Dreams Of Sushi

I’m dreaming of sushi.

Not just any sushi though – the greatest sushi on earth, made by Japan’s national treasure Jiro Ono. An 85 year old man who makes what some say is the best sushi in Japan near a Tokyo subway station. There’s a beautiful documentary called Jiro Dreams Of Sushi all about him- a must see.

And it got me dreaming of a trip to Japan. A place that looks totally different to anywhere I’ve ever been. The simple beauty, the mix of East and West and blooming cherry blossoms all look fascinating.

Photo courtesy of Lonely Planet

I’ve just been doing a spot of researching and have already come up with a long list of things I’m dying to try:

  • Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest fish market in the world and catch the early morning fish auctions and have a spot of breakfast sushi
  • Watch Sumo
  • See some of the most beautiful shrines in the world, like the Meiji Shrine
  • Go in cherry blossom season and see the beautiful blooms and festivals
  • Eat sushi – find the best and least touristy spots
  • Stay in a traditional Japanese Ryokan
  • Try my hand at some karaoke
  • Go soak in an Onsen, the famous Japanese hot springs
  • Climb Mount Fuji (this is an ambitious one)

If anyone wants to sponsor me I’d be forever grateful – and I’d praise your name to the skies on this blog 🙂

Advertisements

Burned By The Dragon

When the Photog sent me a mail some moons ago saying he had gotten us tickets to Little Dragon I was very happy. Thanks to him I’ve discovered some great bands and when Friday rolled around I was looking forward to reliving the early days of our relationship; rocking out to live bands and dancing like teenagers.

Not even the rain put a dampener on our spirits as we arrived at the Biscuit Mill happily tipsy from a shared bottle of wine. We got in, made our way around and looked for the bars.

There was only one bar.

No matter I thought, we should get drinks now and then we’d be able to enjoy Felix Laband, another highlight of the night I’d always wanted to see live.

Getting our drinks in a reasonable time was impossible however. The crush was quite intense and we went in from the side, hoping to get better service. It took even longer as the electricity kept tripping as an extension plug was getting wet.

Eventually, success and we made our way to into the crowd to get down to some Laband greatness. He doesn’t interact much with the crowd but he’s one of those DJ’s who loves what he does, you can see he just gets into the music. However the stage was a bit low, I wondered what it would be like when Little Dragon came on.

*insert photo here

Then I got thirsty, so I made my way back to the bar. Same problems as before, just far, far worse. But I used the elbows I was given and got back just in time to scream Little Dragon on to stage. The crush had migrated from the bar to the dance floor, not great, and the too low stage meant I didn’t see much. But I didn’t let that stop me from jumping, waving my hands in the air and shouting out the lyrics with great abandonment.

*insert great photo

Eventually the crush got too much though so we made our way towards the back and I went to the bathroom to touch up my makeup.

Cue first feeling of worry. I unzipped my bag and couldn’t find my makeup purse. Strange, as I dug I didn’t feel my brand new iPhone either. Cue feeling of intense panic. After emptying the entire thing onto the floor I had to admit there was no cellphone and no makeup.

Cue cries of anguish and many tears. And disbelief at how they had managed to move my jacket wrapped over my bag, around my body, unzip it, unzip the inside pouch, get my makeup and iPhone, and zip it all back up, without me feeling a thing.

If these pickpockets devoted their time and skills to a legal profession they would be great successes.

Needless to say the evening was ruined and we went home in a very bad way.

I discovered a few days later the pickpockets had been rife in the crowd, and the Joburg show was no better with security being bribed and allowing too many people in and with the same terrible stage setup.

Overall – disappointing. It’s irritating that when known musicians come here we are all supposed to feel so grateful that we should just accept poor event organisation and having our belongings stolen.

Sigh. Not the start to the weekend I had envisioned.

(Excuse the lack of photos – who knows where they are now or who is looking at them)

 

 

 

 

The Best/Biggest Burger In Cape Town

There. I’ve put my neck on the line and will state that I have eaten the best burger in Cape Town. And that is a brave statement considering the many, many great burger places all over our fair city. But the best one is to be found at The Dog’s Bollocks at the Yard in Gardens on Roodehek street. In true Cape Town style it’s very very different from any other burger joint. It’s in a yard/garage and consists of some iron furniture that I’m pretty sure my gran once owned, old lampshades and a counter where Nigel Wood makes his magic.

There is no cutlery, no waiters, no choice of drinks, just red or white wine and no ice. All there is is a chalkboard with the day’s burgers. Just burgers, no chips. And a giant chalkboard door that you have to write your name and number of burgers you want to ensure you get one as there are only 50 burgers served a night so when they’re gone there are no more. The burgers range from R55 to R65 and every single one sounded amazing.

There is one giant knife behind the counter that Nigel will gladly lend you to cut your enormous burger. And you will have to cut it. And take lots of serviettes. Because it is MESSY. I had the Mexican chilli chocolate burger and the Photog wrapped his mouth around a chilli burger. Luckily we’d been on many dates so I didn’t feel the need to try hide my dripping and smeared visage from him as I tucked in (ladies no first dates are recommended). He even took a photo of me mid feast but that will never see the light of day.

I didn’t care though, I was too busy devouring the most scrumptious burger I have ever tasted. You won’t miss the chips, this monster is more than enough. If you do want something other to drink than wine there’s a garage around the corner where you can get cooldrinks or just bring a cooler box of beer and give Nigel one as corkage.

It gets very busy and you can’t book a table so arrive early, it opens at 5pm and closes at 10pm. The Yard also hosts other foodie delights, such as the Bitches Tits which is open during the day and serves lunchtime delights like famous sandwiches and stuff, the Deluxe Coffee Works operates in the back with some of the best coffee in town and Mucky Mary’s hubcap breakfast which is a type of build your own breakfast.

So there’s something for everyone in this tasty cram. But try the burgers first. Trust me.

Llamas Love Keenwa

In the heart of Cape Town’s CBD in a beautifully restored Victorian building lies South Africa’s first Peruvian restaurant and the key to the correct pronunciation of ‘quinoa’. The Photog heard about Keenwa and I was very keen wa (ha ha) to try it. I’ll always try something once, even tripe (but never again).

Luckily it was a delicious exploration. And the interior is filled with photos of Peru and llamas (another animal favourite of mine). The service is great too and our Colombian waiter helped us navigate a totally unfamiliar menu to be able to get an in-depth taste of Peruvian food. It’s very interesting as the owner was telling us that Peru is influenced by many different cultures in their cooking such as Spanish, Asian and even Middle Eastern.

We had a great starter platter with the definite highlight being the squid cooked in olives and the Cerviche, which is hailed as a sort of national dish. It was incredibly refreshing and I couldn’t get enough of the sauce. Mains were equally yummy with some of the best short ribs I’ve ever had and the Photog tried quinoa, which was another first. At this point our waiter must have divined we were full to bursting because he very kindly brought us two shots of Pisco Sours on the house. He said it was a good digestif similar to grappa but is made from the whole grape, rather than just the pips. It certainly smelled like it could digest my food in rapid time. But the llama told us it would be good for us so we finished our fiery shots.

Despite our Pisco we could not find room for dessert, which was a pity as they had some of the most interesting sounding desserts I’ve ever seen. We promised our waiter we would come back and start with dessert first next time. When the bill came it was a bit steep, the culprit was the starter platter. However they do have good lunchtime specials during the week so I’m definitely going to try that.
And if you’re not too full after dinner or boring like us there is a very trendy bar attached to the restaurant called the P.I.S.C.O. bar. It serves Pisco sours cocktails and Peruvian tapas and looks to be a good place to have a few drinks and socialise with some pretty Cape Town people.

A Weekend Made For Two

What better way to celebrate the explorer team’s anniversary than with a weekend of exploration, sponsored by and designed by the Photog. I love surprises (I think I might have mentioned that before) so when we woke up on Saturday morning and packed the car I was one happy bunny.

We made our way into the winelands along the Paarl wine route and I got more excited. Just the thought of good wine does that to me, no matter the time of morning. I was a tad worried about the effects of it on an empty stomach though, I have not been known to hold my wine tastings well.

But when we stopped at the lovely Fairview I first saw they had goats (cue squeal of delight) and then saw they had a restaurant. A quick and tasty breakfast at The Goatshed was just what I needed before we made our way into the cellars. Cue another squeal of delight when I saw there was cheese.

Eight different kinds to be precise along with a tutored tasting of eight wines – all for just R60! It was the obvs choice. The tasting was in the cellar in a private room with two expert sommeliers. The more casual tastings take place at free standing bars dotted around the cellar. Our sommelier Janene was a treasure and we tasted some truly magnificent wines, wonderful cheese and even had three kinds of olive oil to cleanse our palates between wines. She even gave us a extra tasting of the unusual wine we wanted to try, the Pegleg Carignan, along with some cheese of course. This was an amazing wine. I love finding and tasting unusual varietals. The Photog was in heaven with all the Shiraz.

What a perfect start.

After waving goodbye to the goats the Photog drove us on to our next destination along the Wellington wine route, a boutique wine farm Dunstone. The Photog chose it for the dog logo, a novel way to choose wine farms I think. No puppy was to be seen but he was probably busy in the cellar.

The third wine farm was Bergsig which was on our trip for it’s ports. Nothing like a good port, especially in the Cape winters in front of a fire – the Photog knows me well.

I still had no clue as to where we would be spending the night but I was glad when we got on our way, a nap is needed after 3 tastings as I’m not the kind of girl to spit. I kept trying to guess until we drove into a quaint town with a sign that read “Tulbagh“. I’d never heard of it, much to the Photog’s disbelief, and I was thoroughly charmed  when I saw the street we were staying on lined with beautifully restored Cape Dutch houses. In fact these houses bestow the honour on the street of having the most national monuments on a single street in the country.

We stayed in one of the restored monuments, De Oude Herberg and were given a very warm welcome by the owner, his dog and cat. Beautifully furnished with a huge, very comfortable bed, I had to tear myself away to go for a walk along the street and find a place for dinner.

And find a place we did. The Belgian Kitchen on Church street was a cozy, eclectic eatery with delights such as Belgian beer, mussels and some ironic art on the walls. Ah the mussels. I’m salivating as I write this.

With a good night’s rest after such a feast we were ready for a second day of exploring and wine tasting (the theme of the weekend which I hope you got by now). We visited the magnificent Doolhof easily one of the most beautiful wine farms I’ve ever seen. And then we went small with a tasting at Lemberg a boutique wine farm in Tulbagh and one of the few open on a Sunday. It was warm and friendly with effusive greetings by a herd of Bulldogs. There’s something to be said for the smaller cellars and the more personal tasting experience.

Then I rolled/sloshed into the car, declared it to be the best anniversary ever and dozed off as I was driven home.

 

From Me To Me

Since I’ve met the Photog I have learned how tasty breakfast foods can be. True love is like that, open your heart and you discover the delicousness of Egg’s Benedict.

Since arriving in Cape Town we have been on the search for the best breakfast.

There are many contenders but one always seems to come up on my Twitter stream – Dear Me. I’d sworn to give it a try and when we had the luxury of rolling out of bed late on Thursday morning I saw mention of some of their delectable sounding menu and got the Photog out of bed and into the car.

And into the arms of a divine breakfast and excellent cappuccino. The brassiere/pantry is clean and fresh inside, with green, white and wood decor and chalkboards galore. Their menu was every bit as good as it sounded in Twitterland with the added bonus of every dish having various wheat-free/starch-free options, which are normally a nightmare and a big ask at some restaurants.

Luckily the Photog got a shot in before we devoured what was a truly yummy start to our public holiday.

Try the Egg’s Benedict – you will want to eat breakfast food all day every day.

In The City I Love

There is not just something about Cape Town. There is Something about this city. Numerous tweets and blogs attest to the absolute passion that its residents have for this incredible city.

I myself have an ongoing love affair with this city. Not the kind which is whispered over illicit phone calls and carries on in seedy motel rooms with a pristine bible on the nightstand, but the kind that you want to shout from the rooftop bar, tell your parents about and change your Facebook status for.

It all started when I was 18 and culminated in some serious commitment when I packed up my life, my boyfriend and my cats and made an 18 hour journey in a car with all three to make Cape Town my permanent home.

Love inspires you to do these things.

What do I love about my city?

To start with it’s beautiful. Jaw-dropping, Instagram inspiring, I’ve got to move here, beautiful. With Table Mountain on one side, the ocean on the other and amazing architecture, wine farms and forests in-between just your drive to work is something.

It’s a vibrant and creatively diverse city, just a walk down a side street to get a coffee will inspire you to write a play, sculpt and start a band and when you get to your coffee spot, you’ll probably find someone there who is doing all three and would love to work with you on your vision.

There’s always something to do. For everyone. No matter your taste. Adrenaline junkies, nature lovers, restaurant connoisseurs, fashionistas and the ordinary Joe Blog who just likes a good burger and beer, Cape Town has what you’re looking for in spades.

I could list a whole lot of things here but for my submission for the ‘3 Things in the City’ I Love contest by Velvet Escape, Traveldudes and Wimdu.co.uk, I can only write about 3 things (the title tells me so) to do or see that will make you fall head over heels for Cape Town.

1. Go taste some delicious wine.

Good wine is good for the soul. True story. And in the Cape we produce some of the best wine. And some of that wine is to be found on the Constantia wine route, just 15 minutes drive from the centre of the city. Follow the wine route and you can taste the world renowned Vin De Constance, a favourite of Napaleon, at Klein Constantia,

2. Go eat some amazing food.

One of Cape Town’s nicknames is Tavern of the Seas and it’s pretty appropriate considering the wide array of food experiences you’ll find in the city. High dining, hipster restaurants, food markets, molecular gastronomy, it really just depends on what you are in the mood for or what you want to try.
My truly favourite restaurant of the moment though that I think embodies the food spirit of Cape Town is El Burro, a very awesome Mexican restaurant that just takes creativity and good food to a whole nother level. And there’s an excellent selection of Tequila. Enough said.

3. Go to the beach.

Like everything else it does Cape Town doesn’t just give you one type of beach to lounge on, there are a host of choices that are all as varied as the swimming costumes you find upon them. From Clifton whose beaches are full of the young, gorgeous and tanned, to Noordhoek where horses and surfers roam, to Simon’s Town home to some very cute penguin bathers, and more besides. My favourite of the moment has to be Noordhoek. The looooong walk, the view and the dunes are very soothing.

I could wax lyrical for about another 20 posts but it wouldn’t come close to conveying how spectacular this city is. Get your extra memory card, book a ticket and come see for yourself!