Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Our hearts and prayers go out to the thousands of residents of our northern island neighbor, Saipan, in the aftermath of Typhoon Soudelor's brutal assault last Sunday night and early Monday morning. The typhoon struck quickly, catching most of the people of Saipan unprepared for the ferocity of the winds which twisted and snapped the strong ironwood trees lining the scenic Beach Road walkway and downed concrete and wood power poles. Cars and trucks were overturned and houses and buildings were blown asunder! Amazingly there were no fatalities! The relief efforts by Federal, local, and Guam governments, as well as private sector community, Red Cross, and Salvation Army are ramping up with help is slowly materializing on Saipan, which has a severely damaged infrastructure affecting power generation and distribution and water, which is the most critical need at this time. Those of us who experienced Pongsona, Chataan, Paka, or Omar keenly remember the achingly slow recovery time and the misery of not being able to shower. We take so much for granted. Gasoline (now being rationed for $20/car in lines that are a mile long - 8 hour waits), telecommunication, cable, Internet, and air conditioning(which all need power). See how long you can do without before you start to boil!! Help is on the way!! Beautiful Saipan will rebuild and be even stronger! We are with you, Saipan! We are family!
Ken The Guam Food Guy
MCA's Chef Team Excels in New Zealand Global Chefs Competition
August 1, 2015
Auckland, New Zealand
Big Kudos go to Ernie Merfalen II, Executive Chef at Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro and to Jasmine Nadres, GCC Culinary Student and a commis chef at the Hyatt Regency Guam, for their outstanding 2nd place attainment in their respective categories in the WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies) Global Chef Challenge Semi Final Pacific Rim held in New Zealand on August 1. Chef Merfalen was one of five competitors in the professional level while Chef Nadres won her silver medal competing against four opponents in the Hans Bueschkens Semi Final Pacific Rim for Junior Chefs. She also took home a Bronze medal for her overall performance. It was a moment of great pride for Team Guam to have done so well in an unfamiliar environment. Accompanying Chefs Merfalen and Nadres were Chef Peter Duenas, Owner, Meskla and MCA President, and Monica Duenas, MCA Member and event historian.
L-R Chef Peter Duenas, President, MCA, Chef Ernie Merfalen II, Executive Chef Meskla Chamoru Fusion Bistro, and Jasmine Nadres, GCC Culinary Student and commis chef at Hyatt Regency Guam
The winning submissions prepared by both chefs are shown below with pictures and menu descriptions:
Chef Ernie Merfalen's Menu for Professional Chefs Challenge
Potato Wrapped Duo of Salmon & Halibut Accompanied by Seared Scallop Crutdo, Citrus Dressing, Salmon Caviar, Wasabi-O-Seafood Cream Sauce and Buttered Edamame.
Pan-Roasted Veal Loin with Braised Veal Blade & Potato En Croute, Pan Fried Sweetbreads, Apple-Port Reduction with Golden Raisins and Seasonal Mushrooms
Valrhona Chocolate and Earl Grey Semi Fredo, Raspeberry Sour Cream, Golden Honey Glazed Lemon Cake Croutons, Fresh Strawberry Petals and Pistachio Crumbs
Chef Jasmine Nadres Menu for Junior Chefs Challenge
A taste of the sea with Chilled Scallop Mousse, Seared Marinated Halibut with a Tropical Fruit Salsa, Zesty Salmon Tartar, Crispy Wonton, Wasabi-O Cream Sauce
Pan-Roasted Mushroom-Stuffed Roulade of Veal Loin, Butternut Squash Box, Sauteed Seasonal Vegetables, Crispy Sweetbreads, Basil, Wine Cream Sauce
Valrhona Chocolate Mousse Dome, Coconut-Macadamia Nut Dacquoise, Earl Grey Anglaise, Seasonal Fruit Medley
Zozo Restaurant Vietnamese Cuisine
Pacifica Plaza (Across GTA) next to Hafa Adai Cafe
Zozo Restaurant is definitely one of my "go to" places when I have a particular craving for something many consider not the healthiest of foods to eat! In fact, they hadn't seen me for such a long time they thought I'd moved since I'd been on my healthy lifestyle diet and exercise regimen. But there is a way to go to Zozo Restaurant and have these two menu items, which happen to be their famous Fried Pork Chops ($12.00) and their Fried Spare Ribs ($12.00). That way is to control your portions (eat part and take the rest home) and to eliminate or drastically reduce your white steamed rice consumption.
We had gone for dinner after watching the phenomenal Tops In Blue Musical performance at AAFB and ordered the Fresh Lumpia (Gio Cuon) - $7.50, for two pieces served with peanut sauce, which came first while our Chops and Spare Ribs were cooking. Their fresh lumpia are pretty good, with sliced shrimp in all pieces. We doctored the peanut sauce with red chili pepper paste.
The Fried Spare Ribs and Fried Pork Chops both come with steamed white rice and a garden salad. I usually order my dishes take-out because they do the best job in packing salads, which are always fresh and crisp. You get a pack of Thousand Island dressing, too. These are in their own package, while the hot food is in white Styrofoam containers. They always pack a finadene container. Dining in is a different story, as you get the salad on your plate with the rice and meats. The finadene accompanies each plate.
Zozo's Fried Spare Ribs and Pork Chops are truly delicious. I don't know their secret (used to think that cutting the pork chop into pieces before frying allows the meat to cook faster and to retain the juices. Looking at the photos of these spare ribs is such a temptation! Tasting them is bliss!
Tribes of Tunisia Dinner Buffet
Now - August 30
Pacific Star Cafe
Pacific Star Resort & Spa
Dynamic Tunisian Chef Adam Sebouai has returned to the Pacific Star Cafe to create a fabulous selection of savory Tunisian classics that will tantalize and satisfy your palate. The dinner buffet is priced at $29.00 per adult ($14.50 for child, + 10% S.C.), and offers an expanded range of new dishes not served during his first visit. You must try the Couscous Maison that has lamb chunks in a spicy broth with vegetables. Also build your own Keftagi Keftagi by sauteeing baby shrimp, garlic, onion, tomato, and peppers in spicy tomato sauce that gets blended with a whole egg. One of my favorites is the Brik a L'oeuf, which is like a deep fried lumpia triangle sheet with whole egg that gets stuffed with your choice of ingredients - tuna, potato, salsa, minted ground beef, baby shrimp, sauteed seafood mix, spiced peas, pickled lemon and feta cheese. There is so much more (lamb dishes, BBQ Skewers, Chicken Tagine with Spinach). Desserts include Baklawa Cigars, Bambalouni, Samosas and Pistachio Bouzas. It is an excellent opportunity to expand your culinary awareness. Make your reservations today!
Ginen I Tasi
"From the Sea"
Every Friday 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
$32.00 per person + 10% S.C.
Pacific Star Cafe
Pacific Star Resort & Spa
RESERVATIONS are REQUIRED!
A "fantasy island" experience has come to Guam and it is alive and well at the Pacific Star Cafe every Friday night from 6:00 - 9:00p.m. You can make this Seafood Extravaganza your own by making a reservation for a table for two or more that will be delivered to you. Your eyes may just pop out of your head when you see the bounty of seafood spread out on banana leaves in front of you! WOW! This is really a hands on experience as you feast on crab, shrimp, octopus mussels, fish, squid, and vegetables that have been grilled for your dining pleasure. You have sauces and condiments with which you can enhance the taste of your seafood. One was cooked bagaoong. You also have vinegar finedene and soy finanede. A lot of us are reminded of kamayan style dining from the Philippines, however, this is definitely a dining on Guam experience. The view of Tumon Bay serves as an ideal backdrop for eating and enjoying this seafood table...taking us back to the ancient Chamorros who would catch their seafood and cook it over open fires on the beach, eating with their hands long before any Spaniards hit our shores. Come and indulge - this is all about Seafood!
9th Street Rotary Treats
107 Padre Palomo St.
It had been a while since I visited 9th Street Rotary. In fact, I had to drive by to make sure I could locate it, especially at night when it is dark in Agana. I didn't realize it but the bike shop that used to front the curved building housing 9th Street is gone! While I had only eaten lunch at 9th Street Rotary, I found the night time dining more pleasurable since I could relax, enjoy some Asahi while eating the fabulous food that is magically prepared in the open kitchen. I don't know if it was just the Wednesday night music selection, but they had played a lot of BEATLE'S music so I found myself singing along between bites!
We sat at a table along the window and had a view showing us the complete restaurant, from the kitchen to the rotary sushi track counter, to the other dining room section near the entrance. We could have sat at the counter, but I prefer the table for space and ordering a la carte dishes. 9th Street Rotary has a menu with sushi rolls you can order on one side and a variety of other items including salads, wraps, and "dons" (donburi's - rice bowls) on the back side. I had been craving the Aburi Salmon Nigiri ($8.00) and these came out first! There are four pieces on a plate - I especially like these because they spare the use of rice in their sushi rolls. This fatty salmon belly has been brushed with butter and topped with green onions. These just deliciously melt in your mouth with every bite!
The next roll we ordered was the Lalalu (Angry) Tuna Gunkan ($8.00). This one is also good, since there is a bit of coconut dinanche on the top ("gunkan" refers to the type of sushi-"battle ship" shape and image). This was enjoyably pika and went down fairly quickly too.
We had also ordered one of the dons - the KFC half ($9. The KFC is Korean Fried Chicken and it has that gojuchang pika thing going on with it giving it a bit of heat and spicy flavor. The Koreans do chicken right!! All dons come with your choice of Asian Salad, Mac Salad, or Kimchi. We had kimchi. Again, we were brought rice that we ate sparingly - no need to fill up on that starch!!
9th Street has a Special menu board with several featured specials not on the menu. I was intrigued by the Misoyaki Parrotfish ($16.95) that had Miso marinated parrot fish topped with green onions, red radish and served with a side of rice. Great choice! This was really tasty! The thick white filet of the parrotfish could not have been cooked any better. The sauce was so flavorful that I even put a little rice in it to spoon up. The fish had been broiled so it had caramelized areas that were concentrated flavor points. This was definitely something we'd eat again!
Finally, we ended with a dessert - a Chocolate Bombe ($7.95), which is one of their house desserts made different ways. This one had fresh dragonfruit sorbet...so intensely and richly flavored . This is one of those you eat with your eyes first then go for the bite...the bites don't stop til it's gone! This wonderful experience is the work of Chef/owner Mark Duenas and his team. These young culinary visionaries have put it all on the line and have built up a steady loyal following!
Go get Wowed at 9th Street Rotary in Hagatna! You'll be as pleased as me!!