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September 13, 2002, Volume 2 Number 37

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The beauty of our free enterprise system is that innovation, hard work, dedication, and persistence will eventually be rewarded. Even in a depressed economy, there is growth and opportunity. In the hospitality and foodservice arena, we have seen increases in the number, variety and quality of outlets just in the past ten years. I'm especially excited about a proposed new development that could bring previously unimagined opportunities to our Island and our region. This new development is Guam Community College's plan to establish an Associate of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts Program. This would be a valuable asset to our island's educational offerings, especially for those in hospitality, since we'd be able to locally train and develop qualified and skilled culinary professionals. There would be benefits for our sister islands in Micronesia as well as our Asian neighbors. The Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association and the Micronesia Chefs' Association recognize the potential value and benefits of this program, which would require a two-year commitment to send some of their member properties' associates for training. A major investment to renovate the kitchen training facilities will be required by GCC. This investment will be made based on the support shown by the industry. I believe this is a worthy investment in our island's economic future--instead of sending our people off-island for professional culinary training, it could be done locally. The quality of our overall foodservice and hospitality product will be enhanced. This will help move us closer to the goal of becoming a "culinary mecca" for the region. Doesn't that sound promising? I'm all for having people travel from other parts of the world with a desire to eat our cuisine! What do you think?

In Today's Issue:

  • 4th Annual Fisherman's Festival "Gupot Y Peskadot" - September 14
  • UnCorked - Chelle "Demystifies" the Lingo of Wine
  • Golden Arches to Make Healthier Fries
  • Around the Island - Jamaican Grill, Carmen's, La Mesa's Cantina and more
  • Santa Fe Grille Changes - Something's Happening Here!
  • Saipan's Claret - A New Menu Reveals A Renaissance In Progress

4th Annual Fisherman's Festival "Gupot Y Peskadot" - September 14

Don't miss this weekend's 7th Annual Guam Marianas International Fishing Derby and the 4th Annual Fisherman's Festival. The Festival, presented by the Guam's Fisherman's Cooperative Association, is also called "Gupot Y Peskadot", and runs from 10am - 5pm on Saturday. Special events include an Ifit Chef Competition, seafood sampling, a kelaguen contest ($10.00 registration fee with a maximum of 20 participants), demonstrations, exhibits, fish paintings and even Jumperoos for the kids! So bring the family down to the Agana Boat Basin for a day of fun.

UnCorked - Chelle "Demystifies" the Lingo of Wine's very own wine writer, Chelle Christy is back with a new article discussing the often incomprehensible descriptions offered by wine reviewers. Look for wine notes about locally available wines in two weeks where Chelle and her novice wine drinking sidekick, Donnie, will offer their impressions in a totally comprehensible fashion!

Golden Arches to Make Healthier Fries

McDonald's is making its famous fries healthier - but the fast-food giant promises no change in the taste. Starting in October McDonald's will switch cooking oils to reduce trans fatty acids in all fried items on the menu. The goal, says the Golden Arches, is to eliminate TFAs from its cooking oil. The new oil will reduce TFA levels in fries by 48 percent, along with reducing saturated fat by 16 percent. On the other side, polyunsaturated fat will increase by 167 percent. While the total fat content in the fries remains unchanged, reducing TFAs and saturates, while increasing polyunsaturates, is beneficial to heart health. Source: Arcamax Health E-zine (9/04/02)

Around the Island - Jamaican Grill, Carmen's, La Mesa's Cantina and more

Speaking of healthy! I recommend the Jamaican Grill's Montego Bay Chef Salad, with Jerk Chicken Breast ($7.45). This Carribbean island treat works just as well on our Pacific island paradise. You get a full plate of crisp romaine lettuce that's loaded up with banana, orange, watermelon and honeydew melon slices along with grapes, and marinated shredded carrots, cucumber, onion, and tomatoes. It is served with a light fruit-based house dressing which you can spice it up with their pika finadene.The fresh lime wedge makes magic when you squeeze it over the tender jerk chicken breast slices making it 'oh, so delicious!' Ya mon, serious food. And, kudos to Jamaican Grill for offering free lunches to all of Guam's police officers and fire fighters on September 11.

Did you know that September 16 is Mexican Independence Day? Most gringos think of Cinco de Mayo as Independence Day but it is in fact September 16. (FYI - Cinco de Mayo celebrates when Mexican patriots defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla.) In commemoration of this important day, Carmen's in downtown Hagatna is offering a delicious set menu created from ingredients specially ordered from Mexico. This one-of-kind event happens this coming Saturday evening, September 14 starting at 6pm - reservations are recommended - call 472-7823.

La Mesa's Cantina is now open in Mangilao, in the former College Cafe location on the road to the University of Guam. You can enjoy their signature margaritas and chips with zesty salsa while shooting a game of pool. They are open weekdays from 5pm - midnight, and from 5pm - 2am on Fridays & Saturdays. According to owner, Marie Kerlin-Mesa, the restaurant will be opening soon, possibly in the next two weeks. We'll keep you posted on their re-opening date!

An item on the weekly dinner menu from Chef Peter Duenas of Sam Choy's caught my eye - how does Wasabi Crusted Opakapaka served over Kimchee Linguine with Shoyu Butter Cream Sauce sound? This is just one of several intriquing items available from Chef Peter and Sam Choy's.

Burger King has introduced a new item - the Chicken Caesar Salad and until the end of September you can get a free small soft drink when you order the salad. Just present the coupon.

Planet Hollywood is hosting Monday Night Football every Tuesday morning at 11am. Guests enjoy complimentary Pepsi products and entry forms to win tickets to the Planet Hollywood Superbowl Party in January where they will give away four tickets to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii!

T.G.I. Friday's is getting ready to host the 2002 Shake, Rattle and Pour Asia Finals (the ultimate in bartending competitions) in October. As they run up to this event, the Thursday Night Rumshaker from 9pm - 11pm features $2 Bud and Bud Light with Guam champion bartender Alex "the Governor" Enriquez putting on a great show.

And, don't forget that Firefly Bistro will be open for brunch this Sunday, September 15 from 9am - 1 pm. This brunch will launch what can be considered a semi-exclusive dining event, since they'll only do a Sunday brunch once a month on the 1st Sunday, starting October 6th. Call 477-2565 for reservations.

Santa Fe Grille Changes - Something's Happening Here!

I stopped briefly at the Santa Fe Grille on Sunday just as the sun was setting and must say it makes a marvelous postcard seeing it framed with glorious sky colors above and beyond it. There are some menu changes taking fact, the restaurant is transforming. I had a chance to taste the garlic shrimp appetizer, which was flavorful - you can never have too much garlic. The spicy calamari was spicy...and there are those who'd prefer it be a little more chewy since it was tenderized. My preference is for a crispier batter. One of their most popular dishes is the Crab Curry Bisque. I had a small bowl of this and it's a rich-tasting, creamy concoction that's as good as it sounds. Speaking of sounds, Rick Ash fills the evening with his magical music - from Carribbean to jazz fusion. We'll need to come back for dinner!

Saipan's Claret - A New Menu Reveals A Renaissance In Progress

Like a breath of fresh air, a welcome change is taking place at the Claret, a French-themed fine dining restaurant located in the Dai-Ichi Hotel Saipan Beach. I recently attended the launching of Claret's new dinner menu and was able to witness the extraordinary process of revitalizing change.

There is an undeniable atmosphere of excitement in what can be described as a "renaissance" or re-birth, of this Saipan landmark resort property that's strategically positioned along Micro Beach in the center of Saipan's tourist district. The impetus driving this transformation was the February acquisition by Asia Pacific Hotels, Inc., a subsidiary of Tan Holdings Corporation (THC). (Similarly, the Guam Dai-Ichi Hotel was acquired by THC on May 20, 2002, with upgrades to the Guam property currently in the planning stages.)

What makes all of this especially exciting is that THC has enlisted the talents of veteran hotelier Gerard Guedon, whose experiences include starting the Pacific Islands Club in 1979, heading the Leo Palace Resort, opening the Parc Hotel (now Holiday Inn Resort Guam), and management positions in properties in Korea and the Bermudas. Guedon's broad hospitality knowledge and experience in launching resort properties qualifies him uniquely for the daunting challenges of orchestrating the changes required to upgrade and revitalize the Dai-Ichi properties.

A new aesthetic is present on the menu, reflecting the brand image that is displayed in advertisements. It's a clean, simple image that highlights the significant elements - Restaurant Name, Featured Entree/Event and Hotel Location. The red hibiscus logo is a long-revered local identity for the Dai-Ichi. Friday night is Prime Rib Night, and for $18.95 (there is no service charge!) per person, you are treated to the "Island's Best Caesar Salad", Soup de Jour, Certified Angus Prime Rib au jus carved table-side by the chef, a dessert and coffee or tea. I did have a chance to try a piece of this meat and it was succulent and flavorful.

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Bon Appetit!

The Guam Food Guy

Don't miss this week's features at!

  • Featured Recipe - Beef Eye Round Roast - Amazingly Easy, Great Leftovers
  • Wine Feature - UnCorked - Chelle Demystifies Wine Lingo
  • Other Beverage Feature - All About the Coffee Bean
  • Health & Nutrition Feature - Ten Myths About Dieting - A Must Read!
  • View Past Newsletters - Click here for our Newsletter Archives
  • Submit Your Favorite Recipe - Click here to send

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