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September 30, 2016, Volume 16 Number 13

Dear "Guam Food Guy" Reader,

Is it only me or are you feeling the same hyper-speed whirlwind of activity? It's beyond just a data and information overload! There are far too many things to do in any segment of time, whether it is a minute, hour, day, or week! Someone gave me some good advice - take it easy! I should listen more often! Just do your best...the good Lord never gives us more than we can handle (I must have big hands!!).

As September comes to a close, we will jump right into a super busy October, which starts off with some exciting culinary events! We're talking about the PHARE 2016 Culinary Competition tomorrow, the Burger Bout on Saturday, The ACF Guam Chapter's First Annual Chef's Table on October 8, and the MCA signature event, Maila' ta Fan Chesa on October 12! And for all you lovers of Korean Cuisine, you only have two days (Sept 30-Oct 1) left to savor the amazing flavors of The Taste of Hansik lunch buffet at the Westin Resort Guam's taste Restaurant. As I alluded to before, we are all super busy just keeping up the avalanche of information and decisions we have to make every day. We need to slow down and enjoy the scenery, like the scenery that relaxed and inspired me last Sunday on Saipan when I took these photos.

Life is too short not to enjoy the beauty in our lives.

Ken the Guam Food Guy

Taste of Hansik Lunch Buffet
Taste Restaurant
Westin Resort Guam
September 30 to October 1
Lunch only 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Adults $40, Children $20 (6-11 years)
15% SP & SPG flat discount
We do not charge service charge
Call 647-1020 for Reservations

The Taste of Hansik has returned to The Westin Resort Guam featuring the same two award winning guest chefs from W Seoul Walkerhill Korea! Chefs Chase Kim and Dave Yun thrilled and stimulated the palates of customers with their well-seasoned authentic Korean buffet in April when they visited Guam for the first time.

One dish you must have is the "Army Base Stew" that's prepared at the live budae jigae station! This amazing soup has a little bit of everything in it, including ramen noodles, beef sausage, bacon, imitation crab, mandu, spam, cabbage, kimchee, baked beans, enoki mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and young pumpkin!!! The kim chee stations are marvelous too!

Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy a superlative culinary journey exploring Korean cuisine expertly prepared by two masters of the art!

PHARE 2016
Pacific Hotel and Restaurant Expo
September 30 - October 1
10 AM - 5 PM
Hyatt Regency Guam

Visit PHARE for the latest innovations and concepts in the hospitality industry that will be on display in a variety of booths in the main ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Guam. There will be product demonstrations and food tasting, as well as seminars and exciting culinary and bartending competitions. Come and see the latest and the greatest - you will definitely learn something new and different!

The Burger Bout
Burgerfest 2016
@PHARE 2016
Saturday, October 1
10 am - 5 pm
Hyatt Regency Guam
Outdoor Garden

Another extraordinary culinary competition happens this Saturday with the Guam Daily Posts Signature Competition, BurgerFest 2016. You will see the A Gamer's contending for the top prize and you can taste yourself in the People's Choice contest.

The contenders include Lago Cafe Restaurant (Leo Palace Resort), House of Brutus, Dio Sapinoso, Delmonico, 9th Street Rotary, ASU Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse, & Rotten Apple. See who makes the most creative burger in the Gourmet Division, or who can produce that perfect burger for the Classic Division.

Maila' Ta Fan Chesa
Presented by The Micronesian Chefs Association
October 12, 2016
Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom
6-9 PM
$50 Entry Per Person
Tickets available at Meskla, IDI, & through MCA Members

Take a culinary tour of Guam's fruit and vegetable bounty specially selected for this unique event's purpose - to have top chefs create new taste experiences from local produce! Six Villages will have a signature farmer's crop that will be featured for chef's to create a beverage, a main entree, and a dessert! They will use Lemon Grass, Mansanita (Singapore Cherry), Cucumber, Papaya, Dragonfruit, and Okra! There will be a wine bar for tasting from Coppola Winery and Montes Premium Wines. The chef roster is stellar, with Chef Peter Duenas, Chef Jr Taga, Chef Darren Dragon, Chef Eddie Chien, Chef Rey Dasalla, Chef Daniel Lenherr, Chef Mirko Agostini, Chef Dennis Salenga, Chef Leland Feng, and Chef Gene Soledad!

It's an event you don't want to miss!

Old Town Chinese Restaurant
East West Business Center, Suite 103-104
Upper Tumon
646-2388/647-8200
Hours: 11:00 am - 10:30 pm DAILY

It was about 9:45 p.m. when I left my office and drove quickly over to Old Town Chinese in Upper Tumon after I called and verified they would still be open to serve me dinner! I had not eaten in a Chinese Restaurant on Guam for some time and I just had a craving I had to feed! It was rainy outside and I had some hot jasmine tea to warm me and ordered 4 dishes - The Chicken & Cashew Nuts ($7.95), Salt & Pepper Fried Shrimp ($10.00), Baby Bok Choy & Garlic ($7.00) and Roast Duck (1/2 for $12.00).

First to arrive was my Salt & Pepper Fried Shrimp, which had sauteed onions, and chili peppers with golden juicy shrimp! Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside...I ate everything except the tail! It's best to eat these while they are still relatively hot...the flavors explode in your mouth.

The 2nd dish was the Chicken & Cashew Nut. This is laden with sauteed onions, mushroom, green bell pepper , carrots, and lots of cashews! It's a flavorful blend of ingredients that is representative of what makes stir fry so good - a balance of vegetables and meat. This was one of the dishes I had to balutan (take-out).

The 3rd to arrive was the Baby Bok Choy with Garlic! Look at the picture and tell me it doesn't make your mouth water! Freshly wok cooked and imbibed with garlic...this is a great treat for anyone who enjoys vegetables. This one I finished (along with the Salt & Pepper Fried Shrimp).

Last to arrive was a dish I couldn't resist - ROAST DUCK!! Thank goodness they sell it by the half as well as whole. This comes with hoisin sauce on the side. I think I could eat duck all day. Especially Peking Duck, but that's not what I had here for $12. Tasty and satisfying - this fulfilled my mission to eat restaurant Chinese that was pretty decent! I will have to explore more restaurant Chinese - expect to read more in the near future!

Surf Club
Chalan Kanoa Beach
Saipan
235-1122

Stepping out onto the sandy white beaches in front of the newly-built Surf Club in Chalan Kanoa, I was utterly spellbound by the slow-motion movement of the waves, lapping up against the shoreline with gentle, persistent caresses. This was a deja vu moment in time for me, since I flash backed to my days here when it was the Beach bar at the Pacific Gardenia - Saipan's Biggest Little hotel! Yet, the time has passed and the Pacific Gardenia is no more but a special happy memory! Today, this property has been prudently developed by professionals who are building a true island resort destination. The soft opening of the Surf Club (which is a restaurant and bar and a beach getaway with ceiling-fanned outdoor cabanas!)...and probably the cleanest restrooms on Saipan - maybe because they're the newest?) Let's just say that there is a determined regimen to maintain the overall aesthetics of the Surf Club - it's called good management.

Since the Surf Club is still in its soft opening phase, there must be allowances made for training the staff and refining the menu - people should be patient and understand the many challenges of operating a restaurant. This is why I usually wait to critique and review restaurants after they've settled.

There was just enough I enjoyed at the Surf Club that I can share now. One of the things you will see if you sit at the ocean-facing bar is the top of the bar that's teeming with sea-life...you move your hands and you appear to be immersed in this underwater illusion, and that's oddly what it is! My first meal experience at the Surf Club was for dinner before I left for the airport to return home to Guam. I had a San Pellegrino and a Sauvignon Blanc, and ordered a Cheesy Quesadilla (Chicken - $7.00). This quesadilla was indeed cheesy with plenty of gooey cheddar cheese filling two warm pan-grilled tortilla shells with sauteed onions, sweet bell peppers and grilled chicken sliced thin. The salsa with a dollop of sour cream was pretty good and I had some lime wedges (making me wish I'd started with a cerveza, por favor)!

For my entree I wanted something heartier that I could partner with a merlot or cabernet, so I had their Beach Break 1 Lb T-Bone Steak ($29.50), which is grilled to juicy perfection. I had a Small House salad, steamed veggies, and a baked potato...just like in the movies - a perfect steak dinner on the beach! I cleaned my plate, however, instead of any other sauce for my steak, I asked for and used my local favorite, finadene.

I think it may have been around 7 p.m. when live entertainment began a performance (bringing the house ambient music down). It was Larry Lee and his son playing the ukulele - doing Hawaiian and other beach genre favorites (Beach Boys) and singing happily. Saipan is blessed with a natural cheeriness you don't see in too many places! I had finished my dinner and decided to hear a few songs while I enjoyed my house special beverage, a Surf Club Blues ($8).

 

My next visit to Surf Club was this past week for lunch with Hyatt Regency Saipan Executive Chef, Gabriele Colombo. The vista beyond this air-conditioned, glass-walled sanctuary was breathtakingly spectacular, and if you weren't talking to someone you would be staring off into this blue oblivion! For lunch we started with their Muchacha Tacos, which can be crunchy corn or soft shell flour tortillas. We each had one - I had the Pork ($7.50) and Chef had the Chicken ($7.00). Like some other considerate places, they give you enough meat, shredded lettuce, onions, and tomatoes to make two tacos so they give a 2nd tortilla. The homemade salsa and sour cream kept these tacos in contention...not bad at all!

I had heard from a colleague that the Fresh Spinach Mahi Salad ($13) was pretty good. In fact, it was better than good. It was delicious, with baby spinach, real (and tasty) bacon bits, red onion, red sweet tomato, cucumber slices, and drizzled with a lemony vinaigrette dressing. A plank of Mahi Mahi filet that's been sauteed in white wine sauce is placed atop spinach pile and accentuated by fresh homemade croutons. This was definitely worthy, and we had several free replenishments of that popular China Mist Tea served here. Our servers were attentive and genuinely pleased to serve us.

Chef Colombo tried something "exotic" on the menu, Surf Club's Signature Curry Shrimp Pad Thai ($15.50). The ingredients sounded intriguing (Chow Fei Rice noodles, creamy curry sauce, sliced almonds, grated coconut, diced onions, shrimp, and firm cubed tofu. Topped with fresh green onion, Thai chili, and a dash of fish sauce.) It looked good for sure. However, it is probably a very difficult thing to serve an Executive Chef Pad Thai if you are not Thai. The ingredients were good, just a little more work tweaking how they combine them and the use of the curry powder will eventually perfect this.

Surf Club has a surprisingly robust menu, with BLT's , Burgers, Hot Dogs, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Fish & Chips, Seas Scallops, BBQ Short Ribs, BBQ Yard Bird (chicken), and desserts. We saw a group of six visiting military service members enjoying their lunch and tell Head Chef Jay how delighted they were with their meals!!

Congratulations to Ryuhei Kono, General Manager of the Surf Club, which is part of what ultimately be the Surfrider Resort Hotel, and to the fine folks at Triple J Saipan, Inc., for investing in another quality establishment that promises to be another landmark destination!

Bon Appetit,
Ken The Guam Food Guy

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