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coffee

Inside the Richmond

#Gauteng52, Week 48: The Richmond Studio Café

Welcome to Week 48 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Richmond Studio Café, a new coffeeshop in Richmond. Every now and again I visit a new place in Joburg and get so freaking excited I literally cannot wait to blog about it. Such was the case on Tuesday, when I went to the Richmond Studio Café. Entrance to the Richmond Studio Café. Richmond is a suburb just south of Melville. It’s one of those tiny Jozi suburbs — just a few square blocks — that most Joburgers outside the immediate area probably haven’t heard of. But Richmond has a special caché, despite its modest size. Several national and international news agencies — CNN, Media24, SABC, etc. — are based in or immediately surrounding the suburb, so Richmond has always been a central hangout for the South African media. It has a buzzy, journalisty vibe that I’m fond of. When I first moved to Joburg there was a legendary bar in Richmond called the Bohemian. But the Bohemian closed and moved to Westdene in 2012. Richmond used to have a […]

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Table at Breezeblock in Brixton

#Gauteng52, Week 21: Breezeblock in Brixton

Welcome to Week 21 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Breezeblock, a new café in Brixton. I blog a lot about Joburg restaurants, and I must confess it’s not always as interesting as it used to be. When I first moved to Joburg I blogged about practically every restaurant I ate in. But these days I often go to a restaurant set to do a blog post, then leave an hour later thinking, eh…not exciting enough. Breezeblock, the newest hangout in Brixton, is not one of those restaurants. I knew Breezeblock was blog-worthy the moment I walked through the door. A simple, beautiful table at Breezeblock. Breezeblock, the Best New Thing in Brixton First and foremost, Breezblock is in Brixton. Brixton (which is next door to my beloved Melville) is one of Joburg’s most interesting and underrated neighbourhoods, but up until recently there were few places in Brixton to hang out and have a meal. A couple of years ago the Roving Bantu Kitchen opened, and now we have Breezeblock — open every day for breakfast and lunch and serving excellent […]

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The Box Shop exterior

#Gauteng52, Week 11: A New Take on Vilakazi Street

Welcome to Week 11 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Box Shop, a shopping center and coffee shop on Vilakazi Street in Soweto. A few weeks ago I met up with my friend Andile, a.k.a. @may_i_take_apicture, to talk about a new project he’s working on called Imagine Soweto. Andile is cycling 150 kilometers around Soweto and taking 150 pictures — about four pictures for each of Soweto’s 38 townships. Andile Bhala, a.k.a. the Man With the Red Bag, in his home township of Orlando West. Andile was looking for some advice on blogging for his Imagine Soweto project. I agreed to give him some in exchange for an introduction to a new place in Soweto for my #Gauteng52 project. We wound up having coffee at the Box Shop, a relatively new development built from shipping containers on Vilakazi Street in Orlando West. The Box Shop on Vilakazi Street. Vilakazi Street is legendary as the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize winners (President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu) lived at the same time. Vilakazi is one of […]

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Corner House Capital Cafe coffeeshop ceiling

Downtown Joburg’s Newest Secret Coffeeshop

2017 Update: I’m very sad to break the news that the Capital Café has closed. Sniff. 2017 Update #2: A new coffee shop has moved into this space. Yay! It’s called DM Coffee. I haven’t been yet but I’ve heard good reports. Secret coffee shops are popping up in downtown Joburg, in strange, wonderful little corners where the city is coming alive. Craft Coffee in Newtown was my favorite discovery last year. This year’s discovery is Capital Café in the center of the Joburg CBD. Capital Café. I first glimpsed Capital Café a few weeks ago on my friend Jay Jay’s Instagram feed. (Jay Jay’s feed is fantastic, by the way. You should follow him.) I have been looking for an excuse to go there ever since, and finally found one last weekend when I scheduled an Internations Coffee Time get-together there. Capital Café’s coffee is decent. The café also serves nice breakfast sandwiches, baked goods, and other light fare. But this café’s big selling point is not the food or the coffee. It’s the ceiling. Have you seen a more beautiful coffeeshop ceiling in your life? I haven’t.  Another look at the Capital Café ceiling. It looks like there was once a grand chandelier hanging from the center. […]

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Sultan the Terbodore Great Dane

Pop-Up Travel: Terbodore Coffee Roasters

Last weekend Ray and I took a road trip to the Midlands — a scenic region in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province, between Durban and the Drakensberg Mountains — and stayed at a lovely resort called Brahman Hills near the town of Curry’s Post. I’ll write a full review of the weekend in a future post, but in the meantime I’m doing a quick pop-up travel story about Terbodore Coffee. Ray’s cappuccino from Terbodore in the Midlands — possibly the creamiest and tastiest cappuccino ever. I first discovered Terbodore last year during a brief visit to Franschhoek, where Terbodore has a satellite coffee roastery/coffee shop. The Franschhoek shop is smaller than Terbodore’s sprawling farm in KZN, but is still a fantastic stop for South African coffee tourists. Jomo, a coffee roaster at Terbodore in Franschhoek, explains his work as the beans roast behind him. I can actually smell the beans when I look at this photo. A cappuccino in progress at the Terbodore Franschhoek shop. Jomo again, because he is super photogenic. The Terbodore Franschhoek location is great, but it’s much like other boutique roasteries/coffeeshops that I frequent here in Joburg. Terbodore’s Midlands location, which has been roasting and selling coffee since 2004, is on another […]

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Craft Coffee cappuccino

My Five Favorite Coffee Shops in Joburg

I woke up this morning with a sudden desire to rejuvenate my Jozi Top Fives series with a post about my favorite coffee shops. I’ve held back on writing this post for a long time, because Joburg has so many great coffee shops and I was hesitant to pick just five. I also know that there are lots of great Jozi coffee shops that I haven’t been to yet, and once I publish this post I will receive many suggestions and feel compelled to drive all over town on an extended caffeine binge to try them all. But so be it. As I wrote in my first Joburg coffee post many years ago, I was surprised by the strength of the Joburg coffee culture when I moved here in 2010. And that culture has grown tremendously since then — this city has become a legit coffee mecca. So if you’re new in town and craving a great pour-over or macchiato, here are five suggestions to get you started. Beans roasting at the Urban Grind, one of my top five. My Top Five Jozi Coffee Shops 1) Bean There Bean There, located in 44 Stanley in Milpark, is the godfather of Jozi coffee. Bean There was — as far as I […]

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Quickie Restaurant Reviews: Hell’s Kitchen and Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar

Up until 18 months ago, the east side of the southernmost block on Melville’s 7th Street (between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue) was a merry-go-round of opening and closing restaurants and shops. During the six years that I’ve lived in Melville I remember (just off the top of my head) a combination-cupcake-flower shop, a Scottish kilt shop, a bead shop (which moved around the corner), a pizza place, a bland café, an antique shop, a print supply shop, and a bridal shop (where I never spotted a single bride, or even a customer, in the two-plus years it was there), all open and close on that small stretch of street. This is generally the way things roll in Melville. But that half a block has recently become a hotbed of culinary, rock-and-roll trendiness and I have high hopes that the shops and restaurants there now will hang around for a while. I happened to eat at two of the restaurants on that block this week, and thought I’d do quickie reviews of them both. Hell’s Kitchen Hell’s Kitchen was the first new place to move into the merry-go-round block in late 2014, along with Freedom Hair, which I’ve reviewed before. Hell’s Kitchen […]

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Frappacino from Starbucks

Why I Waited in Line for Two Hours At Starbucks and Krispy Kreme

Yesterday I went to Rosebank for coffee and donuts. I waited 40 minutes for two Krispy Kreme donuts and 90 minutes for a Starbucks frappucino. At Starbucks with my donut and frappe. (Photo by Wimpie, one of the friends I made while waiting in line outside Starbucks.) It was worth the wait. Not because I’ve never had a Krispy Kreme or a Starbucks coffee before, and not because I couldn’t wait another minute to sample these over-hyped, all-American treats now that they’ve finally arrived in South Africa. It was worth the wait because waiting in those lines was a fun way to spend my Sunday afternoon. Also, I learned something. The line at Krispy Kreme, which remains lengthy even though the shop arrived in November 2015. The line at Starbucks, which opened less than two weeks ago. I’ve always made fun of South Africans who wait in long lines when American and European chains first arrive here. It’s happened a lot recently: Burger King, H&M, Krispy Kreme and now Starbucks. How silly, I’ve always thought, to freak out about such mediocre brands. I drove past the lines, laughing and shaking my head. I wrote snarky Facebook posts. Yesterday, I was sitting at home without much […]

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Inside Industry Bakery

Quickie Restaurant Review: Industry Bakery in Emmarentia

A few weeks ago I organized an Internations coffee gathering at Industry Bakery in Emmarentia. I had been to Industry briefly once before, but didn’t sit down to eat. This time I ordered a couple of coffees and a full breakfast, so I thought I’d give the place a quick review in 400 words or less. Inside Industry Bakery. Before this recent visit I already knew that Industry has a pleasant atmosphere (I love the industrial feel of the interior) and good coffee. But I was surprised by the interesting breakfast menu. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the menu and now I can’t find it online, so I don’t know the exact description of what I ate. But it was innovative and tasty. I wish I could remember exactly what this breakfast dish is called. It was a burrito-like wrap, which tasted sort of like a thin crumpet, with a spicy egg mixture inside.  The man sitting next to me ordered these beautiful chocolate flapjacks, which contain no sugar and are therefore “Banting-friendly”. I didn’t try them. The man said they were good but could do with a little Banting-unfriendly sweetener. Either way, I love the look and would […]

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My Favorite Corner in Melville

UPDATE (OCTOBER 2017): I’m sad to report that Melville’s Turkish restaurant has closed. I believe the Mayfair location is still open. A few months ago, the corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue in Melville was a depressing place. One side housed a tired-looking sushi restaurant that no one seemed to go to and the other side housed the boarded-up remains of a bar called the Dollar Table. Looking south on 7th Street from the corner of 3rd Avenue. I would often walk past that corner and bemoan the state of things, especially the abandoned Dollar Table. (If you live in Melville then you probably know the recent history of the Dollar Table. If not, believe me when I say that the Dollar Table was a horrible place and everyone in Melville was happy when it shut down. But the boarded up remains were a depressing reminder of what used to be.) Such a prominent space on 7th Street, totally wasted. But I’m pleased to report that the corner of 7th and 3rd has received a makeover and is now my favorite place to go in Melville. Turkish Shawarma & Grill, the newest addition to Melville’s 7th Street. Turkish Shawarma & Grill, […]

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Melville Coffee Time With Internations

One of the most rewarding things about being a blogger in Johannesburg is the feedback I get from Joburg expats and visitors. Over the years I’ve gotten many nice messages from people who used my blog to help orient themselves when visiting or moving to Joburg, and even from people who used my blog to help them decide to move here in the first place. Several of those people have become lifelong friends. Potential Joburg expats frequently ask me about the best ways to connect with new friends and find things to do here. When I moved to Joburg in 2010, I didn’t have access to many resources for meeting people and it took me a while to make friends. I had a South African boyfriend to show me around the city, but except for him I didn’t get to know many people right away. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but looking back I realize that my first six to nine months in Jozi were pretty lonely. Unfortunately I didn’t know about Internations back then. Internations is a worldwide community for expats, with chapters in cities all over the world and dedicated online portals for each city where […]

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Breakfast in the Jozi ‘Burbs: My Top Five Picks

I’ve been meaning to write a breakfast installment of my Jozi Top Five series forever. It’s a tricky one though because there are so many restaurants to choose from. Breakfast is big here and a huge percentage of Joburg restaurants open for breakfast. (On the flip side, a large percentage of Joburg restaurants are closed for dinner.) I don’t make it out for breakfast very often, as I’m hungry in the morning and usually too impatient to leave the house, go to a restaurant, place my order, and then wait for the food to be served. And when I do commit to going out for breakfast it’s usually somewhere close to home. So my list of top breakfast spots is unabashedly biased toward my own neighborhood: I’ve included picks in Melville, Milpark, Parkview, Parkwood, and Parkhurst. The list is by no means comprehensive, but hopefully helpful for those who frequent Joburg’s inner suburbs. 1) Salvation Café 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark I can’t believe I’ve never written about Salvation Café before. It was one of the first Joburg restaurants I ever ate in — I had lunch there on my maiden visit to Joburg in 2008 — and I’ve been at least 25 times since. Salvation Café is in the courtyard of Milpark’s renovated 44 Stanley complex, […]

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