Archive for the ‘Out to Eat’ Category

Bubba Gump: Shrimpin’ it the way you like it

P1600173SAIPAN—Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., the island’s newest food destination opened its doors to the public on June 27, 2016, bringing to Saipan one of America’s icons.

Enter Bubba Gump Shrimp’s doors and you will be stepping into a world-class space, assembled and decorated by Bubba Gump specialists to truly embody the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. spirit and brand. This is a hundred percent true to the highest standards of Landry’s restaurant group, according to Triple J Enterprises marketing manager Iliana Pacheco.

hush puppies

Head out to Bubba Gump Shrimp for your total ‘shrimp and seafood indulgence’ starting off with the Shrimper’s Heaven— hand breaded coconut shrimp with dipping sauces like tangy Asian, cajun marmalade, and zesty cocktail; Seafood Trio of shrimp, veggie and mahi-mahi in a skewer; the award-winning Lt. Dan’s Surf & Turf—baby back ribs slow roasted to perfection and served with succulent grilled shrimp and fries, Shrimp Mac and Cheese which is noodles mixed with sautéed shrimp, assorted cheeses and topped with golden brown breadcrumbs.

Another must-order item in the menu is Forrest’s Seafood Feast of hand breaded fried shrimp, fish and chips, seafood hush pups and served with homemade sauces for dipping—known to be Forrest’s favorite meal after a day on the boat.grilled seafood trio

 To get a total feel of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. watch the movie Forrest Gump (if you haven’t already) and also prepare to answer trivia questions about the movie that the staffers will be asking diners.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Saipan has over 130 staffers to serve diners with mouthwatering menus using a lot of local ingredients. Like the rest of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. outlets all over the country, the restaurant’s walls are plastered with memorabilia, still photos from Forrest Gump movie, story boards, and all kinds of knickknacks Bubba Gump is known for.P1600199

Pacheco said most of the merchandise is unique to Saipan as well as a one-of-a-kind pin that no other Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. brand has.

If you want an out-door Bubba Gump experience, the amazingly large patio is also unique to this location with its state-of-the-art retractable awning. Love shrimp? This is your place.P1600213

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is located at the ground floor of Serenti Hotel in Garapan and they are open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. everyday.

 

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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.

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.

The name is Roberto’s

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THE flash of blue and orange signboard announcing “Roberto’s Café & Restaurant” caught my attention while driving along Beach Road in Garapan on Friday afternoon, and I knew I just had to go back and see what it has to offer two hungry stomachs.

 

 

Flying Tilapia

Fried Flying Tilapya

It was past 5 p.m. and I haven’t had anything yet for the whole day except for a couple of cups of coffee. The glass walls gave us a quick glimpse into the inside of the restaurant before we pushed open the glass door— neat walls devoid of any decorations and ornaments, wooden chairs and tables, counters filled with an assortment of nuts.

They handed us a couple of the one-page laminated menu and I immediately saw what I want—flying fried tilapia. Intrigued, I did not ask questions but just waited to see why it was called flying tilapia. My buddy decided he wanted Roberto’s version of boneless fried chicken.

The food staff served us chicken noodle soups in small bowls as we waited for our order. Then my ‘flying tilapia’ was served, answering my question. It was a big one, sliced on both sides making it look like it is flying, and deep fried to perfection just the way I like it. My tilapia set came with a serving of steamed rice, vegetable salad, pickled papaya and finadene sauce.seafood vegetables

A few minutes later, my buddy’s order was served—crispy bite size boneless chicken pieces served on a bed of vegetable salad. It came with garlic sauce and a serving of rice. We dug into our food but did not finish the tilapia. We took the remaining half of it home. For dessert, I got one of the freshly baked cheese tarts. We were halfway into our early dinner when more diners came in, including a family with kids.

Roberto’s Café & Restaurant opened just three weeks ago and they are already getting a good share of diners from both locals and tourists. As soon as the sun started to set, the food staffers pulled the blinds up, giving us a good view of the Beach Road and the IMG_7490Saipan lagoon bathed in gold, red and orange reflections from the sky.

Try Roberto’s specials like lobster which you can order grilled teppanyaki style or steamed, or pair if off with a combination of steak for the Surf & Turf option, and prawns.

Roberto’s main dishes selection include beef stroganoff, hamburger steak, breaded cutlet, breaded seafood platter, seafood vegetables Chinese style, deep fried shrimp, and another must-try—Robert’s special Pakbet Bagnet Filipino style.

The all-dbeef stroganoffay breakfast specials include omelets, local breakfast, French combo, Pinoy breakfast, fried rice in several variations, and pancakes. They also serve various noodles, salads, desserts like banana split, ice cream scoop, cakes and cupcakes.

Steaks are also available in 8 and 10 oz servings. Try Roberto’s version of Angus Tenderloin steak, Angus rib eye steak and Angus New York steak. Roberto’s also serves a variety of pizza like Hawaiian, cheese, pepperoni, four seasons, and Roberto’s Special Pizza—from $15.99 to $19.99.

The food staffers said they will start serving breakfast earlier very soon. Most of the food at Roberto’s are within the $8 to $20 range, and the servings are generous. Roberto’s Café & Restaurant is locatedBoneless fried chicken at the ground floor of the Gold Beach Hotel along Beach Road. They are open everyday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. They only accept cash for now. For reservations please call 235-BOBS (2627).

Authentic Italian cuisine at Giovanni’s Restaurant

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZs-UHioHwQ

 

HOW do you know that the Italian pasta you are eating is genuinely Italian? With the emergence of thousands of restaurants in the wo??rld advertising Italian cuisine in their menu even without using Italian ingredients or preparing a certain dish the traditional Italian way, Hyatt Regency Saipan is inviting the community to get a real taste of authentic Italian cuisine.

In observance of the International Day of Italian Cuisine which is being celebrated by over 1,700 Virtual Group of Italian Chefs in over 70 countries in the world of which Colombo is a member, Giovanni’s is serving spaghetti al dente with tomato sauce and fresh basil, a simple but emblematic dish starting last Friday night and all the way to January 31, 2014.

For this special celebration, I got the rare chance to watch Hyatt Regency’s executive chef Gabriele Colombo whip up a special sample of the signature pasta for the next two weeks right inside Giovanni’s kitchen.

Watching Chef Colombo at the stove from start to finish was a feast to the eyes and the senses. I watched him through my camera lenses as he tossed the spaghetti, arranged them on warmed plates, and until when he sprinkled fresh basil leaves from the Hyatt gardens and finally grated a bit of cheese on top of the pasta.

Colombo said the authentic spaghetti al dente doesn’t have any meat but you won’t even know it. Cheese is not also included in the original recipe but some Italian families use it.

The spaghetti plates were served to our table a few minutes a*?way, and it was hard to wait till we took photos of it before we dug into it. The spaghetti was a bit crispy, and the flavors of tomatoes and fresh basil blending well into the pasta.

We also shared a plate of Caesar salad and tasty bread sticks, as well as dishes from Giovanni’s regular menu—roasted Australian rack of lamb in thyme crust, artichoke and kalamata olives ragout. I split half of an order of medium rare Certified Angus Beef sirloin steak with Hyatt’s Luis Villagomez, knowing I could never finish one by myself.*?

Check out Giovanni’s selection of the finest Italian cuisine including grilled Certified Angus Beef rib eye steak, the hotel’s popular whole baked Maine lobster, veal tenderloin escalope, and baked Onaga red snapper; and Giovanni’s genuine Italian pasta selections, appetizers and soups, and a good selection of pizza.

Enjoy the soft, cozy ambiance of Giovanni’s Restaurant with its subdued lighting and glass walls that offer a spectacular view of the landscaped ponds and gardens outside. It’s one place you want to linger after dinner and relax.

We declined dessert but ordered a cup of the hotel’s famous Macchiato coffee. Don’t miss out on the remaining days and try authentic Italian spaghetti al dente with fresh tomatoes and basil only at Giovanni’s and learn to distinguish authentic from the counterfeit so the next time you go out to eat at restaurants labeled as Italian, you will know if you are being given the real thing or not.

For more information about itchefs-GVCI, visit www.itchefs-gvci.com.

Spaghetti al dente and other authentic Italian cuisine is available for dinner from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant. For inquiries or reservations, please call the Hyatt at 234-1234.

 

 

 

JC Cafe: Still the place to be

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Kimchi fried rice

IF hunger pangs strike and you’re on Tinian, JC Café in San Jose village is your destination. JC Café is the local equivalent of “everybody’s second kitchen” and that’s where I and my companion headed to last Monday when we had an afternoon off.

We had been driving around the island for an hour or so and were getting hungrier and thirstier by the minute so we decided to head to JC Café for dinner. And that’s where we got lost.DSC_5791

Tinian is such a small island but if one considers my sense of direction below excellent, I’d rate my companion’s sense below sea level. We were driving from the dock and suddenly, I didn’t even have an idea where to turn. We ended up driving any visible road and ending in dead ends, backing out and going in circles until we asked someone the right directions, and got more confused. In a place with no proper DSC_5773street names, it always remains a mystery how one can follow directions like take the right turn three streets down, then left, and right and another right. Yeah, right. We ended up where we started but finally, our patience paid off and we saw JC Café’s brilliant lights from afar.

Hungry beyond belief, I placed an order for sizzling beef, my favorite in their menu, as soon as I sat down. My companion took a longer time browsing through the menu before settling on Kimchi fried rice, whatever that was.

JC Café has not changed a lot since my first visit to the restaurant in 2008. After two decades of being everyone’s second kitchen, or kitchen away from your kitchen, they have maintained being everyone’s favorite and expanded their menu and introduced a lot of new dishes.

 

 

Allen’s order was served first—a huge red platter of fried rice mixed with vegetables and kimchi, and topped with a sunny side up. My order followed right after, served the way I remember it each time—sizzling hot beef slices with carrots, corn and green chili. It also came with a serving of steamed rice. For the next few minutes, we dug into our food in total silence until I raised my hand in surrender halfway into my meal. Allen tempted me to try his fried rice, but I resisted. I have never ever finished one serving of food from JC Café ever, no matter how hungry I was.

Another popular favorite at JC Café is the breaded shrimp and

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the JC signature buttered chicken—crunchy slices of chicken served with finadene sauce for dipping.

JC Café’s menu includes a wide selection of local and international dishes. Choose from Western, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Chamorro and Filipino cuisine which are all available for dine in or take out.

The best thing with JC Café is you never have to wait for them to open or hurry before they close. They are open everyday so you have the option and the luxury of time for a leisurely breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner or even a midnight or early morning meal.

If you just want to hang out, JC Café serves coffee or tea, pearl shakes in different flavors, chocomilk, or sodas. They also have beers you can enjoy if you want to hang around and dance to the latest beats at the dance floor.

At JC Café, it’s not just about eating. It’s also about hanging out and catching up with friends and family in a comfortable setting with a blend of modern and traditional decoration. For smokers, a section with tables and benches outside is set out for you.DSC_5814

JC Café accepts credit cards, delivers food orders in the island, or picks up diners. For orders or reservations, call 433-3413.

First published at the Marianas Variety

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.

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