Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fairview revisited

I last went to Fairview Wine Estate about two years ago and, upon finding out that my hubby had never been ("What? You haven't been to that place? with the goat? with the tower?" – You learn something new everyday), I insisted we paid it a visit. After all, it was the very first wine farm I ever visited when I was all of 17 years old, fresh from boarding school in the Limpopo Province. It was an introduction to what my future life (now nearly ten years on) would comprise of: copious amounts of wine drinking.

So we set off towards Paarl and into the winelands for a day of fun.The estate is beautiful and very family friendly, with a play area for kids, where they can pet, feed and milk goats.
It's just R25 for a wine and cheese tasting. It includes six wines of your choice and there were seven cheese available for tasting on the day. You can also go between the two tasting stations, sampling different wines with the cheeses.

I am a massive fan of the goat's milk blue cheese and the goat's milk cheese Crottin (full flavoured, firm, white mould cheese ). In terms of the wine, I like the Fairview Shiraz (no surprise there). They also have a wide range of Italian-style wines. They also had the most gorgeous freshly baked breads, we bought a 40% rye sourdough with honey loaf – just delicious!

If you haven't been yet, it's definitely worth a visit. Not going is like saying you went to visit Cape Town without going up Table Mountain – it's just not right! ;-)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The First Constantia Craft Beer Project festival

Looking for something to do this weekend?

There's no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, than sipping artisanal small-batch, limited-edition beer – that's what we call CRAFT! But don't worry about your non-beer drinking girlfriend (who you should reconsider dating), there will be wine (from boutique and garagiste wineries) on sale too and slow food... Food stalls include the likes of Cape Mountain Charcuterie, Banana Jam cafe, Wicked Waffles and The Oyster Lady, plus others.
Breweries include the likes of Devil's Peak, Mitchell's, Boston Breweries, Brew Dog, Citizen, Stellenbrau, Anvil Ale and Camelthorn, plus others.

The Constantia Craft Beer Project will showcase 15 international and local craft breweries.
A new concept of 'brew bucks' (like coupons) is also being launched this festival which allows festival-goers a chance to buy tasters and food with their very own beer currency.
A picnic-like atmosphere on the lawns with crafts, arts and a fantastic line up of live entertainment will be available and little ones are welcomed. There will be a dedicated supervised area with activities including pony rides for the kids to enjoy.
The live music Line-up for the day includes:

- 12pm to 2pm Natasha Meister
- 3pm to 5.45pm Rivertones
- 7pm to 9pm Crimson
- 12pm to 2pm Natasha Meister
- 3pm to 5pm Rivertones

However, the most exciting news is that this won't be the last Craft beer Project to take place this year. The plan is to spread the love to other far-reaching destinations in the country (and of course to have a few more in Cape Town too. See highlighted below).

Here is the year's plan for The Craft Beer Project:

·11-14 April – Taste of Cape Town (The Craft Beer Project have joined forces with Taste Festivals)
·24-26 May – The Outdoor Expo JHB
·31st May to 2nd June Taste of Durban
·28-30 June – Hop n Vine Festival (TCBP Signature Event)
·22-24 Sept – Moyo @ Spier farm
·26-29 Sept – Taste of Jhb
·25-27 Oct The Outdoor Expo CT
·4-6 Oct Moyo @ waterfront
·6-8 Dec Taste of Christmas
·16th Dec Moyo @ Kirstenbosch

Tickets are R80 online and R100 at the door.
Purchase your tickets now at:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Backyard Grill & Lounge Sea Point

This eatery off the Main Road in Sea Point has such a narrow entrance you may miss it unless you happened to be walking right past, which is exactly how I came across it the other day. I poked my head inside and had a walk through the long narrow restaurant to find a lovely open courtyard with big braai area and undercover bar/lounge at the back.

The decor was rustic, cute and inviting. But is this such a novel cool idea?
Let's put it simply:
You arrive, you choose your cut of meat (or meats), ranging from beef sirloin, rump, rib eye and fillet to lamp chops, boerewors, chicken kebabs or peri-peri chicken wings (plus more!). You pay per weight of each item, declare how you would like your meat done and order a side or two of either salad, mielies (corn), potatoes etc to go along with your main dish.

The chefs then braai your cuts of meat on the open flame grill, where you are welcome to watch (and drool).

So when my German friends arrived in Cape Town and wanted to go for dinner, I thought this would be such an awesome spot to treat foreigners and introduce them to one of our favourite ways of cooking. If you are a big group, the eatery will organise 'meat platters' with sides according to a price per head. We went for R100 per head and had a great mix of meats and sides and none were left hungry!

Corkage is R35 per bottle, although they do have a small wine list and a fully stocked bar.

Perfect for: Those of us who love braaing (aka all South Africans), this is the perfect place to meet up with friends if you don't have a braai area of your own, but are craving some of that flame-grilled goodness...

72 Regent Road
Sea Point, Cape Town
021 433 1296

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Veuve Clicquot Masters 2013

Listen up boys, I have a fabulous idea for a Valentine's gift to present to your partner tomorrow: Tickets to this year's Veuve Clicquot Masters!

It's a fabulous day out in the winelands, at the gorgeous Val de Vie estate, filled with decadent food, bottles and bottles of Champagne and strapping men riding around in exciting polo matches (Not that we don't love you, 'our partners', but nothing wrong with additional eye candy!). This year's event takes place on Saturday 23 Feb.

Here's a link to the post I wrote about the 2011 event I attended:

Here's what to expect from this year's event:

The prestigious Champagne House sponsors some of the world’s leading polo events such as the Manhattan Classic, the LA Polo Classic and the UK’s Gold Cup. Veuve Clicquot Masters Cape Town, one of five international tournaments, is their first and only on the African continent. Proven a resounding success and enjoyed by SA’s glamorous elite, guests include top celebrities, fashionable socialites and avid polo lovers (that's us!).

The Veuve Clicquot Masters Cape Town has grown considerably since its first year and is expected to draw in more than 1200 guests this year. Val de Vie’s world-class polo fields and luxurious club house facilities provide the ideal venue to host an event of this caliber. VIP guests can expect a day out filled with champagne, gourmet canapés, sophisticated fashion, traditional games of pétanque, pamper lounges and of course a riveting game of world class polo.

Date: Saturday 23rd February 2013
Venue: Val de Vie Estate (Paarl-Franschhoek Valley)
Dress: To Impress
Tickets: Check out the various options below:
R150pp (general grass picnic entrance);
R390pp (which includes a refreshing drink and light lunch);
R1 750pp (VIP Lounge Ticket, includes: VIP Parking, canapés and small bowl dining, complimentary bar with premium brands also available for sale, dedicated hostesses, waitrons and cocktail waitresses, access to pamper lounge, VIP after-party access)

Click here for more info:

Directions to Val de Vie:

Follow the N1 north to Paarl. Turn off at Exit 59 into Jan Van Riebeeck Road (R301) towards Franschhoek. Continue for a further 3.1km - the entrance to Val de Vie is on the right.

Monday, February 11, 2013

live music luncheons at Simon's Groot Constantia

lunch at Simon's
 This past Saturday I headed out to the burbs (the southern suburbs of Cape Town) for a lunch at Simon's at Groot Constantia wine estate (the oldest wine-producing farm in SA). I have eaten at Jonkerhuis (Groot Constantia's other restaurant) before and am a fan of their red wines, but it was my first time at Simon's Restaurant.

They regularly have live music on Saturday afternoons. This Saturday Gerald Clark (and band) entertained guests from 1pm to 4pm with his awesome country blues.

Gerald Clark and band provided fantastic entertainment for the afternoon

The lunch went as follows: R180 per person includes three courses and the music. The idea is that the food is all about 'sharing' - hand baskets and platters.  

Starters were large platters of bread with various dips and cheeses, such as snoek pate, chicken-liver pate and local cheese from stinky blue to creamy gouda, with gorgeous rosemary garlic olives.

Starter platter
Mains consisted of swordfish skewers, Jack Daniels ribs, curry chicken paninis and sides of chips. These were accompanied by tomato and ricotta tarts with a salad. The ribs were some of the best I have ever had and by this stage I was too full to even attempt pudding, which was some sort of ice cream served with sugar cones.

Jack Daniels ribs
Swordfish kebabs

 We drank a fair amount of the Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (R190 per bottle in the restaurant). It was so delicious, well-suited to the rainy day outside and went down extremely well with the food. 

For more information on the next live music lunch and to book, visit: or contact 021 794 1143.
Twitter: @SimonsRest @GrootConstantia

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My House & Garden Feb Food Page

Have a look at some of the goodies I round up for this month, including delicious local olive oils, some devilishly decadent Patron XO Cafe Dark (we drank it this weekend - soooo goood!), where to some chocolate making courses for V-day and (if you don't feel like making the goodies yourself) where you can go and enjoy afternoons filled with sweet delights. Plus, if you happen to be up the coast, stop in at Seafood at the Plettenberg for some fantastic fish!


This year, Nobu, at the One & Only Cape Town, will be hosting several themed evenings, where its unique combination of Japanese/Peruvian-inspired dishes will be paired with various drinks, such as bubbly, sake and vodka. Besides the fact that the food is to-die-for, these evenings will add a spin to the typical evening out with sushi...

Named ‘Entertaining Elegance at Nobu’ the team of chefs have masterminded a programme of dinners featuring some of the finest beverages in the world, all of them perfectly matched to Nobu’s unique cuisine. The team at Nobu, consisting of Head Chef Fred Fred Faucheux, recently appointed Sushi Chef Keisuke “Keke” Itoh and General Manager, Amir Sardari, will lead guests on an exciting culinary journey to experience new flavours and combinations.

Here is what to book for:

10 April  ‘There’s something about Sake…’
1 May   Graham Beck Wines
5 June  Moët & Chandon
10 July  Belvedere Vodka
7 August  Veuve Clicquot
11 September Glenmorangie and Ardbeg
2 October  Dom Perignon

The Entertaining Elegance at Nobu evenings are priced at R495.00 per person with the exception of the last date in the series – the Dom Perignon dinner on 2nd October, which is priced at R995.00 per person.

To reserve your table at Nobu Cape Town, call 0214314511 or mail

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mischu: The Coffee Showroom

On Main Road Sea Point (opposite the Spar) is a new Coffee Showroom, selling award-winning coffee (they won the best cappuccino in SA 2012).
The coffee on offer is roasted and blending in South Africa by a company called The Coffee Initiative.

I've now visited the coffee shop a few times and the highlights are that, first of all, they offer soy milk as an alternative for lattes, and secondly, that that they make GRANDE coffees. I'm talking beeeg very beeeg takeaway coffees for those hungover Sunday mornings.
They're also well priced. A latte is R16.50 (short), R18.50 (tall) and R20.50 (grande). Cappuccinos are R15.50 (short), R17.50 (tall) and R19.50 (grande).

They also sell red cappuccinos (rooibos tea versions), chair tea and hot chocolates (white and dark).

They have a few small treats on offer and this past weekend I saw a tray of fresh, warm chocolate croissants arriving. 

You can also buy coffee beans to take home.

Monday, February 4, 2013

UP THE CREEK 2013: the best one yet!

official arm band
It's lunchtime on the Monday post Up The Creek 2013 and even though I'm still a bit exhausted, I think my liver has recovered.
What an amazing weekend it was! It was my fifth Up The Creek and this edition was totally rocking!
We camped in style, floated in the river for hours, drank litres G&Ts and danced til our hearts content...
We made new friends (a group calling themselves the Tight Tie-dye Tigers – all in tie-dye shirts) and saw old friends (primary school days!).

This year I rallied a group of friends for their virgin creek experience. First up (as I consider myself a Creek veteran), I compiled a survival guide 'check list' with one of my partners in crime, Staci and mailed it to said group of virgin creekers.
Here it is:

check list
Entrance gate

arriving at Up The Creek

 As some of the virgin creekers were Jewish, we had a 'shabbat' of sorts to ease into the weekend on Friday night, before heading off to the dance area for some live music. Saarkie and Karen Zoid were my favourite acts of the night and the Nacho lady totally rocked my world with a dairy-free, wheat-free option! We went to bed just after 1am, not too late, as we wanted to be up and about for the big day on the river. (I didn't take my camera to the river - apologies for the lack of pics!)

lining the tummies with food

I'm-so-excited smile

This year the river was deeper then the previous couple years, but with shallow sand banks a 'river' dance floor was created, with a stage in the water. Grassy Spark were amazing!! We danced and splashed and floated on lilos for hours before having a lunch break (pizza, more nachos and Nutella crepes – yes the food stands were awesome!) and then another afternoon session in the water.

Tabard - essential mosquito repellent

Staci my partner in crime for the festival

The Creek

Dance area

Having started with G&T's in the afternoon, moving on to tequila and cider, we were definitely swaying from side to side (in rhythm, of course) to Jeremy Loops, Peachy Keen and Desmond and the Tutus. After black Cat Bones had finished their performance, a group of guys ran on stage, naked, with burning torches between their legs. Hundreds of people stood, stared agape at the spectacle in front of them. Fire Hydrants were pulled out and the flames were doused and the men were gone! What a crazy night! The rest of the night was a bit of the blur...

one more tequila??? hmmmmmm

Jeremy Loops
Peachy Keen

The next morning there was a soft drizzle as we headed home, sad to leave our crazy fun-filled weekend behind, but exhausted and ready to go home, I asked the now no-longer-virginal-creekers what they thought of the experience. Most impressive to them was the fact that the bathrooms were so clean, there was handwash, amazing showers and loo paper at all times.

All in all, such good times!!!

Visit the website for more info:

Party Rockers