Category Archives: Food

Over Easy?

An OEB Breakfast Co. restaurant opened right near my home last year and I had still never visited it so on Saturday I invited my friend Esther to join me there for breakfast.

It’s a busy place so I was glad I’d made a reservation.

We were given the perfect table in a sunny window with a view out over the city.

Everything on the menu looked tempting and delicious. Esther and I decided we would share a Canadian Lobster and Shrimp Crepe served with Hollandaise sauce and truffle pearls. It did not disappoint. We each added an artfully arranged fruit plate as well.

The wait staff were ever so friendly and I thought the all-gender washrooms with their unique door labels were cool.

Esther and I talked about what the OE in the restaurant’s name stood for. Esther thought maybe ‘over-easy’ to allude to all the egg dishes on the menu.

Looking on the website later I found out OEB is an acronym.

O stands for outstanding people and refers to the great staff.

E stands for embracing evolution because the restaurant likes to try new things and push culinary boundaries.

B stands for bold food integrity. They use farm fresh local and seasonal ingredients.

The restaurant was busy and a buzz with conversation. That made it cheerful but also made it hard to carry on a conversation with your meal companion.

My husband Dave was just a little jealous that I’d tried the new restaurant in our neighbourhood without him so I have a feeling I might be going back again soon with him.

Other posts…………..

Patio For Breakfast

Lessons Learned Waiting Tables

A Dutch Touch on a Fine Fall Afternoon

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Filed under Food, Restaurants

Mexican Food With A South African Twist

Pear and parmesan salad with prosciutto and mushroom pizza at an Italian restaurant in Cape Town called Nonna Lina Ristorante

One of the things Dave and I have really enjoyed about Cape Town is all the fantastic restaurants, which offer fabulous service and EXCELLENT food at prices we figure are usually about half of what they would be in Winnipeg. We wondered if this was due to low wages but found out through a little investigation that restaurant staff in Cape Town are actually quite well paid in comparison to other workers and in comparison to other places in South Africa.

Enjoying potstickers and tiger chill prawns in a Cape Town Restaurant

Cape Town is an international city so you can get every kind of food here- Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Greek, Irish, British, German, Portuguese, Ethiopian and many more. The Cape Town chefs are quite adventuresome and so the different kinds of food often come with a unique twist.

An example would be a Mexican restaurant we went to recently called Hacienda. The menu didn’t have photographs so when our various dishes arrived we were quite surprised at how they looked. They were not the standard version of similar dishes in Canada or even in Mexico where we once spent the winter in a rented home in the city of Merida.

Here was our complimentary tortilla chip and sauce dish before the meal. It had three different kinds of tortillas which were made right in the restaurant fresh daily.

One called Tierra Verde was made with coriander and spinach, another called Al Carbon was made with coal-smoked corn flour and a third called Achiote was made with achiote spice which comes from an evergreen bush.

The chips were offered with three different sauces-Pasta De Frijol- a spiced black bean sauce, Salsa Verde-a green tomatillo sauce and Adobo Oaxaca- a red adobo rub sauce.

We also ordered margaritas because they are half price for an hour and a half each day and we just happened to be there at the right time. They were unique as well, but delicious.

The first dish we shared was a chicken quesadilla. Not what we were expecting but made with corn mustard seed and avocado cream and amazing.

The second dish we shared was brisket adobo. Again not what we expected but wonderful. The brisket was so tender it melted in your mouth and was served with pineapple sesame seed salsa, radish and pickled watermelon.

We ended with a shared dessert of churros which we remembered eating lots of when we were in Spain. These were very different however in shape and size- served with banana dulce, and chocolate chilli ice cream.

We probably would not have ordered dessert if we had realized that every meal came with a complimentary swirl of cotton candy. The waiter assured us it didn’t contain as much sugar as we thought. It was actually really good!

German bratwurst, cheese sticks and pretzels at the Kapstadt Brauhaus

We only eat two meals a day here in Cape Town and we always have one in our apartment and one in a restaurant. We are also trying to walk between 10,000 and 12,000 steps a day to work off those fabulous meals.

Breakfast in a restaurant means supper is in our apartment

We’ve booked ourselves in at a restaurant highly recommended by all our tour guides for our last night in Cape Town where we will be treated to 18 different kinds of South African food plus music and entertainment. We are really looking forward to that. But in the meantime, it’s been great to explore world cuisine with a twist during our time here in Cape Town.

Other posts……..

Dinner on a Board- The Ultimate Food Experience

Lessons Waiting Tables

A Meal in a Box

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Filed under Africa, Food

Wine Tasting-But Even Better- Making New Friends

Dave and I went on an all-day wine-tasting adventure to three different regions near Cape Town. The wine was lovely but the most interesting thing about the day was the fascinating people we got to know at each of our tasting sites.

Our first visit was to the beautiful Simonsig Wine Estate run by the Malan family in Stellenbosch.

We drank four wines here and enjoyed lovely trays of olives, cheeses, bread and spreads.

Let me introduce Charlotte, a 30-something insurance agent from Johannesburg who was in Cape Town on a holiday with her partner a food technologist. She told us she met him at a funeral. There wasn’t enough room at our table for him so he had to sit elsewhere.

The woman to the right of Charlotte is Alice an 80-something retired teacher and grandmother from Rochester New York who left her husband at home while she went off to explore South Africa.

They were dynamos both of them and we had a fabulous conversation while we sipped our wine and nibbled on our tray of appetizers.

I found out Alice had fundraised and taken her New York high school students on trips to Ghana and Senegal for several decades and had done mission work in Haiti for twelve years with her husband. She had travelled all over the world and was in South Africa with her two daughters. One was going shopping and the other was going kayaking but Alice decided she’d rather drink wine instead.

I found out Charlotte worked for a company from Australia that had an office in Johannesburg. They went online during the pandemic. Charlotte grew up in one of South Africa’s townships and it was a difficult road to get through high school and university so she could land her current job. She told us about the sad state of public health care and education in South Africa. Like many young South Africans we met, she would be interested in immigrating to another country.

Alice and Charlotte and I laughed and talked non-stop so I am not sure exactly which four wines we tasted at this first stop although I think one was a Sheraz and another a Gewurztraminer.

And what was Dave doing while I chatted with Charlotte and Alice? He was talking rugby and Brexit and all kinds of other topics with Mel and Paul a couple from a small community near Birmingham England where Paul was a truck driver and Mel a teacher.

Before we left Stellenbosch our wine tour guide Charles took us on a walk through the town.

I was most fascinated by an artwork created by Strijdom van der Merwe. It was a laser-cut silhouette of Nelson Mandela’s face which upon closer examination morphed into a map which plotted locations in South Africa that played important roles in Nelson Mandela’s life. I thought it was both meaningful and sad that a homeless person was asleep beside the art piece.

Then we were off to the Franschhoek area. The scenery along the way was amazing. You wanted to take photos every couple of minutes.

Our second wine-tasting stop was the Franschhoek Cellar

I had learned my lesson at the first winery where I was so busy talking I forgot to take note of the wines we were drinking so here I took photos of the wines right away so I would remember them. Good thing I did that before Dave and I got deep in conversation about military service, chocolate, beer, geography, sports cars and families with, ……..

Michael and Nikolai two graduate students from Switzerland and before I dug into …..

the delightful chicken, nectarine and feta salad I choose from the lunch menu.

As we left the Franschhoek Cellar tasting room Dave took up an ongoing conversation he had all day with a young paramedic from London, Ontario.

After some free time to explore the lovely little community of Franschhoek, we were off to our last stop in the Paarl wine region where we visited the Rhebokskloof winery.

Here each of our five wines was paired with a different delicious chocolate.

Our hostess used Dave as an example of how to lay out each chocolate from our individual boxes with the correct wine.

She rewarded him with a hug when he completed the task correctly.

After our tasting, I went to the wine shop to buy some chocolates and when I came back Dave was leading the conversation at our table with a government employee from Johannesburg, a family from Germany and a car dealership owner from Switzerland.

I don’t know if you are counting but by the time our wine tour was over we had tasted 13 different kinds of wine but…….. we’d had fascinating conversations with even more people than that from all over the world……… and that’s what made the wine tour a BIG success both in my books and Dave’s.

Other posts…………

A New Muscedere Memory

Friend For a Moment

Coming All the Way to Portugal To Get To Know Some People From Our Church


Filed under Africa, Food

What’s a Braai?

Paul tends the braai which is built into the wall in their backyard

We had our first braai experience courtesy of our Hermanus hosts Paul and Shirley. For those who don’t know what a braai is- essentially it’s the South African equivalent of a North American barbeque.

A braai is an actual fireplace itself that you use to barbecue. It is also what you do to food items- you braai them and the items you’ve grilled can also be called braai.

Paul and Shirley getting things set up for a candlelit braai on their patio

A braai is a social gathering to which you invite guests and braai food for them to enjoy.

Paul and Shirley are amazing cooks and so one meal at their house included this nectarine, passion fruit, fig, tomato and cheese salad and another………

this fabulous dish of green beans, radishes and nectarines.

A pre-braai appetizer included fresh bread with hummus and cheese. (Paul had also generously printed up the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzles for Dave, who had desperately missed his weekly ritual of doing the puzzle since leaving Canada.)

The word braai (it rhymes with ‘try’) comes from the Dutch word ‘Braden’ meaning ‘to grill.’ It is an abbreviation of braaivleis meaning ‘grilled meat.’ The word is from the Afrikaner people of South Africa.

You don’t use charcoal or a gas grill to braai you use wood. You can see packages of wood for braais for sale in the local grocery stores.

The braai itself is a kind of open fire pit and once the wood has burned down a grill is placed over it to cook things.

Shirley is tending the braai, while Paul regales us with a tale about the wine he let me pick for our braai supper.

I was intrigued by the story on the label and Paul knew all the details since he and Shirley have a business where they import South African wines to Manitoba.

I think sometimes the story that goes along with a certain kind of wine is just important in selling it successfully as the taste of the wine itself.

We had two braais at Paul and Shirley’s lovely home. For one meal they braaied sausage and then toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches on the grill.

For another, there was marinated chicken made on the braai and corn on the cob grilled there. We also had a fig and grilled halloumi cheese salad and marinated roasted potatoes. It was all fabulous!

For one braai a neighbour was invited to join us so it really was a lovely social occasion.

A big thank you to Paul and Shirley for being such wonderful hosts to us in Hermanus. Although we live in the same Winnipeg neighbourhood we had only met once many years ago at a wedding but………

Paul and Shirley considerately offered to drive us back to Cape Town along a scenic coastal route where the views were spectacular

through a combination of Paul seeing my social media about being in Africa, us having several Manitoba friends and connections in common, and my outgoing husband Dave sending a message and asking if we might get together……

Stopping at the Noordhoek Farm Village for a final meal together

we ended up spending four days at Paul and Shirley’s home in Hermanus and were given a marvellous introduction to South Africa.

Thanks again, Paul and Shirley. You were most gracious and kind.

Other posts………

Penguins Galore

A South African Winery That Honors Women

A Beautiful Way to Start the Day

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Filed under Africa, Food

Food or Wine? The Winner? It’s A Tough Call!

Gorgeous grapes from the vineyard were being unloaded when we arrived at Gabriëlskloof, the second winery we visited with our Hermanus hosts Paul and Shirley.

Gabriëlskloof is a lovely place and its tasting room resembles a well-appointed dining room in a modern home complete with a fireplace and comfy couches.

We were lucky enough to have the Gabriëlskloof winemaker and cellar master Peter-Allan Finlayson serve us his interesting, unique wines and explain them to us.

My husband Dave checks out the amphora containers at the winery

I was especially intrigued by the wines at Gabriëlskloof that are stored in clay amphora containers. When I gave tours of the Olympus Exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 2015 I learned the ancient Greeks stored wine in amphora vases too.

Storing wine in clay amphora pots gives it a unique taste and texture.

Paul and Shirley had made reservations for us to have lunch at the Farro Restaurant on the Gabriëlskloof grounds. To say it was an incredible meal is an understatement.

Paul chose a lovely white wine called Menagerie to go with our meal. I loved the colourful fun label featuring African animals.

We decided the four of us would share one order of all the tapas offerings on the menu and it was nearly impossible to decide which was my favourite. Each bite was a delight to savour!

Belnori Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart

Truffled Capaletti Cauliflower Parmesan

Duck Liver Pate with Honey and Sweet Wine Brioche

Home-smoked springbok tartare with egg yolk

Trout fishcake with dill-cured cucumber herb salad

Dave and I also shared a polenta, almond, and pineapple cake with coconut sorbet for dessert.

Talk about being COMPLETELY satisfied after a meal.

Did I like the food or wine better at Gabriëlskloof? It was a tough call but I’m afraid I’m going to have to say the food won!

Other posts…………

What Talent! Olympus Inspired Art

Marvelous Meal by Mike

Not A Meal! It Was An Experience!

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Filed under Africa, Food

A South African Wine that Honours Women

When we were in Hermanus we were fortunate to be given a personal introduction to South African wines by Paul and Shirley two wine connoisseurs from Winnipeg who import South African wines to Manitoba.

The first winery we visited with them had a woman’s name. It was owned by a female winemaker, Melissa Nelson, a former pilot who produced her first sparkling wines called Genevieve Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) in 2007 and began selling them in 2010.

photo of Melissa Nelson from the Genevieve MCC website

Genevieve is Melissa’s second name and she shares it with the patron saint of Paris. Melissa’s parents loved to spend time in Paris. According to the Genevieve website, they hoped their daughter would inherit the exuberance and optimism they experienced during their time in France.

The playful, bubbly nature of Genevieve’s wines is meant to reflect that kind of personality and character.

Melissa was not at the winery when we were there but her capable assistant was very knowledgeable and gave us so much information. She told us their bubbly Genevieve Méthode Cap Classique wines are made with Chardonnay grapes.

Of course, having Paul and Shirley there to answer all our wine questions and give us their ideas and opinions about the wine made things even more interesting.

We tasted three different kinds of bubbly wine from Genevieve MCC.

I wondered about the cameo-like logo on the bottles. The same image was also on some fun little stools in the winery.

We learned the female profiles or cameos on the Genevieve labels are a tribute to the great women champagne makers of France.

Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot took over her husband’s wine business when he died in 1804. She is known as the “Grande Dame of Champagne.” She used a novel technique to develop a champagne that still bears her name today.
Lily Bollinger took over her husband’s champagne business when he died during World War II. Over the thirty years she was in charge of Bollinger Champagne she established an international reputation for the family business.

I did a little research and found out that over the course of nearly two centuries when winemaking was almost exclusively a male art, a group of women in France became the stars of the champagne industry. I have highlighted only two of them.

Most were widows who took over their husband’s businesses after they died. The cameos on the Genevieve bottle labels honour these women.

The building that houses the Genevieve tasting room was lovely.

See the peacock feathers behind me? That’s a nod to the peacocks that roam the Genevieve grounds.

There was a fun and funky mural on one wall in the winery that had various caricatures of the winemaker Melissa Nelson enjoying her bubbly vintage. Apparently, the mural is a work in progress with the artist continually adding things to it.

A stop at the Genevieve MCC winery was a great beginning to our education journey about South African wines.

Just a note that Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) wines like the ones at Genevieve are made in much the same way as champagne but can’t be called champagne because that name is reserved for wines made in the Champagne region of France.

MCC wines get their bubbly quality from the long fermentation process and the addition of yeast to the bottle.

Sparkling wines in contrast get their bubbles from the process of artificial carbonation which is much faster than fermentation with yeast.

In restaurant menus here in South Africa I see all three kinds of wine -Sparkling, Champagne, and Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) listed under a section labelled Bubbles.

For my Winnipeg readers, these bubbles are available there.

Other posts……….

A Fascinating Conversation in a Tiny Wine Shop in Lisbon

Snake Wine Travel Memory

Don’t Be A Wine Snob

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Filed under Africa, Food

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

My husband discussing chestnut roasting at a Christmas luncheon

Yesterday during some carol singing at a Christmas luncheon my husband Dave was part of a discussion with a woman at our table about the opening lyrics of The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole. You’re probably familiar with them too.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

Some other people at our table wondered if anyone had ever actually seen chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Turns out my husband Dave and I had.

I photographed this chestnut seller in Hong Kong

We lived in Hong Kong for six years and the short winter season there was ushered in by chestnut vendors who appeared on street corners and roasted chestnuts in big tilted woks in a mixture of glossy black sand and sugar. The vendors were constantly stirring the chestnuts so they didn’t burn. The chestnuts came from China’s Hebei or Shandong province. I loved the smell of them roasting.

The trick to roasting chestnuts is to cut an x into their top before you roast them and then their shells literally ‘pop’ open as they roast and make them easy to peel and eat.

I photographed this chestnut seller in Siena Italy

We also saw chestnuts being roasted on the streets of Siena when we visited one January. Roasting chestnuts is a centuries old tradition in Italy where street vendors roast chestnuts over hot coals in a pan with a perforated bottom. They have a lovely smokey taste. The roasted chestnuts are placed in a large wooden barrel padded with a thick blanket to keep them warm for as long as possible. 

Whenever I hear those lyrics at Christmas about chestnuts roasting on an open fire I think of Hong Kong and Italy and the chestnut roasters I saw there.

Other posts………..

What’s A Chorreador?

A Chocolate Evening with Beatriz

Roasting Bannock- Voyageur Style


Filed under Food, Hong Kong, Italy

Thanks Harriet and Shannon

I don’t often blog about cooking or food because meal creation is not one of my talents. But sometimes the stars align and I make something that’s really good as was the case with this squash dish we enjoyed for supper recently. It was all thanks to two of my friends.

We were at a dinner party at my friend Shannon’s not long ago and she had squash from her garden placed by the front door for the guests to take home with them. I took one to be polite but wasn’t sure what I would do with it.

Shortly after the dinner party my friend Harriet featured a delicious looking squash recipe on her popular cooking blog North End Nosh. I decided to try it.

My attempt at the dish turned out great and even elicited some positive comments and a compliment from my husband Dave an excellent cook in his own right.

Thanks to two friends I can add another item to my modest list of culinary successes.

Other posts………..

Authors Who Bake

A Meal in a Box

Dinner on a Board- The Ultimate Food Experience

Marvelous Meal by Mike

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Filed under Food

Marvelous Meal By Mike

On Friday we had a marvelous meal made by our talented nephew Mike. Mike loves to cook and Dave decided to take advantage of that by asking him to make a dinner for the three couples in our cycling group. Mike was kind enough to agree.

The dinner was in the gorgeous backyard of the home Mike owns with his wife Stephanie.

Look at the beautiful table laid for our dinner in a pergola by the pool!

Our friendly great nieces served as our waitresses.

Jazz played in the background as we had our pre-dinner drinks on a perfect summer evening.

Stephanie, Mike’s wife had recommended some local wines to go with each of the four courses of our meal, and prior to the dinner while Dave and I were attending our great nephew’s baseball game the other two couples went out and purchased them.

The wines proved to be perfect pairings for each of the delicious dishes we were served. Each dish had been uniquely created by Mike.

Our first course was a crusted zucchini flower stuffed with mushrooms, shrimp, onions and spices on a bed of shaved zucchini.

Our second course was pork belly and scallops with a mango radish salsa.

Our third course was a braised short rib finished on an open fire with smoked ginger carrot puree and topped with pickled onions, roasted peanuts and cilantro.

And finally for dessert piping hot smoked peach crisp with homemade basil ice cream.

It was quite dark by the time we had dessert so Michael and Stephanie invited us into their charming home for our last course and we got more of a chance to visit with them.

What a fabulous dinner in a gorgeous setting! Thanks Mike for all your hard work and creativity in preparing it for us and thanks to Stephanie and our great nieces for warmly opening their home to us for the evening.

Other posts……….

Dinner on a Board- The Ultimate Food Experience

Driedger- Top Chef Junior

Cooking Up a Storm in the Yucatan

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Filed under Cycling Trip- Ontario, Family, Food

A New Muscedere Memory

One of the stops on our winery/cycling tour yesterday was the Muscedere Vineyards.

 We were warmly welcomed by Melissa Muscedere the assistant winemaker.

Muscedere is a family business with Melissa’s brothers, sisters-in-law and parents all involved.

We were interested in an unique flower we had seen as we drove on the yard and Melissa told us it was called Celosia Cristata also known as Rooster’s Comb and that her mother had brought the seeds to Canada from Italy.

The vines at Muscedere were heavy with grapes and we learned that the netting around them was to protect the grapes from crawling insects and birds. We could hear the recorded sounds of gunshots and shrieking hawks being broadcast out over the vineyard to chase away birds that might prey on the grapes.

We started our time at Muscedere with some wine tasting and I tried a flight of white wines. I liked the Sauvignon blanc the best.

Later we enjoyed some of Muscedere’s wood- fired pizzas.

This is the third time Dave and I have been to the Muscedere Winery. The first time was in 2011 when our family attended our niece’s wedding there. It was while we were taking this family photo in the vineyard that our older son and daughter-in-law informed us we were going to become grandparents for the first time.

The second time we went to Muscedere was in July of 2018 when a whole bunch of family members met there for the afternoon. We were making a special visit to Ontario to see Dave’s brother John who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Dave drove a rented van that would accommodate John’s wheelchair out to the Muscedere Winery. We would return to Ontario in October for John’s funeral.

It was good to visit again yesterday and create a third Muscedere memory.

Other posts………..

Good-Bye John

Making Memories

Be Old! Be Bold!

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Filed under Cycling Trip- Ontario, Food, Travel