Day 56: Butter Chicken, Rocket and Things that Keep Me Up at Night…

It’s been a quiet day on the work front. I’m looking forward to going into the office for a bit tomorrow. I have managed to rig up a small table so that I can bring my work PC home because my Mac and our server are still not talking to each other. All the surfaces in The Cave are too high for me to sit at and work. When I first moved in here, I had to stand on a chair to see inside my pots when I cooked. I found my little el-cheapo kitchen island in storage and brought it back home, making cooking a little easier, although I still stand on tippy-toes to see inside my larger pots.

Continue reading

Day 28: Of Life and Lucy the Lettuce

It’s all fun and games until COVID-19 touches you on a more direct level. One of my friends that works away was tested as part of a mandatory reaction plan his employers had in place. He tested positive, despite showing no symptoms. He didn’t fall ill during his isolation period either. According to the doctors, he is one of the very few lucky ones. He is now waiting for this third set of swabs and blood tests to come back negative, while plans are trying to be made to get him back to SA. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about him and his colleagues. It has me wondering though – how many of us may be infected, but are asymptomatic?

Continue reading

Day 21: It Would Have Been Parole Day

Today marks the day the pre-extention-lockdown in South Africa would have been lifted. As many people have been referring to it, parole day.

Continue reading

Day 8: Hippos, Ravioli and No Mona Lisa

Friday, Day 8 of 21.

I didn’t feel much like coffee mug traveling this morning. I woke up with a jolt and started working seconds after I opened my eyes. I only had my wake-up-warm-beverage an hour and a half after I woke up. This morning it was a Red Velvet Latte from Woolies. It has beetroot in it. Delicious!

Continue reading

Let Them Eat Cake!

I’m far from Marie Antoinette, although admittedly, I know quite a few people who I’d happily behead if I were a Queen with a guillotine.

I’m also inclined to speak without thinking. You wouldn’t think it, but it’s true. I suffer from regular foot-in-mouth disease, often simply opening my mouth to change feet.

I haven’t blogged much about the company I work for having merged with our biggest competitor late last year. While a lot has changed, it’s pretty much business as usual, except for me making promises to bring a chocolate cake next time I visit the other branch. As quickly as I said I’d bring a cake, I forgot what I’d said, but Thomas didn’t. He reminded me and a promise is a promise, so I made a plan.

I have a mini oven in The Cave, which is good for only one thing – cremating whatever I put inside it. Buying a cake was an option, but in this instance it would have been a cop-out. Besides, I know an amazing baker. An added bonus is she lives right round the corner, and is one of my best friends. Elizabeth to the rescue!

I explained the situation to her and she said she’d bake a cake for me. I bought the icing ingredients and gave her a little something for her effort. While I had zero hand in making the cake, I did spray the pans and help dry the dishes. I also told her what I thought she should put on to decorate it. I must say, she doesn’t give herself enough credit, because as far as I am concerned, this cake is an absolute masterpiece.

Chocolate Heaven

The poor woman’s nerves are a little bit rattled, because she always stresses that her baked goods won’t be good enough, but everything I’ve ever eaten that she’s made is de-li-cious! She’s said that she wants to test her limits a bit as far as baking is concerned, so I will be making good use of her abilities. After all, I’m a good friend 😉

Review: Bellevue Restaurant

I’m a firm believer of taking the road less travelled, because often, they do lead to stunning destinations, unless you get lost, of course!

On Saturday a friend celebrated her birthday and invited me to join her and some others at a place called Bellevue Restaurant, at The Village Lodge.  It is about 40 minutes’ drive from my house, seven kilometres of which are on a well-maintained gravel road.  A bonus is that on the way, you may get to see some game.  In this instance we saw zebra, Cape Buffalo and some antelope (but they were too far away to photograph).

Zebra 1Cape Buffalo

It is essential to book ahead if you’re planning a visit, as the lodge may have guests, and they have preference to dine at The Bellevue.  The atmosphere is relaxed, as both the lodge and restaurant are child friendly.  There is a luscious green lawn where kids can run around to their hearts’ content, as well as a jungle gym and tyre swings.

Saturday’s meal was so impressive, that I booked a place for Sunday, intent on taking a follower-friend and my parents for lunch.

Saturday’s meal consisted of two harvest boards:  A Ploughman’s Platter and an Antipasti Platter, and three pizzas:  Parma Ham, Cajun Chicken and Pulled Pork.  The platters are colourful and fresh.  The orange slices on the ploughman’s were sweet and juice, without spitting in your eye.  The pizzas were delicious too, and have super-thin bases, making them easy to fold to enjoy your pizza calzone-style if you prefer.

Afterwards we had milkshakes for dessert.  I’d seriously go all the way back there just to drink another one.  The Lemon Meringue one I had was out of this world!  There are other options, like Bar-One, Salted Caramel and Peppermint Crisp to name a few.

Lemon Meringue Milkshake

Sunday, after our coffee-stop, we hit the road again; this time we saw zebra, some antelope and rhinos.  Even if we’d gone home starving, seeing the rhinos would have been enough.

Zebra 3Rhino and ZebraZebra 2

We were seated outside, close to the bar area, and if it’s a little chilly, there are light blankets available for patrons on request.  There is also seating indoors and in the evenings the fireplace is lit.

Our lovely waitress, Claudine, took our drinks order and within a few minutes we were clinking glasses, drinking to happy days and new places.

I ordered a Ploughman’s Platter for the four of us (which mind you, was enough for us to all have our fill).

Ploughman's Platter

Follower-friend opted for the Parma ham pizza (as I told her it’d been a hit the day before), Mom had battered fish, hand-cut chips and salad, Dad had pork hock served with mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables and I opted for a rosemary Karoo roast lamb sandwich on seed loaf with sweet potato fries and salad.  That seed loaf tastes almost sweet and has a cake-like consistency.  Deeeeee-lllliiiii-cious!!!!

At the beginning of our culinary adventure, we’d wanted dessert, but we were so full we had to take the leftovers home, so we’ll have to go back for sure.

Menu

There are dishes for every taste, ranging from mid-level to high prices.  The quality and freshness of the food justifies the price, as does the service.  The waitstaff are always close by, without hovering over patrons, which is a huge plus.  There is also a large selection of beers and ciders I’d not seen before until my visit.  The cocktails described on the drinks’ list sound superb, but if you’re driving, I’d probably say it’s safer to give them a miss until you can savour them and have someone drive you home.  The setting is tranquil, and given the distance from home, a delightful place to escape to over a weekend even if only for a cocktail, coffee and something light to nibble on.

My rating:  5 out of 5 stars.  Highly Recommended.

Restaurant Review: Salt & Copper

I took my folks and a follower-friend to a new place that opened its doors during the week called Salt & Copper, based just outside Hartenbos, Mossel Bay.

We were met at the door by the hostess, Samantha, who gave us menus, and said she’d get our waiter. We perused the menus for about 10 minutes. The food options look delicious, with dishes available for both the carnivorous human, as well as the herbivorous ones. The dessert options sound sinfully good too.

Menu 1

Menu 2

Menu 3

There is a extensive wine list, featuring wines for all tastes from local wineries, as well as a great gin selection. There are also gin and wine tastings available as well as pairings for both. Prices are in line with what you would expect to pay at a mid-level to up-market restaurant.

Wine List

Gin & Cocktails

Pairings & Kids Menu

Sadly, the service left us wanting – we tried to get someone’s attention three times to no avail. Eventually our waiter came along and apologized, stating that it was his first day. There were more than enough staff on the floor (many of them behind the counter), but it is clear that some are still very unsure of themselves, and while I understand that teething problems are to be expected, I’ve lived in Mossel Bay long enough to know that bad service is not going to go down well with the often-impatient holiday makers that will be flooding in from up North later this month.

On the positive side:

The quips on the menu: “Unsupervised children will be sold to the circus…” got a chuckle out of me, as did “Champaign ice cubes” because Champaign is a city in the US State of Illonois. Champagne is what I think they meant to say. Proofreading is important, particularly when you’re presenting such a chic, swanky image.

The building itself has an industrial feel about it, but is very stylishly decorated, with various seating options, lovely glassware and striking copper items against dark, charcoal-like walls. It’s hip and trendy.

What’s also great to see is a spekboom (called an Elephant Bush, or in some instances a Pork Bush) in English on each table. It is referred to in many circles as a miracle plant and it is waterwise too, an added bonus given the water restrictions in our area.

Setting

Setting 2

table-1.jpg

Table decor

Decor 2

We didn’t stay long, having only hot beverages as we had a reservation for lunch elsewhere.

Hot Beverages

** Menu, Wine, Gin and Hot Beverages Images from Salt and Copper’s webpage **

The tea was served in delightful glass teapots, but there were no teaspoons on the saucers. The only one that received a teaspoon with her drink was the cappuccino-drinker in our group. These small details need to enjoy more attention.

Teapot

The cappuccino had by my follower-friend was very tasty. My beetroot latte was deliciously hot, but a little too spicy (in comparison with those I’ve enjoyed at establishments in Wilderness and Knysna) for my personal taste. I love the cup in which it was served.

Beetroot Latte & Cappucino

There are play amenities outside to keep kids busy – one for 0-4 years, and another for bigger kids. There is also a large chessboard for those enthusiasts wanting to exercise their strategic brains into a good ol’ checkmate.

Chessboard

I do hope that things will improve, because its close proximity to home and variety of food and drink make it the ideal place to support. Honestly though, if I’m going to pay between R125 and R155 for a main meal, I do expect good service as well and unfortunately, our short experience yesterday left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.

With that said, I am a believer in second chances, so will visit once the Silly Season is over (but it will have to be on a weekend, given the odd operating hours:

Sun-Thurs 08:00 – 17:00

Fri-Sat 08:00 – 22:00

In the Season it will undoubtedly be profitable to trade during these hours, given the setting, but what about the locals who work (both in and out of season) who would like to have an enjoyable dinner during the week?

My suggestion is that the business hours be revisited – possibly open later during the week (my suggestion would be round 10:00 and shut shop at 20:30).

Price

That’s my R91.00 worth, with a star rating of 2 ½ out of 5.