Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
"There is no place like home...there is no place like home...there is no place like home!" You may recall the phrase "there is no place like home" that was repeated 3 times by Dorothy in the 1939 musical fantasy, "The Wizard of Oz", as she clicked her heels together, ultimately returning her to her home in Kansas. That's how it is with me and enjoying a marvelous "staycation" right here on Guam, the "home" where my heart is! It just so happened that we had a relaxing staycation at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa this past weekend in one of the recently renovated rooms in the Main Tower. We were quite impressed with the quality of our experience and simply relished in the guiltless pleasure of doing absolutely nothing! I didn't even connect to the Internet while in the room! The view of Tumon Bay was magnificent, morning, during the day, and at night. The billowing white clouds floated on the skyline in an endless procession as we lazily attempted to identify faces, shapes, and creatures in some of the bizarre cloud formations! I can honestly say that the stay here was therapeutic! Based on the week I've just had, I will need a few more heavy doses of "therapy"! Guam is such a beautiful island!! It is meant to be enjoyed by those of us who live here!
Ken the Guam Food Guy!
Jeff's Pirates Cove
Jeff's is a treasure chest of fascinations! It is one of those places everyone who comes to Guam must visit at some time during their stay. I was just down there this week and was delighted to see that the grand old pirate himself, Jeff Pleadwell, was back after a 3 month absence in Hawaii where he had some surgery. I should consider following suit because he's got this slimmed-down body thing happening and he's quite pleased with his lighter self! I was there with a first-time visitor to Guam who had been in touch with Jeff in Hawaii. We met during lunch and that's kind of what I'd like to talk about.
Over the years I've eaten most of the items on Jeff's menu (have always enjoyed Jeff's Famous Homemade 1/2 lb Cheeseburger), however on this visit I went for the Gyro Lamb Platter listed on his daughter Sara's Menu. Priced at $16, you get a generous portion of Greek style lamb slices with fresh veggies (cucumber, sweet cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, sliced red onions, and peperoncini) and served with tsiziki, hummus and baba ghanouge on a bed of greens sprinkled with feta cheese, and pita bread. I also had a Fresh House Greek Garden Salad ($7) served with Jeff's Italian House Dressing.
My visitor friend had a seafood special that included such local staples as Red Rice, finadene, chicken kelaguen, and marlin kelaguen, with large onion rings and chunks of deep-fried and battered mahi and parrotfish. Jeff had ordered a mixed plate of seafood and I was very pleased with how his parrot fish filets came out...fresh with a texture similar to lobster! The golden panko-battered fish was both tasty and juicy. He gets a lot of seafood in his Premium Seafood appetizer ($32) which has shrimp, scallops, fish, calamari rings, and Jeff's tartar and cocktail sauces. Oh, the view of the vast blue Pacific Ocean is extraordinary too!
Special Gala Dinner at Feeregalo Euro Dining
Leo Palace Resort
Manenggon Hills, Yona
471-0001 ext 7180
I had the distinct pleasure of being asked to emcee the special gala dinner fund-raiser for St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School for the 2nd year. The quality of education is exemplified by each student attending. These young people are talented, self-assured, and focused on their academic achievements with the nurturing support of a faith-inspired environment. My role is to provide the commentary for the incredible fine dining adventure the guests (proud parents, friends, and supporters) are about to embark on that is orchestrated by Grand Master Chef Makoto Fujigaya and his culinary team at Feeregalo. Chef Fujigaya has over 40 years of culinary experience and has been recognized as one of the world's top chefs. He loves Guam and has lived here for a number of years, working for the Dai-Ichi Hotel's French Restaurant, La Fuente restaurant, in 1978. After a brief stint touring Europe and working at some of the top hotels in France, he returned to Guam as Executive Chef of the Dai-Ichi Hotel, where he also oversaw and had a hand in the amazing culinary creations at the legendary French restaurant, Claret. In 2000, he was back in Japan as the assistant Executive Chef of the Dai Ichi Hotel Ginza and shortly thereafter became the Executive Chef of the Dai-Ichi Shimbashi Annex. In 2003, he returned to Guam as the Grand Chef of the Leo Palace Resort.
The special 5-course meal prepared by Chef Fujigaya also had a vegetarian option, and I was privileged to have been able to taste his marvelous rendition of a Fried Mushroom & truffle Potato Croquette with Pomodoro Sauce. I regret not getting a photo of this!! The regular special menu started out with an Asian Style Marinated Seafood Carpaccio. This had local lemon citrus and sesame seeds in a vinaigrette.
Next was an Onion Soup Pie, that had a puff pastry top and a very delicate onion broth. One thing you must try at Feeregalo is the French bread baked by Chef Oikawa. His breads have been in demand since the 80's.
The next course featured Fried Scallops & Caesar Salad with Remoulade Sauce. Ever the saucier, Chef Fujigaya served us sweet panko-battered scallops that played with his remoulade. He placed an ama ebi (sweet fresh water baby shrimp) on the plate as an element along with a Caesar salad. This was certainly a crowd-pleaser!
The Main course was one of Chef Fujigaya's specialties - his Roasted Tenderloin Beef with Chateaubriand Sauce, served with Scallop Potato, Glazed Carrot, Tomato Gratin and Buttered Broccoli. Chef Fujigaya's beef cooked for 12 hours which really tenderized it. You have to try his sauces...this is where he really shines.
For dessert, we were treated to a delightful Moussed Coffee Chocolate served with Vanilla Ice cream and Anglaise Sauce. This was created by the Leo Palace's new pastry chef, Madoka Hosotani. One of the highlights of the dinner is when I introduced Chef Fujigaya and his team to the audience. The applause was a resounding endorsement of their satisfaction. If you've not yet been to Leo Palace, make it a point to go there...they have some surprises awaiting you!
Manhattan - The New York City Steakhouse
Pacific Star Resort
San Vitores Rd.
When it comes to "fine dining" in the Steakhouse category, no one has a better handle on this than Manhattan - The New York City Steakhouse. I wanted to share with you just a taste of some what you have awaiting you. Our party of four started off with one of the Manhattan's specialties, the Seafood Market, which for $65 is more than enough for four. This features an awesome array of seafood featuring Cajun Crab Cakes, Seared Tuna, Homemade Gravlax, Giant Shrimp, and Oysters Rockefeller, which are prepared to perfection!
Another item I had was the Five Onion Soup ($12). This traditional style French onion soup is made with yellow and red onions, leeks, shallots, and garlic, and is garnished with Gruyere cheese. It's a real treat to be able to sit down to a white tablecloth covered table and really savor the layered onion nuances in this classic French soup, which is so good it's really hard to take a break from eating it!
For this write-up though, I have to lay down the ultimate challenge to anyone who can do a Prime Rib (16 oz for $40) to match the Bone-In cut that I had placed in front of me. It was such a large piece of meat and cooked to rare (I like my meat medium rare) and there was so much of this that I had leftovers for 2 days! Certified Angus Beef is the distinguishing baseline, especially when exceptionally seasoned.
Islander Terrace Launches A World Of Flavors with New International Nights
Tuesday * Wednesday * Thursday (Adults : $38 / Children ages 5 - 11 $22)
6 - 9 PM
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
When you've been around as long as the Hilton has, you have a wealth of experience you can draw on, especially when it comes to great culinary traditions. That's kind of what they are bringing to the buffet table - their best practices game - the things that worked well and resonated with customers. We're talking about some of the special treats we enjoyed at the legendary Genji Restaurant - an icon among Japanese restaurants that still remains in the top echelon of Guam's great Japanese dining destinations. Well you can get some of that experience right now at the Islander Terrace's Genji Station, which features traditional shabu-shabu, Kakiage tempura (mixed vegetable), Shrimp tempura, buckwheat soba, chawanmushi, sushi, sashimi, karaage chicken and even Ahi poke.