Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Halfway through the month and I'm already breathless from the rush of events!! This weekend alone has so much going on including the huge Guam International Marathon on Sunday, along with Smoking Wheels and the Songkran Festival (Thai New Year). Though I can't attend every event, there are some that I am definitely going to attend this month and that's the 17th Annual Auction & Wine Tasting to Benefit the Guam Girl Scouts!
This is the 2nd year that it will be held in the Nissan Infiniti Gallery Showroom on April 25. Last year's was so successful it was decided to try to duplicate if not exceed the magical results achieved. Afterall, the GCC Culinary Academy did an outstanding job of making delectable appetizers and hors d'oeuvres that paired well with the fine wines being sampled. They're back with a menu selection you won't believe! Moreover, Peter Santos aka Guam's Michael Buble will be performing! Art galore and plenty of terrific auction items will be on display awaiting your bid! Get your tickets now for an event you don't want to miss! See you there!
Ken the Guam Food Guy
Thai New Year (Songkran Festival)
Sunday April 13th
Matapang Beach Park Tumon (next to Holiday Resort)
10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Don't miss this year's Thai New Year's (Songkran) festival coming up this weekend! Everyone is welcome and invited. Caution: this is a Wet Party, so you should wear something that can handle water. Among the activities you can expect are games, Thai Classical Dance, Muay Thai Kick Boxing, Splashing Water, Music, Sprinkle water on a Budda Image. However, one of the best things about this celebraton is the diverse spread of Thai food that will be prepared and available for sale! There will be extra parking available at Ban Thai Restaurant.
Kentucky GRILLED Chicken on Saipan?
What's up, Guam? !!!!
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Town House Shopping Center
I had seen an announcement in one of Saipan's papers that their Kentucky Fried Chicken location was offering Kentucky Grilled Chicken. I have had this before in the States and I love it! When I was in Saipan a few weeks ago I dropped by and ordered a 3-piece meal (same price as an Original plate). They have brown gravy that's actually pretty tasty as well as fresh cole slaw. They only use dark meat (I didn't complain). The chicken tastes so much better (the seasonings and grilling method). I was tempted to buy a bucket and bring it back to Guam! My question to the Guam KFC franchise owner, when are you going to bring this healthier and tastier chicken to Guam?
Tokyo Mart's 40th Year Anniversary
Special Wine-Tasting Event
April 17, 2014 (Thursday)
Time: 4 - 7 p.m.
To commemorate Tokyo Mart's 40th Anniversary, Pacific Wine & Spirits, Inc., will be sponsoring a special Wine-Tasting Event at the store's Tamuning location. Two of seven Blackstone Wine varietals, Blackstone Sauvignon Blanc and Blackstone Merlot, will be sampled. In addition, an assortment of San Pellegrino Fruit Drinks will be available for sampling, including the following flavors: "Limonata(Lemon), Pompelmo (Grapefruit), Ara Rossa (Red Orange, and Mandarino (Mandarin Orange).
Customers will also have an opportunity to purchase all products in the Blackstone Wine family and San Pellegrino Fruit drinks at special pricing. Tokyo Mart has been improving their bento selection and merchandising mix of products in their newly-renovated store. Come and join the celebration at Tokyo Mart!
Tamuning (next to Roasted)
Hours: Mon - Sat 11 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
5:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Sun - 11 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
There are some things that have to be done. One of them is eating at Napu Restaurant. I went there recently for dinner to try something new and something familiar. I got more than I expected! I ordered the Fried Huli Pork Ribs ($13.95). Zee ordered the Kinugasa Don ($8.95) with brown rice in lieu of white rice ($2.00). The Kinugasa is the Napu's Veggie Donburi. We both had an add-on salad bar (all you can eat) for $5.95 ea., which is where we discovered some amazing ingredients.
\The salad bar has a variety of interesting choices, including kimchi, macaroni salad, pasta salad, bittermelon, sour sop, marinated bok choy, black beans, kidney beans, corn, cucumbers, jalopeno peppers, and more! The ingredients in the salad bar are constantly changing based on availability. It was Zee's first time eating Soursop and she loved it! It was quite sweet and had a firm texture. Of course, it will ripen and turn into soursop. While I was eating my salad, I thought about getting something I'd been craving, Napu's famous "Nina'a Special Loaf" (meat loaf - $12.50) with brown rice ($2.00).
When the platters were brought out, I was startled by the size of these platters. Not only were they dimensionally large, they were also full of food!! The Huli Pork Ribs were appealingly presented with garlic chips and green onions piled on top. A ramekin of finedene was beside the ribs (about 1/3 of a rack). The platter also had sauteed bean sprouts with a couple of cucumber slices. The ribs were marinated then fried, and actually could be eaten easily without any finadene. The savory huli sauce is teriyaki variant, combining ginger, brown sugar and soy sauce. I could have finished these ribs one at a time when I needed to turn ("Huli" actually translates into "turn") my attention to my meat loaf.
This platter was filled with brown rice mixed with vegetable bits. The meat loaf was served in two large planks that had been grilled and then smothered in a rich red wine mushroom sauce topped by chopped green onions. Sauteed bean sprouts garnished this platter, too, and these joined the parade of great tasting food ! I did manage to get through one whole plank of the delicious homemade meat loaf. I did have to save some for my breakfast/lunch the following day.
Zee's Kunugasa Bowl also had brown rice ($2.00 extra). It was filled with tofu, eggplant, onion, simmered egg, and inoki mushrooms. Since she had made two trips to that terrific little salad bar (made with a lot of fresh local vegetables and fruits), she could barely finish half her bowl and took the rest of her donburi to go. I can honestly say that everything I ate in Napu was as tasty as a home-cooked meal!
Himawari Deli and Bakery
I finally was able to make the stop inside Himawari for lunch during a recent Saipan visit. I had seen the bakery and store during a previous trip but had only heard the rave reviews about how wonderful the Japanese food was. Now I could find out for myself. I sat at the large sushi counter where several chefs were busy rolling sushi. I then noticed a smiling face looking at me from across the counter. It was Lito Petonio, who used to work for Hyatt Regency Saipan's Miyako Japanese Restaurant. He smiled and asked if I'd remembered him...it had been a few years, but yes, I knew Lito, but didn't know he was at Himawari.
I quickly scanned the large menu (they seemed to have everything, with color pictures of each menu selection). I settled on the Sushi and Tempura Set ($10), which came with Miso soup and "oshinko" (pickles). The price seemed curiously inexpensive. The entire menu was priced the same way, like it may have been in the 80's.
When my sushi was delivered I was in awe of the fantastic assortment of artfully created pieces that had minimal rice and maximum seafood. There was a salmon aburi salmon with aioli drizzle, shrimp, maguro, yellowtail, octopus, squid, and red snapper. It was all so fresh!! My tempura came next and I was also impressed with the quality and preparation. For the money, this was unbelievable and totally validated all of the positive comments I'd heard about this place. They must sell a lot of bread!!!
I had noticed Katsudon (Pork Cutlet with rice set) on the menu ($7). When it came, it looked like something I'd enjoy, the simmered egg, onion, and sauce smothering pork cutlets topped by shredded red ginger. However, when I tasted it, I realized that this was just alright. That's because I have been spoiled by the Katsudon made by Kaori Sablan at Chopstix, which is simply the best. Still, for $7.00, one can't complain, and my colleagues Ben & Mark each had their own bowl of Katsudon.
Himawari is an amazing center of commerce (the top has apartments and hotel rooms) and a great deal of the store outside of the restaurant has shelves filled with imported Japanese products, mainly food stuffs, and some alcoholic beverages (sakes and shochus). They even have commercial rice cookers! The bakery has the popular Japanese Pullman bread sold as sliced or whole loaf. Breads are baked fresh daily and there's even a posted schedule of times when breads are ready from the oven There are rolls, pastries, baguettes, take-out sushi packs, sashimi, and even hot take-out bento. It is something you'd have to see to believe!
A Taste of Milan
Special Set Menu Prepared by Chef Cristiano Pozzi
Al Dente Ristorante
Hyatt Regency Guam
It was Saturday night and we were enjoying a Hyatt Staycation package (thanks to the G.I.M). It was a coincidence to find out that our friends, Bertrand and Mari Carmen (of Le Tasi Bistro) were also staying on property that day. So we arranged to have dinner together at Al Dente. I was already primed and set to try out Chef Pozzi's first new menu creations which was a special 5-course set paired with some Italian wines. Bertrand joined me in this try-out.
For $60.00/person (plus 10% s.c.), you will be treated to a glass of Danzante Toscana Pinot Grigio. This would accompany a Beef Carpaccio, rucola, buttons mushrooms, parmesan cheese sauce; authentic vegetables minestrone soup; and Safran risotto milanese style. The next glass of wine, Danzante Sangiovese, Chianti, (DOCG Italy), would then accompany the main course, Stew Beef Cheek in red wine sauce, polenta, and vegetables.
The Beef Cheek was braised to perfection, and didn't require a knife to cut! It was so tender and well-seasoned. We then were wowed by the dessert, which was a traditional peasant cake with vanilla ice cream. This was a moist (nearly wet) decadent log of chocolate that just melted in one's mouth. I guess the peasants really eat well in Milan!!
Bravo Chef Cristano!
Eggs'n Things Guam - First Look
1317 San Vitores Road
Tumon (Just in front of the Guam Reef & Olive Spa Resort)
The long-anticipated opening of Eggs 'n Things took place when I was in Saipan. A few days later we were at the Hyatt and walked up the hill to this highly visible, strategic location (they are in view of many hotel rooms). Though they open their doors at 7:00 a.m., they had customers queuing up since 6:15 a.m.!
Eggs 'n Things is an import from Hawaii, with a long history. Founded in 1974 by owners Jerry and Jan Fukunaga, they opened on Ena Road in Waikiki. Based on a philosophy of serving using fresh ingredients for food served at reasonable prices, the Fukunaga's also opened their hearts to customers and treated them as family, reflecting the culture of Ohana. That tradition has carried on with the present owner, Yuka Nuwano, and her management team. Eggs 'n Things is a welcome addition to Guam and brings a qualitative enhancement to the island's breakfast dining options.
One should be prepared to wait! We noticed the long line winding around the building and we got in line (we had nowhere else to go and time to burn). The staff at Eggs 'n Things are very nice and demonstrated genuine concern for those waiting in line. They gave out menus and explained the choices we had, which were to dine-in or to take-out. The former would naturally require a longer wait, but they did expedite the take-out meals. The line is along the outside wall of the restaurant facing San Vitores. It is under a canopy that shades people and protects them from the rain. You can view into the restaurant from some of the windows and watch people eat (I don't' know if that's such a good idea since those waiting my end up glaring at those dining urging them to "hurry up!" One good thing about the window views into the dining room is that you can see the plates of food that are served, like those pancakes crowned by a 9" tower of whipped cream surrounded by strawberries!!!
The protocol for those waiting is you will tell a hostess what your order is as you get closer to the front of the line (our wait was just under one hour), and the hostess enters your order into an iPad mini or something similar, and then you pay for your meal when you are near the register. They will then escort you inside to a table. Since your order has already been placed, you are served rather quickly. It's actually a smart system.
We ordered the Silver Dollar Pancakes ($9.00), 2 hot coffees ($3.00 ea.), 1 Spinach Bacon and Cheese Omelet, with Potatoes ($3.50) and Link Sausage ($7) as side orders. Then for the review sake, I ordered 1 Strawberry Whip Cream w/Nuts Pancake ($13.00). These pancakes are said to be the best pancakes in Hawaii, with these very same hotcakes being the reason for their fame. They even sell bags of pancake batter at their in store kiosk!
Eggs 'n Things has a colossal menu, one which I hope to have time to try in the months ahead. I don't even know if business will ever subside though since the tourists visiting Guam are always new and they were easily 2/3 of the queue!! I enjoyed my omelet (they even had a salsa they made to go along with it, using local peppers). I had the Pepperjack cheese - there are 3 options. The whole wheat toast was fibrous and had substance. I liked the sausage. I really enjoyed the potatoes...reminds me of something home-cooked!
The dollar size pancakes Zee ordered were good (more than she could eat). They do offer 3 kinds of syrup on the table - coconut, guava, and maple. Zee liked the coconut and I was delighted by the guava since it was new to me. The coconut syrup really was delicious!
The Strawberry Whip Cream w/Nuts is a bit of an over-reach for us...more than we'd ever be able to eat! Even though it's non-dairy whip cream, it is still way too much (but there are many who love this kind of breakfast dessert!!!). The macadamia nuts were good, the strawberries were the frozen type that are sweetened in their own syrup. The pancakes were very tasty and consistent. Everything we saw was consistent...it's like they had a Xerox machine in the kitchen!!! I'd wanted the Eggs Benedict ($13.50) but they didn't have it yet.
The menu has Meats 'N Eggs combinations, Specials 'N Things, Omelets, Crepes, Waffles, and Fruits 'N Things. Yes, the menu items are a bit on the pricey side, which makes sense for Tumon. The novelty of this place (it is as much a destination as Hard Rock since they do sell souvenirs) also is an attraction.It is definitely an experience that I would recommend. It was just worth the wait (didn't want that to go any longer, though)! Try Eggs'N Thing Guam for a taste of Hawaii served in the spirit of Ohana! Bon appetit!
Ken The Guam Food Guy