SAWUBONA!!!! MY HEART FOUND A HOME IN SOUTH AFRICA!
Hello, hello, hello everyone! I’ve returned after a long hiatus with a great story to tell! In spite of our nations (America) grossly over exaggerated media coverage of the Ebola virus, I hopped on a plane and visited AFRICA!!! South Africa to be exact…Johannesburg and Cape Town to be precise :).
Let me begin by saying I’ve been to A LOT of places, but South Africa (SA), by far, has been my GREATEST trip to date! Woot! Hooray me!
The PEOPLE, the SIGHTS, the FOOD, the HISTORY, the FOOD! Did I mention the FOOD twice? It was definitely on purpose.
To describe it gracefully:
Have you ever looked forward to going over to eat at your favorite aunties house for a holiday meal? No one could make a pot of gumbo better than her or stew some chicken better than her? Every place I ate in SA gave me that warm feeling like…”Someone who loves me is in that kitchen making my meal”.
LOVE, my friends, is what I tasted in EVERY single prepared meal or beverage I ingested in SA! From SMOOTHIES to FINE DINING…everything was DELICIOUS.
Listen…when you hug the lady that made your XANDER JACKSON smoothie every morning in Johannesburg in an almost tearful goodbye…She made a DAMN GOOD fruity beverage!!! I kind of want one now..as I type this at 5am…I digress.
^^The Xander Jackson: Coconut Milk, Banana, Strawberry, Pineapple^^
Anyway…The food was once again EXCELLENT and the company I kept paralleled it.
On this trip I ate, learned, “Turned Up” and repeated for 11 days straight. Please try to keep up with the following text.
Note: Please feel free to Google and/or Urban Dictionary any slang terms I use in this blog post (I.e “Turn Up”)that you may not understand at your own leisure. Thanks! -Airis
Let’s talk about MEAT. South Africans eat a lot of it…..A LOT OF IT! Beef, game, gator, ostrich…Just know that one or possibly ALL of these are happening at ummm EVERY DAMN MEAL!!!!!!
Let’s start here:
Was it lunch, brunch, breakfast? I don’t know, my body clock was off. A group of us enters Pata Pata (http://www.mabonengprecinct.com/entertainment/restaurants/pata-pata/) an African Diner in the Maboneng Precinct of Johannesburg, SA which is conveniently located 2 blocks away from our hostel/backpacker community digs Curiosity Backpackers (http://www.mabonengprecinct.com/properties/developments/upcoming-developments/curiocity-eastcity-backpackers/)…Please check out both!
I was told what the specials were and I decided to order the rib eye which came with steak fries and a garden salad. Slightly jetlagged and tipsy,
I couldn’t do the calculations from grams to ounces (oz) fast enough. I unsafely “assumed” that 700 grams would roughly be about 8oz at best.
And then, to my table arrived this:
Both pleased and mortified, I made a feeble attempt to eat it all…but alas…FAILURE.
I must admit that I was in Joburg a few days before I actually ate some traditional South African food. There was so much food near and around us that was SOOO good. I even ate Mexican food, more than once….:/ sorry.
^^ SPICY CHILI FRIES W/GUAC AND PICO^^
^^CHICKEN CHIMICHANGA THAT TASTE LIKE JESUS MADE IT!^^
Fortunately all my international food meandering came to a stop once I ate lunch at a local restaurant in Soweto (sorry the name escapes me). There, I ate Oxtail in Red Wine Sauce w/ Pap (a local side dish that I like to describe as if grits and mashed potatoes had a baby), Pumpkin and Spinach. Granted it took about an hour to come out…DELICIOUS is not the word!!!!
I also went to Cape Town, SA! Upon touching down on Western Cape soil, I headed to the Biscuit Mill Market where a friend and I ate ALL THIS…….
^^GRILLED ASSORTED MUSHROOMS W/HERB OIL^^
^^PAELLA..WE DIDN’T EAT ANY..NO ROOM BUT IT SURE AS HELL LOOKED GOOD!^^
^^LEMON MERINGUE PIE^^
My face went from:
In just a few short hours! ^^BBQ BEEF KABOB^^
That night, we enjoyed some very lovely Ethiopian food!
^^ETHIOPIAN FOOD IS EATEN WITH YOUR HANDS..SO FIRST…^^
^^FOOD IS SERVED ON A COMMUNAL PLATTER TO BE SHARED BY FRIENDS!^^
^^THERE ARE ALL TYPES OF CURRIES HERE BOTH MEAT AND VEG TO BE EATEN WITH “INJERA”..THE FLAT BREAD THAT SURROUNDS THE CURRY..YUM!^^
The next night, we (Nomadness Travel Tribe) had the honor of having a wonderful dinner hosted for us by the Cape Town Board of Tourism. The dinner was held on the VA Waterfront and to say it was a treat is an understatement. That dinner was the BOMB!!!!
We had four courses. I have to say that this dinner made me see some of the parallels between African and New Orleans cuisine.
BRIEF HISTORY LESSON: New Orleans was settled by the French and Spanish and after the Louisiana purchase, saw an influx of free people of color (from Haiti) and also African slaves.
The first course really hit home for me. It was seared scallops in a crawfish bisque,asparagus and radishes.
Taste like I was sitting in a restaurant in NOLA! The rest of the meal was just as delicious with classical French preparation executed flawlessly.
^^LEMON SORBET…THIS WAS A “PALATE CLEANSER” BETWEEN COURSES”
^^SEARED LAMB W/TRUMPET MUSHROOM, POTATO FONDANT AND PORT WINE SAUCE^^
^^VANILLA PANACOTTA, HONEY COMB, FRESH BERRIES^^
Oh….and did I mention we had OPEN BAR!!! My table kept it classy and mostly drank Rose….several…bottles..of…ROSE!
^^CHEERS TO THE CAPE TOWN BOARD OF TOURISM AND NOMADNESS!!!!^^
Thank you Cape Town Board of Tourism…Nomadness Travel Tribe loves the hell out of you!!!!!
So after ALL that eating, I finally/randomly got a chance to cook! A few of the members of my group mentioned to me that there was a culinary school not far from where we were staying in Maboneng. Of course I wanted to go too! I’m always interested in what’s going on with culinary students….the future of our GREAT industry. I headed over to the JHB Culinary and Pastry School where I met Chef Owners Kelvin and Jarlyne Joel. After a brief convo, I was invited back the next day to teach a class on Chicken and Waffles! The concept of sweet and savory dishes in SA is well…foreign. :/
Instead of waffles Chef Kelvin told me they had a really good flap jack recipe. We had Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Flap Jacks and Blueberry Compote. The students were WONDERFUL! I was very impressed by the fact they were so inquisitive and advanced for first semester culinary students. This was an experience I’ll never forget!
And then there was the……..
It began the first night when we attended a Talib Kweli concert at the Hard Rock Café in Sandton. Here is where we “popped” the first of many, many, many bottles in SA…many.
We went out to tons of clubs from classy to absolutely, unequivocally, undeniably RATCHET!
As usual, here are only a few pics in order to protect the innocent!
^^SOMETHING WAS IN MY EYE(S)^^
^^TALENT=ALL OF THE ABOVE^^
I LEARNED….::Singing:: Welcome to Soweto! Welcome to Soweto!
As any true pro would, we all woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed the following morning to attend a tour of the Nelson Mandela house in Soweto! Wow! What a fearless, compassionate leader he was! Also, what a small house!?! Less was more in those days.
The next day we visited the Lion Park in Jeppestown! There I saw Ostriches…
^^SORRY I ATE YOUR BROTHER DUDE…^^
Zebras, Lions, other Fawn like animals? And oh yeah….I got to pet a Cheetah!!!!
This experience was AWESOME but at the same time I was scared as….F@#$!!!! These animals were WILD and UN-DRUGGED! One false move…I.e. One member of our group deciding to separate from us and was then targeted by the CHEETAH. The CHEETAH was the only one who realized said person had separated from the group. After which we stood still(and quiet) 20 minutes while the Cheetah was lured back to its vehicle with meat.
Oh and then there was the guy in our group who decided to wear a tank top with the full face of a LION on the front. He had to turn his shirt inside out. Word to the wise, DON’T DO THAT…EVER!!!
Shit was real at the Lion Park…. but I had a BLAST!
In Cape Town, we got to go on top of Table Mountain which is one of the 7 Wonders of Nature in the World!
CHECK OUT THE VIEW!!!
From the top of Table Mountain, you can see ALL of Cape Town plus neighboring mountain peaks like Lions Head and Devil’s Peak.
We also traveled to the Cape of Good Hope, the southern most part of the entire African continent.
To top it ALL off ladies and gentlemen, WE SAW PENGUINS!!! Now tell me who the HELL doesn’t like a PENGUIN???!!!
These African penguins survive off of fish and squid and live on the beaches in the Southern most points in Africa. African penguins are an endangered species.
Fun Fact: They are also known as “JACKASS PENGUINS” for the donkey like sounds that they make.
Honestly, this is just a brief summation of my trip. I ate so much more (now I’m trying to lose about 50lbs.). I also saw and experienced many, many more people, places and things. But I hope you got a really good feel for my experience as I will not be typing more ;).
Til next time folks!!!
Please enjoy the South African recipe below (Taken from Tastes of Africa; By: Justice Kamanga):
TOMATO AND MEATBALL SOUP
-Airis the Chef!