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La Tante DC 10

When either going or coming from or to the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana’s capital, you should try their unique restaurant, a converted McDonnell Douglas DC-10 passenger jet parked on Airport Road. The airliner is now a restaurant known as La Tante DC 10. This aircraft was once operated by Ghana Airways on flights to Europe and the United States. The guests are served by waitstaff in flight attendant uniforms, and customers board just as they would an operational plane, by embarking up a covered stairway.

Menu offerings include an extensive array of traditional cuisine, as well as international dishes. “Foreign fare”, such as spaghetti and sandwiches, populate one section of the menu, but the “Proud to be Ghanian” page offers diners a selection of the country’s authentic culinary mainstays. Don’t miss local specialties such as palm nut soup, grilled tilapia, and garden eggs stew.


Five of Cape Town’s Best Sundowner Spots

1.The Camps Bay Retreat

Situated in the Glen area of Camps Bay, this property is surrounded by both the mountain and the ocean, as well as Table Mountain National Park. David Ryan, Founder and CEO of Rhino Africa, says the property has a colonial feel. “Visitors can explore the terraced garden or play a game of tennis to work up a thirst for the jugs of Pimm’s they offer, which can be enjoyed while sitting in the garden overlooking the water and the setting sun.”

2.Stella Bar & Café at Southern Sun The Cullinan

When Cape Town’s famous south-easter starts to blow, sundowner venues that offer a bit of shelter may be a better option, including the new Stella Bar & Café at Southern Sun The Cullinan in the Foreshore area. Overlooking the pool on the ground floor of the hotel, the bar offers freshly prepared meals and a wide selection of South African wines. Stella Neethling, Product Purchasing and Development Manager for Springbok Atlas says: “Sheltered in the belly of the grand hotel, guests can enjoy alfresco meals, an extensive wine list, craft beers and a dazzling array of cocktails.”

3.The Bungalow

Situated in Clifton, The Bungalow offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and an extensive drinks menu. From the usual classic cocktails to signature creations such as pomegranate mojitos and watermelon martinis, The Bungalow also offers a huge selection of imported and local sparkling wines, while the food menu includes various sushi and seafood dishes. Ryan says: “The Bungalow is glamorous and sleek, with the ocean breeze and trendy crowd creating an energised sunset feel. With an open view of the ocean, it is one of the best places in Cape Town to enjoy an unhindered gorgeous sunset while also enjoying a perfectly prepared cocktail.”

4.The Leopard Bar at the Twelve Apostles Hotel

Known for its extensive range of whiskies and brandies, The Leopard Bar offers a fully stocked bar and an array of cocktails, from Cosmos to its famous Vanilla Chocatini, made with Stolichnaya vanilla vodka and white crème de cacao, garnished with a chocolate flake and maraschino cherry. The venue features live entertainment from Monday to Saturday evenings, as well as ‘Tea by the Sea’, an afternoon tea with all the trimmings, including chocolate brownies, cream scones, finger sandwiches and a selection of teas. James Ramsay, MD of Wilderness Touring Cape, says The Leopard Bar’s terrace is the ideal place to watch the sun set over the Atlantic, cocktail in hand. Janine Southwood, Head of Thompsons Africa’s Luxury Collection agrees: “The Leopard Bar at Twelve Apostles has an incredible view and the setting could just as well be the French Riviera, but even better.”

5.The Rumbullion at The Roundhouse

This historic property was originally a Dutch East India Company guardhouse, dating back to 1786. It offers expansive views of Camps Bay and the Atlantic. The outside dining area, The Rumbullion, offers a tapas-style menu, along with pizza and desserts, making it a popular option for sundowners. The menu also features over 20 types of craft beer, along with a variety of wines. Ramsay says: “This stately old hunting lodge perched on the slopes of a lush valley overlooking the Atlantic is the perfect location for a gin and tonic as the sun descends.” 


 

Safari Cuisine

Cuisine on a safari is more than just a meal - it is an experience, an indulgence and an African cultural experience. If you haven’t been on an African safari before, the thought of safari cuisine may conjure up images of Boy Scout food and bitter coffee. After all, how would a safari chef – in the middle of nowhere - be able to supply fresh, delicious meals that could grace the table of a top class restaurant in London or New York? These experienced and highly qualified chefs will amaze you with their artistic flair and tickle your palates with a wonderful fusion of African, Asian and Western cuisine.

Micato Safaris says this about their Safari Cuisine.

“From the moment that we welcome you to Africa until your reluctant departure, all meals are provided as part of our inclusive tour cost—and each meal is a delight. Meats, vegetables and fruit arrive daily in the bush, fresh from the surrounding area's rich farmlands. Early morning coffee is served before the sunrise game drive, followed by abundant breakfast buffets, luncheons on the veranda and a formal afternoon tea. Dinners are fashionably late following the return of the afternoon game drive, allowing time for relaxation and "sundowners" in the lounge or around the campfire. From the mouth-watering regional specialties of Nairobi to the delectable South African fare, the cuisine on your journey matches the stunning wilderness with epicurean splendors.”

On a safari you are in the middle of “no-where” – with animals and excitement of the bush all around you; that means that there is fun and challenge in the “safari kitchen” most minutes. If you ask a safari chef what his biggest challenge is in the bush, he will probably chuckle to himself and answer candidly “the resident wildlife”. And when you look at him a little confused; he will start to elaborate, telling you many animated stories about elephants snatching bags of sugar off a kitchen shelf and how a sly hyena was seen dashing off with a whole cabbage between its powerful jaws.

The safari chefs are some of the most skillful and experienced in making sure the cuisine is superb. You will sit and watch in wonder as he (and now “she” in more and more cases) rustles up the most delicious bread you have ever tasted – using a hole in the ground as an oven and serving sumptuous dinners and bush breakfasts prepared on a metal grill balanced over firewood.

As a vegetarian you may be wondering if you’re going to go hungry or just eat lettuce and toasted sandwiches on safari. Well, the short answer is no, you won’t be stuck with junk or get underfed. Every safari company and operator, and of course the chefs are skillful with a vegetarian selections. And interestingly there are several safari operators who offer Kosher cuisine, cooked and prepared in the bush under license by a recognized Kashrus authority.

Again – in short - safari cuisine is grand and guaranteed to more than please you – and of course the “sundowners” – the after-the-day-cocktails are incredible and somehow taste better than they do in New York, London or Los Angeles…

See you on a safari!!!


 

Unique Drinks of AFRICA

Kenya: Urwaga
What it is: Banana beer
Why it's great: Because bananas are great, and the beer they make is sweet and sessionable. And apparently it makes you really, really good at running marathons.

Ethiopia: Tej
What it is: Honey wine
Why it's great: Ethiopians make the sweet stuff for super cheap in their house -- it just takes a lot of honey, water, and gesho (a type of buckthorn). To serve, it requires a berele, or a vase-like bottle, that's as fancy looking as something out of Walter White's lab.

Madagascar: Toaka Gasy
What it is: Rum
Why it's great: Because it's often made in small villages and used for ritualistic purposes and celebrations, proving once and for all that all rituals are way better when they're soaked in rum.

Nigeria: Ogogoro
What it is: A high-proof palm wine
Why it's great: Because it's a hugely popular, home-brewed nectar made all over the country and used as an offering in religious ceremonies that probably often end with two strangers making out. (Why it's not great: Amateur brewers often make it wrong and die as a result.)

South Africa: Springbokkie
What it is: A cocktail mixing mint liqueur and Amarula… a cream liqueur made with marula fruit.
Why it's great: Because the combination of cream and mint kind of makes it taste like a boozy version of the Shamrock Shake, but greener and alcoholier.


Morocco's Saffron

Saffron harvest season ended early this month in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. More than 50,000 crocus flowers must be hand-picked for every pound of the crimson threads, but each pound will fetch around $1,500 at market.

The most predominant feature of Taliouine, the principality for saffron, is the fact that it is not only surrounded by spectacular mountains, but colorful fields filled with Crocus Sativus. It is therefore affectionately referred to as the Saffron Capital of Morocco. Each year, during the months of October and November, the saffron covers the landscape in vibrant color and it is for this awe-inspiring phenomenon that visitors come to Taliouine. To be able to understand the magnitude of its beauty, it is easier to describe the production of saffron. Taliouine produces approximately seven thousand pounds of saffron. And to produce only one kilogram of the spice, a hundred and fifty thousand saffron flowers are needed. Large fields of saffron need to be planted to produce the required amount each year and these massive fields are one of the most popular attractions. The spice is used in medicine, cuisine and in cosmetics across the world. It remains the main agricultural product in the area, and local farmers have carved a living from these fields for centuries.


 

Great Dakar Music with Great Senegal Dinner

While visiting Dakar, Senegal and having a great dinner in one of the local restaurants – one of the local young men performed by himself playing his heart out in a restaurant that was full of great conversation and laughter and joy… it was noisy by any standard.

But ultimately you were taken by the sound the young man made and ultimately, at least our table of eight people became hushed and we listened.

He is a talent – you can listen at www.badoumusic.skyrock.com

You will hear his recording and mixings he does in his home – all you hear on the versions on the internet is he – one man making incredible music and sounds that resonate the spirit of modern and uplifting Africa… and in Dakar, as you enjoy some great cuisine!

 


Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi

Since 1980 the Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi has been an important Kenya destination and an essential part of any East Africa safari. Most food writers and travelers will say "if you haven’t been to Carnivore, you haven’t been to Kenya!” – and as the foodies we are – we agree!!!

The concept of Carnivore reminds us of a Brazilian Churrascaria, but with distinct African style. The Carnivore is a meat specialty restaurant, justifiably referred to as 'the Ultimate Beast of a Feast' - twice voted amongst the world’s 50 best restaurants by an expert panel in ‘Restaurant Magazine.” We understand and do not dispute that The Carnivore since its inception has hosted over 2 million diners from across the globe, including celebrities and VIPs of every level - Carnivore visitors’ book reads like a global “Who’s Who” – impressive and when you are there ask if you can take a peak

Back to the food - whole joints of meat - legs of lamb and pork, haunches of exotic meat, rumps of beef, sirloins, racks of lamb, spare ribs, sausages, chicken wings, skewered kidneys, even crocodile, and other tasty morsels - are roasted on traditional Maasai swords over a huge, spectacular charcoal pit that dominates the entrance of the restaurant. Constantly basted and turned until cooked to perfection, the meat is succulent – a delight your taste buds will definitely remember.

The Carnivore doesn’t conform to the familiar restaurant traditions of passing out menus and waiting for people to order. Diners simply take their seats and the movable feast begins. First comes the soup of the day then a sizzling cast-iron plate is placed in front of you along with a plate of home baked brown bread and butter. Here you need a warning – don’t fill yourself on the bread, leave room for the real meal!

An army of carvers wearing zebra striped aprons and straw hats then move from table to table carrying the Maasai swords with different meats deliberately carving unlimited amounts onto your sizzling, cast iron plate. Accompanying the “meat feast” is a vast selection of salads and vegetable side dishes, and a variety of exotic sauces made from the Carnivore’s own recipes and stacked on to a double storey-revolving tray in the center of the table.

The feeding frenzy doesn’t stop until defeat is declared by the over-indulged guests who must signal that enough is enough by lowering of a white paper flag perched atop the central tray. This is followed by dessert and coffee. We should note for those non-meat-eaters that a vegetarian menu is offered and is very good!

First time visitors to Carnivore are enthralled by the spectacle of the roasting pit, the service and the distinctive flavors of food, however those in the “know” will miss the original meat selection that included all the game meats of East Africa, but that is no more! The non-game meat measure was dictated by the Kenyan authorities in a bid to stem illegal hunting of the country's wildlife. They figured that by banning all sales of game meat the illegal trade in game products would stop, and it has done so.

Despite the loss of game meat from its menu, Carnivore still lives up to its reputation as a carnivorous orgy not to be missed when on a Kenya safari or your next business trip to East Africa.

 

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to qualified sommeliers and wine critics who wish to comment on African wines. Your observations and recommendations would be welcomed and published in this African Kitchen section.
We wish to remind our reader that many “wines” are produced and in some cases brewed in Africa and that includes the delightful banana wine, with great and historical popularity in Uganda.
We wish to hear and read of all these, what many wine connoisseurs shall consider exotics, besides the established wines of South Africa that now are reaching the full recognition of excellence together with France, Italy, California and South America.
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