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Tag Archive | "traditional"

El Cine Restaurant Review, Los Cristianos” Worst Kept Secret


If you haven’t heard of El Cine in Los Cristianos then you haven’t been talking to the right people; it’s Los Cristianos” worst kept gastronomic secret. Ask nearly anyone who knows Los Cristianos to recommend a good, traditional fish restaurant and the name that’s probably most likely to form on their lips is El Cine’s.

Such is El Cine’s reputation that it’s not uncommon to have to queue with the mix of Canarios, ex-pats and hungry visitors who quite happily wait for anything up to an hour to dine at what has become a culinary institution in the south of Tenerife.

Tenerife Magazine decided it was time that we feasted at this legendary establishment tucked away in a small alley behind Playa de Los Cristianos to discover why El Cine attracts praise that sometimes borders on the fanatical.

In the looks department, El Cine is hardly Hollywood glamorous. The décor is understated to the point of being non-existent; tables and chairs crammed underneath a lemon coloured canopy in a narrow alley – and maybe that’s part of its charm. When so much of Tenerife is being developed and given a ‘nip and tuck’ so that the term ‘upmarket” can be added, El Cine feels like a link to the town’s simple fishing village roots.

The Main attraction, El Cine’s Menu
Like the décor the menu is minimalist and features one salad, chips, papas arrugadas (wrinkled Canarian potatoes) and around ten main courses; all fish and seafood except jamoncitos de pollo (fried chicken wings).


We ordered the merluza (hake), pulpo (octopus), papas arrugadas and a tomato and onion salad and sat back in our chairs, excited at the prospect of sampling food that regularly receives rave reviews.

We didn’t have to wait long before all the dishes were brought to the table at the same time. The merluza (three decent sized fillets) and pulpo (again three good sized specimens) had a promising on-plate chemistry on the silver platter they shared. The portions were generous and with the papas arrugadas to boost them, added up to a substantial amount for not a lot of money. In fact the three of us dining together could have had a fish fillet and one whole octopus each ““ two dishes for the price of one in essence.

The tomato and onion salad on the other hand looked quite unappealing. I subscribe to the view that the best fish is simply prepared and served…but that’s fish. I like salads to have a bit of flair and creativity. Chunky slices of tomatoes and onions drizzled with olive oil just looked like a salad that couldn’t be bothered making an effort and it tasted like it looked…uninspiring.

Thankfully the main dishes lived up more to the reputation that had preceded them. The pulpo was nicely cooked with a taste-bud pleasing smoky flavour and satisfyingly crunchy tentacles whilst the merluza tasted as fresh as the morning tide and was pleasantly moist, although it did border on being very slightly overcooked for my taste.



The Closing Credits

I liked El Cine’s lack of fussiness and simplistic approach. Its lack of pretension means it’s a comfortably casual place in which to dine and although there was the ubiquitous queue by the time we’d finished eating, there was never any pressure to vacate the table. I thoroughly enjoyed the fried octopus, portions were big and extremely good value and I’d happily eat there again. But overall I thought the food was good rather than exceptional.

Tenerife magazine’s five star rating for El Cine
Décor ““ 2 stars. Simple…there’s not a lot else to say.
Menu ““ 3 stars. Very limited, but that’s not necessarily a negative. If it’s fish you’re after then it features the main stars.
Food ““ 3 stars. The food is simply prepared and presented which works fine for fish and seafood, but I really couldn’t see the point of the salad.
Service ““ 3.5 stars. Like the restaurant itself, unfussy. Food was prepared quickly and service was efficient.

Where, when and how
C/Juan Bariajo, 8; +34 609 10 77 58; behind Los Cristianos beach

Price
Excellent value. Main courses are €7 except the chicken which is €6.

Posted in Food & Drink, NewsletterComments (1)

Las Rocas Restaurant Review, Romance & Great Food on the Rocks


If someone was to ask me to list ideal ingredients for a hopelessly romantic setting for a restaurant I’d reply ‘somewhere intimate that served sexily seductive cuisine on a terrace overlooking the ocean where sunsets turned the skies velvet and the soundtrack was provided by the waves crashing passionately against rocks”.
Or, in other words, Las Rocas on Costa Adeje’s coastline. When compiling lists of romantic places to dine on Tenerife, the Hotel Jardín Tropical’s delightful thatched roof restaurant jutting out over the Atlantic is almost always the first place to spring to mind.

Its location, between Puerto Colón and San Eugenio, means that it is perfectly positioned for a romance soaked gastronomic liaison for the millions of holidaymakers who visit Tenerife’s main southern tourist resorts every year.
Everybody who strolls past Las Rocas can clearly see that it’s a special venue in the looks department, but what about the cuisine? Does it also arouse sighs of delicious pleasure? Tenerife Magazine arranged a sunset assignation to find out.

The Main attraction, the Menu at Las Rocas
Deciding on what to order from the selection of sumptuous sounding goodies on the menu wasn’t helped by the fact that the sunset was putting on a distracting ‘hey, look at how gorgeous I am’ display over La Gomera on the horizon.

Around us were a mix of couples and groups of friends (Las Rocas isn’t solely a gastronomic venue for romantic dinners for two) enjoying the experience of watching mother nature do her show-stopping routine. It was a coolish March evening and although Las Rocas” interior dining area is stylishly inviting we, like most other diners, opted to eat al fresco on the restaurant’s wonderful terrace overlooking the sea.

After much humming and hawing we finally ordered chicken brochettes marinated in a satay and pineapple sauce and octopus with paprika potatoes followed by Cherne (grouper) in a Bilbao sauce served with papas arrugadas (Canarian wrinkled potatoes) and sirloin of Aberdeen Angus served with dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and a pumpkin tart.
We took the head waiter, Julio’s advice when it came to choosing the wine; Ribero del Duero – a full bodied crianza from Burgos.

The starters got us off to a promising…well, start. The chicken brochettes were smoky and the nuttiness of the satay combined with pineapple created complimentary sweet & savoury flavours. The octopus was satisfyingly crispy in parts and as tender as octopus can be in others. Its white flesh had a flavour and texture that tasted like pork of the sea. Octopus and potatoes are a surprisingly winning combination and spicing them up with paprika upped the yum factor a few notches.

The main courses had a lot to live up to, but they were up for the job. Cherne is usually pleasantly tasting but it doesn’t always have much of a personality. The roasted garlic and olive oil dressing at Las Rocas brought it completely out of its shell, unlocking a vibrantly tasting side to this popular local fish.
The Aberdeen Angus sirloin was exactly as ordered; dark and succulent on the outside and pink inside. It melted beneath the path of my knife and was as tasty a steak as I’ve had for a long time. When introduced to one of the four varieties of mustards that came with it, new flavours were unleashed and the meat and the mustards proved to be exciting and adventurous dance partners in my mouth. With the Aberdeen Angus as an adversary, the wine really came into its own, teasing even more flavours from the beef as though it were a matador taunting a bull.

By this point we were too fat and happy for dessert, but research is research so a slice of huge strawberry cheesecake, topped with lashings of cream and swirls of chocolate sauce and a portion of quesadilla (Canarian variation of cheesecake) finished off the meal and nearly us with it.

Once those were despatched it was a case of sitting back in our chairs to relax, sigh and enjoy the vistas and the rest of the wine as deep tangerine streaks on the horizon gave way to intense midnight blues.

The Sunset Summary
So what’s the overall verdict? Does Las Rocas live up to its promise of a romantic place to dine? The cuisine is top quality and beautifully presented in a stunner of a location. It really does feel like a special place to dine. Eat here and it’s pretty much assured that it”ll be a case of love on the rocks.

Tenerife magazine’s five star rating for Las Rocas
Décor ““ 5 stars. Las Rocas looks exquisite and the scenery provides a perfect, sparkling finishing touch.
Menu ““ 4 stars. One of those menus where you want to try everything…unless you happen to be vegetarian.
Food ““ 4 stars. Looks beautiful, tastes divine. Desserts Didn’t quite live up to the starters and main, but then I”M not a pudding person.
Service ““ 4 stars. Professional and friendly with no stuffiness. Made us feel completely relaxed.
Where, when and how
Hotel Jardín Tropical, C/Gran Bretaña, near Playa Bobo, Costa Adeje; +34 902 25 02 51; open 10am to 11pm daily.
Prices
Considering its location, fabulous good looks and excellent cuisine, Las Rocas isn’t as expensive as you might expect. Main courses average €18.

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Where on Tenerife is this? Photo Challenge #3 2011


With the weather playing all sorts of tricks on us at the moment we’ve decided to post a more typical Tenerife scene for this month’s photo challenge.

Here we have clear blue skies and seas mixing with dramatic coastal scenery and in the middle of it all lies a wonderful infinity pool built into the rocks.

It’s an inviting and idyllic spot for lazily floating on your back on a hot and sunny Tenerife day and it’s one of a kind”¦but where on Tenerife is it?

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Where on Tenerife is this? Photo Challenge #2 2011


Our first photo challenge of 2011 proved to be a pretty tricky one ““ a hamlet that isn’t even sign posted from the main road ““ but one of you proved you knew where it was with a photo taken from almost the exact same spot as ours.

Our second Tenerife photo challenge, whilst it could still be tricky, isn’t nearly as obscure. But it still might just be an area of Tenerife where many people have never set foot.

It’s another shot of a historic little street in a location that is simply pretty as a picture”¦but where on Tenerife is it?

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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?”

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Where on Tenerife is this? Photo Challenge #1 2011


Some of our readers clearly know Tenerife very, very well and the last photo challenge of 2010 was solved in a matter of minutes.

So for our first Tenerife photo challenge of 2011 we’ve decided to raise the bar a little and test you with what we think could be a tricky place to identify. Of course, you might prove us wrong again.

A picture of any old back street in one of Tenerife’s off the beaten track towns would be a bit unfair, especially if there was nothing distinctive about it, but this is quite unique. This isn’t a back street; this is the main street. Well, maybe street is a bit grand.

I don’t know of any other place on the island that looks quite like this absolutely enchanting little hamlet”¦but where on Tenerife is it?

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Pisaverde, Walk in Their Shoes.


Cuando hayas talado el último árbol.
Cuando hayas comido el último pez.
Te darás cuenta que el dinero no se puede comer

Pisaverde

(When you have destroyed the last tree.
When you have eaten the last fish.
Then you will realise that you can’t eat money)

I first stumbled across Pisaverde at the Pinolere craft fair in 2007 when they were exhibiting a small but highly visible range of shoes and handbags. The colours were so vibrant and intense, the designs so different from the homogeneous offerings of high street shops that they quite literally stopped me in my tracks.

I came within a whisker of buying a pair of boots that would have Portuenses checking their calendars lest Carnaval had arrived unexpectedly. The only reason I didn’t buy them was because it would have cost me a whole lot more than the €30 price tag to acquire an entire new wardrobe to go with them.

At the end of the 1990s in La laguna, Laura Quintero Rodríguez, a licensed marine biologist and Plácido Alonso Ponce, a lifelong leather worker whose family have been shoe makers for generations, recognised that the influx of mass produced goods was killing originality, obliterating personality, destroying the planet and eradicating generations of traditional crafts.

Laura and Plácido undertook to try to save their craft by reinventing it ““ easy to say, not so easy to do. They began to think about how they could bring their craft into the 21st century and ensure its future sustainability through concept, design, marketing and green production. And so Pisaverde was born.

The first shoes and bags were produced in 1999 and Pisaverde took them to local crafts fairs to see what reaction they would get. Then the magic began. People loved their simple yet striking designs and the philosophy behind their products.
Using recycled materials, imagination, design, a unique marketing approach and their honed skills they manufactured and launched a range of products, every one of which was unique.

As sales grew, Pisaverde opened its first workshop in La Victoria and began to reinvent their trade. Looking for new ways to work the materials and new designs, they began to metamorphose their ancestral craft into a contemporary art without losing the traditional skills.

Their reputation spread and in 2005 they launched their first web page which began to attract international attention. Now confident in their craft and expanding their product range, in 2007 they opened their first shop in La Laguna. Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Madrid followed swiftly.

When Pisaverde began, they had three objectives:

  1. Reinvent our craft
  2. Apply modern design
  3. Innovate

Today Pisaverde can simply say “mission accomplished”.

Now a collective, Pisaverde is more than just a product and a label, it’s a whole philosophy and a belief in a sustainable way of life. They’ve transformed the concept of handmade footwear into handmade fashion and now design shoes to individual specification so you know your feet are dressed in one of a kind, foot couture.

You owe it to the environment to support Pisaverde…and saving the planet has never looked so good.

Style Counsel
I bitterly regret not buying those boots back in 2007 and this year I went back to Pinolere in the vehement hopes that they would be there, alas they were not. They’ve moved on to bigger and better things. But you can find them and their products at:

  • Pisa verde – Calle Nuñez de la Peña nº 37, La Laguna; tel: 922 31 41 28
  • Pisa verde – Calle Cano, nº 22; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria; tel: 928 37 12 59
  • Folelè - Plaza de Haria, Haria, Lanzarote
  • On Girls ““ Calle Atocha, nº 114, Madrid
  • Con Los Pies En Las Nubes – Calle Magallanes nº24, bajo, Santander
  • Blanca – Calle Tablao Nº 68, La Alberca, Salamanca

Posted in Fashion, NewsletterComments (2)

Presents Galore at the Pinolere Craft Fair


Pinolere is one of the biggest and most enchanting craft fairs on Tenerife and is located on the slopes of a hill so steep that just getting from the car to the pavement requires steely thighs and a supply of oxygen.

On the first weekend of September over 230 craftspeople from Tenerife, the other Canary Islands and mainland Spain laid out their wares on stalls and in the shade of the thatched huts that for the rest of the year are part of the Pinolere Ethnological Museum in the highlands of La Orotava.

Under blue skies and with views to die for as a backdrop over 30,000 people turned up to get in some early Christmas shopping.

This is shopping with a difference. Stalls are spread over a series of levels but with vistas like Pinolere’s it can be difficult to take your eyes off the scenery to check out the goodies on sale.

Crafts range from the traditional, such as these wicker baskets…

…to those that you might as well sellotape straight on to your stomach.

And then there are the more contemporary works like these cheeky designs.

Or Canarian classics – hand rolled cigars from La Palma; as good as Cuban cigars…so the people from La Palma will tell you.

As well as hundreds of delightfully unique crafts on sale, the fair has art & craft making exhibitions, live music, rabbits and birds to coo over, demonstrations of traditional life in the hills , these wonderful huts and loads of secret corners to explore…and all for a €2.50 entrance fee.

If you missed Pinolere this year, don’t fret there are other craft fairs and markets around Tenerife, just not in such a spectacular location. Keep an eye on our ‘Happenings” page for news of a fair in October featuring crafts from South America, Africa and the Canary Islands.

Posted in Fiestas & Festivals, ShoppingComments (1)



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