Snacks for Two: Our Current Obsessions

Sometimes instead of date nights, we enjoy having day dates. These usually involve long walks through town, jumping from spot to spot for drinks and light snacks. We have a few go-to spots for delicious snacking at great prices. Here are three of our current favourites.

Beerhouse Flammkuchen

The Flammkuchen Menu at Beerhouse

Beerhouse’s Flammkuchen

I bet most people know Beerhouse for, well, it’s beer. They also happen to have some pretty tasty food, though. One menu item that we have recently discovered is the Flammkuchen. If you are anything like us, your first reaction to that is probably…what the heck is that?! Flammkuchen (also known as tarte flambée and a number of other translations) is a dish originating from Alsace in France and Northern Germany. Depending on the region is comes from, recipes vary, though in general, it is made by adding crème fraîche, onions, and some sort of meat to thinly rolled bread dough and cooked over fire. 

At Beerhouse, this traditional dish is fused with South African flavours to create an entirely original, and outrageously tasty, treat. So far we have tried two of the options off the menus (seen on the right): the biltong and the BBQ pulled pork. Both were delicious and a great snack to share over a craft beer. The sweet onion marmalade on both provides a great balance to the savory meat flavors. The chesse variety and crème fraîche perfectly round out the dish. So far our favourite is the biltong, but we think we need to taste the others before decalring a definitive winner!

Beerhouse is located at 223 Long Street in Cape Town

Rafikis Burrito & Chili Popper + Tequila 

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Rafikis MexiCan Burrito- sorry for the poor photo quality, was in a rush to eat!

Rafikis on Kloof Nek Road has become one of our go-to spots for watching rugby on Saturday afternoons. They have a great option of foods to snack on, craft beers on tap, SAB beers by the quart, and an overall great vibe. Two enu options have become fast staples for us: “MexiCan” Burrito and the Chili Popper + Tequilia starter. The first is a basic snack burrito filled with rice, beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream, fresh avo, fresh coriander, and chili, wrapped in a flour tortilla. It is a filling snack and at R25 each won’t break the bank. You can also upgrade to a large burrito with the same fillings for R52.50. Meat lovers can add mince, beef, shredded pork, or chicken, for an additional R12.50 (small) or R18.50 (large). While it isn’t a groundbreaking dish, it is cheap and filling! We have also started combining this is the R30 chili popper and tequila special. That’s right, for R30 you can get a shot of tequila and a (rather large) chili popper to chase it down with! Let’s just say that we like this deal almost as much as we like seeing the Stormers beat the Sharks.

Rafikis is located at 13 Kloof Nek Road. 

Mixa’s Mezze Platter

Another place we have enjoyed popping into lately is Mixa’s Schwarma on Kloof Street. While this isn’t the trendiest of places to grab a bite in Cape Town, it has a few great dishes for outstanding prices. The drinks won’t set you back too much either. A great item to share for a mid-morning snack is the mezze platter. The platter comes in small (R27.90), medium (R49.90), and large (R89.90). Each platter contains tzatziki, tahini, hummus, peppadews, falafel, crumbed mushrooms, and pita bread. This healthy snack is great with a Hunter’s dry on a sunny day or as a quick snack before going out on Long Street.

Mixa’s Schwarma is located beside the Checkers at Shop 11a in Palmhoff Centre on Kloof Street.

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Not Another All You Can Eat Sushi Review: Empire Asian

Empire Asian

Starters

Here’s some context to whet your appetite. 

Sea Point is known for its vast array of Asian food spots-and for good reason. You can’t go a block without seeing a new Chinese, Japanese, or Asian-hybrid restaurant. For sushi lovers like us, this is our mecca. A few months ago, in desperate need of sushi, we stumbled upon Empire Asian. We were instantly hooked. From the warm service to the fresh, made-to-order food, we loved everything about this charming, hole-in-the-wall establishment. Last Friday we decided to give it another go. For research purposes, of course. Here’s our takeaways.

Main DishEmpire Asian

Let’s dive right into this, shall we? Here are our overall impressions. 

From Southern Comfort’s Perspective:

I’m pretty much obsessed with Empire Asian. I thought I was obsessed with the notion of conveyor belt sushi joints, but this is way better. The way it works (if you are like us and go for the R119pp all you can eat special), is that as a table, you can order various dishes. We went for the 38 piece platter to give us a bit of variety. Let me just say, this platter was absolutely the way to go. We got a smorgasbord of rolls, including sashimi, salmon roses, sandwiches, and more. This truly whet our appetite and left us wanting more. Next, we ordered a bowl of miso soup to share…just to take a short breather in between platters. To end, we got a 20 piece platter that was a bit different than the first, but just as appetizing. The only limitations are that you can only order as much as you can eat (you are charged for any pieces left behind) and there is a limit on sashimi and roses.

From Braai George’s Perspective:

I love this restaurant because it’s a family driven establishment. You can feel the love in the food, which, for a small town boy like me, is always nice. The platters are filled with a variety of fresh, tasty rolls, and they don’t try to fill you up by adding too much rice. I love a good salmon rose and they didn’t disappoint. The venue is big, warm, and inviting. The sushi does take awhile, but I have always loved food taking some time. You know you get a fresh, well made meal and get to catch up on date night.

*Afrikaners tend to take awhile making food*

Sides

Here’s some tasty side tidbits for ya!

A great thing about Empire Asian is how low key it is. Unlike some of the trendier sushi restaurants in town, you do not need a booking and are welcome to take your time, stuffing your face with as much sushi as you’d like. This is great for us, as we enjoy spending our date nights catching up on the events of the week and taking time to savor our food and wine. Luckily, Empire Asian seems to encourage this, making it a great place for a date!

Drinks

Herein lies the best part of the experience for us. Corkage is only R25. With most restaurants having a ridiculous markup on wine, this meant that we could bring our favorite R40 bottle of Merlot and enjoy it in restaurant for only R25 extra. This is truly a steal in Cape Town and saves you a bundle on a marathon eating session

Dessert

Sugar and spice and everything nice…here are our positive takeaways.

We like the fact that they don’t treat the “all you can eat” special in the same way as other similar restaurants. They put pride into every roll and let you take your time, making eating there an experience and not just another seat to fill for a hour. Service is amazing and we liked listing to the Japanese Pop music that they played as well.

Bill

Mo Money, Mo Problems, yo. Here are our negative takeaways.

We have to say that there isn’t much to complain about here. Sure, the decor is a bit outdated (“a little like going to your Granny’s house in the Karoo for lunch.” -Braai George). Overall, we find it kind of charming, though.

Overall Rating: On a scale of 1-5 overly priced Cape Town iced coffees, we give Empire Asian a 4.5! We can’t wait to go back!

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The Morning After

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Southern Comfort:

As an American expat, there are a lot of culinary things that I often miss living in Cape Town. One of those things is is bagels. Delicious, fresh bagels filled with cream cheese. Admittedly, I used to have dreams about finding a bagel stand while walking through the CBD. Apparently, someone got wind of this, because located just around the corner from Braai George’s flat, I have discovered New York Bagels!

New York bagels is family-run a stand-alone, walk-up shop nestled among art galleries and music venues on Harrington Street in the East City. Originally located in Sea Point, the shop relocated to this part of town last year. Specializing in truly gourmet bagel sandwich selections, they hand-make and boil their bagels fresh every day.

So, this isn’t EXACTLY the same thing as I’m used to in the U.S., but it is pretty damn close. Maybe even better because of the price point and vast selection of menu items, including bagel dogs and bagel burgers. My favorite is the original cream cheese bagel, pictured above. This classic comes with the perfect amount of cream cheese to bagel ratio and is guaranteed to cure any hangover. At R15 it is also an outstanding deal.

NYC Bagels

Braai George:

Braai George says that he loves New York Bagel for the following reasons:

  • The price is amazing. From 7-9am on weekdays, you can get coffee and a cream cheese bagel for R25.
  • It cures the hangover blues.
  • They even have bagel dogs! (We still need to try these!)
  • The Saturday special (pictured on the left) is delicious. For R20 you get a salmon and scrambled egg bagel. The salmon actually tastes like bacon!
  • Dis lekker man.

Final Verdict: 5 out of 5 glasses of fine Pinot Noir that left some hefty headaches.

NYC Bagels

We love you, New York Bagels and we will be back! Maybe tomorrow. And the next day…

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Sakura’s All You Can Eat Sushi Buffet

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Starters

Here’s some context to whet your appetite. 

Kenilworth is a small suburb south of Cape Town, known for its narrow roads, horse racing, and occasional racist ‘klapping’ incidents. Nestled along one of these narrow streets, you will find the “food court” of Kenilworth: Harfield Village. From Mexican to Thai and everything in between,  Harfield Village has an array of food options for residents and visitors to choose from. Last weekend, we decided to try out Sakura, a little sushi restaurant that offers all-you-can-eat sushi from 6pm on Saturday evenings. Complete with a sushi conveyor belt that customers can sit around, Sakura has a funky, inviting vibe. In addition to the sushi bar, there are small islands of tables and the tiniest buffet table you will ever see filled with steaming pots of Chinese food.

After a long day of red wine and pub crawling, we rushed in and the waitress took our hungry bodies to our tafel vir twee.

Main Dish

Let’s dive right into this, shall we? Here are our overall impressions. 

From the Braai George’s Perspective:

We can never turn down sushi, especially if it’s all you can eat. The American also has these weird fantasies about sushi conveyor belts since she watched Lost in Translation. I believe that sushi should be consumed until you’re no longer able to move.

The sushi was colourful, fresh, and inventive. Deep fried sushi is always a winner, though I was not a fan of how much spicy mayonnaise and sweet chili that covered every other plate. I feel that the sushi sandwiches were very plain and could have been jazzed up a bit more. There also could have been a little bit more variety; a wasabi roll never hurt anyone . But a good piece of fresh sushi and some generous portions of blue cheese. No matter my misgivings, I still ate until I could barely move.

From Southern Comfort’s Perspective:

I concur with Braai George on most points. Mainly, I wish there had been a bit more variety. I got one roll with cream cheese when we first arrived and no more ever came out. Cheese is my weakness, so I was disappointed there. And maybe we are being paranoid, but it seemed like the sushi chefs were amused by our naive aspirations of sushi eating greatness. They were probably right, though we didn’t do too bad. With 3-4 pieces of sushi on each plate, we managed to get through 14. BG also had a few helpings of noodles from the Chinese station. I was a sushi purist that night. I should also point out that they were heavy on the salmon, which I was OK with because it was pretty delicious.

Sides

Here’s some tasty side tidbits for ya!

The Saturday night scene was very chill at Sakura, with many people having quiet date nights. To be honest, though, we were so busy stuffing our faces that we didn’t have too much time to people watch. Like us, most patrons seemed to be in quite a bit of pain, having stuffed themselves with far too much sushi.

Drinks

We ordered white wine because it is lighter and would ensure that we wouldn’t fill up on alcohol. Eyes on the prize, ya know. The serving was huge, though it did come from a box. It cost R25, so at the end of the day it probably wasn’t worth it. Next time we will look into a corkage fee and bring our own hooch!

Dessert

Sugar and spice and everything nice…here are our positive takeaways.

The Chinese section is a wonderful bonus. It includes sweet and sour pork, beef stirfry, noodles, and dumplings. The value wasn’t bad either. We tallied our cost at over R1,000, of which we only had to pay R119 per person for the all-you-can-eat special.

Bill

Mo Money, Mo Problems, yo. Here are our negative takeaways.

At the end of the day, your experience depends entirely on what the sushi chef decides to make. Also, we definitely got the impression that they were secretly taking bets on how much we could eat. We missed having the option to choose our own sushi. The sushi was heavy on the rice, which filled us up quicker. Also, while having the Chinese section is a great bonus, but it was a little bland and masked in soy sauce.

Overall Rating: On a scale of 1-5 drunken Vienna Gatsbys from Bollywood Cafe at 4am… we give Sakura a 3! We probably won’t be back right away, but we would definitely give it another go.

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An Introduction

Before we jump into things, we decided to interview each other about our food preferences. The exclusive, no holds barred interview is below!

What do you want you last meal on earth to be?

Southern Comfort (SC): Something spicy! I imagine that if I die as an old woman in hospice, I will be so drugged up that it will be difficult to feel anything. I want to feel that meal, so load me up with hot sauce!

Braai George (BG): One last braai. But, not just the food; a braai needs friends, cold drinks, and loud music. I also want to die at the braai so I don’t have to clean anything up.

What is your favorite meal that we have had together?

SC: Probably something that you cooked, actually: that spicy, creamy pasta that you made me wait FOREVER to eat because it needed to “soak in.” I was so hungry by the time I was allowed to eat. Then again, it was so spicy that it was kind of the meal that kept on giving…clever way to punish me for being an eager beaver, I suppose.

BG: We once went all the way to Hout Bay via the MyCiti Bus to get food and ended up never ordering anything. We tried Seapoint…still nothing. We walked back to the into the city and still couldn’t find anything that seemed appealing. Finally we ended up home, just to order in a pizza… best pizza ever.

What foods come to mind when I say the following words:

Southern Comfort:

  • Comfort: grilled cheese and tomato soup
  • Orgasmic: oysters (they are an aphrodisiac, after all)
  • Disgusting: olives

Braai George:

  • Comfort: Breakfast foods
  • Orgasmic: Sushi. Always sushi
  • Disgusting: Beetroot.

Bucket List of Favorite Foods & Drinks

SC: Mexican ANYTHING, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, hoppy beers, coke light, pizzas with rocket, baked brie, hearty chili, lamb, hummus, tapas, spicy curry, late night boerewors rolls, all you can eat sushi, a good bagel and cream cheese.

BG: Italian – Pizza and Pasta with a lot of cheese and/or cream, Castle Lager, Merlot, Sushi, a perfectly filled pepper steak pie (you generally only get them in Small towns like Riviersonderend and Vioolsdrift). I’m still looking for that perfect chili popper (I once found it, but I’m banned from that establishment now…). Omelettes, coffee with hot milk, shawarma with lamb and jalapenos.

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Hello world!

We are busy developing our first few posts and planning our upcoming date nights…stay tuned!