Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant’

At Al Campo yesterday they had this wonderful stand with all the vegetable ingredients for puchero – a traditional Spanish stew. Incidentally, for all you veggies, the translation of puchero as a vegetable stew is a huge misnomer because it contains beef and pork.

I thought it was brilliant that there was a special display to save you gathering all your own ingredients and it’s very typical of the habits of the masses here – it’s post Christmas, so everyone will be using up their leftover cuts of meat to make puchero.

The stand had all the ingredients except the meat and the chickpeas:  cabbage, corncob, pumpkin, chayote, French beans, sweet potato, pears, marrow or courgette, carrot, leek, garlic, onion and tomato.
To make puchero, chickpeas, beef, pork, saffron and thyme are added to the above and the whole lot are simmered into a warming, fragrant stew which is usually served with fresh crusty bread.

For hikers, there’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of puchero at the end of a long walk when the sweat is drying and the chill of the mountain air kicks in. And I have it on very good authority that the best puchero on the island is to be found at Casa Lala in Arico Viejo.

I have yet to try Casa Lala myself and will have to try out a new walking route that ties in with finishing there, but we’re planning a walk around the Erjos Pools soon and I might just pop into Bar Las Fleytas to try theirs…watch this space.


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Any of my friends will attest to the fact that, for the past three months I’ve been about as much fun as a bout of influenza, virtually all of my waking hours being in front of a screen and a keyboard in order to meet deadlines. So the weekend before Christmas, deadlines finally achieved, Jack and I took ourselves off for a bit of R and R on Tenerife’s sunny south west coast.

The prospect of this mini holiday had been keeping me going through the final pushes of work and I’d envisaged myself lying by a Bond-esque swimming pool, cocktail in hand, soaking up the healing rays of the sun and watching my skin slowly losing its blinding white hue.
So it wasn’t without some concerns that a few days before we were due to go away I began to pick up reports of yellow alerts and first hand accounts of persistent rain in the south of the island.

On Saturday morning we headed out of the blue skies and sunshine of Puerto de la Cruz for the drive to Puerto Santiago. As we climbed higher into the cloud my heart began to sink, but when we reached the mirador above Santiago Del Teide I could see the resort of Playa de la Arena in sunshine on the coast below and we arrived at the Hotel Barceló Santiago in glorious sunshine.

You often hear about the different weather zones on Tenerife and here we were under blue skies and sunshine just a fifteen minute drive along the coast from Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Américas and Costa Adeje where, very unusually, it was raining heavily.

After checking in and getting into the holiday mood with a complimentary glass of chilled cava, we headed to our suite.
We’d stayed in the Hotel Barceló Santiago seven years ago and although completely blown away by its location, we’d been somewhat disappointed with our room. But clearly the hotel hadn’t stood still in those intervening years and refurbishments had transformed it beyond recognition.
As we walked through the door of room 819 it wasn’t disappointment we felt, it was elation.

The first thing we saw was the stylish en suite bathroom and walk in shower constructed in ice blue opaque glass. Beyond the bathroom was a comfortable lounge area and beyond the opaque glass screen lay the elegant, contemporary-styled bedroom which occupied a corner of the hotel’s eighth floor.
Drawing back the floor to ceiling curtains, we had panoramic views over the cliffs of Los Gigantes and the whale and dolphin watching boats which were cutting a white swathe through the shimmering turquoise of the ocean. From the other window, the views were equally impressive over La Gomera and the hotel’s fabulously stylish swimming pools and sun terraces.

After wandering over and back between views on our corner balcony, we unpacked and headed down to the buffet lunch.

I wasn’t really very hungry and so I headed for the salad bar and stacked my plate from the cold meats, salads and dressings. Unfortunately, on the way back to my table on the elegant outside terrace I caught sight of the carvery section where sirloin steaks and plump pork fillets and chops were sizzling on a griddle, then past the sweets tables (okay, admittedly my route back to the table may not have been the most direct…) where small pastries, ice creams and chocolate mousses were whispering “eat me” in seductive tones.

After my salad lunch which morphed into a three course sumptuous affair with red wine and several return trips to the buffet there was only one place to go. I chose a sunbed alongside the infinity pool with views over the Los Gigantes cliffs, applied the factor 15 and let the afternoon drift away in a pleasant doze lulled by soft Jazz melodies drifting from the pool bar, the distant chatter of a couple in the Jacuzzi and the rhythmic ebbing and flowing of the ocean.

As I lay there in the afternoon sun, the stresses and strains of the past three months began to evaporate into the ether and all I had left to worry about was how on earth I was going to be hungry enough for our 7.30 pm reservation at the Sabor Español restaurant. Now that’s what I call R and R.

P.S. If you like the look of the Hotel Barceló Santiago, you could win a  FREE week, half board for 2 persons simply by liking Tenerife Magazine on Facebook – no catch, no hidden ‘sell’, just hit the ‘like’ button and you could be lying by that pool gazing over the Los Gigantes cliffs. I’ve already hit the button several times. Well, you never know…

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Stepping out of the Costa Adeje heat and into the air conditioned lobby of the Costa Adeje Gran Hotel a few weeks ago, one word springs immediately to my mind and lodges itself there – splendid.

The glass-fronted, marble columned lobby stretches as far as the eye can see, its concealed roof lights and golden table lamps reflecting in the highly polished floor like diamonds. Centre stage, a grand staircase is flanked by a marble cascading waterfall which adds a sound track of running water to the lush forest of greenery dripping from surfaces and balconies.
Above my head is a sunken section of turquoise from the rooftop swimming pool and the sunlight is dancing through the water and bouncing around the ceiling.

The vast glass frontage is hemmed with long, low settees and inviting armchairs just begging me to sink into their plush cushions, order a long, cool drink and spend some time watching the busy comings and goings of the lobby.
But there’s a whole lot of hotel to explore first, so I glide above the splendour in the glass bullet lift and am transported to the rooftop swimming pools and memories of the Far East.


Can't you just see yourself here?

Elegant palm trees fan their heads in the gently breeze and admire their reflections in the glass of the Colonial style buildings with their wooden balconies which surround the pools.
Between the palm trees an expanse of electric blue swimming pools curves and wends its way beneath a wooden footbridge and around islands of sunbathing terraces. Sun loungers dot the terraces, their occupants soaking up the sun’s rays or cooling off under the shade of an umbrella and losing themselves in the pages of a novel.

Later that evening I return to the rooftop pools as the sun is turning the faces of the buildings rose pink and throwing black silhouettes of the palm trees into the still surface of the water. I make my way over the footbridge to the La Laja restaurant and with a grandstand view of the pools and the sunset, I enjoy one of the best meals I’ve eaten on Tenerife.

Imagine yourself slipping into the blue paradise of that beautiful swimming pool or sipping a mojito from your sun lounger and feeling the warm sun on your skin.
Now imagine you can do that every day for a whole week without it costing you a penny and you’ll begin to realise what a fabulous opportunity fans of Tenerife Magazine have this month.

GF Hotels are giving away one week half board at the Costa Adeje Gran Hotel to one lucky winner of this month’s competition and all you have to do to enter is to ‘like’ Tenerife Magazine on Facebook. Could it possibly be any easier?


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Tito's Bodeguita, Puerto de la Cruz

Isn’t it funny how sometimes places can be on your doorstep but, for one reason or another it can take you an eternity to check them out and realise you’ve been missing a real gem?
Well that’s how it was with our lunch venue yesterday.

We drive past the 17th century Ermita de San Nicolas every week on our way to La Villa to do the shopping and regularly remark on how lovely it looks and how we must go there. A large, white monastic frontage with a concealed courtyard, the Ermita was closed for a long time and we bemoaned the fact that we’d never tried its restaurant.

Then a couple of months ago it re-opened as Tito’s Bodeguita and this time we promised ourselves that we’d definitely go. Well yesterday was the exact excuse we’d been looking for as it was our 20th wedding anniversary and we’d given over the entire day to ourselves. So after a morning exploring a section of the north coast, we quickly showered and headed off to Tito’s for lunch.

We’d popped our heads around the courtyard entrance on Monday to confirm that they opened on Tuesdays and had spotted 2 or 3 tables occupied in the courtyard so we half thought that we might be the only ones there when we arrived shortly after 2.30 pm yesterday. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

Revueltos de Bacalao

As we entered the beautiful courtyard, we could see that most of the tables were occupied. We spotted an empty table alongside the bubbling fountain and settled in to survey the surroundings.
To one side the two storey house stood, its carved wooden balcony, lattice screens and wooden shutters overlooking the courtyard. At right angles to the main house, a row of small buildings extended beyond the courtyard in which we were sitting, house leeks growing in profusion on the red Arabic tiled roofs.
To our left a raised platform held more occupied tables and beyond them was a large beer garden with wooden benches and tables.
Behind us, the old Ermita now housed an inside dining room, an extremely well-stocked bodega, a party dining room and kitchens from which four or five waiting staff busied themselves carrying plates of food and bottles of wine.

Centre stage in the courtyard itself was a large stone fountain in which flowering water lilies idly floated. An elegant palm tree towered alongside the fountain, a large menu pinned to its sizeable trunk. Bordering the courtyard, a scented chaos of colour cascaded from wooden planters and rock gardens while a large magnolia and a drago tree held aerial court.

Solomillo de cerdo con albóndigas

Within moments of sitting down we were brought menus and we dithered over our choices. In the end, Jack plumped for solomillo de cerdo con albóndigas casera (pork steak with home-made meatballs) and I opted for revuelto de bacalao (scrambled eggs with cod).
A basket filled to capacity with fresh, crusty bread and a dish of home-made almogrote arrived with our beers and we tucked into both, now completely chilled in our sunny afternoon surroundings.

When the main dishes arrived they were beautifully presented and tasted sensational. Jack’s succulent pork was coated in a savoury sauce and the albóndigas that accompanied it turned out not to be meatballs, but large tasty dumplings.
My cod scrambled eggs were an onion, potato, cod and eggs rosti and were lip-smackingly good.
To round off, we both ordered the vanilla ice which was creamy vanilla ice cream surrounded by huge, fresh blackcurrents lightly dusted with icing sugar.

It’s fair to say the food was some of the best we’ve ever eaten in Tenerife, the surroundings were idyllic and when the bill came it was €30 – quite possibly the best €15 a head we’ve ever spent in a restaurant.

It’s amazing what you can discover on your doorstep and amongst a plethora of very good restaurants in Puerto, it’s a real hidden gem which you’d never find if someone didn’t tell you about it.
Aren’t you glad we’re here to do all this research for you 🙂  ?


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We’d arranged to meet our friends Robert and Linda at the Fred Olsen building on Saturday morning. They were on a cruise and were in Santa Cruz for the day so we’d arranged to show them the city and catch up.
Arriving at the bus station at 10.15am it felt more like siesta time…on a Sunday…on a hot public holiday when the whole world was on the beach. There was barely a soul to be seen as we made our way towards Plaza España, the breeze keeping the already climbing air temperature at balmy perfection.

Arriving in the Plaza, we were disappointed to see that the lake was empty. Where a blue infinity punctuated by a needle of rising water should be, there was only a dried up concrete basin with plastic yellow barriers circling the fountain base.
Crossing the space where the lake should be was a string of Brits disgorged from the gleaming Celebrity Eclipse and now drifting across the empty Plaza like human tumbleweed.
For some reason the lake is empty as often as it’s full which is completely counter-productive and in my mind, unnecessary. With water in, this is a beautiful, sensual, tranquil centrepiece of a 21st century capital city. Empty, it’s an eyesore. How can it possibly be so difficult to keep it filled? If it’s because it’s expensive or resource-intensive to maintain, why build the thing in the first place?

Meeting up with Robert and Linda, we headed straight for a shady pavement cafe for coffee and a chance to catch up. By the time we left, life had returned to the city and shoppers were heading to the retail Nirvana of Calle Castillo. We joined them and slowly made our way towards Plaza del Principe, stopping to admire the burgeoning Corpus Christi sand carpets which were being constructed by groups of students and school children.

Robert contemplates joining the group of 'Courage' for a photo

A stroll around Plaza del Principe including the ubiquitous photo at the ‘Courage’ sculpture; into the Museo de Belles Artes for a look at their temporary and permanent exhibitions; onto the African Market to browse the stalls laden with fresh produce and flanked by exotic plants and flowers and a saunter through the characterful Noria District took us to lunch time.

Torn between La Hierbita and Bodeguita Canaria , both on Calle Imelda Seris, we opted for Bodeguita on the grounds that it had tables outside from which we could better cope with the heat.
Two ‘tablas Canarias’ of assorted jamon Serrano, sausages, chorizo, salami and goats’ cheese was washed down with cool Doradas in the shade of the terrace as the afternoon slipped pleasantly by alongside the trams swishing past within feet of our table.

Tabla Canaria at Bodeguita Canaria

There was just enough time to detour to Teatro Guimera for another ubiquitous, 70s album sleeve photo at the mask, then onto Plaza España (lake still empty) for an ice cream before heading back to the port where coaches were waiting to return passengers to the Eclipse.

The day had flown by all too quickly in a blur of blossom-filled flamboyance trees and shady pavement cafes in cool, tree-lined plazas beneath an impossibly blue sky. There had been no time to visit Parque García Sanabria , or the Museum of Man & Nature or the shops or, or, or…
We parted company vowing to meet up again in January 2011 to complete the tour of this lovely city. Let’s hope they’ve had enough rain to fill Plaza España by then.


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