Some of our culinary highlights from South Africa

Hello! Switching gears a little bit...I've been slow in posting South Africa photos and I know that all I've posted were photos from our today I decided to focus on food.  South Africa turned out to be a gem for foodies!  As I had mentioned, we didn't have too much time to plan the trip, so I did not do as much food research as I typically would do for a big one like this.  But boy did we get lucky!!!  In the little time that I did have to do food research, I came across a beautifully photographed food blog.  On a whim, I decided to write the author of the blog to ask for advise on where I should eat...I really didn't expect a note back!  But I did.  Oh yes, humanity and super nice people do exist!  What I got was an extensive list of the author's favorite restaurants along the route that I had described and  I was/still am super thankful...and with this list and our guide book in hand, we had an awesome awesome food trip!

During our time at Umlani Bushcamp, the cooks made delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  My favorite meal there was a chicken dish with soy and ginger...ICM's favorite was grilled warthog chops!  And while we were at Kruger National Park, we bbq'ed (braai-ed) a lot - grilled chicken wings, wildebeest steak,  kebabs, ribeyes, corns, and peppers!  And at the picnic stands and restaurants at rest camps, you can't beat the meat pies!!!  SO GOOD.

But it wasn't till we arrived in Cape Town that I really felt our culinary adventures had begun.  Here are some of my favorite places!  Let's dive right in.

Aside from brightly colored buildings, the Bo'Kaap District houses Biesmiellah - a delicious Cape Malay restaurant.   

Evidence that ICM loves his blackberry.

Bobotjie - the national dish of South Africa.  Curry-spiced minced meat with egg topping. It is really good.

Crawfish curry.  Highly recommended.  Words can not describe how deliciously and deeply flavored, rich and seafoody-fresh it is.  I am drooling.

The Noordhoek Farm Village was located not too far away from our place in Cape Town and I was in love when I saw it.  I think I kept screaming "pleaeseee, can we live here, pleaseeeeeeeeeeee?"  It is rustic, unpretentious, and good-food-filled.  We entered Food Barn's deli area and I thought "if I was a writer, then I would sit here all day sipping coffee and eating lovely would that be?!"  When it was finally time to leave, ICM had to drag me away...I think I could have stayed a longgggg time.  

"love and food are all you need" truer words have ever been spoken...

I wish we had time to sample their tapas menu...but I guess I'll have to wait till next time or my next life time!

Miller's Thumb - This restaurant seems to be an institution in South Africa.  Every guide book featured it and it ranked really high in the list of to-eats by people traveling to South Africa.  I had been stuck on going to Kyoto Sushi (which is right across from Miller's Thumb) and during our second attempt, when Kyoto Sushi was CLOSED AGAIN, we crossed the street to Miller's Thumb.  When we got there, we realized the restaurant wasn't opening for another 45 minutes and we were sad. The waitress and managers noticed us snooping outside and told us they could serve us now because a lunch party was coming soon as well.  They were super friendly and helpful and we were so glad we got to eat there!  The fish dishes were fresh, delicious and perfectly cooked which is hard to find.  ICM's mahi mahi with the malay sauce option was really really good, just a tiny kick of spice, yum!  My kingklip with lychee sauce was great too (I've never had kingklip until now) but a little sweet for my taste.  Best of all though - the seafood stew that they had was the best I've ever had (so far).  

Cafe Milano - Cape Town.  Beautiful and delicious pastries.  Because there were so many places I wanted to go to during this trip, I had to really squeeze places into the schedule!! Cafe Milano was one of those places that we were able to squeeze in between meals and I did not regret it.  Perfect desserts.
What I would give to have something like this in DC!!!

The Noisy Oysters (Paternoster, South Africa) - At some point during our trip, we found ourselves in a small town, Paternoster, on the coast.  That night, we stayed in a hippie-like establishment "the Beach Camp," and in a A-frame hut right on the beach facing the ocean! When we found ourselves on the coast, I was determined to consume copious amounts of delicious seafood and so when we drove by The Noisy Oysters earlier that day, I really wanted to go.  When we got there, the nice hostess asked if we had a reservation...and we didn't :(  Apparently, they take reservations for each table once per night.  That night, they were completely booked full.  But LUCKILY, the waitress agreed to 'double book' one of the tables if we agreed to finish dinner by a certain time.  In the end, we actually had about 2 hours for dinner, the food was great, and we left on time.  The decor and outdoor seating was amazing - beachy, stylish, and comfortable.  ICM had a delicious steak and I had an assortment of appetizers, my calamari with rice was delicious, so were the oysters.  Loved it.  Below - fresh oysters from Saldanha, a small city south of Paternoster.  

My breakfast of choice in South Africa.  I know the picture below isn't great...but that basically was what I ate for breakfast very often during our South Africa trip.  Rasher bacon, grilled tomatoes, eggs, and toast - YES YES YES.

Il De Pain - Probably my most favorite place to eat at during our South Africa trip.  We went there three times!  And yes, it became an obsession.  I love bread, I love pretty and delicious coffees, I love pastries, I love desserts...most importantly, I love people who do things they believe in...and Il De Pain is precisely one of those places. 

You  know you are a fatty when you'v just had brunch or lunch and you carry out two to three take out boxes of pastries and desserts with you.  But let me tell you, nothing tastes better than a blueberry tart right after a beautiful but tiring hike.  YUM! 

This is just a short list of our food adventures, more to come....and this won't be the last mentioning of Il De Pain.  Stay tuned!