(Apologies for the delayed posting. I was meant to publish this blog post before 2017 ended but life got in the way and I finished writing only now, 4th of January, 2018. Happy New Year!)
It was a lean year on the travel front for me, with the farthest distance traveled not exceeding 400km when we went to Crystal Springs one cold weekend at the end of October.
It wasn’t the best year… there were many challenges and I had been sick a lot in 2017. December flew by without me publishing even one single blog post. I apologize!
Mpumalanga, South Africa
(Blog post on Crystal Springs [Travel – Africa] is scheduled for Q1 2018.)
However, I sure gained some weight as I feasted on some delectable treats in 2017 and although I did not really drink during the year, as I am not a drinker, I did drink quite a bit in December.
Milk and Honey Bar
Girls can drink! These two ladies drank two bottles of champagne, Luc Belaire Brut, between them! We did share the third bottle with hubby and best friend M. The occasion was partially a farewell for me and a celebration of life in general. The oysters were perfect with the champagne.
(Blog post on Milk and Honey Bar [Food / To do in GP] is scheduled for Q1 2018.)
The Vaal Triangle, Gauteng
We also headed out to the Vaal, which, although in the same province (Gauteng), is really a trip for us, Joburgers.
It was a weekend of rest and relaxation with a lot more drinking, where I drank more than I did during the rest of the year put together. Why not? The CEO of the resort sent me two complimentary bottles of the good champagne, Veuve Clicquot Rich! Obviously, they were not for me alone. I booked four self-catering chalets for the weekend from Friday to Sunday and we, eight adults and four children, were there for our year-end function… drinking, eating, gambling (sans children), playing (in Aqua Dome, sans gamblers), etc.
(Blog post on Emerald Resort and Casino [Travel – Africa] is scheduled for Q1 2018.)
Sandton Sun and Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers
Christmas Day and Boxing Day were spent in Sandton, not even 17km away from home. It was a lovely staycation despite my health situation. It seemed 2017 wanted to make sure I did not forget that the year was terrible for me, health-wise. I would have enjoyed myself more had I been healthier, without headaches and pains but I was still able to appreciate the hotels and the food at the restaurants.
INTERCONTINENTAL JOHANNESBURG SANDTON TOWERS
(Blog posts on Sandton Sun / San Deck and Intercontinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers / Atrium Restaurant [Hotels & Food] are scheduled for Q1 2018.)
As we say Goodbye to 2017 and Hello to 2018, welcoming the new year with open arms, I look back, briefly and swiftly, at some of the good food I, and my companions, enjoyed in the year that just ended.
Aarya Restaurant at the Piazza in Montecasino, the restaurant for the budget Sun Square Hotel of Tsogo Sun, is one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. The menu is small but it’s not necessary to confuse me with choices when almost the whole menu is more than good enough for me. The restaurant’s chef is SA Masterchef winner, Deena.
(Blog post on Aarya [Food] to follow.)
My ultimate favourite restaurant in the city, and not only because it is in Montecasino, is Portugeuese restaurant, Beira Alta. They have the best beef trinchado and chorizo. The hot sauce is to die for. The physical space feels like home to us despite it being fine dining so it’s our go-to restaurant. It is also our preferred restaurant for special occasions or when I want to impress visitors from out of South Africa.
(Blog post on Beira Alta [Food] to follow.)
Emperors Palace, Kempton Park
Hooters is that restaurant some South Africans think are not for kids so when I say the family likes to go there, people stare at us… at first. Then, I tell them that the buffalo wings are delicious. They understand. I don’t even think we still notice the hotpants and overall tight, skimpy uniforms that show off the assets of the waitresses. I also love the shrimps, sliders and curly fries. What’s not to like?
(We go to the Hooters in Emperors Palace near the international airport and not the one in Fourways which is about 5km away from home. I might do a blog post on dining at Hooters. No one should be deprived of tasty buffalo wings just because the restaurant is called Hooters.)
OR Tambo International Airport, Kempton Park
Dining at the restaurant of Hotel Intercontinental at OR Tambo International Airport was not part of my dining out plan but we needed to be at the airport to meet my father who was on his way from Gaborone to Manila and it was my mother’s birthday. It was her 70th birthday and I wanted it to be special. For me, special means fine dining, not Spur (family non-fine dining steak restaurant) or McDonald’s, not even Ocean Basket (non-fine dining seafood restaurant).
I did like my salmon risotto and everyone else enjoyed the food they ordered. It is not necessary to eat at the Intercon but it wasn’t a waste especially for those who love good food and fine dining experiences. However, unless we need to be near the airport, I’d eat at the Intercontinental Hotel Sandton Towers.
(A short blog post on Quills Restaurant [Food] to follow.)
San Deck, Bar & Restaurant
Sandton City, Gauteng
I do like San Deck not only for the food, which I love, but for the open area and the ambience. San Deck is Sandton Sun Hotel’s restaurant, like Aarya at the Montecasino Piazza is Sun Square Hotel’s restaurant. Like Aarya, San Deck doesn’t have a huge menu but there is always something I could pick to eat and enjoy. Being the restaurant for a five star hotel, San Deck is fancier and pricier than Aarya. However, the prices are not exorbitant to discourage us from going there.
(Blog post on San Deck [Food] to follow.)
Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Gauteng
Hubby calls Tasha’s a coffee shop but I’d like to call it a restaurant as they have more than just coffee and tea and some baked treats. They have delicious pasta dishes. Their meat dishes are pretty good, too. While I have been to Tasha’s in Nicolway (on William Nicol) and in Hyde Park, Tasha’s in Nelson Mandela Square is the most convenient for me. We get to play Pokemon while there as well.
(Blog post on Tasha’s [Food] to follow.)
Montecasino, Fourways, Gauteng
There are times when I can only handle a light meal and Skoobs has a restaurant that serves this perfect toasties with a side salad. This is the most reasonable meal I’ve had at Montecasino except for the toasted sandwiches on the casino floor. But then again, with the salad, perhaps this still comes out ‘cheaper’.
Skoobs also has a good variety of coffees, hot and cold, and cakes, which are enough to quench the thirst and satiate the hunger. The best thing is I can satisfy my stomach while enjoying a chilled time browsing a book or two.
High Tea – Aurelia’s
Emperors Palace, Kempton Park, Gauteng
I am a creature of habit, which is why I go to Michelangelo for high tea. In November, I joined fellow writer, Ronel, at Aurelia’s. It was such a pity that I did not review the email invitation to realize that high tea started and ended earlier than at Michelangelo. I also got a little lost thinking the venue was the restaurant in the casino, near the theater. As it was, Aurelia’s is the restaurant in the five star Peermont D’oreale Grande Hotel. The spread looked quite amazing and what I managed to eat before everything was taken away was enough for me to want to go back.
(Provided I go back for high tea, a blog post on Aurelia’s [Food] shall follow.)
High Tea – Michelangelo Hotel
Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Gauteng
Looking at the first half of the year, I didn’t think I’d enjoy a high tea at all. Our first high tea, at Michelangelo, was in August, for Women’s Day. After that, I managed to go for another three times: in September, November and December! I love high tea. I wrote about my high tea experience at The Palace of the Lost City, which was sublime, and I just might need to go back to Aurelia’s—where I went in November and met fellow writer, Ronel (but only made the last minutes of high tea because of my scatterbrain)—to write about it.
I love, love, love this spread!
I do my best to eat all that I put on in front of me.
Sushi is a favorite!
Don’t we look fabulous at high tea? Just as fabulous as the high tea spread. 🙂