Last weekend the Mother City was blessed with the most glorious weather! Spring was supposed to have sprung in SA back in September, but I think the memo must have been delivered by our non-existent postal service because Cape Town weather has ranged from haphazard to miserable. Typically just as we started to relax into it, the wind started up yesterday and we woke up this morning to howling wind and drizzly rain.
Last Saturday I just pottered about in the garden, drinking in the warmth and sunshine until the heat became too much for me and I had to hide in the shade. I filled all the bird feeders and bird baths and generally just faffed about happily.
That evening Norm picked up a take-away from Massimo’s. Norm got their special of Beef Papata (braised beef neck) and I was so jealous when I saw it that I pinched a bit.
I had my usual choice of their delicious calamari and chips. That night we just relaxed with the pups and watched a bit of telly. But I loved the beef dish from Massimo’s so much that I ended up having it on Tuesday as it was still on the menu. It was Yum! It is similar to an American pot roast in texture but with different flavours. I loved this dish.
Last Sunday I was up and about early and I started my day with my prayers to the 4 Directions on the wee hill in my garden. As always Finn came along and stood by me throughout, my soul wolf.
I was very excited for the day as we were starting practice with a new Drum Chief, Wendy. The practice was at Wendy’s house and Norm drove me there as I get really anxious driving, especially when I do not know where I am going. Luckily Wendy sent a voicemail that took us right there.
The Mother Drum was there waiting and she is a beauty!
Many of us contributed to creating her in whatever way we could, either financially or physically, and it is so wonderful to see her brought to life. We held a little birthing ceremony and made an offering of tobacco and joined hands and said prayers over her, thanking the animals for their sacrifice to provide the skins for the drum, the trees who gave us the wood for the frame and the humans who gave their contributions to create her. Wendy then clipped the Mother Drum’s umbilical cord and will take it to bury under the ancestor tree at Sacred Ibis (where the dance will be held).
We all chose a drumstick and we ran through a few songs which were familiar to us. I found that sometimes the version I had learned was slightly different to the ones on the song sheet and as I am so loud I kept shouting over the drum chief. Oops. But it was so much fun and it did my soul such good to drum and sing again. I do sing on my own and use my hand drum but it is not the same as belting it out full volume and banging the communal drum.
I am usually so tired after drumming but even though I was dripping with sweat afterwards I felt buoyant with spirit when we finished.
Norm and Finn collected me and we went home to get ready for our second adventure of the day. I had booked for us to have a date night at Gigi Rooftop Restaurant and Bar.
Even though it was a Sunday night, it took a while to find parking in the city centre, however it was a lovely evening and we were fine with the walk, we just kept our bags slung over our bodies for a more difficult extraction by any wayward attackers and strolled around to the gorgeous George Hotel. You enter via an unpretentious little doorway up to a foyer where a cute young man calls out ‘Hello Gorgeous, can I help you?’ or ‘Hello Gorgeous, how are you’ or something I no longer heard once I locked in on ‘Hello Gorgeous’. It’s been a while since I had that called out in my general direction. We were directed to the elevator and up to the 6th floor rooftop. When the doors opened there was a hostess in what appeared to be a track suit and trainers waiting for us and she greeted me by name and escorted us to our table. I thought this was all going to be a precedent for hands on personal attention and got all excited. Or maybe that was lingering excitement about being called Gorgeous (and YES I know that is their spiel. Whatever. Don’t come at me with your negativity.)
There appeared to be no manager on site and it quickly showed. The afore-mentioned track suit girl just wafted around seating people and chatting on the phone. I never saw her interact with any customer after seating them. In fact she asked us whether we would like water and when we said yes, and we advised her that we wanted still, she nodded, wandered off and no water subsequently arrived.
Our table was wedged between a large planter filled with an overly-familiar fern that kept getting all up in my bizness and a large table whose occupants kept getting up to chat to each other around the table, then bending over to place their derrieres directly in my face. The space was far too crowded for comfortable dining but then again I am really odd about being closed in.
Once again we requested water. Eventually a bottle arrived and was unceremoniously plonked on the table without a word spoken, not poured or even opened and she rushed off. No ice was provided nor were we asked if we wanted any.
We ordered the 3 course restaurant week special which was as per the website:
As Norm was driving he asked for his cocktail to be alcohol free. Mine was served in a very sticky glass as the liquid had spilled en-route to the table and the cocktail was not very cold. I suspect they had a pitcher on the bar since it was their cocktail of the night, but it was pretty as is my darling hubby.
Despite one side of the restaurant having huge windows, as the sun started to go down it got more and more difficult to see. By the time our starter arrived I could not see at all what I was eating, this pic has been lightened to make the food visible. Norm and I both ordered the Game Fish tartare, which was tuna. It was OK, Norm really enjoyed it but we both thought the dish needed more texture. The triangular things on the edge of the plate which sort of look like a chicken wing were little bits of lavash flatbread but it was an insufficient portion to balance with the large plate of fish.
One of my pet peeves (and yes, I have many) are uncleared tables. When I finish eating I want my plate gone as soon as possible. This is when I got my first real inkling of how poorly the staff have been trained as I watched multiple staff members wandering vaguely around, drifting happily past tables piled with plates and not picking them up – a waiter should never be making trips with empty hands and passing by tables full of dirty plates. One member of staff seemed to be employed just to dance up and down the steps. I only saw him actually serve anyone once and when he did he seemed to be constrained by his very tight man bun and he seemed baffled by life.
It took ages for them to clear the plates. Eventually the waitress came to deliver our main course. We had both chosen the Grass Fed Beef. I used a flash for this pic.
I was sure that the menu had mentioned some sort of potato with the main, so I questioned the lack of chips with our waitress and she looked at me like I had two heads and said I was mistaken, the dish did not come with potatoes. I detest green beans and did not want just a slab of meat for dinner so I ordered fries in addition to the set menu price. I checked the menu the next day and our meal should have had chips, except we had to pay extra and wait for mine and Norm never even got his!
By now it was pitch dark and the restaurant lighting was very poor. I had noticed the waitress had popped a little lamp onto each table when she served their food and because of my vision issues I also requested a little lamp when she dropped off our plates but she wandered off and it never arrived. Norm could see I was starting to get very agitated and actually got up to find one himself after we had asked multiple times. By the time the lamp arrived my steak was cold.
When the server came to take my barely touched plate she asked was it ok and I said not really, there was a lot of weird gristle and stuff in my steak and as I could not see I was afraid to just blindly shove bits in my mouth without inspection. She went to speak to the chef who offered to make another steak for me, but by then I was so over it I just wanted to go home.
When I am doing intermittent fasting and it is time for my one meal of the day, it is best you do not stand between this Kitten and that meal getting into her gob but then there comes a point where the hunger just dissipates.
The waitress then asked if we wanted dessert, except we had already had a long conversation at the start when we ordered our dessert because Norm wanted the Chocolate Fondant and the menu said it had a 15 to 20 minute wait so I had asked at the start to order it so we did not have to wait 20 minutes after we finished our main.
Instead we waited 30.
Norm enjoyed his fondant.
I love any form of donut and a churro is just an elongated donut sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. These were perfection. Crispy outside, not doughy in the centre and nicely coated with sugar and cinnamon. My only complaint is again related to staff training, the waiter carried my little bowl of sauce in his actual fingers, gripping it by the edges. NO!! Use a flipping plate dude. (This was not ‘dancing man bun guy’, we called this one ‘nose-ring guy’.)
The meal was a disaster from start to finish. I give the entire evening 3 Kitten Stars and that is mostly due to the churros.
Or maybe it is due to this hand painted tile on my table that I absolutely adored.
When the waitress brought the card machine Norm had popped to the loo and she asked me a question about Norm’s handwriting on the bill and I said ‘I do not know, I cannot see’ to which she thought I meant I was blind and began apologising about the delays with the lamp. Oh dear. I did not want to further embarrass her by saying I am not actually blind, just poorly sighted so I let her ramble on. I won’t be back so it does not matter!
On the way home Norm and I were having a chat about food and how sometimes it does not have to be the ‘best’ it just has to be available to make you happy! For example I love chicken parmesan or chicken schnitzel. In Hout Bay there is a hierarchy of my tastes:
Massimo’s special, Chicken Milanese is the BEST in the bay. However, it is a ‘special’ so is not always available. The next best is from Zur Holzbucht, however I usually prefer it with a side of pasta, so I end up ordering from Piccolo Posticino because they serve it with Aglio Olio pasta. Even thought theirs is often dry from being pounded too thin.
However if we are missioning off into town for a meal we do expect to be served what we ordered on the menu.
I did cook a few nights this week. Norm bought some fresh kingklip and I grilled it and served it with lemony asparagus and steamed broccoli and a few chips for a bit of crunch.
On Wednesday Norm attended a function at the British Consulate. The Consul had invited us to a reception as part of Manchester City’s Global Trophy Tour. “The tour aims to bring international fans closer to the club than ever before, and while at the reception you will be able to see the iconic Premier League trophy, live and in person, as well as hear from City legend Joleon Lescott.” But as we needed someone to stay with the beast and I was knackered I stayed home and Norm went to network solo.
Last night I had a fridge full of random ingredients that Norm had bought at the shops. I told him it is like being on Master Chef and being given a Mystery Box. I had red pepper, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and salad ingredients as well as minced beef. I decided to do a variation of a cottage pie. I chopped and fried the pepper and an onion, sliced a few of the carrots and threw those in, then some mushrooms. Once the veg was softened I added in the fried beef and seasonings, tomato puree and some beef stock and let it bubble away. I steamed the sweet potato and the cauliflower then pureed it and topped it all with a layer of cheddar cheese and baked it until bubbling. It was delicious served with a simple, fresh salad.
My energy has been a bit scattered this week for various reasons. We discovered a leak under our new patio on Thursday and the irrigation guys had to come and dig it up to repair it. The tilers had laid the tile directly on top of the irrigation pipes. The entire tiling job was sub-standard IMO.
This is going to be a busy weekend for us. Uncle Mark is heavy on the dog sitting duties and we are so thankful for him.
This is the first type of outing like this since lockdown. I will most likely wear a mask and take my anti-anxiety meds and hope I stay awake. Tomorrow we are going to dinner at Caitlin and Wes’ which will be lovely.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxox