Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Cape Town’s Culinary Scene – Standing Tall

Playing casino games is becoming one of the most popular pastime activities for South Africans, but also for people all over Africa. Especially with the widespread use of computers and smartphones, improved internet connection and the popularisation of online and mobile casinos, it is not surprising that the market is thriving. Recently, PWC published a report in which it was stated that Nigeria, Kenya and, of course, South Africa, are countries where the growth is most significant. Check out GamblingAfrica.com if you want to know more about African casinos. Casinos are an integral and vital part of the entertainment and hospitality industry and Cape Town is doing very well in that respect. Another aspect where Cape Town outperforms its competitors is the gastronomic offer. Some of the best restaurants and bistros in South Africa are located in Cape Town and, in the past few years, the Cape has really made its mark on the culinary map of Africa.

 

Addis in Cape

Located in the very heart of Cape Town, Addis in Cape is one of the best Ethiopian restaurants outside of Ethiopia. Each person orders individually but everything is served on one large platter, so that people can share.  After all, it is what dining out is all about, sharing great food with your loved ones. Great stews, and large injeras (sour pancakes) spiced up with amber, chilli, garlic, saffron and fresh tomato salsa will make your mouth water as soon as you smell the dish. There are some great vegan and vegetarian options as well, including chickpeas, lentils and mushrooms. On top of that, they also offer authentic, roasted Ethiopian coffee and traditional sweet wine. And a six dish meal costs less than 100 Rand (ZAR).

 

The Opal Lounge

The Opal Lounge is definitely one of the fanciest restaurants in town. It is located on the prestigious Kloof Street. The interior is truly breath-taking, lavishly decorated with Victorian ornaments. There are several separated dining spots, including the Persian Lounge that features an oriental design with red walls, Middle Eastern decorations and beautiful rugs and the Gold Bar Lounge that is more European-like in style. The food is just like the place itself, unique and authentic; here you can order dishes that originated from different corners of the world, as well as some novelty fusion food. If you have a strong eye for detail, this is a place you will definitely enjoy.

 

The Roundhouse Restaurant

The Roundhouse Restaurant is located in The Glen, on the western slope of Table Mountain, and is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. It was built in 1786 as a guardhouse for the Dutch East India Company. If you enjoy a glass of wine or two with your meal, you will definitely love this place. Most of their food is a combination of European dishes with a South African touch. The chef at the Roundhouse managed to revive many forgotten old South African dishes by giving them a modern touch. It is a bit more expensive, but it is definitely worth considering, especially if you want to treat someone special to a lovely meal.

 

Miller’s Thumb

If you want a simpler experience, and are looking forward to enjoying some great food, then the Miller’s Thumb might be the place for you. Known for its fresh fish, this restaurant offers a lot of intriguing international dishes that you’ll won’t find elsewhere. For example, their House Salad is inspired by Greek cuisine, featuring Feta cheese, large calamata olives, cucumber, egg, peppers, lettuce and spinach leaves. You can also try Moroccan, Malay, Portuguese, Japanese and Thai dishes. Their New Orleans style Jambalaya includes chicken, fish, chorizo and shellfish. All in all, it is a very nice and pleasant family restaurant that has been in business for more than 20 years

Cape Town’s Casinos – The Lowdown

The casino industry in South Africa is growing rapidly. Since the first South African online casinos have been established, South African casino fans have a lot more options. In addition, with the increased use of smartphones and the first online casinos that went mobile, South Africans can now even play casino games on the go, wherever they are. If you’re interested in online gaming, check out this selection of SA online casinos and find the one that would suit you most. If you’re more of a fan of traditional, brick-and-mortar casinos, keep reading this article and find out more about Cape Town’s casinos and the gaming industry in the city.

 

GrandWest Casino and Entertainment

GrandWest Casino and Entertainment is definitely the most popular casino destination in Cape and beyond. It is the largest casino in the area, owned and operated by Sun International Group, a company that operates 15 other casinos in the country, but also casinos throughout Africa. It is a wonderful destination, a perfect representation of what Cape is as a city. Both the architectural aspect and the interior design of GrandWest is in accordance with the old traditions of this amazing city. It is the largest casino in Western Cape. There are over 75 tables and more than 2,500 slot machines. In terms of classic casino game selection, this casino really offers a lot more than its competition, you can play Blackjack, Double Zero Roulette, Baccarat, Stud Poker and few other games, such as GranDice. GranDice is an exclusive game which can’t be found in many other locations. It is very similar to Craps.

The casino section even features a Gaming Information Centre (GIC), where people who are new to casino gaming can learn everything they need to know before they are ready to start playing. It is a very fair and honest approach. The casino is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, both the slot area, as well as the tables. At the Salon Privé, players with deeper pockets can enjoy in a luxurious surrounding, playing Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and slots with much higher stakes. The casino also features a great sports bar, where you can watch live sports games as well as bet on various events. In addition, there’s a fully serviced restaurant that works from 7 in the morning up to midnight. It can safely be said that GrandWest is the most exclusive casino destination in Cape Town.

 

Horseracing Tracks

If you like to play casino games but you’re also keen on horse race betting, then Kenilworth Racecourse is the right place for you. At the Kenilworth racecourse there are 3 tracks, a 2,700m round course, another 2,800m round course a smaller straight course – 1,200m.

Durbanville Racecourse is another location in Cape Town that offers horse racing. The address is Bowlers Ave, Cape Town, 7550. Durbanville also features a golf course.

Why Tourists Still Love Cape Town

There are many simple reasons why tourists still love Cape Town. First of all, it was the host town for the 2014 African Cup of Nations, which is a big accolade for an African city. It was an acknowledgement of its sheer beauty and eventfulness. Furthermore, it’s booming with an array of exciting events and was named the World Design Capital in 2014. So it’s no wonder so many people travel to see the city and enjoy what it has to offer.

Cape Town has some stunning scenery, friendly people and a great lifestyle. It doesn’t have that fast pace of life that many cities have. Instead it runs by its own easy pace and has a nice cosmopolitan mix of different cultures from around the world. Most of the tourists come to see Table Mountain standing guard high above the city, and the Twelve Apostles reaching for the skies and overseeing the white sandy beaches.

In 2013 Cape Town was awarded the Best City in the World at the Telegraph Travel Awards. When someone asks what makes Cape Town an attractive location, just show him the Cape winelands. Or, show him the Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards where Cape Town was named the 16th best destination in the world. It even has the second best hotel in the world according to Tripadvisor, the Cape Grace Hotel.

Those that have visited Cape Town will never forget Boulders Beach, another Tripadvisor Traveler’s Choice Award winner, named as one of ten unique beaches in the world. There is even a casino called the GrandWest, the only casino in Cape Town, besides the many African online gaming sites. For example, these online casinos offers the fastest options when you want to deposit or withdraw your winnings.

All in all, there are plenty of arguments in favor of Cape Town. Thanks to the exciting environment perfect for spending a holiday, the stunning nature, quality food and the comfortable climate, Cape Town has won plenty of well-deserved accolades and doesn’t look like stopping any time soon.

A plus is the fact that the nice and warm days in Cape Town are from October until May, which is a perfect time for tourists from the Northern hemisphere that don’t like the winters in their country. Instead, they can catch a flight and go down to the most vibrant African city.

Tourists can be found everywhere in the city. They like to ride the red sightseeing bus and take endless photographs of the city and its people. Surfers will love Muizenberg, voted one of the 20 best surf spots according to National Geographic. Simply put, if you decided to come to Cape Town you won’t be short of activities.

Get crafty @ Craft Burger Bar

I’ve always been a fan of the humble burger. My first favourite was from the Wimpy in Milnerton in the 70s (yes, I had humble beginnings with the humble meat sandwich). I then moved town side and loved the burgers from the old Milly’s in Buitenkant Street. Since then I have enjoyed many a fine burger and plenty not so fine. In terms of takeaways; I enjoy the Sea Point Steers and avoid the yellow arches like it was the bubonic plague. Honestly I’m not that fussy, and will happily try most street vendor’s burgers, especially if I need to wash down a few beers, but I’m never loving old MacDonald’s.

Now burgers have always been considered “junk food” or “fast food”, until a few years ago when the gourmet burger suddenly became a thing. You could stuff your burger with a range of goodies like beetroot, quinoa, pomegranate seeds and any other pretentious add-on you can think of, allowing gourmet burger joints the opportunity to charge a small fortune for their fancy bun and meat patties. Oh, and now that burgers were expensive, they were suddenly cool and sexy too. Really? I don’t think so. Burgers have always been cool.

When it comes to burgers, Russel Shapiro knows a things or two. He used to own Manhattans, where the burgers were not only great but reasonably priced. He also owned On Broadway the popular dinner/theatre spot, for many years, where the lamb burgers were legendary. He has moved on from both spots and now owns the Craft Burger Bar in Sea Point, my current favourite burger place. Here, for R49 you can build your own. You get cheese and a choice of four toppings; I recommend the chilli, gherkins and pineapple for starters, after that, you’re on your own. The patty is the real deal, with high quality mince, and the buns are optional if you’re a banter (yes, it’s a word – I just made it up). They also offer chicken and veggie patties.

You can order a side of fries, which are thick and perfectly cooked, made from real potatoes and cut by real people. There is a range of salads and handcrafted burgers on the menu. Try the chili and chocolate sauce burger or the Chakalaka and guacamole. Go crazy. You can even wash them down with…yes, you guessed it – craft beer.

I’ll be building my own. Great burgers, great value and Russel is a great host.

2015 Cape Town Carnival goes ELEMENTAL

A dazzling parade of carnival floats, hip-shaking dancers and foot-stomping bands, will storm the Green Point Fan Walk on Saturday, 14 March for the sixth annual Cape Town Carnival.

The evening will radiate glamour and glitz as 47 community performance groups  interpret the ELEMENTAL theme of Fire, Water, Air and Earth – ‘the unstoppable forces that shape us and our environment.’

Participants and spectators are invited to embrace the 2015 theme and dress for the occasion.  Shelley Finch, Cape Town Carnival’s Marketing, Media and Sponsorship Director says: “We encourage all of Cape Town to share in this spectacular night with us. Shine bright, dive into the sea, soar into the skies and float back down to earth while celebrating our interconnectedness, our relationship to each other, and our environment with Cape Town Carnival 2015.”

The first Cape Town Carnival was held in Long Street in 2010, when close to 11 000 people marked the occasion, together with the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup. Since then, the crowds have swelled to over 50 000, with the parade now taking place along the Green Point Fan Walk. The expansion of Cape Town Carnival has helped to create local job opportunities, and assisted with skills and economic development across many communities, all within the inspiring arena of creative expression.

An explosion of fireworks at 19h00 will mark the start of the procession, which will wind along the 1.2km Fan Walk. Crowds will be blown away by the dazzling performers, inspired floats, imaginative puppets and extravagant contraptions.  Local designers together with an astounding array of costumes, puppets, gadgets and giant floats, will ensure that audiences will be treated to a world-class experience.

According to Finch, a life-sized elephant walking through the forest and a 10-meter long snoek puppet, operated in “Chinese dragon” style are two of this year’s creative highlights.

On event day, the audience is encouraged to join in the street festivities anytime from 16h00, when it will turn into a pedestrian walkway with food vendors, stalls and festive hospitality areas. “This is a great opportunity to introduce children to the diversity of our magical city and get them in the mood for the evening’s festivities with goodie-bag giveaways, face painting, acrobats and buskers,” says Finch.

“Many youths are participating in the Cape Town Carnival, and by simply being involved in creative and positive activities, they learn new skills and develop pride in their work.” The Fan Walk will close at 18h00, to allow for final preparations and cleaning ahead of the procession at 19h00.

Cape Town Carnival is an exciting multi-cultural event that enables Carnival-goers to “escape into carnival realm,” says Finch, where friends unite to celebrate their diversity. “Dress up… be a diva… bring your own style tribe with you. Come together with pride in Cape Town’s biggest street party and flaunt your cultural identity!” adds Finch.

The Cape Town Carnival After Party brought to you by Redd’s will allow partygoers to rock to some of SA’s hottest musical talent on the Green Point Stadium Forecourt from 21h00 until midnight. Entry is free on presentation of a ticket given away along the Fan Walk during the Carnival (for over 18 year olds only). One lucky person in the party crowd will win a car through the Redd’s After Party competition.

Getting to the Cape Town Carnival with public transport will be easy as additional MyCiti and Park & Ride facilities will be in operation. Metrorail will also offer a selection of late night trains for commuters.  Restaurants and cafés all along the route will be open and there will be seating stands along the Fan Walk for those wanting to be within inches of the performers.  Finch adds, “It’s a safe and wonderful fun-filled extravaganza, and a perfect place to meet friends and bring the family. Make Cape Town Carnival an annual tradition!”

In the lead-up to the 2015 event, Carnival-enthusiasts can sample a taste of the action at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre every weekend where participating community performance groups will display their hip-shaking dance talent and energetic music. Expect the glam lead performers to photobomb your selfies in their outrageous ELEMENTAL costumes. Grab a free Carnival mask invitation here, with all the info you need to make 14 March 2015 a memorable family day.

For more information on the 2015 Cape Town Carnival, visit www.capetowncarnival.com, like them on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheCapeTownCarnival or follow them on Twitter @CTCarnival.

Steaks & Shakes at The Avenue

Harfield Village in Southern Suburbs really is a village. Very much suburbia, it’s where neighbours chat over walls – or not, peopThe Avenue: Harfield Villagele walk to  restaurants and, thanks to social media, more and more community events take place.

With my partner’s family living in the village we are regular visitors and have noticed over the years a definite increase in night activities. 2nd Avenue has become the heartbeat of the village and its residents’ breadbasket through several popular eating places.

A few years ago, just after it opened, we visited The Avenue for dinner. They had no liquor license then and although the food was tasty and good value, atmosphere and décor was sort of lacking.

The other night we returned. I had enjoyed an epic 13-hour mountain adventure the day before and was in need of some serious protein. Candice is always up for a good meal and our six-year-old son was so keen to try their burgers and milk shakes he gave up playing computer games with his favourite cousins around the corner to join us.

None of it disappointed.

Poppers that pop

I had the chilli poppers to start; Candice ordered calamari. The poppers were excellent; a nice size too – I don’t like poppers that look like giant firecrackers and explode gizz all over the table as you bite into them. The only problem was these had blue cheese in them and I don’t like blue cheese. The truth is I kind of thought it tasted blue, but it was inoffensive enough to not put me off.

But to the helpful staff at The Avenue, please mention its blue cheese on the menu or when taking the order. Not everyone, me included, is a fan of the blue. That aside the poppers had a nice kick to them – it’s not a popper unless it pops. A dude at a nearby table with sweat pouring down his forehead asked, “Did you have the chilli poppers?” Yip, I replied coolly. “F#*cking hot hey?” he said. Yes they are.

The calamari was tasty if not quite as succulent as other specialists would make it – but this is a steak house.

Peppermint crisp milkshake

“Scoops” ordered his burger and chips in the meantime and wolfed down half without skipping a beat; it received an immediate stamp of approval. He was so keen for his milk shake he would have eaten broccoli and beetroot right there, but the burger did look good and he finished off the rest a little later.

We had a few beers while Scoops enjoyed his peppermint crisp milkshake. It’s the business. We all had a taste, much to his disapproval; it was so good I thought of skipping mains and going straight to the shakes. Scoops loved it and so did we. And yes it does have pieces of the famous chocolate in it – it works.