Tag Archives: southeaster

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 67 of Level 1, 6 May 2021


Thursday 6 May 2021, Day 67 of Level 1 ūüė∑

Corona Gratitude ūüôŹ

#Grateful for a successful day; for getting up early to finish all my work so that I could squeeze in a power walk up 100 Houghton Steps, and coming down my secret Bakoven lanes with a total of 100 steps, being protected against the very strong Southeaster, receiving 300 Discovery points; for my Dinkel poppyseed rolls being ready for me; for an interesting meeting at Origin Roasting, drinking a lovely Nigiro Earl Grey Bloom tea; for a good Utopia Status meeting with Dilmah Earl Grey tea, crowned by a rainbow; for a quick pop in at Grand Pavilion, but the owner wasn‚Äôt there; for a cosy soup-in-bed evening; for Kfm playing great music to finish my steps for today; and for being happy, healthy and free. ūüôŹūüíô Continue reading →

Table Mountain hits tourism peak!

The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company has achieved its best ever December, with a record 116000 visitors going up Table Mountain in the cable car, up by 65% compared to December 2010.  Visitors were mainly South Africans.

The previous visitor peak was achieved in December 2006, when 112000 visitors went up Table Mountain by cable car, reports ioltravel.  A year ago the company had one of its worst performances, at 70000 visitors, being severely hampered by closures due to strong Southeaster winds.  In December, the Cableway could operate 72 % of the time, compared to only 56% the December a year before, the Cableway operation being heavily weather-dependent, and having to close when windspeeds go above a safe level of operation.  The Cableway company has also introduced an online ticket sale  service, to reduce the long queues which have been common during the summer seasons.

The Cableway opened 82 years ago, and took 6000 visitors up the mountain in December 1929.

Table Mountain has been named a New7Wonders of Nature, a provisional accolade still subject to verification. ¬† Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company CEO Sabine Lehmann said: “Table Mountain’s campaign to be included in the New7Wonders of Natures has raised awareness of our natural icon, and it seemed that many South Africans wanted to see the icon for themselves”.

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

Cape Town U2 360¬į concert will have added to billions in city coffers

The U2 360¬į concert in Cape Town on Friday evening will have contributed largely to the R 4 billion the City of Cape Town estimates is generated annually for the local economy from live performances, with 72000 spectators having attended a visually stunning and extremely well organised concert¬†at the Cape Town Stadium.¬†

Writing in the Sunday Argus, the City of Cape Town’s¬† Executive Director of Economic, Social Development and Tourism, Mansoor Mohamed, states that films and events¬† are the largest contributors to the Cape Town economy, the film industry generating R5 billion, and conferences and live events R4 billion each.¬† Mohamed writes that it is not only income that is generated, but jobs are created too.¬†¬† The services and products required to host such events go into the pockets of mainly Cape Town-based businesses, which in turn will pay for rates and taxes, and thus share the burden of payment of these to generate income for the city, but they will also¬†share the benefit of the use of these monies¬†(an excellent example is the wonderful new Green Point Park).

Writing about the contribution of the film industry to Cape Town,¬†Mohamed mentions the two movies currently being filmed in Cape Town – ‘Safe House’ wrapped up filming on Kloof Street¬†over the weekend, and stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, who have been seen eating at Cape Town restaurants, and hanging around in Camps Bay, another location for the movie.¬† ‘Judge Dredd’ is another movie being filmed, and the two movies combined have a production budget of R400 million, going to two Cape Town companies (Moonlighting and Cape Town Film Studios, respectively), and their suppliers.¬† In addition, still productions, and print advertising and TV commercial shoots contribute to the economy.¬†¬† Mohamed requests Cape Town residents to be tolerant of road closures and other inconveniences linked to these, in understanding that every R1 billion income allows 15000 jobs to be sustained in the city.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival generated R685 million to the local economy, and created 2000 jobs, mentioned by President Zuma in his Station of the Nation address ten days ago.   It attracts 35 000 attendees, and runs over ten days, incorporating local art, culture and heritage, and local musicians blended with international stars such as George Benson.   Some of the local musicians performing at the Jazz Festival have received  bookings on international stages as a result of their performances at the Festival.  

The Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour contributes R650 million to the local economy. It has attracted the attention of international VIP’s such as Matt Damon and Lance Armstrong, who have participated, and this has been recorded in the world media, having a tourism benefit too.¬† This year executives from top companies such as RIM (manufacturers of Blackberry), Sainsbury in the UK and Vodafone Europe will participate in the event.¬†¬† Some Cycle Tour lovers are said by Mohamed to have bought houses in Cape Town, and they pay their rates and taxes annually and in advance, he writes!¬† “They create tomorrow’s tourists and South Africa’s future foreign investment”.¬†¬†He added that events such as the Cycle Tour, the Jazz Festival and the U2 concert play an important role to ‘start, facilitate or help to close deals’.

The recent Mining Indaba, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, filled up all surrounding hotels, created a taxi shortage in the city, and filled up restaurants in Cape Town on a¬†scale not often experienced in the city.¬†¬† Delegates attending were from Africa, Brazil, Russia, India and China, amongst others.¬†¬†¬† Similarly, the Design Indaba taking place at the moment as a Conference, Expo and Film Festival, is staging top international designers, such as Alberto Alessi, Michael Wolff, billionaire Mark Shuttleworth and trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, with about 37000 delegates attending, according to Cape Town Tourism.¬† The Design Indaba attracts them to Cape Town, the city enjoying the most glorious weather currently, and therefore making future tourists out of these delegates, one can confidently predict, and more business deals benefiting the city could flow from this event, contributing R 232 million per annum.¬†¬† At the Design Indaba the latest updated Cape Town Design Route map¬† will be launched, marketing some of the city’s top design artists and their businesses.

In September the World Veterinary Congress takes place in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and will be attended by 3000 delegates, and contributing R30 million to the economy.   Other conferences to be hosted this year include the 4th Pan African Pain Congress (500 delegates), the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health (800 delegates), the Global Forum for Health Research Forum 2011 Meeting (1500 delegates), World Conference of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (600 delegates), The Southern African Association for Learning and Educational Differences Conference (500 delegates), and the World Economic Forum on Africa (2000 delegates).

The 20th Cape Town Pairs, the largest sponsored open bowls event in South Africa, was held at the Glen Country Club in Clifton last week, and attracted 36 teams from around the country, as well as from the United Kingdom, Namibia and Zimbabwe.   The gale force Southeaster almost forced a change in venue, blowing over 100 km/hr!   We congratulate our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests Phil Downs and Greg Bingham from Johannesburg for having won the hotly contested tournament.

The Cape leg of the Cell C Tour of SA 2011 takes place over the weekend, and covers Gordon’s Bay, Grabouw, along the Theewaterskloof Dam, Franschhoek, the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch, and finishes in Paarl, 120 cyclists participating in the race, reports the Cape Argus.

The J&B Met and the Cape Epic have an economic impact of R¬†200 million each, and the Two Oceans Marathon R223 million.¬†¬†Mohamed has estimated that the city’s events and the film industry jointly add more than R 15 billion to the local economy.¬†

The benefit of¬†these events reaches the hospitality industry too.¬† Six out of our 20 guests staying at Whale Cottage Camps Bay this past weekend flew down from Durban, to attend the U2¬†concert, and they made a three-day ‘weekend’ out of it.¬†¬† Three of the U2 band members ate at Pierneef¬†√° La Motte last week, each visit widely reported (Bono and The Edge’s visit at La Motte even made the Sunday Times), which will attract more business to this wonderful Winelands wine estate.¬† Cargo¬†Carriers has booked out Whale Cottage Camps Bay for the Argus Cycle Tour weekend, to accommodate its team over three days.¬†¬† Delegates attending the Mining Indaba stayed at Whale Cottage Camps Bay too.

And a final note on the U2 concert – it was a ‘must attend’ concert, with amazing lighting effects on The Claw and the 360¬į screen ensured that every attendee saw the band on the relatively¬†small stage, no matter where they were sitting or standing.¬† Many did not know most of the U2 music performed,¬†but the performances of Amazing Grace, Stand by Me with Yvonne Chaka Chaka, and Without You were real crowd pleasers.¬† I did not pick up sound distortion, but¬†read complaints about this on Twitter.¬† The quick and easy in and out of the stadium was commendable, and the event was run by Big Concerts without any hiccups, it was reported.¬†¬† Replacing the Stadium pitch for the concert cost Big Concerts R803000 alone.¬†¬†Taxis were in good supply before and after the concert, and the R50 per trip between Green Point and Fresnaye was the best money I have spent in a long time!¬†¬†The long sit, from 7.30 – 11.30 pm, was the only off-putting part, as the seats are not the most comfortable.¬†¬†¬†Neil Diamond is the next big name performer at the Cape Town Stadium, his concert taking place on 11 April.

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

Restaurant Review: Café Paradiso re-awakened in its perfect setting!

Caf√© Paradiso re-opened three weeks ago under the new hand of Richard Griffin, the fourth restaurant in his Cape Town collection, which now also incorporates the Bombay Bicycle Club, The Sidewalk Caf√©, and Caf√© Mozart.¬†¬† We wrote recently about Griffin’s talent in turning around existing restaurants, and giving them his restaurant magic.

Caf√© Paradiso has no apparent Griffin decor quirks to make it appear different or improved – it has the most beautiful landscape of all in its dramatic view onto Table Mountain from the outside terrace area, fully occupied last night¬†with more patrons queuing for tables.¬†¬† We were extremely grateful to Peta, the manager of Caf√© Mozart, who happened to arrive at the same time as we did, and who helped to wave her magic wand to organise¬†a table for us with Myra, the Spanish hostess.¬†¬† And what a table it was outside.¬†¬† The infamous Cape Town Southeaster was an angel, and stayed away, making it a magical evening.¬† Griffin has turned the previous smoking-area of the restaurant¬†into the new kitchen, while the old kitchen at the back is a Madame Zingara test kitchen, bakery, an home-made pasta section, of which Angus is in charge, as well as a section in which butter is made.¬† Whilst I was wandering through inside the restaurant, the Executive Chef Heinrich came up to me to say hello (this is how friendly the staff are), and told me that he was the chef at the original Caf√© Paradiso ten years ago.¬† He looked very happy to be back “home”.¬†¬† So what has changed?¬† Not much, other than the kitchen changes – there seem to be more tables outside than I can recall.¬†¬† The pin oaks in the courtyard¬†have grown, offering excellent shade.¬†¬†The lighting inside was far darker than I recall it.¬†¬† Surprisingly, there was no music, a missing finishing touch, in my opinion.¬†¬† I was bowled over when the hostess Myra welcomed me by name, remembering me from the¬†Madame Zingara restaurant in Loop Street more than five years ago!

Our waiter John brought the jug of water, which looked extra refreshing with orange and lemon slices and ice, as well as the creamish A4 paper menu and winelist printed on reverse sides of the sheet.¬† The table cloth is a material one, and therefore the paper serviettes were a disappointment.¬† Olive oil and balsamic vinegar¬†are from Olyfberg.¬† The restricted menu and winelist choice¬†makes it easier to choose what to order.¬†¬† The menu starts with “Beautiful Day” and ends with “Beautiful Night”, and states that “This store lovingly created by The Royal Countess Madame Zingara”, clearly a¬†‘promotion’ for the Madame!¬†¬† John brought two beautiful slices of home-baked wholewheat seed-topped bread, and I was lucky enough to get the end crust.¬†¬† The menu starts with the breakfast collection (served until a respectable midday), and as at Caf√© Mozart, there are some quirky sounding items on the breakfast list, including scrambled egg with rosti, feta, avocado and tomato;¬† and French toast with grilled haloumi, basil pesto and tomato, both R45.¬†¬† I’ll be back for the poached eggs with spinach, hollandaise sauce and smokehouse salmon (R55).¬† There is a choice of four sandwiches, and the young ones are not neglected, with chicken nuggets and lasagne, and “fish fingers royale”.¬†¬†

Antipasti can be ordered, at R60 for one, or shared at R90 for two, either a meat/cheese one (proscuitto, coppa, salami felino, pecorino, bocconcini, with olives, caperberries and rocket) or a vegetarian one.¬† Starters include mussels, squid, haloumi, and black risotto with chorizo, none costing more than R50.¬† Salads (R45 – R60)¬†sound unusual and interesting, the Greek salad being the only standard.¬† ¬†Eight pasta dishes are offered, in a range of R 50 – R65, even with a ‘Ravioli del giorno’, which was filled with wild mushrooms last night, sprinkled with olives, pinenuts, rocket,¬†and parmesan shavings, and served with a tasty white wine sauce.¬†There are only five main course choices: rack of veal stuffed with four cheeses at R145; an ‘organic sirloin’ at R135; “feathered steak” (as I understood it, parma ham is beaten onto the surface of the steak to make it as flat as a feather and then flash fried) at R90; linefish at R89; and a most generous charred lemon and rosemary chicken-half, served with a colourful collection of root vegetables, including sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin¬†and turnips (R85).¬†¬† A range of familiar sweet treats, cakes, scones, muffins, ice creams,¬†and desserts are offered, costing R25 – 45.¬†¬†I couldn’t get John to get a frothy¬†cappuccino from the kitchen, but it did come with a biscuit on the side, and the word ‘smile’ on the¬†foam.¬†The cappuccino¬†seemed somewhat more expensive than the going rate, but this is a small price to pay for¬†the excellent value for money of the rest of the meal.¬†¬†

We were bad news for the sommelier Eron, in not ordering any wines, both being on medication.¬† He was not switched off, and treated us as long-term customers, and gave us some of his background.¬†¬† I asked him to consider stating vintages of the wines on offer and¬†the region from which they originate, as well as offering more wines-by-the-glass (there are only two white and two¬†red, and one bubbly by the glass).¬† The housewine is called Paradise on the menu, costing R22/R85 for the red and the white, but when Eron brought a bottle to the table, it was a label-less bottle, with a neck label¬†stating the name “Unbelievable”, the wines made especially for Caf√© Paradiso by Mount Vernon in Klapmuts.¬†¬† Fifteen red and white wines each¬†are on offer, a mix of varieties, peaking in price at R175 for Jordan Chardonnay and R210 for Hartenberg “Cabernet”.¬†¬† Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel costs R30/R155, Graham Beck Brut R185, and Mo√©t & Chandon R650.¬†

Caf√© Paradiso is a new affordable friendly ‘home from home’ at any time of the day and evening when one is in town, especially on a gorgeous wind-free Cape Town day.¬†¬† I’ll be back.

Café Paradiso, 110 Kloof Street, Cape Town.   Tel (021) 423-8653.  www.cafeparadiso.co.za  (website goes to www.madamezingara.comsite, listing all the Griffin ventures, each with their own page Рnot containing much information, and with few photographs, but the menu and winelist are featured).   Monday РSaturday 8h00 Р22h00, Sunday 8h00 Р14h30.

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