Our Honeymoon: South Africa & Maldives – April 22-May 9, 2017

South Africa

mapSA

 

Fri, April 21, 2017
Drive up to LA 1p at the latest
Emirates EK 218
LAX 10:40p —> 1:30a DXB

 

Duration 15:50

 

Sat, Apr 22

 

In the air

 

Sun, Apr 23

 

DXB 3:50a —> 11:35a CPT
Duration 9:45

 

Thrifty Car Rental
Cape Town CPT
Datsun GO

 

***be careful of speeding tickets on Garden Route***

 

  • Address: Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
  • GPS Coordinates: 33º58’59.37” S ,  18º21’31.43” E
19:00 Reservation
Dress code: smart casual
Shop 153 / Victoria Wharf / V&A Waterfront / Cape Town

 

This was an epically long flight.  First there was the drive from SAN to LAX at 3pm, which means we didn’t get to Ross’ family’s place til about 6p.  After a quick meet and greet and dinner with his fam, they dropped us off at the international terminal.  We boarded the plane for our 11p departure on Emirates to Dubai.  That was 15 hours! Then, once in Dubai, we had a two hour layover where we grabbed a beer and stretched our legs a bit.  It was impressive to see so many people in the Dubai airport at 2am!  We then boarded our flight to Cape Town on Emirates to complete that 9 hour segment.  So in total, it was 34 hours of travel from when we left our home to get to Cape Town.  Emirates is an incredible airline and is worth every penny.  Their service is incredible!  Once we landed in Cape Town, we picked up our lil Datson from Thrifty car rental and got acquainted with our wheels.  First, it’s opposite to the way we normally drive in the US.  The driver is on the right and the passenger sits on the left.  Additionally, the manual stick shift is in the center console… so instead of doing US shifting with the right hand,….. it’s done with the left hand.  My 🐻 did such a fantastic job getting us from the airport to our hotel safely!  Once we checked in at 12 Apostles, they greeted us with some sparkling wine.  The view from the bar/patio area was fantastic.  You can see both Table Mountain and the ocean!  The weather here is perfect — more like a drier windier version of San Diego.  After a quick bite and bevie out on the terrace, we went for a quick dip in the pool that overlooked the ocean.  Dinner reservations at Belthazar were excellent.  South African game meats paired with terrific wines!  We tried ostrich, kudu, and eland!  Ostrich was surprisingly delicious and more beef-like than poultry.  Terrific evening out in the waterfront district.  We finished it off with an ice cream cone and a turn on the Cape Wheel.  And we highly recommend Uber in Cape Town as it’s more affordable than the taxis.

 

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Mon, Apr 24

 

Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
Breakfast Included

 

8am hike to Lions Head

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Lunch:
Mon 24 April 2017, at 13:00
Silo Top Floor, The Old Biscuit Mill
373-375 Albert Road Woodstock, Cape Town

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Dinner:
La Colombe, Silvermist Wine Estate
Constantia Main Rd, Constantia, Cape Town, 7848

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We woke up at 7:30 am to meet Sial our hotel guide for the hike up to Lion’s Head.  This was a gorgeous peak that sits across Table Mountain with 360 degree views of Cape Town.  We definitely recommend this hike — but it does involve quite a bit of scrambling.  It’s basically 1.5 miles of straight up climbing.  It took us about 2 hours to complete the hike and that’s with 20 minutes at the top to enjoy breakfast and the view.  After the hike, we had lunch at The Pot Luck Club — which is located in a loft on the top level with an open airy and floor-to-ceiling window viewing area of the ocean and mountains.  It’s a fantastic tapas-style Asian fusion restaurant that I’d easily recommend to any foodie!  After that, we searched high and low for a place to rent SUPs and couldn’t find one anywhere.  It’s no longer the season for people to rent SUPs so all the places are gone from the beach.  There were such perfect conditions at Clifton beach for SUPs!  Since we were slightly let down, we opted to wander around the next beach (Maiden’s Beach) that had an ocean pool.  We stayed for a bit to explore then headed back to the hotel to catch the sunset.  Dinner tonight at La Colombo is currently No. 76 on the 2017 World’s Best Restaurants.

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Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

 

Hike Table Mountain? India Venster Route – four hours, go if clear weather Hike Table Mtn Tripadvisor
  • Platteklip Gorge 1.5 hours – cable car back down
Cable car option: buy tickets in advance online, go weekday/early, long lines Cable Car Tripadvisor

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12:00 Round House –> The Rumbullion lawn (cancelled ressie as we ran out of time and preferred to explore Table Mountain)
 
*** Or Lion’s Head (3-4 hours) Lion’s Head Hike Tripadvisor
 
Emailed Test Kitchen, No. 22 for resie (closed Sun and Mon)
 
20:00 95 Keerom – Real Italian Quality

 

We woke up at 7am and headed to our hotel’s breakfast which was a massive spread of eggs, meats, made-to-order omelets, oysters, champagne, fruit, cheeses, cereals, yogurts, coffee.  Anything you could imagine for breakfast was on the menu.  Luckily, we needed to burn off breakfast so we headed to Table Mountain (definitely get your passes online for the cable car ahead of time).  There’s a full 360 degree view of Cape Town and surrounding towns.  After 2.5 hours at Table Mountain, we headed down to Cape Point, the southern most tip of South Africa — also where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.  The day was perfect for viewing the coastline.  We saw ostrich, eland, dassie, black lizards! Tons of animals out!  I’d recommend getting to the Cape Point around 2 or 3p when the tour buses are leaving.  We checked out Buffels Bay beach within the Cape Point park.  The park closes at 5p in April, so we headed down to Boulder Bay to see the penguins.  It’s a gorgeous drive along the coast as it was such a wonderful sight to see these cute penguins at the beach!  We decided to head back home along a very scenic route back to our hotel and catch the sunset.
 
We didn’t make it to Keerom bc I was so tired.  But we got room service and enjoyed the eats in the comforts of our home.  Now that’s a honeymoon!!

 

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Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
Check-out 11:00 am

 

Raats Family Wines (Jason recommendation)
Emailed for 10:30 am appointment

 

Jordan Restaurant 12:30 lunch — There was a delivery truck that broke down on the only dirt road leading to access to Jordan.  So we opted for lunch at Rust en Verde (wine tasting pairing with yummy steak!)

 

Franschhoek Pass
Franschhoek Wine Tram

 

Emailed Test Kitchen for resie – pending waitlist

 

Franschhoek/Le Quartier Francais/Tasting Room for 19:30 and one night stay in Auberge room
Check-in: 14:00
Auberge room

 

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We headed out to Muizenberg where we heard the surf is good! Well it was.  There was a great beginner sandy beach break for me and some nice chest to shoulder high waves for my bear!  The conditions were just perfect: chilly, rain/thunder/lightning, and they were sailing the black shark flag.  It was the first time we had surfed in a shark warning area.
 
Shark flag warnings:
  • blue flag = clear visibility, no shark sighting.
  • Black flag = water was cloudy/murky/poor visibility but no shark sightings.
  • Red flag = shark sighting recently, but ok to get back into the water after 2 hours.
  • White flag = shark sighting now; sirens will go off; everyone out of the water
 
Off to Stellenbosch — wine country!
 
We were headed to Jordan winery for lunch but a big ol cargo truck was having issues and blocked the road into Jordan.  So, we opted for DeMorgenzon and had a lovely wine tasting there!  We ended up picking up the Reserve chenin blanc as well as their Reserve Syrah.  After that, we felt hungry and opted for a quick bite at Rust En Verde — home of some exquisite reds and food!  Definitely check them out if you love nice medium to full-bodied quality reds.  One thing we’ve noticed is that South Africa has quite tannic reds — but we love that — esp since loving the tannic Barolos in Piedmont, Italy!
 
Checking into our hotel Le Quartier Francais!  This place is gorgeous!  We were upgraded to the House Suite and it was enormous!  It was located right by the pool with beautiful views all around us with the mountains.  The service was incredible.  Everything in the mini bar was complementary – two bottles of wine, 3 craft beers, gin, sherry, whiskey, and brandy.  We even had our own mini pool off the master bedroom.  There was another upstairs loft that had two beds and a bathroom that was decorated for kids.  Everything about this hotel was incredible!
 
Dinner at The Tasting Room was so delicious!  It was incredible.  Basically, we took a journey through South African foods and culture.  Each dish was meticulously executed, beautifully plated, and wonderfully described.  On one of our dishes, we even heard some clicks in the description of our dish.  I’m not sure what language or dialect that it was from, but we very much appreciated it!  Our chef was a lady from the Netherlands and she was incredible!  We enjoyed this restaurant so much we felt it should’ve easily been in the Top 50 restaurants in the world.  After dinner, we went back to the kitchen to meet our chef.  She was gracious and had plans for her future after leaving The Tasting Room (I was actually very sad to here that she would no longer be the chef at Tasting Room and that La Colombe would be overtaking her restaurant).  In reality, Ross and I both felt that she rated higher than La Colombe.  So far in our rankings here in South Africa, we loved The Tasting Room, followed by La Colombe, and very close was Pot Luck Club (only bc it didn’t come with wine pairings and it was definitely a more casual atmosphere).

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Le Quartier Francais
Check-out: 11:00

 

Potential options:
– Franschhoek Wine Tram
– Rust en Vrede (Jason recommendation)
     25 min from 43 on Sandstone
     Tasting room open 9:00 to 17:00
     Winemaker’s lunch, first come first service, 12:00 to 15:00
Perdekop Hike, Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve
– Hermanus
     Hamilton Russell winery – pinot noir (Jason recommendation)
     Tasting Room open Mon-Fri 9 am to 5 pm, Sat 9 am to 1 pm
     Creation wines
– Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay penguins
Helderberg Nature Reserve

 

43 on Sandstone Guest House
43 Sandstone Drive, Boskloof Estate, Somerset West, 7130, South Africa – Show directions
Phone: +27827831048
Check-in: 2:00 pm
Breakfast included

 

After an incredible breakfast at Le Quartier Francais, we hit the road taking the Franchoek Pass through the mountains towards Gordon’s Bay.  It’s a beautiful drive with plenty of hairpin turns and breathtaking scenery.  Once we got to Gordon’s Bay — we headed to a place just west of GB called Strand and hit up Natural Energy surf shop just in time to catch some waves out here. It was such a fun beach break.  After the surf, we headed to our lodging which was a room at Boskloof Eco Reserve — 43 on Sandstone.  Gorgeous room with a view!  Dinner was at Waterkloof.  The food was beautifully presented and very rich.  The food was paired with only the wines from their winery.  It was a nice dining experience, but we still loved The Tasting Room and La Colombe and Pot Luck Club better.

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43 on Sandstone Guest House
Check-out: 11:00 a.m.

 

Creation Wines – 11:00 a.m., confirmed via email
Tapas and tasting

 

Hermanus/Hamilton Russell?
Stay in Arniston, Arniston Hotel?
Surf rec for Arniston
Arniston to Mossel Bay (2:40 min drive)

 

We headed out from our Guest House and skipped breakfast as we were still full from last night’s dining experience.  On the way now to Creation Wines!

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Mossel Bay
Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay (1:50 min drive)

 

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Plettenberg Bay
The Plettenberg Hotel?
Tsitsikamma National Park?
We stayed in Tsala Treetop Lodge which is basically a connection of treehouses overlooking the landscape!

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Plettenberg to Jeffrey’s Bay (1:37 min drive)
JBay

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Jbay
Safari

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Car Rental Drop Off – Thrifty
9:30 am, Port Elizabeth (PLZ)

 

Qatar Airways QR6325
10:30aPLZ —> 12:10P JNB
Duration 1:35

 

Qatar Airways QR1364
2:00P JNB —> 11:30P DOH
Duration 8:20

 

Qatar Airways QR672
2:15A DOH —> 9:00AMMLE
Duration 4:45

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Maldivian sea plane
11am –> 12pm

 

maldives

 

 

 

18:30p EDGE ressie

 

 

 

20:00 Dining destination – at the villa

 

 

Qatar Airways QR675
8:20P MLE —> 11:00P DOH
Duration 4:35

 

8 hour layover in Doha, Qatar

 

 

Qatar Airways QR739
7:30A DOH —> 1:30P LAX
Seats 23A and 23B
Duration 16:00

 


BRAINSTORMING:
Fly Emirates or British Airways to Capetown
To Maldives from Port Elizabeth or Durban

 

 

Garden Route

 

The otter trail
Tsitsikama trail
Whale trail
Mother City Hikers: Mother City Hikers Tripadvisor
Sample Itinerary drive from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth:

 

Recommendations for private driver hire:
Wine tastings around Cape Town:

 

Wine Country:
Stellenbosch (approx 40 min from Cape Town)
Jordan restaurant there, mentioned by Luke Dale-Roberts
Top ZA wines – Jordan, Creation, Fairview
Top 100 – Mullineux, Demorgenzon

 

Cape Town Breweries:
Devil’s Peak, The Taproom

 

Cape Town Restaurants:
Cape Town’s Best by Luke Dale-Roberts: Article by Luke Dale-Roberts Chef at Test Kitchen

 

Top 100:
No. 22 Test Kitchen, Cape Town
Dale-Roberts has two other ventures within the same Old Biscuit Mill complex in Cape Town: Pot Luck club is the Test Kitchen’s more relaxed sibling, serving global-inflected sharing plates, while the newly opened Naturalis, is focused, Ottolenghi-esque deli-style dining.

 

Local/African Food:
Mzoli’s grill/bbq/meats – good Tripadvisor reviews
The Diplomatic Bar & Restaurant – good Tripadvisor reviews
Mama Africa – been there long time
Amazink – food and performance/dance show, good reviews

 

Hermanus – town broken head hotel
Great if whale watching

 

Cape of good hope
Muizenberg warmer surf spot
Not Betty’s Bay — too windy
Wine country: close to hermanus
Valleys: hemelmenaarde (pinots)
Surf spot Victoria bay
Table mountain (in Cape Town) – restie on top then cable car down. Buy tix online first is easier
Tsitsikama Forrest – can stay in Tree Houses
Hotels: the 12 apostles – base of the mountains (this looks awesome babe!)
Cape View Clifton, some great reviews on Tripadvisor
-Constantia (green and amongst vineyards)
 The cellars (on other side of mt), winery
–  buitenverwachting winery and great restaurant (other side of mtn)
– steenberg hotel and super duper restie
– August cycle tour
Horseriding in J Bay:
J Bay surf school:
Kruger Park
Addo Elephant Park
Humans
Knysna
Maldives:
** TripAdvisor how-to-Maldives**
Which island to stay in Maldives?
Kris’ epic stays in no particular order:
Per Aquum Niyama: Central Atoll @ Dhaalu
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Restaurants tackled on the World’s Top 50 restaurants

World’s Top 50 resties — 2014

It took me about 5 years to build up this list.  The amount of work and attention to detail that these restaurants perform is incredible.  In the same trip, I ate at Geranium and Noma.  At the time, Geranium was #50 and Noma was #1.  The two were almost indistinguishable.  2 fave restaurant in the US: Per Se and Alinea.  Bravo to the chefs and staff.  My culinary journey was nothing short of a blessing.

The 2016 World’s Best Restaurants list and with my updated dining list from 2015-2016:

  • (6) Mirazur
  • (7) Mugaritz
  • (10) Asador Extebarri
  • (12) Quintonil
  • (16) Azurmendi
  • (17) Piazza Duomo
  • (21) Arzak
  • (25) Pujol
  • (31) Nihonryori RyuGin
  • (46) Combal Zero

Saturday, May 23 in SF

Caught the early morning flight out of SD and landed in SF around 8:30am.  It was super easy to catch the BART from the SFO airport to downtown SF.  Checked my bags into the Clift Hotel so I could start walking the city!

From Union Sq I headed out to the Fillmore district and stumbled upon Japan town!  I bet both of these places  are hopping more in the evening than the early morning!  It was quite a hike and there were some dicey areas along the way.

The purpose of the walk was to head to the area where lunch was going to be.  Lunch resie @ SPQR!  It was very small but had a cute open kitchen concept.  Great staff.  Yummy chicken liver mousse. Savory beef cheeks.  Decadent tiramisu.

After this heavy lunch, I decided I again needed to do some walking so caught the Muni out to the start of the Twin Peaks hike.  It wasn’t too bad.  Nice uphill walk with beautiful views of the city.  Too bad it was still pretty foggy — I can only imagine on a clear day that the sight would be spectacular!

The people I have met in San Francisco are incredibly nice.  People were telling me how to get to places and which buses to take (yes, even after looking at Google Maps…human clarity was needed!).  It’s a very different vibe from NYC — so I do truly believe that SF is more my vibe.  West coast is the best coast!

After walking about 7 miles (thanks Strava!) back to the hotel, I was pretty tired.  Curled up for a lil nap and then started getting ready for my dinner @ Quince.  Grabbed an Uber and headed over for my 9p dining experience.

It started with a wonderful welcome by the staff (and yes, they were able to accommodate me a bit early at 8:45p).  One of my biggest pet peeves is being late to a reservation.  They greeted me with a wonderful champagne and the evening meal commenced.

They started with several amuse bouches to get the palate going.  They were all so amazingly delicious!  Alaskan uni?!  Melted away on your tongue with that sweet and briny flavor that I’ve grown to love in my uni.

First course (middle left): Golden osetra caviar panna cotta with chive, egg yolk, and shallot paired with Delamotte, Blanc de Blancs, Brut, Champagne, France NV.  The wine pairing champagne that they brought out with the caviar was so lovely! It was floral and slightly sweet on the palate and effervescent.  I need to find a bottle!

Second course (middle right): California king salmon with Zuckerman farm green asparagus, buttermild, and dill paired with Lucien Crochet, “Le chene,” Sancerre, Loire Valley, France 2013.  Terrific pairing.  Salmon rare wrapped around a large tasty asparagus.  Excellent flavors.

Bread course: rye bread with buffalo milk butter.  I kept eating the butter! It was mixed with a yogurt for extra flavor — but it was so delicious!

Third course (bottom left): White asparagus with gulf crawfish, cardoon, and chervil paired with F.X. Pichler, Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, “Urgestein Terrassen,” Wachau, Austria 2012.  This was an exquisite dish! The broth under the asparagus with so smooth and comforting — almost making this dish feel ‘meaty’.  The wine itself was amazing.  Perhaps I need to grab a bottle of this as well.

Fourth course (bottom right): Tagliolini stuffed with big island abalone, garlic scape, and scallion paired with Domaine Theulot Juillot, “Champs Martins,” Mercurey Premier Cru, Burgundy, France 2006.  Delicious plate. I thought the course paired better with the wines from the 2nd and 3rd courses.  It was a 100% pinot noir from Burgundy.

Fifth course (top left of 2nd grouping): Casoncelli stuffed with phil paine’s squab, ruby beet, and borage paired with Fattoria di Felsina, “Berardenga,”  Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy 1995. The squab had a wonderful smoked flavor that was perfectly paired with the sweet beet and mellowed by the borage.  I really enjoyed this dish. Also very nice pairing with the 1995 Chianti.

Sixth course (top right): Watson farm spring lamb with artichoke, zucchini blossom stuffed with lamb sausage, and sunflower paired with Chateau Leoville-Barton, Saint Julien, Bordeaux, France 1978.  This dish was extremely tasty.  Lamb three ways.  The cube on the left was lamb with a nice 5 spice seasoning and glaze.  The main chop was served medium rare and the flavor was overwhelming delicious.  The squash blossom was stuffed with a lamb sausage.  Lastly on the right was the cubed shoulder that was tender.  Well executed dish.

Palate cleanser (middle left): shaved ice, wild strawberries, strawberry jam and 24k gold flakes/paper.  Wonderfully light yet sweet.  The strawberries were intense with flavor.

Bday surprise dessert (middle right): a mousse of some sort that was delightful and very rich

7th course (bottom left): Valrhona guanaja mousse with goat milk gelato, grapefruit, and rosemary paired with Graham’s, “20 year tawny,” Oporto, Portugal.  The goat milk gelato was incredible!

Overall excellent restaurant with wonderful flavor and staff.  They had several people on their staff from San Diego.  A really nice touch was that they would come greet me… all 3 of them and we’d chit chat about the city and dining scene.  They also gave me some great tips for checking out the Mission for Sunday.  Headed home via Uber — that’s a good thing bc after all that wine….I just wanted to zzzzzzzzz.