Restaurante Fortuna – Los Cristianos, Tenerife

When Suzanne a former neighbour came on holiday last week she told us she had had a lovely meal in Fortuna Nova in Los Cristianos.  I was surprised because when she lived here, like many ex-pats she rarely ate in the resorts.  As I had been tasked with the job of choosing the next restaurant for our quiz team treat I thought we might give this place a try.

We met at Christine’s house at 7.30 and when I said where, Peter twisted his face, I’ve eaten there and it’s not my favourite place – well what about El Gomero, oh no he said I don´t like eating with the police and taxi drivers.  Then Andrew piped up, our son and his friend often eat at Fortuna they swear by the lamb.

OK Peter you are outnumbered. So we head off and as we are going along inside the underground carpark, a voice says the restaurant is just about overhead.  No! said Jim it is out the far end – confusion reigned.  We parked up, and walked out heading to the Church Plaza, then down the pedestrianised side street Calle Juan XXIII.  Halfway down we saw Fortuna (no Nova).  Do you do lamb I asked – yes said the owner, our speciality and the best in town.  What about Fortuna Nova – that also belongs to us but is near the Culture Centre. So as nobody had actually eaten at this restaurant before we thought we would give it a try.

The above 3 images are taken from the internet and show where we ate, the owner of both restaurants and the one we originally thought we were going to which has a better outlook.

So back to eating in a side street – it wasn´t half bad, admittedly the view was far from exciting but it wasn´t boring as plenty of people wandered backwards and forwards. A couple of looky looky men stopped to chat and a holiday maker on the next table came to check out their ‘Rolex watches‘ He realised we actually knew these people so was happy to spend time bartering with them.  I don´t know whether he finished his deal as at that point our garlic bread arrived.

02-DSC04492Four of us ordered the half leg of lamb, @ €15, it came with mixed vegetables or red cabbage. Three had it with cabbage and one with vegetables.  One had fish of the day which was sea bass and came with salad and we had a selection of Canarian, boiled and roast potatoes with onions.  My only criticism is that the meal came with too much gravy, I like quite a dry plate. However it was cooked to perfection, fell off the bone and there was so much that nobody could eat it all so we each came home with a doggy bag. The only word is outstanding.

We had a couple of waters, one con and one sin gaz, a couple of beers and a bottle of wine. Everyone rounded of the meal with coffee in various guises.  I was told by the owner that the baraquito was yet again “the best in town” and it was excellent, we had two of those, an Irish coffee and a couple of cafe con leches.  The whole bill was under €115 which for the amount of food and the faultless service plus the four Baileys and a brandy which were on the house, we thought was excellent value.

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It wasn´t quite where we expected to be eating, but I would have no hesitation in recommending it and by the number of people who came and went while we were there even a Monday night is very popular.

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Baking with Soreen.

Unlike me, Jim has always been a fan of Soreen malt loaf.  It use to be the case that there was only one Soreen loaf you could buy but I have been told by my daughter, who is also a fan, that you can now get banana and chocolate chip and a whole host of other flavours.  I dread to think of what will go into the suitcase on our next visit to the UK. Whilst I don´t like the malt loaf ‘straight’ I did come up with a chewy cookie recipe which makes buying a loaf worthwhile.

1-Soreen cookies (3)

The Ingredients You will be able to make about 12 cookies with this mix.

200g Caster Sugar
100g Butter
1 Eggs
175g Plain Flour
90g Soreen Original Loaf (or any other Soreen Loaf)
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Baking powder
Pinch of Salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale, then beat in the egg. Add the vanilla extract, the baking powder, salt and flour. Chop the Soreen loaf into small pieces and stir into the flour.

5-Soreen cookies (2)

Place heaped tablespoons of the mixture on baking sheets. Bake for about 10 mins at 180c they are still soft at this stage but will harden up as they cool although we like them slightly chewy in the centre. Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving

3-Soreen cookies (1)Now the following recipe I got from the Soreen website but thought I would share for those who like me are not a lover of malt loaf but do like Flapjacks

Chocolate Soreen Flapjacks

Ingredients
1 loaf of Soreen Original malt loaf
100g butter
25g caster sugar
200g porridge oats
150g dark chocolate
5 tablespoons golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 180c

Put the butter in a pan and over a low heat stir until it melts. Once the butter has melted, add the  sugar, then spoon in the golden syrup. Mix until you get a gooey paste. Add the porridge oats and stir well.

Next it’s the star of the recipe, the Soreen loaf. Cut this into small chunks and plop it into the mixture.… stir again. Evenly spread the mixture into a pre-greased baking tray and put in the oven for 20 minutes. Check to see if the flapjack has turned a lovely golden brown. Leave it to cool.

Melt the dark chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of hot water. Keep stirring all the time so no lumps or bumps pop up.  Pour the hot melted chocolate on top of the flapjack and leave to set. The chocolate needs around one hour to set. Once set it’s time to grab your knife and cut yourself a rather large slice of your very own Chocolate Soreen Flapjack. Yum!

 

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Faffing around in France

After cavorting around Catalonia and spending time dallying with Dali we left Spain and headed for France.  Our original idea was to stop briefly in Béziers after seeing it on one of those ‘A House in XYZ’ TV programmes. The impression given was of a pretty town with a church perched high on a hill overlooking the river Orb, the reality after a bit more research suggested it was little more than a grey town with horrendous traffic jams.  We, therefore, decided when almost at Narbonne to give it a miss and head straight for Carcassonne.

The last time we visited the city was 2007 and as we enjoyed it then, we thought we would see whether it had changed.  Firstly it should be pointed out that ‘Carca’ as the locals call it, is actually a city within a city. There is ‘Le Cité’, the ancient fortress and then there is the lower town, Bastide Saint Louis, a small charming and pretty, workaday authentically French town dating back to the 13th century.

Bastide has an array of restaurants and cafés and some quite nice shops. It’s easy to wander around, because like most fortified towns it is set out in a grid and several streets form a pedestrian zone, making strolling along looking at the shops even easier.

We arrived in a blustery spell of rain and cold winds and checked in to our hotel. It was on one of the many new ring roads around town that was home to numerous commercial centres.  Initially we thought it was hard to find but then realised it was just two roundabouts with a short stretch of duel carriageway between from Le Bastide and three roundabouts and a continuation of the duel carriageway from the walled city.  It was clean and very comfortable so we booked a second night.

Our first day wasn’t exactly great weather for wandering around so we found a restaurant in the centre of the old town.  We were attracted by the prospect of the restaurants speciality, cassoulet, which is a traditional dish of white beans, sausage and duck. Fortified with a warming lunch which we lingered over by the open fire, we headed out to continue our tour but the weather was unbelievably cold and we eventually decided to head back to the hotel for an early night.

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The next morning with breakfast under our belts we headed for Le Cité. It was under 5 minutes in the car and straight into an almost empty car park, which considering it was now almost 11.00am was a surprise as we believe this attraction (because it is as much an attraction as a town) receives 3 million plus visitors each year.  Perhaps it was because it was still rather cold.  Nothing like the previous day but walking up to the cobblestoned entrance, I clutched my jumper around my shoulders against the strong wind. Once inside the portcullis there were only a handful of other visitors around.

Carcassonne puts all other medieval walled cities I’ve visited in the shade.  Just the sheer size of it is amazing. Touristy and over-restored but magnificent. A fairytale walled city of drawbridges, towers and fountains, secret gardens, courtyards, churches, ancient buildings, and delightful narrow cobbled streets where you will discover something new around  each corner.  Admittedly it is heavily geared to tourism, so expect the usual array of shops selling jewellery, souvenirs, fashion and “Cathar heritage”, but generally not as overpriced as I would have expected.   There were even a couple of rather quaint shops that sold beautiful tiles and wall decorations not available elsewhere. (Bought two then had the nightmare of figuring out how to get them home – Remember we are flying Ryanair!!)

We spent time wandering in and out of the shops and around between the walls. Come late afternoon we took our food and rested our weary feet in the courtyard of the church all the time dribbling gooey filling from our freshly made crepes.  By now the wind had dropped, the sun was out and the number of people around us had grown.  It was finally time for us to continue our journey, so back to the car which now had  several coaches parked around it. Hardly surprising, Carcassonne is quite simply a must see and we were more than happy to do the touristy thing and see it all – it was great fun.

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Best of British – Sausages

On Thursday morning, I decided to take a trip to Adeje town to visit the British Sausage & Burger Co’s shop.  I knew the product was good, as last week I had a home delivery of Pork and Apple and Pork and Stilton sausages, which were delicious.  I have also sampled the Lincolnshire and Cumberland as I was invited to a BBQ at the owner’s home before the shop opened. Whilst the people on that Sunday afternoon  didn´t all know each other, as a group they were similar in that the comments they made on the flavour, texture etc. of the food were honest and constructive rather than polite.  My OH, tried their ‘super burgers’ which he affirmed were exceptional and another guy Rob tucked into the chilli burgers.  He was warned not to smother this with chilli sauce and he looked rather dubious, as he said I have never had a chilli burger that doesn´t need sauce adding.  Well there is always the exception to the rule and sure enough, he declared “OMG they are so flavoursome you don´t need to add enhancements”.   Rob is now back in the UK and is still telling everyone how much he misses the taste of a ‘proper’ burger.

Anyway back to the shop.  I have noticed a few people saying they can´t find where it is located.  With my terrible sense of direction, I knew if I found it then it wasn´t as hard as some were making out.  Okay the Google map on the British Sausage & Burger website isn’t 100% accurate – it is like thousands of Google Maps, a bit out of date but it does show that the road is called La Vina and as it is a short road I don´t think anyone could get lost, not even me!

If you are driving, head right to the top of Adeje, and just before you reach the road that would take you up to Otello (the Chicken restaurant), take the turning with the canon on the corner and head back down towards town.  Halfway down on the right-hand side you will see a bar, El Cañon and the shop is directly next door.

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I was lucky to find a car parking spot opposite but I believe there is parking at the end of the road and also parking on the main road, Calle Castillo.

It was interesting speaking with Stu, who before moving to Tenerife was Head Chef in several high-end establishments in the South of England.  I asked him the best way to cook his sausages as I do mine in the oven.  He said that was fine but to add just a tiny drizzle of oil.  This is because NO FAT comes out.  The sausages no matter what other herbs or spices are added are all made from pure lean shoulder of pork. He is undecided as to whether to experiment by adding a tiny amount of belly pork to his mix but he will never resort to what many sausage makers do, which is use cheap cuts and a large slab fat plus bulking them with rusk.  I did ask why he wasn´t making chipolata sausages – I’ve tried but I’m not 100% happy with them was his reply.  It is because he is a perfectionist and at this time cannot get the correct skins that they are off the menu, but he is continuing to look for suppliers.  However his main criteria is that the products he purchases must be consistently good quality as what he is producing is an exact science and he is not prepared to compromise by incorrect measurements or inferior products.

He does not want to stick to just the basic sausages and has plans for many different flavours some exotic, some unusual and he is happy to take suggestions from potential customers who want to visit the Website and by completing the form he can see what your favourites are.

He also is happy to work with other ‘specialist’ companies whose products compliment his burgers and sausages.  If you produce chutneys or can supply freshly laid eggs, make your own cheeses or perhaps you are famed for making delicious hand-made game pies you should contact this young entrepreneur. Stuart is a nice personable young man, who is happy give customers the benefit of his knowledge both in making the fresh produce and in cooking in general.  I sound like his mum – but as you know I only have daughters not sons.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, I am looking forward to trying the tiny piece of Lorne I was gave to sample, as it is something I hadn’t heard of never mind tasted before. I also bought some Pork and Leek sausages which look divine.  Whoever would have guessed that in the land of cheap sausages and full English breakfasts there would be such a place where you can find the best of British.

Now I wonder could there be a market for chocolate flavoured sausages?

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Time Travel in Chirche – Day of Traditions

Every year, the small village of Chirche, in the municipality of Guía de Isora, organise a Day of Traditions to which thousands of people flock.

Chirche has Guanche origins, which we know from the archaeological traces still preserved, but its history as village dates back to the seventeenth century. The purpose of this particular festival is to act as a living museum for traditions that have virtually disappeared elsewhere on the island.

The ‘big’ day starts at 10.00am on the Sunday when the village inhabitants dress up in costumes of the first half of the 20th century and recreate everyday life of the era. The locals carry out household chores including how they made bread, prepared cereals, toasted grain or ground almonds.  As well as other domestic tasks, such as sewing and laundry at the old wash-house, visitors can see how the village folk threshed wheat, made roof tiles in the old tile ovens and how fretwork or basketry were made.

Around of the village you will see a corral with goats, the old school and children playing typical games of the period.  Several old houses, that are now uninhabited, will open their doors for the public to explore how the people of Tenerife decorated their homes and how they used to live.  There is also the chance to taste traditional foods like trucha (trout) and ‘mistela’ a tasty coffee liqueur.

For those looking to take home some of the flavour of the time, there is a market selling crafts, baskets and local produce including, liquor, honey and freshly picked fruits.

Thanks to Guia de Isora Tourism for use of the above images.
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Two way Sticky Ginger Dessert

This recipe is quite versatile, it can be either a cake that gets tastier and stickier the longer it stays in the tin or it can be a hot pudding served with lashings of custard. This is a very simple recipe, quick to knock together and totally irresistible.

Ingredients 
100g sugar
90g butter or marg
2tbsp Golden Syrup
1heaped tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp Baking powder
130g SR Flour
125ml Milk (or enough to make a thick batter.

If making a loaf it is nice to add a topping
75g  Icing Sugar
1tbsp Hot Water
1 scant tbsp Golden Syrup

Preheat oven to 160c.

In your mixer blend all the ingredients then pour into a prepared loaf tin or a pudding basin.

Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack.

If you have made the loaf while it is cooling combine all the topping ingredients and mix until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the loaf while still warm.  When completely cooled store in an airtight tin or container. This loaf tastes even better the next day or after.

It should look like the loaf below, although that isn’t my picture, just one I have taken from the internet.

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The Virgin and the Saint

With the summer season well under way and celebrations taking place across the island under the heading ‘Fiestas Patronales’ that include concerts in plazas, parties at sea and a zillion other things for both residents and visitor to enjoy, it seems a good time to take a look at a couple of the popular traditional fiestas that are taking place in July.

There is a tradition in Tenerife that strongly impacts residents of coastal regions. The origins date back to the 17th century when people made their living from the sea and a bad year could result in disaster. In order to gain good fortune, the people honoured the Virgen del Carmen together with San Telmo as the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. Since that time on or around 16th July in towns like Las GalletasPuerto de Santiago, Playa San Juan and Los Cristianos in the south and Los Realejos in the north, celebrations to honour the Virgen have taken place.

Perhaps the most colourful of the celebrations takes place in Puerto de la Cruz. This year despite several weeks of cavorting, the main event Dia de la Embarcación takes place on the 15th.  To the sound of ‘Ave Maria’ locals, carry the Virgin and San Telmo through the town to the port. When they reach the water’s edge, the cry changes to ‘Viva La Virgin y Viva San Telmo’ as the saints are transferred onto a brightly decorated fishing boat and taken out to sea.  As well as the dozens of boats that accompany the procession, hundreds of people line the port to see the Virgin make her annual trip around the coast.  The festivities continue as the crowds transfer to the streets where locals and visitors alike share the good food, good drink, and party away to the ever present Latino band as fireworks explode overhead.  Once again, a great atmosphere at another wonderful Tenerife fiesta.

San Benito Abad is one of the most traditional and popular fiestas in the Canary Islands that takes place in July. It has been declared an event of National Interest to Tourism, thanks to the passion that the people of La Laguna have put into celebrating the event.

Its origins go back to a time when people in the countryside would worship San Benito Abad for protection of their land and crops and thank the saint for their summer harvest.  Over time, it became a meeting of two worlds the country and the town as residents of La Laguna still worship the saint every year. This popular festival that attracts thousands of onlookers takes place the second Sunday of July so this year 13th and starts at the San Benito Abad chapel and continues through the historical centre of the town.

Over the days prior to the event, (the celebration lasts fifteen days in total) there are a range of traditional activities such as the election of the Pilgrimage Queen, the Wizards’ Dance and the Seven Islands Festival. The day of the pilgrimage is the main event and highlights include a cortege made up of seven young women, each in the typical dress of one of the islands, wagons pulled by oxen and rondallas and parrandas (street musicians) parade through the streets in traditional costumes. Food such as wrinkly potatoes, gofio and other local produce is generously handed out to onlookers. This event is reminiscent of the Guanche Beñesmén (Harvest Festival) and is a colourful opportunity to learn about Canarian culture.

Images from La Opinion.

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Dallying with Dali

We decided upon leaving Girona to have a Dali Day.  Less than half an hour from the city is the tiny village of Púbol where in 1969 Salvador Dali bought a small medieval castle and restored it as a gift for his wife, Gala which she accepted on the condition that he would only visit her when specifically invited. Her reason being passion wanes with familiarity, unless the courting rituals are withheld!  Ha! Ha!

The journey although short was pretty and the wildflowers in the fields were breathtaking.

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The castle was cosy, neither dark, vast nor cold and although full of kitsch, not as wacky as you would expect. It is mysterious, romantic and considerably beautiful.  The kitchen a bit basic so obviously Gala didn´t do much cooking but the whole place felt lived in.  I have never thought of Gala as a great beauty, although she was not averse to “getting her kit off” but she did wear some rather stunning dresses, even those that Salvador designed the fabrics for were rather glam.

No one’s backyard is complete without a giant skeleton of an elephant and of course, these are reminiscent of the sculptures in the grounds of the Finca in Chayofa – now I wonder who copied whom?

And their mode of transport changed between a horse and carriage a Cadillac and a Datsun. I remember a neighbour having one of those and the same colour!

When Gala died in 1982 Dali prepared a tomb for her and for himself and although she is buried there, he isn´t.  On her death Dali left their home in Port Lligat and lived permanently at the castle until a fire broke out in the middle of the night and he was badly injured and moved back to Figueres, which is his last resting place.

Pubol Castle (2)

This all sounds a bit maudlin but the reality is that the whole place is joy filled and exudes the personalities of Dali and Gala.  The Gala Dalí Castle opened to the public in 1996 and at just €6 (OAP rate) think it is about €8 normal rate is well worth a half-day visit.

Pubol Castle (4)

By the time we left the Castle leaden clouds had moved across the sky, there was a strong wind that slapped a lock of hair onto my cheek and it was cold.  Our next stop was the hillside town of Cadeques that on a nice day would have been attractive with its whitewashed houses with blue shutters.

Getting there brought to mind the words of a Beatles song ‘A long and winding road’. Although it isn´t far from Pubol the road is treacherous and we had a terrible fright when a motorcycle on the wrong side of the road nearly ended up under our wheels.  I bet his trousers would be brown by the time he climbed off his bike!

Although Cadaques is where Dali spent much of his youth and childhood and where he would return years later with Gala when they married, any signs that mentioned him or Port Lligat were noticeable by their absence.

We did a oncer around the town and finally found a car park. I shoved my hands further into my pockets as the cold had sunk into my bones and we decided to walk. We found a small museum that told us to see the house at Port Lligat you needed an appointment as only a small number of people were allowed each day.  As it was already gone 3.00pm and the only way of getting there was to walk over the peninsula we realised that we were going to be unlucky. Ah well perhaps another time and on a nicer day.  Instead we had a mooch around the few stalls that were holding the equivalent of a car boot for artistic and literary folk – in all honesty they were filled with expensive rubbish and likely to stay that way.

Eventually after a hot drink we hit that same long road to make a return journey this time continuing on to Figueres.  Jim and I have already visited the Dalí Theatre and Museum and spent a wonderful day there but on this occasion our hotel room and a hot bath was what we were looking forward to.

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Things to do in Tenerife in July 2014

What to Expect

July is one of the most popular times of the year to visit when high temperatures and sunshine are almost guaranteed every day. The AVERAGE temperature rises from 23°C, which is what we have been used to waking up to in June to 24°C. Average daily highs increase from 27°C up to 28°C and often higher, while evening temperatures hover around 20°C, however it is always a good idea to bring a thin jumper or cardigan for an evening, just in case it is a bit breezy after a scorching day. Rain is incredibly unlikely anywhere on the island although you may see a smattering of fluffy clouds over high ground.

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July Highlights

13th San Benito Abad Pilgrimage One of the most traditional, deep-rooted fiestas and a tribute to the saint. You will see in a demonstration of the best of Canary Island folklore a pilgrimage through the city streets of La Laguna.

Other Celebrations in July

4th – 7th Celebrations in honour of Our Lady of Miracles – Tijoco Programme HERE
Daily to 6th Celebrations for St. Elizabeth of Portugal - El Fraile Programme HERE
7th – San Fermin Festival in Icod
From 11th – Feast in honour of La Cruz and San Pedro.  San Juan de la Rambla.
13th – San Pedro in Guimar
15th – Procession of El Gran Poder and Virgen del Carmen. Puerto de la Cruz
16th - Feast of the Virgen del Carmen. San Juan de la Rambla.
16th -Day of the Virgin of Carmen – La Playa de San Marcos and Los Realejos
20th – Pilgrimage of Santa Ana and San Joaquin The Ortigal, La Laguna.
25th – Fiesta of St. James – Icod and Los Realejos
25th – Santa Ana – Candelaria
25th – Commemoration of Nelsons Battle – Santa Cruz
27th – San Cristobal – La Laguna
27th – Pilgrimage of Finca las Nieves in Spain, La Laguna.

For weather & news updates around south Tenerife check Queenies Daily Snippets

Continued Page 2

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Totem – Costa del Silencio

Logic says that if you are going to a restaurant it makes sense to know where it is and what it is called.  We ‘ladies wot lunch’ decided to go to a place recommended by friends Ben and Carol. Its name is Mary, Marie or maybe even Mari and we didn´t know where it was other than perhaps Las Galletas or Costa del Silencio.

We headed off from Palm Mar, ignoring Las Galletas and going straight across the roundabout and past the garden centre. When we arrived at the horrible junction instead of turning right to Silencio, I suggested we turn left towards Guargacho. I had a hazy recollection of Ben telling me about somewhere that had a pig painted on the wall.  It was one of those wave the hand in the air jobs out of the car window while saying ‘that’s where we found the great cake shop and butchers’ and I thought Mary’s.

We immediately found where we were going but the restaurant that was next to the butchers and bakers was a pizza place and nobody there had heard of Mary. We jumped back in the car did an about turn and headed towards Silencio.  Keeping our eyes scanned all the way we didn´t notice anywhere called Mary so we decided to take friends second recommendation and visit Lycos. As the name suggests it is a Greek restaurant.  Again we didn´t know exactly where it was but I vaguely recall seeing it so we parked the car by the floating figures in the fountain and headed towards El Chaparrals.

1-Costa-del-Silencio-Tenerife No problem found the restaurant and then discovered it was closed for a month’s holiday!  This wasn´t going to be one of our better outings

2-taverna-lycos Not to be daunted we headed back to the car and the smell of delicious food coming from Totem tempted us to stop and take a seat.  The tables on the terrace had quite a few people sitting at them.  The food we saw as we walked past looked good and when the waiter came, he was very pleasant.  I think someone said he was called Fábio and was from South America.

1-DSC04958 His English wasn´t great but then neither is our Spanish. We still managed to get by even to the point that he offered Linda a taste of the house wine to see if she was happy before she ordered. She enjoyed what was quite a good measure and ordered a glass to go with her meal, which was steak in mushroom sauce.  Hannan had the same sauce, Canarian potatoes and vegetables but with chicken and a soft drink.  I went for a salad that was a whole avocado, four slices of melon and a nice portion of prawns and a bottle of water.  My only criticism was too much lettuce but other than that all very fresh and exceptionally tasty.  We also had some hot bread with alioli (I saved mine to go with the salad – yum yum!)

2-DSC04959 3-DSC04960 The bill was €35.  Not the cheapest we have had but when you consider it included a large steak and two glasses of wine it was not extortionate.

The surroundings are not the greatest, there are lots of derelict premises close by but the restaurant has been there for years probably since the resort was built and is immaculate so fair dos to them.  I would certainly have no hesitation in recommending.

On our way home I spotted Mary – she is closed on Wednesdays so our journey could have easily been a waste of time if we hadn´t been so persistent.  The full name is Casa Mary and it is on the main road heading through Costa del Silencio towards Las Galletas and almost opposite the BP petrol station. Ah well! It just goes to show that some things are meant to be and we were destined on this occasion to try Totem.  Next time we may change our day and give Mary a whirl.

Once I knew the location, image taken from internet

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