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November 15, 2013, Volume 13 Number 21

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

I've just returned from a quick weekend holiday jaunt over to one of my favorite places - the beautiful island nation of Palau. While I was power-walking early Monday morning through the streets and village roads of Koror, I took a photo with my Blackberry that showed how fortunate the people of Koror were after Typhoon Haiyan had brushed past Palau on the way to becoming the monstrous SuperTyphoon that utterly devastated six central islands of the Philippines. In this photo there are lush and verdant plants and trees, with only a banana tree down. Children are walking to their school and the week is starting out "normal". The island of Kayangel (Palau's northernmost) suffered the most visible damage from Haiyan, with damage to structures, trees, and homes. There were no fatalities. They had adequate warning and were able to evacuate to safer locations. Such was not the case in the Philippines, and most of you have heard the sad and tragic news of Haiyan's ferocious onslaught that took many lives and the horrific aftermath that has been an unending misery for survivors. We all should make meaningful donations to local charities that will be focusing their efforts on aiding those families and victims in need.

Ken, the Guam Food Guy


"A Gift for Ashley"
Island Chamorro Thanksgiving Buffet

$20.00 per person - Cash Only
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
GCC Multi-Purpose Auditorium
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The GCC Culinary Arts Program's HS249 (Advance Food Prep) is performing a Service Learning Project called "A Gift for Ashley", who was a former student and classmate in the culinary arts school. Her compelling story, excerpted from her Facebook page, follows:

"So it's true...our 20-year old sister/daughter, Ashley Renee Quitugua, who grew a passion for creating mouthwatering dishes from seemingly nothing, has cancer. She never was really interested in school, nothing ever peaked her curiosity before she became ill like culinary. It was unknown until one day, one of her instructors, a Chef, had to practically carry her to the nurse's office. Most days she stuck it out and forced herself to continue her classes until she felt faint, dizzy, and extremely nauseous. She finally had to pull out of the semester class, her dream of becoming a Chef had to be put on hold as her sickness has now made it too difficult to even sit during a lecture. Yes, she has been very sick and it turns out - it's cancer - and has spread like wildfire.

What kind of cancer? - Everyone is asking, and months ago we could have casually given it a name, as it could have been isolated in one area, then, but now that it is moving into/affecting her lungs, liver, and some of her bones - there isn't a single name. It's just an untreatable fast-acting cancer that we are hoping allows her to live well and happily for the 6 months to a year that the doctors are estimating she has left.

Please help Ashley fight this battle. Any amount will help greatly. On behalf of Ash, thank you in advance for your generous support and kindness."

Island Chamorro Thanksgiving Menu

Taro rolls; Yigo Cornbread; Lemai Salad w/lemai and Taro Chips Prawn Kelaguen w/Grilled Tatiyas; Crispy Calamari Salad

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin: Kamute (Sweet Potato) Souffle
Cornish Game Hen Ballontine, Cranberry Sauce Buerre Blanc
Reyeno Chamorro Stuffing
Peppercorn Crusted Pot Roast w/a Champignon Mushroom Demi Sauce
Squid Calamari Stuffed with Red Rice, Spinach and Chorizo Sausage Tomato Concasse
Lobster Mac & Smoked Cheddar Cheese Truffle Oil Drizzle

Pumpkin Mousse Latiya
Cranberry Lemon Bars & Tartlets
Tuba Haupia; Cassava Custard Cake

Taste Guam
Sunday December 1, 2013

4PM - 10PM
Pleasure Island, Tumon

"The ultimate food and beverage festival celebrates local produce, great Chamorro recipes, exotic dishes, wine, beer, and other beverages, all in one open-air street location! Local, visitor and military communities get in on the action and treat their palates to a variety of culinary delights. Live entertainment, exciting cooking demonstrations and competitions get the crowds involved." (GHRA Website)

Roy Yamaguchi Dinner
Exclusive Prix Fixe Dinner
6-9:30 PM
November 7, 2013
Roy's Restaurant
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa

Celebrity Chef Roy Yamaguchi made his triumphant return to Guam last week and performed his culinary magic for three special nights at Roy's. I was fortunate to be invited to attend the first night of his Exclusive Prix Fixe Dinner ($150.00), and bore witness to this phenomenal chef's creative genius working via his finely honed skills and experience to produce a magnificent and exquisite five course meal that was a smashing success. Roy's brilliance shines particularly in his ability to inspire and teach the Hilton's restaurant team the processes involved in preparing these amazing dishes. The ability to replicate his unique signature dishes is fundamental to the chain's success.

Roy's presentations are clean and simple, with all the focus in the center of the dish. In fact, the food in most of his platings occupies less than half the surface. The quality of the ingredients and combined flavors reach an exciting crescendo when you take your first bite! WOW! (that was the operative exclamation around the table). The course titles are precise and to the point, with no wasted words nor space.

First to arrive was the U-10 Scallop Lasagnette. Let's put it this way, Roy discovered a totally new way to prepare, cook, and serve a scallop. No, he didn't use lasagna...he hand-made a new delicate pasta creation that he layered (like a lasagna) and stuffed with a medley of light ingredients that complemented the pan-seared butter-flied scallop. This was a delicious and exciting first impression.

The next course was the Vietnamese Essence Duck Breast Mango Salsa. Again, Yamaguchi (ever the inventor), takes the familiar and makes something astonishingly new and exciting! Even though you were told you had duck breast, you didn't consider this light, delicious, soft, richly-tender piece of meat "duck". Through sous vide cooking and time, Roy brought us to a new level of appreciating the noble duck, who didn't have to be such a "tough guy" after all! The mango salsa and salad dressing completed the sweet, sour, spicy and tart sensations with hints of lemongrass and fish sauce. Definitely a party of flavors and one happy tenderized duck!

Roy's middle course was Butterfish/Congee/Porkbelly, Cilantro Sauce. This was definitely a mixed media dish layered to impress. The butterfish was light, delicate and glazed with a savory coating. It was on top of a chunk of that melt-in-your mouth sous vide pork belly that Roy has perfected and incorporated in his menus. The pink congee was another take on an Asian staple, colorized and a striking contrast to the green flavor-packed Cilantro sauce.

The main course took center stage (and center plate), with a line-up of sliced Wagyu New York, Rosti Potato and Sancho Pepper Sauce. The Wagyu chunks were small but extremely tasty and tender as tender can be. A demi-reduction with a bit of a spice kick and remodeled potato that was rolled, coated and baked. You definitely appreciated the first 3 courses leading up to this one if you came here with an appetite!

For dessert we ended with a fabulous Ricotta Crostada: Fresh fruits, Blueberry, Raspberry and Blackberry. The taste of this rich dish was dazzling with a just baked crust and light cheese texture with a fruity finish. Bravo, Chef Roy! Bravo Team Roy's! Looking forward to your next visit, Roy!

Drop-Off Bar & Grill
Neco Marine Plaza
Main Street

Kitchen Open: 10 AM - 2PM, 4PM - 10 PM
Note: Any dish w/sebus special fish = add $6

It's always great to discover a new and exciting place to eat, especially when you are in Palau! I had been told to try the Drop Off while at Guam's airport on my way to Palau on a Sunday night so it was near the very top of my very short list for this extremely short (2 day) trip! Though "new" to me, it was built specifically for the Survivor Palau Episodes that were filmed on location in Palau. This was the 10th in the series for Survivor and the Drop-Off Bar & Grill was where the crew and contestants would congregate before boarding the shuttle boats to their shoot locations. It's a covered open air bar that is right on the dock. It has a scenic harbor view .

Drop-Off is famous for is SEBUS (deep-sea snappers), which are caught between 500 and 900 feet. There are several different species of Sebus, which include the Ruby Red, the Opakapaka, Sebus Onaga, Metengui (Rusty Jobfish), Etelis Radiosus, and Randallichthys filamentosus. Safe to say you can ask your server (the effervescent "Vee" was ours) and she'll tell you what their fresh catch is. Usually they bring something in every day. The Drop-Off has plenty more to offer, boasting a full menu of Western-style and Asian dining options ranging from Nachos, sashimi, Philly Cheese Steak Sub, BLT, Hot Dogs, Udon, Ramen, Quesadillas, Burritos, Spaghetti Bolognese, Pizza, Fish or Beef Kebabs, Rib-Eye Steaks, and Fried Chicken Wings.

I was with my friend Robert, his girl friend Ivanna and her brother, Michael. It was our first meal together so it was a great way to become new friends as we ordered several dishes to try out for this late lunch review. The first to arrive was the Sashimi Poki ($9.50). Talk about fresh poki! The sesame seeds, furikake ,onions, garlic, sesame oil, light soy sauce, and lemon juice all combined atop a bed of shredded cabbage and carrots. This was awesome eating and definitely a wonderful way to start off the meal.

Our next dish to arrive was the Meat Lover's Pizza (large - $17.50). I didn't think I'd be eating pizza in Palau, but I will admit that it was pretty tasty (especially with my adding more crushed red pepper. The crust could have been a little more done on the bottom...I like mine crisp and crunchy. Ivanna had ordered a Ramen Chicken with Egg ($5.50), which looked pretty good (she seemed to really like it)!

When the Blackened Sashimi ($8.50) was delivered the group made an audible gasp of pleasure and anticipation. I felt a little bit of pressure when I was taking a few photos of this magnificent platter of perfectly seared fresh ruby red ahi tuna (seemed that people didn't want to wait, and I was one of them!!!). This is a dish that I could eat all day long! There was just a bit of heat from the cajun spice but that was soon washed away by the chardonnay (served in a Stella Artois chalice).

While I had wanted to try the Ruby Red, they had something like a white snapper, so I ordered the menu preparation which was a Pan-Fried Almondine with Salad and Rice ($11.50). This was certainly a substantial amount of food with several filets of fish covered in almonds and sauce. The flavor was quite good and would have been much better (for me) if it was removed from the pan a minute sooner. I'll be sure to arrive earlier for lunch or dinner on my next visit to get the Ruby Red or Onaga. I don't mind paying $6.00 more!!!

We thought we were finished and ready to settle our tab when the topic of burgers came up. Our server Vee was quite proud of the burgers at the Drop-Off and told me that I hadn't tried their burger yet. I asked which one she recommended and she said their "Tsunami" burger, which added bacon, cheese, egg, and mushrooms to their standard burger at an additional $.50/ea., bringing the price up to $10. When the burger arrived we split it into quarters so that I could at least try a few bites. It was a pretty decent burger. The additional ingredients really brought up the stature and the volume. Some had to be taken home as everyone was pretty full. To be honest, though, I wouldn't come to Palau for a burger, no matter how good...I would go crazy over the fresh seafood!!

The Drop-Off Bar & Grill is proudly owned by Shallum and Mandy Etpison. It is definitely a place for anyone visiting Palau to stop by, relax, have a beer or glass of wine, and order some delicious food that you can enjoy with family and friends. I highly recommend it! Sulang, team Drop-Off!!!

Bon Appetit!
Ken the Guam Food Guy

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