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August 19, 2016, Volume 16 Number 11

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

There's a lot to be said about our obsession with all things culinary and in honoring our chefs on Guam and in Saipan! While there is much global fascination now with the Olympics, as well there should be, we are paying attention to our local chefs in today's newsletter. We are so very proud of our young student chefs who have won back-to-back National Pro-Start Culinary Competitions! Our junior and professional chefs have won awards and placed high in competitions globally. What we may not hear often enough are the stories of those young interns and apprentice cooks who grow into chefs. You see them working every day when you walk into most hotel restaurants and into some of the more popular stand-alone restaurants. I have seen most of them try on their first chef coats and participate in their first competitions. Even those who didn't win first, second or third place still persisted at becoming a chef. Many have succeeded and we honor them today! Read more about an upcoming event you don't want to miss that will showcase some of these talented young chefs in today's newsletter!

Ken the Guam Food Guy

Rising Stars - A PHR Dining Experience
September 2, 2016
6:00 PM
Hyatt Regency Guam

All Proceeds Will Be Donated To Farm to Table Guam Corp
Tickets: $200
Available for purchase at all PHR Properties


This is a stellar event you don't want to miss! Five young chefs from each of Guam's PHR properties will team up to prepare an elaborate 5-course dinner paired with premium wines from Twomey Vineyards. Twomey is from the family that created Silver Oak wines.

L-R, Chef Richen B. Granil, PIC Guam; Chef Judith Caoleng, Hyatt Regency Guam; Chef Alvin Almazan, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa; Chef Arlen Laguador, Hotel Nikko Guam; and Chef Joshua Sablan, Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort.

Preview the sumptuous 5-course dinner paired with award-winning wines:

Lobster Fusion Hubete'
-prepared by Chef Joshua Sablan of President Nippon paired with Twomey Sauvignon Blanc

Kale Pistachio Soup
-prepared by Chef Judith Caoleng of Al Dente Ristorante paired with Twomey Sauvingon Blanc

Sous Vide Cobia
-prepared by Chef Alvin Almazan of Fisherman's Cove paired with Twomey Pinot Noir

Prime Tenderloin Steak with Foie Gras Truffle Sauce
-prepared by Chef Arlan Laguador of Magellan International Buffet paired with Twomey Merlot

Verrine of Dark Chocolate and Green Tea
-prepared by Chef Richen B. Granil of Skylight paired with Illy Coffee

This is a stellar event you don't want to miss! Five young chefs from each of Guam's PHR properties will team up to prepare an elaborate 5-course dinner paired with premium wines from Twomey Vineyards ( ). Twomey is from the family of Silver Oak Cellars.

PIC Guam Exec Chef "JR" Taga Takes Bronze in New Zealand Competition
July 28 - 31
Logan Campbell Centre, Greenlane
New Zealand

CONGRATULATIONS to our Guam Representative in the World Chefs Gourmet Pacific Challenge in NZChefs National Salon 2016!!! Chef Simplicio "JR" Taga garnered the 3rd place position competing in a field of seven chefs who were tasked to prepare a 3-course meal in this WACS (World Association of Chefs Societies) sanctioned event. Chef Taga is the Vice-President of the Micronesian Chefs Association (MCA). He was accompanied by MCA President Peter Duenas who was there to attend a regional president's meeting.

Chef Taga's three courses shown in the collage were a Ravioli Starter, with a Chicken Ballantine Main, and a Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse for Dessert. We are proud of our local chefs once again receiving international acclaim!

Joinus Restaurant Expands with New Dining Area
Tumon Sands Plaza

Joinus Restaurant, Guam's longest-running Teppanyaki restaurant (since 1974) has recently expanded by adding a brand new, ultra-modern dining space with new teppan grills all showcased to give passersby a stunning view of the Joinus Teppan experience! They are offering a 25% discount on their DINNER MENU from August 17-19, so you have until this Friday to receive this special.

I had just returned from Saipan a few hours before when I was asked by Aileen L if I wanted to go see Mark Oku of PWS performing a wine sampling at Joinus. While I was delighted to stop by and see the new dining space, I didn't know that it would turn out to be a walk down memory lane!!! The Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect remedy for a long and arduous day of finishing up Saipan business and the ordeal of travelling back to Guam. The sleek new dining area is an upgraded expansion of the "boutique" design created in the 2007 renovation. It is a stark contrast from the original dimly-lit, intimate ambiance that had typified Joinus for decades. I had first reviewed Joinus in 2001, and it was a thrilling surprise to see my old friend, Senior Teppan Chef Eddie Cruz come over to greet me! He'd been gone for some time on personal leave and had only recently returned. We were smiling and embracing as we recounted our years of friendship.

There are two dinner menus - one has Set Menu, and an a la carte options with appetizers and side orders, with set menu prices ranging from $42 to over $100 depending on your selections. They are using Certified Angus Beef steaks so you are assured of premium taste and quality. This menu is one for special occasions and celebrations. Fortunately, there is the Resident Teppanyaki Special Menu that has set menu prices ranging from $28 - $38, which is the one from which we ordered our dinner. Aileen has the Mix Grilled Beef, Chicken and Shrimp ($29.50) and I had the Angus Beef Tenderloin ($38). These set menus include a side Sashimi or Tempura, Salad, Seasonal Vegetables, Teppanyaki, Rice and Miso Soup. A 10% service charge is applicable.

While we waited for our meal we were joined briefly by Executive Chef Shinzo Nakamura who was beaming with pride over this renovated extension that increased seating capacity by a third. We talked about the years that have passed in Guam's teppanyaki scene, noting that he's been the longest operating teppan restaurant while many of the greats have passed on or transformed.

When Eddie came to cook our meal we chatted back and forth as he deftly cut up the carrots, onions, bell pepper, and tofu while grilling the bacon-wrapped shrimp, and chicken thighs, before starting on the beef. Crispy garlic chips were also grilled and put before us to savor with our vegetables. It's a familiar ritual leading up to the grand finale of the flare up! A little cognac tossed on the grill and torched and voila! The exclamations by guests and smart phone photo snaps memorialize this special magical incendiary moment.

We were later joined by another familiar face in the teppan scene - Chef Danny Rosario! Like me, he has grown with age however his face still has that cherubic smile that broadens into a happy grin when he sees you! Also, we were surprised to see yet another known person in food circles - Kenichi Nakanishi, who had previously been with Onward Beach Resort. He is the new Joinus Restaurant Manager. Yes, it was a night of deja vu and reconnecting with old friends...that's so appropriate for this wonderful restaurant "Joinus"!

Meskla Dos (2.0) Tumon New Location - Same DGB's
Former Port of Mocha adjacent to Rotary Sushi
Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Friday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

I was finally able to stop by the new Meskla Dos (2.0) down in Tumon across the street from the Guam Reef Hotel & Westin Resort Guam. It was a late lunch (3:30) but they were open for business. I'd only seen this place from outside while driving by and had found parking on the side in the spaces shared by their neighbor Rotary Sushi. This is a brand new restaurant and everything is shiny and new in the kitchen! The dining area is really comfortable and inviting, with tables lined up along the large glass windows with views looking out towards the Outrigger and Hyatt. There is also outdoor dining available. I walked by one table and decided the aircon was a bit too cold for me.

There are a variety of drink options available, including American classics and some imported (Dos Equis, Modelo, Asahi, and more!) as well as Guam's own Guam Beer! There are a few trophies on the counter too from the recent GVB Block Party BBQ Competition.

I didn't think I'd be able to eat the Magalahi 1 lb. burger today on my own, so I thought I'd eat something more reasonable size-wise, and settled on the "Kuetes" Cheese Burger ($9.25 ) with a bacon add-on for $1.50. I also ordered an IBC Root Beer. The server at the counter, Kaelyn didn't know who I was but that cover was soon blown when Chef Rhett Villanueva showed up. He's one of the original Meskla Dos Kitchen Managers and has rejoined owner Chef Peter Duenas in what promises to be an even more successful Burger haven!

The Kuetes Burger is an 8 oz. patty grilled to order with a slice of cheese and served with Meskla's special boonie pepper firecracker sauce. I had the sesame seed bun although I prefer the Basil Bun for taste! I did have onion rings, which are among some of the best (what do you expect - they are brand new Vulcan fryers!) You may have noticed my asterisk for the letters "DGB", which is an abbreviation for "Darned Good Burger" (only I didn't mean "darned," but have to be PC)! That is exactly what you get with any of Meskla's burgers! There is lettuce, mayo, tomato, and onions inside of this bad boy and once I grabbed hold of it and had my first bite, I couldn't put it down! I even carried it up to the counter and told Chef Rhett that I had a problem! He looked at me and I said my problem was that I couldn't put it down!!

Just looking at this burger while eating it really tells the story about how all the ingredients work in concert to give you the ultimate burger experience! Yes, this is messy eating and we love this delectable mess. For those who know burgers, the best burgers are the messiest!

I talked to a Japanese family with kids about the burgers they ate and they all had big smiles and put two thumbs up! That's kind of what we all experience after eating at Meskla Dos! Congrats Chef Peter Duenas and the Meskla Dos team on another exceptional job well done!

Ken the Guam Food Guy

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