A Week on the Commune

by | Oct 2, 2010 | Food and Drink, Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds, Pretoria | 2 comments

Sandwiched between a week in Durban and a week in Lesotho, Joe and I are wrapping up one hectic (but fun) week at home.

We’re leaving again tomorrow morning and I have no time to write a proper account of this week’s events. Here is a brief synopsis.

1)      We had our first overseas visitor: my colleague Evan Von Leer from Washington D.C. He spent a few days with us in Melville while on his way to Lesotho and stayed at the Die Agterplaas B&B, which is a block up the street. The Agterplaas is a great guesthouse – I would stay there myself if I didn’t already live here.

This super-cool guy guards the entrance to the Agterplaas in the morning. I forgot to ask his name.

Breakfast is open to the public so we met Evan there one morning. We ate hearty Afrikaans food and absorbed the homey, academic vibe. Joe even approved of the coffee, which is a great rarity.

Evan enjoys breakfast at the Agterplaas.

2)      We had two nice dinners out with Evan, both on 7th Street. One was at the Lucky Bean, which is undoubtedly the best restaurant in Melville. Their specialty is springbok pie, which Evan ordered and enjoyed. I had an ostrich burger with something called bobotie stuffing. Bobotie is made of ground meat covered with a thin layer of egg. Sounds gross, I know, but it’s not. Joe had salmon. As always when we eat at the Lucky Bean, none of us were disappointed.

The Lucky Bean. The tree pictured on the wall is a lucky bean tree, also known as a coral tree.

Our other dinner was at Nunos, a casual, Mozambican-inspired restaurant at the heart of the action on 7th. The food and service are a bit hit-or-miss at Nunos but generally we’re fans. The highlight of the meal was my vegetable curry – a huge bowl of veggies in a spicy, tangy, tomato-y sauce. I’ve eaten a lot of curry in my life and this was one of the best.

Vegetable curry from Nunos, with two kinds of rice.

3)      The highlight of the week was our braai at the Lucky 5 Star commune. We invited Evan, Leslee (our neighbor from the cottage), and Lucky (of course). They were our first dinner guests.

The meal was a carnivore’s fantasy: beef fillet medallions, boerewors (traditional Afrikaans sausage), and herb-crusted lamb chops. I managed to sneak in one vegetable – roasted gem squash halves. I also served my favorite fruit-chutney crisps as an appetizer, which Evan enjoys as much as I do. If anyone from Frito-Lay is reading this, please take my advice and start selling fruit-chutney potato chips in America.

We managed to fit five people around a two-person table and a fabulous time was had by all. The Cape Point Sauvignon Blanc was a big help. (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures at the commune braai.)

We were sad to see Evan go on Thursday but we’ll reunite with him in Lesotho tomorrow.

Joe and I spent the rest of the week running around preparing for our photo exhibit, which is in Maseru this Wednesday. We made two trips to Pretoria – a total pain but also kind of nice because we got to see the jacaranda trees (for which Pretoria is famous) coming into full bloom.

Jacarandas in Pretoria.

In other news, summer is really starting in Joburg and the flowers are beautiful. Here are a few shots from around town.

This is my favorite bush in South Africa. It’s called a “yesterday, today and tomorrow,” and the flowers smell amazing.


Rambling roses (yellow) and petreas (purple). They make a nice combination.

Tiny bush flowers blooming on the koppies.

I’ve been in South Africa for two months. I wish I had more time to reflect on my feelings and emotions. Maybe next week.


  1. Jeanie Freeman

    It may possibly be different in South Africa but the picture of the petreas plant looks a lot more like the wisteria I’m used to seeing than the one you titled wisteria.

    • 2summers

      You’ll have to take this one up with Joe. He’s usually right on such things.


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