited when our first team (JFK) went to the States to compete and also thrilled when we took 4th place and 6th place in the National competition. All of the previous years were training and we learned significant lessons about the ProStart competition. Of course, with our team's dedication, determination, and focus, not to mention the mentorship of Executive Chef Peter Duenas, it was nearly inevitable that Guam would win. We owe heaps of gratitude to Barry Mead for making ProStart a reality and for his single-minded drive to build and develop the culinary arts program at Guam Community College. We have come a long way, Team Guam! Ken, the Guam Food Guy!
GCC Press Release:
April 22, 2013 1:30 P.M.
Sanchez WINS ProStart National Invitational!
They came, they cooked, they won.
The GCC CTE ProStart team from Simon Sanchez High School won the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, Maryland, on Sunday, April 21, east coast time. Team captain MacDaniel Dimla and members Airen Magday, Angellica Sia and Leyann Lusung bested 42 other teams from around the country to take first place in the prestigious high school culinary competition.
They did so by preparing a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners with no access to running water or electricity. Their menu of a lumpia-encased seafood beggar's purse, stuffed pork tenderloin, and a playful take on coffee and cake impressed the dozen tough judges enough to garner them first place. Not only was their menu evaluated on taste and presentation, but also, the team was judged on their skills, teamwork, safety and sanitation.
Still reeling from shock, team captain Dimla told K57's Patti Arroyo via phone from Baltimore, "The thing that we all had was our team bonding. The way we worked together on the floor...we all had each other's back no matter what."
All four team members will bring home gold medals and be awarded generous educational scholarships to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. According to the ProStart Invitational website at www.nraef.org, in 2012, more than $1.4 million in scholarships was awarded to students by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and leading academic institutions.
Vicky Schrage is the SSHS ProStart instructor, and Chef Peter Duenas, of Meskla Restaurant and Outdoor Chef fame, is the team's mentor chef. He also thanked the Micronesian Chefs Association for its help in preparing the team for the competition.
Duenas told Arroyo, "We had to incorporate some of the island style" in the competition menu, and said he will feature the winning menu on his menu at Meskla.
A total of 235 students are enrolled in the GCC CTE ProStart programs in George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Southern, and Simon Sanchez high schools (Okkodo does not yet have a teaching kitchen facility). This is the ninth year that Guam has sent a team to the ProStart National Invitational.
Team Guam is comprised of (L-R): Norman Aguilar, Marivic Schrage, Airen Ritchele Magday, Angelica Sia, Leyann Lusung, Mac Daniel Dimla, Peter Duenas, Monica Duenas.
Thai New Year
April 21, 2013
If you've never been to a Songkran Festival, you should think about attending one next year as it's a lot of fun and excitement, as well as a great way to learn about Thai culture. There's also food-lots!! Phad Thai, BBQ Skewers, Beef Noodle Soup, Papaya salad, Chicken Noodle Soup, Sticky Rice, and more! Many Thai restaurants participated by making a dish and selling them to raise funds for the Watbuddharama of Guam. You also should wear something very casual and washable, as you will be initiated by getting your face plastered as well as your body "soaked" by a water gun. One thing for sure, you'll spend a lot of time laughing and enjoying your time with the delightful members of Guam's Thai community.
Chopstix - A Japanese Restaurant
153 Martyr Street
Do you ever get excited about eating a special dish or at a certain place? I can tell you that I do and probably do so more often than most people. One restaurant that has this effect on me is Chopstix in Hagatna (across from Calvo's Insurance). It's a rather small restaurant, but the tastes are huge (and so are the portions). I have been going there to get my "Katsudon" fix! I have proclaimed Chopstix has having the best Katsudon (Pork Cutlet Egg Bowl Set, $14.25). No one even comes close to Kaori Sablan's Katsudon! In fact, if I start talking to someone about it, I begin to crave it.
The last time I was here, Zee had not yet started her vegetarian diet. This time, we ordered some non-meat appetizers such as the Potato Croquettes ($7.75), which are delicious mashed potatos rolled up in panko crumbs then deep-fried to a golden crunchiness. They are served with a tonkatsu sauce for dipping. We also ordered Cold Tofu($4.00) as well as Edamame($4.50). Tofu and edamame may seem to be redundant since they are essentially the same thing, just served at different stages of the soy bean's "life"! Obviously the texture of edamame is quite different as is the color...so they may as well be different dishes, right? What's really interesting is that we'll pour shoyu over the top of the tofu to mix with the green onions and bonito flakes. That's 3 version of the noble soy bean!
We had needed something else for Zee and I mentioned Vegetable Yakisoba. Kaori's husband, Mike Sablan, said they could do it though it wasn't on the menu. Yasai Yakisoba was brought out on a beautiful cobalt blue plate with the expectation that some could be leftover for lunch (which didn't happen!). Talk about tasty! It sure made Zee a happy camper!!
One of the things I didn't mention in my previous articles was to let people know about the Takeout Lunch Specials at Chopstix that are served from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. The price for the Katsudon is $10.00, however, this doesn't include the salad (green salad with a tasty homemade macaroni salad), Oshinko(vegetables), nor miso soup. These can be ordered separately. Chicken Cutlet, Pork Steak, Pork Ginger, Beef Curry, Chicken Teriyaki, and Mix Grill can all be ordered a la carte for Take Out strictly. It is recommended that you call at least 15 minutes in advance before arriving for your take-out order.
I hope you find Kaori's Katsudon as awesomely delicious as I do! I love it so much that I don't even leave a single grain of rice left in the bowl!
Johnny's Ocean View & Grill
Above Guam Lock & Key
Hours 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Tuesday - Friday)
5-9 p.m. (Tuesday - Saturday)
Bar is open later
"Great Times are Waiting!" That's the tagline on one of the red banners hanging outside of Johnny's 2nd floor location over Guam Lock and Key and It's Your Hair Salon. I can honestly say that was an expectation that was met and in some ways exceeded! I'd been meaning to stop by Johnny's Ocean View & Grill for some time now, however I had been unable to until recently. It was actually a picture perfect beautiful Guam day and probably about 1:20 p.m. or so. One of the first people I saw when I walked in was Chef James San Nicolas, whom I've known from several places, most recently Joinus. That was a good sign seeing him in his chef's coat! I was led into the main dining room from the bar/lounge and was impressed by the look and feel of the room, which had tan/beige walls with wood-framed photos of old Hagatna and Guam hanging on the walls. Someone had arranged this dining room for both comfort and relaxing, especially when gazing out the windows to that glorious ocean view.
I had missed the lunch rush and was the only one in the dining room when I sat facing windows looking outside...that's certainly worth the price of admission!!! I was greeted and given the menu by Ann Marie Ayuyu and later served by her daughter, Monique. These folks sure know how to make one feel welcome. I needed to order a few items for this review and Monique started talking about her favorites. I took her advice and had an appetizer (Chicken Wings - $7.95, with a choice between a sweet chili sauce or spicy buffalo). I had the buffalo and ranch sauces. I also ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger ($11.95), as well as the Fish Tacos ($9.95). Please understand that I order more than one item so I can write more about the menu selections. The prices add up and here you need to know that they do charge a 10% service charge! The menu options are limited, however for a bar and grill, they work just fine (could use a few vegetarian dishes). Chili Cheese Fries, Potato Skins, Burgers, Fish Sandwich, Pasta, Steaks, and Fried Chicken just about sums it up!
When the wings were delivered (I ordered them "naked" with the sauces on the side), I was happy with my first bite! Crispy and tasty. Chef James brought out a plate which had a Smothered Steak on it. He told me he'd been adding this particular one on the menu. It looked like a Rib Eye and was covered in cheese and onions.
When the Bacon Cheeseburger came, I was impressed by its presence and burger beauty (how you can judge a burger just by appearance). It was at least an 8 oz. beef patty with bacon, melted Jack Cheese, lettuce, tomato and white onion slices. The soft sesame bun was grilled on the bottom and inside. The bacon looked meaty, and the tomato was red. I'd asked for the meat to be medium and it came out juicy enough to enjoy. I added mayo, catsup, and mustard and went to town! First bite was an "atta boy"!! This burger could place in a competition! I kept thinking it was getting bigger the more I ate! There was more meat than meets the eye!
I had a few bites when my Fish Tacos were delivered. These looked interesting as they had panko crusted basa strips with lettuce and corn kernels with an aioli sauce. The tacos are accompanied by red tortilla chips and salsa. The salsa was actually an unusually and surprisingly decent salsa! The tacos used soft flour shells and when I had my first bite I thought these were pretty alright...not lots of flavor but with the right substance and mouth feel. Keep in mind that I still was working on a rather huge and delicious burger (delicious on so many levels...I took a photo of the cross-section to give a perspective on how this sandwich was built). I finished one taco and then Monique brought out the House Salad ($3.95) for me to sample. It had a lovely Japanese dressing that James had concocted. The tomato was tasty and the cucumbers crunchy. A good salad was an unexpected surprise and added to the space in my belly that was rapidly filling. The French Fries were good, but all things being equal, they were the items most sacrificed. I killed the tacos and the burger, and took the tortilla chips and salsa to Zee. This salsa was made by Shamaine Solorzano, Johnn's Human Resources Manager and partner to Johnny's proprietor, John Lujan. Shamaine has Mexican roots and makes a mean salsa!!! I met her and later John, who is also the owner of Lujan Tire Shop just across the street.
All things considered, I had a great time eating and enjoying the folks who worked there as well as the breath-taking view. I will definitely return to try chicken and steak, as well as to have a beer and some wine (they do have Mondavi's Woodbridge and Private Selection, as well as Caliterra.). The bar looks like an inviting hang out for after work. They also are looking to have karaoke later at night. Johnny's Ocean View and Grill is true to its motto that "great times are waiting". Yes, great times and great food!!
Ken the Guam Food Guy
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