Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Talk about "deja vu"! I couldn't resist going back 10 years in our Guamdiner Newsletter history to reprint this newsletter intro...it seems so appropriate:
"January 28, 2005, Volume 5 Number 4
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader, There's something in the air that's so thick you can almost taste it, and I'm not talking about the Asian "haze" nor about any local grassfires...I'm talking about the improving economy. Among all the things we need to count, we need to count our blessings first, and for the superstitious, perhaps "knock on wood" that we don't experience any natural or man-made disasters that would derail us off the current success track I believe we've been on for the past few months. This economic improvement is having a direct beneficial impact on the local restaurant industry, with more dining choices and experiences being introduced almost weekly. Some of the larger establishments are adjusting their menus and introducing innovative food concepts and beverage concepts, with wine and coffees getting attention like never before. Although you may not see it happening, there are big changes underway that will re-shape and refine the existing restaurant dynamics, and by the end of 2005, you'll look back and marvel at the progress.
In the past we've seen restaurants close only to be re-opened by another operator. I forecast we'll be seeing a lot of smaller, entrepreneurial food establishments and businesses, since more and more people are seeing the rewards from providing locally-grown products and offering local experiences to our visitors. Island pride should be one of our primary focuses, since nearly a million people leave their countries to spend some time in ours. This year we need to really promote our local cuisine and hospitality. If we can refine and define this experience, we're going to reap incredible returns. We've got some work ahead of us, but we're on the right track." Looks like a repeating cycle to me!!!
Ken the Guam Food Guy
Outback's Now Open For Lunch
Hours of Operation:
Sunday - Thursday : 11 AM - 10PM
Friday - Saturday : 11 AM - 11PM
Something "Au Some" did happen a few weeks back when Outback Steakhouse extended its hours to include "LUNCH"!! This was delightful news to hundreds of Outback fans who can enjoy some of their favorite "tucker fare" during daylight hours! I had the opportunity to preview the lunch launch along with a gaggle of media folks and other invited guests. We were able to sample some new items that were introduced for lunch, which included Ahi Tuna Chopped Salad ($15.99), Crab Stuffed Mushrooms ($12.99), BBQ Chicken Flatbread ($8.99), Seared Ahi Tuna ($13.99) and Outback Nachos ($9.99).
The Crab Stuffed Mushrooms were a pleasant surprise, as they were sauteed in a creamy butter lemon sauce and filled with lump crab meat. These were the kind of a gourmet treat you'd expect in a fine-dining restaurant as an appetizer! Another appetizer surprise was the BBQ Chicken flatbread that looks pizza-like as it's basted with a tangy home-made BBQ sauce then covered with fresh grilled chicken, Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses that all get baked until the cheese melts on a crispy crust! You can have the Seared Ahi Tuna as an appetizer with creamy ginger-soy sauce and wasabi vinaigrette, or have the Ahi as a main dish as a salad, with cucumbers and lettuce. Of course, who can resist the temptation of nachos which is an appetizer-wanna-be-a-meal"! It's a good thing our table was sharing these treats!
I was also able to have a taste of the Prime Rib French Dip ($10.99), which has that deliciously tender thin-sliced prime rib piled high with grilled onions and Swiss cheese served inside Outback's signature honey wheat loaf bread. This comes with au jus and Aussie Fries. One of our table mates had the Baby Back Ribs ($14.99) which were juicy, tangy, meaty, and definitely falling from the bones. My entree was the Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara ($14.99), which is a wonderfully flavored fettuccini dish smothered in a garlic carbonara sauce filled with chunks of chicken breast and shrimp, completed with chopped bacon. The Tuscan Smothered Chicken ($15.99) was another main ordered by one of our team...it has heaps of mashed potatoes with a sizeable chicken breast smothered with a creamy sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, and melted cheese. There are many more menu selections including burgers, Steak and Blue Cheese Lettuce Wraps, salads, steak and fish options. You are also supposed to save room for Outback's Irresistible Desserts - The Chocolate Thunder from Down Under, Classic Chocolate Sundae, Cheesecake, and the Cinnamon Oblivion! "Fat chance!" Maybe next time!
Spring Chinese Kitchen
Tamuning (Next to Lohan's Chiropractic)
We had a late dinner at Spring Chinese Kitchen on Wednesday night and were absolutely thrilled to have an off-the-menu special Spicy Hot Pot with Fish and clear rice noodles. My mouth is still reverberating from the spicy assault by the peppery broth - which was very close to the peppers used in the Chongching Hot Pot we loved so much at the old Sichuan Kitchen (which was in this same location about 7 years ago!). This is already cooked and can be served with chicken instead of fish. There is no English name for this dish.
We also had the Chinese Broccoli with Garlic ($8) and some really excellent Roast Duck ($12). The hoisin sauce used for the duck also helped to cool down the peppery broth from our hot pot. One thing about Spring Chinese is that you definitely get authentic Chinese food here...they always have tables filled with visiting groups from Shanghai and other areas in China, as well as local Chinese, from Taiwan and Mainland China.
Hyatt Regency Guam's Penultimate Wine Dinner - 1 Menu, 3 Executive Chefs
Duckhorn Vineyards Wine Dinner
January 22, 2015
It was a night to remember for guests who attended the special Duckhorn Wine Dinner last week which featured 3 Italian Hyatt Executive Chefs who collaborated on preparing a 6 course menu paired with an amazing lineup of premium wines from Napa Valley's prestigious Duckhorn Vineyards. The chefs were Mirko Agostini from Guam, Mitele Sbardellini from the Hyatt Regency Incheon, and Massimiliano Ziano from the Park Hyatt Seoul.
Among the highlights of the dinner was the Norwegian salmon-lobster carpaccio with marinated saffron scallop timbale, bell pepper coral relish that was paired with Duckhorn's Sauvignon Blanc, 2013. A puff pastry dome followed. It had a savory lentil soup, foie gras, and an orange spicy olive oil infusion.
My personal favorite was the Sage Maltagliati pasta with braised quail, winter mushrooms, white truffle oil and parmigiano. This was paired by an exceptional Chardonnay, Migration. Another notable course was the Pan Seared fresh mahi mahi, with baby spinach and fennel, paired with the Goldeneye Napa Valley Merlot, 2011.
An intermezzo came in the form of an iced mojito which refreshed and rebooted our palates, in preparation for the main course. This main was a Rack of Lamb combined with Certified Angus Beef Rib Eye cap, crushed red potatoes, crispy pancetta, and boonie chocolate jus. Folks were blown away by the Paraduxx Napa Valley Red Wine, 2010, that was served with this main.
The guests were delightfully surprised by a featured opera singer from Japan, John Ken Nuzzo, who sang a few well known songs from Verdi's Carmen and Eduardo di Capua's song Ol sole mio song made famous by Luciano Pavarotti. He was accompanied by local pianist Tara Franquez. This was an amazing performances that had the audience mesmerized and waxing romantic! Even the Italian chefs paused during the performance to grin, smile and sing with John!
Also noteworthy was a sumptuous Golden Eye Andersen Valley 2011 Pinot Noir that paired exceptionally with a Goat Cheese volcano, gorgonzola rock, beet root lava and poppy seed hash. You'd have to see the photo to understand these elements!
Special thanks go to Brian Bostwick, Export Sales Manager for Duckhorn Vineyards. Thanks also go to the staff and management of the Hyatt Regency Guam and Team PWS. The 3 chefs and joined Brian to go to the Park Hyatt Seoul to serve another special Duckhorn dinner. As I said, it was a night to remember.
Mai Teppanyaki - Saipan's Newest Authentic Japanese Dining Spot
Fiesta Resort & Spa
Hours: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. daily (reservations recommended)
While on Saipan last week I was invited to join my friend Wellington (Well) to dine at the newly-opened Japanese restaurant Mai Teppanyaki. I was very impressed by the complete remodel from its previous version, especially the new entrance way that features a Koi pond. The distinct signage on the outside building wall sets up the expectation that you are about to experience an authentic Japanese dinner. There are two large teppan arenas.
The menu is quite extensive and features a number of set dinner menus (Steak & Seafood Combination - $30; Angus Beef Tenderloin or Rib-Eye - $65; Live Lobster & Foie Gras - $90; Wagyu Beef. Foie Gras, & Live Lobster - $150).
We decided to order from the a la carte selections and I had the Tako Wasabi ($6, Octopus with Wasabi Paste), while Well had Today's Small Appetizer, which was cold tofu. I really like my octopus, which was prepared sashimi style. The wasabi seemed to cure the rawness of the octopus.
From the Side Dinner Menu I ordered the Wagyu Beef Sirloin ($35, 150g) as well as the Seafood Trio ($18), which had 3 pieces of prawns, 3 plump scallops, and 1 piece of Salmon. Well had the Chicken Breast ($16, 160g).
Our teppan chef, Joven, deftly started on grilling our seafood and vegetables. Everything was fresh with natural flavor that we enhanced with our ponzu, ginger and mustard sauces. These teppan chefs are natural showmen, and they like to flare with their pepper mill and their forks, truly delighting and entertaining their guests, who have their cameras out and ready for that classic photo op! The one that draws the collective sigh is the flame flare up - a certain crowd-pleaser. When the chicken and the steak (mine was served a perfect medium rare) was finished grilling, Chef Joven placed the meat cubes atop a slice of Japanese Pullman bread (shoku pan), which I found interesting.
I was also thrilled to finally get a bib to wear, and this one has Mai's logo on it! They should sell these as souvenirs...I'd even wear it to other restaurants. This is a very considerate gesture, especially considering how food scraps always find a way to land on my shirts!! From the side order menu, we ordered the Garlic Rice with Egg ($5.00), the Assorted Pickles (oshinko, $3), and Miso Soup ($2). Fiesta's Original Garlic Rice has been a favorite for years and it was a wise decision to keep it.
Mai Teppanyaki has a modest selection of fine wines as well as Imported and domestic beers. The new ambiance is modern with an eye-pleasing color scheme. While there, we watched the entire staff sing a birthday songs to two guests who were celebrating...it was awesome, especially since one of the chefs was playing the guitar! I am looking forward to a return visit to Mai Teppanyaki when I will order the live lobster, which performs its final dance on a hot steel griddle! Try Mail Teppanyaki for authentic Japanese with Saipan's renowned hospitality! Ita a dake masu!
Ken the Guam Food Guy