Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Weekend Weariness Part 2

Okay, so yesterday you read about my weekend weariness of Friday night at Market at the Square and Saturday afternoon at Taste of Durban.  Today I am going to tell you about our trip into the Midlands to take my Mom-in-law out to lunch for her birthday.

My Mom-in-law turned 77 on the 23rd July but as she stays in Howick we could only take her out on the weekend.  I asked Andrea Barras who stays in Howick for help in suggesting possible restaurants to go to.  Neil wanted a restaurant where we could sit outside.  Andrea gave me various suggestions and one of those suggestions was for Sapore in Nottingham Road.  I did some research and then connected with them on Twitter and even booked our day and time via DM.  Sapore are part of the Midlands Meander so it was easy to find them by consulting the latest map.  I was thrilled to also discover a 10% discount coupon in the Midlands Meander map for Sapore.  In case you were wondering, which I had been, Sapore is “Flavour” in Italian and is pronounced Sa-Paw-Ray.

We left home after 9am to head to Howick.  Neil wanted to be at his Mom’s place by 10am so that he could do some odd jobs for her.  Well, we left later than we wanted to and only reached Mom’s place at about 10:20am.  Everything worked out okay though.  Neil and Caleb tackled Mom’s list while Laura, Mom and I sat outside in the warm sun and drank tea.  The guys actually finished very quickly and Mom was very impressed with Caleb’s helpfulness and skills.

We left for the restaurant at about 11:20am as we needed to find the place.  Drove on the freeway and took the Nottingham Road off-ramp.  Why is it that when you go to a place it takes ages to get there and feels far quicker on your way back??  Anyway, to continue.  We found Sapore which is situated at Shop 5 & 6 Meander Square in Nottingham Road.  Parked the car and walked up to the restaurant.  No one was sitting outside and no one was sitting inside??  Oh well, I spoke to a lovely lady and gave my name and she showed us the table reserved for us outside.  Our reservation was for 12pm and that is the time we arrived.

Great table with concrete benches and lovely comfy cushions

Our table was partly shaded and it was still a cool winters day so we had our jackets on.  We were given the menus and we ordered drinks.  Now the hard part! What to eat??  They have an extensive menu with so many yummy options.  It all depends in what mood you are – pizzas (wood fired), pastas, steak, chicken.

Neil, Laura and I were the only ones to have starters.  I chose the crumbed brie with cranberry sauce and Neil and Laura had calamari.  My brie was very good but I wish I had chosen the calamari as well – fabulous!!!  Neil said it was the best calamari he has had in a very, very long time.  The dipping sauce was also not the usual tartar but something very tasty.  I asked via Twitter and was told it is their special tartar sauce.  Secrets!!  Mom had decided to just have a main and a pudding and she chose the BBQ chicken pizza, which Laura also ordered.  I had a slice of her pizza and it was amazing, chunky chicken and mushroom pieces and that wonderful wood fired taste.
Laura enjoying her calamari starter

My crumbed brie with cranberry sauce

Neil and I went the pasta route with Neil choosing the chicken and olive and I went with the carbonara .  It arrived in very large bowls with lots of pasta.  Neil managed to finish his but I only got about 3/4 ‘s of the way through.  So yummy!!  Caleb had chips and we all stole some of them.  Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside which Caleb gave a thumbs up to.

Carbonara pasta with tagliatelle

The dessert’s were not on the menu so we asked our waitress to please give us the dessert menu.  She arrived and placed a very cold plate with dessert items on the table.  At first I was rather confused and then I realized that this was the dessert that we could choose from - Italian kisses, chocolate mousse cake, cheesecake and a brownie pie.  I was quite disappointed as I love a large dessert menu, but I must say that these desserts were a perfect fit.  I had the chocolate mousse cake and it was light and delicious and just right.  Mom had the type of brownie pie and it was so sweetly presented to her with a candle and a sparkler to celebrate her birthday.  She was so surprised and happy.  So I conclude in saying – Thank you Sapore for a delicious meal that was enjoyed by all.  We had a very relaxing time with great food and company and what is better than that??
Happy Mom

The all important finish to a great meal

Neil settled the bill and we went for a walk before returning Mom back home to Howick.  Mom and I had seen while we were waiting for the food, a beautiful church next door, so that is where we all went to look.  The church is called St. John’s Gowrie and is a Presbyterian church.  There is a war memorial for the Great War 1915 – 1918 and lots of very old graves around the church.  We walked around and read the grave stones.  Shew!  We are so blessed to live in a modern age.  So many grave stones for young children and babies.  I did a bit of googling and discovered that this church was built in 1885 and is a national monument.  It is wood and iron and the buildings were ordered from a catalogue and shipped out in kit form from England.  Mom and I seem to think the church was featured on the TV programme Mooiloop as it looked very familiar.

War memorial

Then it was time to take Mom home and then to get ourselves back home as well.  Our two dogs needed to have their supper and I had to make sure the ironing was finished.  We had Sapore leftovers for supper.  Neil had a taste of my pasta and declared it very good.  So if you are in the Nottingham Road area of the Midlands, why not make a stop for lunch at Sapore – we highly recommend it. 

So concludes Weekend Weariness Part 2.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Weekend Weariness Part 1

Hello I’m back!  The school holidays are over (very sad) and we are getting back into the school routine.  I had a great time with the kids in the holidays and also managed to rest a lot in between some things I had to do in the house.  Finally after a VERY long time I made a cover for our coffee plunger which turned out well.  Anyway let me tell you about my busy, busy weekend – Part 1.

First up was Market at the Square on Friday night.  This market is held at Granada Square in Umhlanga which is quite a distance from Kloof.  But I finally had the perfect excuse to attend.  Market at the Square had been running a Christmas in July competition on their Facebook page where every day a prize was offered and you had to nominate the person who you thought should win it.  My sister Carryn nominated me for the very first prize, a clutch bag from Zulu Lulu and she won it for me.  The people who won had to be able to collect the prize from the storeholder at the market.  The kids and I were all ready to leave for Umhlanga but unfortunately Neil had been delayed at the office because of a braai.  So we only left home at about 5:30pm.  Oh yes the market is from 6pm  - 10pm.  We drove into Umhlanga and made our way to Granada Square.  OH MY!! People, people crowds of people everywhere.  In the bars, in the restaurants, standing on the pavements and completely filling the square.  It took us about 10 – 15 minutes to find parking and then we could finally get to the market.  First up was to see Chikondi at Rondavel to collect a soap and lip balm that they so generously donated for Laura’s school high tea.  I also took the opportunity to buy my favourite soap – Milk & Honey.  Then it was into the crowds we went – tight squeeze.  We saw cupcakes, biltong, handmade chocolates, lamb wraps and the biggest pan of Paella ever.  There was also live music so there was a fab vibe.  My son spotted the coffee stand but I wanted to collect my clutch bag from Jane first before having a cup.  We eventually found her and she gave me the bag and we had a bit of a chat.  Jane was one of the bloggers that attended the Durban Blogger Meet.  She sells the Zulu Lulu bags and also lots of lovely jewellery under her other label It's a Bling Thing.
Jane took the photo of me with the gorgeous clutch bag
Okay, so back into the crowd we went.  The kids decided on pancakes so I got one each for them.  Then it was coffee time!  I ordered a single shot cappuccino from Four Brothers Coffee Co and I give it a thumbs up.  Very delish!  I then spotted The Thrift Collection and Laura found a top for herself and I had a long chat to Sara.  Also checked that there would be an upload of menswear this Monday night so Caleb could shop.  Then it was time for us to head home.  Market at the Square has a great vibe and lovely storeholders such as Rondavel, The Thrift Collection, It's a Bling Thing/Zulu Lulu, Daniela’s and Rollin Vintage.  I do suggest that when you go, get there for 6pm to do your shopping and get your food.  When I say that it was crowded I really mean it!

Baristas in action

Single shot cappuccino


Now it’s onto my busy Saturday experience – Taste ofDurban.  Originally Laura was to come with me, as she did last year, but unfortunately she had a mini hockey tournament at that time.  So Neil took Laura to the hockey tournament and Caleb decided that he would go with me.  We arrived at Suncoast and parked and made our way over to the entrance of Taste.  Wow! A very, very long queue which we had to join. Saw Hazel (Beautyshoutbox), Jane (Jane Tennent) and Shirley (Cuizine Durban) all waiting to get in.  Once we were in I also saw Megan (Stuffed) and Inge (Snap, Sizzle and Cook).  Okay so let’s get onto the the good stuff – the food!

Caleb had to go to the Lindt tent first, priorities you know.  We got 2 little containers which each had 2 freshly made chocolates in.  They were so divine!  We also priced the chocolates so that we could come back later to buy before we left.  The first stop on our food journey was eKasi Experience which had 3 choices in meals – Tripe (NO), homemade boerewors and braaied chops with pap (had this).  There was a very generous portion of pap and 2 small chops of the plate.  It was very tasty but I didn’t finish the pap as there was going to be more food to eat.  I saw the Wild Bean Cafe and was thrilled as I really needed coffee.  Their cappuccino went down very well.  We moved onto Greedy Buddha and I chose a dish that all I can say about was okay.  Time for more refreshment as the day had turned out warm.  Rekorderlig is a Swedish cider that is soon to be launched in South Africa.  There were three varieties on offer to try – Wild Berries (which I had), Pear and Strawberry.  It was extremely refreshing with a lovely taste of berries.  I think it is going to do very well in our sunny South Africa.

Chops and pap from eKasi Experience

New to South Africa - Rekorderlig cider

Time for more food!  I went and waited in the long queue for Freedom CafĂ© (must be good).  Was very happy that I waited in that queue as the short ribs with dipping sauce that I ate were so yummy.  Sorry I didn’t take a picture, but you can take my word for it that they were finger licking good.  I only realized after eating them all that I hadn’t taken a picture (face palm).  Okay so 3 savoury meals and now onto sweet.  I had seen that Vigour & Verve were offering a lemon tart with crumbled coconut meringue topping, that sounded just right and it was just deliciously right.  Then it was onto Cake Lab which had launched their app at Taste of Durban.  Caleb chose a chocolate cupcake with white icing, lots of sprinkles and a moustache flag on the iPad app, pressed Shake & Bake and the cupcake was created.  We shared the very delicious cupcake.  Then it was back to Wild Bean Cafe for another cappuccino for me and a hot chocolate for Caleb.

Lemon tart with crumbled coconut meringue

Cake Lab cupcake creation

We were feeling very tired by now as we had been walking around for about 3 hours – my feet were telling me off.  So our last stop was the Lindt tent with the last of our sCoins.  We chose 10 Lindt balls, Classic dark and milk chocolate slabs and a slab of milk Excellence.  We made our way out of Taste feeling very pleased with ourselves (not the feet) and headed to the car.  Wended our way out of Durban and headed home.  Feet were very happy to be released from the shoes.  That evening 9 Lindt chocolate balls were devoured (if Neil doesn’t eat the last one very soon I will) and the Classic milk chocolate slab is no more.  The Taste of Durban was a wonderful time and I am very happy that I have been able to experience it with 2 of my kids.  Next year I think I should take Neil with.
End of Part 1 see you tomorrow for Part 2 of Weekend Weariness.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Tyre Trip

So yesterday was finally the day that I put two new tyres on my car.  The front tyres had been looking a bit worn down for quite a while but I was scared to find out what new tyres would cost.  I eventually phoned around to practically all the tyre places on Thursday.  Oh My Word!!  With the cheapest being R990 (which we went for) up to a heart stopping R4000.  I also discovered that you must Google an import tyre brand to check if it would be suitable for your car, as Neil discovered that one import was a summer tyre and had almost no hold in the wet. 

The place with the cheapest tyres was Bluff Tyres in Jacobs which is not close to us, but we travelled there to save money on the tyres.  The cheapest tyre in our area was R1400 each.  I phoned again yesterday morning just to confirm the price and to ask whether they had the tyre in stock.  The salesman did confirm and said that they had 14 in stock and that I was welcome to come down.

So I drove there and Neil navigated as I would definitely not reached there by myself.  We found parking and went to the reception and the man behind the counter tells us they don’t have the Nanking tyre.  What!!  The R990 tyre is some utility tyre.  Now we don’t know what to do as we don’t want to just put any tyre on the car.  Another of the Bluff Tyre employees comes over and he asks what the problem is so we ask about the Nanking tyre and he says that the utility tyre is made by Nanking.  Shew!! 

There is no more get tyres fitted etc and then pay.  Oh No!  You pay before they do any work on your car.  Neil did the paying and then the car was brought into a bay.  We went and sat in the waiting area.  I think we were there for more than an hour before my keys were brought to me. 

While we were waiting Neil asked whether I would like to stop for coffee at that factory place.  Huh?  The one in Gale Street.  Oh yes!  The Factory Cafe!  I have wanted to go there for ages as have heard about how fabulous their coffee is.  So after leaving Bluff Tyres Neil directed me into Durban.  On the way there his sister phoned to chat to him so then I had to find my way by Neil just pointing.  Still chatting he points over to the side of the road for me to park.  Okay, so I see business buildings and no sign for Factory Cafe.  We get out the car and greet the car guard and walk over to a lovely old building with still no clue where we need to go.  Ah ha!  The delicious smell of coffee beckons us so we climb the stairs and we find the cafe.

Half of the floor is the cafe and the other half houses interesting looking machinery.  We are greeted by the guys behind the counter and shown the menu.  Neil says lets have the grande cappuccino so that I can get over the shock of new tyres.  I was also feeling a bit peckish so decided to have a carrot muffin as well.  We chose a table by the window and soon our delicious smelling cappys were delivered.  They tasted as good as they smelled with a smooth creamy foam on top.  It was lovely to just sit and relax for a bit and enjoy a great cappy.  I would have loved to linger but we needed to stop at the shop and then get home to the kids. 

As the stop at The Factory Cafe wasn’t planned I just took a few photos with my cellphone.  I was supposed to take a picture of the building on the way back to the car but I forgot.  The Factory Cafe is definitely a word of mouth place for coffee as anyone who didn’t know about it would just drive by.  It is not your typical coffee shop but I would recommend it for its quirkiness and the fabulous coffee.