Tag Archives: Steenberg Estate

Veggie garden reveal and food-and-wine flights at Catharina’s

It’s been a successful first week back at work and  part-time studies. That’s probably because we have a few exciting plans over the next few weekends to look forward to, and the thought of them keeps us going.

You’ll get to see those in due course, but for now you can scroll through how we marked the end of the festive season break. Key among those, Husband’s veggie garden reveal, as promised:

Veggie garden
Tadaa! You can see the phases of progress here – first, beams went up above the veggie boxes he installed a while ago, then shade cloth was carefully stapled along to provide shade and wind protection. So far, so good!
Dogs in garden
The doggies ‘helped’ by watching the goings-on and offering advice (and suspicious looks).

Now, on with the daily highlights…

Thursday, 5 January 2017: Summery food-and-wine pairing flights

News Cafe breakfast
Our last Thursday of leave started with the early bird breakfast special at our local News Cafe.
Catharina's in Steenberg Estate
I’d unknowingly picked just the right day for our review of the new summery food-and-wine pairings at Catharina’s in Steenberg Estate, one of our favourite wine farms. Just look at the sunny brightness! Click here for my official review and here for a reminder of our late-August version of this photo.
Ostrich eggs at Catharina's
Decor at Catharina’s is classy and eye-catching. Note the reindeer that adorn that inside roof, along with the origami birdies I so enjoyed on our last visit; as well as the large ostrich eggs at the port decanters in the hotel lobby; and some of the rose bushes dotting the walkways.
Owls at Catharina's
We sat at a table much like this, hoping to spot the family of eagle owls that swoop around the old oak trees. Sadly they didn’t appear, but we still had a wonderful time.
Water and cappuccino at Catharina's
Our pre- and post-pairing drinks – wonderfully chilled still water (bread board in the background), and a strong, flavoursome cappuccino. Colour me contented! (Don’t fret, am not sunburnt. The pinkness you see is from the sun reflecting through red umbrella).
Menu at Catharina's
The three ‘flights’ are beautifully explained in this menu – two savoury options and one sweet, each comprising a flute of bubbly, white and red with perfectly paired morsels.
Savoury wine pairing at Catharina's
I know the pic was hard to read, so luckily I took some photos. This was the first savoury flight. Everything positively popped with colour and flavour.
Savoury wine pairing at Catharina's
The second savoury flight: Same-same but different. And sadly I was so excited by the third flight – the sweet option – that I forgot to snap a pic of it. Luckily, there’s a professional pic of it in my review on Biz, along with detailed descriptions of all the wine and food. Click here to see it.

Friday, 6 January 2017: McPherson’s breakfast and Black Bull lupper

Breakfast at McPhersons
First thing on Friday we headed to McPherson’s for breakfast. I had a cappuccino and the club sandwich with wedges, Husband had a very filling wrap.
Outside area at Black Bull
Following a day of staycation things we decided on an early dins at the Black Bull on Sandown Road to mark the end of the holiday (yes, there was still a weekend ahead before work kicked in, but you know what I mean). Husband opted for a draught, as he does.
Black Bull nachos and bangers and mash
I had a strawberry shake and the starter nachos you see in the middle – the top pic is how they arrived at the table, middle pic is once I’d had added all the side bits and bobs. Husband went for the pork bangers and mash. We’ll be back.

Saturday, 7 January 2017: Baconville breakfast and Bertie’s new chew-friend

Breakfast at Baconville
If you wake up hungry on a Saturday, chances are you’ll decide on Baconville for breakfast. I went for the flapjacks topped with crispy, syrup-drenched bacon (mmm) while Husband had their Mexican-style ‘Hairy Biker’. Teehee. Both delightfully good.
Dogs with toys
All of Bertie’s former TV-viewing companions (stuffed toys that he’s unstuffed) were looking a little ratty so we snuck them into the bin and bought him a new monkey and doggie-that-looks-like-a-fox. The monkey is hiding in a cupboard until the doggie is ready to be discarded, too. Bassie remains very uninterested in all toys but gets lots of attention despite her sad face, promise.

Sunday, 8 January 2017: Breakfast, books and beachy ice-creams

Fry up breakfast
For our ‘last breakfast before work’, Husband outdid himself with an exceptional (make that egg-ceptional, harhar) fry-up, included red pepper slices, properly cooked tomato and crispy bacon. Yum.
Marian Keyes Brightest Star in the Sky and KFC pina colada Krusher
What better way to relax on a Sunday than by rereading a beloved book, and sipping on a Pina Colada-flavoured Krusher from KFC? No better way.
Big Bay beach
The beach at Big Bay, much later in the day. Just look at all the merrymakers, making their last bit of merry.
Ice creams at the beach
Despite it being so hot the sea was icy, so we contented ourselves with ice-cream cones from Met Eish at Eden on the Bay. Husband’s had caramel ripples and mine was plain chocolate, both with a hidden Flake.

That’s all, folks! I wish you a very happy weekend ahead. 🙂

*Disclaimer: Obviously our pairings at Catharina’s were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.

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.