Monday, April 29, 2013

Breakfast Review - Cocoa Oola

My initial plan on Sunday was to go paragliding at Sir Lowry's Pass, but when a friend called me to tell me it was already blown out I decided to take my family for what we normally do on weekends...breakfast. It was  quite a mission to find a place, we want to try a new spot every time and we eventually ended up in Kloof Street. There are quite a few restaurants in Kloof Street, so we took the nearest one to the fist parking we could find. 

I am always looking for a place that seems to have a nice relaxed atmosphere and preferably a good view. In Cape Town you have to pay for view so Kloof Street with not much view convinced me that we might get a good breakfast at a reasonable price. So what is a reasonable price? I don't know. How long is a string? To me it is value for my money and lately a place where I can have my kids run around without disturbing the other clients.

Cocoa Oola seemed to be a good start. My wife jumped out to go see if they serve breakfast and when she was waving that we can park I knew this was going to be our next breakfast . BTW, my wife is willing to pay much more for breakfasts than what I am, so I initially still had my doubts. The sign on the door that said "Sunrise Special - Breakfasts + Coffee Specials every day before 9am" put me at ease. I was quite impressed with their extensive breakfast menu. There is really everything you can think off and I didn't take a picture from the menu because "Breakfasts" covers three pages of the menu. I didn't want to look like spy. Their prices are all reasonable I would say and the food was presented rather well. I took scrambled eggs and bacon on toast which was R33. It looked and tasted pretty much the same as the breakfast I had at The Roundhouse which cost me 70 bucks. Only the tomatoes was prepared differently, but I don't even like tomatoes and usually leave it on my plate.

I read on the Internet that Cocoa group actually have four restaurants scattered across town. I might just visit one of the other sometime soon. Although my kids were running round I think that people sitting in a quiet spot early in the morning don't really want kids around. As the place got busier I felt more comfortable, although I still tries to keep my kids away from other customers. The place was not bad and I will definitely go there again.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Surfer's Corner

I don't surf at Muizenberg and the only reason for that probably is the distance from my house. Two weekends ago the Atlantic side was flat, but a friend on mine told me that she was surfing at Muizenburg on that same day. This weekend it was once again flat on the Atlantic side but I was in a desperate need to get into  the water so I decided to drive through to Muizenburg with the hope of finding a wave as per her claims.

In hindsight the drive to Muizenburg is not really that bad. Onto the N7, then the N1 and finally the M5 and I'm there. OK, it took me 45 minutes in Sunday traffic, but it is such a mellow drive and such a lame excuse to have never gone to Muizenburg for regular visits. Parking is a bit of a problem though. People seem to be arriving and leaving all the time and with a bit of patience a parking spot will soon become available. Unfortunately I wasn't born with much patience but I managed to find a spot not too far from where all the action seemed to be.

When I looked at the surf I was quite surprised. It looked like a public holiday on South Beach in Durban. In the water I counted more than 150 surfers, and I am not lying. In Muizenburg everyone in the water seems to be surfing or learning how to surf. From the age of 4 I guess up to over 70. If it can float and you have a reasonable chance of standing on it, you have an argument to be called a "surfer". When I saw the amount of people in the water I was a bit reluctant to go in at first. The word "crowded" pops up indiscriminately, but once you are in you realize that you can surf wherever you find a suitable wave breaking close to you. What was fantastic though was the temperature of the water. Although my friend told me that she recently bought booties for the cold I was rather pleased with the water which is probably 5 degrees warmer than on the Atlantic side where I do most of my surfing. 

After my hour and a half surf session I went out to get something to eat and hoping to enjoy the surf atmosphere you find at Surfer's Corner. Not difficult with so many surf shops and nice places to grab a surfer meal. In my case it was a coffee and two samoosas. 

I think I have missed out a lot in the past because of what I believed was "too far to drive". From now on I will make more frequent trips to Muizenburg.....

Sunday, April 7, 2013

To Hout Bay and Back

After my breakfast at The Roundhouse Restaurant I decided to take the scenic route back home via Hout Bay and stopped for a picture or two....

Three beautiful subjects in one picture.....
A local fisherman threatening some Chinese tourists for not giving him money after taking pictures of 3 large seals that he was feeding....

Fishy, fishy.....

Fishing trawlers in the Hout Bay harbour....

Wonder if her name refers to Plettenberg Bay....

Hout bay's iconic Sentinel Mountain in the background....

Windy much!?

If you think this picture was taken at the ghost town of Kolmanskop in Namibia, think again. This is a building next to the beach at Hout Bay. This is what makes South Africa cling on to their status as a Third World Country. No-one seems to care about a building which slowly but surely gets engulfed by sand. This does not happen overnight, and this is not the only example of public buildings covered in sand along our coast. Just last week there was an article in the local newspaper on the ablution facilities at Kite Beach which is covered up to the roof, no-one would even know that there are toilet facilities there.

Breakfast Review - The Roundhouse Restaurant

If the price of the view is included in the food prices on the menu, then I guess it was rather reasonable. The reason I ended up at this restaurant for another breakfast was because a family member had breakfast here and suggested it. He did mention that the prices are a bit steep, but my wife was rather determined to try it out so I had no choice.

If you don't miss the slightly hidden turnoff down Kloof Road then the chances are good that you have found the restaurant nestled in the forest on the slopes of Lion's head. Better to reserve your table as the place is quite popular. When you get to the parking area where you find SUV's and fancy sport cars then you have to look for parking. Drive a little further where you find pick-ups and kombis then you have passed the Restaurant and headed for the Glen trail. The place is obviously catering for the upper class Capetonian, the ones probably also living on that said of the mountain.  The web site advertise that it is child friendly but there was nothing on the menu for kids and when I asked for a small juice I was told that the only juice is a Juice Box for R28. I am sure my son will not finish a quarter of it and even less appreciate what it costs, so he had to share an Appletizer with his sister. So apart from some really stiff upper lip "we-have-it-all" guest and the fact that nothing is cheap for a kid who never finishes his meal, the place is actually quite a pleasant experience.

On the day the weather was a bit overcast with a chilly wind in our backs, but that did not stop the regulars to come and have their weekly breakfast there, and it is not difficult to see why. The view to Camps Bay and The Twelve Apostles is magnificent and the food  is in the same class. I had Scrambled Eggs and Bacon with Roasted Tomatoes on Sourdough Toast for 70 bucks. Now to me that is too much for that meal, but let's look past the price and focus on the meals and the way they were presented. All meals were served on wooden boards and your table utensils are in a little picnic basket on the side of the table. My wife had Eggs Benedict with English Muffin, Bacon and Hollandaise which she shared with her mom who had French Toast and Roasted Bananas with Toasted Pecan Nuts. According to her the best Eggs Benedict she has ever had.
What I did notice on the menu was the section "From the bakery" which in future might be motivation to come back for a quick coffee and something sweet. The setting will be then be a bonus. If you want to feel "exclusive", you love to sit and mingle with the rich and talk about your race horses or your last vacation in Greece then you will find this is just the place for you.

Better Days Take 2

After I posted the first shortened version of the surf clip I made yesterday, I decided to see if it would make a difference if I create the movie being more patient. What usually happens when I input too much information my Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8 software hangs. Last nigh I waited for each processing step to finish before I clicked my next click, and somehow I managed to win the war.

What is a problem to me now (and I have consulted the Internet where I got many explanations and none that would really seems to be the right one) is that the quality of the video on YouTube is very poor compared top the crystal clear quality I see on my computer. There are many suggestions on what to do, but none of them seems to be the magic solution. Anyway, here is the initial clip I aborted after the umpteenth crash and eventually got right when I aplied a bit of patience. I guess better days are coming indeed....

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Inspiration to Frustration

After being inspired by Jack Johnson video of his song "You and Your heart", I decided to go do a quick surf session and see if I can get a similar shot or two. I bought my Sony Vegas Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8 some years ago when I got my Sony Handycam. Although I am not an expert on creating movies I did manage to make a few memorable videos of my son which he will probably one day be grateful for. The time  and effort that went into those videos know one will ever appreciate, because the amount of times that I had to start all over because the program crashed is enough to make anyone give up. I never knew if it was the software or if my system was just not fast enough to cope with large amount of video's and music files. Nevertheless, it was never a pleasure to make these movies, more a frustration.

When I got my GoPro I thought that it would give me better footage to make even better clips. What a disappointment in not only the fogged-up lens. Once I load more than two clips into the movie software, the whole program crashes and I have to start all over. I am sure that the quality of the clips are way too good for the Sony Vegas software to handle...or maybe my machine just cannot handle it. Not enough memory maybe? I went surfing today and although I got some nice clips, I only managed to make this short video. One extra clip and the software stops responding. A real frustration and maybe this time enough to quit my movie making career after all. The day's surfing was good though.....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Calm Before The Storm

Cape Town's climate is dominated by two opposite forces, the dry southeastern wind in summer and the wet northwestern wind in winter. What is quite interesting is the change of seasons in Cape Town. Although one can see the days getting shorter and some leaves turning orange, autumn does not appear slowly over a period of a couple of weeks or months. No, Cape Town has not been called the Cape of Storms for no reason. This transition period between summer and winter is more like a "Battle between the Winds". For a couple of days the southeastern will blow and eventually the wind will turn and the northeaster will push back. This pushing and shoving forward and back lasts until the northwestern finally takes over and it eventually becomes cold and wet for longer periods. That's when winter is here. What is fantastic about this struggle between the winds is the days in between the onslaughts of the two winds. There is usually a short period of calmness which can last anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days. Today is such a day, a day one would call a "Perfect Day in Cape Town"....until the next wind attacks....