Tag Archives: sriracha

Rambling Litchi’s best of 2016

Just when you thought I was done for the year, I decided a ‘best of’ compilation post was necessary.

See the list below for some of our favourite things from 2016, all in and around Cape Town obviously, and expect an annual update*. Some categories will remain, others will change. Note that most of these came to mind instantly, but some were dismissed as we experienced them last year, not this year, and others I had to manually search my blog(s) for mentions and reminders – links included if you want to walk down my memory lane again. If there are any categories you feel I’ve left out, let me know! 🙂

Milkshake: There’s no denying milkshake is my favourite treat. This year, I’ve learned that if an establishment goes so far as to title something a ‘Freek shake’ best you believe it. Gibson’s Peppermint Caramel Freek Shake was enormous and I probably should have shared it. Ditto with the Festive Underground Eatery or FUE‘s cocopine shake much earlier this year.

Gibson's peppermint caramel Freek shake.
Gibson’s peppermint caramel Freek shake.

Burger: What goes with milkshake? Burgers, of course. You just can’t go wrong at Jerry’s. The patty is tasty, cooked to perfection on a brioche bun and the side of fries doused in Sriracha is a treat in itself. The bacon, cheese and onion ring-topped buccaneer beef burger at Catch22 also gets a thumbs-up from me.

The cheese, rocket and caramelised onion topped 'Jerry' burger at Jerry's, with fries doused in Sriracha sauce.
The cheese, rocket and caramelised onion topped ‘Jerry’ burger at Jerry’s, with fries doused in Sriracha sauce.

Hike: We’ve done quite a few hikes this year to work off all those burgers and shakes – most recently the Skeleton Gorge version up Table Mountain – but our faves all involved caves. That’s because you want a good view, sense of accomplishment and a body that’s not on the point of collapse once you reach your destination. Wally’s Cave in Lion’s Head was this year’s hidden hideaway gem.

Wally's Cave in Lion's Head
Wally’s Cave, conquered! If you know where to go it’s quite an easy climb up Lion’s Head.

Conference venue: It’s not all about weekend activities though. Conferences are the lifeblood of my worklife. The Artscape Theatre and trusty CTICC are always a good bet for Wi-Fi, tasty snacks and temperature control, but my best was the Vineyard Hotel.

Vineyard Hotel
The distracting view from my seat in the Vineyard Hotel ballroom, where I attended a few conferences this year.

Night away: Living in Cape Town is a little like living in paradise, but everyone needs a break away from their daily routine once in a while. For us, the best version of this was at Majeka House in Stellenbosch. Just over an hour from our front door, the suites are enormous, the spa treatments are heavenly and the food is simply superb.

Majeka House pool
Chandelier-style lights lit up the spa and pool area at Majeka House. I spent a lot of time in the jacuzzi at the far end.

Romantic dinner: You also need to celebrate special occasions as they arise. Maybe just because we went there to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, maybe because they’re just up the road, but Homespun is at the tippy top of our ‘lovey-dovey locations’. The food, drinks, setting and service are all commendable.

The lamb shank at Homespun.
The lamb shank at Homespun.

Once-in-a-lifetime meal: This category is for those breathtaking meals that cost quite the pretty penny and offer course after course of plates you simply can’t help but take photos – and videos – of. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek was our winner here. Go soon if this is something on your foodie bucket list, as chef Margot Janse is leaving these kitchens early next year.

Posing with the wire win glass to prepare for the eight-course pairing dinner at Le Quartier Français' Tasting Room.
Posing with the wire win glass to prepare for the eight-course pairing dinner at Le Quartier Français’ Tasting Room.

Road trip: Whether you’re staying the night or just out for a few hours on the road, there’s nothing like a few empty hours to fulfill your wanderlust. We did so a few times this year, enjoying a few afternoons in the unspoilt beauty of Gordon’s Bay and Langebaan, both around two hours from home.

Beautiful views along the road that hugs the coast from Pringle Bay to Gordon’s Bay.
Beautiful views along the road that hugs the coast from Pringle Bay to Gordon’s Bay.

Winter special: One of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets is that many of its fine dining establishments offer warming meals at pocket-friendly prices in the cold winter months. Some of this year’s best include the half-price chicken curry specials at Inside in Eden on the Bay.

Chicken bunny chow and korma at Inside Lounge, Eden on the Bay
Two of our half-price winter chicken curries of 2016, at Inside Lounge in Eden on the Bay. That’s a bunny chow and a mild korma.

Alcohol tasting: You’re really spoilt for choice if wine is your thing, but those who prefer a more refined tipple are also in for a treat in the Cape. Val du Charron in Wellington does so with beautiful legends behind each wine blend, and many wine farms offer an MCC tasting of their bubbliest bubbly, but it’s the KWV brandy tasting that got Husband’s seal of approval this year.

KWV's ‘brandy and Huguenot chocolate' pairing.
KWV’s ‘brandy and Huguenot chocolate’ pairing.

Weekend lunch: This list proves it’s not all about the bustling CBD. In fact, on weekends there’s lots of appeal in driving a little off the beaten track to find a new venue where you can spend a few hours eating, drinking and laughing with loved ones. Glenelly Estate in Stellenbosch is a beautiful spot for this, with panoramic views of the estate’s 123-hectare vineyards, an adventurous menu and their own wine varietals on The Vine Bistro‘s menu.

View of the vineyards from Glenelly Estate
View of the vineyards from Glenelly Estate.

Seafood meal: Unless you’re allergic to it, a meal out in Cape Town should include seafood. I passed the baton the Husband on this one, and a few of his favourites were the fettuccinne marina and platter for two at Panama Jacks in the Cape Town harbour.

The seafood platter special at Panama Jacks.
The seafood platter special at Panama Jacks.

Wild meal: Eating out in South Africa often means eating unusual dishes. The tasting menu at Catharina‘s on Steenberg Estate is an excellent way to do so. Though seasonal, you’re likely to find delicacies like wild boar, crocodile and zebra on offer.

Grilled zebra with aubergine maize meal and spicy chakalaka, part of the eight-course wild tasting menu at Catharina's.
Grilled zebra with aubergine maize meal and spicy chakalaka, part of the eight-course wild tasting menu at Catharina’s.

Eggs benedict: Husband’s weekend breakfast staple, we’ve sampled quite a few this year. The ones we kept going back to were the salmon version from Company’s Garden and the pork-belly bacon benedict at Steenberg’s 1682. Tart Hollandaise, yolk that pours at just the right pace and not-your-average toasted base. Yum!

Eggs benedict with Steenberg's 1682 pork-belly bacon.
Eggs benedict with Steenberg’s 1682 pork-belly bacon. Yes.

Dessert: Sometimes you don’t want a full meal. Sometimes it’s just your sweet tooth looking for satisfaction. I seem to have a mouth full of sweet teeth as I’ve had a jaw-dropping amount of desserts this year. My best have been the caramel bar at Majeka House’s Makaron, and the winter chocolate fondant and the summer raspberry ice cream sandwich at Grande Provence’s The Restaurant. Beautifully plated, these are the type of sweet treat you swirl around in your mouth with your eyes closed, and follow with a sip of strong coffee to enhance those flavours.

The Restaurant at Grande Provence's 'berry ice cream sandwich'.
The Restaurant at Grande Provence’s ‘berry ice cream sandwich’.

Speaking of…

Coffee: My bloodstream is coffee. I’m not fully functional before at least a cuppa or two, so the weekend hasn’t officially started before I’ve had a caffeine-filled cappuccino or latte. My favourites this year include the cappuccino at Village Place Cafe, with a shot of toffee syrup, and the regular cap at The Hart Breadhouse and Eatery in Melkbos.

Cappuccino at The Hart Breadhouse and Eatery in Melkbos
I’d expect nothing less than a heart swirled into the foam of my strong cappuccino when breakfasting at The Hart Breadhouse and Eatery in Melkbos.

Over and out, folks! Here’s to sampling the very best of 2017, watch this space…

*All photos my own. Disclaimer: Some of these were experienced free-of-charge as I reviewed them for work, but most came from our own pockets. No payment was considered for this ‘best of’ list as it’s all based on personal preference.

Happy dogwalks and house paint refresh 2016

This week was all about hard physical work – we had our house painted, so to distract the doggies over the weekend we took them for long local neighbourhood walkies, and then got stuck into some gardening. The painting is almost complete, the gardening is not – I’ll post pics of that once we’re done, but you can take a peek at the complete transformation offered by a lick or two of paint so long:

House before and after paint.
Top row is the back and front of the house pre-paint (well actually mid-paint – it didn’t look so bad before they started, that’s lots of loose bits having flaked off after the high-pressure cleaning last weekend). The bottom row shows the difference just a few days later. And yes, the bright Adirondack is the one I showed you how we DIY painted a few months ago, under the patio roof  shelter Husband installed in February 2016 – click here and here for how he did it.

And now, on to specific daily moments…

Friday, 9 September 2016: Social media training at Shift One, Eden on the Bay

Table Mountain from Big Bay
As Friday dawned bright and sunny, and it was the day of the social media training I was attending with a colleague in Big Bay, I spent a long time gazing at this view. Note the walkway light was still on, as it was so early.
Table Mountain from Big Bay
I always snap a pic from this spot when it’s without a queue of people waiting to pose in the frame. Last Friday the view was gorgeous, with a little ship seeming to float on the cloud below the mountain – do you see it?
Eden Cafe panini
Following a frantic morning of note-taking we were each given an envelope with R70 in it and told: “Go have lunch, be back here in 45 minutes.” Needless to say we got back a little late, but we’d eaten well and chatted up a storm. And this bacon-avo panini from Eden Cafe was delicious.
Milktart and cappuccino at Cup & Cake
Training finally done that afternoon and certificate of attendance received, I had half-an-hour to spare before making my way home, so I went into Cup & Cake for a looksie. It’s the sweet little bakery directly opposite the Pick n Pay in Eden on the Bay. A little peckish by then, I couldn’t pass up their delicious homemade milktart. At just R25 for a generous slice, and partnered with a delicious cappuccino (yay, with mini shortbread biscuit to accompany), this was the ideal way to switch between work mode and weekend mindset. That’s the very edge of my book you see in the bottom of the pic.

Saturday, 10 September 2016: Neighbourhood doggy walks and Jerry’s burger treats

Happy dogs in park
Setting off for walkies on Saturday morning. Just look at all that happiness!
Dogs in park
Love how the doggies and Husband are each going in a different direction here. 🙂 We all followed the same path in the end, sort of.
Jerry's Blouberg chai shake
Much, much later that afternoon, after hours of housework and gardening, we treated ourselves to the deliciousness of Jerry’s on the Blouberg beachfront. I had the Jerry burger (same as when I went to Jerry’s with my workmates recently), but rounded out my milkshake menu-tasting with their Chai Latte flavour. Tasted exactly as you’d expect, sweetly spicy. Gingerbread is still my favourite Jerry’s option.
Jack D burger and Black Label at Jerry's
Husband had the Jack D burger and a Black Label. Chips drenched in sriracha sauce, obvs. We had a lovely time and will try remember to book a booth with a view of the sea for our next visit.

Sunday, 11 September 2016: Breakfast at Lacomia, braai at Mum’s

Cafe Lacomia cappuccino
My Sunday started with this cappuccino at Cafe Lacomia in the Sunningdale Builder’s Warehouse as we needed to buy a few gardening things. It’s one of the few places that still dusts the top of a cappuccino with chocolate powder, and note I got two tiny cookies in the saucer. Happiness.
Cafe Lacomia pancakes
Husband had the Bullseye you see on the left, I had the cinnamon-sugar pancakes you see on the right. These kept us going through a few more hours of heavy-duty gardening.
Wildflowers in Cape Town
Look! Spring has finally reached Cape Town, with wildflowers dotting most of the grassy embankments around our home.
Enclosed braai room
We stopped in at a house on show in our neighbourhood that afternoon to see if it suited Husband’s parents’ housing requirements (they’re moving down to Cape Town from Johannesburg soon, eep!) Look at the loveliness of this enclosed braai room with lots of Adirondacks…
Braai food
Husband and dad were in charge of the braai for Sunday lupper – a mix of colours of food on the plate like this is always a good thing. 🙂

That’s all, folks! It’s been a rainy few days with snow in some areas as a last-minute cold front has hit, so who knows what you’ll see pictures of us doing in my next update!