One of the best Stanford treats that we came across while walking around Stanford during our weekend away at the Blue Gum Country Estate, was without a doubt the quirky green ice cream shop that is Don Gelato!
That said though, I suspect that the wonderfully over-the-top Italian owner would not be pleased with me referring to his gelato as lowly ice cream!
Situated at 23 Queen Victoria Street, Don Gelato prides itself on making authentic homemade Italian gelato, using the best in organic ingredients. In fact, Don Gelato has become pretty well known for its incredible quality, with the result being that now in addition to the Stanford headquarters, one can now find a branch in both Hermanus and the Waterfront!
Chantelle and I were eager to taste what all the fuss was about, and after agonizing over which flavours to pick, we made our choices and strolled over to the back courtyard to enjoy the most delicious of treats!
Well, well worth it.
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”38221,38222,38223,38224,38225,38226,38227″]
My introduction to the Impala as a boy growing up in the 80’s was of course through promotional images of the Silver Falcons proudly flying these distinctive jet airplanes throughout the country. In other words, it is about time I featured the Impala on this site then!
Introduced in 1962, the Aermacchi or Macchi MB-326 is a light military jet aircraft designed in Italy. Originally conceived as a two-seat trainer, there have also been single and two-seat light attack versions produced. It is one of the most commercially successful aircraft of its type, being bought by more than 10 countries and produced under licence in Australia, Brazil and South Africa. It set many category records, including an altitude record of 56,807 ft (17,315 m) on 18 March 1966. More than 600 were built.
South Africa obtained a license to produce the MB-326M (similar to the ‘G’ model), as the Impala Mk I in 1964 with production starting in 1966. It received 40 Italian-built aircraft followed by about 125 built locally by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation, using them both as trainers and in an armed configuration. Seven examples of the MB-326K were also bought as light attack aircraft, with a further 15 assembled from kits, while around 78 were license-produced and known as the Impala Mk II. Licence production of the single seat version began in 1974. The Impala Mk II, locally manufactured and equipped with French armament, was also advanced with a South African ECM suite.
The South African Defence Force employed Impalas during campaigns against the Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) and Cuban expeditionary troops in Angola between 1975 and 1989. Impala pilots typically flew at 550–650 km/h at a height of 15 m to avoid Angolan air defences. Over the course of the South African Border War, one was downed by an SA-7; another returned with an unexploded missile in its exhaust.
The aircraft had many advantages over expensive supersonic jets. Although slower, it could operate take off from relatively primitive airfields and strike swiftly. The South African Air Force (SAAF) used up to 6 x 120 kg or 4 x 250 kg bombs. The main armament consisted of 68 mm SNEB rocket-launchers (four x 6 or two x 18), and two 30 mm autocannon (with 300 rounds). These cannons were the real bonus for the Impala Mk II, helping to give a superior performance compared to earlier two-seat versions. The latter could also carry a pair of 30 mm DEFA guns in under-wing pods. However, dual capability as trainer-attackers was better appreciated, as was the availability of six hard points and so dual-seat versions were far more common. Six squadrons were equipped with the Impala Mk II in the SAAF during the 1970s and 1980s. Prior to Operation Moduler, most Impalas were withdrawn from their operating bases in South-West Africa, leaving the work to Mirage IIIs and Blackburn Buccaneers.
Impala Mk IIs were also opportunistically used as interceptors. In several encounters in 1985 with Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, they shot down a total of six. This happened during a crucial phase of the ground war, when Angolan and Cuban troops were checked in an offensive against UNITA bases. This ended in disaster for the Angolan/Cuban alliance when their supplies were cut off by UNITA and the SAAF and front line troops ran out of ammunition. Helicopters were being used to supply the besieged troops and the SAAF cut off this link. Two Mi-24s were shot down in the first encounter while escorting Mi-17s. The MiG-21s that escorted them flew too high to react in time. Two days later the Impala Mk IIs struck again, downing two Mi-24s and two Mi-17s. Attacks on unsuspecting helicopters were carried out with only two guns per aircraft. The single seat Impala Mk IIs were also sometimes armed with Matra R550 Magic air-to-air missiles for self-defense. The Impala Mk II operated at extreme ranges and had to fly very low, climbing only when helicopters were seen at medium altitude. After each attack they returned to low level to avoid interception by enemy MiGs.
And as I started this whole passage off, the Silver Falcons, the SAAF aerobatic team, were of course equipped with Impala Mk Is for a long period of time as well.
The problem with being immortal is more often than not, you get treated like a human pin cushion. This fun bit of comic book art featuring the cast of Valiant Entertainment’s Archer & Armstrong series comes to us courtesy of Italian comic book artist Emanuela Lupacchino.
Warren Ellis took over the reigns of the monthly Astonishing X-Men in 2008, kicking off in his usual style by controversially relocating the whole team to San Francisco.
Italian artist Simone Bianchi was handed the art chores and the result was the compelling six issue “Ghost Box” storyline.
Simone is particularly noted for his ink wash approach to his art, and as you can see by this stunning portrayal of everyone’s favourite blue learned furry, the results are spectacular to say the least!
So like I mentioned earlier, Saturday was Chantelle’s mom Cheryl’s birthday and as such the Montgomerys were spending the night at Gordon’s Beach Lodge, meaning that a night of eating out was surely on the cards in celebration of this event.
The designated venue of choice for the evening was Miguel’s Al Fornos, the quaint little beachside Italian eatery I’ve mentioned before on this blog and a place to quite a few people were looking forward to trying out again after having enjoyed rather good food the last time that they were there.
Our group for the supper was only six large, but for some or other reason Al Forno’s was doing really well for Saturday evening, meaning that when we phoned to book, they could only help us with a table outside on the patio, not the greatest of choices if you consider that despite the welcome, warm sun during the day, the nights tend to get bitterly cold when that chilly ocean breeze starts coming in.
However, on our arrival at 19:30 we were rather chuffed to learn that there had been a fortunate cancellation and as such, we got shown to a nice table inside with Monty, Cheryl, Monty’s folks, Chantelle and I sat ourselves down and got stuck straight into the business of belting out a very loud rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to poor old Cheryl who sat cringing in the corner the whole way through.
Now admittedly on entrance we did notice that the restaurant seemed pretty busy, but it is a fairly small place so busy doesn’t actually mean busy if you know what I mean (it’s all relative, isn’t it?), but unfortunately none of us really clicked at just what was to come… a PAINFULLY long wait for our (and seemingly everyone else around us) food to arrive!
To make matters worse, when the food did finally arrive, half of it was just plain bad (although in fairness the starters WERE good), all thanks to the lengthy stay in the kitchen/oven that some of the meals had needed to endure while waiting for the complete order to finish up. At least the company was still good, so we steadfastly worked our way through the mains and finished up with some coffee (only Monty still wished to try his luck on dessert here – though in hindsight, they sounded as if they were pretty much sold out on all the good stuff already anyway!).
Damn it. Why is that every time we invite someone out from Bellville or Cape Town to Gordon’s Bay that the local restaurants always let us down? Man, these monkeys couldn’t even find a banana to put on my pizza – talk about a slip up!
Anyway, luckily we had Sunday morning’s Gordon’s Beach Lodge breakfast to make everything alright again when Chantelle outdid herself in providing an absolutely stellar breakfast experience at the guesthouse for the six of us (Cheryl, Monty and his folks had all slept over at the guesthouse) + two more of the GB resident Montgomery clan that were invited over to enjoy the experience with us as well.
Despite the growling weather, we had a fantastic, long sit down get together (and I had a fabulous, patented C omelette), so hopefully that made everything alright and wiped out Saturday evening’s rather poor experience – it’s never good when the birthday girl’s food arrives so dried out that you’d need a pickaxe just to eat it! :)
So hopefully you enjoyed your birthday out here in Gordon’s Bay after all Cheryl – we’ll smack those blokes at Al Forno’s behind the head for you as soon as possible, promise! ;)
Though maybe next year we’ll celebrate it in Bellville instead!
Yet another Friday of dragging myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 05:00, getting ready and driving through to UCT, listening to the absolute drivel that 5FM puts out nowadays. I swear, from 05:30 to 06:00, all this moron named KB played on the radio was Shaggy-style Caribbean annoyances, making me almost chew off my fingers in desperation and anger that I had forgotten to burn a new MP3 CD for the car. Luckily it wasn’t all that bad news because once again, this Friday I only had to stay at work until just after 12:00, thereafter having been invited out to lunch with Kyle and Gino by the guys from TsiBA for whom I had set up a lecturer evaluation system.
The venue for lunch was a little place in Pinelands called Magica Roma, and authentic Italian restaurant offering the finest of Italian cuisine, a pleasant Italianian-inspired atmosphere and actually run by two, believe it or not, Italian brothers. It was the first time I could put faces to names of the TSiBA lot, and the lunch was a pleasant affair, even if I had to spend a good deal of time trying to decipher what the Italian menu was offering me! The only weird thing about the whole affair that in the end, I was the only one drinking any alcohol on the day!
Unfortunately Kyle called my bluff and once lunch was done, sent me back to the office for the last hour until 15:00 which unfortunately is my designated home time. Bugger. Anyway, on the way home I dropped in at the pet store to pick up a little surprise for C – four new fishies for our fish tank! This time I didn’t even consider those short-lived speckled buggers and went straight for those hardy little common goldfish – which seem capable of surviving whatever we throw at them :)
As it turned out, Chantelle was more than thrilled at the surprise when she got home (even if I had to hint to get her to look a little more closely at the fish tank), which made me feel all the much better after having wasted the entire afternoon by playing The Godfather again! We were in the mood for a movie and after catching a glimpse of the ad for Run Fat Boy, Run with Simon Pegg and directed by David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends), I immediately pleaded with C to go and catch that one. Thankfully she agreed to my request, citing that it was my turn anyway to pick a movie and she desperately wants me to go watch Untraceable with her, a movie I am not exactly looking forward to viewing!
Unfortunately for us though, on arrival at Somerset Mall we were once again greeted by pitch black darkness and enquiring by one of the staff members inside Pick ‘n Pay (they were still running off a generator), we learned that the area surrounding the mall is in the unfortunate position of being load-shed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 18:00 to 20:00! So with that little spanner in our plans, we quickly regrouped and came up with a new one – to Tallahassee Spur we go!
What we didn’t bargain on though was the fact that everyone else in the vicinity knows that they run off a generator too, meaning we happily had to stand in a fairly long queue just to get inside. Once inside, deciding what to eat was a breeze – waiting for it however was not. Thankfully after our long, long wait once the food did eventually arrive, it was absolutely delicious and we actually ended up staying for dessert, making the entire supper experience last well until 22:00 (and we had arrived at the mall before 19:00!) – Talk about a long dinner date!
Anyway, Saturday morning the two of us were up and early once more, trying to finish up all the little things that we needed to get done before Cheryl and Monty arrived to join us in our trip to the Franschhhoek Cheese and Wine Festival. This is the seventh year that this festival is being run and has turned into one absolutely huge event. It is held on the Bien Donné farm just outside of Franshhoek and has become one of those events were all the people who love cheese, wine and a little bit of culture meet up for some fun in the sun.
Despite the weather reports that had predicted doom and gloom for the day, the weather actually held out perfectly making for a great day out. As it is, most of the exhibitors and stalls are all under roof, but it was nice to be able to get out and sit under the sky for some fresh air after breathing in the bustling atmosphere tinged with wine and cheese all around you for so long.
As expected, I gorged myself on all manner of cheeses and wines, shying away only from the honey and olive stands by choice. The Wedgewood nougat stand I was forced to stand aside when a ravenous nougat-loving Chantelle dived into the samples, but other than that I tasted just about everything we passed, sounding an absolute expert in cheese all the way I tell you! :) It had a really busy, bustling, good vibe going and you couldn’t help but wear a smile and simply enjoy yourself. There was some live entertainment outside in the meeting and eating grounds as well as a fantastic display by the electronic violin and cello playing Sterling trio to keep everyone happy. Heck, Checkers even roped in David Vlok from Egoli fame as their spokesperson!
We met up with Monty and Cheryl halfway through our visit for a bit of a pitstop and boerwors roll energising session, though Chantelle and I did supplement this with a couple of pancakes just in case. However, eventually enough was enough and wine, cheese and nougat were forgotten and it was finally time for home. Chantelle and I trundled out of the grounds, walking the extremely lengthy road out of the farm… only to realise a very good distance out that we were in fact walking the wrong road! Sheepishly turning around, it was a long way back and then a long search for the right road out before we finally reunited with the folks at the car and hit the long road home to Gordon’s Bay (which would explain why the ever so slightly irritated Chantelle promptly slept the whole way home!)
Tired from all the walking done for the day, Saturday night was a far quieter affair with Chantelle passing out on the couch for most of the evening and me cracking some heads in The Godfather once again. Man, I just don’t seem to get tired of that game! :)
Sunday morning, and yup, it was once more up bright and early as we rushed around like mad chickens to get everything sorted out, cleaned (thanks bokkie for your hard work!) and prepared for our guests of the day who were coming through to our little ‘flat warming’ braai. Actually, we were slap bang on schedule and would have ended up perfectly on time and ready for our guests if it hadn’t been for the doorbell ringing at 12:45, a whole 45 minutes before the scheduled meeting time! And yes, lo and behold, it was indeed Dean and Zania who once more were particularly quick on the draw.
I let them in as Chantelle zipped around the corner to quickly get dressed and pretty soon we were all comfortable seated as I prepared to start the braai. Well kind of. Having successfully tested out our ever so slightly rusted braai standing in the backyard last week, I was confident of setting up another stellar braai in it for this occasion – except that the braai wasn’t having any of it. Before my very eyes, the base completely disintegrated into a gigantic black hole, leaving us no option but to transfer its contents into the now very overloaded Weber that we had loaned from Monty and go on from there.
It wasn’t too long before Terrance and Ryan joined us, rugby ball in hand and following them, Retha and Claire, completing the posse for this once again gorgeous Sunday afternoon. As always, stage fright took a hold and my resulting braai was less that spectacular, but it has been worse and this was at least edible (apart from Ryan’s one pork shoulder) and together with all the salads we had prepared, everyone ended up eating their fill and enjoying it. Ice cream and chocolate sauce completed the meal, leaving a very stuffed crowd in its wake.
But not for long. You see, where there is a rugby ball there are people who want to pass it around and pretty soon we were all standing out there like mad nutters, spending the rest of the afternoon, and well into the evening, sumo wrestling, hopping around on one leg, passing the ball around and even playing ‘Pig in the Middle’ of all things! In the end it was an absolutely fantastic day with everyone having a blast and I hope, glad that they came through all the way to Gordon’s Bay.
Chantelle and I both had a great day and we have to say thanks to each and every one of you who showed up – thanks guys for coming! (and thanks for our pressies!) Anyway, eventually enough was enough and we booted everyone out, retreating back into our castle and chowing down on leftovers for supper while snuggling up in front of the TV to watch Speed 2 and in so doing end the night on a blissfully sleep-filled note :)