Monday, September 8, 2014

Old Mac Daddy in the Valley.

Do you also like making little promises to yourself? "I must do more of this or find more time for that..." Little things that you know will give you so much joy or bigger things that you know will turn certain areas of your life around? No? Just me? Rubbish. This is some legit psychological and philosophical stuff I'm talking about here. 

Some years back, I made a conscious decision to live more. I wanted to experience more and actively go with more flows. I have never needed encouragement in the socialising department but I wanted to experience more of what is so readily available to me as someone who lives in Cape Town. To get up and get out. When I was a student, an adventure would be going to bed at 5am on a Saturday morning. Then you'd sleep until 2pm and miss half your life. At first it's really cool and we "feel so free since we left home" but then you grow up and you earn a bit more money and you become more sure of who you are and you realise you can start actively going after the things that you really want. Growing up is wonderful, I don't care what anyone says. Yes we have more to be responsible for but what always outweighs the boring stuff is the potential to have exceptional experiences. And the ability to have them frequently.

This brings me to the Elgin Valley, an area of the Cape I am certainly no stranger to, yet every time I return, I discover something new. I go on my own accord several times a year but a few weekends ago, I was invited by the Old Mac Daddy crew, who not only offered to put me up for a #SecretSunday night but they also went out of their way to call on other people in the Valley to give me a whole range of unique experiences too. 

First stop, The Pool Room at Oak Valley Wine Estate. As you can see, it was an epic Sunday.

Misha and I were seated on the edge of the swimming pool because The Pool Room is, quite literally, a room that overlooks a pool, in a beautiful garden setting. It is quiet and lush and delicious.

This steak! 
(Like how girls caption photographs of their boyfriends with "This guy!" so that should kind of explain how delicious I thought it was.) 

If you fancy visiting The Pool Room, get more info here.

From here we headed over to Old Mac Daddy to check in.

My home for the night was an authentic Airstream trailer on the edge of a lake. 

Let me show you around!

"Love Cake... Me Too" was decorated by Charly's Bakery.

I also found some peanut brittle, made by none other than Ma Mere. All the sweet treats!

Despite being a) very talkative and b) obsessed with music, the older I get, the more I love silence. I sat on the deck in front of my Airstream, with ice cold Birkenhead beer in hand, listening to nothing but nature. I got to unwind for a couple of hours before we were summonsed to a bubbly tasting at Charles Fox.

 Always love a cellar tour. 

God bless the French! 

Gurls at sunset. 

Let me interrupt this broadcast to thank Natalie for organising this all. It really does pay to have wonderful friends in high places. 

Charles Fox (which is also the actual name of the man behind the operation) pulled out the big guns for our visit. I pretty much ate an entire dish of butter with my bread and cheese. 

After getting a little tipsy, it was time to return to Old Mac Daddy for...

Warm Everson's mulled cider, in front of the fire and...

PIZZA! We each made our own at Brinny Breezes, which is the restaurant at Old Mac Daddy.

And finally for dessert... Real S'mores with braai-toasted marshmallows, chocolate digestive biscuits AND Nutella. Highlight! 

I woke up quite early the next morning, as it was Monday after all and I love early mornings in nature. After doing a quick weather check, I made a cup of coffee and headed out to my deck.

I dream of waking up to stillness like this every morning. My week got off to such a peaceful and unhurried start thanks to a #SecretSunday at Old Mac Daddy.

Before dragging myself back to reality, I went up to Brinny Breezes for one last meal, a really great omelette.

Do I look well rested or what? 

#SecretSunday is an invitation from Old Mac Daddy to let your weekend live on a little longer. A Sunday night stay costs R790/trailer, includes breakfast and gives you that extra little bit of time before heading back to reality. They are also throwing in the contents of the mini-bar for the month of November. Book now, yo!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hills and Valleys in Elgin.

It all started when tiny, baby Natalie turned 26! That officially happened at El Burro (dammit, it's always so delicious) though and not on any hills or in any valleys in Elgin.

But that weekend I headed out to Elgin for the night...

First stop, Old Mac Daddy. I had never been before so I'm so glad I finally did because it is such a rad place. I'm very excited to be going back for the night later this month.

I had a delicious mushroom risotto for lunch but there were some pies and pizzas around me that gave me major order envy. You don't have to be staying at Old Mac Daddy to enjoy the restaurant, FYI.

Nat and I.

After lunch we went back to our house in Grabouw to settle in for the night. 

This is Bear Trap Lodge. It looks tiny from the outside but it actually sleeps 10 people.

Waste no time, crack open the wine! This I picked up at Peregrine Farm Stall on the way in.

Bear Trap Lodge is quaint but not short on one lovely old fireplace. 

The next morning I went on a quick mission to Charles Fox. I adore their Vintage Brut Rosé and needed to pick up a bottle. Quick tasting compulsory.

Charles Fox is high on a hill in Elgin. Turn right after Peregrine Farm Stall and follow the signs.

I also picked up a bottle of their very delicious Pinot Noir. Stupidly only one and it is of course both really good and finished now so I shall have to return for more soon.

We then headed up to where Everson's Cider is made. I'm not a huge cider drinker but I love the little operation they have going on there and I was able to taste and buy some wine by William Everson. Everson's is in a unique Grabouw neighbourhood that is made up of interesting small holdings, where vegetable gardens and a simple life are the way of the land. There was a little bit of bread, home-cured meat and smoked cheese in this visit too - so good it's worth mentioning, even thought it's not quite on the tasting menu. It pays to know people who know people.

Our last stop was Platform 1 Eatery at Elgin Station for lunch. I had a really good steak, yo.

Until next time... 

I value the time I get with my friends so much. These girls are so kind and easy to love.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Thing About Whisky... that I love it. A tremendous amount. I would attribute my love to years of training from Johnnie Walker experts but it probably started before then, in a past life even, like that one time I was living in Scotland. Just kidding! 

Or am I? 

No, but really. I have been invited to a Whisky pairing dinner at Pigalle next week and I am so looking forward to it. I haven't been to Pigalle in some time, so it is a great opportunity to go back and I love Whisky pairings. (Note, I spell Whisky with a capital letter. That is because it is important.) I've done a few pairings in the past and they are always a completely unique treat. Next Thursday's dinner (14 August) will be the first in a 6 part series called SUPPERCLUB and it will involve not only three courses of deliciousness, paired with Whisky, but also live entertainment from a selection of our city's top musos. 

Okay, let's talk food. The menu promises Salmon Teriyaki, Grilled Beef Fillet and Queen Prawns, all to be enjoyed alongside the ever so fine Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. I will, of course, be using Uber. 

Now let's talk music. The first dinner is offering up Original Swimming Party. I have been incredibly bad and not seen them live yet. If you just so happen to see this Jeremiah, I can't wait! They will be supported by Valve State, who have toured the country with Johnnie Walker in the past so know all about how to make sounds that are as delicious as Whisky tastes. 

If you'd like to get on board, tickets for SUPPERCLUB are available at Webtickets for R290 per person. The events will be running every Thursday until the 23rd of October, with a closing event that will feature Taxi Violence unplugged. Epic! 

I will, of course, be doing a proper show and tell via Twitter and Instagram on the night so if you're interested in finding out more before purchasing a ticket, find me there. 

But wait, there's more ;)

If you'd like to win a pair of tickets to the launch event next Thursday (14 August), you can do so here. Please will you join the Facebook event page, follow @PigalleSA on Twitter and then let me know why you and your partner/homeslice just HAVE TO be at SUPPERCLUB next week. A comment or tweet will do. I will do a draw on Monday evening so come back then.