The Beehive building in Somerset West is old, pretty rundown and has been home to a little family run shop for years. It now also happens to be home to a particularly interesting newcomer to the Somerset West restaurant/bar scene – The Cafe Racer.
As you might guess from either the name, the logo, or the shiny hunk of polished chrome standing on two wheels outside the front door, The Cafe Racer is a restaurant that marries biking culture with beer and gourmet burgers – and rather successfully at that mind you.
The staff (and chef) are all relaxed and super friendly, the atmosphere super chill, the balcony space surprisingly nice, and most important of all, the menu mind boggling interesting.
Apart from a seriously good selection of craft beers on offer, The Cafe Racer specializes in some rather unique (and well made) gourmet burgers.
For example, my Mikachu burger (named after one of the waitresses) consists of a beef brisket patty topped with grilled pineapple, bacon, sliced banana – and then drenched in condensed milk of all things!
Chantelle on the other hand had a burger which forgoes standard hamburger buns in favour of chocolate doughnuts. Chocolate doughnuts!?! Who even thought of that!
The place is quirky, the younger crowd seems to like it, and as you might imagine, guys into bikes get a kick out of it.
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So certainly a very unusual, but pleasantly enjoyable, addition to the Somerset West food scene.
One big addition to the picnic lawns at Klein Joostenberg that we spotted on our visit there the other day is the hard to miss home of The Stellenbosch Brewing Company, the craft brewery behind the ‘Stellies’ beer label.
Known as “The Taproom on Klein Joostenberg”, this light lunch/pub venture is a collaboration between Joostenberg Picnics and The Stellenbosch Brewing Co (who actually brew from that very building).
Essentially it is billed as a family friendly space where the whole family can relax and children can run and play, all while one enjoys an al fresco meal, a chilled glass of organic Joostenberg wine, an ice-cold Stellies craft beer and the laid back farm setting.
Sounds good to me.
As I mentioned, the 2013 established craft brewery actually brews the beer on site and tastings and tours are offered. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to sit down and try some of their beer, so that just means I’ll need to head back that way the first chance that I get! ;)
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Founder brewer Bruce Collins and Taproom manager Karen Collins list five different Stellies beers currently on offer: (source)
Amazingly though, Ryan had already figured out what is said to be a particularly complicated train fare system, and on our first try (with a
little lot of help from Google Maps), we effortlessly navigated our way out of Shinjuku, Tokyo, and headed via train to our hotel back in Yokohama.
After a short while of putting our aching feet up for a bit of rest and recovery, we once again put on our shoes and headed out, this time walking towards the waterfront area that we had found the other night.
However, this time around there was still a bit of sunlight to be seen, meaning that we actually stopped to look at the historic site we had walked right by the first time around – Kaiko Hiroba Square, the spot where the historic Treaty of Kanagawa was signed (under threat of force it should be said) between the Empire of Japan and the United States of America.
Signed by Commodore Perry and the representative of the Tokugawa Shogunate (effectively the administrators of Japan at that time), this first treaty between the two nations effectively meant the end of Japan’s 220-year-old policy of national seclusion by opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American vessels.
(It also ensured the safety of American castaways and established the position of an American consul in Japan. The treaty also precipitated the signing of similar – usually unequal – treaties establishing diplomatic relations with other western powers.)
Anyway, the site is now home to a beautiful water-based art installation, commemorating the signing of the treaty, as well as a small Archives of History museum.
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Continuing our walk to the waterfront area (which is actually part of Yamashita Park we later discovered), we also encountered the Yokohama silk museum – but seeing as neither of us are particularly tickled by silk (though that said out aloud, does sound kind of nice now that I think about it), we made do looking at the old but pretty statue and continued on our way.
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The first thing we spotted as we entered the west end of Yamashita Park was the intriguingly out of place “India Water Tower”, an Indian water fountain that had been presented to Yokohama by an association of East Indians living in Japan some time ago.
There are some great views of the area from here (not to mention quite a number of fitness enthusiasts, lovers, and families taking advantage of the relaxing space), and one of the things that you can also spot close by is the impressive Hikawa Maru – a luxury trans-Pacific passenger liner that operated between 1930 and 1960.
Nicknamed the “Queen of the Pacific”, during its operation the vessel crossed the Pacific Ocean over 250 times and carried 25,000 passengers and cargo between Japan and Seattle & Vancouver. It also operated as a hospital ship duing World War II.
These days however it is permanently docked at Yamashita Park, open to the public and functioning as a bit of a maritime museum.
(Sadly, we didn’t actually know that back then, otherwise I suspect Ryan and myself might just have made a little time to take a peek onboard!)
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We next headed up the stairs and started our journey along the Kaiko Promenade, a popular, lengthy tourist-friendly route that essentially follows the tracks of a discontinued freight rail line from Yamashita Park all the way to the Minato Mirai (Harbour of the Future) area, passing a number of historic sites (like the Customs Tower, and the Aka-Renga Red Brick Warehouse) and tourist attractions (like the Cosmo World amusement park, World Porters, and the Landmark Plaza) along the way.
At this stage the evening was kicking in pretty quickly, as you might have noticed by the diminishing amount of sunlight in my quickly snapped photos!
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And then we came across something quite unexpected.
As we neared the historic Red Brick Warehouse, we stumbled on a massive Oktoberfest celebration on the go, complete with beer (lots), noisy revellers, loud German music, and of course, beer maids!
Though that said, I guess we do celebrate Oktoberfest here in South Africa as well. Right. So, any excuse to down more beer then I suppose!
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However, seeing as Ryan isn’t a beer (make that alcohol) drinker, this then wasn’t a stop for us, and so instead we marched on, ignoring the now set sun and heading straight for the bright lights of the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel in the distance…
I mentioned previously in these here pages that Chantelle surprised me with a proper man’s braai this Christmas, and after giving it its final protective paint coat, I decided to at last set it forth on its maiden burning, seeing as this Saturday past was the first day Chantelle was actually off from work in who knows how long! Not wanting to plan something big, we summoned two sets of couples whom we haven’t seen in absolute ages to join us and so come last Saturday 18:00ish, Karl, Trish, Damen and Michelle joined Chantelle and myself under our new Coricraft umbrella and in front of the magnificent braai, on one of the most stunning days you could possibly imagine!
(It was such a nice day that Chantelle and I had even nipped out for a quick swim in the ocean before the others arrived. The swim would have been longer, but it was quite a hilarious 10 minutes or so watching Chantelle try to jump into her bather which wouldn’t slip on even in the slightest, her decision to shower just moments before proving to be a rather silly idea after all! :P)
Braaing on wood and thus real coals at last was an absolute pleasure and as such I turned out the perfect braai goodies, succulent meats, juicy sausage, crisp braai broodjies, it was simply fantastic. And pared with some delicious watermelon, spanspek and Trish-prepared salad, we dined like kings under the perfect sky. (And there was even ice-cream to be had too…)
From there the evening degenerated into a slog match between Karl and Chantelle over Tetris, with the Doctor proving to be the far superior when it comes to moving bricks around a pixelated screen, though I must admit to have been quite overjoyed when the Game Over finally struck Dr. Storbeck because that irritating music loop had really begun to grate my ear drums! It wasn’t a particularly late evening but it was a good evening of friends and catching up, in other words a perfect success. So I guess the question is simply who do we invite over next? ;)
“Hulk smash” is the classic line uttered by the fearsome greensome, and so it makes for the perfect comic fodder if we extend it just that little bit extra by throwing on an additional ‘ed’ at the end of it.
After all, it really can’t be a good idea to mix a psychopathic monster with loads of alcohol now can it?
Anyway, the digital pencils on this one really are all over the place. Not great, I’ll give you that, but I did have fun when I did it way back when. A good example if you keep coming back as to just how much my digital pencils keep improving! :P
(And comedy routine for that matter!)
Whew, I’m disappointed in myself. Kyle (the big boss, emphasis on big) took us out to lunch today as a reward for performing so well in our annual Commerce IT staff survey. As per usual we headed off to Forries (the only place Kyle ever goes. And I do mean ever). The food was pretty good, and we did spend about three hours there (meaning that I’m not getting any work done this afternoon!) but the thing I’m moaning about is the fact that I’m sitting here, finally back in the office, feeling very tipsy with the start of a hangover already.
After only three castle drafts!
Large ones yes, but only three! I can see I haven’t been drinking for a while. Getting a bit light under the belt here eh? Going to have to go into serious training if I want to avoid feeling this kak again after only three beers. Oh, I am SO not looking forward to driving home in an hour’s time :(