October 21, 2011, Volume 11 Number 19
Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,
Talk about an amazing confluence of personalities! One of the corporate mottos for the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa is, "it happens at the Hilton!" Well, it certainly did this past Wednesday night while I was doing my review of Fisherman's Cove's Fiestan Tasi Seafood Buffet. I sat down with my salad plate and when I looked at the entrance I recognized a couple I'd not seen since 1998 or so. It was Herman Ehrlich, former Hotel Manager for the Guam Hilton at the time, and he was with his lovely wife Jane, who'd actually worked with us at Innova Technologies. I walked up to them and they were as surprised as I was at this sudden reconnection.
Herman is presently the General Manager of the Hilton Osaka, one of my favorite places in Japan. As we were catching up with our life events and news, I noticed another familiar face approaching us - Andrew Billany and his wife, Tanya and baby son, Lucas. Andrew had first worked at the Hilton in the early 90's, as I recall, and then he moved over to the Onward Resort Guam where he was EAM. He is now the Senior VP Paiza and Plaza Operations at The Venetian Macao. This was one of those rare and special moments - you know how things happen by chance and you say, "small world"! I saw the photo op in this chance occasion and wanted to share with friends and family. Yes, it does "happen at the Hilton!"
I'll be traveling this weekend in a small media tour to Okinawa and will be reporting on this journey in future newsletters and on the radio. This promises to be a fun and exciting time. Stay tuned!
Ken, the Guam Food Guy
IF YOU LOVE COFFEE, YOU DESERVE A LESSON!
Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Price - $35
Exclusively for Coffee Aficionados, "Home Baristas" and cooking Enthusiasts
A unique Coffee Morning, brought to you by the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa and the "University of Coffee", by illy. An opportunity to learn how to extract the perfect espresso and froth milk to a silky texture with your home espresso machine, taught to you by certified trainers from the University of Coffee, Evelyn Lee Li Wei and Goh Chee Wan.
Coffee Appreciation Course
- Learn about the History of Coffee
- Be Creative with various flavors and froth to spice up the coffee in your life
- Prepare unique espresso drinks - sure to impress any gathering (Your friends will think you are a Professional Barista!)
Cooking Class Complement your perfect coffee making skills with a cooking class for delectable coffee-based desserts by our Hilton's Pastry wiz Chef Robert Rhoden
Cooking Demo Items:
- Chocolate port illy espresso poached figs
- Cuban bread pudding brulee with aged rhum-illy espresso caramel
- Chocolate illy espresso cupcake with caramel filling and toffee frosting
Class size is limited. Tickets are on sale at Hilton Caffe Cino. Call to Reserve your seat today.
646-1835 ext 5303
Jamaican Grill to Open in Dededo Mall
Ya mon, it's goin' to be irie good at the Dededo Mall when the barbecue grills of Jamaica send wafts of jerk smoke throughout the neighborhoods. I was fortunate to accept an offer to tour the construction site of what will become the largest Jamaican Grill Restaurant on Guam with a seating capacity of 140 pax. Owners Tim Murphy and Frank Kenney have really put all of their chips on the table with this grand investment. With this new establishment, they have really perfected their craft so that when it's finished, the entire restaurant will have an amazingly authentic Jamaican village theme, replete with weathered wood doors and panels, palm leaf ceiling fans, specialty light fixtures and all types of wall decorations and wooden floors.
This atmospheric production reminds me of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean without the animatronics. The kitchen is well-organized to handle heavy demands and volume. Tim and Frank are seasoned and serious restaurateurs and have beefed up their management team and crew with some experienced hospitality professionals. I can't wait to see the final product. We're looking at sometime in early to mid November. We'll let you know as soon as we find out.
Shoreline Bar + Kitchen
You can Build Your Own Burger at Shoreline, and by golly, that's what I did during a September lunch. I'd been meaning to try this sandwich and at the time I believe they were going to be revising some parts of their menu. The Build your Own Burger menu was not part of the regular menu (you can't find burgers listed). It's really better to build your own and they offer plenty of great options. You can choose from Beef, Chicken, Turkey or Veggie. Then, you take your choice of cheese, delicious toppings (from caramelized onions, fried egg, sauteed mushrooms, Jalapeno, and avocado) and a sauce (Chipotle, Garlic or Wasabi mayo and Firecracker aioli).
I made myself the Certified Angus Beef Burger ($10), added Jack Cheese ($.75), Applewood Bacon ($1.00) and Chipotle Mayo ($.50). Not a bad deal for $12.25. The picture looks pretty good! It's got lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions. You see the before but you won't see the after - it was gone! If you have an hearty appetite, you can add an extra beef patty for $2.95. I'm going to have to return to do a few more burger creations at Shoreline.
Al Dente Italian Ristorante
Hyatt Regency Guam
In our previous newsletter we introduced Al Dente's exciting new menu creations and were able to eat our way through a few of the salads and entrees. We were able to return the following week for a media launch which was actually more fun since we knew our colleagues from the press, radio, and magazine publications. A limited but substantial menu was provided for everyone to sample. I focused on those things I'd craved before but couldn't try at the time. While the Smoked Duck breast salad drew raves (as well it should have - we loved it before!), it was the Cappuccino of mushroom soup with white truffle oil ($11) that got a standing ovation from everyone's palate! It was truly one of the most concentrated pleasures I can recall consuming. A splendid and noble creation, blessed by truffle oil.
The Hot Appetizer was Black lip mussels, chili, white wine and garlic bruschetta ($14). These were also a great choice that mostly all like with a rich broth that had a bit of a spicy kick.
I was thrilled to have as the main entree the Lamb rack, pancetta, fava beans and mint pesto ($36). This is one of those exquisite experiences and if you like lamb you'll love this. Everything works well with this dish as it balances nutrition, taste, texture and portion size. I recall using my fingers to hold the ribs as I would bite off big chunks of tender, succulent lamb - well-seasoned and infused with natural flavors. The fava beans add an enhanced value to the beans as many murmured the name "Hannibal Lecter" when they tried them, some even imitating the ecstatic tongue and teeth sound so well portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, seeking to finish them with a "bit of Chianti!"
I wonder what kind of sound he would have made if he'd tried the Hot Chocolate soup, vanilla cracked pepper gelato($8)? Served on a long narrow dish with the gelato on opposite ends of the chocolate. We were joined at our table by our own "Hannah" (as in Hannah Cho Iriarte) and her hubby, J.D.(owners of Zen Ultra Lounge) and we discovered a new level of appreciation of the hot, molten, deeply Ğrich chocolate that was sooooo good that it gave us goose bumps to eat it. Yes, once again Al Dente has contrived a passionate feast of the senses; the media will be abuzz for weeks.
Winchell's Deli Specials are Worth It
I've tried it a couple of times and have ended up impressed by the quality and affordability of Winchell's Deli Combo. I just had the Prime Rib Classic Combo ($7.99) with a 16oz Soda, a 12oz Soup (Clam Chowder) and a Free Donut. The meat is heated in the microwave which melts the cheese. The sandwich can have onions, tomato, ketchup, and lettuce. The buns are fresh and made locally by the Denny's group and hold up to the meats and toppings. The Chowder is really quite good. In place of a soda I had the Mocha. Winchell's is open 24 hours. Stop by and try at your local Winchell's. You will be impressed like I was.
Ebisu Lunch Special
Sushi Ebisu Japanese Restaurant
Too much time had passed since my last visit to Ebisu and I needed to make peace with my appetite during lunch by ordering both a lunch special, Pork Cutlet ($10) and the Alaska Roll ($12) which is one of Ebisu's American-style sushi rolls featuring salmon topped by a paper-thin slice of radish with avocado and crab filling the inside of the roll. Talk about bliss - this is one of those ultimate sushi rolls. Not a lot of bells and whistles, just a fine combination of the best ingredients.
The lunch special bento is the best value on island. The side of sashimi you get would cost almost as much as this entire meal in some restaurants! (Get the sashimi on your rice bowl if you like.) The pork cutlet is a generous portion and in concert with the soup, salad, rice and oshinko is a very satisfying meal. Come visit Ebisu at lunch to get a preview of the wonderful experience awaiting you at dinner!
Fiestan Tasi : All-You-Can & Eat
Wednesdays at Fisherman's Cove
6p.m. - 9p.m.
Hilton Guam Resort & Spa
Well, it's about time I stopped by and joined the ranks of fans who really appreciate the fresh seafood selections at Fisherman's Cove during the Fiestan Tasi seafood buffet. This really is an extravaganza when you consider all of the food being offered and served. The seafood items are laid out on ice along with salads and fruits. There is a hot line where you can get sides like their savory Crab Pumpkin Bisque, Rice Pilaf, Spaghetti/Yakisoba, Corn on the Cob, Asian Garlic Rice, Asian Ratatouille and Steamed White Rice. Desserts include a build-your-own halo halo station, peach and blueberry cobblers and ice cream. For $32.00 (plus 10% service charge), you can eat as much food as you want and drink all the Miller Beer and iced tea you want.
Fisherman's Cove has really enhanced their ambiance with more maritime decorations and by using netting on the walls. It is an all-you-can-eat buffet with a fixed price of $32 and the seafood varieties include cooked shrimp, mussels, and raw oysters on the Half Shell. The raw seafood to be cooked includes either Mahi Mahi or Salmon (these rotate every week), prawns and Parrot Fish. You can have your seafood cooked to your liking several ways: steamed, grilled, sauteed, fried or blackened. The featured dipping sauces were Tumeric, Tartar, Sweet & Sour and Finadene.
The service staff is friendly and eager to assist diners with their selections and ordering. Once you choose your seafood and tell your server how it will be cooked, you can enjoy your appetizers and beverages while you await your meal. It's amazing to see the expression on guest's faces when that beautiful seafood platter is placed in front of them. The culinary team under the leadership of Chef de Cuisine Joel Aranas can be watched cooking your seafood in the glass-enclosed live action grill stations. They do a good job of garnishing and decorating the plate as they give the cooked seafood a final resting place before consumption!
The first dish of mine to arrive was the Black Pepper Shrimp. These were a big hit (I even shared some!). The shrimp were sauteed to perfection.
Next I had a Fried Parrot Fish and finadene. My Mahi Mahi pieces (I'd only picked four) had been grilled and on the plate; I will try the sauteed Mahi Mahi next time. I did have a chance though to dip pieces into the Tumeric and Tartar sauces. The turmeric was surprisingly light and not overpowering and is hollandaise-like.
My Steamed Parrot Fish was served in a broth of scallions, ginger, cilantro and peanut oil. Steaming is the healthiest way to eat fish and the flaky meat gave no resistance to my chopsticks.
One of the special services offered by the crew at Fisherman's Cove is they'll give you a bib (and will even put it on for you) so that you can avoid spilling any sauce or food on you. The picture of me with my bib was taken by Meilani Matsuno (8) and has her baby brother, Aki! Both kids are darlings and call me "Uncle Ken." We had a little dessert of peach and blueberry cobblers. I was surprised to still have room left. One last treat we had was a Blackberry Mojito ($10.50) described as An Explosion of flavors, fresh blackberries, fresh mint and Chambord. It certainly kept our mouths busy - those blackberry seeds are crunchy!
We are glad to have finally discovered this "seafood extravaganza" which is also promoted as a Guahan Special. Thanks goes to Restaurant Manager Arlo Manzana for helping us navigate our way through the process. Come and join the fun next Wednesday at Fiestan Tasi (Seafood Fiesta). You won't be disappointed by the amount you serve yourself.
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