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Tag Archive | "Spanish"

Top Ten-erife Useful Spanish Phrases


Although the ability to speak the lingo when holidaying, or indeed living, on Tenerife ““ particularly in the main resorts of the island – has never been a major handicap, nevertheless, a little Spanish can go a long way.

Here’s Tenerife Magazine’s guide to some of the most useful phrases to have in your vocabulary, or how to sound more Spanish – savvy than you are.

1. Claro ““ a multi functional phrase meaning ‘clearly/indeed/of course’, this verbal equivalent of a head nod will hold you in good stead for most conversations.
2. Si, si, si ““ uttered in rapid fire, multi succession, the simple ‘yes” is the most Spanish of phrases.
3. Vale (pronounced ‘ballet”) ““ meaning ‘okay’ this one’s used in Spanish every bit as much as its English equivalent and will get you out of many tight spots. Just be careful you’re not agreeing to anything you may regret later.

These three phrases alone are enough to have you passing as a Spanish speaker. When someone starts chatting to you, just throw a vale, a few si,si,si‘s and the occasional claro into the conversation and you could easily be mistaken for fluent.

4. Mas o menos ““ meaning “More or less”, mas o menos is as much a mantra as a phrase and sums up the Canario approach to many aspects of life. Spoken without pronouncing the ‘s” and accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders, this will not only get you passing for a Spanish speaker, but a Canario at heart.
5. Buenos días, buenas tardes, buenas noches ““ ‘Good morning/afternoon/evening and night” ““ As the line between días and tardes is a very mas o menos affair which has nothing to do with midday and may fall anywhere between 1.30pm and 3pm, it’s easiest to adopt the Tenerife way of merging all three into a single ‘buenas‘ and dumping the watch altogether.

6. Guapa/guapo (pronounced wappa/wappo) ““ meaning ‘beautiful’ and ending with an ‘a’ for females and an ‘o’ for males, this handy little phrase will get you uttering small talk on everything from the weather to a hunk of gorgeousness passing by. Just say ¡que guapa! and pick up your membership card to Tinerfeño society.
7. Jarra/caña (pronounced hara/canya) ““ essential vocabulary for anyone who enjoys a drop of draught amber nectar after a hard day on the beach, a jarra is the local vernacular for a large beer and a caña is a small beer. Just don’t try using it when you head to Torremolinos in summer or you might end up with a jug full of beer. On the other hand…

8. La cuentita (pronounced kwen-tee-ta) ““ a handy one to have at the end of your restaurant meal, this literally means ‘the small bill’, as opposed to the full-sized one. It’s always worth asking for this, if nothing else it”ll usually raise a smile and it might just get you a free shot of honey rum with la cuenta.
9. Encantado/a, mucho gusto ““ the Spanish equivalent of ‘nice to meet you’. If someone says encantado/a to you, you should respond with mucho gusto and vice versa. And don’t forget the double cheek kiss which accompanies it, preferably not delivered by the typical British body language equivalent of an ironing board at the blatant invasion of private space by a complete stranger. When in Spain…
10. ¡Mi madre/Dios mío! – uttered whilst grasping the general area of your heart or making the sign of the cross, these are two typical expressions of utter dismay, ‘oh Mother and My God!’ Particularly useful when bartering over a new pair of Ray-Bans or when la cuentita is brought.

Posted in Learning Spanish, Newsletter, Tenerife Tips, Top 10'sComments (1)

Top Ten-erife Tapas


There are many versions of how tapas came to be in existence, from the humble need to keep flies off wine glasses by placing a slice of cheese or ham over as a lid (tapa), to the much more complex but highly plausible reason for its emergence as a result of law evasion in 16th and 17th century Seville.
But whatever its origins, in regions where the climate is often not conducive to large plates groaning with food, the pre or post-siesta enjoyment of a tipple with tapas has now become a Spanish institution.

Originally, every bar owner developed a single speciality tapa which gave rise to the tapeo (tapas bar crawl) which today has found new life under the guise of tapas routes. But today most bars and restaurants have a whole menu of tapas, entrantes or raciones to tickle the taste buds.
Some tapas dishes such as ensaladilla (Russian salad) and boquerónes (pickled anchovies) are fairly universally evident on menus throughout Spain, but every region has its own specialities based on local ingredients and the Canary Islands are no exception. Travel to Gran Canaria, La Palma or La Gomera and you’ll find one or two dishes that you won’t see on Tenerife menus and vice versa.

These are the most popular Tenerife tapas:

1. Papas arrugadas con mojo ““ not just a tapas dish, but the preferred potato accompaniment to just about any Tinerfeño meal, the little salty, wrinkled potatoes with their spicy red and green sauces are as popular as sunshine.

2. Jamón Serrano ““ freshly sliced thin strips of cured ham are a constant crowd pleaser, particularly if accompanied by Manchego cheese. If you really want the best, push the tapas boat out and order Jamón Ibérico from the black-hooved, pata negra pig ““ guaranteed to send the taste buds into overdrive.

3. Chopitos ““ tiny, battered and deep fried squid which are compulsively more-ish. Even the littlest of fingers will help themselves to this tasty snack, as long as no-one mentions the word “squid”.
4. Churros de Pescado – another fishy speciality these goujons of cod are coated in a herby batter and fried to golden deliciousness. Fish fingers without the processing.
5. Queso a la Plancha ““ a thick slab of semi-cured goat’s cheese, lightly grilled so it just begins to melt and then drizzled in red and green mojos (sauces) and palm honey. I”M afraid diet sheets have no place on a tapas table.
6. Gambas al Ajillo ““ fat, juicy prawns sizzling in a clay pot of oil, chillies and garlic slices and the perfect accompaniment to dry, crusty bread and alioli (garlic mayonnaise). Definitely not one for a pre-first date lunch.
7. Tortilla Española ““ a staple of the tapas table and a good appetite queller, my preference is for a thin layer of alioli atop. Those with healthier appetites than mine order their tortilla in a bocadillo ““ the Spanish equivalent of a chip butty I guess.
8. Pimientos de Padrón ““ as much a game of chance as a tasty snack, one in ten of these rock salted peppers will blow your head off, the rest will just leave you licking your fingers.
9. Croquetas ““ fat little, sausage-shaped portions of fish or chicken in mashed potato and coated in breadcrumbs. Another ‘safe’ option for the youngest tapas triers at the table, provided the grown-ups don’t snaffle them all first.
10. Empanadas ““ little, Cornish pasty-shaped pies usually filled with a tuna, onion and pepper mix and shallow fried. Bite-sized, pastry delights that will have fellow diners pointing a finger and asking “who ate all the pies?”

Posted in Food & Drink, Newsletter, Top 10'sComments (0)

Desigual is Design for Life


Several years ago I was wandering along Calle Castillo in Santa Cruz and I came across a small designer fashion outlet whose name I didn’t recognise. Browsing the racks, I could very easily have bought 70% of the stock. The clothes were bright, soft, well tailored and completely original.
Unfortunately at that time designer clothes on my budget were as feasible as snow on Playa Las Vistas and I left the store empty handed but with the memory of those designs impressed on my mind.

At the beginning of last year a dress caught my eye in a shop window in Puerto de la Cruz, a window I had passed a dozen times a week but which was usually so uninspired as to be invisible to me.
There was no mistaking it ““ the style, the cut, the colours ““ it was the designer label I had seen in Santa Cruz all those years ago. I looked at the label and committed it to memory.
It said Desigual.

Be yourself
Innovation, creativity and daring are the cornerstones of Desigual’s design philosophy.

They challenge the world of anonymity and homogeneity, creating clothes that project an image of self confidence and optimism for people who aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd.
What’s equally important for me is that their clothes, although predominantly directed towards a younger market, are stylish and individual without being ‘out there’ which means they’re accessible to all ages and sizes.
Beautiful tailoring ensures a flattering look in dresses, skirts and jackets which is another big plus point in my book. You don’t have to be a Kate Moss to wear them, although I”M pretty sure Kate would look sensational in them.

Originally known for its patchwork designs, Desigual collections include softer and more sophisticated uses of colour in sensual, easy to wear fabrics of silk, organza, cotton and linen. Everything is finished with hand stitching, highlights and beading and Desigual’s signature graffiti.

High profile
Founded in Barcelona in 1985 by Swiss business man Thomas Meyer, the company has seen phenomenal growth through the last decade and their stores are now a recognised worldwide brand.
In August last year Desigual hit the retail fashion headlines when they fought off rivals O2 and Mango to secure the former Disney store on London’s Oxford Street for a staggering £710 per sq ft, creating a new record for Zone A rents on the street and sending shock waves through existing tenants who feared commensurate hikes in their rent.

At their latest New York store opening they took a non-descript building in Herald Square, downtown Manhattan and commissioned Colossal Media to create a vibrant, colourful canvas on the building’s façade. The block is now a Manhattan landmark and loudly proclaims the optimism that the company promotes.

Dream opportunity ““ nightmare scenario
I”M sure I’m not the only one who’s ever had that nightmare where you’re standing at the bus stop wearing just a vest which is too short to cover your bare essentials.


Well last summer in Barcelona, San Sebastian, Marbella, Madrid and New York that nightmare turned into reality for anyone brave enough to rise to the Desigual challenge of “come in your underwear and leave in Desigual”.
The company invited customers at their stores to arrive in just their underwear and the first 100 would be clothed for free in whatever garments they chose. Everyone else in line in just their underwear got a 50% discount.
I”M guessing the phrase “would you like that wrapped” wasn’t much in evidence that day.

Adding a little je ne sais Lecroix
With the unveiling of the new Autumn-Winter 2011-2012 Dream collection, Desigual has taken a bold new step and is teaming up with Christian Lacroix to design 30 garments.

Monsieur Lacroix said about Desigual: “I was awestruck by the first girl dressed by desigual that I saw in Paris. As I watched her, I could recognise in her a member of my own tribe. It was an explosion of colors and patchwork under the elegant, discreet and always monotonous French sky. It was fantastic, truly love at first sight, a breath of fresh air, all multicoloured, scorching, revitalizing, radiating Mediterranean colours and flavours and creeping into this global and colourless magma inhabited by zombies and clones.”

Whilst I suspect I may well fall into the category of “zombie and clone” in Monsieur Lacroix’s rather excited description, redemption is on the horizon. On a short trip to Santa Cruz de La Palma last week I bought a Desigual dress.
This is haute couture at prices even a writer can aspire to, but I got my dress half price in the sale. There’s still a hint of a grin on my lips even as I type.


Stores
There are 235 Desigual outlets across the UK ““ check their website to find your nearest.
On Tenerife there are outlets in La Camella, Chio, Icod de Los Vinos, La Laguna, La Orotava, Los Cristianos, Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz. Addresses and locations are shown on the website.

Online
Desigual have now launched their online store so you’ve no excuse for not grabbing a bit of this positive outlook without leaving the comfort of your keyboard and what’s more, there are sales on at the moment.

Posted in Fashion, Lifestyle, Newsletter, ShoppingComments (1)



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