Buddhas and Beaches

Last weekend I had a bit of cabin fever so Norm offered to take me out for a bite of lunch on Saturday. That meant getting out of my jimjams and putting on make-up for a change.

We had intended to go to one of our fave spots, Hout Bay Manor, but the wind was howling like a banshee so we were not keen on sitting outside. We drove down to the village and remembered that a new venue had opened so we went to the beach to see how crowded the new place was. Despite the small size it had space for us. When we parked up it was so windy that our car doors were snatched out of our hands and flew widely open and the sand was hurtling past us so we quickly trotted inside to get out of the weather.

The new spot is called The Beach Bar. We got settled in and Norm ordered a glass of wine.

The tables are a simple design and are made of a sturdy light coloured wood, the bar is covered in a lovely brown leather and there is a wood fired stove which will come in handy on a cold winter evening. The décor is simple but stylish with clean lines. The view is out across the beach and the mountains and is rather spectacular. It was nice to be protected from the wind but still enjoy the beauty of our bay.

I checked their online menu and they offer breakfast, a variety of interesting sounding cocktails as well as bar snacks, small tasting plates, ‘comfort food’ or full main courses.

It is nice to have the option of ordering a few nibbles while you have a cocktail or a glass of wine.

I opted for 2 of the small plates and Norm went for a main. We were both trying to keep our choices low carb or I would have gone for any of the comfort food options which all sound divine.

I ordered the Tuna tataki which the menu online describes as “rocket, pomegranate, spring onion dressing and avocado puree with pineapple salsa” for R95. I did not spot any avocado puree on the dish however? The tuna was so tender and was perfectly cooked, just seared on the outside with a bright pink centre. It was so fresh and moist. There was a pepper crust on the tuna which gave a wee kick and the little bits served with it countered that with a hint of sweetness.

I also ordered the tempura prawns with miso aioli for R120. There were 4 prawns of varying sizes but they were nice. I think the tuna was better value but I enjoyed both dishes.

Norm ordered the dry aged steak, cauliflower puree, confit garlic and parma ham crumble for R155. It is a sirloin cut and was perfectly cooked. I am not usually a fan of sirloin as it can be fatty and tough but Norm gave me a bite and it was very juicy and tender. He scarfed up every bite.

The steak does not come with fries or a salad so Norm ordered a side salad. It was not your usual pedestrian tomato, lettuce and cucumber variety, it was full of interesting bits.

They also have desserts but we were trying to avoid sugar. I saw the panna cotta go past us to another table and it looked divine (obviously it was being carried by a waiter, that would be a bit odd it if made its own way there).

We both enjoyed our meals and will be back in the evening so I can sample the cocktail menu. We give The Beach Bar 5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

After we finished we went to the shops for a quick run round. When we got to the tills I was chatting to the cashier about how difficult it must be to wear a mask all day while working and she said ‘you get used to it but it is harder today as I have a fever’…ummm WTF was she doing at work with a fever?? Surely Woolworths take the employee’s temperatures when they come to work? I was not happy about that at all!

We headed home and Norm gave the shopping an extra thorough wipe with disinfectant before putting it away since Miss Fever had fondled it all. Norm had work to do so I settled in with the pups to try and find a new series to keep me amused.

I chose Emily in Paris on Netflix. It stars Lily Collins as Emily and was created by Darren Star, who was also the creator of Sex and the City.

There were some parts I really identified with as an American abroad, whether the context was me being the American in question or spotting others in the wild. There are many stereotypes in the show about both the French and Americans, some of which often hold true. You can always hear an American as they are louder than anyone else in a venue and you can often spot them by their style of dress.

You often see Yanks in a restaurant trying their ‘could I have blah on the side and can I substitute X for Y’ bullshit. That does not often fly outside of the USA. I remember a specific incident when I first came to SA and I ordered a pizza ‘with extra tomato sauce’ and got a quizzical look which I understood when it arrived covered with ‘ketchup’. Or the time we ordered a dish in Italy with ‘pepperoncini’ which we thought were tiny pepperoni sausages only to find out that was peppers.

The show made out that all Parisians are rude but when I took my daughter Caitlin there everyone was so sweet to us. I found that most Parisians speak English happily as long as you make an effort to speak French initially, however badly. And don’t dress like you are lying on your couch at home, have some class. We had a few tourists ask us for directions and a guy on the tram asked us if we were French. I do not have many pics of that trip but here are a couple.

I took Caitlin on a surprise long weekend to Paris for her 16th birthday (16 years ago now!). I was living in London and we went via the Eurostar (a train that goes from London’s St Pancras station to Gare du Nord station in the heart of Paris). I did not tell her where we were going until we got to the station. That is what I miss most about living in the UK, you can just hop on a train or book a last minute flight for a weekend away in an amazing city.

Anyway, back to Emily. The series is a typical sort of American romcom bit of fluff but I enjoyed it as light entertainment. There is only one series but it has been quite popular and suspect they may do another. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I also started watching ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor‘ on Netflix. I am a huge fan of horror (not gory slasher horror but supernatural or psychological horror) but horror is not Norm’s bag so this is another one I watched on my own.

It follows an American woman named Dani Clayton who takes on a job in the UK as an au pair for two very polite but distinctly odd children in an attempt to escape her own tragic life in the US. The house where Dani resides with the children is a lovely old manor home with huge grounds, a lot of bizarre happenings and a rather morbid history. The children had just suffered the mysterious death of both parents as well as their previous au pair. The au pair’s lover was also missing and it was assumed he had absconded after he embezzled money from his employer who owns the manor. The new au pair role is played by Victoria Pedretti who previously played Love Quinn in the brilliant series ‘You‘. There are several cast members from ‘The Haunting of Hill House‘, a previous series by the same producers. Victoria was in The Haunting of Hill House as were Henry Thomas (of E.T. fame) and the rather delectable Oliver Jackson-Cohen (who puts on a smashing Scottish accent for this series). Bly Manor also stars the brilliant T’Nia Miller who has acted in many UK series, namely the Marcella series which I loved.

If you enjoy this genre of show I recommend it and give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Last Sunday we were woken early as the builders came to finish off the work on the garage. It was a really hot day and the hectic winds of the previous day had finally stilled. Norm and I pottered about in the garden enjoying the lovely weather. Norm cleaned the pool with much assistance/interference from the dogs.

I found a permanent home for my new stained glass butterfly hanging above my succulents.

I also did a bit of repotting and I planted various bits in my new buddha head pot. There are 4 types of succulent in the pot and if the growth goes as planned it will look like tendrils of hair along the face.

I love it so much and I hope all the plants thrive in both of my new planters. My Indigo Halo has some lovely pieces, check them out if that vibe appeals to you.

I also put a ham in the slow cooker for lunches this week. It is so quick and easy to make a salad and chuck in some ham.

Monday night I fried chicken sausages with onions and red pepper slices to give them extra flavour. I roasted sweet potato slices in coconut oil and made a low carb coleslaw. The sweet potato was crispy outside and creamy inside.

On Tuesday Mzudumo came to do the garden. The dogs also had a visit to the groomer as they were getting very stinky. Navajo is always keen to go in the car but the Poms hide when Norm starts singing his ‘groomer song’. (The groomer is named Ali, Norm is a funny bloke.)

The pups smelled divine when they got home and looked so clean and fluffy. We have to bribe them with treats to get them to stay still for a pic.

As soon as I finished taking the pic Panda did a huge sneeze and ended up with goop all over his ruff. Oh well it was nice for the 5 minutes it lasted.

We ended up getting take aways both Tuesday and Wednesday as Norm was too busy to shop and we had nothing in the fridge. We kept it low carb as possible.

Tuesday we ordered from Casarecchio in Hout Bay. We ordered a full portion of Espatada to share for R185. It is a skewer of fillet steak prepared the Madeiran way with coarse salt and bay leaves. There were 4 large chunks of delicious fillet and we ordered it with vegetables instead of potatoes. We also ordered a main size portion of the Rucola salad for R85. It contains baby spinach, rocket, bacon bits, cherry tomatoes, croutons, parmesan shavings and is supposed to come with a creamy blue cheese dressing. We got a different dressing which was nice but not as good as the usual blue cheese and was quite sweet. It was all delicious and we give our meal 4.5 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨.

On Wednesday I was craving a curry. We only have one decent curry house in Hout Bay (there is another Indian restaurant but I have seen the dudes in the kitchen and would not eat a thing they cooked.) We used to have a curry take out almost every weekend but we had not ordered from Indian Oven in a long time. After they changed ownership they had started using pre-cooked frozen prawns instead of fresh and I found them quite rubbery but we decided to give them another chance. I ordered the Prawn Curry at R189 & Norm ordered the Chicken Korma for R128. We both had cauliflower rice and shared an order of Palak Paneer which is homemade Indian cheese in spinach and masala spices. Norm asked for my curry to be ‘hot’ and OMG it nearly burned my lips off. Once I mixed in a bit of the palak paneer it was bearable. The prawns were gorgeous and I really enjoyed my food. Norm said his chicken was tough and chewy however and was very unhappy. That is the problem with a take away, you cannot send it back. I give them 5 Kitten Stars but Norm gives them 2 – so lets call it an overall 3 Kitten Stars ⭐⭐⭐.

On Thursday Norm had to nip out to the chemist so he did a quick run around the shops. He bought our faves, fillet steaks. He has cooking them down to an art now, 4 minutes on each side and 8 minutes to rest. They are usually always perfect. I roasted sweet potato rounds and steamed baby broccoli which I drizzled with lemon. I also made a sauce for the steak from mushrooms, garlic, peppercorns, double thick cream and a wee bit of cheeky bisto.

Friday was so hot we did not want to cook and I opted for sushi from K1. I know it is not low carb but I have been very disciplined and decided to treat myself.

The weather has been lovely all week. Yesterday it was up to 30 degrees Celsius (that is 86 degrees in Fahrenheit for you Yanks).

The dogs are enjoying the sunshine but sticking to the shade.

The Covid weekly stats for South Africa are that 4,505,533 people have been tested, resulting in the following:

For the count of total infections on a global scale SA has held at 11th for a second week after sitting at 10th for many weeks prior.

On the global rank for total deaths per 1 million people, SA has now moved up again to 27th after making it down to 28th last week. We were at 26th the week before last and prior to that we spent two weeks at 28th and had been at 27th place for several weeks before that. So far the hospitals appear to be coping for the most part.

The USA is still at 1st place for both total cases and highest number of deaths (putting America first and MAGA MoFos!). The tRump administration finally admitted that they are relying on herd immunity as their game plan. The President is willing to risk the potential death of 2 to 6 million Americans. I recently wrote about the risk of this and how I arrived at that count, you can read that post here.

We can only hope he gets the boot on the 20th of January.

For my musical artist this week I give you a few NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. The first is by Bebel Gilberto, a Brazilian American singer performing in Rio de Janeiro. The mountain behind her reminds me of the Sentinel peak in our village. I have no idea what she is saying when she sings but I love her sexy bossa nova sound.

The second is from a band many of us know, The Flaming Lips. I love Wayne Coyne‘s voice. I think their bubble concept is so cool and is pretty appropriate in the current climate of self-isolation.

I have something to look forward to soon as Norm and I have booked a weekend away in Hermanus at a gorgeous guest house on the beach.

Gallery image of this property
Image Credit

It has a beautiful view of the sea.

Gallery image of this property

We need a change of scenery and Hermanus is only an hour or so away and is known for whale watching, hopefully we will be lucky enough to see them. I am sending this message out to the Animal Kingdom, I would be ever so grateful if you share your beauty with us Mother Earth.

After over 23 years together Norm is still my best friend and I am really looking forward to this trip. On Facebook this week there was a ‘Then and Now’ relationship challenge and I dug out a pic of our wedding compared to the two of us last year at Lily’s wedding.

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and stay safe in these turbulent times. If you can, stay at home. If you cannot then please practice social distancing and wear a mask.

Until next time, socially distant Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

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