December 2015 update: The old Westcliff Hotel, now the Four Seasons, has reopened and resumed its high tea offering. Read about the Four Seasons high tea here. A few of you expressed surprise at my last post about the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Apparently y’all didn’t realize that I am a cultured young lady. (That’s right, I’m cultured. And young.) If you were surprised to learn that I enjoy classical music, you’ll also be surprised that I love high tea. Ever since my first afternoon tea — with my mother at London’s Fortnum & Mason Department Store in 1994 — I’ve been enthralled […]
Mexican/Latin-American food is one of the things I’ve missed most in South Africa. There are a couple of Mexican restaurants in Joburg, including one in Melville called Café Mexicho. (Read my reviews of that establishment — which I now think were overly generous — here and here.) But Mexican food in this town tends to be mediocre. It’s to be expected. My home country is filled with great Latin American food, but that is because it’s also filled with great Latin American people. Quality Latin American ingredients are available in every U.S. grocery store. In South Africa, on the other hand, […]
It’s interesting that I chose this particular time to return to America. Summer is drawing to an end here, while it’s just heating up back in Joburg. It’s around the same time of year that I moved to Joburg in the first place, which is how my blog got its name. I woke up this morning — back in Washington D.C., crashing on Bob’s and Tim’s air mattress — feeling not only between seasons, but also between continents and lives. For the first time since my trip began, I had no particular plans. I kept today open on purpose, thinking I […]
Pop-ups have taken over Johannesburg. Pop-up clothing shops, pop-up restaurants, pop-up coffeehouses, pop-up night-clubs…you name it. It’s all popping up. I don’t know if the pop-up concept exists in other places or just here. But in case you don’t know what a pop-up is, basically it’s a business that opens on a temporary basis with the understanding that it could close or move at any time. In some ways, the non-committal nature of this concept is kind of irksome. But in other ways I think it’s cool. It creates urgency and excitement to go and check out the pop-up before […]
I’ve always loved the Joburg Central Business District (CBD). But until recently most of the time I spent in the CBD was on weekends, which means I missed out on the hustle and bustle of the downtown Jozi workweek. Lately I’ve been going into the CBD more often during business hours, and I’m discovering tons of great new hangouts. I’ve realized that working hours are the funnest time to be downtown. My favorite lunch place so far is Anka’s Kitchen, a small restaurant serving home-style South African food at the corner of Loveday and Frederick Streets in Marshalltown.
Last night I had dinner at the Darkie Café. I’m writing about it because: 1) The Darkie Café is smack in the middle of downtown Jozi, in the mining district — one of just a few restaurants in that area that are open at night. 2) The Darkie Café has decent food, and it’s fun. 3) The Darkie Café is called the Darkie Café. Only in Joburg will you find a restaurant with such a name. I like it.
As a Melville resident and passionate lover of all things Melvillian, I have an inferiority complex about the nearby suburb of Parkhurst. I’ve ranted about this before so I’ll keep it brief. But basically, many Joburg residents are under the mistaken impression that Melville — once a Utopian gathering place for bohemian intelligentsia and hotbed for Jozi fun — has now deteriorated into a rat-infested drug den. Even some Melville residents fall into this trap, glorifying the old days when Melville had the Bassline and Soi Restaurant, and bemoaning the fact that today’s Melville isn’t more like Parkhurst, the bustling neighborhood to the north. Don’t […]
UPDATE: As of April 2014, I am sad to report that Amamus Café is closed. Read about my new favorite croissant in Jozi. I’m in a food rut. I used to enjoy food-shopping and cooking, but since I’ve been on my own I can’t be bothered. I love eating out, but I’m on a budget and lately I’ve been too lazy to leave Melville. And as much as I love my suburb, I’ve become slightly weary of the Melville dining scene. Don’t get me wrong: There are several Melville hangouts where I love to eat and drink coffee. But I […]
Nearly two years ago, soon after I moved to South Africa, I ate at a restaurant in Melville called Café Mexicho. I wasn’t impressed, and I actually got sick the next day. I named the ailment “Mexicho’s Revenge”. I wrote a blog post about the experience, called Where Not to Eat in Melville. Café Mexicho, August 2010. From back in the day when I didn’t care what my photos looked like.
My birthday is all about 7s this year. Lucky? I hope so. Light fixture at the Liberation Café, Melville. (Photo: David Penney) My birthday is actually today, Sunday 8 July. 8/7 or 7/8, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re reading this from. But I decided to celebrate on Saturday, 7/7, on Melville’s 7th Street.
A fellow Melville blogger, Chuck V., recently referred to me as “the Melville American”. I was flattered; it’s fun to think of myself as THE Melville American. (Although I suspect all the other Melville Americans — and there are many others — might object.) Photo by Jon. Chuck’s post got me thinking about one of the things I find strangest about being an expat, especially an expat from America. When you’re an American living in a foreign country, your nationality is the first thing people notice about you.
Yesterday I attended the Founders Day ceremony at St. Stithians College, a Joburg prep school. I was invited by a wonderful lady named Debbie, whose children go to St. Stithians. Before yesterday morning I only knew Debbie through her 2Summers comments, and on Facebook. Now Debbie is a friend. This is why I love blogging. Jon graduated (or “matriculated”, as they say here) from St. Stithians in 1984. He and I drove past the school many times but never visited together. Jon wasn’t the type of person to be nostalgic for his school days — adolescence was a difficult time […]