Friday, March 30, 2012

Places where I drink wine: Toro wine bar

Toro Wine Bar in de Waterkant is an awesome little gem – chilled, unpretentious, often filled with foreigners – plus the wine on offer isn't just the bog-standard. Garagiste and boutique wines are abound. Carefully selected imported varietals are also available by the glass and often for tasting.

The simple food menu consists of snacking delights such as charcuterie and cheese boards, fresh breads and preserves, paninis and bruschettas.

Great for afternoon drinks, private functions or after dinner wine. They also stock andUnion craft beers, everson's cider and La Muerta tequila.

68 Waterkant Street, (old) Cape Quarter, 021 418 2846

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Places where I drink wine – Brampton Wine Studio

As you can tell by my overly excited face – I have just had a good few glasses of wine.

Brampton wine studio on Church Street in Stellenbosch is perfect for afternoon/evening wine tastings before dinner. They stay open until about 6:30-7pm, so when all the farms are closing, head into town for a last stop on your 'wine route'.

They have light snacks, such as olives or biltong and of course wines by the glass or bottle.
But rather do a wine tasting instead of ordering a glass right off the cuff. Three whites, a rose and four reds are available for tasting.

Drink the wine alfresco on the pavement if the sun is out, or gather around the tiny bar inside. I love the fact that each table has a bowl of chalk for guests to doodle on the tables as they please.

The wine is also very affordable (averaging R55 per bottle).

Busy weekend for Cape Town

I've been awful with writing this month...
I have been overloaded with work at House&Garden as my fellow copy editor is currently holidaying in New York, plus I'm doing some extra work for GQ magazine after hours – so while all this is good for the *wedding budget*, it hasn't been so good for my social life and thus my blog.
After all, most 20-somethings living in Cape Town should be out and about spending their money on good food, good wine and entertainment...
So I plan on catching up on all the good stuff this weekend. And what a weekend it is!!!
There is so much going on it's hard to fit it all in.

First up, loads of people will be flocking to the Mother City for the annual Cape Town International Jazz festival. Legends like Hugh Masekela, Lauryn Hill, Alfredo Rodriguez and our very own house-jazz duo: GoodLuck.

It's the Cape Town annual Pub Crawl: 10 pubs in 10 hours all around Long Street and other parts of the City Bowl. Read the story I wrote on it last year (published in the khuluma magazine) here. Unfortunately registration has closed. But I reckon I'll just meet up with the crowds somewhere along the way and enjoy the ride. This year's route and list of pubs will be kept a secret until Saturday morning. But I will be tweeting about it if anyone is interested.

Then there is the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival: The core Festival will be held on the rooftop of the Breakwater parking lot of the iconic V&A Waterfront from Friday 30 March - Sunday 01 April. Some of the acts include: Mr Sakitumi & The Grrrl, Sibot, Goldfish, Dean Fuel and Black Coffee. Tickets are between R100 - R200 p/p.

It's also K-Day ... a real 'family' day festival, showcasing all the regular SA acts such as PrimeCircle, Locnville, The Parlotones, The Arrows and Flash Republic at Val De Vie Wine and Polo Estate just outside of Paarl. Tickets from R80p/p

Design fundies can take part in the Toffie Pop Culture festival – a three day festival and conference, focusing on contemporary popular culture, design, music, magazine publishing, art and everything else that relates to everyday pop culture. But with so much partying to do, not sure how I'm going to make a conference. Tickets are from R750p/p for three days for the professionals and R500p/p all three days for

And if nothing here catches your fancy, head out to the wine lands... there are bound to still be some festivities going on as 'harvest' wraps up.
-Tonight there is South African whiskey tasting at Die Bergkelder
-This Saturday it is the Summer Wines event at Leopard's Leap in Franschoek

Whatever you do, I hope it's fabulous


Monday, March 26, 2012

and the Eat In Winners are...

Best Outlets
South: Ocean's Edge
East: Piggly Wiggly
North: Braeside Butchery

Best Markets
South: Wild Oats
East: The Food Market
North: Pretoria Boeremark

Best New Product
Karma jams

Innovation Award
Earthshine's Kale chips

Small producer Confectionery
Sweet Temptations toffee

Small producer Grocery
Quality pickles

Small producer Bakery
Oude Bank Bakkerij

Small producer Earth
Boon Hill salad leaves

Small producer Dairy/cheese
Buffalo Ridge (most notably the feta and ricotta)

Small producer Dairy/other
Jenny's clotted cream

Small producer Paddock
Dargle Duck

Organic/Free-range award
Croft chicken

Heritage award
Rozendal vinegar

Best local food blog
Nina Timm's My easy cooking

Thursday, March 22, 2012

attend the Eat In Awards this weekend

This Saturday head out to the Stellenbosch Slow Market at De Oude Libertas for the Eat In Awards. Not only is it a great day out – slot in some wine farms on your way home – but you get to see and taste South Africa's best 'small' produce. Expect everything from breads and cheese to meats and olive oil.

*pictures from 2011 Eat In Awards

Monday, March 19, 2012

Roasted Tomato Aubergine side dish

Last night I rustled up a new side dish to go with some roast chicken. It was very easy to make and consisted mostly of pantry staples. It is a fairly fiery dish, but if you’re into the added spice, just leave the chilies out. As I am going to a friends house for lasagne tonight, the thought crossed my mind that this ‘side dish’ could also work perfectly well as a pasta topping, or as a filling for a vegetarian lasagne.


1-2 Aubergines sliced and chopped into 1x2cm size pieces approximately
1 large onion, chopped roughly, with thick slices.
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)
A good amount of olive oil (about 4 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper
herbs: a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a pinch of dried basil (fresh basil should be added after).

Set the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Layer the slices of aubergine on a tray, sprinkle with salt and wait about 5-10 minutes before rinsing. This is not really necessary with the large purple brinjals as they are not as bitter as some of the other types. Toss them into a oven-proof dish with most of the olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic, chillies, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar and seasoning. Give it a good stir around. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top. Bake for a total of 45 minutes to and hour, turning the goods around twice at even intervals.
Just another wheat-, dairy-, nut-, egg-free meal :-)
Serve hot!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Juliette's Potato Salad

One of my colleagues, Juliette has an awesome recipe for a healthy, summery potato salad.
I've made it a few times now and it's been a real hit around the braai. Always keep some home-made mayo on hand for those [less inclined to be healthy] indulgent friends :-) Find mayo recipe here.

Juliette's potato salad:


- 1 bag baby potatoes, halved and boiled
- juice of 1 large lemon
- a good handful of fresh basil and parsley, each
- a few mint leaves
- fair amount of olive oil
- freshly ground pepper and salt

Boil the halved potatoes for about 30 minutes or so, depending on the potatoes and how soft you want them. Drain and place in presentable container. Add lemon juice and three times the amount of olive oil.
Chop all the fresh herbs up together and sprinkle over the potatoes. Give them a good mix and serve at room temperature.
Don't forget to season!!!

*Sorry there is no picture of the completed potato salad yet... we always eat it before I get a chance [remember to] photograph it :-)

Jason's Bakery

I've often passed Jason's Bakery and seen how bustling and inviting it looks, and eventually I popped in for a coffee one day a few weeks ago.
I thought, while I was there, I would ask about their breads. I wanted to buy 100% rye loaf, on what happened to be a Thursday afternoon. It probably took about five minutes of slightly awkward waiting before one of the waitresses asked if I needed anything. But I didn't really mind as I was taking in the surrounds and people watching.
When I asked about the rye bread, she said that they had none, and that 100% Rye bread was only made on Fridays. So I thanked her and said I would pop in during the morning to pick up a loaf.
The next day I went to Jason's before work, only to be told by a different waitress that 100% rye was only made on Thursdays, which you can imagine, was much to my annoyance.
So, to be honest, I haven't attempted to buy bread since.

However, I did go back for an early breakfast this week Tuesday.
Firstly, I knew it was going to be really busy, so I made sure I had enough time to order and eat and that I wouldn't get agitated. And, the breakfast was really nice. I had the seasonal fruit salad, which was probably one of the better restaurant fruit salads I've had in my life. My partner had the poached egg on croissant with bacon.
One thing that won me over was the tea. I do appreciate it when restaurants serve 'real' tea, not chemically enhanced tea-bag artificial-colourant crap.
They have a number of varieties of black and rooibos. My fiance had a latte, which he also really enjoyed.

So all in all, I'm over my bread annoyance, but I do think the venue could do with some extra hands on deck during 'rush hour'. I'll see if I can get my rye bread next week. 185 Bree Street 021 424 5644

City Bowl Market revisited

Every now and then I do an update of one of the Cape Town-surrounding markets, because often they change, get new vendors and so on, and the last time I wrote about the City Bowl Market ( was very shortly after it opened.

The great thing about this market for autumn/winter is that it is indoors, so it offers shelter from the impending rainy weather. It also offers some activities for kids such as mosaic art
– I thought this was important to add since quite a few of my friends have become parents.

It's also not all food – there is a fashion wing so-to-speak, and when I went the other day, there was an awesome fashion sale, from gorgeous vintage items to Cape Town-designed jewellery and clothing. I bought a shirt for my fiance from a designer called Kinky Chinkie. He comes up with amazing quirky characters and doodles. Check him out:

Some of my highlights food wise were: the Dim Sum guys from South China Dim Dum Bar... (read my post on them here ); Vegetarian spicy aubergine and tomato treats from Oded's Kitchen, the gluten-free pizza; the coffee bar on the 'stage' with Bean There's fair trade coffee; the Darling Brew artisanal beer on tap; Dr Juice's beetroot jucie; the bacon guy – better known as the man behind 'Cure Charcuterie'; and, of course, all the regular pesto/biltong/cheese vendors.

The market is open every Saturday from 9am - 2pm, but don't expect there to be loads of goodies if you arrive at pm, because most vendors will be sold out.

14 Hope Street

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bean There fairtrade single origin coffee now in Cape Town

I've had Bean There's coffee ( a number of times over the past year from the City Bowl Market on Hope Street and at the foodie events such as Taste of Cape and so one. About four to five months ago, this Joburg based company opened up a coffee chop in Cape Town on Wale Street.

Having been there [haha] twice, the first to buy beans for home and secondly for an early morning pre-work coffee, I have decided that although they don't offer soy-milk coffees, I really like the vibe, and definitely recommend it.

There is no food menu, it isn't a spot for a quick breakfast or lunch – unless you choose to eat cake for both said meals. But the coffee is really good, and there is free Wi-Fi.
The organic Ethiopian and the Tanzanian coffees are both my favourite, and I love sitting on the benches against the windows. And I'll just take my own soy milk with next time – they will happily make a latte for me and just charge for the espresso.

Patrons can also choose to buy there coffee online, with coffees starting from R55 for 250g bags and eight types to choose from.

Also check out the knick-knacks, coffee accessories and chocolate for sale.

Bouchard Finlayson boutique winery

If you happen to be in the Hemel-en-Aarde region – the southern most point of Africa – particularly in the Walker Bay area (near Hermanus), stop in at the boutique winery: Bouchard Finalyson (

Not only do they make a gorgeous Pinot Noir and chardonnay, but ask about the bio diversity projects on the estate's lands and beautiful surrounding fynbos.

My favourites of their wine selection include the 2009 Hannibal Рan Italian/French blend comprised of: Sangiovese 38%, Pinot noir 18%, Nebbiolo 16%, Shiraz 15%, Mouvedré 10% and Barbera 3% Рand the 2009 Galpin Peak Pinot Noir.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kirstenbosch Gardens

We went to kirstenbosch national botanical gardens ( on the weekend for a little wander through the beautiful grounds and the Sunday evening concert, which was performed by The Blues Broers and accompanying brass section.

Entry fee to the garden costs:
R40 - adults
R25 - students
R10 - kids between 6 and 17
free entry for kids u/6

Just a heads up: tickets for goldfish - who are playing this sunday - have already been sold out.

The remaining concerts for the season include:
Freshly Ground will be playing on 18 March; Hot Water with Wrestlerish on 1 April; and the Parlotones on 8 April.

Pack a picnic and enjoy the last of summer sun. Although visiting on a fine winter's day will allow guests to take advantage of the fynbos in bloom - quite a spectacular site.