Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Cape Town loses its standing as world’s favourite tourist city, overtaken by Durban!

Cape TownFrom number one in the New York Times 52 Places to go in 2014, Cape Town has fallen right off the list of 52 Places to go in 2015. In its place, Durban has made 7th on this prestigious list this year!   Cape Town too has lost out to Los Angeles as the home for filming the German reality series ‘Der Bachelor’.

The South African stories for the New York Times  are written by Sarah Khan, an American writer who now lives in Cape Town.  Having become proudly-Cape Town, Khan has written many articles about Cape Town, even though her restaurant recommendations for Cape Town in Travel + Leisure left much to be desired Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: Kyoto Garden Sushi over-priced, over-salted, over-slow service!

Kyoto interior 1 Whale CottageFrom having been low key for eight years since opening, 2014 has been kind to Kyoto Garden Sushi, in it winning a 5* Smart Casual accolade in the 2015 Diners Club Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide, as well as Best Asian Restaurant in the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Awards last month.  As a result friend Whitney Wentzel and I had extremely high expectations when we had dinner there last Wednesday evening, which sadly were not met at all!

I was surprised that I could book a table for the following day when I called, being the week after the Eat Out Awards, the Japanese chef taking the booking.  I had seen a parking sign with an arrow to the left outside the entrance, and had thought that parking was available behind the building, but was told thatKyoto Interior 2 Whale Cottage it was for upstairs tenants and that we should park at the school down the road, not great on a rainy night.  The waiter I asked had no clue about the parking sign outside.  Luckily a parking bay became available across the road.  At the entrance to the restaurant a candle is lit, and two Noren cloth dividers hang in the doorway.  We were shown to a table, sitting next to another couple, so close to each other that we could hear each other’s conversations.   There seemed to be some uncertainty about our booking, Continue reading →

‘Chef’: a feel-good make-you-hungry movie about a chef, blogger reviewer, Twitter, and a food truck!

Chef movie poster Whale Cottage PortfolioForget Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, or even Scarlett Johansson.  The star of ‘Chefs’ is Percy (played by Emjay Anthony),  the 10 year old son of the main character in the movie, being Chef Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau, the writer, director, and producer of the movie.  The movie will boost Twitter, as much of it is based on Tweets sent by and about Chef Carl, as well as popularising buying from Food Trucks. Tourism to Miami, Austin in Texas, Los Angeles, and New Orleans should receive a boost too, while the image of food bloggers is unlikely to improve as a result of the movie!

Without giving away too much about the movie, Chef Carl is instructed by the restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) to cook the same old way he has done for the past ten years, despite a well-known ‘food blogger’ restaurant critic Ramsey Michel (played by Oliver Platt) coming to eat at the restaurant that evening. The blogger is described as being extremely powerful, having just sold his blog to AOL for $10 million. The reviewer looks a lot like top Cape Town Chef Liam Tomlin!  Chef ReviewerChef Carl’s son Percy had just set up a Twitter account for his dad, and when the reviewer writes a scathing review about his restaurant experience and insults Chef Carl, saying that he has gained weight from all the poor food returned to the kitchen and which is eaten by Chef Carl, he explodes, and retaliates. On Twitter he tells the reviewer what he thinks of him, thinking that the reply would only be seen by the reviewer, but of course it is seen by all his Followers.  His Twitter followers increase to 2000+ overnight, and grows to Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 8 May

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The New York Times has listed Cape Town as its number one ‘52 Places to go in 2014′.  Cape Town is linked to the late Nelson Mandela, and how Table Mountain was his beacon of hope. World Design Capital 2014 is also highlighted.  ‘Cape Town is again reinventing itself, and the world is invited to its renaissance’.  The other top ten Places to Go are Christchurch, North Coast in California, Albanian coast, Downtown Los Angeles, Namibia, Ecuador, Quang Binh in Vietnam, Perth, and Rotterdam.

*   In a surprise move, the City of Cape Town and Golden Arrow Bus Services have signed two memorandums of understanding, agreeing to work together, in the bus company will form part of the MyCiTi Bus service, utilising the City’s bus company branding, and having a common integrated schedule.  In the past the Golden Arrow Bus Services has taken the City of Cape Town to court.

*   An American property site’s vacation page recommends Cape Town as one of ten destinations around the world in which to celebrate Mother’s Day!  In Cape Town they recommend going up Table Mountain, visiting the V&A Waterfront, Cape Point, having a picnic on the False Bay coastline, and having dinner at any of the city’s ‘great Continue reading →

World Travel Market Africa 2014: Day 1 huge vote of confidence in Cape Town’s tourism industry!

WTM AfricaI returned to my guest house all charged up after a full day spent at the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday, to attend World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, the first time ever that a travel and tourism exhibition of such a stature has been held in Cape Town.

World Travel Market has been held in London for years, and is the second largest travel and tourism exhibition in the world, after ITB in Berlin, and larger than Indaba, which is held in Durban.  At the press conference yesterday afternoon it was said that Reed Exhibitions must have had tremendous confidence in Africa generally and in Cape Town specifically,  to have brought the exhibition to our city, partnering with Thebe in hosting it.  One was surprised at the many stands that had been sold, not only to Cape Town and Western Cape tourism players, but also to national brands (including Durban Tourism, which was interesting, especially as it was not manned on Saturday!) as well as a host of international brands such as Lufthansa, Singapore, Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH, Dubai, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Turkey, Reunion Island, Seychelles, ZambiaWTM Africa Turkey Whale Cottage Portfolio Tourism Board, Namibia WTM Africa WhaleCrier Whale Cottage PortfolioTourism Board and Airports Company, Mozambique, and many more brands, there being about 150 stands in total.  Even the Whale Crier from Hermanus paid a visit!

The communication with WTM Africa had been efficient, attendees being invited to register in advance, so that one could attend for free, which must have led to the good attendance yesterday.  While the service at the registration desk could have been friendlier, it was efficient in general.  Other than visiting many of the exhibitors, and bumping into numerous tourism players on the floor, an important benefit was the interesting programme  of talks over the two days of the exhibition.   By the time I could get to the exhibition, at about 11h15, the talk on Mobile Apps was fully ‘occupied‘ with 100 attendees,  as one of the WTM Africa staff said, which meant that we were not let inside initially, for ‘health and safety reasons‘!  After calling for a senior Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 12/13 April

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Forbes has published a wonderful article by Fathom travel website about Cape Town and the Winelands, describing it as a ‘mix of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Napa Valley – with a little Bilbao thrown in.  It recommends Table Mountain, penguins at ‘Boulder Bay’ (sic) ‘Beach‘, ‘design-centric’ shopping at Cape Quarter, Lion’s Head, Robben Island, ‘Victoria and Albert (sic) Waterfront‘, a township tour, Simonstown, Surf Shack in Muizenberg, Delaire Graff Restaurant, and Babylonstoren.  For shopping O.live, Nap, Merchants on Long, Monkey Biz, and African Nova are recommended.  Restaurant recommendations include Harbour House, Live Bait, Grand Café on the Beach, Bungalow, Bistro Sixteen82, The Greenhouse, The Test Kitchen, and The Round House.

*   Henco J (his surname is not revealed) from Pretoria is one of three winners of the Jameson First Shot awards, an annual opportunity to have a short film produced given to a resident of South Africa, Russia, and the USA by Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey.  The three winners will have their film produced in Los Angeles later this year, with actress Uma Thurman in the lead role in each.  Henco’s script is called ‘The Mundane Goddess’, and tells the story of Hera, the queen of Greek gods.

*   Palm Beach Illustrated writes with praise about South African wines, in an article entitled ‘South Africa Rising: Wine and Vineyard Renaissance’, and how these combine old-world tradition with cutting-edge techniques.  The article features Continue reading →

SA in New York Times top 31 destination list for 2010

South Africa is one of 31 destinations recommended for travel in 2010 by the New York Times on its site www.nytimes.com.  The top five destinations are Sri Lanka, Patagonia Wine Country (San Patricio del Chavar), Seoul, Mysore in India, and Copenhagen. 

“Waiting in the wings”, according to the article, as places to go to in 2010 are countries/cities which include Damascus, Antarctica, Leipzig, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Shanghai, Minorca, Costa Rica, Marrakesh, Bahia in Brazil, Kitzbuehl in Austria, Norway and South Africa.

South Africa made 22nd place on the list, and its selection is motivated by the Soccer World Cup taking place this year,  and Cape Town is highlighted as the best city in the country.  The full text motivating the selection of South Africa on the list follows:

“As host of the 2010 World Cup this summer, South Africa has gotten its game on with a flurry of new stadiums, new hotels and safari lodges.  While soccer is being played across nine cities, much of the action off the field is taking place in Cape Town. Already known for its stunning beaches, mouthwatering cuisine and sophisticated night life, the city is welcoming high-end hotels, including the recently opened One & Only Cape Town and the forthcoming Taj Cape Town (www.tajhotels.com/capetown). Set to open this month, the Taj will have 166 rooms, many with views of Table Mountain. Also scheduled to open in Cape Town this year — but not in time for the World Cup — is the second branch of the nascent Missoni Hotels group (the first property opened in Edinburghlast year, with future outposts planned for Kuwait, Brazil and Oman). Between matches, there’s plenty of time to go on a safari. If money is no object, check out the Ulusaba  (www.ulusaba.virgin.com), a private game reserve that’s part of Richard Branson‘s collection of luxury vacation properties. It has opened the new Cliff Lodge, with private swimming pools and spectacular views of the bush. Prices start at 13,800 South African rand (around $1,878 at 7.35 rand to the dollar) a night for two.”

The full article can be read here.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Mandela and SA tribute to Michael Jackson

Ex-South African President Nelson Mandela’s tribute to the late Michael Jackson was read out at the memorial music service in honour of Jackson in Los Angeles today.

Mr Mandela’s statement to the Jackson family was as follows:

“Dear Jackson family,
It is with great sadness that we learnt of the untimely death of Michael Jackson. Michael became close to use after he started visiting and performing in South Africa regularly.We became fond of him and he became a close member of our family. We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on some many occasion in his life.

Michael was a giant and a legend in the music industry and we mourn with the millions of fans worldwide. We also mourn with his family and his friends over the loss of a dear friend. He will be missed and memories cherished of him for a long time.

Be strong,

Nelson Mandela’

Whale Cottage Portfolio:   www.whalecottage.com