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Casa Joya Restaurant, Velez Rubio

13 Jun

Summer has well and truly arrived for us – you can tell as we have had a stream of visitors which means that we are again searching out new and fabulous places to take them!  One of these is Casa Joya – their website is here. We can’t claim the credit for finding it – indeed it has been recommended to us by lots of our friends over the past year, and it has taken my parents to arrive again to venture out and finally go there!

Casa Joya view

Casa Joya view

And wow!  I would say it is one of the best places to go around us – the setting is just beautiful – but I must mention it is a little off the beaten track, but certainly not difficult to find.  From the motorway, you take junction 553 to Huercal Overa and head north through Santa Maria De Nieva and look for the Casa Joya sign after the 13km marker.  The drive there is ever so slightly challenging, but the road is good and the scenery of hills and wild flowers worth it.

Restaurant interior

Restaurant interior

Once you see the Casa Joya sign, it is very well signposted right to their door – the setting as said is just beautiful – tranquil and impressive at the same time.  It is an old cortijo which has been transformed into an eclectic mix of Spain and Zimbabwe (Mary, one of the owners, is from there, here husband James is the chef) and has a wonderfully homely and welcoming atmosphere.

Dinner menu

Dinner menu

The great thing about this restaurant is that you can stay overnight if you want to tuck into the wine – we on this occasion didn’t, but certainly will at some point.  We settled down to looking at the very tempting menu over drinks – much more sophisticated than we are used to around here and very welcome too – I completely went off diet for the night!  I think James must spend 22 hours in the kitchen, as everything appears to be made from scratch, (including the half dozen or more homemade desserts).  There is something for everyone’s taste and all beautifully presented and delicious.  We ordered a variety of dishes, from my goats cheese and caramelised onion tart, to fish cakes, to langoustine and mussels to start and from rabbit to monkfish for mains and everything in between.  Each dish was utterly delicious.

Grilled Prawns and Mussels

Grilled Prawns and Mussels

Pork stuffed with black pudding

Pork stuffed with black pudding

Date and Prune sticky toffee pudding

Date and Prune sticky toffee pudding

 

On face value it seems pricey for dinner so don’t go expecting a 12 euro menu del dia – this is in every way far superior to that and more a gourmet experience – if this were France you would expect to pay three times as much as the 26 euro price for two courses (29 euros for three).  Lunch is an utter bargain at 16.95 and 19.95 euros for 2 or 3 courses respectively.  So think of it as a special occasion venue which still offers magnificent value for money in our opinion.

I just can’t wait to go back again, maybe for lunch very soon!

Casa Joya telephone number: 699 005 024

 

 

 

 

 

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New What’s On Guide for Costa Almeria

21 Mar

Those clever people at Costa Almeria Tours have gone and done something extremely useful indeed.

They’ve started the region’s first What’s On Guide covering everything you’d want to know about what’s happening from A (Agua Armarga) to Z (Zurgena) and everywhere in between.

We’re grateful to Jackie and Charlie who run Costa Almeria Tours for allowing us to make this link available to Yummy Almeria visitors.

If you look on the right of the page under ‘We’ve put all the Yummy stuff’ here‘, you’ll find the link to the guide at ‘What’s On‘. It’s updated whenever a new event is announced.

Enjoy! It’s all going on out there and now you can find it 🙂

ps. Take a look at the tours on offer from Jackie and Charlie – they are first class, really imaginative and great fun. We’re going to be reporting on a few on offer throughout the spring and summer. If you’re quick you may be able to book yourselves onto an Easter tour. Call 646 760 389 for more details

Photography in Almeria

17 Oct

We are so lucky here as we are near the most fantastic natural park called Cabo de Gata (Cape of Cats).  It is only around 40 minutes away and also near my favourite beach, Agua Amarga which I have written about before.

Yummy Almeria has recently teamed up with Martyn Thompson, an experienced photographer and all-round good guy to offer landscape photography courses in the Cabo de Gata and the surrounding areas.

All of the photos in this post were taken by Martyn who has a unique knowledge of the park and is the perfect person to show you how to get the most out of your digital camera (rather than like most of us, just using an automatic setting!) and will take you to the best places to create some amazing images.

As well as the Cabo de Gata area, Martyn acts as a guide to those who are interested in exploring and photographing in Europe’s only desert here in the heart of Almeria.

We love the ideas he comes up with like the “full moon” photography excursions he has recently run, where you rely on a super long exposure to capture everything by pure moonlight.

If you own a digital camera and are interested in learning how to use it better and taking control of your pictures, or just want to get out with someone who is something of a local expert and get started then please contact us via email for more details – (gail19602011@hotmail.com).

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced photographer, we can organise a trip and/or lessons to help point your camera in the right direction and with some great guidance!

Las Nenas Restaurant, Huercal Overa

1 Aug

Last night we headed off to one of our larger local towns, Huercal Overa, to meet up with friends for dinner.  It was our friend Sue’s birthday and so we were taken to a new discovery by them – we were warned that it was “on the pricey side” but thought, hey, we deserve it!  Anyhow, we love Huercal Overa old town with its pretty squares, arches and old church and don’t really go there often enough, even though it is only 15 minutes drive away, so we parked the car and took a stroll towards where Gordon had directed us.

We arrived first and so sat outside for a pre dinner drink in the pedestrian street – the décor inside the bar is very modern and beautifully done. The owners hail from Huercal Overa itself, but the chef, Semi Garcia, previously worked in a two star Michelin restaurant in Alicante called El Girasol (The Sunflower).

The restaurant is set on the first floor of this beautiful old family home, reached by a marble staircase,  and  has been elegantly converted to a series of stunning dining areas, rarely seen, it has to be said, in this region.  There are two private dining rooms and then the main restaurant which is made up of tables for two or four, whereas the private dining rooms are for larger parties of around 10 people.  They can offer tailor made menus for special occasions or dietary requirements at a fixed price.

Gordon and Sue have been here twice before and so knew what a treat we were in for!  Semi Garcia and his partner are clearly passionate about what they do and he explained that although it is a legal requirement to provide a written menu, much of what he was offering us didn’t appear on it!  He is a great salesman and before we knew it we had ordered far too many starters.  His partner has a great command of the English language too and so was able to explain in great detail, what was on offer.  They have an array of salads which are more likely to be seen on menus in foodie regions such as San Sebastian than around here, beautiful leaves, grilled goats cheese, pineapple, top quality pata negra (the jamon from the acorn fed pigs) and served with a complex tasting dressing.  We had the plumpest and softest steamed mussels with a hint of lemon and wine, fried baby squid and boquerones (fresh anchovies, a little like whitebait), pate – more like a home made terrine – so we all dove in and then panicked about leaving room for the main course.

The boys had cod roasted with a little chilli and olive oil served on a bed of finely chopped vegetables – I thought of my father when this arrived – he has a passion for cod, and the size of these pieces were enough to make me remember to take him there when he is here next.  Sue has solomillo de buey – fillet of Ox – just incredible in size and quality, and I had Secreto iberico, literally secret pork – it is a cut which is not pretty to look at, but I have cooked it myself at home and the flavour is sensational. It is a cut from the back of the shoulder and is marbled with fat (hence the taste!).  The portion was so massive it would have been enough for 2 or 3 people.

Unfortunately we just could not manage any of their home made desserts this time – but they look pretty amazing.

With a couple of bottles of wine, drinks and plenty of mineral water plus coffee our bill came to a reasonable 35 euros a head.  This is one of the best restaurants I have eaten in since we moved here 7 years ago.  Please try it and make sure that it keeps going!

Las Nenas Restauarant Huercal Overa Telephone Number: 950 470 185

Christmas in Almeria

7 Jan

It has been some time since I have written anything –shame on me!  I know you will understand as there were a crowd of us for 12 days and I literally did not manage to find the extra time.

At one point, I thought Mick and I were going to have to eat a 12 kg Turkey, a gammon and a whole leg of Jamon to ourselves with flights that my family were supposed to be on being cancelled, but luckily as they were leaving the airport after being turned away, I got on the trusty old internet and re-booked all their flights before anyone else could!  This, however, meant one lot coming to Malaga, and another to Alicante – at the same time!   The other was arriving just after Christmas and so I didn’t have to worry that day.

The worst moment was when my sister and her husband were airborne and my parents were on the runway – in a blizzard!  I just couldn’t bear to think about them not getting away after all that and two lots of getting up at 3 in the morning, but the travel gods were with us and they managed to get off a few hours later – Mick had already set off to Malaga (four hours away from here by car) and so had pulled of at Almeria city so I got a few more unexpected Christmas presents!

Anyhow, that evening (and three days and three hours late), they arrived and in retrospect it made it very exciting and very special – the house looked very Christmassy with all the logs fires and wood burners going, and the Cava on ice – I was so happy to see them all after really believing it was not going to happen.  Then a few days later, my brother arrived with his partner and Oliver, my nephew, who lives in Devon.  It was a miracle that they all made it here after day after day of hideous snow reports.  It was the best Christmas present I could have had.