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Hound Dog

Sep 12, 2009, 5:03 PM

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Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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We are fortunate in Ajijic that the Guadalajara restaurant featuring the cuisine of the Alicante region on the Mediterranean coast in Spain just south of Barcelona has opened a branch in West Ajijic and is serving up some of the finest seafood and accompaniments this town has ever seen. This restaurant serves only the freshest seafood brought in from the Sea of Cortez and they also are fish mongers so you can buy the freshest fish and shellfish to take home and cook if that is your desire. They are only open Wednesday through Sunday and fresh fish is brought in on Wednesdays and Fridays and never frozen until three days after arrival. Todayīs menu included tuna, monkfish, swordfish and grouper along with fresh scallops. How do you choose from that selection? I had a lunch of grilled monkfish that was absolutely delicious accompanied by an amazing salad of fresh bitter greens and pomegranate seeds. Fabulous and inexpensive.

This great restaurant with an innovative and highly talented chef is named Tabarka. It is located at the corner of Rio Zula and the Ajijic-Jocotepec carretera in West Ajijic. Do not miss a chance to patronize this restaurant īcause, folks, there is nothing else reaching this high standard at Lakeside or just about anyplace else in Jalisco.

Whille Iīm at it, let me tell you that last night I also had lamb ribs at the new restaurant Ajijicīs Hacienda Steak House just a couple of blocks from Tabarka on the left as you drive toward Jocotepec and that was also a fine meal. I could have ordered lamb arrachera or rabbit or shrimp fajitas as well and I know from experience that these are delicious choices. Now Hacienda is not as innovative nor as fabulous as Tabarka but if you prefer red meat or rabbit or shrimp fajitas , thatīs a very good place to have dinner.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 12, 2009, 5:15 PM)



tashby


Sep 12, 2009, 8:36 PM

Post #2 of 18 (9717 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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I agree.

Tabarka is so good, I'm amazed they're still in business.


Manuel Dexterity

Sep 13, 2009, 6:38 AM

Post #3 of 18 (9688 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Monkfish? This is the second or third time I've seen Bubba claim this. If they are truly monkfish then forget about fresh. They are caught in the nothern Atlantic.


Hound Dog

Sep 13, 2009, 2:31 PM

Post #4 of 18 (9639 views)

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Re: [Tio Copas] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Let me remind you all that monkfish is not only a North Atlantic fish but is also found in the Mediterranean in seasonally warm waters off of Corsica, Spain and France. It is also found in the cold Atlantic waters off of Britanny among other places and in the waters of Cheasapeake Bay. "Monkfish" is known popularly as "Lotte" in France where its tail is mainly eaten. "Monkfish is also known in English as "Anglerfish" and, I believe was known traditionally as "Monkfish" because it was so ugly that "...only the monks would eat it." It was, in those days, deemed a trash fish. I am from an area of the Alabama Gulf Coast where we mostly consumed warm water fish and shellfish such as red snapper, grouper, flounder, blue crab, conch and so forth and it was only after marrying into a French family that I learned the enormous pleasures of eating fish from the waters of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean.

In France, I learned to enjoy a local dish prepared by my mother-in-law known as "Lotte līarmoricaine" or Monkfish prepared in the style of Britanny as a tomato and cognac based stew. Outstanding. When we returned to the cold waters off of San Francisco, we purchased fresh "Monkfish" from fishing boats returning through the Golden Gate .

Now, whether the delicious fish called "Monkfish" sold to diners by Tabarka in West Ajijic is actually "Monkfish" or not will remain a mystery although I can tell you that the "Monkfish" they sell is superb and totally reminiscent of Monkfish I have enjoyed all over France and in Northern California. Tio should also be aware that some fish species are improved by the freezing process so who cares? As Tio also knows after having lived in Mexico for many years, Mexican seafood purveyors are not required to meet the exacting standards that must be met by French fish mongers and that is a deficiency Mexicans must learn to live with. I am somewhat surprised to hear Tio broadcasting the fact that seafood products are so loosely regulated in Mexico which is the reason I will not touch sushi or sashimi sold hereabouts. I would net be proud of that if I were he.

Lakeside would be well served if even one tenth of the restaurants on the lakeshore exhibited the exacting standards and presented the outstanding and innovative cuisine of Tabarka.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 13, 2009, 4:04 PM)


cristalhombre


Sep 13, 2009, 3:09 PM

Post #5 of 18 (9630 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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HD

"Bienvenidos Don Perro!"

Where ya been? Those moderators have you in the Dawg House again???

Regarding Monkfish - It was a frequent specialty fish in restaurants around the NW 15 years ago. Damn fine fish - with a rich lobster-like taste! You don't see it much anymore. According to my SeafoodWatch* card which I carry in my wallet. (*The group that protects both endangered fish and the humans who eat them) Monkfish is on the "don't consume list" - SeafoodWatch recommends Sablefish or black cod as an alternative. Not sure if it is a question of over-fishing or questionable health of the fish?

I plan to visit this well respected Costa Blanca next month. Is "Number 4" still a hot place? Had a great dinner there in March - Two of us were the ONLY ones there......... cool environment, but no customers - wondered how they could survive?

What other dining recommendations do you have Hound Dog?





"NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST...."


Manuel Dexterity

Sep 13, 2009, 4:10 PM

Post #6 of 18 (9611 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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I would be more apt to believe it isn't the supplier presenting it as monkfish but the restauranteur. There is a restaurant in the Manzanillo area called La Toscana. Several people around these boards hold it in high esteem but I think it is one of the worst I've ever eaten in. Years ago the owner had a more acceptable place called Willie's down the road a way from the present location.

On the menu board one night they were offering "sea bass" which my wife, a native of the coast near there and knows her local seafoods and I both knew was not the true identity of the fish offered but only named as such to perhaps be more appealing to the foreign customers. A name they would recognize. The owner admitted this to us when questioned about the true identity.

So regardless the name the fine folks at Tabarka choose to call it, you enjoyed it and that is really all that matters.

BTW mutt, you should rethink the Nespresso machine. The capsules here at their store in Polanco are 8 pesos each. We have been enjoying the coffee for the past week. The son in law brought home a box of Indyra capsules from India and it is quite good. Eight pesos doesn't seem costly to me considering the quality.


Hound Dog

Sep 13, 2009, 5:38 PM

Post #7 of 18 (9597 views)

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Re: [Tio Copas] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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You know, Tio, I hesitate to compliment you since you love to turn on me if I ever loosen up but I do always enjoy keen competition as opposed to the back biting you and I both hear hereabouts. Hell, I donīt know if they are selling Monkfish or squirrel and you know that as well as I do. If itīs squirrel, itīs mighty good squirrel.


chinagringo


Sep 13, 2009, 6:26 PM

Post #8 of 18 (9582 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Not that I claim to be any kind of expert when it comes to seafood - even NOB, there is a great deal of fish served under various and sundry names that are not based in fact! For example, I do know that scallops may often be shark.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



Gringal

Sep 15, 2009, 7:31 PM

Post #9 of 18 (9512 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Well, yes, names tend to be "flexible". "Snapper" for instance. Anything that snapped at the hook.

Once upon a time, there was a truly delicious fish known as red snapper. I don't think it exists anymore, at least not in any restaurants that claim to have it.


RickS


Sep 15, 2009, 7:39 PM

Post #10 of 18 (9509 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Yep, still exists on the eastern Gulf Coast (NoB). Several, several years ago it was illegal to catch them (or at least to catch and sell them) but they recovered somewhat and one can now find them. And you are right.... truly a great tasting fish.


Hound Dog

Sep 18, 2009, 6:04 PM

Post #11 of 18 (9435 views)

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Re: [RickS] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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I must raise the notion of this outstanding restaurant again. This is an extrordinary place with a superb and innovative chef with tremendous talent. Last night we shared the scallops,sauteed skate wings, broiled grouper, monkfish and a delicious bitter green salad with pomegranate seeds. Out of this world. Do not let this place with its genius chef and unbelievably delicious fresh seafood excape our town which is burdened with mediocre food and indistingushed restaurants, do not lose this undeserved but priceless gem.

We are lucky beyond belief.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 18, 2009, 6:07 PM)


mevale

Sep 18, 2009, 9:27 PM

Post #12 of 18 (9404 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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In Reply To
Well, yes, names tend to be "flexible". "Snapper" for instance. Anything that snapped at the hook.

Once upon a time, there was a truly delicious fish known as red snapper. I don't think it exists anymore, at least not in any restaurants that claim to have it.


I've caught them in the Mexican Pacific, cooked them, eaten them in restaurants all over Mexico. Why do you think they don't exist anymore?


Camille

Sep 18, 2009, 10:09 PM

Post #13 of 18 (9397 views)

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Re: [willieboy] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Because they've been so overfished. That whole "Blackened Red Snapper" business that started in the mid-eighties pretty much wiped out the population, which is now coming back, thanks in no small part to Chefs' Collaborative. This is a group of chefs and other restaurant owners and employees who believe in sustainable approaches to food availability. They will not serve any fish or game that's scarce..and buy as many of their vegetables as possible from local growers.
I was lucky enough to grow heirloom saladgreens, herbs, tomatoes,and edible flowers , and sell to a dozen or so of the best restaurants in Houston, all headed by CC chefs.
Fifteen years of cold winter mornings harvesting baby greens make me very grateful for the winter temperatures here! But I do miss me greens, and the pleasure of delivering three pound bags of a salad mix I was proud of......
I suggest "supremo" as a snapper substitute.


Hound Dog

Sep 19, 2009, 5:18 PM

Post #14 of 18 (9353 views)

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Re: [Camille] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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I was lucky enough to grow heirloom saladgreens, herbs, tomatoes,and edible flowers , and sell to a dozen or so of the best restaurants in Houston, all headed by CC chefs.

You know Camille, you were doing well until you posited that there were "...a dozen or so...best restaurants in Houston...." If memory serves me as a down-home Mobile boy before I had the good sense to move to San Francisco, the best restaurant in Houston is a Waffle House, hold the KARO.

Now, seriously, this Tabarka Restaurant in Ajijic is a find. Greatly underserved by the local unwashed mostly midwestern yokels from dull frozen places of no note that folks have been leaving since they installed air conditioning in Florida condos These people think tuna comes in a casserole with Ritz Crackers, Kraft American Cheese slices and Miracle Whip. They donīt even know itīs a fish if, indeed, it is a fish by the time it gets to Lakeside. Frankly, I think it is reprocessed SPAM.




(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 19, 2009, 5:20 PM)


Hound Dog

Sep 23, 2009, 12:13 PM

Post #15 of 18 (9240 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Cristalhombre wrote me asking for further references on "foodie" places at Lakeside after my review of the wonderful Tabarka Restaurant featuring splendid Spanish Mediterranean seafood from the Alicante Region and I told him I knew of few places that met those standards at Lakeside but Dawg has just discovered another place that is new and special beyond belief so here goes:

The new restaurant General Lee is on Ocampo in West Ajijic behind the Danza del Sol Hotel with a sign up that says 101 and this hamburger and tequila joint in a garden setting is a great place to relish one of Danielīs fabulous burgers and a shot of his superior tequila selection and what an outstanding and excellent place this is. Lots of folks in these parts brag about the 60s in Paradise hamburger place that doesnīt even come close to the quality of this outstanding restaurant. Last night I ordered an East Indian burger for me and a Tuna Burger made with freshly caught, rare tuna for my French wife who loves fresh tuna and these were among the best hemburgers Dawg and his darlin wife have ever enjoyed. A great achievement by the owner Daniel and his beautiful wife and without question the best burgers by far being served at Lakeside in the nicest garden setting imaginable. The tired, old folks sanctuary calling itself 60s In Paradise is as anachronistic and forlorn as the Love Me Tender Elvis inaugural movie of the 1950s when compared with this innovative and wonderful restaurant.

Do not let this treasure disappear if you love great - and I mean great - burgers and fine tequila. What a loss that would be.




(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Sep 23, 2009, 12:17 PM)


tashby


Sep 23, 2009, 2:16 PM

Post #16 of 18 (9223 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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^^ Thanks for that!

I picked up a funny little Spanish-Language magazine the other day - almost a local "People" type publication - and there was an advert for General Lee. I thought to myself, "What the heck is THAT???" (You couldn't really tell much from the ad.) Good to know and will head thataway soon.


Hound Dog

Oct 22, 2009, 6:22 PM

Post #17 of 18 (8946 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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Well, we went back to Tabarka this afternoon for lunch and this place only gets better. Salads of pomegranate seeds and bitter greens and a parillada of great fish (monkfish, grouper, swordfish and tuna as fresh as one can imagine and fresh French bread with aioli and a great romesco sauce asnd garlic sauce and fennel sauce. Enough said.


Hound Dog

Oct 23, 2009, 8:57 AM

Post #18 of 18 (8890 views)

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Re: [tashby] Cuisine From The Costa Blanca

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I picked up a funny little Spanish-Language magazine the other day - almost a local "People" type publication - and there was an advert for General Lee. I thought to myself, "What the heck is THAT???" (You couldn't really tell much from the ad.) Good to know and will head thataway soon.

We spent yesterday afternoon with the fun owners of the General Lee. Iīll post my comment on that experience under the General Lee thread. As a thank you to them for helping us bring members of our community, both foreign and Mexican, together to discuss local issues, we invited them to Tabarka and the meal we had together, mentioned in a comment above, was outstanding. Seafood lovers unite!


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Oct 23, 2009, 8:57 AM)
 
 
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