Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

I’m sure everywhere must have anticrisis products. Due to various circumstances, this week I had to buy anticrisis bread. This was mainly because it was the only decent looking bread in the nearest supermercado to where I live.

I’m pretty sure that the precio anticrisis is meant to make me feel all warm and fuzzy that the producer is so concerned about the effect of the economic crisis on the consumer that they have created this wallet friendly bread priced at only €1.09.

Nice idea, except for one thing; it’s half a loaf. It might be an anticrisis price but it’s also an anticrisis size. In fact, when I work it out it has cost me more than my normal full sized loaf.

Exactly whose precio anticrisis is it?


It looks like a squeeze bottle, it’s got a nozzle like one and it smells like washing up liquid but it sure as hell doesn’t act like one.

Even being throttled into a deformed shape such as this results in a piddling, good for nothing, little drip of washing liquid. You could argue that it’s environmentally friendly as it’s impossible to get a decent amount of liquid out of the damn bottle.

The mind positively boggles at what goes on in this shop…

It was so quick that it was almost imperceptible, but I saw it; I saw the woman’s eyes flick to my groin and back to my face in a fraction of a millisecond…and it wasn’t a complimentary glance either. I knew exactly what had gone through her mind.

Pinchos, corn on the cob, hard boiled eggs, beer & wine - not an extensive menu, but a great place to hang out.

The sun at the Pinolere Craft Fair was beating down with September ferocity. People are talking about the end of summer, but if summer was based on hot, hot, hot temperatures as opposed to just hot ones, we’d have another two months left here on Tenerife. Andy and I had just completed our first circuit of the stalls at the fair and had conveniently ended up at the huge beer and food kiosk that keeps everyone fuelled and happy. Despite applying sun cream and sun block my nose was starting to resemble a clown’s so we squeezed into the shade, ordered a beer and some pinchos and started waxing lyrical about how beautiful it was, what great stalls there were and what a fab atmosphere Pinolere had.

...And the pinchos (seasoned meat kebabs) were damn good.

“It’s lovely,” a woman standing beside us announced when she heard us speaking English.

She wasn’t English, she was from La Orotava, but clearly wanted to practice her grasp of English which pretty much amounted to answering ‘it’s lovely’ to everything. After a few moments we switched to Spanish and she told us all about herself and her son, what he did and what his girlfriend did, including how much they earned. Then she mentioned that she only had the one child. When I asked if that wasn’t unusual here she laughed and replied “one is more than enough.”

At that Andy told her we didn’t have any and that was when her eyes flicked to my groin and back. I knew her first thought was ‘he must be firing blanks’ or whatever the Spanish equivalent is.

A few years ago we were on a boat trip in Kenya that stopped at a small village where people still lived in thatched huts. We were met by the village chief who for some reason took to me and stuck to my side as we walked around. He told me all about the village, showed me leaves from a tree that tasted like opal fruits and told me all about himself and his family; naming all of his numerous children before asking me how many children I had. When I told him none he was shocked and I saw myself shrinking in his eyes. After that he deserted me and went to find a real man.

The Spanish woman recovered quickly.

“Ha, even better,” she laughed but the seed was planted so to speak.

At that point I’d being doing much of the talking, but as Andy took over and spoke to her about the fair and the weather she looked back at me.

“She speaks better Spanish than you,” she remarked.

“I know, she does everything better than me,”
I replied.

“Really,” her eyes widened and she added. “Even in matters of love?”

I knew the no-kids comment had lodged in her brain. I was clearly almost a eunuch in her eyes…and how had we gone from ‘it’s a lovely fair’ to what I was like in bed anyway?

I made some suitably macho retort and then, grabbing Andy by the arm, spotted something we just had to buy at that moment at a stall on the other side of the fair. We ‘venga’d each other and left her to get back to exploring the fair.

The shopping centre - rural Tenerife style

We had a wonderful day at the Pinolere fair. Our haul of goodies amounted to a round of Benijos Cheese, a jar of honey, two pendants with Guanche designs, two bamboo whistles that made bird calls (for nephews), a book marker made from a banana trunk and a fan in a cotton case with a Guanche symbol on it. And all it cost was a handful of euros and a slur on my masculinity.

Oh, and as for the whole no kids deal just in case you’re wondering…lifestyle choice.

Nouvelle Cuisine – Looking Good Enough to Eat
After the tapas in the petrol station we went upmarket for our next meal. Dinner on the Tuesday evening was at the super chic Watermelon in San Telmo, Los Cristianos with John, Chris and Alan.
It’s a really nice venue overlooking Las Vistas beach; the presentation of the food complemented the views. Andy had salmon whilst I chose revuelta con chistorras y champiñones –  basically a posh way of saying scrambled eggs, sausage and mushrooms. So ostensibly I had opted for the all-day breakfast, but as created by a chef with Picasso tendencies. It’s an attractive restaurant and the food was nicely prepared and presented, but the service although friendly was a bit hit and miss.

Lunch in Isla Baja
Breakfast on Wednesday morning was basically coffee at the Pearly Grey Resort. We had to stop off at Playa de la Arena and Masca, so wanted to head off sharpish. By the time we’d finished our business and had driven in and out of Masca (that road never fails to WOW me, it’s incredible – I love it) we arrived at Buenavista del Norte at around 2pm with stomachs rumbling like angry volcanoes.
We stopped at the first restaurant we spotted, the Akabu Pizzeria I think it was called (Pamela from Secret Tenerife can put me right if I’m wrong here). It was a comfortable little restaurant just off the main road through the town. The only other people were a couple of workman having a liquid lunch. As we’d had a few drinks the night before, we felt a carb and sugar hit was in order, so a quatro estaciones pizza and two Fanta orange juices were ordered. It didn’t take long for it to arrive on the table and it was surprisingly good; a credit card thin crusty base and with lots of salami, ham and mozzarella cheese topping. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. Cost €11

Traditional Canarian Cuisine in Los Cristianos

The final meal out of the week was back in Los Cristianos on Thursday for a lunchtime meet-up with John, Chris, Alan and fellow bloggers and writers, Colin Kirby, Julie Hume and Joe Cawley. The menu was traditional Canarian, but I’ve got to admit to balking a bit when I saw the prices. The problem is when you know what items on a menu cost in restaurants in other parts of the island. The dishes on the menu were familiar, but the price was double what we’d normally pay in an equivalent establishment in many places outside the main tourist drag. You might think that the price hike is because the restaurant is in a predominantly tourist area, but it was filled to bursting with Canarios. Andy and I ordered potaje de lentejas (a meaty lentil soup) followed by hake and one potato (Andy) and rabbit and rice (me) which I picked because it sounded like an odd combination. In truth it was rabbit paella. Chris also went for the rabbit…but his turned out to be more rice with a hint of rabbit as actual rabbit pieces were a tad on the scarce side.

When we asked for vino del país they brought us a rather fine bottle of local Arona wine. Up north you normally get a jug of earthy country wine from the owner’s own little vineyard. Both eminently quaffable, but also very different.
Overall the food was nicely cooked and the company good fun with the conversation veering from pearls of wisdom to enjoyable nonsense. The waiters did have that annoying knack of having an aversion to eye contact though, making trying to attract attention an almost impossible affair. I think at one point there were three sets of waving arms and we still failed.

It was interesting comparing eating in all those places on Tenerife over the last week. At every one the service was friendly, but funnily the least efficient establishments were probably the two most expensive. Similarly with the food. I wouldn’t say that the food at any wasn’t enjoyable – my least favourite was the rabbit and rice, but that was more down to me not picking well – but neither did it follow that the higher the price, the better the food.

Due to the demands of a hectic, but most enjoyably diverse schedule, we found ourselves eating out quite a lot last week – it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

The places we ate were incredibly varied, as were the prices, and included an eclectic selection of eateries in the north, east, south and west.

Junk Food Joy
First up was the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday. Having spent the afternoon with friends we still had to pick up a chicken for Sunday dinner. As it was 8pm we decided to head to La Villa shopping centre in La Orotava for the bird and then grab one of the seriously belly swelling pizzas at the Posada del Rey there. Normally we avoid shopping at La Villa on Saturdays. It feels as though everyone from the La Orotava Valley descends on the place; in short it’s manic. At 8pm on a Saturday evening it was pandemonium. Every table at every restaurant was taken and the Posada was closed. Feeling like Joseph and Mary we managed to squeeze in at the bar of La Oficina and ordered cheeseburgers, fries and a couple of beers. Their burgers are home made, big, beefy and as good as I’ve tasted anywhere. It was buzzing and watching the two waitresses zip about like blue-arsed flies made me feel tired on their behalf, but they cooked and kept everyone happy with super efficiency. Cost €8

Bocadillos Al Fuera
This one doesn’t really count, but it’s worth a quick mention. On Monday we headed up into the Mount Teide crater to map out a walk for one of our Island Walks routes. Sitting on top of the crater wall munching on home made bocadillos whilst devouring the incredible views was possibly the meal of the week.

Tapas at the Petrol Station
Having squeezed in as much work as we could on Tuesday morning we headed south to meet with John Beckley of Sorted Sites and Chris Clarkson & Alan Gilmour of The meeting was at 1pm, so we decided to grab a quick bite en route in the cafe at the PCan petrol station near Tajao. These places are great; they’re always busy and full of customers shouting to be heard over the loud salsa music. We ordered ensaladilla rusa (huge portion), croquetas (potato and fish croquettes – a bit dry) and a bizarre one I hadn’t seen before; hot dogs and potatoes in a spicy sauce (surprisingly good). These were washed down with two steaming cups of black coffee that were strong enough to put hairs on your chest – basically amphetamine in a cup. I never slept for three days afterwards. In twenty minutes we were fed, watered and ready to hit the road again. Cost €11.

Continued in Eating Out on Tenerife – From Junk Food to Nouvelle Cuisine Part 2

A thought has just occurred to me. Do you think that you recreate the same things in your life all over again wherever you move?

The first time a very close friend visited our house outside Puerto de la Cruz she remarked ‘Oh, it’s just like the cottage back in Stockport.’

At first we thought WTF, the house in Stockport was an old mill cottage tucked away behind a suburban housing estate; so tucked away that even the postman couldn’t find it. Some local children thought faeries lived in our garden; it was an oasis in a concrete jungle.

Our house outside Puerto is a converted old animal shed tucked away from the road with a banana plantation on two sides, a finca on the third and a little golf course on the fourth.

Hardly the same, but it is tucked away.

Our friend Jo used to live in an old coach house in Hay on Wye. Regularly on a Friday night we would escape the city and make the 3 hour drive after work to get to the Granary Pub by about nine o’clock where all the stresses of the week were magically washed away in the time it took to down the first pint.

I don’t know whether it was the fresh air or my body just relaxing, but I always found that I got pleasurably drunk very quickly on the Friday nights we spent in Hay.

This is the easier route to Jo's house

Now Jo lives up a mountain on La Gomera and weekends there feel like a different world even from our semi-rural existence on Tenerife.

For a start, it takes an eternity to get to Jo’s house. When she meets us at the port it’s always traditional to head to the nearest bar for a cerveza. Then it’s a trip to the supermarket to stock up on supplies for the weekend – vitally important to get this part right as her nearest shop is over thirty minutes away by car. This usually involves me asking at least a couple of times:

“Are you sure we’ve got enough wine, Jo?”

And, after she’s told me yes for the umpteenth time, ends up with me deciding to throw in a couple of extra bottles – just to be on the safe side.

Once the shopping’s done we can relax and have another cerveza before hitting the road and the winding journey upwards through emerald terraced peaks and forests where misty fingers dance between ancient laurisilva.

It takes us about an hour to get there, the last 15 minutes on a pothole strewn dirt track through the forest – impassable during the winter rains.

People find it hard to visualise Jo’s house. For a lot of folks the image of houses in the Canary Islands consists of blindingly white apartments, balconies in the sunshine and brilliantly blue swimming pools. If our house is a million miles from that image, Jo’s is a zillion.

For a start, access to Jo’s house is by a goat trail leading from the rain forest. From the forest track it’s maybe a hundred yards and the closest tarmac road is two hundred yards below her down another goat trail. When you’re bringing in supplies you use the forest track – it’s much easier bringing heavy bags down the trail than carrying them up it.

It's also a damn fine spot to welcome the morning.

By the time we put all the supplies away it’s time to crack a beer, or try some of a neighbour’s home brewed cider or schnapps…or even do all three.

The bit I love best about arriving at Jo’s is to take the alcoholic beverage of my choice, plonk myself down on a little tiled platform overlooking the wild valley and listen to the sounds of the birds settling into their nests. As the sun slips under its duvet and the lights from the handful of other houses in Los Aceviños comes on, the valley takes on the appearance of the Shires.

It is always, always one of those perfect little moments in life.

I don’t know whether it’s the fresh air or my body just relaxing, but I always find that I get pleasurably drunk very quickly on the Friday nights we spend in Los Aceviños.

Anyway, what was I saying about recreating the same things all over again wherever you go?