23 August 2007

The one about the unplanned feeshing trip

As you can see, there is a huge hole in the side the Ocean Basket on Kloof Street. The photo of the notice on the door is a bit blurred, but the heading gives you the idea that it was a bit sudden.

The one about the pit partners

Four down and two to go.
I have this ritual of checking off opera performances on my schedule just before crashing into the last act. It gives me hope. Alex Fokkens and I met about 15 years ago at the SA National Youth Orchestra course in a cold, cold July in Bloemfontein. Hadri conducted Sibelius' 2nd symphony. What I remember most of that SANYO course was that, prior to the last performance, Alex and I played the slow movement from the second Dittersdorff concerto together and perfectly in tune while waiting to go on stage. An unsurpassed feat in double bass performance.
We reunited in 1994 to tour Scotland with SANYO. What joy and what frustration! My bass case weighed about 20kg and looked like Hagrid's coffin. We referred to it as 'Grandma' and, when transporting it, occasionally used to knocked on the case and asked "Grandma, you still OK in there?". Besides our own cases, we had to schlepp their royals highnesses basses around as well. Alex then left for the US to study double bass and conducting and I, well, I didn't.
Many adventures later, the intrepid bass players reunited in Cape Town and to pay for our sins we were thrown into the orchestra pit-of-hell. Alex, of course, is a super bass player and I am basically there for light comic relief and to turn the page. I suggested that we wear red ties and then promptly forgot to wear one. I overcompensated by wearing two red ties tonight.
PS: There are chillies on Alex's tie. Why?

18 August 2007

The one about Wellness on Kloof Street

Another first for Kloof Street? Wellness Warehouse is scheduled to open this month at Lifestyles on Kloof. According to their website, "Wellness Warehouse is the very first retailer to provide the widest range of wellness products and services in a single destination. Our store experience is truly unique and designed to be comfortable and inspirational. In essence, Wellness shoppers are treated to a retail concept different to anything currently available. Our specialised product development team source products from both local and international suppliers. This means that we stock familiar brands, as well as new and unique product ranges currently not available locally. The Wellness Warehouse is a privately owned business opening its first stores in Cape Town and soon expanding nationally."

The one about Jean Daneel Wines

Meandering down Kloof Street, I noticed that the building materials to renovate Lifestyles on Kloof was less obstructive, and decided to celebrate this by getting drunk for free at Wine Concepts. Before tasting some wine, I questioned the store about the Tamboerskloof Voignier 2006, to me an unexplore cultivar . Luckily, the wine maker of Katbakkies was at hand to enlighten me. Jean-Pierré Daneel was in store to promote the Jean Daneel wines. Four wines were available for tasting and all were excellent. This cellar is known for its superb Chenin Blanc, but at the end I invested (wine is now too expensive to just buy... rather, you invest) in JD Initial White, a Chenin, Semillon/Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc blend. As you can see, JPD, offers quite an attractive label.

The one about (being) Naked on Kloof

The importance of (being) Naked on Kloof lies in the fact that it has been serving wraps to Cape Townians for 10 years now. According to the owner it introduced wraps (as a 'fast food' concept) to South Africa. Why does Naked survive, when other restaurants and cafés are closing down at an alarming rate?
In my opinion:
1. It has transcended from 'trendy' to being quintessential.
2. It is not expensive: the price rangs is R12 to R37.
3. The owner is on site all the time. I have never seen Naked without its owner.
4. It has a sense of humour. Naked is clothed on Sundays.
If there is one thing that I believe in (except dinosaurs and that one day all music will sound like Mozart), is to support local interprise. Especially, if clothing is optional.

12 August 2007

The one with a video of a rehearsal for 'La Rondine'

Braamie captured Saturday's rehearsal of Acts I & III of Pucinni's opera, 'La Rondine' on his Nokia E70. The premiére is next Saturday in the Baxter Theater.

11 August 2007

The one about inconsiderate builders

This one is for the community. The renovators of the Life Style Centre on Kloof Street store their building materials very unceremoniously and unmarked over the whole width of the pavement. You have to step right off the curb into a big puddle to be able to navigate pass the obstruction. This would probably never happen in Sweden!

The one about 55 Kloof Street

Taking a break from cooking, Braamie and I had lunch at the new diner on the block, Deli55, situated in the Groote Kerk's complex of buildings at 55 Kloof Street. The menu covers both breakfast and lunch dishes/light meals. Braamie order the beef burger and I munched away at the beef wrap. They also sell deli items which included huge croissants (not sampled). Their red espresso was pretty good (served with honey). The service was efficient, friendly and in Afrikaans!

07 August 2007

The one about the Queen of Tarts

I cheated: when Ushma asked for a venue for lunch today, I boldly suggested Queen of Tarts in Observatory as THE venue. As if I have ever been there! QoT was actually where Anna suggested we meet for lunch tomorrow. This sunny diner, decorated with QEII memorabilia and a small menu written on a black board, carries a warning to customers not to order dishes that are not on the menu!? Phumla and I chose the crispy bacon, chicken and brie which was served on a bed of extremely well-dressed lettuce (a sweet balsamic reduction) and low GI bread. Ushma and TK opted for the roasted aubergine and pesto-esque sandwich. I tasted TK's sandwich and it was GOOD.

06 August 2007

The one about an old tradition

Alas, Braamie has secret photos of me on the bass! I discovered these on his computer. They were taken during the performance of the Messiah in the Cape Town City Hall last week. Although I look very serious, I had fun. As tradition demands, the audience stood up for the 'Halleluja' chorus. Is it also tradition to repeat the chorus as a the end of the performance?

The one with closures on Kloof

Two restaurants closed down on our block last week. Chef Pons' Street Bar closed down on 29 July. I am not sure how long this establishment has been running, but there was always a crowd and in summer we could hear their guest laughing in their back garden. The Gr(ill) Steakhouse opened in April 2006 and never really took off. Often Braamie and I would play 'spot the diner'. We were impressed that they actaully lasted so long without any customers...

05 August 2007

The one about lunch on Long Street

DeliZiosos, a small deli, trattoria, restaurant and espresso bar at 150 Long Street, is run by Giuliana Biasotto. Susan and I enjoyed a 'legal' lunch there on Friday. The restaurant is situated a few blocks from the courts and advocate Chambers and, as was evident during the number of times Susan did the colleagial head bob, a favorite among the legal fraternity.

The lunch buffët features a variety of Italianate dishes which are sold by weight. I'll check with Susan, but I thought all the dishes were really tasty. The cuppucino is perfect with home made biscuits which melt in your mouth.

The one about Cats on Kloof

BIG (Burmese Interest Group) had a show at Jan van Riebeeck High School on Kloof Street. I was invited to the show by the van Zyls whose neighbour's cats were on display. It was my first cat show. One tip: never mention that you are more of a 'dog person' at these events...

Dave and Adrii Helgren (my Amercian parents) invited Abraham and me to dinner at Café Paradiso. We were joinged by Deon, Gordon and Mischief, the owners of the restaurant. Braamie is seen holding Mischief .

01 August 2007

The one with photos of the Messiah rehearsal

Rondebosch High School, Rustenburg Girls High and SACS choirs have combined forces to perform Handel's Messiah in the Cape Town City Hall this week. This is my first concert with Barry Smith and I really enjoy playing with him. These photos were taken during the rehearsal on Monday evening.

The one with shameless selfpromotion

My father's book, Die Rooi Rok (The Red Dress), published in 1997 has been listed as one of the 100 Representative South African Books for Children and Young People 2007 by the International Board of Books for Young People in South Africa. Go, Dad!