June 24, 2016, Volume 16 Number 8
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
My goodness, is June almost over? I apologize for taking such a long break since writing my last newsletter! I guess you could say it was due to my celebrating an extended birthday! It has been an amazing few weeks with so much happening locally, domestically (US), and globally! I can't get too philosophical at this point since I want to finish this publication before deadline...but I will say that there has probably never been a better time to enjoy the continuous surge of culinary progress...with more restaurant dining, food awareness, innovative fusion cuisine demonstrations, and an increasing abundance of fresh, grown local produce, with some items temporarily affected by our scorching weather!
We have had phenomenal world-class events take place here with FESTPAC. We are about to have another big event with the GVB Guam BBQ Block Party. I missed last year's event, but will be here for this one next weekend. We are a happy festive island and we have been praised by many visitors for our unique island hospitality. We choose to be "happy" despite the numerous bombardments we get from life's irritants and misfortunes. That's why we must eat well! That is the subliminal message of our "Happy Meals"! And on this cheerful note, I leave you with a little help from our friend, Bobby McFerrin with his positive message, "Don't Worry, Be Happy".
Ken, the Guam Food Guy
4th Annual Guam BBQ BLOCK PARTY
A GVB Signature Event
July 2, 2016
Saturday 5:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Pleasure Island, Tumon
If you are on Guam on July 2, you should plan on attending what has become one of Guam's biggest party events - right in the heart of Tumon's Pleasure Island! There will be loads of activities and fun for the whole family, featuring live local entertainment, food and beverage selections, goods and local products for sale, and a bona fide BBQ Competition! This is one of the amazing signature events by Guam Visitor's Bureau, and we knew from the beginning that this event would take on a life and dimension of its own!! People on Guam love to BBQ and love to eat BBQ!! You haven't lived til you've chomped on one of TUNU Guam's famous humongous Turkey Legs!! Be sure to bring an appetite and some spending money. The event is FREE, but not all that great food!
Another Splendid Saipan Sundowner's Event
Hyatt Regency Saipan
Roasts, Reds, & Rendezvous
June 10, 2016
Another great tradition has been established in Saipan on the white sands of Micro Beach...it is a celebration of succulent beef diligently prepared by a masterful culinary team, fine wines imported to appeal to the higher senses on the palate and designed to engage with elaborate food pairings, and a gathering of friends enjoying each other's companionship and community. How the Hyatt manages to orchestrate the phenomenal skyline ocean vista and sunset is beyond my pay grade...let's just say they made special arrangements!! Until next year...see you at the next Rendezvous!
Lago Cafe Restaurant - Father's Day Treats
Leo Palace Resort Guam
Manenggon Hills, Yona
471-0001 ext 7190
I had the pleasure of venturing out on Father's Day at the Lago Cafe Restaurant with the specific purpose of trying out some of my friend, Chef Donn Gueniot's Father's Day Brunch & BBQ Extravaganza creations. I met Chef Donn on Saipan and he's now the new Chef at Lago Cafe. He has been making some big flavor waves with his Cajun-inspired cuisine. One of my favorite items was his Creole Creme Style Corn Soup, which I could have eaten all day had it not been for the several helpings of the addictively delicious Roast Pork Belly sprinkled with Rosemary anointed with finadene! I had two trips for his savory BBQ Pulled Pork Butt (smoked for 14 hours) and his Rotisserie Chicken with Bourbon BBQ Sauce! I also indulged in home-made corn bread that I relished with Chef Donn's Slow-cooked BBG Baked Beans! I had a few other items (poki, lomi lomi salmon, salads, and some beef and other food - that's the trouble with buffets - too many plates and too many choices...the good thing is that you can get your exercise while you are walking the food lines!! Chef Donn is also serving up some Cajun eats like Shrimp Etouffe and Gumbo which he serves as specials.
Congrats to the Leo Palace culinary team headed up by Executive Chef Chris Adams for making magic in the kitchens! Looking forward to more great food adventures at Leo Palace Resort. Stay tuned!
Tasty Burgers & Ribs
Paseo De Marianas
Hours: 4 - 10 p.m. daily
If you are looking for a place to get your burger fill, then you don't have far to go if you are in Garapan near some major hotels . You really have to be on foot to get there so a good landmark is the Furusato Japanese Restaurant that's just across the plaza. This place is just over a month old and they've crafted a concise line-up of sandwiches (not just burgers) that should appeal to most appetites. I didn't have the opportunity to try all of the items on the menu, nor the most popular burger, The Wagyu Burger (8 oz. patty topped with foie gras and cheddar cheese) for $21.00 as they had just sold their last one to a customer (who is featured in one of my photos). This is also their most expensive burger, but judging from the big smile on this gent's face, it is well worth it! The burger I did order was the Crispy Bacon, Avocado, & Monterey Jack ($12.50) which came with French Fries. They actually have color burger charts that show the ingredients and how they are layered. One thing that was not in season was fresh avocado, which would have propelled this sandwich into outer space! Still, the burger was quite "tasty" and had that special brioche bun - a high class bun with high butter and egg content! The portion is good (a 6 oz patty) with fries and a pretty decent cole slaw. They have a Traditional Burger for $9.50, Island Burger (Caramelized fresh pineapple slice with American Cheese) for $10.50, and a Peach & Mango Burger (topped by - you know what - and cheddar cheese) for $11.50. A Grilled Ham & Cheese is a deal for $8.50, and if you want a New York Hot Dog, it'll cost you $9.50. Their most unusual sandwich sounds more like a dessert! It is a Hot Ice Cream Panini Sandwich ($6.50)!
For this visit, my real highlight was the other part of this eatery's name, the Baby Back Ribs (Barbecued Pork ribs or apple cinnamon marinated) with corn on the cob for $11.50. I went for just the bbq and skipped the sweet stuff. The portion was fairly large for the price, however the taste and texture of these ribs made the difference. These were well prepared and made this my favorite item for the visit...on my next visit I want to get that Wagyu, which may be difficult since I hear it's becoming quite the sensation! Kudos to the Fiesta Resort & Spa for this innovative outpost in a well-traveled walkway for tourists and locals.
L-R Alan Perez, Tasty's Chef, Roland Fitz, Executive Chef Fiesta Resort & Spa, and Kirie Bisek , Tasty's Hostess
Pilipino Piyesta - Authentic Filipino Lunch Buffet
Pacific Star Cafe
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
$22.00 + 10% s.c.
Well they've done it again! Done what you say? The Pacific Star Resort & Spa's culinary team proved it could be done with their Wednesday All You Can Eat Dim Sum buffet so they put their collective heads together and wondered, what is the next most popular food everyone would want to eat if it is tasty enough and you have a lot of it? Filipino food, that's what!! The guy who is responsible for conceiving this is Chef Ricky Guevarra, so you can blame him when you step on your scales and see your numbers go up!!
I am not expert on Filipino cuisine...I had to learn to know and understand the fabulous diversity of this cuisine...some of my favorites make me literally crazy - kare kare with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste - not for everyone), but for me, this oxtail stew is divine with its rich peanut-based sauce and fork tender meat and other goodies like tripe, pig feet, and other obscure pig parts along with several veggies including eggplant, bokchoy, and long beans. Oh, just thinking about this makes me want it...it's masarap! The other dangerous ones for me is Crispy Pata (deep fried pig feet and knuckles) and Lechon Kawali! With Mang Tomas and pan de sal! But wait, I digress. This buffet is actually not just about my Filipino Food Fantasies, it's about yours and the good folks over at Pacific Star have rolled out an elaborate and elegant stage for this culinary performance as you travel to the Philippines, home of some of the most flavorful food on earth! Like some things, it is an acquired taste, but once you have it, it will never let you go!!
I did use the word "stage" and I think it is apt since your first true visual when you enter is an erupted "cornucopia" (horn of plenty) and I mean plenty of colorful vegetables and ingredients (sauces, pastes, seasonings, etc), used to prepare the many dishes...it's an advanced preview of good things you are about to experience.
One thing you'll have to try first is a refreshing melon juice (kawaling pinoy). It's cool, a bit sweet, but thirst quenching. Some of the ingredients on the buffet lines will change but they will have always maintain the Palabok station (this pancit palabok is the real deal...so delicious - a creative noodle dish that can have boiled egg, shrimp, pork rind, green onions, and other toppings. I also tried ginisang upo (white squash), Arroz Valenciana, Dinuguan (blood stew made with chilis, garlic, vinegar, pork, and yes, blood), crispy pata, Sisig, lechon baboy (roast pig), pinakbet, bbq skewers (one was pork and another was tripe), and yes, my beloved kare kare! There was much I didn't eat (salads and other safe things), but I went for the gusto on my forbidden list! The comment I kept making to myself was just how much value you get for your money. If I was at Ben N Yan's, it would cost me well over $100.00 to get just my favorite dishes!! Probably $200.00 to get as much of the other items you could eat.
I didn't eat much of the desserts (they had another amazing spread (sapin sapin or rice flour cake), cassava cake, pichipichi (cassava balls), palitaw (glutinous rice flour treat), but I had already opted to make my own halo halo (they have a do-it-your-own-self Halo Halo Station), with everything you could ask for (if you only knew what!) What they did have was pinipig (dried rice crisps) - a rarity! Halo Halo (meaning mix mix) combines evaporated milk, coconut, gulaman (tapioca), boiled sweet beans, ube, shaved ice, ice cream, sago, buko (coconut), and fruits. That was enough - plenty! Thanks to Executive Chef Leland Feng's culinary leadership for empowering his team to do great things!
So, now that you know where to go for lunch on Tuesday, who ya going to bring?
Bon Appetit! Ken the Guam Food Guy
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