When I visited Lisbon earlier this month, I was recommended by a local to visit Belém in general for its historic tower and monastery building, but also specifically to buy and try the Pastéis de Nata at the iconic Pastéis de Belém, which has operated since 1837, only a handful of the closest trusted employees having its secret recipe. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the Lisbon train service, for its amazing train to Porto, and for the discount I received when making the booking at the Lisbon station, Initially the ticket seller told me that the second class tickets were sold out, and that I would have to buy a first class ticket at €85 for the three hour trip. He understood my question about a pensioner price, asked to see my passport, and lo and behold, I was given a second class ticket at €22! I mistakenly sat in the first class section initially, and the seats in both classes were almost identical, with footrests, and WiFi! South African trains have a long way to go! Continue reading →
I had seen in a magazine prior to my arrival in Lisbon that the Time Out Market Lisboa is a must-visit venue. What an impression it made on me, when I visited it at the beginning of June, with about 30 restaurants, bars, and florists in this massive food market very close to where I stayed in Lisbon. How does one choose what to eat, with such a selection?! Continue reading →
I had the luck to get a last minute booking at Alma, the two star Michelin restaurant of Chef Henrique Sa Pessoa in Lisbon last week, one of only two restaurants in Portugal with two stars. It opened four years ago. While one dish was superb, another was served incompletely, and my waitron let the restaurant down. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to El Corte Inglis department store in Porto, which has a fabulous free collection service at key tourist points and hotels in Porto. I made use of it to get to the store from the Se Cathedral, and to be dropped off back at my hotel. The second driver was a tour guide, pointing out key tourist attractions to me. On arrival at the store, I was told about the VIP promotion for foreigners, receiving 10% off on their purchases, which credit can be redeemed in certain departments. Whilst my shopping experience with the MAC cosmetic assistant was far from satisfactory, the Cosmetics Manager made up for it by assisting me with the payment of my purchase of their lipstick, given that the line that I like is to be discontinued. I was also invited to the restaurant, to enjoy a free Pasteis de Nata, and a glass of Port or a cup of coffee, graciously substituted for a lovely Tetley’s Tea when I requested it. And I could use the 10% credit to buy a fruit knife for my Camino journey. Continue reading →
Today is the first day of a three-month adventure on three continents, and including five countries. Not only is it a personal journey, but it also completes my SwitchBitch Book 3 which I stated writing two months ago, and gives me the opportunity to visit and review restaurants I eat at on my Blog. Continue reading →
I was invited to the newly opened Coco Safar a few days ahead of its opening in the newly refurbished Artem centre, previously the Adelphi Centre in Main Road in Sea Point. A week ago I invited a young chef intern to join me for Brunch at Coco Safar, on a Sunday morning. Continue reading →
Cape Town has dropped to the 20th position in the TripAdvisor 2016 Travelers’ Choice Top 25 World Destinations list, from 10th last year, despite the extremely favourable exchange rate offered to tourists by our city. No explanation for the massive ranking drop is provided. and may be due to the stringent Visa Regulations!
The TripAdvisor 2016 Travelers’ Choice Awards World Destinations list has just been published: Continue reading →
The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison has been operating for almost three years, and during its recent two month winter break, a number of changes were made to the interior, to the menu, with further changes on the way.
Ten days ago I visited Maison after a long absence, mostly due to the winter closure, and my less frequent visits to Franschhoek in the winter months. In walking to The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison it was a delight to see that the uncomfortable stony entrance walkway has been replaced with very comfortable walkable wooden decking. Tables and chairs have been set up on the front lawn, to allow for overflow of unbooked guests. Inside, the ceiling near the pass has been redone with wooden cladding, as has a wall alongside the fireplace. New lamps have been hung, looking like seahorses to me. Lamps have been erected above the pass, with shelving above it, and the pass exterior has been wood-clad as well.
The biggest change is that a Deli is to be introduced in the winetasting section, on the right as one enters the building, with a bar counter, at which one will be able to taste six to eight Maison wines (the number is still to be finalised), each paired with two tapas-like bites reflecting some of the dishes which Chef Arno Continue reading →
* It’s the start of Tourism Month, and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has advised South Africans to visit the sites that pay homage to the late Nelson Mandela at the launch of the month long focus on tourism, culminating in World Tourism Day on 27 September. The theme this month is ‘Tourism Transforming Lives’. Domestic Tourism is an important focus for our country, especially given the decrease in international tourists which can be expected due to the new Immigration Regulations. A target of 18 million domestic tourists has been set for 2020. The theme of World Tourism Day is ‘Tourism and Development in the Community’.
* Coca Cola has won Grand Prix Awards for Overall Favourite Brand as well as Community Upliftment at the Sunday Times Top Brands Awards, as well as Favourite Soft-Drink Award. Eskom received the ‘Green’ Grand Prix for preserving the environment, and Shoprite was named the top Grocery Store Award. Other winning brands are Nokia, Tastic, KOO, Nike, KFC, and Ricoffy.