(click images to enlarge)
Last January my friend Anne and I planned a morning of shopping followed by a lunch at one of the typical no frills village restaurants which abound here on this island. To find such a place one has to take a drive, either up into the hills or down the seacoast. As she and I both love to try new places, especially the ones which have freshly caught seafood, we made our way south down the coast, and in less than half an hour we arrived at the seaside village of Las Aguas, which has several interesting little restaurants.
Sounds of the Sea & Anne
The day was sunny with a strong wind whipping up the waves over the black volcanic rocks. We chose a place across the street from the crashing waves called The Sotano (The Basement) but we sat in the main room and from there, looking out the door, we felt we were on a boat as the view was of the sea coming in towards us.
In these typical places, before sitting down at a table, it is customary to go up to the front counter where the fresh fish and shellfish are on display and there choose what will be your dinner.
The fish we contemplated were parrotfish (vieja) and dorado (mahi-mahi.)
The dorado had been caught that morning just a few kilometers away. Both Anne and I chose one of those and ordered the usual accompaniments of salad and wrinkled potatoes with mojo and red wine.
No frills....a paper tablecloth and the bread served in a basket together with the cutlery.
Anne and our waiter.
The bread, wine and a simple salad to share.
What was amusing was the lack of a cruet set on the table, but rather, a whole liter of olive oil was placed beside a container of vinegar.
I was getting ready for a really good lunch as more people came in and ordered their fish. The kitchen was busy and steaming plates passed us by on their way down to the lower dining room, the sotano.
After the bread, wine and salad had been served, came the potatoes.....papas arrugadas with their two mojos, red and green and then came the fish.....with head and tail on.
The cooked dorado.
I was always a little disconcerted when presented with the whole thing! I was never very good at dissecting a fish, even though I took some of that in Biology 101 and tend to buy my fish already cleaned and filleted at the market. However with some determination I gave the fish a good slice somewhere around the neck area (do fish have necks?), removed the head and put it on a side plate, and then made another slice somewhere around the lower tummy.....so off with the tail. The fish was delicious! And after working my way down that one side I was able to find the bone and lift it carefully away to reach the white meat on the other side.
Fish dinner with the papas & mojo. Getting ready to remove the head and tail.
It is often the custom here.....and especially true when out with friends.....to take the after-dinner coffee in another place, usually a bar or cafe, rather than in the restaurant where one has just dined. So we took a short walk along the seawall to an outdoor cafe which was alongside the municipal swimming pool.
We sat in the sun and had two cafes cortado. On the little tables were menus for their assorted tapas. My favourite ensaladilla (Russian Salad) figured there at the top of the list, as did small tuna and fish tapas and other potato snacks.
Well that was a lovely way to end our day out. The fresh sea air, sunshine and sound of the waves was a real treat.