I plant my flag. I sit by the warm fire. I see the road traveled so far,fruitful, full of joy and with lovely characters along the way.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cheese platter Shiluvari

Hi there,

Limpopo Province is fantastic. We visited Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge for a long weekend, and on our first day we ordered the Shiluvari cheese platter. Coming from Holland, and used to visit France (cheese heaven) a lot for holiday while I lived overseas, this was a challenging pick!

Shiluvari has an amazing view of the Albasini Dam and Luonde Mountains, situated close to a little town called Elim. It houses craft and art shops and it has a small fruit and super market, 23 kilometer East of Louis Trichardt. Besides hiking, visiting the spa and shopping for art in the small shops around Elim, there is nothing much to do around here besides doing nothing at all, which we did..

Their cheese platter increased our dining expectations and most importantly: our dining pleasure. Where normally one would eat cheese at the end of a meal, instead, or before dessert, a cheese platter for lunch accompanied with a green salad or fruit is a treat.
Traditionally, a cheese platter should include a variety of cheeses, progressing from the very mild to the more pronounced.
We are easy customers as we love mild, medium and strong cheeses. But tastes vary, and they served cheeses that were not too mild, and not too strong. The cheeses were taken out of the fridge an hour before serving (a must to allow the flavour to develop) served with tasteful dips, accompanied with the best of South Africa's ham, roast beef and avo salad. An enjoyable array of colour, texture and taste.

Michel and Clare run Shiluvari Lakeside Lodge on a daily basis. Needless to say their customer service is excellent. They promote the local artists and crafters by informing their guests about the art route in and around Elim. Also in the rooms, the décor is handmade by local artists.

Thanks to Michel, Clare, their friendly staff and their beautiful land (called the land of the legend) we had a great time. Thank you very much.

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review Pomodoro Ristorante - Morningside - Johannesburg

I was so excited to have my first wine tasting since when? Well.. two months! This time we were guests at Pomodoro Restaurant. Pomodoro was once my favorite restaurant in Johannesburg, before they relocated to a more commercial hub. I was a bit nervous that their fantastic Italian cuisine had suffered from the move to Morningside. I was nervous about the idea that the romantic atmosphere, that I appreciated so much, got lost.

A fresh interior, Italian flavours and passionate management greeted us into the 'Pomodoro world'. The world I left behind, for whatever reason. A reason I could not remember.

First impression at the entrance:

• Good atmosphere
• Fully booked
• Friendly waiters
• Nicely laid tables
• Modern look
• Sadly enough it missed romance

Klein Constantia organized the Gourmet Wine Evening. Klein Constantia is the oldest, most enduring vineyard region in the Cape. ‘Family owned and run, Klein Constantia's philosophy is founded on quality rather than quantity, reflected in the wines regularly inviting accolades, both locally and internationally’. That evening we were spoiled with KC Rose (Cabernet Franc), Vin de Constance, Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc, Klein Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon Red and KC red.

After a short introduction from the manager, warming up the tast buds for the evening, the cook shared his passion for Italian food and knowledge about preparation and flavor. He explained the variety of the menu:

Shot of chilled yellow pepper and roasted tomato soup

Truffled chicken liver parfait with toasted brioche and ginger ale syrup

1st Course
Spiced confit duck ravioli with an orange and pepper veloute

2nd Course
Red wine poached springbok shank with sweet potato puree in a Cabernet Sauvignon jus

Praline semifreddo on a burnt pistachio brittle with espresso gelato in a Belgian chocolate cup and a macadamia nut gastrique.

Do I need to squeeze your arm? Absolutely not. This is the best menu I have had in many many years.. stunning. Except for the Springbok shank. It just did not work for me, but in general shanks are not what I would order from a menu, ever. Dealing with the bone and cut around the fat are not what I enjoy. You could stand on your head and blow bubbles and I wouldn't eat it. The sweet potato puree made up for it and the jus was stunning.

We agreed 200% that the starter was the best dish of them all. We are serving our guests for Christmas, guess what? Truffled chicken liver parfait! Without a doubt. At least, I'll try.

The representative of Klein Constantia introduced us to their wines, but as the other guests (not part of the wine tasting) chatted in the background, we could not hear a word she said. Unfortunately..
Management really impressed me with their wine and food knowledge, their passion and attention. The waiters let me down. Although they smiled, they were not part of the diner event as such. Just collecting the plates and serving them, without them understanding how special the dishes were. The dishes definitely needed more attention, more words, more sharing.. more love..

That said, I have come to the following conclusion: a hub location, warm, great food but it missed romance.

Overall experience?

Value for money?
Yes, absolutely. It is the best menu I had in a very long time, and the set price of 320 rand (I think, but can't remember precisely.. because of the wine I guess) including wine was fantastic. In one word: scrumptious.

Food         4/5
Service     3/5
Ambiance 2/5

Overall review

Warm regards,

Abigail Summer

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review Karoo - Cattle & Land - Fourways Johannesburg

'As South African as it gets' is the heading on the website. Curious as I am, I book a table for four and look forward to an evening of South African Dining in Karoo - Cattle & Land with good friends.

First I want to apologize a million times to you who have followed my blog for the past couple of months. I admit I haven't been the sharpest pencil in the packet these days and I am so sorry. Due to the fact that I started a new job two months ago, I lost focus on what is really important in my life: writing & eating!! So guys, be aware.. I am back! And I look forward to more Summer!

The Karoo is a semi-desert region of South Africa. It has two main sub-regions - the Great Karoo in the north and the Little Karoo in the south. Currently sheep farming is the economic backbone of the Karoo with other forms of agriculture taking place in areas where irrigation is possible.

Karoo - Cattle & Land is famous for their red meat, ribs and fresh fish. To complete their African style menu they offer Boerewors and Bobotie. The atmosphere in the restaurant is good. It is very busy this Saturday night with a huge variety of food lovers that sit at the nicely laid wooden tables, some by themselves, others in groups.

First impression at the entrance:
  • Friendly staff at the entrance
  • Very busy
  • Convenient temperature
  • Wonderful salade bar in the front
  • Nice finishings
  • Modern
We sit down at a table in the back area and order a good bottle of wine (Hidden Valley Stellenbosch) to start the evening. The ambiance is fantastic. The music is soft, although once in a while when quiet at the table for a few seconds, I hear Jamiroquai, Sinead O'Connor and other all time favorites. Great songs!

Our friends ordered Butternut soup for starters. The soup was creamy but very thick. The chicken livers, prepared with piri piri, were great. I ordered carpaccio. The dish was thinly sliced, (too salty!) topped with roquefort cheese and rocket. For mains our friends ordered crumbed chicken breast lightly fried and served with Karoo sauce. Surprisingly enough the Chicken Schnitzel was really good. It would never be my first choice in a Steak Restaurant with South African traditional dishes. But that is just my opinion. Because it is my blog, I am allowed to have an opinion. Especially when it comes to food!

I recently read a book from Anthony Bourdain. He reminded me not to order food, that is not a fast seller. Which means that the chicken sold in an Steak Restaurant is probably not your best option as it comes to taste and expiry dates! :) But anyway..

Peter ordered Spare Ribs, finished off on the flame grill with basting sauce. The ribs were an absolute winner, the marinade very tasteful. I ordered Traditional Bobotie dish, served with yellow rice. For dessert Melktert, a good choice and such a difference to the melktert in the retail shops. Jammie!!

While we were still enjoying our starters, the waiters walked up to our tables with our mains. Such a big mistake, and bad communication between the front area and the kitchen.
Overall experience?
Okay. Karoo Cattle & Land serves good food, the place has a great and modern atmosphere and it is a nice overall experience. I loved the choices the Salad Bar had to offer.

Value for money?
Starters range from R40,- to R55,-. Mains range from R75,-  to R165,-. Desserts are R35,-. For the wine we paid R150,-. It was not cheap but it was worth the money spend.

Food        3/5
Service     2/5
Ambiance 4/5

Overall review

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review Cup Decadently Yours - Morningside Johannesburg

Hi there, 

Today I spend an hour and a half at Cup Decadently Yours in Morningside. I had to wait for my appointment at the hairdresser's. I noted the wrong time in my diary (how foolish), and had some time to spend. Therefore, I went to Cup Decadently Yours and had soft drinks. I absolutely loved it!

Wedgewood nougat, twinnings tea, fat free - non dairy smoothies, great cappuccino with heart shaped cookies on the side. All in a pink environment with sweet and friendly waitresses in pink and light blue dresses and waiters in pink and purple shirts.
Besides lunch, they serve coffee and tea in different flavors. What to think of a French Vanilla Coffee, a Dutch Chocolate Coffee (Recommended!), an Irish Cream Coffee, a Rooibos cappuccino, a mango smoothie?

Also they have a popcorn machine, lots of sweets and cookies for sale and even teapots! And what I loved was the branding on the serviettes. Lot's of time spend on details. Although it is a relatively open space, exactly in the middle of the shopping center, it did not feel like that. It was quiet, peaceful and a perfect place to drink a coffee in the morning by yourself, waiting for an appointment, or have lunch in the afternoon with a couple of friends or just the two of you. The heart shaped cookies, pink colours and general sweetness might lead to a romantic afternoon :)

So as I said, I love this place. I did not order lunch but I'll definitely come back once to review their sandwiches. Therefore I am not able to review this beautiful lunchroom for now as I am used to.

I can and will absolutely recommend the smoothies. Once seated on the classical chairs, enjoying the environment, you'll agree with me about Cup Decadently Yours.

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Monday, May 10, 2010

Review Fisherman’s Plate – Cyrildene – Johannesburg

This weekend we went to China Town. Having been in Johannesburg for more than a year, this was my first visit. Our mission was to have diner at the Fisherman’s Plate, at Derrick Avenue in Cyrildene.

A Garmin could be of sufficient help when you do not know the route. If you type in the correct address Abigail! Which I did not (stupid!). We drove straight to Derek Street, following the instructions from our friendly Garmin-lady. From there we realized we were in the wrong street with nothing China alike.
We looked up the address again and typed in the right one this time! But..
From Derek Street to Derrick Avenue you cross Hillbrow. It is known for its high levels of population density, unemployment, poverty and crime. I read that once before I came here and stayed away from it as long as I could. Now we were forced to drive through Hillbrow, for the first time since I arrived in Johannesburg. It was okay but I did not feel completely safe. Especially because it was dark, and lots of people were out on the streets. Nothing happened by the way :)

Anyway, we arrived at the right address. It was just around the corner.. We parked in an extremely busy but cosy street and were on our way to Fisherman’s Plate. As we walked to the restaurant we enjoyed Derrick Avenue with all its Chinese restaurants, electronic equipment shops, supermarkets, hairdressers and massage salons. Also the flavors from the apartments above all these shops, made us very hungry.. :) A big sign above the door pointed us in the right direction. 

First impression at the entrance:

•    Fluorescent lights
•    Plastic plates/bowls on the tables
•    Lovely wall painting on the right side
•    Relaxed atmosphere
•    Sweet white little curtains at the front
•    Not busy
Fisherman’s Plate offers delicious Taiwanese cuisine; especially the seafood is really good. So I heard.
We tried the deep-fried salt and garlic prawns with vegetable noodles and rice. As well, we tried the sizzling beef with vegetables and we ordered chicken as well. The bony chicken was not what I expected. I expected chicken fillets I guess, cut in smaller pieces together with a sauce. The sauce was good though but the skinned and bony chicken just was not for me. The sizzling beef with paprika, onions and carrots in a wonderful soya sauce was unforgettable.
The prawns were also fantastic. Although I found it a bit awkward to eat them. The 'heads' were deep fried and therefore eatable as well. 

What I loved was that each guest is allowed and advised to bring own drinks. They have soft drinks, beer, and an average choice of wine, but there is not always enough stock. Especially if you book for a group, bringing your own drinks is advisable. We ordered two Windhoek beers. In stock. Ice-cold. 

Overall experience?
Okay, nice total experience.

Value for money?

No. I think it was too expensive. We paid 280 ZAR for three plates (prawns, chicken and beef) for two people, rice and noodles and two beers. An average price at Saigon (in Rivonia) for instance is 90 ZAR per person with exquisite service and a chic and warm atmosphere.

Food         3/5
Service      n/a
Ambiance  n/a

I reviewed the food and not the service and ambiance for Fisherman’s Plate.

A piece of advice people. If you decide to go there, check the address before you drive off into the night. China Town, it is just around the corner.. It gets you closer to new places!

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Friday, May 7, 2010

Best films ever..

Hi all, 

Every decade, the British Sight & Sound asks an international group of film professionals to vote for their greatest film of all time. The Sight & Sound accolade has come to be regarded as one of the most important of the "greatest ever film" lists. Described as "by far the most respected of the countless polls of great movies-the only one most serious movie people take seriously." 
The first poll, in 1952, was topped by Bicycle Thieves (1948). The Sight & Sound Top Ten Poll 2002:
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Vertigo
  3. The Rules of the Game
  4. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
  5. Tokyo Story
  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  7. 7. The Battleship Potemkin
  8. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
  9. 8 1/2
  10. Singin' in the Rain
I must admit. I have not seen any of these movies! Where have a been over the past two decades? I do love watching movies, but I was so surprised to have missed all 10 of these movies that I decided to post the list.

This weekend more reviews. It has been a while, and I can't wait to spend some money in restaurants in and around town and tell you everything about it!

Have a wonderful weekend guys..

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pasta with sweet tomatoes, aubergine and mozzarella - Jamie Oliver

Today I am going to try one of Jamie Oliver's recipes. I love his shows on television and I do think he is the most gorgeous chef on earth. Also he is lucky with his accent, it is lovely. Although it is described as mockney or fake, it has become famous over the years. Particularly the use of the Hindi word 'pukka' (meaning brilliant or solid) refers to him.

Some of the newsflashes in which he was the center of attention:

In 2003, Oliver was ranked number 28 in Channel 4's poll of '100 Worst Britons'. The poll was inspired by the BBC series '100 Greatest Britons'. The poll specified that the nominees had to be British, alive, and not currently in prison.

In 2005, Oliver was widely criticized by animal rights groups for slaughtering a fully conscious lamb on his TV show (my God!). Some critics believed his act would scare meat eaters into becoming vegetarians, which they stated as good television. I would never become a vegetarian to be honest but I am happy to not have seen this video..

Also in 2005, Jamie Oliver embarked upon his school dinners campaign to improve the quality of food fed to pupils. While the campaign was arguably successful, at the time it was a highly controversial shake-up for students and parents, some of whom believed that the students should have a healthy option available, but still be given the choice as to what they want to eat. (agreeable I guess)

In September 2006, Rawmarsh Community School, South Yorkshire, UK, made headlines after a handful of parents revolted against Oliver's lunch plan (in which all 1,100 pupils on site were fed two portions of fruit and three vegetables every day) by delivering junk food from local shops to the pupils through the school fence. (who are these people for Heaven's sake? So much for setting an example!!) One parent dismissed Oliver's food as 'disgusting rubbish' and declared: 'Food is cheaper and better at the local takeaways.'

Well guys, believe me he knows how to make a good healthy vegetarian dish :)

For this Pasta with sweet tomatoes, aubergine and mozzarella dish you would need:
  • 350 gr pasta (whichever you like)  
  • 1 large firm aubergine
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons thick cream
  • a large handful of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 x 200g ball of buffalo mozzarella
  • 4 large handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Slice up the aubergine into 1cm thick cubes and heat a griddle pan. Meanwhile, put 4 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan on a medium heat. Add the aubergine for seven minutes on medium heat. After that add the onion, garlic and dried oregano and cook for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and the garlic has a tiny bit of color. Then add the tinned tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. When the tomato sauce is reduced, season it carefully with salt and pepper. Cook on slow heat for 15 minutes, then add the cream. Cook the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauce mixture together with the torn-up mozzarella and basil. Serve immediately.

 Thanks for sharing this recipe Jamie, you are amazing!

Warm regards,

Abigail Summer

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa - Johannesburg

Hi there!

After a weekend of lifting boxes, cleaning offices and joking with the builders, we finally settled in a new office. The result is amazing and we were quite happy about it and very satisfied after all the hard work we have done. Peter and I decided to celebrate our achievement and we booked a table at the excellent Restaurant of Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa.

This five star Hotel is unique, exclusive, up-market, for either business or leisure. Once the private home of the current live-in owners, John and Anna Thacker, the property was originally bought from the Little Brenthurst Trust of Oppenheimer fame, and consisted of 10 acres with horses and stables and rolling green lawns. Portions of the property have been sold off, but it has retained its stately, park-like ambiance with huge mature trees and prolific bird-life.

First impression at the entrance:
  • Unique
  • Historical 
  • Peaceful
  • Elegant
  • Italian decor
  • Friendly staff
The entrance was difficult to find because there were no visible signs in the street. After we finally found the entrance we were most friendly welcomed outside and enjoyed the peacefulness and quietness in the garden. You feel at home immediately in the restaurant area. Soft classical music in the back, nicely laid out tables with dark red table cloths, comfortable white leather chairs (see picture) and nice staff.

They have just enlarged the restaurant area and the doors were not quite finished yet, which meant during dinner we were getting cold and asked to move. This was not a problem and the staff helped us changing tables to a warmer area in the middle of the restaurant. Supposedly the doors will be closed before wintertime, so don't worry. The hotel is running very well. Apparently all suites are fully booked for the World Cup 2010, at least that is what the friendly waitress told us.

The bread rolls and butter were served in a silver dish. The bread was divine, the butter was a bit hard and salty. The serving dish reminded me of an ashtray at first, which I guess it wasn't. Or it was never used as an ashtray I hope. Otherwise if you have just stopped smoking, this could be an idea for your silverware! Or if you love silver like me.. don't leave it in your cupboards but use it at your dining table. We ordered white wine from a long list of wines. The pale wine had a delicate roundness and attractive notes that made it an equally good choice.

We ordered Namibian oysters as a starter, served with lemon wedges, Red onion vinaigrette and Caviar! Delicious!!
After that Peter ordered Grilled Fillet of Beef served with Oxtail cannelloni, mashed potato and Truffle sauce. I ordered Slow Roast Duck with crisp raspberry and plums, greens and star anise sauce. After 15 minutes of ordering our mains were served on hot plates, and I was curious to compare this Duck with my first experience (eating Duck at Le Canard) that I immediately attacked the dish with my cutlery to taste it.
Duck is always on the fatty side and I read on the internet that this is why the Chinese make pressed duck. They literally press it to get the fat out. If you never have tasted Duck before it is difficult to explain why it is so divine. It has no white meat to it so it is sort of like turkey with a flavored glaze. I loved it.
Peter's dish was very good. The potato mash was lush and the beef fillet was perfectly cooked, medium rare as ordered. Juicy from the inside nicely browned from the outside, right temperature and good layout of both plates.

The dessert was something else. We shared Baked Alaska together.
This dessert is made of ice cream placed in a pie dish, lined with slices of sponge cake and topped with meringue (made from whipped egg whites and sugar). The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for just long enough to firm the meringue. The meringue is an effective insulator, and the short cooking time prevents the heat from getting through to the ice cream.

We were lucky to have shared the dessert as it was too much for the both of us. The sugary taste, combined with the richness of the egg whites, the softness of the sponge cakes and the cold ice cream is a lovely combination and they actually prepared it well. Just too much guys, thanks for your generosity but undo-able if you already had a starter and main course.

Overall experience?
Excellent. The friendly staff made this a great experience we will remember for a long time. Although the Duck at Le Canard is still my ultimate favorite.

Value for money?
If you know this all costs us nearly 600ZAR including an expensive bottle of white wine, I would say it was definitely worth the money. The food was exquisite, staff knows etiquette and customer service and the ambiance was peaceful and quiet.Too bad that it was chilli in the restaurant and that we were the only customers inside! That's why I came to the following conclusion:

Food        4/5
Service     5/5
Ambiance 3/5

Overall review

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Muffins from Heaven

Just wanted to say, I love muffins. All varieties and flavors as a matter of fact! I was curious what I could find on the web about these lovely cupcakes and was surprised to find so many articles about how to get rid of your muffin top?? That's another subject for another blog I presume. Lots of recipes as well, which I loved.

For people who have been sleeping their earlier life.. muffins are made with a specific ingredient such as blueberries, chocolate chips, raspberry, cinnamon, pumpkin, date, nut, lemon, banana, orange, peach, strawberry, boysenberry, almond, and carrot, baked into the muffin.. and they are heavenly. My all time favorite is a cappuccino muffin and I missed that on the top 10 list I found on http://www.faqs.org (see below)

Here's the list of 10 muffins that readers from their website rated as the best ones:
1. Chocolate Chip
2. Pumpkin
3. Cranberry Upside Down
4. Lemon and Poppy Seed
5. Strawberry and Banana
6. Cherry Ricotta
7. Blueberry
8. Mocha
9. Blueberry Streusel
10.Apple and Cinnamon

Well? Would you agree? Or would you rather change the subject to muffin tops? Or to what happens to you (unfortunately) when having too many muffins? Please share your thoughts.. and your muffins from now on I guess.

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Salmon Grenobloise - Jacques Pépin

This beautiful recipe is from one of Jacques Pépin's 18 cookbooks named Jacques Pépin's Kitchen. He is one of America's best-known chefs, food columnists and cooking teachers.

He wrote a cookbook together with Julia Child. She was an American chef who introduced French cooking (famous also is the film Julie & Julia, which was adapted from Child's memoir My Life in France and from Julie Powell's memoir. It was a bestseller all over the country).

Jacques Pépin is down to earth if it comes to his success. He speaks about his cooperation with Julia Child as follows: "Cooking is a fun occupation and our book shows the conviviality of two pals cooking together. Not that we don't take our cooking seriously, but what the heck, it's not the end of the world in importance."

I tried his Salmon Grenobloise yesterday and I loved it! As I cooked for Peter and myself I divided all ingredients by two. For this lovely recipe (2p) you need:
-2 salmon fillet steaks with skin
-1 slice of bread
-salt and black pepper
-1 lemon & 1 teaspoon fresh chives
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter
-1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
-2 teaspoons canola oil
-1 tablespoon capers

And it is so easy to prepare! Honestly, even I can not fuck this up. You heat the oil in a nonstick skillet. You cut pieces of bread into cubes and cook them for about 2 minutes until they are nicely browned on all sides. Set aside.

You sprinkle the fish steaks on both sides with salt and pepper and place them skin down in the hot skillet. The one you used to saute the croutons. Cook the fish, uncovered for 3 minutes over medium high heat and covered for another 2 minutes. Place the steaks skin side up on a warm platter and sprinkle them with croutons, lemon flesh pieces, carpers and chives. This looks great already but we are not done yet...

Discard any fat that has accumulated in the skillet. Add the butter to the skillet, and cook it over medium heat until it is lightly browned. Add the vinegar, shake the pan to mix it in, then pour the mixture over the steaks on the platter. This must be served immediately.

And it tastes fantastic. 100% recommended!

Thanks Jacques for sharing this recipe with us on internet. You definitely master the technique of cooking.And by the way.. I love your French accent! :)

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review Vasili's - Morningside - Johannesburg

It's me again... at your service, keeping you from making unnecessary mistakes in restaurant choice.. What we got ourselves into last week..

I love Adega Restaurants and I convinced Peter to go and have their special : 1 kg 'Adega style' King Prawns for only R119,-. Such a great offer and the quality is very good. Also I enjoy the service at Adega Restaurants. They have most friendly waiters and you can go to Adega without having made a reservation. Also I love it that you do not really have to dress up for that specific evening. If you haven't been, please do and order the special. 

We entered 'Adega' at Morningside and immediately noticed some changes in the lay out and design.

First impression at the entrance:
  • A new and more spacious entrance
  • Light blue security fence
  • Adega brand visible from the outside
  • Very cold inside
  • Nicely laid tables with light blue tablecloths
  • Still looked like Adega (wall decorations)
 We were seated and received the menu. A different one! Appears to be though we actually entered another restaurant, called Vasili's. We felt betrayed because nobody had introduced us to the new setting at the entrance. Outside the sign 'Adega' still lighted up and near the entrance hung a sign. I purposely went back the next day to make these pictures. Although it says on the sign (left) 'watch this space' it never occurred to me that Adega would be gone. We at first did not know what to do because a prawn special was not in the menu. And if I set my mind on prawns, I want them!

It pissed me off that the restaurant owner did not tell the guests about the new identity. Some other guests in the restaurant looked just as surprised as we did when receiving the menu. This was wrong. We decided to stay anyway and we ordered wine from the wine list. The wine list offered lots of choice in wine. It tasted good and was at the right temperature.

Later, I ordered Prawn Curry and Peter chose steak, medium rare. My prawn curry was tasteless. The prawns were overcooked and it definitely missed flavor. It came with white rice and a mixture of tomatoes and cucumber.
Peter's steak was okay but not medium rare. The fries were too crunchy. They were even slightly burned!

The worst part of the experience was the service. In fact our waiter was friendly and I must admit, he was trained on the basics. He came back to our table frequently to ask if we were doing alright and he was visible all the time. But his colleagues were fucking annoying. We were seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant. Therefor the waiters passing our table were constantly bumping up to the back of our chairs or the corners of the table. Some apologized, some did not even bother.

How rude to seat us in a place where we can not enjoy a peaceful diner, in a place that has changed overnight without telling any guests, and being much more expensive than Adega. I can only say, you guys have a lot to learn about service, ambiance and food. We skipped dessert because we really wanted to rush out of the place and never come back.

Overall experience?

Value for money?
No value for money. The food was tasteless, the service was bad and our table was placed in a busy area with no space for the waiters to walk around it. It really was not good.

Food         1/5
Service     1/5
Ambiance 1/5

Overall review

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Review George on 4th - Parkhurst - Johannesburg

I believe Parkhurst is a fantastic area. It is like a little village with delicate restaurants with outside area's, pleasant bars and retro stores. George on 4th is my new challenge. Together with my two friends we had lunch on a sunny afternoon! Should I also mention how cold it was last Friday.. this is the first time I wore a sweater in months! F*&:\xi3_u(&^#(#..

Anyway, back to George on 4th.

First impression at the entrance:
  • The place is not easy to spot from the street 
  • No branding of any kind was visible outside or inside
  • Lovely wooden chairs and parquet floor
  • Continental touch
  • Charming decor
  • Outside tables too close to the road
We were seated outside and the waiter came, properly introduced himself and asked us what we wanted to drink. We ordered wine and fruit juices. The house wine is definitely recommended. Nothing fancy but a good price, and a full glass.

As girls do, we chatted and we forgot to look at the menu.The waiter understood and was very patient with us girls. After we made up our mind we all decided to take a salad for lunch. I ordered Berry & Goats Cheese Salad -
Poached seasonal berries, toasted almonds, watercress, topped with goats cheese- and was surprised about the plate that was served to me ten to fifteen minutes later. That my friends, is a salad!! The plate was full with green leaves in the middle, I guess 8 cm high. Around the greenery the goat cheese was perfectly laid out, together with all the ingredients that tasted fantastic together. One of us was given a steak knife by the way, which I thought was strange. After asking out friendly waiter, he apologized for the mistake and replaced the knife.

Definitely a healthy lunch at George on 4th. No dressing was added but there was balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the table for our own use. The bottles were placed in the middle of the table, perfectly laid out but annoying because it blocks sight. After use we asked the waiter if he could take them away which he did immediately.

Inside the place looks great. Besides lovely healthy food, good ambiance and a friendly waiter, I loved the fact that there was no rush.. just a relaxing Friday afternoon in Parkhurst. Great choice of food and wine (original). What fucking annoyed me the whole experience outside on the terrace was the fact that there were fucking parked cars in front of the restaurant. These cars blocked our view completely. Keep this an open area guys! How hard can it be?

Overall experience?

Value for money?
Yes. Good prices for a more than average lunch. The food is of high standard, based on my review of the menu. Inside the place is beautiful but sitting outside during the day isn't nice because the cars are parked near the tables. That is why my 'vote' is as follows.

Food           3/5
Service       3/5
Ambiance   3/5  

Overall review

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Friday, March 26, 2010

Potatoes with fresh herbs - Two Fat Ladies

I would be surprised if the name Two Fat Ladies do not bring back memories. I used to watch their television show when I was younger (1996 - 1999). For those who are not familiar with them: Two Fat Ladies was a British television cooking programme starring Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. These ladies traveled around the UK with a motorbike and a sidecar. Both not the thinnest among us, it was a wonderful sight. They did not care about fat and calories. They smoked heavily at the time and drank alcohol at the end of each episode. Some of their recipes were criticized by British journalists who considered them a bad influence on the diet because of their use of butter and fat in their recipes. I loved watching their show because of that!

Unfortunately Jennifer Paterson died shortly after she was diagnosed with lung cancer. On Wikipedia I found this fact: "The day before she died, she asked Clarissa to take her a tin of caviar but when Dickson Wright arrived at the hospital, Paterson had died. Clarissa said that after Jennifer's funeral, she ate the caviar as a tribute."

I tried their Potatoes with fresh herbs recipe which I found on the internet last week. You would need 4-6 potatoes for 4 people. Also 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (my favorite), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or rosemary, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 4 cloves garlic, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (the good stuff) and 1/3 cup chicken stock. No butter, fat, salt added, well done Ladies!

Thinly slice the potatoes and put slices in a large bowl of cool water. Set aside. Mix the chopped garlic and chopped herbs. Pat dry potatoes and drizzle a bit of the olive oil in a baking dish, just large enough to hold ingredients. Make a layer of potatoes, sprinkle with a bit of the herb/garlic mixture and drizzle with a little oil. Repeat 4 more times before you pour the stock all over it. In total 60 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius until the top potatoes start to brown and get crisp.

I loved the taste! We ate the potatoes with beetroot salad and chicken cordon bleu (chicken breast filled with smoked chicken and cheese, coated in a crispy ciabatta crumb). So nice!! Recommended!

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

Ps. Thanks Alan for your comment, keeps me going :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Review Giovanni Pasta Fagioli - Woodmead - Johannesburg

In Dunwoody Shopping Center at Western Service Road in Woodmead you'll find Giovanni Pasta Fagioli.
We decided to have diner there on Friday the 19th of March together with some friends.

First impression at the entrance:
  • Unwelcoming security fence front door
  • Friendly waiters
  • Nice bar area
  • Visible pizza oven area
  • Too dark inside
  • Ugly ceiling with wooden frames and blue lights
They had tongue on the menu, ox tongue which could be ordered as a starter. We did! I never had tasted it before and I was scared. I have always hesitated to order it because if you see it lying in the freezer at a butcher's shop, it looks weird and somewhat disgusting I think. I figured that only seeing the 'end-product' it might be good for me to cross the border. The-not-eating-ox-tongue-border. And I did.. It was very good according to my table partners who could compare it with tongue they had earlier in their life. I was surprised that it was so juicy and tender. I took a few bites that I really enjoyed. Then I pushed the plate to my neighboring table partners that finished it. Hm, made me think if I could eat everything from now on, as I just touched a juicy and tender tongue?

During the evening the lady (did not catch her name) was helpful and friendly. A loss for the restaurant if she would decide to leave. The waiters we had at our table (three in total) were constantly smiling, which I loved, but were interrupting irritably. In the middle of a conversation they would ask us if we knew what we would want to order (menu's still open on the table), our choice for desserts, and if we were interested in another round of drinks. They even offered me the dessert menu twice! I already had coffee in front of me, really guys work together!

If your tables are divided in certain groups with one responsible waiter and it is not busy at one group, don't let the waiter with no customers come to the other groups to help out (only if it is well communicated). It does not work out for your guests. Especially when they do not communicate towards each other about the guests' order or needs. If your staff can manage it, do it. Otherwise tell them to go and help in the kitchen or whatever work is required at the time. Enough recommendations for service. That's not my fucking job but the managers'.

The food we ordered for main course was served in big frying pans. Lovely idea! I had ordered the Chef's Special. A simple pasta with fresh ingredients, exactly how Italians serve their guests in Italy: home made pasta with seafood, olive oil and Parmesan cheese made the dish indeed very special. With an Italian wink, as good as a nod.

The dessert menu offered frozen desserts, and home made Tiramisù, which Peter ordered. Good taste, but way too much liquid in the crust. The liqueur overwhelmed the other ingredients as well and made the crust too soft. I ordered cappuccino (and 'stole' some Tiramisù from Peter's plate). The cappuccino would taste better if it was served with less water and more coffee! The frothing of the milk was done properly.

Overall experience?

Value for money?
No, it was too expensive for the total package, looking at the ambiance of the restaurant, the service and the quality of the food. Most of the dishes were between R 100,- and R 150,-. That's on average R 20,- to R 50,- more than what we paid at Tortellino D'oro in Glenhove (see earlier review).

Food            3/5
Service        2/5
Ambiance    2/5

Overall review

Warm Regards,

Abigail Summer

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Dirty Hotels in Europe, United States and Asia - Trip Advisor

    Last weekend Peter and I went away for a relaxing weekend, near Pretoria. It had not rained at the place for five weeks, which is why the lodge suffered from ants (we were told). Besides the fact that there were lots of flies and mosquitoes. However, this is common in the bush and I tried to ignore these little insects for the first day.

    Until I woke up on Saturday morning. I found ants walking on our bed and even, (so horrible) over my face! I freaked out, jumped out of bed and was not pleased at all. I complained and of course, the owners were so sorry and again explained what they had tried so far to get rid of the ants. Well, we decided to stay. The food was very good, and I forgot the incident during the day. However, I remembered the next morning! I am home safe now, without ants or other insects. I am enjoying city life in Johannesburg and by the way, with itching mosquito bites all over my legs and arms.

    The mosquito bites made me curious. I googled bad hotel reviews on Trip Advisor to find worse places than this one. Reviews as 'disgusting', 'worst place ever', 'really really bad', 'awful', 'stay away', 'toxic', 'horrible', 'you will regret it', 'would be safer and cleaner on the streets', 'never again', 'chukit it in the bin! This place should be closed down!' are listed on the website. One story is more horrible than the next. I love lists like these, helpful but so disgusting!

    Below you will find top ten dirty hotels in Europe, United States and Asia. The ones you, for many different reasons, should stay away from:

    Dirtiest Hotels – Europe
    1. Grosvenor Hotel, Blackpool, United Kingdom
    2. Villaggio Club Porto Ainu, Budoni, Italy
    3. Park Hotel, London, United Kingdom
    4. Boston Court Hotel, London, United Kingdom
    5. Cromwell Crown, London, United Kingdom
    6. Dam Hotel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    7. Corbigoe Hotel, London, United Kingdom
    8. Earls Court Gardens Hotel, London, United Kingdom
    9. Blair Victoria & Tudor Inn Hotel, London, United Kingdom
    10. Minster Hotel, York, United Kingdom

    Dirtiest Hotels - United States

    1. Heritage Marina Hotel, San Francisco, California
    2. Days Inn Eureka, Eureka, Missouri
    3. Tropicana Resort Hotel, Virginia Beach, Virginia
    4. Super 8 Virginia Beach/At the Ocean, Virginia Beach, Virginia
    5. Quality Inn, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
    6. New York Inn, New York City, New York
    7. Parisian Hotel & Suites, Miami Beach, Florida
    8. Capistrano Seaside Inn, Capistrano Beach, California
    9. Desert Lodge, Palm Springs, California
    10. Continental Oceanfront Hotel South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida

    Dirtiest Hotels - Asia
    1. Phi Phi Don Chukit Resort, Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand
    2. Raj Residency, Chennai (Madras), India
    3. Goldkist Beach Resort, Singapore, Singapore
    4. Mahkota Hotel Melaka, Melaka, Malaysia
    5. Centaur Hotel, IGI Airport, New Delhi, India
    6. Tatami Hampton Hotel, Hong Kong, China
    7. Pearl of the Pacific Boracay Resort & Spa, Boracay, Philippines
    8. First Hotel Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand
    9. Seri Costa Hotel-Resort, Melaka, Malaysia
    10. Royal Peacock Hotel, Singapore, Singapore

    Above hotels are reviewed and listed on http://www.tripadvisor.com/DirtyHotels

    Sleep well tonight, without bugs or ants I hope.

    Warm regards,

    Abigail Summer

    PS Something else but nevertheless very important.. I received my first comment last week, hooray! Barak Hirschowitz made the effort to let me know he was glad to hear that someone (me) still enjoyed that recipe after several years and he wished me all the best. Thanks Barak, I really appreciate it.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Normandy Apple Cake - Jane Webster

    I did it! It is in my oven and I am proud. I screw up cakes all the time, but this time I think I have it right. The European or American recipes I tried so far are fantastic in European and American ovens but in South African ovens, it is something else. The self-raising flour you buy in South Africa is different from others. Bullshit, I hear you think, but I am right. Does your cake nearly come out of her comfortable tray? Yes, listen. I am giving away the trick. Add more flour than stated in the recipe. Also, add a teaspoon of baking powder, even though it is not in the recipe. Trust me. Your cakes from now on will be stunning and delicious. You will impress relatives, friends and colleagues more than you can imagine. And if you do, let me know.

    I used Jane Webster’s Normandy Apple Cake recipe today. Jane and her husband Pete put their business in Melbourne on hold. They pull their children out of school to live the life they always dreamed of, in Normandy France. The Château is in reasonable shape, crying for restoration work though and waiting for life between its high classic walls and oak parquetry floors. In her cookbook At my French Table, Jane describes getting used to Château life. She shows to keep a house that size clean (for the ladies, this is without a maid!) and shows her cooking class ideas. She takes you out for Sunday lunches, to buy fresh ingredients from the local shops and shares her favorite recipes from spring to winter. The gorgeous pictures in the book in combination with Jane’s story lets us peak into ‘la vie française.’ Formidable! I love it.

    You need granny smith apples, brown sugar, 250 gram (oops!) unsalted butter, caster sugar, eggs, 2 cups flour (use 100 gram more), milk, nutmeg and pouring cream to serve. I hope Jane forgives me for not buying the pouring cream. 250-gram butter, not diet proof and that is an understatement. I peeled and chopped the apples. Together with the brown sugar and water, I cooked them over medium heat. After that, I beat sugar, butter, eggs, flour (and baking powder) and milk and I poured the lovely batter into a 28 cm cake pan. Topped it with the cooled apples and sprinkled it with nutmeg. I baked the cake in the oven for 50 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

    In her recipe, Jane says: ‘A slice of this teacake is a perfect mid-afternoon treat.’What a brilliant woman she is. I had the same idea. Ha. Enjoy your weekend guys, stay in for a change, and bake cakes!

    At my French Table by Jane Webster, Normandy Apple Cake, page 238 La vie française
    ISBN: 978-0670070329

    Warm regards,

    Abigail Summer

    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Roasted Halibut with Green Olive Sauce - Barak Hirschowitz

    Last Saturday I made Roasted Halibut with Green Olive Sauce from Barak Hirschowitz. I came across his recipe on http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-halibut-with-green-olive-sauce. What a lovely combination I thought and doable for me as an inexperienced but (I certainly am) an enthusiastic home-cook.

    Barak started to work in a restaurant kitchen in New York when he was sixteen. Originally his parents were from South Africa and in 1993 he decided that this would be an exciting time to take a working vacation in South Africa. Since then he had a fast moving career, working as Executive Chef at The Bay Hotel and working as Executive Chef at Bushman's Kloof. Currently living in Cape Town, Barak is the Director at Hospitalio Recruitment, specializing in hospitality recruitment, hotel recruitment, hotel jobs, cruise line jobs, food and beverage jobs, chef jobs, chef recruitment, and hospitality human resources.

    Earlier in my 'career' I learned what a cup stands for, or 1/2 cup or 1/4 cup. Now I had to look on the internet to find out what 'six 7-ounce skinless halibut fillets' meant. 1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams it said on the web. How was I supposed to know this complicated United States customary system? I am European! Anyway, I struggled through the recipe converting the ingredients with Google's built-in calculator function. I managed to preheat the oven to 450 (first I thought this was a huge mistake until I realized it meant Fahrenheit, not Celsius) or what I understand and know now: 230 degrees Celsius (so complicated!).

    I mixed the olive oil with the lime juice and refrigerated the Halibut in the mixture for 15 minutes. Then I combined the fish stock, wine, shallot, white peppercorns (searched the whole of Johannesburg to finally find them in stock), bay leaf and lime juice. Boiling these ingredients for 6 minutes over high heat, spread delicious but also fishy flavors in my little kitchen. I added the heavy cream and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. It's a piece of cake so far.
    For 10 minutes I cooked the Halibut fillets in the oven, on a baking sheet. I added chopped green olives to the sauce and whisked in butter and parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Creative as I am as a chef (not), I copied the layout of the dish as posted on the internet page: white rice with Halibut on top, rocket and half a lemon on the side. I topped the Halibut with the Green Olive sauce. As Julia Child would say: 'bon appétit'. Peter loved the combination of the rice, olive sauce and roasted Halibut. And so did I! Guys, I had a lovely Saturday night after that..
    A big thanks to Barak for learning me to cook Halibut with Green Olive Sauce and for Peter who so far eats everything I cook.

    Warm regards,

    Abigail Summer

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    31 places to go in 2010

    Hi guys,

    First I want to thank Chet from Le Canard for taking the opportunity to write me an email according to the review I posted of my experience in their lovely restaurant. He said that my enjoyment is their inspiration. Great! Thank you so much.

    As well I would like to thank Karen Dickinson. She send me an email about Prue Leith's Spicy Fish Curry. She checked in the book "Leith's Cookery Bible" and told me that in the book the recipe is complete. There was a mistake on the website, so I would like to rectify that here. Thanks Karen!

    I read the list below on the website of the New York Times and because I love lists like these, I couldn't help myself but post this list on my blog. According to the New York Times (January 10, 2010) these are the places to visit in 2010. South Africa is listed on place 22, what do you think guys? I feel that South Africa is more booming and interesting for travelers than ever before! I would love to visit Shenzhen, China. That is my travel goal in 2010. But what do you think? And where have you been? What is your holiday planning for 2010? Something from the list??

    The 31 Places to Go in 2010
    1. Sri Lanka
    The civil war between the Sinhalese-dominated government and a separatist Tamil group ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors.
    2. Patagonia Wine Country
    Ten years ago, a group of adventurous winemakers set their sights on an Argentine valley called San Patricio del Chañar, an unusually fertile and eerily beautiful corner of Patagonia.
    3. Seoul
    They have been drawn by the Korean capital’s glammed-up cafes and restaurants, immaculate art galleries and monumental fashion palaces
    4. Mysore
    Yogis seeking transcontinental bliss head these days to Mysore, the City of Palaces, in southern India.
    5. Copenhagen
    The Danish capital has already emerged as one of the world’s greenest — and maybe coolest — cities.
    6. Koh Kood
    Is this the next Koh Samui? The Trat islands are emerging as Thailand’s new luxury outpost.
    7. Damascus
    Damascus hoteliers are trying to mine tourism gold in the rundown buildings of the Syrian capital’s Old City.
    8. Cesme
    Another corner of Turkey’s Aegean coastline has begun to emerge as a stylish alternative: the once-sleepy villages of the Cesme Peninsula.
    9. Antarctica
    This may be the last year that Antarctica is open to mass tourism — not because the ice is melting too fast (though it is), but because of restrictions that would severely curtail travel around the fragile continent.
    10. Leipzig
    In 2010, Leipzig, a small industrial city in the former East Germany with an illustrious past, will be marking the 325th anniversary of the birth of its former resident Johann Sebastian Bach.
    11. Los Angeles
    Visitors love to bemoan the lack of an old-fashioned cultural neighborhood in Los Angeles. Local museums, many of which struggled financially in recent years, are back afloat.
    12. Shanghai
    To many, the idea of a World Expo might seem like a dated, superfluous throwback from some preglobalized age.
    13. Mumbai
    On the one-year anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, citizens painted a one-kilometer stretch of wall in South Mumbai with murals to show their love and hope for the city.
    14. Minorca
    While the beat of disco pounds in Ibiza and Majorca, their quiet sister Minorca offers a tranquil contrast to the glitz next door.
    15. Costa Rica
    Costa Rica has been on any eco-minded traveler’s radar for years, but with a new birding route in the northeast region of the country, there’s a new reason to pay the country a visit.
    16. Marrakesh
    Ancient walls of Marrakesh must have protected the city from the global recession. Luxury boutique hotels, which began opening a few years ago, are now popping like Champagne corks over this North African city.
    17. Las Vegas
    Despite a 4 percent drop in visitors in 2009, and the fact that several Las Vegas hotels have drastically slashed their rates to attract bargain-seeking travelers, a number of ambitious developers seem to think there is still money to be made in Sin City.
    18. Bahia
    All eyes will turn to sultry Rio de Janeiro when it hosts the 2016 Olympic Games, but right now Brazil’s white-hot destination may be the northeastern state of Bahia.
    19. Istanbul
    The reputation of Istanbul’s contemporary art scene has been steadily growing in recent years, with the Web site ArtKnowledgeNews.com recently calling it “one of the most innovative in the world.”
    20. Shenzhen
    This industrial powerhouse of a city on the Pearl River Delta in the southern region of China, is more than just a factory town of sweatshops and bad smog — and it has the high-class hotels and high rollers to prove it.
    21. Macedonia
    One of the deepest lakes on the planet, with a dazzling Unesco World Heritage site of ancient dwellings rising high above its shores, Lake Ohrid in Macedonia is a local vacation star poised for greater international acclaim.
    22. South Africa
    As host of the 2010 World Cup this summer, South Africa has gotten its game on with a flurry of new stadiums, new hotels and safari lodges.
    23. Breckenridge
    The ski resort of Breckenridge is not content to be merely the party capital of the Colorado Rockies — now it wants to be the Amsterdam, too.
    24. Montenegro
    On the southern edges of Montenegro, almost at the border of Albania, is an unusual land formation: a powdery, eight-mile-long beach called Velika Plaza (Long Beach) and a triangular island where the Bojana River meets the sea.
    25. Vancouver Island
    The most rewarding outdoor exploration is found outside the city, away from the crowds and off the beaten path.
    26. Colombia
    Unfairly or not, Colombia is still known for its cocaine cartels and street violence, but cool-hunting travelers are calling it Latin America’s next affordable hot spot.
    27. Kitzbühel
    Most Austrians know the Austrian town of Kitzbühel as nothing less than a ski paradise, with 53 lifts and 104 miles of powdery slopes.
    28. Norway
    With an acclaimed new opera house and plenty of high-end dining options, Oslo is already a must-visit urban destination.
    29. Gargano
    Far from the madding crowds of Amalfi and Cinque Terre, the Italian peninsula of Gargano sits on the Adriatic and boasts a checklist of summer-perfect Italian holiday options.
    30. Kuala Lumpur
    While Phuket and Angkor Wat are tourism anchors in Southeast Asia, jetsetters in the region are heading these days to Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital that’s quietly evolved into one of the area’s coolest and friendliest cities.
    31. Nepal
    Looking for the next gay destination? How about the Himalayan country of Nepal? Yes, Nepal.

    Warm regards,

    Abigail Summer

    Ps. For more detailed information about these 31 destinations have a look at their website: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/travel/10places.html