Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Moyo Fountains Valley

Review: Moyo Fountains Valley


Moyo Fountains Valley 
 
Normal criteria to judge restaurants by are quality of food, the class of service and atmosphere. For Moyo I have to introduce another category – your ass. 

After sitting at Moyo for just half an hour you will be acutely aware of your ass and how much it hurts. Although the chairs have a rustic charm to them, they are uncomfortable as hell and your ass will be begging for mercy.

During this first half hour you will also get thirsty since waiters at Moyo is seriously a scare resource.

If you do manage to get a waiter and order something, the waiter will return 10 minutes later only to inform you that they don’t have that item in stock. That goes for the wine and food. 

Eventually we got so fed up with the waiter returning to tell us they don’t have stock that we asked him to find out what they do have and then we will order that. 
 
Too bad their food does not look as good as the place.
The restaurant looks stunning. Too bad the food is just average.

We finally struck gold and ordered something they do have. Luckily the food wasn’t as shit as the service. However, that’s all I can say for it though.  Average at best. 

There are so many negative things to mention about Moyo in Fountains Valley which is really unfortunate. The Moyo in Melrose Arch are for many people the definitive measuring stick you use to measure other restaurants with. 

I assume that Moyo had an ‘off’ evening and that most of the time they must be on the ball. How else would they have survived this long? 
So maybe it is worth your time and money to go there. I would definitely not go back there. The amount they charge for the food and the service you get...not worth it.





I can summarise the experience with this:

MOYO = FAIL :(

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Finding new restaurants in your area with Foursquare

Finding new restaurants in your area with Foursquare

 
Foursquare logo


Looking for something new to do on a Friday evening? Use Foursquare to help you find what is going on around you.
 
Foursquare is a social network that lets you connect with people around you based on what they have been doing. Foursquare is available on Windows Phone, Android, iPhone and Blackberry. Whenever you visit a restaurant or a club, open the Foursquare app and check in to the place. Your check in will help Foursquare determine what the popular spots in your neighborhood are. Based on the number of check ins and likes a place receive, Foursquare can rank the popularity.
 

Business owners can take advantage of this by publishing their specials on Foursquare. When somebody is looking for a place to eat or something to do, Foursquare will display a list of specials that is available close to them.

Apart from using Foursquare as a means to find things to do, you can also play it like a game. Each check in you do rewards you with points. The number of points you get for a check in differs for each check in, for example, if you check into a place you have never been before you get 5 points. There are a whole bunch of different reward modifiers and each time you check in it is a kick to see what you are rewarded with.

The points that you win are tallied together and compared to your friends and you are ranked against them on a leaderboard.

Immediately when you talk about sharing your location with other people it raises some concerns regarding your privacy. Can other people use it to stalk you? Luckily they have a block user function that will block undesirable people from seeing your location.

Now that you have blocked all your previous ex-boyfriends, let’s get back to the fun. If you are the person to check into a place the most in a two month period, you will become the mayor of that place. Have fun trying to steal your friends’ mayorships.

On your quest to become the ultimate mayor you will also unlock different badges. There are badges for people that like to try different restaurants, there are badges for people that like the great outdoors and then there are a few badges for people that like to do weird things – like find a store that sells vinyl records or check into a library after 11 o’clock at night.

Foursquare is a fun way to make mundane travels around a bit more exiting.

 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review: Wine and cheese tasting at Fairview Wine Estate


Review: Wine and cheese tasting at Fairview Wine Estate


Fairview LogoNote: for today’s post I am taking over from my fiancé that is ill in bed. It’s her birthday but she is too sick to do the planned review of our visit to Fairview wine estate in the Western Cape. Any vet worth his salt will tell me it will be quicker and easier just to put her down.

During my life I have eaten some cheeses made at Fairview, so it was nice to finally be at the place where the magic happens. ‘Magic’, being the act of letting sour milk rot until fungus grows all over it. I wonder, who was the bright spark that had the idea to let milk rot up to the point that it becomes a solid block and then eat it?

That said, my fiancé and I, like most people, love cheese. Gouda, Feta, Brie, Camembert, Cream Cheese, etc. All the stuff Weight Watchers say you have to stay away from. Fairview produces a whole line of artisanal* cheeses at their cheesery**.

Located close to the idyllic town of Paarl in the Western Cape, Fairview is a dream come true for people coming from Mordor (Gauteng). Lush green fields and vineyards set a dramatic contrast to the Gauteng landscape of burning cars and police officers soliciting bribes from the people burning in the cars.

Goats only


Driving into Fairview you are greeted by their iconic goat castle. A tall tower structure that only goats have the dexterity to climb. Cows will just fall off and roll into the parking lot.

Lounge in the wine tasting area.
 
Walk past the tower and into the wine tasting area. The wine tasting area is divided into two tasting areas – the casual tasting area and the exclusive tasting area. We headed straight for the exclusive area since you not only get to taste wine, but every wine is paired with a cheese that compliments the wine’s flavour. As a palate cleanser, you are served Ciabatta bread with olive oil produced locally at Fairview.

The waiters serving you are very knowledgeable in not only the wine making techniques used on the farm but also the cheese making process. Question them about anything regarding wine tasting and they will be able to tell you. Skin contact, maturing, oak barrel aging versus something something, honestly, thinking back, I can’t remember much. I assume the wine tasting was a great success.

Oak barrels used to age wine, next to the wine tasting area.
 
Stumbling out of Fairview I reflected how great it is to be in South Africa. The natural beauty, the people and the food makes this one of the greatest countries in the world.


*New word I just learned.
**Another new word I just learned. In fact, not even MS Word spell check knows what a cheesery is.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Restaurant review: Doppio Zero Southdowns

Restaurant review: Doppio Zero Southdowns

Doppio Zero Logo
Doppio Zero at the Southdowns mall in Centurion recreates the atmosphere of a European Coffee Shop. (No, not Amsterdam Coffee Shop).

When you step through the doors at Doppio, you are greeted with the scent of freshly baked bread and cookies. Doppio Zero has their own bakery, which delivers freshly baked Artisan goods every day.

Ideal for a first date, I invited a girl that I have only spoken to on the Internet to join me for a drink at Doppio. The friendly and warm atmosphere at Doppio is perfect to put two nervous people at ease. Also, eye witnesses should I go missing.


Interior of Doppio Zero
Image source.

The ambience did its job and soon, with wine in hand, we were chatting like we have known it each other for years. We quickly decided that we will upgrade this date from ‘Drinks’ to ‘Dinner and Drinks’. Doppio’s menu offers Mediterranean dishes with a South African twist. They have a lot mouth-watering dishes including one of my favourites – Gnocchi. Much like a pasta dish, Gnocchi is made from potato dumplings and served with a pasta sauce you desire.
Doppio Zero Food

The breakfast menu at Doppio Zero is something special with many unique dishes that you don’t normally find on a breakfast menu making Doppio a lovely place to go for breakfast.

Hey, speaking of menus, Doppio Zero why do you put you menus on your website as pdf files? Not only do I have to wait for the menu to download, the menus are not searchable. If you want to make one change to the menu you have to redo the pdf and upload the file again. If you had the menu in HTML you could make the change quickly without a lot of hassle. Do yourself and us a favour by uploading your menus in good ’ol HTML.
According to your website, you don't have pizza.

That said, Doppio is an enjoyable upmarket and relaxed place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. How did my dinner date go?
As of now, my date is now my fiancé.

 

 

 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Dinner @ Capeesh! Capeesh?

REVIEW: DINNER @ CAPEESH!


Let me start with a little story first, before reviewing this awesome restaurant.  I've been a patron of this restaurant since 2010.  So when me and the fiance started dating I decided on sharing this experience with him. 
 
I clearly remember it being May 2012, a Tuesday night, just before we were to go away for the weekend to Parys, I asked him to dinner at this nice Italian restaurant. And it being "Half price Pasta Evening" was just an extra bonus!
 
We were busy having a lovely dinner, chatting away about our past (we were both married before), the present (how lucky we were to have met each other) and the future! What a shock it was on my poor digestion when this handsome man across the table form me told me that he liked me BUT that he was not in love with me! Oh my goodness, I wanted to choke on the delicious piece of steak in my mouth, but decided to rather finish the whole bottle of wine in front of me!
 
But let me tell you this, that Friday evening after that terrible Tuesday, we were in Parys and with the fire going and the red wine flowing, this man watched me with longing eyes while I was preparing our pasta.  And it gave me quite a kick to tease him with soft kisses and to quote myself my reaction was: "You won't get lucky tonight Hun, because you're not in love with me"!
 
And as a matter of fact he lied to himself and me that Tuesday night, the handsome bugger, because today we are planning our wedding!!!!  And every time he looks into my eyes I can see and feel the love!
 

Okay now on to the review.

 
Capeesh is a family orientated Italian restaurant (it being in the same family for some decades) situated in Brooklyn, Pretoria, South Africa. 
 
The ambiance is relaxed, romantic and upper class.
 
The quality of service and dishes is of a high standard. From the carne dishes (beef), pizza, pasta right through to the pesce dishes (fish) you can expect a delightful, tasty and innovative range to choose from off their menu.
 
They also won the Platinum award for wine list of the year 2011.  A wide range of wines are always available at this restaurant, from Vrede and Lust to Rupert and Rothschild (I can vouch that you don't get these wines easily at any restaurant)
 
 
And the best thing about this restaurant for us: It is not a cheesy franchise, it is unique and you're always treated like family! A nice personal touch!
 
Do yourself a favour, doesn't matter if you're a local or a tourist coming to South Africa, go and have a meal at this restaurant! You won't be disappointed.
 
 






Substitute Ingredients for some hard to find ingredients

Substitute Ingredients for some hard to find ingredients


My fiancé and I like to try out recipes from exotic cultures from all around the world. As a consequence we often run into ingredients that aren’t readily available from the shops close by.

So we compiled a list of some of the harder to find ingredients and what you can use as a substitute if you can find them.

 

Fenugreek


Fenugreek is often used in Indian dishes. Recipes might call for either Fenugreek seeds or Fenugreek leaves.

You can substitute Fenugreek seeds with mustard seeds or fennel seed.

A tablespoon of Fenugreek leaves can be substituted with fresh chopped celery leaves or chopped watercress leaves.

Some chefs says that fenugreek, if not available, can be left out altogether.

 

Kashmiri


Kashmiri chili powder is a medium / mildly hot with a lot of flavour. It is also used to colour dishes. It has a taste that is a lot like paprika but is a bit hotter.

It is recommended you use paprika and cayenne pepper as a substitute for Kashmiri. Paprika will add the colour while cayenne will add some heat.

 

Asafoetida / Asafetida


Asafoetida is a spice typical found in Indian cuisine. It functions as a flavor enhancer and is used in condiments, pickles and curries. It has a strong onion-garlic flavour.

To substitute Asafoetida, use garlic powder or onion powder.

 

Potato flour


Potato flour is used in gluten-free baking. Potato flour has the ability to absorb a lot of liquid and therefor make a good thickener of soups, stews, etc.

Potato flour can be replaced by using an equal amount of bread flour or AP flour.

 

5 spice


Often used in Chinese dishes, 5 spice usually consists of a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds.

You can make your own 5 spice by mixing  

·        2 teaspoons of Szechuan peppercorns (which naturally leads to the Szechuan peppercorn substitute)

·        8 ground star anise

·        Half teaspoon of ground cloves

·        1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

·        1 tablespoon of ground fennel seeds

 

Szechuan peppercorn


Found in Asian Cuisine, Szechuan pepper is not as hot as chillies with a slight lemon taste.

If you can’t find Szechuan peppercorn, use freshly ground black peppercorns.

 

All spice


Also known as Jamaican Pepper is often used in Caribbean cuisine.

All spice can be substituted with cloves.

 

Bok Choy


Also known as Chinese Cabbage, Bok Choy is found in soups, stir fries, appetizers and main dishes.

Substitute Bok Choy with normal cabbage or spinach.

 

Cilantro


Every now and again, I run into a recipe calling for cilantro. Cilantro is just another name for coriander.

 

Sake wine


Sake wine is a Japanese wine made from rice.
Sake can be substituted with white wine or Shaoxing wine.
What is a substitute for Shaoxing wine? Fuck knows. It is getting late and this article is getting too long now.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Camembert and Cranberry Fillet

Camembert and Cranberry Fillet




For my company's year-end lunch we went to one of those Medieval restaurants where you have to eat potatoes and fish balls with your hands. You don't get napkins and if your fingers get dirty you HAVE to ask the person next to you to lick your fingers. Fuck, what an ordeal.

I needed something to balance this out or Friday would be nothing but a big suck-fest. Luckily my fiance (or m'lady in shining armor) rescued me from my Medieval nightmare. She bought the best beef fillet she could find along with some Camembert Cheese and Cranberry sauce.

Ingredients:
Beef Fillet (size = depending on how shitty your lunch was)
Camembert Cheese
Woolworths Cranberry sauce with crushed berries
Crushed Garlic
Salt flakes
Olive Oil
Red Wine
Balsamic
Sugar
A Spring of Parsley
A Small Spring of Thyme
A Small Spring of Rosemary
A Spring of Coriander
Onions

Prepare the beef fillet by rubbing some olive oil, crushed garlic and salt flakes on the meat. Let it stand for a while.

After the fillet stood for a while, cut slits into the side of the fillet to create a cavity in the side of the fillet. Fill the cavity with Camembert Cheese and finely chopped parsley, thyme, rosemary and coriander. To ensure that the filling don't spill out when you cook it, tie some string around the fillet or if you don't have string, you can use toothpicks to keep the fillet together.

Put the fillet aside for time being, it is now time for the Cranberry sauce with Red Wine.

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Fry the onions until translucent and soft. Stir two teaspoons of sugar into the onions. The sugar will caramelize the onions.

Now stir in the Cranberry sauce and a dash of red wine. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring continuously.

Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, turn down the heat and let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. If the sauce gets to thick, you can add some water to dilute the sauce.



While the sauce is simmering you can start cooking the steaks. Cook them which ever way you prefer your steak - Charcoal, medium or bloody as hell.

Once the steak and the sauce is done, it's time to dish up! Pour some of the Cranberry sauce over your steaks and enjoy with a side dish of your choice. You can go for rice, mash or a nice salad.


 
Friday - rescued!