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April 28, 2016, Volume 16 Number 6

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Life is all about change...things are in a state of flux and eventually all things must pass. I've had these thoughts before and the subject came up again this week when I went to the ITC Bldg. and noticed a familiar sign had been missing. It was the Pho Noodle House sign that was missing, and now replaced with Cham's Thai Cuisine, formerly operating in the Chamorro Village. The closure of Pho marks a milestone for us at, since our first review of Noodle House Pho was in April 2001. There were no photos back then since the Internet had no bandwidth to support photo files! My have we come a long way. I did another review in October 2005 and this time there were photos embedded in the newsletter. The article below was from our August 2014 Guamdiner Bytes and describes on of Pho Noodle House's Specialties, "Pho" (Vietnamese Beef Soup). We passed the 15 year anniversary of that first review of Pho earlier this month. It was a quiet celebration.

Pho Noodle House
I.T.C. Building

This little Vietnamese treasure located on the Ground Floor of the ITC Building next to the House of Brutus has been mentioned several times in this newsletter and I've written two complete reviews over the years.

Owned and operated by Sang Kim and his sibling sisters Phuong and Huong, who do most of the cooking, it's hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. Nonetheless, there are a number of suggested menu items, from Fried or Fresh Lumpia to Lemongrass Chicken (or Beef), Combination Noodles, Beef Salad, Fried Spareribs, and soups such as the one I'm featuring today. Pho aka Vietnamese Beef Soup ($8), is best enjoyed when you prepare it in a particular fashion.

In using a Before and After photo juxtaposition, you can see the soup before and then the soup with all the blended ingredients, which includes fresh basil leaves, lemon, bean sprouts, Sriracha sauce, Hoisin sauce, and red chili pepper paste. Once blended properly and proportionate to your taste preferences, this soup is awesome, and chockfull of be beef from meat balls and sliced beef to tripe.

I don't know where Sang Kim or his sisters Phuong and Huong went, but they have left Guam and should take some pride and comfort in knowing they made many people happy with their food.Now it's time for Thai!!!

Ken the Guam Food Guy

Smokin' Grills Jack Daniel's BBQ Competition
Guam Raceway Park
April 17 2016

The grills were fired up and smoke wafted up in waves as bystanders, family and friends gathered round the pit areas where seven competing teams prepared their entries for the judges to sample. This was the first big barbecue challenge of the year and the prizes were significant. Cash, a big bbq grill, a nice big trophy, and a bottle of Jack Daniel's, one of the event's main sponsors.

The three meats that were grilled and judged were Chicken, Pork, and Beef, and they were judged on APPEARANCE, TENDERNESS/TEXTURE, and TASTE. This is the first time that there were 3 KCBS-certified judges doing the judging. KCBS is the abbreviation for the Kansas City Barbecue Society, which is one of the foremost BBQ event holders in the country. It was a close competition and nearly every team placed at least once. Below are the rankings:


1st - Triple J
2nd - Team Adobo
3rd - GCC


2ND - Team Balaku
3rd - Team Adobo


1ST - Team Balaku
2nd - GCC
3rd - PROA

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER WAS GCC!! Congrats to Chef Paul Kerner, who is 2 for 2 (last year's winner)! Congrats to all the participants in this year's event. We're looking forward to next year's BBQ competition!

House of Brutus - A Burger to Remember
ITC Bldg Ground Floor

It was a late lunch and I had actually planned on getting a bowl of Pho but discovered that Pho had since closed and I wasn't in the mood for Thai. So I walked next door to the House of Brutus and decided to have a burger. But which one? The menu had just been revised that day and it looked more streamlined. They seemed to have dropped some things. The Burger I seemed to like most was the Inn&Out for $8.00. It had a grilled beef patty with lettuce, tomato, chopped grilled onions and secret sauce. You can add cheese for $1.00 (which I did). I asked Chef Paula Burce if they would be able to add bacon to this burger, which they did for $2.00. All their burgers are made fresh in-house.

When this burger creation came out and was placed in front of me, I just marveled at was classically layered and not gargantuan, but it looked substantial. I took the first bite (had to unhinge my jaws a bit). WOW! The char-grilled flavor permeated and mixed with the juices in the beef and the secret sauce just oozed out onto my fingers and I bit again...then again...I was unable to put the burger down! It was that good! I remember telling my server later that the burger was so delicious that I could taste the lettuce!! The best thing about this burger is that it didn't leave me feeling stuffed. Wonderful job, again, Chef Paula! I may get ambitious and try the double for $6.00 more!

Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill
2nd Floor La Isla Plaza

I had not been here for some time and just dropped by with a colleague. I'd already had a late lunch but felt I could do some chasers. We sat inside their newly-remodeled dining room and were enjoying the air-conditioned comfort. My friend David Evans was performing outside entertaining the tourists on the deck. I ordered the Sauteed Crab Legs in Garlic Herb Butter ($19.95) while Aileen had the Chopped Steak ($16.95), which Is described as Chopped Steak stir fried with Celery, Bell Pepper, and Sauteed onions.

While we were waiting and drinking a glass of wine, we were brought a complimentery order of Beef Kelaguen with a fried tortilla. (Thanks chef!). Actually this was a pretty decent beef kelaguen! For $7.95 you can't go wrong. Just the right amount of tartness and a little pepper.

We were brought the crab legs and the chopped steak. Honestly, we really enjoyed both items, in fact I liked the Chopped Steak more than the crab legs! There was so much more natural flavors from the vegetables, which still had texture! Carrots, Celery, Onions - these are important elements. The beef was tender and there a pretty sizeable portion. There was red rice and some house made slaw. Impressive. Shout outs to the kitchen team at Tumon Bay Lobster & Grill, which included Brian Evangelista, JR Kazuma, Delmar Obed, & Rhett Villanueva! Good job guys!

Everest Kitchen
Micro Beach Road
Daily lunch buffet $12

It is always wonderful to discover a new, exotic place to eat. Saipan's Everest Kitchen makes the discovery more memorable. I had the opportunity to stop by here one afternoon and was delighted to have my friend, Chef Gabriele Colombo, join me for a late lunch. It was his first time here as well, although he knew the family operating this restaurant. When we arrived there was a large table of regular customers sitting near the buffet line (Everest Kitchen offer a daily lunch buffet for $12.00). I had heard a little about Everest Kitchen as one of the healthier food establishments on Saipan. In fact, they were the first to be honored as a participant in the BIBA CNMI Healthy Restaurant Program!

As it was a little late, we decided to order a la carte. The buffet did have a large selection of Mediterranean dishes, however some items were depleted. We'll have to come back earlier as some of the regulars were praising some of the dishes served, especially a fish dish! Everest Kitchen's menu is as exotic and wide-ranging as some of the artistic images from owner Laxmi Shrestha's native Nepal. The menu is colorful with brightly appealing food images and the verbiage describing each item is bursting with healthy deliciousness. Now this is going to be a "guilt-free" dining experience!

We ordered a few appetizer selections (after I had placed my order for a small strawberry Laasi ($4.95), including the Samosa (2 pc for $4.25), the Hummus Platter ($5.95), Fresh Spring Roll ($4.50), and Everest Platter ($8.95). Each of these has a little green sprout circle indicating that they are vegetarian. We talked with Laxmi about other items she recommend we try and decided on one of her specialties, the Lamb Curry ($12.50). While sitting I perused the menu more and noticed a section on Nepalese favorites such as Chicken Shislik Set (Skewered boneless chicken and vegetables grilled over charcoals) and a few other items like the Momo Nepali (dumplings tossed in a light sweet and sour sauce with bell peppers and onions)! Gotta try this side of the menu on future visits.

The Hummus and Pita bread we had was excellent! Made with chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil, this is one of the best foods you can eat nutritionally! Unintentionally we may have doubled up on this since the Everest Platter has hummus as well, along with Babaganush (grilled eggplant dip - 3 flavors available: Tahini & Garlic, Garlic & Lemon, and Yogurt); and falafels, mixed salad, feta cheese and pickles, with more Pita Bread. All was enjoyably consumed!

I was looking forward to the Fresh Spring Rolls, as these have julienned carrots, cucumber, tofu & egg wrapped in a rice flour wrap and served with Everest's home made peanut dipping sauce. These were screaming healthiness! Cool, refreshing, with a crisp natural texture from fresh vegetables...and complimented by a slightly spicy but richly flavored peanut sauce. These I could eat every day and be happy! Laxmi would come out with each dish she was preparing and we were also helped by her husband, Chola B. Gharti. Laxmi was so proud of her creations...and pleased to see us eating so heartily.

Then came the Samosa (it takes longer to cook). It is a homemade pastry filled with warm potato, peas, and spices with cilantro. The pastry crust is amazing - so crisp and rich tasting, and thick - It would make the best pie crust!

We were beginning to fill up and still had the curry on its way. When it came, I caught some of the aroma and that stimulated my taste buds to action. This was appealingly presented with fresh cilantro on top of the rich thick curry sauce and a bowl of fresh made yogurt was served. We each had a little rice with our curry and ate through the salad.

While we were working our way through the Lamb Curry (which definitely merits praise-really tender and tasty), Laxmi said we must try her Dal Bhat soup, which is a homemade Lentils soup. Yes, this was splendid and we were definitely getting fuller. Last to come was another traditional Nepalese treat - Nepali Chiya ($2.50). This is Chai (delicious hot and milky cinnamon flavored tea). It was able to help soothe and relax the belly after all the food we'd consumed.

Everest Kitchen has a moderate selection of Smoothies, Juices and Drinks, including the Lassi, Super Juice, Detox juice, and Everest Spice (that has melon, yogurt, oatmeal, cinnamon, dates, almonds, and banana), and a few more.

What a great place for dining during lunch and dinner! The artwork and paintings depict a land and culture different than Saipan. It is definitely an intriguing ambiance that sets the perfect background for your dining experience.

I had to get a photo of our hosts and their "honored guest" Chef Colombo, Executive Chef of Saipan's Hyatt Regency! While Laxmi didn't know me, everybody knows the great Chef Colombo!! In the photo with Chef Colombo seated are (L-R) Chola B. Gharti, Laxmi Shrestha, and her sister Bimala Shrestha Joshi. I am looking forward to my return some day when I am in Saipan . I want to be a regular at Everest Kitchen!

Bon appetit!

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