A great find in Los Cristianos

A couple of weeks ago we ate in Los Cristianos at what used to be one of our favourite places, however, the food was not up to its usual standard, the waiter tried to tell us that normal Coke was the same as Coke Zero (does he think we are stupid?) and it was full of extremely noisy customers so we had to talk to the friend next to us as couldn’t hear the conversation across the table. We said we would not be returning to the resorts for a while as it was everything we don’t like.

However, we had a change of heart this week and thought we would give a try to a place that is almost hidden from view and not known by the world and his brother.

Bodega El Parral has been in Los Cristianos for many years but this was our first visit. Ordinarily, if we choose to have tapas we go to Taberna Vasca Txupinazo, but as Jim isn’t overly keen on tapas this new place does main meals as well so we hoped it had a lot going for it.

I tried to reserve a table through Facebook over the weekend but didn’t get a response so phoned on Tuesday as I knew the restaurant was tiny and it wouldn’t take many people to fill it up.

When we arrived we were expected and asked which table we would like, the one next to the street, the one in the open air but in a corner or one inside. We chose outside and in the corner as it was a nice evening and if a wind came up we would be sheltered.

The waiter, who we later learnt was also the owner and the chef, Isidoro, spoke quite good English, he was extremely pleasant and liked to laugh a lot and dance around a little. There was background music and it was nice, stuff we all know but not at all intrusive. He took our order for drinks and was quite shocked when two of us said no alcohol. He told us his name was “Jack from Manchester” and giggled, we said we were “The Quayles and Kews from Chayofa” and he laughed, even more, so he is obviously used to having a joke with us Brits.

But onto the food which is why we were here. We were served delicious hot bread with three sauces, alioli, a red mojo and a cheese sauce while we chose our meals.

There is a main menu with plenty of choice and from this Jim chose the pigs’ cheeks at €12.50 which came with red pepper and saute potatoes, he also chose from the ‘smalls’ menu the garlic prawns as a starter. Christine chose a main meal of Garlic Prawns at €8.50 and a starter of Croquettes (not sure what was in these she thought maybe gofio), whatever it was the 4 disappeared. There are 27 tapas to choose from all at €2.80 I hope you can read the images I had taken on a previous visit to Los Cristianos and found them on my laptop as a reminder of places we might visit.

Andrew and I stuck to tapas I had the Empanadillas with chorizo, the pastry was very light and crispy I wish I had asked for the recipe. I also chose the mussels stuffed with onions, chopped mussels and paprika then coated with a thick bechamel sauce, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown and Morcilla Canaria, Andrew chose the Pimientos de Padrón, Russian Salad and like me the black pudding. The food was phenomenal and beautifully presented.

We ended our meal with two strawberry cheesecakes. The boys said they had an unusual flavour, more condensed milk than cheesecake but they still scoffed the lot. Christine had her usual Irish Coffee and while it is hard for me to say because over the years I have tasted hundreds, I think my barraquito was the best I have ever had.

The place was busy and everyone who ate there was a Brit, but nice Brits who did not have to scream to have a conversation and spoil the evening for others. We are certainly looking to go back and try a few more things from the menu.

On our way back to the car we saw Trevor and Jim, two friends who like us have lived here for many years and were not aware of Bodega El Parral and they said they would be giving it a try.

We also experienced what many tourists complain about but has never happened to us in the past. We ladies spotted 3 young people sitting on a bench in the park and although they were only talking they looked as though they were up to no good. As we walked past they jumped up and got behind the men trying to feel in their trouser pockets for wallets. I told them in a very unladylike way to ‘go forth and multiply’. As it happened, the men’s wallets were in our handbags, so they didn’t get anything but it just shows you need to be aware at all times.

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La FabriKa – La Camella

I knew early in the week where I fancied going with our friends on our regular night out, however when they asked if I had any ideas, I told them “Yes but it is a secret, something very different, remember the petrol station.” This referred to when we ate in the BP garage in Buzanada where the meals were cheap and as far as locals are concerned tourists could be aliens from outer space.

The reason for my secrecy was that I had mentioned this place a couple of years ago and everyone has turned their noses up because from the outside it just looks like a bit of decking on a fairly busy road. Nevertheless I had previously seen good reviews and then my mate Larry, whose local it is, said the food was really good and he sent me a photo which showed the inside.

Therefore picking the Quayles up at the usual time and still saying nothing, we headed up to La Camella and then parked on the waste ground next to La FabriKa. There were a few people on the terrace but inside which is huge we had a choice of tables. It looks very Spanish, is spotlessly clean, there is a small area which would be ideal for children to play without disrupting the grown ups and service came with a warm, welcoming smile.

The menu comes in a Spanglish version and once you get to the main courses which include goat and rabbit you can choose a half or whole portion.

We started with warm bread and mojo’s which we should have turned down but it was a very cold night so we munched away enjoying the authentic taste of fresh as opposed to packaged sauces.

We then moved on to starters and Christine and I shared the Camembert with blueberry jam. There was really more than enough for the four of us but the boys decided they wanted the tortilla which Eva told them was very small, but when it arrived and for the short time it remained on the plates, it filled them. Jim said it was delicious and that with a small portion of chips would have done him as an evening meal.

For mains I chose the Carne Fiester (should have gone for half portion) as it was huge. It was very tasty and obviously popular as I think it had been cooked earlier in the day and then by the time we arrived my portion needed warming with a second blast of heat which made it hard on the outside but soft in the middle. Andrew went for the cod in onion sauce which I knew he would go for having seen a picture and knowing his liking for a decent bit of fish.

Then I forgot to take photos of Christine’s burger which came with bacon and goats cheese which she asked to swap for any other type of cheese but not goat, and Jim’s chicken escalope 2 large pieces (so these two photos are taken from the restaurants website.)

Although the inside of the restaurant is large and I would imagine noisy if a crowd were in, being a Thursday it was the first time in a while we were able to put the world to rights and enjoy our conversation without straining to hear each other or be drown out by the noise coming from those at a nearby table.

As it moved towards hometime we knew how cold it was going to be just walking the short distance to the car, so Christine ordered an Irish Coffee, the guys the Quesillo and although I’m not a drinker I decided on a Lumumba, hot chocolate and brandy. It was so out of character for me to have alcohol that everyone wanted to try and declared it delicious, except for Jim which is strange as he used to be the brandy lover.

We finally got the bill which compared to prices in tourist areas was ‘as cheap as chips’ and we left a decent tip because we had all really enjoyed the evening so so much. We headed home, quite a bit later than we would normally and decided we would certainly be visiting La FabriKa again in the not too distant future.

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Hair and Beauty at Home

This week I did something I can’t remember doing before.  I invited my Facebook friends who either live in Tenerife or visit regularly to check out a new company page, Jodi Marie Hair & Beauty and I would like to thank those who trust me enough to have had a look and liked it.

As you probably know I have both my hair and my nails done at home and this used to usually be on a Monday which was the day that Jodi had off work from the salon she worked in in the north of the island. You can guess from that comment about the North, that she speaks perfect Spanish having grown up on the island, but because her parents are English she also naturally speaks perfect English.  

When I saw her in February she told me she was considering giving up work as she was not getting home to see her year old daughter until late in the evening and she hoped that she could start her own business so she could spend more time with her family.  After handing in her notice at work, this is the first week of her new venture and I am happy to say that she came to do my nails on Tuesday, so I was the first official customer of her new business.

I have mentioned in the past that I send her a message and a photo of what I fancy and so far she has always met my demanding spec.  She did however talk me out of white and suggested shocking pink!! for a design I had previously sent her and of course she was spot on, my nails looked fantastic.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, Jodi also does my hair so if you fancy a trim, a colour or something totally different just speak with her particularly those with celebrations or weddings as she is a marvel with long hair.

All her details are on her new Facebook page (see link above) and I would highly recommend you give her a try. I am sure that once you have, you will continue using her services and think of the money and time you will save not having to face horrendous traffic jams and parking fees, but still be pampered in the comfort of your own home.

While I did only send details to my lady friends, the men in your life need not be left out as when she comes to my house she also gives OH a haircut, and tidies up his beard and eyebrows. That way we can both go out looking our best 🙂

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Pa’Lante – Los Cristianos

Christine wasn’t well this week but because I am agoraphobic and our night out has to be planned in advance, I didn’t want to miss it. We had two places in mind, both new to us (often choice is based on easy parking). The first was way up above the Aqua-park and the second in Los Cristianos but close to the underground car park.

I messaged ahead and said we were provisionally four but more than likely two as one of our group was unwell (not Covid) and would confirm actual numbers closer to the time. I was sent a copy of the menu in English and I was very impressed with the quick response and attention to detail from Pa’Lante in Los Cristianos however from the other two restaurants, one didn’t get back at all and the other replied Sorry for the delay (2 days) and then sent a link that didn’t work. Therefore based on the response, it was an easy choice to make.

As it turned out it was just Jim and me that were heading for Pa’Lante hoping it was halfway as good as its predecessor Casa Tagoro. It was sad to hear that it had closed and moved to Granadilla but the people Robin and Jessica who now own Pa’Lante restaurant had also moved, having been in Las Galletas for four years and building up a good Belgian following who appear to be happy to still visit them in the main resorts.

Despite being in the centre of Los Cristinos this is not a tourist restaurant, it is tucked out-of-the-way (thankfully otherwise it would be mobbed). Pa’Lante is a busy, buzzy, spot that serves some “awesome” dishes.

When we arrived, despite it being only 7.45 there were several tables in use and because it has only just been open for over a month this confirmed my belief that the restaurant is in contention as having “the best food” in Los Cristianos. As the evening wore on it became apparent just how popular this has become in such a short time. The dining room filled with locals, old and young visitors of various nationalities and those seeking a setting ideal for savouring the exquisite flavour combinations of the menu.

From the moment we arrived, we felt comfortable. We were pleasantly greeted by both Jessica (the owner who is American) and Barbara, the waitress who sounds American but is actually German. She was a teacher in the north of the island but felt she needed to experience the more laidback life of the south.

We started by sharing a starter of Pulled Pork Croquettes. At €7.50 these may sound expensive until you realise that you get 4 lovely crunchy balls of smoked pork covered in a crispy crumb and decorated with truffle mayo. There was certainly enough for the two of us as a starter.

While we were waiting for our starter to be served I took the chance to grab a couple of photographs and asked the chefs, one being Robin, the other Omer (ayudante de cocina) why they wore caps instead of tall chefs hats. I loved the reply said with a laugh. We don´t have big egos so don´t need big hats.

The hard part came when trying to choose a main course, everything looked inviting so winning plaudits for innovation. After considering the Crispy Skin Chicken because it was deboned (readers will know I don´t like picking at bones), what decided me, as I am still going out in boots because I feel the cold, was the thought of something warming so I opted for the Iberian Pork Cheeks in Porto, these had been stewed for 3 hours and just melted in the mouth they came in the most delicious sauce alongside celeriac puree and courgette chips. At €15 this is probably cheaper than many meat dishes in other restaurants.

Jim went for the ribeye which was a little underdone for his taste, but when asked to give it a couple of more minutes this was met with profuse apologies and his meal was returned cooked exactly as he likes it. It was served with onion rings and green beans (Andrew would have been proud as Jim ate them all!!) he could have had Canarian potatoes, chips, rice or pasta but we don´t have huge appetites these days, think it is an age thing. 🙂 Besides which we wanted to leave room for pudding.

I ordered the rum-marinated pineapple that sat on a bed of granola crumble, accompanied by coconut ice cream and red fruit coulis. The pineapple wasn’t oversweet, the rum strong enough to taste but not overpower and the ice cream brought all the flavours together. Jim went for the crème brulee and judging by his empty bowl I would say that was pretty good too.

The food was superb and presented beautifully and attention to detail was high, not just ours but looking at others plates a they wafted past our table, think foam and lots of smears I loved the various unusual touches of crunch of vegetables and fruit.

Because we don´t drink we didn´t get to know Yeray the wine waiter however those who know me will not be surprised that I earwigged on his recommendations to the group of five young people on the next table and he suggested something based on the type of wine they usually drink. He appeared very knowledgeable.  At the end of our meal we were offered a chupito and as well as the alcoholic versions they also serve their own non-alcoholic drinks.  I chose the amaretto flavour and Jim the apple, which were very tasty.

In my opinion, I think this is the most exciting dining experience in Los Cristianos, combining classic restaurant dishes alongside bbq meals with a twist. It won’t suit those who want to pile it high and have change from a fiver as it is perhaps a shade expensive, but you get what you pay for. We felt it was a refreshing change from much on offer and an all round first-class experience.

A couple of internal photos (without customers) are taken from the restaurants website

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The Fox – Los Cristianos

This week we decided to visit The Fox as we fancied a little entertainment with our evening meal. For many years The Fox operated as La Margarita Restaurante which for me, despite it being a British Pub in a tourist resort, always felt a little bit Canarian just because of its name.

However, Eddie reopened the restaurant several years ago (can’t say how many because at my age time just flies by) as The Fox which while it is still a British bar and restaurant with entertainment will give any modern gastro restaurant a run for its money. It is a good spot to feast on a menu of modern British cuisine that everyone recognises and the quality is always first class.

We all know what they say about gastro restaurants not being profitable because quality comes at a price and a huge amount of tourists are not prepared to pay that price. That can be seen by the posts on Facebook searching out a pint of beer for under a Euro! However, The Fox manages to keep going with a good supply of what I call ‘nice’ customers who don’t mind paying a couple of euros extra for a decent meal or bottle of wine rather than riff-raff who want it as cheap as possible. In other words, I would describe The Fox as a comfortable eatery where the dining experience is anything but boring and there is something for all tastes.

We arrived at 7.45 last Thursday slightly later than anticipated due to climbing in the car and seeing the message that we had virtually no petrol so had to first go to La Camella before Los Cristianos. We parked outside and were greeted by Sam to what was almost an empty restaurant. Within 5 minutes of sitting down, (everyone must have realised that we had arrived ROFL) the place was full both inside and outside.

Christine had been studying the menu through the day and already decided she wasn’t going to have a main course but a Prawn Cocktail and garlic bread for mains. When it arrived along with our orders it was as large as any main course and I think next time I may be choosing that as it looked, and she said, it tasted delicious.

I went for the mixed kebab which I asked Kevin Tanner, the chef to leave off the skewer and just pop on my plate. But if you want to pose a bit those metal stands that the kebabs swing from do look impressive. I can’t remember the last time I had corn on the cob but it was lovely, as was the chicken and steak. Jim went for the steak and added onion rings which are amazing (so I pinched one) and Andrew opted for fish, chips and mushy peas which, the man of few words, said were OK, and he certainly cleared his plate.

Because we didn’t have starters we went for puddings, three of us choosing their cheesecakes which are exceptionally good, so 2 x white chocolate and Baileys and 1 x strawberry plus an Irish Coffee. I felt bad that I couldn’t eat all of my pudding because it was beautiful, but the portion was just too much for me.

I have to say due to the number of people in the restaurant, a special callout needs to go to the waitresses and Kev who was cooking on the BBQ as they managed to keep up and nobody was waiting too long at all. Each of them did a brilliant job and as always so pleasant that nothing seems too much trouble.

We had entertainment by someone called Tony O who sounded like Bob Dylan and sang a lot of 70s stuff which was on the button as it is our era and not too loud so we could still have a conversation as well.

All in our bill was just short of €100 not bad for what we had to eat as well as a beer, vodka and coke, soft drinks and a bottle of red wine. So Eddie and crew, don’t know when it will be, but we will certainly be back, as it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

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