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May 23, 2014, Volume 14 Number 11

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Whoops! It seems that we've missed recognizing a major milestone for the Guam Diner Newsletter ! It kind of reminds me about forgetting to remember a birthday (I think we always remember "our" own birthday), but we often forget (maybe not forget, but perhaps "mis-file") the birthdays of others. This milestone actually took place on February 14, 2014 (Valentine's Day - didn't forget that day!!). It was the fact that our February 14 newsletter (Volume 14 Number 4) was our 500th Guam Diner Newsletter! I may be waxing sentimental but you consider how much writing and eating that amounts to, it's truly substantial! Anyway, it has been an amazing journey and I want to thank my partners for making the magic happen and for being there all these years. It was just the other night when we were at Suphan Thai Restaurant that another customer was closing her bill and as she walked by she stopped and told me that she's been reading the Guamdiner newsletter for a number of years and appreciated my sharing all of these incredible dining experiences. I was delighted to receive her gratitude (flattered too). So join us as we continue our diverse culinary adventures and food event reporting-we welcome your feedback and input, and we thank you for your valued readership!

Ken The Guam Food Guy & the GuamDiner Editorial Team

Maila' Ta Fan Chesa - An Event You Don't Want to Miss!!
May 27, 2014
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Guam Main Ballroom
Ticket Price - $40 (available at Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro, Proa restaurants, and all MCA Members)

The Micronesian Chefs' Association (MCA) is pleased to host the 3rd Annual Maila' Ta Fan Chesa ("come and let's eat some tasty treats") fund-raising event, which has been growing in popularity since its inception. Truthfully, there is no other event like this where guests can interact directly with some of the island's top chefs who will be preparing tantalizing "chesas" (appetizers, desserts, and beverages) using local fresh produce. Six local farmers will be providing produce from their "villages" and each chef will have a booth representing that village and guests will be able to sample their savory creations. The participating chefs and farmers are listed along with their ingredients in the chart below:

Mark Curry, Executive Chef P.I.C.
Ernie Wusstig/Yigo

Geoffrey Perez, Executive Chef PROA
Ben Valasquez/Dededo

Simplicio "JR" Taga, Executive Sous Chef, Outrigger Guam Resort
Richard Barcinas/Merizo

Cliff Takano, Executive Chef, Tapanade Tapas & Sangria
Nanette Flores/Talofofo

Rey Dasalla, Executive Chef, Sea Grill Restaurant
Young Coconut
Vicente Perez/Sinajana

Peter Duenas, Executive Chef, Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro
Rodney Santos/Inarajan

Mirko Agostini, Executive Chef Hyatt Regency Guam
Nanette Flores/ Talofofo, Rodney Santos/Inarajan

One of the highlights of the event will be the presence of Winemaker Dave Ready, Jr., from the Murphy-Goode Winery in Sonoma County, California. Ready, a 2nd generation winemaker with a love of rock & roll music, will be pairing select wines with the chefs' produce creations. This is the first time a wine element has been included in the event, and offers wine-aficionados an added bonus! Don't delay...get your tickets today! Tickets will be available at the door for purchase.

Taste of the Marianas
Certified Angus Beef Chef's Competition
May 31, 2014
American Memorial Park
Garapan, Saipan

Next Saturday evening will be the final night for this year's Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival and Beer Garden. The highlight of this final night is the Professional Chefs Competition, with the theme ingredient being Certified Angus Beef. Island chefs will compete in making Mexican Beef Tacos! If you are able to make it over to Saipan and have not yet attended the Taste of the Marianas (spanning all 5 Saturdays in May), you will be overwhelmed by this huge festival of food favorites prepared by the island's top hotels and restaurants, available at very affordable prices. There is live entertainment, cultural dances, souvenir booths, art work, handicrafts, and an array of beverages, with some special creations by the Saipan Bartenders Association. I have been attending for years, serving as emcee and judge. It is an honor and privilege for me to attend this exciting, one-of-a-kind event! See you there!!

PHARE Succeeds In Putting Food & Beverages In Your Mouth!
May 21-22
Hyatt Regency Guam

The Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association's signature trade event finished on Thursday, although the bar-tending competition will be held at 9:00 p.m. on Friday, May 23, at the Beach Bar (Gun Beach). There will be a $10 cover charge with a two-drink coupon at the door. Previously held annually, this event now occurs every other year, and allows visitors an opportunity to taste and try new products, as well as interact and engage directly with vendors who are selling goods and services, many of which use the latest technological innovations.

I was joined by throngs of other who were there for the fabulous food displays, with the newly introduced baked goods and pastries, as well as completely new beef and seafood products. The food sampling and tasting was amazing. I was quite impressed to discover a completely new (to me) fish product called Cobia, which is being introduced to Guam by Quality Distributors. This delicious white fish has a rich and buttery flavor, is high in protein and Omega 3, is all-natural (raised in the largest deep water open ocean sea farm in the world) and makes for high-grade sashimi with a texture and taste akin to yellow tail.

Cobia was the featured key ingredient in the Professional Chefs Competition, which was won this year by Sandy Santiago, Executive Sous Chef at Sea Grill. Sandy's phenomenal creation wowed the judges. He made a Smoked Cobia Sashimi with Coconut Denanche Terrine and Avocado Mango Concasse. It was pure genius in its execution, creation, and presentation. The sashimi was soaked in brine for 12 hours and then smoked for 3 minutes. The denanche terrine was quite an original and complex creation, as was the concasse, which as made with ripe mango, avocado, tomato, red onion, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Another interesting product was also introduced at this year's PHARE. Represented by Quality Distributors, Black Mountain Premium Beef was the key ingredient in the People's Choice Chef's Competition. The year's winning team was the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa. The Black Angus beef has gone through a special aging process. The meat was quite tender and flavorful, with a quality consistent with excellent marbling. We look forward to seeing these new products at island restaurants, especially the Cobia as it can be a welcome replacement to the over-used salmon.

Palm Cafe Launches Korean Monday Dinner Buffet
Outrigger Guam Resort

If you love Korean cuisine, then you're going be really excited by the Palm Cafe's recent launching its Monday Night Korean Buffet ($30.95/per person + 10% s.c.). Although we usually eat Korean food made at local Korean restaurants, you should consider trying the Palm Cafe's Korean buffet offering since no Korean restaurant that I know of offers an all-you-can-eat buffet (especially with free-flowing beer). In addition, and most significantly, most of the food I tasted was as good as many of the dishes I've had at Korean restaurants and that is due in a large part to the fact that two of the cooks making the food are chef interns from Korea! I was delighted to see both Ji Hye Hwang (Joy) and Eun-Su Seo (Ellen) behind the counter when I first walked in!

You can start off with making your own bibimbap, which is a rice, beef, and vegetable dish that you mix with an egg in a bowl. The banchan (the usual assortment of marinated vegetables, dried fish, and other ingredients) are displayed along with so much other food you'll have to come back on another visit to try to eat most of the food presented. Grilled beef, grilled mackerel, and grilled chicken are available, along with chapchae, bulgogi, a Korean shabu-shabu, dokbogi, a very spicy beef soup, kimchis made with radishes, cabbage, cucumbers (all marinated in ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and scallions) plus the use of sesame seeds and sesame oil. As I stated earlier, it just is not possible to find a Korean restaurant offering a comparable spread, especially for the price you are paying.

While eating I concentrated on Korean food specifically and wasn't able to eat half of the Korean food creations. I didn't eat any of the salmon sashimi, oysters, mussels, clams, salads, as well as a few hot food items. I didn't have room for dessert (and they had so many fine desserts available)! The Palm Cafe has what I consider a big hit on their hands just like they have for their popular weekday Japanese lunch buffet featuring sashimi and sushi galore! Once word is out about the fabulous flavors made possible by these amazing young lady chefs, there will long lines waiting to go into the Palm Cafe, one of Guam's most glamorous dining destinations.

Doraku Restaurant
Pia Resort 1 F

Lunch Hours: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Monday - Friday
Dinner Hours: 6:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Monday - Saturday

When Zee had won a raffle prize for a Doraku California Roll at Tokyo Mart's 40th Anniversary Celebration last month, I realized that I had not yet tried one of Doraku's California Rolls! Well, we had the perfect opportunity to do just that recently as well as to re-visit a restaurant I've always enjoyed eating at but don't for some reason get around to eating here regularly. Owned by Chef Hideyuki Otsuka, Doraku has been in business about ten years. He had previously been the chef at the Fujita Hotel. The Pia Resort in Tumon can be reached by driving up behind the DFS Galleria, and then past R&C Tours HQ Bldg. There are not many parking spaces available (there are 6 assigned), however, there is parking along side the road. I wouldn't let parking get in the way of eating Doraku's excellent food.

When we arrived, all of Doraku's tables were occupied so we sat at the side counter near the main sushi bar. I bowed to Chef Otuka who smiled when we entered. I always feel a little bad when I've been away too long. It has to have been nearly 2 years!! When our server came we ordered the large Asahi, the California Roll ($14), Assorted Sashimi (3 kinds assorted- $15.00), Oshinko Maki ($3.00), Japanese Fried Chicken (Tori Karaage, $6.50), Vegetable Green Salad ($2.00), Edamame ($3.50 ), Hiyayako (Soy Bean Cured Cold Tofu ($3.50), and Japanese Yakisoba Noodle ($7.50).

The tofu and edamame were the first to arrive and we started eating . When we saw the California Roll, we audibly gasped as it was probably the largest California Roll we'd ever seen! We felt a little worried because we had ordered so much food. We knew we would be in for a long eating ordeal! Of course, as we were eating, the tastes were exceptional. The sashimi sampler had fresh salmon, delicious and beautifully red Maguro, and Yellow Tail. The California Roll was too big to eat in one bite. All the components were quite good, especially the avocado, which had two pieces inside. One of our challenges is that we've been trying to minimize our rice consumption, and these rolls came with a lot of rice on their rims! Other ingredients were the artificial crab and tomago (egg).

I got a bit excited when I saw the Chicken Kaarage. It came with shredded cabbage that had the creamy dressing blended in. The chicken was golden brown and perfectly crisped. When I had my first bite I knew then that this was no ordinary karaage! It was top tier! Another dish I tried for the first time was the Yakisoba, which had slices of pork sausage mixed in. It was an good sized portion and well balanced with cabbage and noodles.

Our single most challenging experience was in trying to eat all of the California Roll. It was just not possible as I had tried to finish everything else. We will make it point to return to Doraku and order what we can eat without overdoing it! After all, Doraku has a menu full of Japanese favorites that are waiting to be eaten! Well, what are you waiting for?

Ita Dake Masu!!
Ken the Guam Food Guy

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