Tenerife’s carnival parades are a fiesta feast for the eyes and the street parties are a hedonist’s heaven but carnival on Tenerife comes with accessories that excite me nearly as much. One of these is the California food stall in Puerto de la Cruz.
This is my idea of the ultimate in street food stalls. The California’s decorations are sweating legs of Jamón, garlic ropes and dangling strings of chorizos and salchichas. A bustling, super efficient central kitchen area teases the eyes and the taste buds with a display of mountains of gueldes, morcillas, calamari and loaves as tall as a man. Drink flows from wine bottles, beer pumps and even draught mojito pumps (how cool is that?) whilst the aroma from huge pans of seafood paella and papas a lo pobre in front of the stall kidnaps the the senses of anyone who strays too close.
The delicious cherry on this savoury cake for me are the catalanas. These are huge open-topped sandwiches and as such aren’t particularly adventurous in culinary terms. But the thick wedges of bread spread with a sort of tumaca and topped by chorizos, salchichas, morcillas, tortillas, Jamón Serrano and roast pork give my gastronomic bell a right old ring.
Last night, during what has been declared a carnival tradition by me, we nabbed two prime stools at the counter and ordered a plate of paella for Andy and a salchicha catalana for me (basically a sausage butty Spanish style).
It was carnival heaven. Kiosk California isn’t cheap, the catalanas are €8 each, but it’s worth every centimo and you get two shows to enjoy with your rough and ready meal; a parade of people in fancy dress passing the stall (I was accidentally bumped by a human kitchen unit) and the chefs at work preparing the sort of goodies that I could scoff until I spectacularly exploded.
Carnival just would be carnival without a catalana or two.
Welcome to the Kiosk California, such a lovely place…