If you don't yet have tickets to next week's UOGEF/MCA Chef's Cup Gala Dinner Fund-raiser being held at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort, you may have to wait until next year to be part of this exciting culinary extravaganza! If you are feeling lucky, you can call the UOGEF (University of Guam Endowment Fund) 735-2957 to see if there are any $200 tickets still available! Five of the island's top chefs will be competing for the coveted "Chef's Cup" trophy in this year's culinary competition with the theme "Colors".
At a press conference for the event held this past Thursday at the Outrigger, the chefs were introduced to the media and asked to describe what attendees can look forward to experiencing. Believe me, these chefs are going to "Wow" those attending with their creative, colorful course preparations! As a veteran of every chef cup (this is the 11th), I noticed that this year's line up of chefs was one of the most internationally diverse I recall seeing participate in this competition. Each chef was asked to state their country of origin. Chef "JR" Taga of the Outrigger is from Guam; Chef Daniel Lenherr (Westin) is from Switzerland (but also a citizen of Fiji); Chef Eddie Chien (Delmonico) is from Taiwan; Chef Toshiyuki Nakajima (Sheraton's the President Nippon), is from Sapporo, Japan; and Chef Mirko Agostini is from Italy. All of these chefs have been here for some time and consider themselves to be Guamanian! I am delighted to know all of these great chefs as colleagues in the hospitality industry and as friends. This just demonstrates how Guam embraces people from all around the world. They may have come here as foreigners, but their definitely local now! Good luck, chefs!!
Ken, the Guam Food Guy
More Morsels From "Eat Your Words" - By Word of Mouth
We continue with our series of excerpts from Charlotte Foltz Jones' book, "Eat Your Words", which describes the language of food and how food terms and phrases have become everyday expressions. Though some words have food origins, with the passing of time their meanings have changed completely. Chapter 7 of Jones' tome is called "By Word of Mouth", and it touches on several such familiar words that started out with food. Among them:
Carnival - "The word carnival began from the Latin words carne, meaning 'meat,' and vale, meaning 'farewell,' and it refers to a time when Christians consumed a lot of meat before beginning Lent...The day before Lent was called carne vale - 'farewell to meat'. In the 1600s carnival began to be used as a term for any festive time. "
Company and Companion - "A companion is a person who spends time with another. A company is a group of people who work together. Both of these words come from the Latin com, which means 'with' or 'together', and panis, which means 'bread'. Whether is is with your companion or the people in your company, these words actually mean to share bread. (And it's true that companies have the goal of sharing bread - bread being another word for money!)"
Indian Buffet Fridays
Guam Marriott Resort
You'd have to see it to believe it! Fresh, piping hot Naan bread is delivered by chefs to your table straight from the Tandoor oven! With temperatures approaching 480 degrees F, the clay walls of the Tandoor oven bake naan bread that adheres to the wall and has to be peeled off when done. There is an understandable air of excitement in this bustling eatery as diners line up to the Indian specialty buffet line that offers a colorful selection of Indian dishes including Garbonzo Beans with Spinach, Cabbage with Coconut, Palak Paneer (Spinach and Indian farmer's Cheese), Egg Masala, Chappati, Tandoori Chicken, Fish Curry, Pork Vindaloo , Vegetable Curry and Rice Biryani.
One station features Sweet Mango Chutney, Tomato Yogurt, Cucumber Yogurt, and Chili Chutney. I was introduced to a new item, Dahi Vada, which are lentil dumplings soaked in thick yogurt and topped with mint or cilantro (coriander) leaves, chili powder, pepper, and cumin. This has a texture similar to bean curd. One of the delightful benefits of Indian food is its nutritious and health value. That's in addition to its rich tastes and spiciness! Come and enjoy this all you can eat Indian food fest every Friday at the Marriott Cafe for only $18.00 + 10% service charge.
122 Archbishop FC Flores St.
Behind Bank of Hawaii and across from Alpha Insurers and Caliente
It was Saturday night and we were on the lookout for place outside of Tumon where we could casually enjoy a well-prepared meal with a glass of wine. It was Zee who first came up with Hagatna's Katre Bistro and I eagerly concurred that this was the right answer! It had been some time since our last dinner at Katre. We definitely needed to visit our friend Chef Roxs and eat some of his "comfort" cuisine!
I was told that tonight's special was Ham Hocks and Mongo Beans ($13) so I jumped on that! Zee left it up to Chef to prepare a dish she could eat and he prepared a Vegetarian Curry Dish made with Orzo (short-cut past shaped like a large grain of rice). Although hers was colorful and flavorful, she wanted a little more heat! Next time she'll have it with boonie peppers!
My Ham Hocks and Mongo Beans was absolutely delicious, and Chef Roxs had admonished me to drizzle a little bit of his spiced vinegar to cut the saltiness of the mongo beans. Oh this worked magically! It made every bite a rich treat for my palate. Chef Roxs uses a lot of vegetable ingredients to build a rich flavor profile in his dishes! The problem I had was I couldn't eat it all, so I had to take one whole hock home!!
Of course, we were treated to dessert, which was one of Le Tasi Bistro's confections - a slice of their Mocha Cheesecake. If you didn't know, Katre Bistro has modified its schedule of operations so they are not open every weekday for dinner. It may be best to call first to see if they are open. You'll also be pleased to know that in addition to their wonderful menu selections, they have Comfort Food Specials, which include Pot Roast, Oxtail Soup, Meatloaf, Lamb Burgers, and Ham Hocks and Mongo Beans! With these specials, Katre is guaranteed a steady flow of local residents looking for their comfort food fix!
Healthy Hearts Cafe
Across from Lee Garden Chinese Rest.
"Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle"! That's the byline on the sign on the front of their business. It also states they have "Organic Groceries, Vegetarian Lunches, Vegan Smoothies and Desserts"! They couldn't have made their message clearer and directly to the point! This is truth in advertising at its best! When you first walk into Healthy Hearts Cafe you should first give yourself a pat on the back because of all the things you can do for yourself, eating well and healthily is so right on so many levels! To the novice visitor, you will be overwhelmed by all the unfamiliar and strange labels and packaging since none of these products are popularized on TV commercials or magazine ads. It's a store alright, but more than that, it's a treasure trove of things that will nourish your mind, body, and spirit, and, most importantly, extend and enhance the quality of your life!
I have to first thank Zee for insisting I join her for lunch on Saturday. She's been going to Healthy Hearts for some time. However, the real credit for Healthy Hearts Cafe are owners Sherry Chang and Jeannie Cooper, who are also sisters! They have created the quintessential health food lifestyle environment where you can read up on nutritious foods, products (Noni, Goji, Organic Superfruit Juices, and Cell Food), as well as purchase seasonings, spices, grains, chips, oils, snack bars (Dark Quinoa Organic Chocolate), and a long list of products too many to mention. What Sherry and Jeannie have done is capitalize on the extremely popular healthy lifestyle movement and in their case, they've focused on the retail side combining it with the culinary side. Their merchandising and inventory selections are impressive and state of the art. The walls emanate a mantra of wellness, and positive thinking, compassion, dharma, organic, and cleansing...it's an enchanting mural of powerful words...this place elevates one's consciousness which is definitely a good thing since you do have to eat!
That's why I came here - to eat! For this review, I opted to try the Special Menu (they only serve lunches), which they feature a different line-up every day. Today's special was Tomato Pesto Pizza w/Salad and Fruit ($9.95). My other choice was a Vegetarian Chili w/Organic Brown Rice. I ordered the Special featured beverage which was Fresh Organic Juice (Kale, Apple and Ginger for $5.95). The Soup of the Day ($6.95), was Tuscan Bean Chard (the Chard was organic). The portions are ample, however, you can buy any number of items like wraps, salads, and sandwiches, as well as scores of Smoothies.
My Tomato Pesto Pizza was totally different than any pizza I've had! The pizza crust was made with Spelt, a whole grain with a rich nutty flavor and loads of nutrients. The pizza was topped with organic mozzarella cheese and local cherries. The salad greens were fresh and drizzled by an organic oriental dressing. The Tuscan Bean Chard was fantastic and replete with vegetables in a flavorful broth. I didn't miss meat a bit! Star apple slices were stacked on a corner of my plate. The deep rich emerald green color of my Kale, Apple and Ginger juice made me think I was drinking some kind of magic potion...it was densely refreshing and I enjoyed sipping this beverage, savoring the unique flavor blend.
Zee's sandwich was vegan tuna on wheat bread She had salad and the same Tuscan Bean Chard soup that I had. Other salads that were pre-made (for take-out or dine-in) were the Organic Green Tea Soba($9.95) and Taco Salad (made with organic ingredients), $6.95.
Sherry and Jeannie wanted us to try out their desserts so they gave us their Green Tea Cheesecake Cup Cakes that were really moist and not overly sweet. They definitely tasted like they were made with a fine green tea (matcha) powder. The other dessert was an Apple Crumb Top Apple Pie. This was made with all organic ingredients. They used coco palm sugar that's low - glycemic (good for diabetics). I liked this as the apples were tart, plentiful, and not smothered in sugar.
I promised myself I'd go back here again. I barely scratched the surface of this happy healthy haven. The Store hours are Monday - Friday from 10:30 a.m. - 5:00 P.M. , and Saturday hours are from 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. They are closed on Sunday. Healthy Hearts Cafe invites you to try their delicious healthy fare for lunch. You will feel the difference!
Ken The Guam Food Guy