Archive for the ‘Out to Eat’ Category

Sunshine Café: Dream desserts destination

 

Red Door Fruit Cheesecake

Red Door Fruit Cheesecake

SAIPAN–Bring sunshine into your palates and visit the island’s newest destination to satisfy your cravings for smacking goodness desserts, coffee, organic beverages and healthy food options in hangout you might call your second home.

 

Sunshine Café, located at the Coral Tree Avenue in Garapan issues a warm invitation with its pastel colored walls and comfortable, elegant and homey ambiance.

white chocolate citrus tart

white chocolate citrus tart

I’m not really a biggie on desserts but I can’t stop being curious to check out this new hangout and see what they had to offer.  The chance came unplanned two days after their soft opening. I was a bit hungry but know I couldn’t possibly finish a sandwich so I split one order with one of my buddies. I ordered soda, but one of the food staffers convinced me to try their Pineapple Boost. Albeit a bit steep at $8, it was good and a healthier option than what i originally ordered.

Sunshine Café prides itself on the mouth-watering array of specialty cakes and pastries created from local and imported ingredients, healthy snacks and food to go that caters to the different tastes of customers.

Dig into any or all of the four signature desserts created by Sunshine Café which leaves you with a craving to go back for more—Red Door Fruit Cheesecake, Raspberry Pistachio Macaroons, Chocolate Mandarin Lolly made from dark chocolate imported from Switzerland, and Lemon Citrus Tart—made from dark and white Swiss chocolates. These Sunshine Signature items are just irresistibly inviting from the shelves.

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Pineapple Boost

Try the Red Door Fruit Cheesecake which I learned from the food staffers was inspired nu a restaurant in Beijing located in front of the East Gate of the Forbidden City in Beijing. This is a dessert cheesecake lovers should try.

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Chocolate Mandarin Lolly

Sunshine Café also serves a selection of burgers and sandwiches like Tuna Nicoise, tarragon shallot egg salad and more, pastries, ice cream, homemade milkshakes, cookies in attractive jars and wrappings, and dainty black and white chocolate bites that you can’t ignore from the shelves.

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Sip a tall glass of any of the cold pressed organic juices like Green and Lean, Fruit &Vegetable, Pineapple Boost and Simply Pressed, a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables blended as you order.

The Sunshine Café menu also carries a selection of hot or iced tea including Cappuccino, Latte, Americano, Affogato and Mocha, hot and iced teas, soft drinks and specialty drinks that they are expecting to be a hit with the locals—tropical fruit smoothie, caramel pumpkin spiced latte and Valrhona Sipping Chocolate. Beer, wines and sparkling wine/Champagne is also available.P1420280 2Sunshine Café’s ambiance makes anyone instantly at home, with its fusion of colors and a variety or art works and frames hanging from the walls to the plush sofa sets and brightly lit lamps. It’s a place to hang out and relax after a long day at work, or satisfy your hunger, or just while time away with your favorite drinks.

P1420283Sunshine Café is located beside Winchell’s in Garapan in front of Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.  The Café has started to attract locals and tourists since their soft opening on April 21, 2016. For information or reservation, call 670-233-8300.

Puto Maya and sikwate

  011 - Copy FOR six years, I’ve craved for puto maya and sikwate the way they cook and serve it at the public market in Bankerohan in Davao City, and the craving finally was satisfied one late night at the same place I used to have it before.*?

Puto Maya is one of the all-time Filipino favorite  delicacies made from malagkit or sweet, sticky rice soaked before being cooked with thick coconut milk and mashed roots of ginger. My favorite sidewalk restaurant used to serve it wrapped in banana leaves but banana leaves are becoming a precious commodity in the city and they now serve it on a small plate. I always dip each forkful in a bit of white sugar. Puto maya is something that you can’t have too much of, just a bit every now and then.

And who doesn’t know what sikwate or tsokolate is? It is that thick, rich hot beverage from tablea which comes out best boiled in a batirol, a cast metal shaped like an urn with a wooden stirring rod which you roll in your palms as the sikwate is boiling to get that rich consistency.

I always loved to watch the food server stirring the metal continuously with a wooden batirol, but this time, it was a teenager who served us and he did not stir the tablea the way it was supposed to be. There were no solid bits anyway and it was thick, and besides, I haven’t had a cup for over six years so I was not complainingDSC01721 - Copy.

You do not put too much sugar into the drink or you will lose the natural bitterness of the tablea.A bit of warning—if it is your first time to try tsokolate, be careful because the drink looks so cold in the cup but if you sip it, you might end up with a burned tongue. DSC01728 - Copy When I was a kid, there was this story of a man who sipped on a cup of tsokolate, not thinking that it was so hot. He tried to bear the scorching of his mouth bravely and when he saw that no one was looking, he spitted out the tsokolate right on a plant outside. The plant immediately withered and died right before his eyes.I believed that story as a kid but of course I learned later that was just to emphasize how deceivingly hot a cup of tsokolate is but I never learned that lesson. I still burned my tongue each time I drink tsokolate, and last week was no exemption.

Black Burger on Saipan

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 HAVE you ever tried the Black Burger served at the N@chan Café and Restaurant in Garapan? I haven’t heard of black burgers nor seen any on Saipan yet so when I saw it on the menu, I decided to give it a try on Friday evening.

I was thinking they named it Black Burger because   they overcook the patty in a certain way, or something like that but when the burger was served, I stared at it in surprise. The bun was black, like those chocolate flavored buns. They have the buns specially ordered for them. Under the bun was a slab of melted cheese, a huge piece of homemade patties, and something which I loved—baked shredded cheese which was crunchy and crispy I ate it ahead of everything.

The sauce, tomato, onion and lettuce are not molded into the burger like regular burgers anywhere, which leaves you the choice to do as you please. You can insert them all, or just choose what you want. The burger was already a whole day meal for me. It also came with French fries, mayo and catsup dip. Not bad for $9 because you can share it with others. We only finished a quarter of the burger and took the rest of it home.

My dinner buddy decided to try the fish taco and Fish Meunniere Monk Style from the special lunch. N@Chan! staffer George said it was okay although it was already dinner time. Friend Rico joined us for dinner and he ordered one of the special lunch favorites—crunchy breaded shrimp with tartar sauce served on a platter loaded with rice, garlic bread, potato, salad, fruits, and corn.

Special promoIMG_4476

As a special treat for the local community, N@Chan! Café and Restaurant is offering 50 percent discount for all draft beer, cocktails, whisky and wines for the Happy Hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

For taco lovers, head to N@Chan!5 every Sunday to have your fill of tacos for only a dollar each. Tacos are $2.50 each on regular days. Go for the fish or tacos and chicken burritos which is covered in soft shell, or the beef taco wrapped in a hard taco shell.

All lunch specials are $7.50 and comes complete with soup and bottomless iced tea

N@Chan! also offers 10 percent discount for locals everyday from the ala carte menu.

On the weekdays, you can get a taco combination of all three kinds for $9, served with nacho chips. Taco rice is also available.

N@Chan! Café and Restaurant specializes on a fusion of Oriental, Asian and local cuisine. Popular pasta dishes are the Chamorro pasta which is again on the spicy side, carbonara and meat sauce.

Meat dishes for the special lunches include choices of sauté porkloin, Menchi Katsu which is fried cake of minced meat. The fish special dishes are fish fillet served sweet and sour with chili and black bean.

N@Chan’s lunch favorites are the garlic shrimp special lunches that include choices of garlic fruity shrimp, chili and garlic shrimp, grilled prawn with lemon butter sauce, and prawns and garlic set.

For the appetizers and chasers, selections include all-time favorites like oyster bacon, spicy shrimp, calamarez, chicken or beef kelaguen, Chamorro sausage, chicken chasers and more—from $3.50 to $8.

Splurge in the Surf and Turf section and have a feast of New York steak, Ribeye SteDSC_0992ak Tenderloin steak, or burger steak and local lobster combination. Premium seafood dishes are the Maine and local lobster prepared in a variety of delectable ways. Also check out the set menus of chicken adobo, fish sautéed & shrimp, peppered chicken in coconut; Japanese curry or the local curry, noodles, grilled salmon, Chamorro fried rice, loco moco, octopus fried rice and more. Each order of the set menu comes with rice, soup and salad.

Along the sandwich lines, N@Chan!5 boasts of the regular burger, bacon cheeseburger, Chamorro burger which you have to think twice if you have a low tolerance of anything spicy, chicken teriyaki burger, New York Steak, tenderloin steak and for the non-meat eater, fish burger. These are all served in customized rectangular wooden trays and costs from $7.50 to $15.50 for the whole meal.

The comfortable ambiance at N@Chan! provides several options to diners like the main dining section or you can go up to the elevated portion with cozy sofas for your meals or drinks and enjoy a bit of privacy, or you can have drinks at the bar counter.

For smokers and those who prefer the natural breeze, the tables outside provides the perfect place. N@Chan! general manager Lee Sungnam runs the place.

N@Chan! is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. WiFi is available. Only cash is accepted for now. For reservations, call 233-5233.

Boka Boka: A haven for desserts & authentic Chamorro cuisine

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Parrot fish eskabeche

THE newly opened Boka Boka, (or Eat Eat!) is the island’s newest destination when the craving for sumptuous local desserts and authentic Chamorro cuisine hits you.

My out-to-eat buddy and I skipped breakfast and lunch and it was already past 4 p.m. on Saturday when we headed to Boka Boka to see what everybody has been crazy about the past few days.

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katdun katni

Hunger helps you make fast decisions and I ordered the first two items that caught my attention from the rectangular one page menu that I grabbed from the counter—the katdun katni and eskabeche. I was expecting the katdun katni to a something like beef curry but I was wrong. It turned out to be hot beef soup with vegetable slices, and came with two scoops of steamed rice, a small dish of sliced cucumbers, finadene sauce and hot pepper dipping. Red rice was an option which I didn’t fancy.

We dug into our food without waiting for the eskabeche, which came when we were halfway through our late-breakfast/lunch/ early dinner. The eskabeche was a medium-sized parrot fish swimming in coconut milk and topped with vegetables. We made short work of it too in world record time.?????? `

We were almost finished when restaurant owner Marianne Conception’s niece served us two scoops of red rice that changed my total outlook of this traditional Chamorro food. I have never been overly enthusiastic about red rice but the Boka Boka has exactly what I wanted. It was not oily at all and there were no stuff mixed with it. I still managed to (almost) finish the red rice although I was stuffed.

Marianne served us a small sampler platter of chicken kelaguen which my companion finished very fast, and the most popular dessert Boka Boka has to offer—freshly baked cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. Our whole meal at $21.95 was a good bargain.?????? `

People who don’t have time to cook or just want to picnic out can avail of the Boka Boka BTG special where for $15, you get one whole Rottisserie chicken, rice enough for three to four people, and salad. Just call and you can pick it up, or if you prefer to eat it at the restaurant, just throw in an additional $5 for the BTG. A wide selection of breakfast bento or meal packs is also available early in the morning, as well as daily breakfast specials including Chamorro fried rice or toast, eggs, bacon and more with coffee or tea; waffles, grilled toast or mini-breakfasts.

Other must-try desserts which you can pick up anytime from their shelves for various occasions include their ‘Better than Sex’ cake or Fa’um cake, velvet cake, rum cake, angel cake, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, cream puffs, Pavlova, parfaits, strawberry shortcake, Guyuria, Rosketti, Rosku, donuts, and more.

?????? `Marianne said Boka Boka is a family-run restaurant with her family members helping out in the kitchen and counter. Boka Boka is located at the Morgen Building in Oleai, formerly Mitsue’s Restaurant. ?????? `

They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays, and from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Only cash is accepted for now. Also check out Marianne’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/marianne.teregeyo to get updates on the daily specials so you can just place your calls and pick the goodies up. For inquiries or reservations please call 235-BOKA (2652).

First published at the Marianas Variety’s Out to Eat section.

Saipan’s Volcano Bar rises

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fish fillet

FROM an abandoned structure sitting idle for some time rose the island’s homegrown volcano right in the Garapan, nestled between the DFS Galleria and I Love Saipan malls.

A buddy and I hurried to the Volcano Bar on Wednesday past 1 p.m. for a late lunch, hoping we could still catch up with the lunch hour. It was scorching hot outside but when you push open the heavy wooden door of Volcano Bar, you will be greeted with a relaxing coolness that makes you want to stay forever, or at least until it gets cooler outside.??

We headed to one of the bamboo sofa sets inside and browsed through the two laminated menus the food staffer handed us. There were no more diners as it was almost closing time but we were still accommodated.

From the Volcano Bar specials menu I decided to try the Volcano’s version of Fillet of Fish while my lunch buddy ordered the beef curry.??

Shortly after, the food staffer served a rectangular plateful of fresh green salad, followed by a bowl of mushroom soup topped with croutons. I pushed the salad to my lunch buddy and started on the soup, stopping when the bowl was half-empty. I had to wait for my fish fillet, or else I’d be too full.

The fish fillet—three flaky succulent slices of fish in classic crunchy coating it, was served on a bed of sautéed tomatoes and vegetables and sprinkled with chopped greens for added flavors. The sauce was a perfect dip for the fillet, and I found myself scraping my fish on the sides of the plate to get all the flavors. I ordered at serving of rice to go with my fish fillet. My order also came with a glass of iced tea, not bad for $9.

Served on a round platter, my buddy’s beef curry includes crispy beef cutlets on top of a serving of steamed rice and the curry filling up over a third of the plate. I am not much of a curry lover but I took a spoonful of it to taste, then another and another. It was good, without the usually strong flavors and aroma of curry that I always associate curry with.??

Other must-try dishes in the Specials menu are seafood fry, seafood curry, spinach-bacon carbonara, clam spaghetti with toast, pasta Mentaiko with salad, Caesar salad and chili mushroom spaghetti with toast, all from $8 to $12 per order.

Volcano Bar’s appetizers range from $6 to $9 including chicken wings, chili beef, potato wedge, tortilla chip, onion rings, squid rings, tuna poke, galic octopus and seared diced tuna with tomato.

One best feature when you dine and drink at the Volcano Bar is airy, comfortable ambiance it provides. You can sink in the deep cushions of the bamboo sofas and enjoy happy hours drinking. The Volcano Bar is like an indoor garden, with a mix of native decorations including bamboo seats and tables, thatched ceiling giving you the feel of being inside a native hut. The French windows give diners a view of what’s going on in the busy street outside.??

For those who just want to stop by for a quick coffee or a drink or two, the bar is the best place to hang out, or in one of the two tables shaped like beer barrels and stools near the door.

As an option, you can also occupy the tables outside the bar if you want to be in the open-air.?????? H

Volcano Bar serves lunch from Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and happy hours are from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. everyday. Cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations please contact familybldg@gmail.com or call K Family LLC at 989-6242.

First published at the Marianas Variety Out to Eat Section.

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