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FoodBlogCT Headlines Week 13 2012

Friday, the 30th March

#FoodFact: Artificial colourings in foods have been found to be linked to Attention Deficit Hyper-active Disorder (ADHD) symptoms.


Food Forward: A new Food Documentary Series

The director of "Food Forward," a new PBS series that explores various food issues, believes there is room for what he has to share. [read more]


U.S. suspends food aid to North Korea over missile plan

The United States has suspended planned food aid to North Korea as Pyongyang vows to push ahead with a plan to launch a long-range missile in defiance of international warnings, U.S. military officials said on Wednesday. [read more]


R100000 for Vryburg farm project run by the disabled

The Itekeng Gardening and Farming project in Morokweng, outside Vryburg provided consolation to the province after it was recognised and awarded R100000 at the national female entrepreneur awards in Kimberley on Friday. [read more]


World Scientists Tackle Food Insecurity

Nearly one billion people in the world are undernourished, while millions suffer from chronic diseases due to excess food consumption. [read more]

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Spiros Hout Bay Greek Restaurant

I wrote a long intro. I liked it. It made me giggle. But with the amount of food I am about to take you through, a long intro wouldn’t be appreciated.

Spiro’s is an Authentic Greek restaurant in the heart of Hout Bay. Although I’m not normally one for travelling (originally from Durban, it’s engrained in me that anywhere more than a 15 minute drive is very, very far) Spiro’s has so many loyal fans on Twitter that I had to give it a try.

Once we found the place (I navigate Hout Bay as well as I do Czechoslovakia) I was very hungry. You walk from a balcony filled with lovely little tables, perfect for a lunch; in to a Café-style seated area; to the left is an enclosed dining room; and to the right a kiddies play area, complete with dress-up station, face painting, toys, movies, plus a safe, outdoor play area with a jungle gym. It is child-heaven! Just amazing. I thought that was the whole restaurant, but you walk through a set of double doors, into another in-door dining area with big, round tables. Another set of doors takes you to the second outdoor area and a very vibey bar, complete with DJ. The entire restaurant can hold about 200: 80 inside and 120 al fresco.

With a Naked Mexican in hand (ha, I made a joke), I sat for a good 25 minutes trying to decide which starter to have. The only way to end my troubles, was to have all 9 that I wanted.

The roasted red pepper, feta and chilli dip is absolutely delish. Roasted red peppers can make a dip very sweet – which isn’t my thang – but this one was had so much feta and just the right amount of chilli, it was amazing. The Taramasalata, which is always my thang, didn’t disappoint. There is no way to describe it, other than perfect.

Keftedes (meatballs seasoned with mint) were served with tzatziki, which for a nice change, wasn’t too garlicky. Score. The meatballs on their own were a little on the dry-side, but the tzatziki saved them.

So often Spanakopita, which is traditionally made with Ricotta cheese, is too creamy and you lose the flavour of the spinach. Once again, Spiros didn’t disappoint. The phyllo pastry was light, the spinach plentiful and the cheese, creamy but not overpowering.

Go get a pen and write this down: Prawns Kataifi. If you haven’t had them before, book right now and go try them tonight. Prawns wrapped in shredded phyllo pastry, deep friend and served with a dill-yogurt dip. Magical.

Tiropitakia, which I have always known to be cheese pastries, was served as more of a savoury cheese and phyllo baked “pudding” or kugel (the type you eat, not the type that you laugh at). It was very heavy and rich, a hearty starter perfect for winter. Not my fave, but not bad at all.

If anything, Spiro’s is famous for their crispy fried squid heads. If you are a health frea… I mean, health conscious, look away now. You know how the best bit about fried chicken, is the fried chicken skin? How it is crispy, but soft and juicy and flavourful. Well, this is like a little bowl of that happiness.

Finally, we had both deep fried and grilled haloumi cheese, so we could compare the two. The haloumi itself was of an exceptional quality, not chewy at all, but soft and delicious. Obviously anything deep-fried is going to be great, but I really liked the grilled variety. I think I may have used the guise of a “comparison” as an excuse to try both. And I would do it again.

It took us quite some time, but after a significant period of digestion, relaxation and mental prep work, we were ready for mains.

Their chicken Souvlaki is 2 chicken skewers, basted with Extra Virgin Olive oil and lemon juice, grilled on an open flame and then served with chips, salad and Tzatziki. The flavour was spot on, but sadly the chicken itself was very dry.

On the other hand, the Kleftiko was MINDBLOWING. A lamb shank, with tomatoes, feta, olives and herbs, wrapped in tin foil and slow cooked for 6 hours, served with roasted potatoes. The lamb melted off the bone, the gravy was phenomenal and the potatoes were seasoned beautifully. It was an amazing dish that I am craving, as I write about it.

You would think that we stopped there, but we didn’t. Spiro’s don’t serve traditional Baklava *gasp of horror*. They serve the deconstructed version. Phyllo, caramelised nuts, honey, the whole she-bang; crushed and then topped with vanilla ice cream. It was great.  

This is going to be a strange explanation, but Spiro’s is like the El Burro of Hout Bay. It’s welcoming, the food is authentic and delicious, the owner knows all his patrons and if he doesn’t recognise someone, he makes an effort to introduce himself. Pretty much everyone who walked in, shook his hand, gave him a hug or slapped him fondly on the back. It kinda makes me wish that I lived in Hout Bay, something that no one/nothing, has ever been able to do. Spiro has a good, no great thing going and I will definitely be back for more.

PS: Oh gosh, I forgot that after Spiro saw us eyeing out the Filleto, he brought us a little portion to taste. Beef fillet basted in Extra Virgin Olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. It was so tender I almost inhaled it in one shot.

Directions to Spiro's

30 Main Road

 

Hout Bay

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FoodBlogCT Headlines Week 12 2012

Friday, the 23rd March

#FoodFact: Pearls melt in Vinegar


10 Things I Learned Working In A Restaurant Kitchen

If you had asked me six months ago if I planned to spend my winter in the hot kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant, I would have laughed and told you that it just wasn't my plan. [read more]


McDonald's CEO Stepping Down In July

McDonald's Corp Chief Executive Jim Skinner, who took the top post at the world's biggest hamburger chain following the abrupt departures of two CEOs, is retiring after more than seven years as a stabilizing force at the helm. [read more]


How food television is changing the way we dine

When Michel Jacob, owner and chef at Le Crocodile, opened his French restaurant in downtown Vancouver over 25 years ago, the term “celebrity chef” was reserved for people like Julia Child, speciality food channels on television didn't exist, and customers certainly weren't blogging about their dining experiences. [read more]


Food-born illnesses on the rise in the U.S

Foodborne disease outbreaks caused by imported food appeared to rise in 2009 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [read more]

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Plum Crumble Cake

Ingredients for the Base

  • 150g Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 100g Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g soft Butter

Combine 150g flour with a pinch of baking powder. Then add vanilla exteract, 2 eggs & 100g butter (place it in the microwave for a few seconds if its still too cold). Mix the ingredients thoroughly until it forms dough. Let it cool off in the fridge for a 20 minutes and spread the dough evenly in the baking tin afterwards. Then, use a fork to punch a few holes into the dough.

Place in an preheated oven for 10 -12 minutes at 200C.


 

Ingredients for the Filling

  • 8 plums
  • Sugar (depending on your preference - I didn't measure, just covered the top)

Place the plump onto the cooking tin on top of the base. Add sugar as seen in the picture below. You can also add plump marmalade & cinnamon to enhance the flavour.

 

Ingredients for Crumbles

  • 150g flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 100g soft butter

Add the ingredients to a bowl and use a mixer to knead the ingredients until you are satisfied with the size of the crumbles. Add them on top of the plums in the baking tin. NB: Make sure to cover the the sides as well.

Place in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes at 200C.

 

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The Reserve Cape Town

Over the last few months, I read and heard about this club slash restaurant slash bar, which opened up in Cape Town, called “The Reserve”. I heard it was fancy. I heard it was pretentious. I heard that it was extravagant. I heard that only the rich and famous went there. I heard so much and promptly decided that I didn’t like it.

It was mainly because I was bitter. I hadn’t looked at the menu because I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to afford it, but then one day a friend showed it to me and I realised two things:

  1. It’s not as expensive as I had imagined.
  2. Even if it was, it’s worth it.

The Reserve is in the old Standard Bank building. On the one side is a gorgeous nightclub, in the middle is a beautiful and extravagant restaurant and in the back, a cosy cigar lounge with an enormous fireplace. A lot of the features, such as the iron windows, arches and even one of the oldest working lifts in South Africa, are original or have been restored, giving the building an historic and regal appearance and feel.

As you can read in their (very pretentious, I must admit) online description, the Head Chef, Alex has cooked around the world and served the likes of Bono and Bruce Willis, so there is no way that the menu itself could disappoint. We just hoped that the food matched our ENORMOUS expectations.

Beef Fillet

read more inside

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FoodBlogCT Headlines Week 11 2012

Friday, the 16th March

#FoodFact: The fear of vegetables is called Lachanophobia


SA Food labelling laws could backfire

New food labelling laws could mean consumers are given less information about products, it was reported on Thursday. [read more]


Anthony Bourdain: 'We are food pornographers'

"We are food pornographers ourselves," he said of his popular shows, "No Reservations" and "The Layover," which follow him around the globe in search of authentic, exotic regional grub. [read more]


McDonald's disclosed selling expired food in China

Beijing,May 15--McDonald's restaurants in China were exposed selling expired food, which fails to follow food processing instructions, according to an evening party of China Central Television (CCTV) for marking the World Consumer Right Day on March 15. [read more]


The water for men who can handle the raw awesomeness of minerals

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On a Roll Gourmet Hot Dogs in Cape Town

Think Gourmet. Royale & Hudson’s have been strong favourites in Cape Town offering gourmet burgers while SGT Pepper has been serving gourmet pizzas in Stellenbosch & on Long Street for a while now. But there is a new kid on the block.

On a Roll

A normal hot dog with ketchup or mustard and a few onions isn’t good enough. Sometimes you want a little more than just a plain old sausage. On a Roll offers 13 different styles of gourmet hot dogs with ten different types of sausages to choose from including a Vegetarian option called Lucky 13. Each hot dog comes with a side serving of chips and three sauces: a hot chilli & garlic paste, Portuguese Prego sauce and gherkin relish (which I preferred the most). If you haven’t eaten in the last few days and are about to faint, you can also order additional sides for R25. But trust me: These dogs will fill you right up!

The restaurant has a genuine American diner feel to it from the music that they played throughout the evening to the picture of Elvis and hot dog inspired art on the walls. I absolutely loved it! It has a very relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy the evening with good friends and everyone will have a good time. The restaurant is divided into two sections: The bar area which also has foosball tables (which make for a good game after eating a delicious dog) and the dining area which also lets you view into the kitchen.

read more inside

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Cape Argus Cycle Tour Carbo Restaurant Specials

Cafe Caprice

Daily pasta specials
   

Il Paninaro

a plate of pasta and a 500ml Valpre mineral water for R50,00 - your carbo-fuel stop! [more info]
   

Keenwa

Carbo Load Meal + Drink for R100

Carapulcra Ravioli with pesto and chicken.

OR

Chupe de Camarones ( type of prawn stew) reduction with tagliatelle and a poached egg.

OR

Peruvian mince with Huancaina sauce lasagna.

[more info]

   

Pizzeria Villagio

Wednesday night FAMILY NIGHT

2 for the price of 1 – order any two mains and drinks and get your lowest price main free.

For larger tables ordering mains and drinks(up to 8 guests) 20% off the entire food bill

   

Bardelli's

Carbo Loading Special

R65 for all pasta on the condition that you finish by 7pm.

Cape Argus Restaurant Specials

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Jackal and Hide Launch

The launch of Jackal & Hide last week, saw the who’s who of Cape Town come together to eat, drink and be merry. It was a night of class, elegan… Pffft, who am I kidding. I don’t write “who’s who”, I didn’t know most of the people there and I pretty much sat with my two friends, eating, drinking and being merry, all on our own.

Jackal & Hide Kloof Street

Jackal & Hide is a new restaurant and bar at the top of Kloof Street. From around the corner leading up to the restaurant are little paw prints, which had me (in my high heels) running up the road, giggling gleefully like a child – small things entertain me, this is your cue to mention something regarding small minds.

The venue is incredible. IN.CRED.I.BLE. From was once a dodgy old building, it has been redesigned to create the loveliest set up. The restaurant has been raised above street level and with Table Mountain on your one side and a view down the whole of Kloof and into town on the other, you have plenty nature and/or people and/or hipsters to gaze at in wonder. The restaurant itself is quirky, cool and sophisticated, all in rolled up in one. The perfect location to rent for functions, go to for drinks or just to enjoy a good meal.

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Saints Burger Joint Specials

Saints Burger Joint Specials

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Keenwa Cape Argus Carbo Specials

Argus Carbo Special. Choose any of these dishes including a home made fresh juices (Chicha Morada, lime-onade or a passion fruit juice) or a coffee and Picarones, (type of doughnuts made of sweet potato and butternut (more carbs)) for only R100.

Carapulcra Ravioli with pesto and chicken.

OR

Chupe de Camarones ( type of prawn stew) reduction with tagliatelle and a poached egg.

OR

Peruvian mince with Huancaina sauce lasagna.

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Guide to Dining Out Alone

Picture this scenario: A little old man in the corner of a restaurant eating by himself – all alone with no one to talk to. He doesn’t have a book or newspaper to read, he isn’t on his phone chatting to someone and he isn’t writing or drawing anything either. He is just eating…alone…and it’s so sad.

At least, that is what I used to think.

I love being around my friends. My life would be quite boring without them. But even though they are great, I have to take a break from them at times. Especially when it comes to choosing a restaurant, it can take forever and it drives me insane. There are so many things to consider and I still don’t understand why every single person has to approve of the restaurant we want to go to. They can just stay away if they don’t like the place - majority rules. It's simple and effective. But I have been told - repeatedly - that everyone has to agree on these four things: venue, cuisine, menu & price. Weeks can go by until a decision has finally been made.

To evade the drama, I have started dining-out at restaurants alone – just like the little old man. It sucked in the beginning – it sucked big time! Sitting alone feels awkward and you don’t know what to do with yourself while you wait for the food to arrive. But dining-out alone is not and should not be as intimidating as one might think. After a while I picked up a few tricks to make it less daunting and I have even started to enjoy it. There is the food, décor, and other diners on which you can focus on, and even the opportunity to strike up conversation with the staff asking about the menu and the restaurant itself (which I never do when I’m with a group of friends).

Dining Alone

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FoodBlogCT Headlines Week 10 2012

Friday, the 9th March

#FoodFact: Only 1% of corn that is grown is eaten as corn.


Pink Slime Found In 70% Of Supermarket Ground Beef

According to a recent "ABC World News" report from Jim Avila, 70% of ground beef sold in supermarkets contains the ammonia-treated sludge, which is the the product of a method for salvaging meat scraps from otherwise unusable parts of a carcass. [read more]


Jamie Oliver's foulmouthed response to question about his weight gain

The celebrity chef, 36, bristled when asked by a female reporter if he had gained a few pounds recently and called her a 'b****'. [read more]


Global food prices on the rise

The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation's (FAO) food price index published on Thursday, rose 1%, or 2.4 points from January to February. [read more]


Nestle cuts off entire Country

Nestle, the world's largest food company, has severed all trade ties with the country of Azerbaijan. The company says it made this decision due to supply problems, which local sources attribute to corruption between the local distribution company and the Azerbaijan customs authority. [read more]

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Il Paninaro Cape Argus Special

Il Paninaro Cape Argus Special

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1800 Eighteen Hundred Get rubbed up Special

1800 Special

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La Mouette Vegetarian and Gourmand Tasting Menus

Vegetarian tasting menu

R240

With wines R440

Gourmand tasting menu

R395

With wines R595

more info inside

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Keenwa Peruvian Restaurants Cape Town
Me: I’m going to a Peruvian restaurant.
 
Friend: Cool. What do Peruvians’ eat?
 
Me: Uhhh… food.
 
Friend: Ya, what food?
 
Me: Food, food. It goes in their mouths. They eat it. You know, food?

Friend: Gosh, you are wise.

To be honest, up until last week I pretty much knew ‘zilch’ about Peruvian food. I don’t even think I would have been able to pinpoint it on a map. I’m not very good at Geography.

With no preconceptions and an exceptionally empty stomach I went to Keenwa.

The double storey restaurant has space to seat about 45 inside and 20 alfresco. Upstairs is a bar that can be rented out for functions, where you can smoke hubbly bubbly/nagila. The owner, German (pronounced Gggghhher-mun) moved to Cape Town in 2008 and has brought all his staff here from Peru. Although the décor wasn’t my fave, the authenticity of the menu got me all giddy with excitement as I prepared myself to eat at South Africa’s first Peruvian restaurant.

I had been recommended Pisco Sours, a drink that both the Peruvians and Chileans claim to have created. Pisco, similar to tequila, mixed with lemon and/or lime juice, sugar and frothed egg whites. A few tables around me were knocking them back with great satisfaction I tried to do the same, but completely misjudged my sip, so the egg went up my nose and the tequila hit me in that spot, you know that little spot, which makes your hair stand up on end, your head creak to the left and sends shivers down your spine? Yeah, it didn’t bode well for me.

Pisco Sour

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FoodBlogCT Headlines Week 9 2012

Friday, the 2nd March

#FoodFact: Wasabi is being used in smoke alarms for deaf people.


New La Mouette Tasting Menu

Vegetarian tasting menu at R240 & Gourmand tasting menu at R395 [read more]


Richmond pays food blogger $50.000 per year

Tourism Richmond has put out the call and believe it or not, it’s for real: Pay is $50,000 for a year, plus a daily dining-out stipend for two. [read more]


Understand what you read on food labels

Reading food labels is an important step in taking charge of your nutrition and health. [read more]


Food Trucks' Rocky Roads to Success

With the current craze in drive-by-dining, small business owners should consider all the facts before they hit the road. [read more]

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Top 5 Food Movies

I love going to the movies and do so about once or twice per month even though the ticket prices are somewhat rediculous. I've been told that tickets in Europe are around 15 Euros so we shouldn't be complaining here in South Africa. Also, I don't buy into the Hollywood hype of some of the blockbusters coming out of America. For example, superheroes can *uck off if it were up to me. I enjoy watching movies where you actually have to think a little bit and the ending can't be predicted right from the beginning. Some of my favourite movies include the likes of Insomnia, One Hour Photo, Lost in Translation and Burn After Reading. I hope that gives you an idea of what kind of movies I enjoy.

I've compiled a list of my top 5 favourite movies involving food. These only include titles I have watched; there might be other movies out there such as Julia & Julia or Eat Pray Love - but they just don't interest me at all *yawn.

1. Chocolat
Chocolat Chocolat is an enchanting, moving and heart-warming tale of love and temptation, a big-budget movie with its roots in European art house cinema. Magical and almost fairytale-like in theme, it's the story of the mysterious Vianne and her arrival in a quiet, old-fashioned French town at the end of the 1950s. Gradually her attitude to life and the delicacies that she prepares in her chocolate shop have a marked effect on the local people, bound as they are by the twin forces of religion and politics.
2. Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes Kathy Bates stars as an unhappy wife trying to get her husband's attention. After befriending a lonely old woman, Bates hears the story of a lifelong friendship between two other women who once ran a cafe in town against many personal odds. The tale inspires Bates to take further command over her life.
3. Sweeney Todd*
Sweeney Todd Murder. Cannibalism. Death. Obsession. Revenge. Blood. Goth makeup. And lots of razors! In the movie, Burton's frequent collaborator, Johnny Depp, plays Todd, a wronged man whose lust for revenge drives him to murder.
4. Ratatouille
Ratatouille Ratatouille tells the story of wannabe-chef Remy The Rat, who becomes drawn into the mantra of legendary cook Gusteau, that anyone can cook. The deceased Gusteau’s ghostly image appears to Remy, and guides him to his restaurant, whose standards have been slipping since his death. Remy, through the manipulation of a lowly restaurant worker called Linguini, soon starts secretly cooking the food, and this unusual set up proves to be a trove of treasures that Pixar carefully picks through.
5. Sideways
Sideways Struggling novelist and wine connoisseur Miles takes his best friend Jack on a wine-tasting tour of California vineyards for a kind of extended bachelor party. Almost immediately, Jack's insatiable need to sow some wild oats before his marriage leads them in into double-dates with a rambunctious wine pourer and a recently divorce waitress and Miles discovers a little hope that he hasn't let himself feel in a long time.

*Sweeney Todd is about food even if it is somewhat sickening when you think about it.

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QandA Session 1

To get to know us better, we have created the FoodBlogCT Q&A page. What ever you want to know, ask us. You'll find our answers to the questions we received last week below. Thank You for submiting them! If you want to know more about us, send in your own question.

Submit your questions!

Q: What were/are your New Years resolutions for 2012 and are you sticking to them?
Marvin:

I haven’t really thought about New Year’s resolutions to be honest. Most of the time, I don’t stick to them anyways – so what’s the point. I do have goals for this year however – I still have 10 months to achieve them.

Moving into town because the northern suburbs are becoming quite boring - not that there is anything wrong with Durbanville – it’s just that all my friends live in town. Plus there is this ‘don’t drink & drive’ rule and taking a taxi home on my monthly budget isn’t really an option. My 2nd goal is linked to 1st goal. To move into an apartment in town, I have to make money. Watch this space. My 3rd goal is dependent on achieving my 2nd goal. My car is 14 years old and is starting to fall apart. A Ferrari would be nice – but also willing to go for something cheaper.

Kayli: I don’t really make resolutions, purely because they are things you don’t really wan’t to do. By forcing yourself into something, you are treading on very thin ice because it is so easy to disappoint yourself by breaking one silly resolution, which can lead to giving them all up. In 2011 I made one resolution, which I have kept to this day. Call my parents more, just to say hi. I don’t live in the same city as them and they love hearing from me. It’s such an easy way to make someone happy.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who has just started blogging?
Marvin:

With advice I’m assuming you are asking: How do I get people to read my blog?

Social media is a blogger’s heaven. Create your Facebook & Twitter accounts along with any other social networks that might be relevant to your niche (Pinterest, Flickr, Youtube,…list goes on) and start building your community by interacting with other bloggers & users. Also don’t neglect SEO: FoodBlogCT gets 60% of its traffic from Google and this isn’t by chance. You need to get other sites to point links towards your blog. For the past two years I’ve been guest-blogging like mad and taking part in link exchanges and it’s really paying off. It’s pretty boring work – but it needs to be done.

Kayli:  Don’t let people get you down. Yes, it is hard to start, but just do it and then carry on. Don’t let anyone tell you that there are too many blogs or that you can’t do it, because you can. It just takes time. Also, don’t be upset by criticism. Life’s a bitch, take notes.
Q: Where would you have your birthday dinner?
Marvin: The Mount in the Durbanville Winelands on the Hooggelegen Farm.
Kayli: Oh gosh, that’s really tough. I can’t choose. My favourite restaurant changes from week to week. I’m fickle like that.
Q: Do you hate any foods?
Marvin: Pineapple
Kayli: Yes, pawpaw. I despise it.
Q: Was the stuff you wrote about the restaurants in the "My opinion is important, 'cause I am a blogger" article true and why didn’t you say what restaurant it was?
Kayli:

Yeah, every word. It was a very strange, unpleasant evening. I explained in the article why I didn’t “Name & Shame”

The experience I had is not one that a customer would have. You wouldn’t go there for dinner and have a member of staff sit with you. So that part of my experience won’t affect anyone else, therefore it doesn’t make a difference where it was.

Q: How long have you two known one another?
Marvin: Since June last year, when she started writing for FoodblogCT.

 

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