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May 9, 2003, Volume 3 Number 19

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

"Build it and they will come!" That's exactly what happened when the Leo Palace Resort built a world-class, Olympic-size swimming pool that was unveiled this week. The first official visitors to commemorate this opening were Japan's national swimming team, whose 26 members are on Guam for a week using the pool to train for the upcoming World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain. Kosuke Kitajima, world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke, was quite impressed with the quality of the pool and excited about being on Guam. In fact, the whole team has enjoyed their Guam experience, one which they look forward to repeating again next year in preparation for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. This is great news for Guam and is further evidence of bright lights awaiting illumination. This also shows that no matter how "bedraggled" we may look as we recover from typhoon damages, good things will still happen. Kudos to the Leo Palace for their vision and confidence in building our island's sports tourism attractions, which aside from the pool and golf course, include a baseball field and soccer field utilized by local teams, the Yomiuri Giants and professional Japanese soccer teams. Others are expected to follow.

Speaking of "world class", I have to tell you about a recent evening's dining experience with a good friend whom I consider a food connoisseur at Izakaya Katsu in Tumon. Since it was her first visit, we ordered a flight of the most popular dishes, which included Katsu's signature Tofu Steak, Chicken Salad, Panko Fried Shrimp, Panko Fried Oysters, and Broiled Unagi (eel). Before our food arrived, we were joined by a couple we knew who needed a place to sit as the restaurant was packed. Long-time Guam residents (he's a dentist and she owns a business), they eat at Katsu at least once a week. He gave high marks to Katsu, saying he's traveled extensively and that Katsu's food is "world-class" and among the best they've eaten. My gourmet friend gave Katsu the nod, too, and left vowing to return again for more of their delicious Japanese cuisine.

And, most importantly, a Happy Mother's Day to all the moms on island and around the world!

Ken, The "Guam Food Guy"

In Today's Issue:

  • It's Mother's Day This Sunday - See All The Specials!
  • GCC's 2003 Sizzling Summer Cooking Series with Chef Clayton Babas
  • Saipan's 2nd Annual Tilapia Contest a Hit
  • Around the Island - Utage Japanese, Le Tasi Bistro, Bistro, Seaman's Service
  • La France Restaurant - For an Evening of Elegant Dining

It's Mother's Day This Sunday - See All The Specials!

Local restaurants are pulling out the all the stops to ensure that your mom has a fabulous Mother's Day. Here are some of the highlights:

Okura pastry chef, Mr. Takada will make a special cake for mom - a 7" inch butter cream with fresh strawberry puree for only $20 but you have to order by noon Friday, May 9 so hurry and call 646-6811 ext. 1701-1703 to order yours! And, the Sunflower Coffee Shop is offering a Champagne Buffet for both lunch and dinner featuring Crepes Suzette, Roast Beef Wagon, a complete spread of seafood and 15 different desserts. Call the same number as above to reserve.

Chef Chito Iglopas at Planet Hollywood has put together an exceptional spread for their Mother's Day event. In addition to great food and Korbel Brut Champagne, there will be special gifts for mom, a Kid's Corner with Bubba the Dinosaur and face painting and live music by Guam's own 2MON band. The fun starts at 10:30am so call 647-7827 for reservations.

May's Restaurant in the New Century Hotel on Ypao Road will be offering some special dishes just for Mother's Day. Mom can enjoy such treats as Stir Fry Lobster Tail with either Black Bean or Szechuan Sauce, Stir Fry Dungeness Crab with Ginger and Scallions and Walnut Shrimp among others. Call 647-3188 to reserve.

The Guam Plaza family of restaurants has a host of choices for you as well. The Blue Marlin Restaurant is doing a buffet feast of international and local favorites like Chicken Cordon Bleu, Pork Bulgogi, Roast Ribeye and Escabeche for only $15.95 adults and $7.95 for children. Over at Nana's Cafe on Tumon Bay, Chef Kishimoto is preparing a prix-fixe menu with a complete salad and dessert bar and your choice of 4 different entrees for $12.95 adults/$6.59 children. And, for the Chinese food lover, the Palace Chinese Restaurant will have a complete spread of Cantonese favorites including Salt & Pepper Crab, Steamed Lapu Lapu and Roast Duck. You can reserve at any of the above restaurants by calling 649-6670.

The Hilton Guam always does a great job with holiday events and Mother's Day is no exception. The Islander Terrace will host a brunch with 2 seatings and have an evening buffet as well. Additionally, they are turning the Micronesia Ballroom into a full buffet with live entertainment and festive activities. Call 646-DINE(3463) for reservations and information.

Sam Choy's is the place where the special tastes of Hafa Adai & Aloha come together for Mother's Day. With Chef Peter Duenas at the helm, you will enjoy a wide array of popular creations including Snow Crab Clusters and the Catch of the Day with Shitake Cream Sauce. Yum, yum. Call 649-6637.

GCC's 2003 Sizzling Summer Cooking Series with Chef Clayton Babas

If you are seriously interested in improving your culinary skills, perhaps you should consider enrolling in GCC's 2003 Sizzling Summer Cooking Series that starts on May 15. Chef Clayton Babas will instruct a series of six courses, beginning with "Back to Basics", followed by "Stocks, Sauces, and Soups", "A Taste of Asia", "The Thrill of the Grill - Global Grilling Techniques", "Healthy Cooking - Vegetarian and Vegan", and ending with "Introduction to Baking". You can check out, for more information on these classes and other courses. To enroll, call 735-5514/7.

Saipan's 2nd Annual Tilapia Contest a Hit!

Last Thursday night's Garapan Street Market was the venue for the 2nd Annual Tilapia Cook Off, which also officially launched CNMI Tourism Month. The contest had many entries submitted in both Professional and Recreational categories. This event is coordinated by the Department of Public Health and the Marianas Visitor's Authority.

Professional category winners were :

1st Place - Maridel Gloria of Hamilton's Bar & Restaurant, "Tropilapia" (tilapia wrapped in banana leaf and steamed with mayonnaise, soy sauce and dill, served with a tropical salsa.)

2nd Place - Ricardo Silvestre of Hyatt Regency Saipan, "Grilled Tilapia with Spicy Coconut Sauce and Mousse Banana & Avocado".

3rd Place - Eleno Munoz, D'Elegance Cafe & Restaurant, " Mongolian Tilapia"

Recreational Category winners were:

1st Place - Elizabeth Barcinas of Luta Aquaculture Upland Growers' Assn., "Tilapia Escabe"

2nd Place - Dennis Amores, "Cecyl's Chili Dish"

3rd Place - Jill Vanderkin, "Tropical Tilapia"

This had to be a lot of fun and good eating. I'm going to make sure I get there for next year's tilapia event! It's a wonderful, nutritious local food that's fresh from the farm.

Around the Island - Utage Japanese, Le Tasi Bistro, Bistro, Seaman's Service

Looking for an all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet? Try Utage Japanese Restaurant at the Palace Hotel Guam. You will find an abundance of sushi, sashimi, udon and ramen noodles, cold salads, hot entrees that change daily, assorted teppanyaki and desserts. Utage's garden view and cozy Japanese inn-style ambiance makes an ideal setting for a business lunch or for just having a rendezvous with friends.

Le Tasi Bistro's Tuesday Night Wine & Cheese Happy Hour is a hit with foodies on island. Just last week Chef Bertrand received cheeses rarely if ever seen on Guam and included them in the generous buffet of cheese appetizers. The wines offered are excellent as well. LTB also introduces their 'Le Tasi Wine Cellar' card which gives you a 10% discount on all purchases from their wine boutique and a stamp for each $25 purchase. Collect 15 stamps and enjoy a Free Chef's Lunch for Two. Drop by and check them out on Tuesdays from 5pm to 7pm. Call 472-7877 for information.

Bistro at PIC continues its Tumon reign for the long and leisurely power lunch. Chef Ronnie Guillermo's years of experience never disappoint. A recent outing featured a delicious and healthy Grilled Chicken on a bed of greens drizzled with a honey mustard dressing. Impeccable service was delivered by Ivan.

United Seamen's Service has re-opened after major renovations and is serving good food at a great price 7 days a week. Their famous Sunday morning feature of Eggs Benedict has to be one of Guam's best. The Hollandaise Sauce is just right! Portions are generous. If you like beef liver and onions or fried chicken, you can't go wrong. Try sitting in the bay-side deck - worries will melt away as you gaze at Piti's ocean vista.

Completely unrelated to food but presenting such a great opportunity to save money and possibly find a treasure we wanted to share the news that Pacific Island Movers is having a Liquidation Sale on Saturday, May 10 from 8am - 5pm. This means they are opening unclaimed crates and selling the contents. Get your cash in hand (no checks or credit cards) and drop by their warehouse located off Rt. 16 behind Tile Center (right turn just down from Shen Furniture and 7 Day Supermarket.)

La France Restaurant - For an Evening of Elegant Dining

When choosing a "fine dining" restaurant, there are several criteria that should be considered. Among these are service, ambiance, quality, presentation, menu selection and variety of both food and wine. The combination of these elements, all working in perfect coordination creates an experience where the emotions are stirred, but never shaken. Fine dining is enjoyed individually and as a group, meaning that you are internally aware of dining in a rarefied establishment and everyone else in the room has the same awareness. For some, it's reaching a rung on the social ladder - it's "arriving." For others, it is meeting high expectations, which usually match the price point. Enjoying a evening of elegance precludes money barriers. After all, these are reserved for special occasions!

La France was built for these special dinners. In a prior lunch review, I'd promised to return for a dinner review, and allowed quite some time since I had food and service issues in my first experience. Service has certainly improved, and a recent dinner I had was splendid. Although named La France, this restaurant should not be thought of as a French restaurant, although there are French menu items. La France serves epicurean Japanese, Asian, European (Italian & French), Western, and a few locally-influenced island creations.

La France arguably has Guam's most elegant dining room with a decor and ambiance that contrasts refined appointments with tropical nuances. A white baby grand piano sits in the center of a high bell-shaped ceiling room with live palm trees and aquamarine table cloths. Tied curtains hang down around the perimeter forming bars on an elaborate birdcage. Live piano music is performed by talented veteran entertainer, Elaine Stuart.

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Bon Appetit!

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