BJ’s at La Vierge, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

A visit to Hermanus is not the same unless you have a meal at BJ’s.  Very sadly, it was burnt down not long before hubby and I visited Cheryl and Bob last month.  Totally devastating for locals, and visitors alike, many of whom travel from overseas, holidaying in our beautiful country and include Hermanus in their travels .. visiting friends, relatives, and/or to see the magnificent Southern Right Whales in Walker Bay !

Hats off to Brian, owner of BJ’s, to open his doors in temporary premises at La Vierge Restaurant, in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley – a magnificent spot !!   Hubby and I have dined at La Vierge before and it was quite strange to have the BJ’s menu and service when we dined there again, with Cheryl and Bob, on our last evening in Hermanus.  It was great !!   Excellent food and service,  and the view … well … it’s spectacular!!!

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Now … for those who follow my blog will remember that hubby and I walked a trail through the vineyards and natural vegetation of Bouchard Finlayson wine estate you see from the deck.   AND … the WWF used some of my photographs in a full page spread in a coffee table book “The Wine Kingdom – Celebrating conservation in the Cape Winelands”

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Here’s hoping and praying the Christmas and holiday season goes well for BJ’s.   All diners who had made table bookings in the original reservations book (which was destroyed in the fire)  hopefully will contact BJ’s for confirmation.

Posted in Cape, countryside, dining out, food, Hermanus, holiday, mountains, restaurants, South Africa, sunset, travel, wine estates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Shuntin’ Shed in Bot River

A few more posts still to come from our trip down to Hermanus and Somerset West …

Now this is awesome !!   A diner in a railway shunting shed !!

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Definitely a quirky place !!!   It’s filled with railway memorabilia and more … and more !! Big smiles on our faces when we saw the Bulawayo sign and original passenger seats🙂🙂 Bulawayo is our birth city🙂 .. and as children, we often travelled on the train between Bulawayo and Salisbury. An explanation is required me thinks😉 – even though we are both Bulawayo born and both moved with our parents to Salisbury (Harare) in our primary school years, hubby and I only met years later – on a blind date !! – but that’s another story!

It was a little trip down memory lane … in a diner in Bot River !!!

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Copies of old photographs on some of the tables makes an interesting touch and talking point …

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Even though the owners were renovating their kitchen, pizzas made in their pizza oven were available .. which were delicious by the way.  While hubby, Bob and Cheryl browsed through the pizza menu I went for a walk-about

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Quirky diner has a quirky toilet entrance ..

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It was a great spot for lunch.   Good pizzas and excellent company😉

Posted in Cape, countryside, dining out, food, holiday, restaurants, South Africa, trains, travel | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Donna’s baby shower

Donna’s very early baby shower was on Saturday.  Her little baby boy is only due in May next year but as her sister is emigrating soon, Robyn didn’t want to miss the opportunity of holding a baby shower for Donna.  It was awesome!  And she was given gifts galore !   What a wonderful way to start gathering baby stuff months before baby is due with a baby shower first !!!   She can now eliminate items from her own baby shopping list.  Fantastic idea !

The theme for the shower was little lambs… too cute !!   Donna and her hubby were told they were having a baby boy only days before the shower, therefore blue in the décor was minimal.  I made the cake … my usual choccie cake!   As I’ve mentioned in many posts, I do not know how to make sugar figurines or sugar art of any sort, I use real toys etc.  How difficult it was to find lambs !!!!!  There were plenty of baby goats, ducks, horses, cows, pigs but no baby sheep anywhere!    Finally, lambs found !

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Usually my cake decorating tells a story, which in this case is as follows :-  three little lambs are lost in a meadow of Gypsophila (or Baby’s Breath)    First little lamb finds a path out of white meadow and others follow .. as lambs/sheep do😉

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This furry cutie lamb was the only one I found initially …

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Two beautiful girls .. my gorgeous daughter and my very special friend, Sandy – mom to Robyn and Donna, and granny to gorgeous Georgia and new soon-to-be, well … not too soon-to-be little babe ‘blueberry’ …

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Gorgeous Georgia, who didn’t seem to know what to do with this new little friend ..

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Checking for teeth seemed the right thing to do🙂

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Robyn giving us the run-down on the proceedings for the afternoon ;)  Heartfelt and emotional speeches followed.   It’s such a privilege and a blessing to have this amazing family in our lives  ..

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…. Mom and granny-to-be (for grandbaby no. 2) …

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… Mom-in-law, Sue  ..

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… and sister, Robyn ..

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Gorgeous mommy to be …

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As I said earlier .. gifts galore ….

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Wine tasting at Creation Wines, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus

Along the now tarred R320 through the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley linking Hermanus to Caledon there are several wine estates, one of which is Creation.  I have been wanting to do a wine tasting there as I often buy Creation’s Syrah/Grenache blend and not tried any of the other varieties.  It’s a stunning drive through the valley with vineyards and natural vegetation.   A modern building awaits diners and wine enthusiasts set in beautiful surroundings dotted about with extraordinary wire artworks

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I walked down to the ‘wire woman’  to take photos of the valley and spotted a Cape Sparrow building his nest …. within the lady’s upper back🙂

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Room with a view ..

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Not the best pic of this graceful ballet dancer.   I should have stood on her right hand side ..

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Choosing wines to taste …

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Our Sommelier, Ethan ..

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Between the four of us, we had a number of varieties but all ended with a Pinot Noir.  Two actually .. 2015 Pinot Noir and 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir.  Both a bit young but we much preferred the Reserve😉

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For the Pinot Noir, a large glass is used.  When I asked why, Ethan asked me to tell him after pouring the Reserve in both glasses.   I didn’t realise how the shape and size of the glass changes the taste of a wine!   The wine was soooo much nicer in the larger glass.   Creation uses beautiful Riedel glassware for their dining and tastings ..

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Stunning views while dining and/or tasting…

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Food pairing for kiddies !!   I like this :)   We saw a couple of children having a pairing meal .. it looked like fun !  Small bowls of yummy food with a fancy drink each served on a wooden platter

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Tubs of herbs ..

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What a great place !!!  .. and another to return to on our next visit

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Posted in birds, Cape, countryside, dining out, food, Hermanus, holiday, Landscape, mountains, restaurants, sculpture, South Africa, travel, wine, wine estates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dutchies at Grotto Beach, Hermanus

Continuing from my previous posts on places of interest in Stanford which included Klein River Farmstead for their delicious cheeses, a quick visit to Raka Winery to purchase a new wine bottle opener, and a short walk-about at The Royal Oke,  hubby and I, with Cheryl and Bob,  drove back to Hermanus for their scrumptious calamari strips at Dutchies, a beach restaurant at the magnificent Grotto Beach, a Blue Flag beach

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Perfect accompaniment to calamari … a chilled glass of Chenin Blanc from Barton Vineyards …

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Toes in the sand and feet in the sea …

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Dutchies is on Facebook too

Posted in beach, Cape, dining out, flowers, Hermanus, holiday, restaurants, sand, sea, South Africa, travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Royal Oke in Stanford

Here is yet another place hubby and I need to re-visit when next in the Hermanus/Stanford area … The Royal Oke.   Cheryl and Bob have had a breakfast there which they said was very good.

We had a quick walk-about …

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Before we flew down to the Cape, our lawn at home was patchy and brownish, crunchy under foot as well.  I just had to take off my shoes and walk on The Royal Oke’s thick, lush green lawns🙂🙂🙂

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Walking back to the car we noticed this lemon tree with the largest lemons I’ve ever seen !!  They were enormous !!

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Calamari on the beach washed down with a chilled glass of white wine was next, on this day

Posted in Cape, countryside, food, Hermanus, holiday, mountains, Outing, restaurants, South Africa, travel, trees | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The best wine bottle opener at Raka Wine Estate

Well ….. I like it anyway!   It’s easy to use and fits neatly in a drawer.  With a couple of twists of the foil cutter then screw the screwing thingie into the cork, lift cork out with ease and voilá … wine bottle open !!  Raka Wines is the only winery we’ve come across that has this type of waiters friend bottle opener.   We’ve had ours for some years now and needed another, as a stand-by.  The original is still perfect !

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Hence the visit to Raka after Klein River Cheeses.  We’ve done wine tasting here before and decided not to do it again, but make our way back to Hermanus for a calamari lunch on the beach after our purchase and a few piccies …

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I like Raka wines especially the Biography Shiraz, with the Quinary .. a blend, coming a close second …

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We stopped at The Royal Oke, also in Stanford, for a quick look and a few pics before heading back to Hermanus.  We could have had lunch there .. it is very pretty … but calamari on beach beckoned !

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