Tag Archives: pizza

Food and Sculptures at Tokara Delicatessen in Stellenbosch (2016-09-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 29 DEC 2016

I used my weekends to visit a LOT of different places this year. One of the more visually interesting outings came about in September, when I took my three girls out for a light lunch at the Tokara Delicatessen, situated on the stunning Tokara Wine and Olive estate at the top of Helshoogte Pass outside Stellenbosch.

Tokara is itself a very upmarket estate, so it is pleasing that the team saw it fit to create a secondary, child friendly venue in the form of the excellent Tokara Delicatessen.

Given the farm’s elevated location, you are afforded stunning views of the surrounding mountains, down into the valley below, and all the way across False Bay for that matter. Both the vineyards and olive groves stretch as far as the eye can see, and picturesque is really the only word that fits the scene as you arrive in Tokara’s parking area.

Tokara is know for four things – its wines (made of grapes from three separate districts – Stellenbosch, Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde), its range of exquisite olive oils, it’s leading fine dining restaurant, and its extensive collection of art and sculptures.

It is this love of art and sculpture that first greets you as you exit the car, with a wide variety of modern sculpture dotted all around the grounds of the Delicatessen and neighbouring Olive Barn.

Peacocks roam freely and visitors enter the ground with an immediate sense of wonder and awe thanks to the beautiful and visually interesting surroundings.

There is a beautiful deck outside the simple but elegantly designed deli, great for warm sunny days, while the cosy interior with its walls of glass simultaneously makes for the perfect winter venue.

There is a large lawn for kids to run around and play on, with the garden itself also dotted with a host of very interesting sculptures to take in (and in some cases, play on!).

The deli’s food is of course much easier on the wallet than Tokara’s restaurant proper, but pleasingly the deli’s food is just as good, with us thoroughly enjoying what was set down before us on the day.

Naturally, Chantelle was in love with every single aspect of the place, whilst the girls were far more interested in running about outside than sitting inside with boring old mom and dad!

(Obviously I did a lot of strolling about as well, snapping loads of photos and ambling about the openly accessible vineyards and olive groves out back whenever the opportunity arose.)

With lunch done and Chantelle’s interior/product browsing curiosity now sated, the girls and I then trundled down Tokara’s sculpture path, an easy walk through the olive trees and then down the road to Tokara proper, with the route again being dotted all along with some interesting sculptures and pretty flowers to boot.

So in summary: Even if it is just a visit to the kid friendly, more accessible Tokara Delicatessen at Tokara, you can’t help coming away from that place feeling just that little more… sophisticated.

Highly recommended.

Here is a useful map if you wish to explore the exquisite world of Tokara yourself:

Related Link: Tokara Delicatessen | Tokara

Lunch at Mondeor Garden Restaurant in Somerset West (2016-07-24) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 30 JUL 2016

In an effort to get out of the house on a Sunday afternoon, but facing the challenge of not actually feeling like driving anywhere, Chantelle and I opted to take the kids for lunch and some play time at Mondeor Garden Restaurant, a perennial favourite of ours out in Somerset West.

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Although it is too cold for the girls to make use of the fun splash pool on the premises, there is more than enough space for them to run around and make a noise, while enjoying the multitude of jungle gyms, swings and trampolines scattered around the outside lawn.

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The weather on the day was great, meaning that instead of sitting under the porch area like we usually do, we opted to enjoy some of the winter sunshine by grabbing one of the outside benches.

The girls made and tucked into their own pizza creation, while I went for the delicious Fat Bastard Burger – always a winner!

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Naturally, as she does every time we go there, Jessica begged us to be allowed to do some sand art, which we eventually gave in to and then essentially lost her for the rest of the afternoon to that particular craft station.

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Not that it was a bad thing mind you! ;)

Related Link: Mondeor Garden Restaurant

Lunch at Wild Clover (2016-07-09) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 23 JUL 2016

If you have kids and find yourself in the Stellenbosch area, then Wild Clover situated on the R304 makes for a great stop. The kids have plenty of space to run around and things to play with, while the laid back, shaded outside eating area (which is often accompanied by live music) really makes for a relaxing afternoon out.

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Apparently the old chef that used to work there has now been replaced, meaning that the kitchen is making quite good food again, and these days I usually find myself tucking into one of their delicious pizzas every time we head out that way.

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There’s a small brewery on the premises as well (Wild Clover Brewery), which produces a nice selection of craft beer for you to taste and indulge in if you are into that sort of thing.

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There is a small farm animal enclosure which the kids can explore, as well as an equine center right next door, perfect for those of us who enjoy the prospect of trotting about on a horse!

The local archery club also calls Wild Clover its home, and just behind the archery butt, you’ll find a model aircraft flying strip of all things! (Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, Wild Clover also had accommodation available, and if you like destroying things, there’s clay pigeon shooting on offer as well!)

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On this particular day out, we’d already spent some of our energy playing over at the gorgeous kids play area called The Carnival on Weltevreden Estate, but because we had found the service their slightly poor on the day, we ended up at Wild Clover for lunch instead.

(I have no idea why Chantelle opted to eat a salad on the day though!)

Related Link: Wild Clover

Beer at Cocomo Restaurant in Wilderness (2016-06-26) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 19 JUL 2016

Having enjoyed all the stunning coastal scenery afforded to us by first Victoria Bay and then Herolds Bay, we next headed into Wilderness, with the intent to go for a stroll along the Touwsrivier boardwalk with Evan and Natasha. However, it quickly became apparent that by this stage the kids were more than a tad hungry, forcing us to redirect and find a place to grab a bite.

Luckily for us, Monty came up with a brilliant suggestion in the form of Cocomo Restaurant, situated literally right in the heart of the Wilderness Village!

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If you love music then you’ve definitely come to the right place, as this laid-back restaurant goes all out with the musical theme, with old vinyl records as placemats and featuring live music sessions 7 days a week!

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They are known for their great pizza (which the girls thoroughly enjoyed), but like any South African restaurant, their food selection covers pretty much everything that you might want.

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Also, I enjoyed one of the best tasting craft beers that I’ve ever drunk in South Africa, the Mossel Bay produced Glenhoff Lager (from South Cape Breweries)!

Related Link: Cocomo Restaurant

Montgomery Pizza Party (2016-06-04) Photo Gallery 13 JUN 2016

Father-in-law Monty has for a long time wanted to have his very own pizza oven, and at long last, following quite a lengthy wait, the pizza oven is in, the preparation work done, leaving only one more thing to do – organize a pizza party!

Although Rob and Tarryn couldn’t join in on the sunny Saturday afternoon, Peter, Gail and Chantelle, myself and the kids joined Monty and Cheryl for the big pizza day, quickly setting to work in creating our very own pizza masterpieces from the smorgasbord of toppings assembled by the ladies.

Monty got the pizza oven burning nice and hot, with the initial attempts at a couple of garlic pizza for starters coming out perfect!

We were working with raw dough, so there were a few kinks to work out in terms of successfully transferring pizzas to the oven and back again, and outside of poor Peter’s overloaded pizza which didn’t quite make it back in one piece, Monty was soon churning out delicious pizza after pizza.

Everyone was enjoying the food and weather, and I was getting quite a kick of rolling around on the lawn with the girls. However, as our run of back luck this year would have it, it wasn’t soon before Emily wrapped her arms around my neck whilst I was sitting on the stairs, I got up, lowered to her the ground, heard a small click, and then watched in despair as Emily wailed in absolute agony, arm hanging limply at her side.

Sigh, there goes her arm again.

So off to Louis Leipoldt Hospital’s emergency center Chantelle and I rushed, leaving Jessica and the rest of the pizza party behind. Although not busy, it took a while to have everything checked out (x-rays included), the end result being thankfully no breaks or dislocations, but rather a painful elbow sprain instead.

So it was a bit of a disappointing end to what had been shaping up to be a brilliant day, but pleasingly Emily’s arm did at least recover during the course of Sunday, so I guess there’s that at least.

(This does of course mean then that I’m rather looking forward to the next shot at the pizza party. Very little beats the taste of proper home made pizza!)

Lunch at Southey’s Family Bistro in Somerset West (2016-04-09) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 27 APR 2016

At the start of April I treated Chantelle and the girls to a Saturday afternoon lunch out at Southey’s Family Bistro in Somerset West (formerly known as Manuka).

It’s a great outdoor restaurant/garden setting for families to sit and enjoy a meal together, with a good jungle gym and jumping castle setup to keep the little ones entertained!

IMG_20160409_124901 chantelle lotter at southey's family bistro in somerset west

Everything is nice and shaded, and more importantly, their food is really good.

IMG_20160409_124911 jessica and craig lotter at southey's family bistro in somerset west

Naturally, the camera phone was put to good use!

Related Link: Southey’s Family Bistro

Trip to See The Cape Columbine Lighthouse (2016-02-06) Photo Gallery 27 MAR 2016

During our February weekend away in Jacobsbaai, while the rest of the crowd were enjoying their trips on the festival wagons, I thought it a good idea to drive out with the girls to go and have a look at the Cape Columbine Lighthouse in the Cape Columbine nature reserve next to Paternoster.

IMG_20160206_130117 driving towards the lighthouse in the cape columbine nature reserve

The drive to Paternoster through Vredenburg went smoothly enough, and amazingly I found the road to the Cape Columbine nature reserve easily enough – unfortunately for me and the Hyundai Accent though, no one had bothered to mention that it was a rutted sand road to get there!

The road was bumpy as heck, so much so that Emily was crying pretty much the whole way, and more than a few times I considered stopping to turn around and head back, but with the lighthouse teasing us on in the distance, Jessica and I opted to push on and endure both the bumpy dusty ride and Emily’s incessant crying.

After a slow and lengthy drive, we made it to the entrance of the nature reserve, where it was pointed out that one needed to pay a small entrance fee to go inside (for interest sake, Tietiesbaai, a popular fishing spot, also lies inside the park).

Problem. It turned out that my wallet was completely devoid of cash! The ranger at the gate laughed when I asked if they accept credit cards, but agreed to let me slip in after I explained to him that I just wanted to show off the lighthouse to the girls. (The crutches next to me and lack of fishing gear helped I think!)

IMG_20160206_125403 outside the gates of the cape columbine lighthouse complex

A lot more gravel and sand road travelled, we eventually reached our destination and turned into the lighthouse complex, only to be stopped by a closed gate – and a sign that very clearly pointed out that the lighthouse was only open to visitors during the week!

Oops.

Needless to say, Jessica was not impressed!

IMG_20160206_130447 no lighthouse for disappointed little girl jessica

We drove around the nature reserve a little more, I took some photos, and Emily stopped caring and started snoring instead.

IMG_20160206_130503 craig lotter driving in cape columbine with a sleeping toddler emily

So we made the long sand road trek back to Paternoster, drove around a bit, and then headed back to Vredenburg where I treated the girls to some play time and pizza at the great Panarottis restaurant in the West Coast Mall.

IMG_20160206_144158 pizza and play for jessica at panarottis

They seemed to enjoy that much more than our lighthouse expedition anyway.

Related Link: Cape Columbine Lighthouse

Japan 2014 – 43 Pizza at Good Life Cafe in Iida City, Nagano (2014-10-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 25 DEC 2015

We were lucky to be able to spend a day alone with Terrance before the wedding, and having already enjoyed some morning activities that included smacking baseballs at a batting cage in Ina, he next took us for a spin in his delightful new car to show us his daily commute to the school that he teaches at.

IMG_20141010_132036 terrance brown's car parked at good life cafe in Iida, nagano, japan

It’s a long drive, but with beautiful mountain countryside scenery wherever you look, one can’t really complain! However, it wasn’t just scenery or a school that he wanted us to see, instead, his ace up the sleeve was a stop in Iida, more specifically, a stop at a little place called Good Life Cafe.

IMG_20141010_132030 ryan lotter and terrance brown at good life cafe in Iida, nagano, japan

The unassuming Good Life Cafe is a pizza and pasta restaurant run by Bobby Shipley, and is said to be the only genuine New York style pizza place in the entire Nagano prefecture!

In other words, if you want good pizza, then you go to Good Life Cafe.

IMG_20141010_134812 best pizza ever at good life cafe in Iida, nagano, japan

Their menu is fantastic, the pizzas are indescribably good, and washing it down with some good Japanese spirits and beer – well, what more could you ask for?!

Not that we were finished with the tourist experiences yet mind you. After an enjoyable drive back to Komagane, a visit with his soon to be parent-in-laws (which is tricky given that neither Ryan nor I speak Japanese), the next stop for us was our very first ever visit to a proper Japanese onsen (hot spring bath).

(Note: Because everyone is naked, I have no photos of this awesome evening experience – just in case you are wondering about the distinct lack of photographic evidence!)

In truth, the bath experience was really enjoyable – relaxing and leaving your feeling like a million bucks afterwards – even if you kind of have to get over the fact that you are completely naked in a room full of naked strangers, all rather intrigued because as a foreigner you kind of stick out like a sore thumb. (Thankfully though, a decade of Virgin Active gym had me more or less okay with this! :P)

Right. So only photos of the pizza in the gallery then…

Related Link: Good Life Cafe

Lunch with Retha at Wild Clover (2015-11-28) Photo Gallery 02 DEC 2015

Situated on the edge of a private nature reserve along the R304, Wild Clover farm is a smorgasbord of activities, included among which is a more than decent restaurant, a onsite brewery, large secure outdoor kids play area, cottages for accommodation, a weekly market, archery field, clay pigeon shooting facilities, horse riding, and a RC airplane landing strip!

IMG_20151128_151523 menu at wild clover on the R304

Chantelle’s best friend Retha is once again down in South Africa (she and Miguel usually come home once a year – though this time around she has good reason to be back – in a few weekends’ time it is her big South African wedding!), and as such was spending a couple of days with us and the kids.

Taking advantage of the great weather, we thought it a good idea to show her this excellent spot we’ve become rather fond of in recent times,

IMG_20151128_151345 retha vorster with jessica at wild clover on the R304

Despite Chantelle’s still throbbing toes (more on that saga later, I promise), the five of us bundled into the Hyundai Accent and made the pleasant drive through Stellenbosch until at last we pulled up at the rather bustling Wild Clover parking area.

The horses were out in their numbers and the vibes coming from the kids play area and restaurant were pretty inviting. Battling through the rather loud (pity) live music, we found a nice table in the shade and let the girls loose to go and play.

(Which of course, they didn’t. They never do exactly what you plan, in case you didn’t know that already!)

IMG_20151128_145323 chantelle and retha at wild clover on the R304

Of course, eventually everyone did get settled in, the girls sped off to play, the live music stopped which meant that the noise subsequently abated, meaning that once the delicious pizza’s arrived, things got properly enjoyable.

All in all leading to a rather pleasant afternoon out and about at Wild Clover!

Related Link: Wild Clover