Tag Archives: food

Dinner in Camps Bay – Pepper Club on the Beach

Pepper Club On the Beach restaurant

We hadn't been for dinner in Camps Bay for ages, so, after a long, long week at work, Friday night was our night to relax with an ocean view and good food.

The Pepper Club restaurant, Pepper Club On The Beach (map), is situated at the spot formerly occupied by Summerville, and is the official beach-side restaurant of the soon-to-be-opened Pepper Club hotel in Cape Town city centre. Apparently hotel guests will have the option of being driven from the city to Pepper Club On The Beach (in a Rolls Royce), where they'll be able to change into their swimming gear in the restaurant's super-modern bathrooms. :)

The restaurant's setting is spectacular of course, but the thing that impressed us most was the service - it was absolutely impeccable, the kind of service you'd expect at a top 5-star hotel. The shellfish platter we shared was *wow*, but the two highlights of the evening were the Sapphire Silk cocktail and the Avocado Ritz starter. Both were absolutely delicious, and at the risk of being boring, I'm pretty sure that our next visit will once again include both of these items. :) The cost of a main course averages between R140 and R240 per person; there is a lunch menu as well, which features quite a few cheaper options. You can download the menu from the restaurant's website.

Click here to see a few of the other photos that I took at the restaurant.

Sushi – the good and the bad

Seaweed on the beach

We recently joined a newly-created impromptu sushi club - actually just a few friends from Twitter who need an excuse to fit in an extra sitting at a sushi restaurant each month. :D The objective of the club is to find, evaluate, and and then frequent the best sushi spots in Cape Town.

I'll keep our findings closely under wrap for now, but expect a post in due course (heh) that fills you in on which were voted the best spots by our group.

I've mentioned it previously, but to clarify the reason for the photo, let me state it again. The part of sushi that I like absolutely least is the seaweed (nori). It tastes absolutely awful to me, so I avoid maki rolls like crazy. I mean, I just can't understand how someone ever looked at a piece of seaweed like this and thought, "Awesome, I should try that on my sandwich!", or "subarashii , watashi wa doryoku shi nakere ba nara nai watashi no sandoitchi!". ;)

Yellowtail fishing and recreational permits

Yellowtail fish

I came across this spear-fisherman and his brother at Scarborough busy trying to sell the last of the ten yellowtail that they'd speared close to Cape Point. Their price? R100 per fish! Isn't that just a crazy price? I'm not 100% sure what yellowtail costs in supermarkets, but I'm sure that it's in excess of R50 per kilogram, making this buy an absolute bargain.

The only reason I didn't buy one was that I'd have had to transport it 65 kilometres home in the back of my car, without a proper fish bag to contain the fishy aroma. :)

I wrote an article a while back about recreational fishing around the Cape Peninsula, so check that out for details on where to purchase permits - they're really cheap. I had a quick look for limits with respect to quotas for line fish like yellowtail and it appears as though it's currently limited to ten per person. So, if you're lucky enough to bag a whole lot of yellowtail, make sure that you only take ten - the fines are pretty hefty.

Fresh bread in Kommetjie

Village Bakery Bistro

We met up with a friend of ours for lunch in Kommetjie, at Village Bakery Bistro. While it's a pretty building and very easy to find, don't go expecting to have a beautiful ocean view (you can see a bit of the sea in the distance, but only from the outside section). I think, however, that the fresh bread that they bake on-site (and provide with meals) has to go at least some way to make up for the lack of view.

The smells from the bakery were so good that I think that if we go out to the South Peninsula for a picnic (or even perhaps another braai at Jo's place in Scarborough) I'll have to put off packing in rolls from home and rather pick up a few from Village Bakery Bistro. :)

The Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay

The view from The Roundhouse Restaurant

On Sunday we trooped through to Camps Bay for breakfast and, because of its reputation, ended up at The Roundhouse Restaurant (up above Camps Bay). We were unfortunately too late for breakfast, so we just had some Rooibos tea, admired the view for a little while and then left to hunt down some place still serving breakfast. (In case you're wondering, we were extremely late for breakfast. :) )

The restaurant's view and atmosphere certainly lived up to the reputation, and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. The lunch menu mostly comprises picnic foods (like cold meats, cheeses, pickles, etc.). You place your order by ticking items on a sheet of paper, and a while later a picnic basket arrives with your selection carefully packed. While it would have worked for the two of us, I'd advise rather to visit in a party of 4 to 6 people so that your basket can contain a good variety of food without crashing your credit card.

Click here to read a little about the building's history when it was used as a guard house in the late 1700s.

Christmas Pavlova

Christmas Pavlova

Look, I'm not going to lie. I'm exceedingly proud of this dessert. I should confess right away that I didn't make the meringue shells from scratch (I did have to put in a heck of a lot of effort to actually track them down, though, so I think I deserve at least some of the credit), but I did make the Chantilly cream, cook up the blueberry coulis, and assemble the whole decadent, sugary creation. I also managed to cut it and dish it up, which, as you'll know if you've ever tried to cut a meringue, was no mean feat either.

I'm also exceedingly proud of the fact that Paul and I managed to do every single bit of our Christmas shopping, food and all (we hosted Christmas lunch at our house this year), between 7.30pm on the 23rd and 6pm on the 24th. Without any screaming matches or nasty incidents of trolley rage! For two people who are severely organisationally-challenged, this is quite an achievement. (Want to know the best part? The entire house was clean again by 9pm. Every dish washed, every piece of wrapping paper thrown away.)

This year, I was feeling particularly nostalgic, so I made sure that the menu included reminders of family members who are no longer alive and the Christmases we shared when I was little. For instance, there were smoked oysters and TUC biscuits for my father's parents (TUC biscuits were a staple snack food in their house), sage and onion stuffing for my mother's mother (I'd always thought she made it from scratch until one day I saw my mother buying a box of ready-made Paxo mix at the supermarket :P), and pickled eisbein for my brother (the last two Christmases I spent with him both involved eisbein, and he was an absolute expert at cooking it).

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a really special day. For those of you fortunate enough to have your whole family with you, treasure these days and moments - one day the memories you're building will become more important than you could imagine.

Making sushi

Making sushi

Raw fish, no problem. Soy sauce, yum. Sticky rice, nice. Seaweed - erm, no, I think I'll pass.

Kerry-Anne loves sushi and I'll eat it if the craving gets the better of her and she really has to go to a sushi bar. I don't know about you, but the sushi I like most is the type with the least seaweed, and since I do enjoy the fish and rice I guess that Nigiri would be my favourite. But I just can't get my taste-buds around Maki (those are the ones wrapped in black seaweed), and I'm just not sure that seaweed was ever meant to be eaten by humans. :)

I'm interested to know... (1) if you love Sushi, do you know why this is, and (2) if you don't like it, what in particular don't you enjoy?

Oktoberfest at Stellenberg High


Oktoberfest, a 16-day (sometimes 17-day) festival held in a (super) large field in Germany is celebrated in many countries, including South Africa, with plenty of beer, all kinds of traditional German food, a traditional-style band and plenty of dancing.

Stellenberg High School (which Kerry-Anne attended for 5 long years) held their first Oktoberfest celebration this year as a fund-raising event. Given that it was the first time they've attempted this, we'll forgive them for the tiny selection of Bavarian food, solitary brew of beer, and lack of beautiful woman dressed in traditional German beer-lady attire (and yes ladies, the lack of handsome young lads in traditional weird long-shorts and braces too). :)

But seriously, the event seemed to have huge support from the community and everyone there seemed to be having an awesome time. I have a feeling that next year's Oktoberfest is going to be a rocking event. Best make sure that you get there!

A big white door

A big white door

Often when I see an old object like this door I wonder what history it has seen. Isn't it interesting to consider all the people that may have turned and pulled on the door knob? Don't you curiously consider what led it to be removed from its doorway and left lying on this grassy patch?

On a completely different subject... notice the Nasturtium flowers to the left? It was the weirdest thing ever when I discovered one day that Kerry-Anne likes putting these into salad! I guess they do act as a beautiful garnish... but for her it's not only about the decorative appeal - she enjoys the taste too! I wouldn't be surprised if next I find her picking daisies for a quick stir-fry!

Lettuce farming

Lettuce Field

This is the second last photo from our series about Joostenbergvlakte, and a photo that I'd considered using for yesterday's theme day, titled "Contrast".

If you're used to living in a large city then this kind of scene probably seems quite unusual. What's cool about Cape Town is that farms and smallholdings like this one aren't too far from the city centre, which means that within half an hour you can move from the inner city, through leafy suburbia, to wide-open farms.

What I found interesting about this little field is that the farmer has planted green lettuce in between his two rows of red lettuce. It doesn't seem particularly practical - I mean, surely all the red lettuce will be harvested together? All I can think is that he has a bit of an artistic eye, and likes to keep his fields pretty. :)

Think Big. Yellow cupcakes with rockets.

Yellow cupcakes

"Think Big" is a part of the mindset that the CIO of the company I work for tried to instil in our IT department at a recent IT visioning meeting. The rocket on top of this yummy cupcake, he explained, symbolises the concept of thinking beyond what you know today to be possible.

Just this month a satellite developed by the staff and students at Stellenbosch University (one of the large universities in the area) was launched from Kazakhstan, aboard a rocket. The satellite named SumbandilaSat (a Venda word meaning "lead the way") is the second one to be launched by South Africa and will be used by the government mostly to monitor crops, dam levels and population migration.

Still far from the capability of satellites portrayed in the movie Enemy of the State, this one represents another leap forward for South Africa's ambitions to have their own little bit of space. :) Well done, guys!

Wheat production statistics

Fields of Wheat

According to Grain SA, South Africa consumes about 3 million tons of wheat each year - 2 million grown locally and the other million imported. Isn't it weird to think that this huge field doesn't even scratch the surface of all the wheat that we consume?

An interesting fact I picked up is that since the beginning of the year the price of wheat has fallen from around 2,600 ZAR per ton to about 2,150 ZAR per ton, which I guess (though I'm no economist) indicates slightly less demand than supply.

Perhaps South Africa is trying to lose weight. "Eat less starch, eat less starch!" ;)

Fish and “slap” chips

Fish and Chip ship
One of the most fantastic we-don't-have-time-or-inclination-to-cook-a-meal foods is freshly battered and deep-fried hake with a huge pile of "slap" (pronounced "slup" and meaning "limp" in English) chips.

Do you know the kind that I mean? The kind of fish and chips that you just can't buy in a restaurant. The kind of fish and chips that comes bundled in large pieces of newsprint paper. The kind of fish that's covered in a crispy batter with the kind of potato chips that are soft, thick, salty, and laden with vinegar.


It wasn’t always called Table Mountain

Bushman's Chilli sauce

Before anyone else settled in the Cape, the Khoi and the San (perhaps known more widely as the Bushmen) inhabited the area. Eventually, in 1652, the Dutch East India Company sent Jan van Riebeeck to establish a supply station at the Cape - and I guess this is where the battle for land and rule officially began (at least between Europeans and Africans).

Here's an interesting piece of information that I'm surprised I'd never considered before: before Table Mountain was named as such by the Portuguese admiral António de Saldanha it was known by the native inhabitants as Hoeri ‘kwaggo - or Sea Mountain. Given its location, I guess this makes absolute sense; though I guess at the time António must have misinterpreted his hosts' hand-signs and gesturing.

"Oooohhh... I thought you said taaaayyyyble". :D

GeekDinner at The Pasta Factory

GeekDinner at The Pasta Factory

This month's GeekDinner was held at The Pasta Factory, a restaurant in Park Road, Cape Town. We really enjoyed the venue - it was open, people could hear and see the speaker easily and it was easy to mingle with other geeks and wannabe geeks. :)

The talks ranged from Joe's talk on spectrum (as in wi-fi spectrum) and how we need to conserve and optimally use it, to the viciously entertaining slideshow karaoke by Elodie on how to charge batteries using other batteries. (In slideshow karaoke, the "victim" has to give a talk based on someone else's set of slides, which they've never seen before. The results are always rather amusing, as you can imagine.)

All in all we had a great evening - helped along by plenty of good wine (kindly sponsored by Delheim), as well as a few Jägermeister shots. ;)

Whisky tasting at Sinn’s Restaurant

BenRiach whisky tasting glasses
I mentioned in yesterday's post that we spent a great evening tasting BenRiach whisky, but I didn't tell you that the event was held at Sinn's Restaurant at Wembley Square. (You might recall us blogging about Sinn's in the past).

It was the first time we'd eaten a meal at the restaurant - previously we'd only been there for snacks and drinks (very good snacks and drinks they were, though!).

Our food was absolutely excellent (French onion soup, filled chicken breasts on a bed of mushrooms, and malva pudding with koeksuster/Amarula ice cream were a few of the options on our set menu), and the service was great. The waiters were incredibly polite and very efficient, and the portions of food were impressively generous.

If you're a fan of value for money, then don't miss their winter specials - R99 for a 2-course meal or R125 for a 3-course meal, both including a glass of wine. If you're looking for a cosy but stylish spot for dinner, I can definitely recommend Sinn's.

I'm sure it will amuse you to know that when we were leaving Kerry-Anne and I spent five minutes trying to work out why on earth the pay-on-foot parking machine wouldn't take our parking ticket, till we realised simultaneously that I was, in fact, trying to put the parking ticket into the automatic teller machine, conveniently located next to the pay-on-foot machine. And I can't even blame the whisky - its effects had long since worn off. :D

Willowbridge Slow Market

The Slow Market

The Slow Food movement is a non-profit organisation that's represented in some form or another in about 130 countries. The open-air slowfood market at Willowbridge started trading in December and has been thriving ever since. The idea of a slowfood market is that goods are sold in a fashion similar to how one would have expected produce to have been sold a thousand years ago... fresh, and by the farmers, bakers and chocolatiers themselves. From what I can tell the food is sourced locally from small producers and sold fresh. Products on offer include organic dried fruit and nuts, a range of sausages, biltong, Belgian waffles, lemon curd, schwarmas, and plenty more.

The market closes at 14h00, and, as you may have noticed from the photo, we arrived a little late - although just early enough to buy one or two yummy treats as stalls were packing up. Our Saturdays are generally hectic, so with a fair portion of luck we might get there early enough to do some shopping next Saturday. If you're not sure how to get to the market, take a look at this map - it's easy enough to find. :)

GeekDinner, in our Neighbourhood {Restaurant}

GeekDinner at Neighbourhood

Neighbourhood Restaurant and Pub hosted our merry group of geeky friends at Tuesday's bimonthly GeekDinner, code-named Naughty Naartjie.

I guess the first thing that I have to say about Neighbourhood is: "What a flippin' awesome venue!". The restaurant is located close to the top of Long Street (the vibrant side), on the upper level, from where you can watch passers-by migrating between nightclubs and bars. The restaurant owner kept an eye on the proceedings, and made sure that we had everything we needed. The service from the (beautiful) waitresses was unexpectedly attentive, giving us the feeling that they genuinely wanted to make sure that we were happy.

The buffet starter table was almost a meal in its own right, laden with trays of teriyaki and chilli chicken wings, chilli poppers, nachos, pita breads with hummus and tahina, olives, and a whole bunch of other yummy things. I had a pretty decent burger for mains, followed by ice-cream with chocolate sauce... and all of this was topped off with a great bottle of Merlot from our wine sponsor, Delheim (more about that in my next post though).

Apologies if it sounds like all we did was eat and drink :). In fact, there were a couple of good speakers who kept us well entertained in between courses and table banter. Thanks also to Bryn for the well-constructed slideshow karaoke*.

*Slideshow Karaoke: "...somebody prepares a set of slides on any topic they want (we've had "Etiquette when dealing with British Royalty", "Common problems with cement tiles", and "A primer on lesser known Norse gods"). Somebody else then presents a talk based on these slides without any prior knowledge of the topic, or of the content of the slides - always to amusing effect." - Vhata Vas Hyah

Where should we go for waffles?

Waffle and Ice Cream
Every now and again Paul gets a craving for waffles, and although I don't actually have a particularly sweet tooth, I never object, of course.

When we were younger, the best place for waffles and ice cream was undoubtedly Milky Lane. Well, either our tastes have matured, or Milky Lane's waffles have deteriorated considerably...

Sure, it might look yummy, but that's just because Paul takes such good photos. ;-) I actually have no idea what was in the centre of this waffle (you can't see it in the photo) - the poster on the wall said "chocolate mousse", but (a) it didn't look anything like the filling on the poster and (b) it was surprisingly... chewy. Apart from that, the service was iffy, and the waffles were a lot smaller than I remember them being.

So, since we probably won't be visiting Milky Lane in a hurry again, where do you suggest we go next time Paul is bitten by the waffle bug?

Eric Cloete, Cape Town’s very own accordion player

Eric and his Accordion

We snuck away from the belly dancing for an hour or so to grab some lunch at one of our favourite spots, Pastis. When I heard the gentle strains of an accordion starting up as we were ordering our food, I almost jumped out of my seat in glee.

If you've read our About Us page, then you'll know that I was inspired to start Cape Town Daily Photo as a result of my many visits to Eric Tenin's Paris Daily Photo. And I started visiting Paris Daily Photo because we'd visited Paris itself in 2006, and had utterly fallen in love with the city.

Eric Cloete has been playing the accordion since the age of 10. He performs at all kinds of events around the Cape, but incredibly, it was the first time we'd seen or heard him. He stopped at our table for a few minutes, and, when we mentioned how much we loved Amelie, he played us a couple of pieces from the movie. It couldn't have been better - perfect weather, lovely food, me all dressed up in my pretty belly dancing clothes, and a surprise reminder of our second-favourite city in the world. Just one more Cape Town experience to file under "Special Moments". ;-)

Visit Eric's website to read more about him, and follow his blog to find out where he'll be playing next. Also keep an eye out for his CD, Accordion Music of the World.

David Newton and a well-meaning proctologist

Comedian, David Newton

Kerry-Anne posted about David's show at On Broadway a few weeks back (while I was away on a business trip). I got a chance to see him performing last night and, as you might have guessed if you saw yesterday's post, I took my mom and dad along to the show as well. As it turns out, Kerry-Anne was right: David's comedy show was insanely funny (click the link to see more photos of the show).

We sat at a large table with a few strangers, and enjoyed a pretty good and reasonably priced meal. After dinner we kicked back to watch, amongst other things, David relate in great detail his experience when visiting a proctologist (which is what what you see happening in the photo above). Only a comedian can turn a topic so... erm... uncomfortable (in all senses of the word) into an evening of hilarity.

"This year I have taken on 'Colorectal Cancer' as my Corporate & Social Responsibility/ Investment Project because, let's be honest, it's a pain in the ass and no one seems to want to talk about it...so I'm gonna." - David Newton.

Good job David, best of luck with your upcoming trip to the USA, and thanks to Matrix Ads for inviting me!

Charly’s Bakery, don’t you think we deserve cake?

Charly's Bakery - new building
The legendary Charly's Bakery in Canterbury Street is what you behold in this photo. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-like building accurately reflects the childlike manner in which one should enter the premises. Charly's Bakery is the place to go if you'd like to buy awesome-tasting-and-fantastically-decorated cakes. Just take a look at some of the wedding cakes in their gallery, but be careful not to even look at their cupcakes - as I fear that you could become an addict with just one glance!

One or two of our visitors recently alluded to the fact that there has been some irregularity with our daily posts. It's not your eyes deceiving you, or your RSS reader acting up; it's indeed Cape Town Daily Photo that's been in a little bit of turmoil for about a week.

Last week we had an incident with our hosting provider, with the result that I spent a large part of the week sourcing an alternative provider, setting up a brand new server, and migrating Cape Town Daily Photo away from the previous provider. Over this time, I have to admit that we slipped on posting for a few days, and so we're currently trying to catch up the lost days (which is almost like trying to catch up on last week's school homework!).

So, we've now found a new home in the Rackspace cloud and so far, so good. And, to be honest, it seems as though the site is just a tiny bit faster on our new server. Now, don't you think some kind of celebratory cake is in order? ;)

Cold weather food

Cold weather food
Wet winter weather, cold days, and colder nights are conducive to enjoying a good potjie (pronounced poy-kie) cooked over open coals. "Potjiekos" is the official term for this traditional meal.

"Potjie" is an Afrikaans word meaning "little pot", interpreted in this context as a cast-iron pot. The idea is that one places the pot over a few coals and adds meat, onion, herbs and spices, letting them simmer until the meat is nicely browned. You can then add vegetables in layers (this allows the vegetables to keep their individual flavour so that you don't end up with veggie-mush), starting with harder vegetables like carrots and baby-marrow, and then working your way up from butternut and cauliflower, through to cabbage and potato pieces right at the end. Keeping the potato near the top of the stack is kinda important - otherwise you'll end up with mushy potato at the bottom of the pot.

Note the following critical success factors:

  1. don't even think of stirring the vegetables
  2. don't peek under the lid until quite some time has passed (like an hour or so)
  3. when you do peek, check that the meat and onion at the bottom aren't burning
  4. you shouldn't need to add water (this isn't soup or a stew ;) )
  5. if the potatoes on top are cooked and there's still a whole lot of liquid in the pot, leave the lid off so that it can boil away

Once the potatoes are cooked, and the liquid (drawn from the veggies) has cooked away, your potjie should be ready to eat. Oh, and like a typical guy, I forgot to mention: remember to cook some rice before the pot is ready... :)

I'd be interested to know if any of our readers have ever tried cooking a vegetarian potjie. Please leave a comment if you have - I'd love to know what one can use as a substitute for meat at the bottom of the pot.

Nobu at the One & Only Hotel Cape Town

NOBU at The One and Only

Tonight we were treated to dinner at NOBU, the upmarket Japanese restaurant at Sol Kerzner's 3-week-old One&Only Hotel. It was an evening filled with exquisite food, top-class service and really great company, in an elegant yet strangely unpretentious atmosphere.

We all opted for the 7-course omakase meal (if you're not familiar with Japanese dining, eating omakase basically means that you leave the choice of dishes up to the chef), which turned out to be a really good idea - we lost count of the number of dishes the waiters brought out to us, and we sent every single plate back scraped clean. The food was fantastic, and included things like prawn tempura with dipping sauces, black cod, edamame, a selection of sushi, tuna sashimi salad, whitefish sashimi, beef kushiyaki and grilled Cape salmon. Dessert was included too, and featured a lot of yummy oozy chocolate, whisky-flavoured cream, and ice cream (as you can probably tell, I can't remember the actual names of any of the desserts... but they were gooooood).

One member of our party had previously been to the London NOBU, and she said without hesitation that the Cape Town version was better.

Read more about the One&Only Hotel Cape Town, and if you think you might like to come and stay for a few nights, check out the room rates so that you can start budgeting.

I can certainly recommend Nobu if you're in the mood for a special night out. Just be sure to dress up nice and pretty and leave your penny-pinching side at home. ;-)

Have a look at the rest of our photos of the hotel and restaurant.

Buena Vista Social Cafe in Green Point

Buena Vista Social Cafe in Greenpoint

We met a friend for coffee at Buena Vista Social Cafe, a Cuban-themed restaurant in Green Point. The decor is what I'd expect to find in an old Cuban bar; the best part of all is the old leather couches and chairs - like those you'd expect to find at your grandmother's house - making up a corner lounge-area, where you can enjoy drinks without having to sit at a table.

Buena Vista is a really nice place to visit, and if you've never been there before you should make a turn (and try the lamb and feta nachos!). Just be warned that the restaurant doesn't have a non-smoking section (which I thought wasn't allowed these days), so if you have an allergic reaction to cigars and cigarettes then best check that there aren't too many people smoking when you arrive.

Now that I think of it, perhaps the reason they're able to get away with a fully-smoking restaurant is because of the Cuban theme - you kind of expect to see people smoking cigars in a Cuban bar, don't you?

Breakfast at Café Caprice

Cafe Caprice

Ever since James Small, a past Springbok rugby player, opened Café Caprice (on Victoria Road in Camps Bay) we've been meaning to pop in for a meal or drink. There's just never seemed to be space for us, though - we always seem to end up in Camps Bay at the same time as Cape Town's entire population of trendy people! Café Caprice has always been a very popular meeting-place, and I'm not sure that that's just because of the identity of its owner.

We managed to arrive in Camps Bay early (just after 9am is early, isn't it?), and so there was still plenty of space for us to pick a nice sunny seat at the window. So, our first visit to Caprice was pretty good, actually. Our young waiter was sparky and quick to attend. For breakfast we both chose the Madame Caprice (a pocket of French toast, buttered with mustard, filled with bacon and cheese and topped with a fried egg) with coffee.

Madame Caprice was flippin' awesome - except perhaps for the mustard, which Kerry-Anne loved and I felt spoiled the meal a little. I've never been a real mustard fan, and in retrospect I should have asked them to hold the mustard.

Café Caprice's website is one of those annoying Flash sites, but take a look anyway - their menu seems up-to-date and they have a small (though un-maintained!) gallery section with photos from parties held at the restaurant.

You really can enjoy sushi

Tao Yuan Restaurant

Before a vocal part of the Cape Town geek community point it out, let me admit that this photo is a week old. It was taken at the last GeekDinner, codename Majestic Mandarin, which Kerry-Anne and I attended on 31 March.

Tao Yuan, is (kinda obviously) a Chinese restaurant, and they provided our group of roughly 60 people with a set menu consisting of sushi, chicken, sweet-and-sour fish, calamari, peppered beef, and many more delicacies (for a phenomenally good price of R100). Now the reason for bringing up sushi in the title of this post is because I normally don't enjoy this apparently addictive treat. The strange thing however was that I found the few pieces of sushi that I did try pretty darn good, actually... and in fact not as distasteful as I had expected them to be.

To be fair, I avoided any treats containing seaweed and stuck to the ones with mainly fish and rice. What I think made the difference with Tao Yuan's sushi is that the rice was the best I'd had yet. Normally I find that sushi rice contains far too much vinegar to make it appetising. Yet, that night's sushi was just perfect - even for a self-confessed sushi-shrugger like myself. :)

Oh, by the way, thanks to Perdeberg Winery for sponsoring enough wine to make us happy and yet keep us safe on the road. Thanks, guys!

Every day is a braai day

Braai fire

A weekend isn't really a weekend in Cape Town if it doesn't include at least one braai, is it? We had ours last night, with a couple of really good friends that we hadn't seen for a while.

If you're not familiar with the workings of a braai (which is kind of like a barbecue, just better :P ), here's a fairly typical description of what takes place:

Guests arrive, bringing meat (steak, lamb chops, sosaties and boerewors are the most popular choices) and drinks (beer is almost mandatory, at least for the guys, but red wine is a favourite too, and if you're in the northern suburbs then it's Klippies and Coke, of course). It's customary for each guest or couple to bring a side dish or a packet of chips, or even dessert - and this is usually arranged with the host beforehand. In our case, our hosts had told us not to bring anything, so we took them some easter eggs and sparkling grape juice instead. It's just not polite to arrive empty-handed. :)

Most of the time, you'll find the women in the kitchen for at least part of the evening, while the men are outside... um... tending the fire... or something. They make it seem terribly important, anyhow. It's a funny thing, because I'm sure that most of us girls could braai the meat if we wanted to, but this is one area of our lives where gender roles seem to have stuck. And you know what? I think we're all pretty okay with that.

So the guys cook the meat, while the girls get all the other bits and pieces set out on the table or the kitchen counter (potato salad, Greek salad, noodle salad, corn-on-the-cob, braaied mushrooms, and garlic bread are a few of the most common side dishes you'll see), and once the meat is cooked, everyone helps themselves, drinks are replenished, and we sit down together (outside if it's still warm enough - or, at some of the braais I've been to, even if it isn't) and eat until we can eat no more.

Bet you're hungry now, aren't you?

Mobile greengrocers

Roadside fruit-sellers
If you drive around Cape Town's suburbs or out into the winelands, you are bound to come across guys like these selling fresh fruit at the side of the road or at an intersection.

I don't often buy from them, but not because I think their produce is no good or their prices are too high (to be honest, I couldn't tell you how their prices compare to those of the supermarkets). It's really just a personal preference - because of the way my mind works, I find it easier to buy all my groceries in one place. Perhaps I should make a little pact with myself to buy something from the next roadside fruit-seller I see, just for the experience. :-)

One thing I do know, from being invited to buy their products when I'm stopped at the traffic lights, is that the first price they quote you is very seldom the price they actually expect you to pay. Most times, when I indicate that I don't want to buy, they'll immediately drop their price, saying something like, "Today, just for you, I'll make it TWO for [insert original price here]." So next time I think I'll take them up on that Special Deal that's Just For Me and Only For Today. ;-)