Chardonnay Deli – the best named place in the suburbs

This place is more than its name. Ofcourse, anything with Chardonnay involved is bound to be great.
I first saw a picture by Sam (from Drizzle and Dip) posted on instagram (my general source of inspiration for Coffee  Stops) and I realised, something worth mentioning and so close to my house needs a visit! Unfortunately, my first attempt took me to the wrong side of Constantia Main road which meant by the time I arrived I was grumpy as shit for driving back and forth near Wynberg instead of near High Constantia (how google maps can fail you when in need of coffee).

So for reference, and for your visit, Chardonnay Deli is near High Constantia shopping centre which is near the turn off to Groot Constantia. (Us Deep South people know, the rest need to look that up too).

The spot is not, contrary to the name, a deli of the olives, rollmops, feta dolmades, meatballs and fresh lasagnes. So basically – it is not Giovanni’s (as much as we all love Giovannis even if we’re mostly afraid of that one guy that when you order a flat white makes you feel like you’re sinning!) Instead it’s a bakery of all things in gluten-free, sugar-free, Paleo and deliciousness, sugary, chocolatey proportion.

It’s a small town farmstall with a gravel parking lot selling unique cakes, pies and chocolate brownies, fresh flowers out front, and oh the heavenly loaves and loaves of fresh bread. Chardonnay bakery may have actually been a better name, except then we’d expect Chardonnay infused bread. Which may actually not be a bad idea (Oh Sober October you make me dream crazy ideas!)

Bread (glorious bread!) aside, there’s a patio (equipped with heaters for crappy winter days in spring like today), a courtyard with a view of… well, a forest, and an indoor dining room – for… When the rest is too full I guess. Truth coffee or freshly pressed juices accompany all sorts of breakfasts. Poached eggs, to oats, to chia and granola (or as I thought, chai and granola… so basically tea and granola. Which it isn’t. But it was awkward for a moment and confirmed what we know – I should either eat out more, read more books or just keep my mouth shut on food.)

breakfast of champions – a croissant with hummus, cheese and bacon (in place of ham) – R65
breakfast of other champions – poached eggs special (R75)

As with what you’d expect from a suburban coffee shop deli bakery thingie, the people are amazingly friendly and happy to have that Sunday morning chit chat. Yes, even on a Saturday. They’re happy to adjust menu items (who likes ham anyway when you could have bacon?) and they also love dogs! Which is a win, as its a nice addition of places to visit to (people drinking wine before 12pm at) Tasha’s.

This isn’t Origin, where city people sit drinking coffee in neon running clothes after being up the mountain and down again in under an hour. It’s not Bootleggers where people are crammed in at window seats and next to other people (in sweaty post-run/walk on the prom clothes) at tables. And its not Rosetta where people sit on MacBooks blogging about product launches and restaurant openings they’ve just attended. The vibe at Chardonnay Deli is exactly what you’d think life in the burbs is all about.

And it’s worth visiting.
You know, when you’re out this way… on your way to a wine farm. Or just… seeing what its like with all the open space, the trees and the horses and stuff.

**disclaimer: My references to Origin, Bootlegger and Rosetta is in no way disparaging. In fact, these are some (while not my only) favourites coffee stops in Cape Town.  

as long as it comes with caffeine

The year that was

So much can change in a year.
And so much can stay the same.

When I started 2013, I had very little expectations for it. I was happy with my career, I had a great job and a team that I adored. I had set my expectations way too high for 2012 and been let down, so I decided not to aim for too much in 2013 and rather take each day as it comes.

Well, did things change. The first bump came while I was still on holiday in January (possibly 5 days after I agreed to not set expectations for the year). I was asked to do a mini-‘secondment’- if you can call it that – and some brand work on a new ecommerce brand about to launch. So I did, and I tasted a bit of something I knew was missing from my current position. By pure chance (is there such a thing really?), a vida coffee with my now new boss and a cryptic email chat with an old colleague (who is now a current colleague and an absolute gem) convinced me – I was going to move into the (insert descriptive word for it) world of online fashion retail.

All this, and before my 32nd birthday!

Not a part of the plan for the year (of which there was none) but more as a result of suffering from a serious bout of fomo when a friend booked his flights – we also booked some flights back to Asia taking advantage of that ‘between jobs’ moment that happens. The hottest I’ve ever been (barring Turkey 2008) I suffered food poisoning for the umpteenth time on the shores of a Thai Island, stayed at the most impressive 5 star hotel on Koh Samui and dived our old favourite, Koh Tao.
On a side note, I do wonder how I get so much past my husband –

me: Babe, I think we should go back to Thailand – it’ll be fun
Mark: Ok, how much?
me: I’ll work it out, but it won’t be too bad
Mark: Ok, how much?
me: It’ll be so amazing… a really nice little adventure before my new job starts
Mark: Ok.

And then I left 11 Adderley Street. It was heartbreaking – that lot had become my family. And Gogo knew how to make my coffee. I didn’t know how to replace Gogo. It was actually Gogo that made it tempting for me to stay. But I didn’t… I headed down the road to the big Naspers building and started running.

No really, I’ve been running ever since. I blinked, and the rest of year has merged into my mac.

As for the personal stuff, that all changed too – The Rolyats had little baby Cam while we were in Thailand. He came two weeks early and definitely not a part of the plan for us to miss it. But what an amazing and special boy he is.

I officially became an ex-sister-in-law. Is that a thing? Is there space in someone’s life to be an ex-sister-in-law, or does it actually just banish you to the memories of what was. Breaks my heart a little each time I think of it.

Had a lunch with an aunt and uncle, who I haven’t had a lunch with basically since about 1996 (one day I’ll insert hyperlink to a blog post on the sad day my cousin passed away).

My bridesmaid and also my sister-who-isn’t-my-sister got engaged – both to awesome men (well, obviously). Two pregnant friends on their first baby, two pregnant friends onto their seconds. A pregnant sister-in-law on her fourth (yes, you read that right. Yes, I also think its just a little crazy).

I gave up coffee for lent this year, possibly the biggest lent I’ve ever done (yes, even more so than the wine I gave up that one year). I gave up alcohol for a whole month while I tried to sleek geek myself back into my 28 year old self. It didn’t really work (maybe a little.. I keep trying). I’m definitely 32 though.

I have so far made it to TWO yoga classes the whole year. But the year isn’t over yet, and it will remain the goal. More yoga, more breathing.

I have been to a homeopath, a kinesiologist, an acupuncturist and a self proclaimed japanese quack. I went back to church. I loved, I wept, I drank, I laughed. I am more so than ever, grateful for what we have – the special friends, the very special family. The friends, who are like family and sometimes are all the family we need. Our beautiful home in the burbs – even if I curse traffic at least once a week.

I’m looking forward to 2014 and not only because it includes a spontaneous trip to South America

me: Hey, we should totally go to Rio carnival
Mark: how much?
me: I don’t know, but wouldn’t it be amazing?
Mark: Ok

But also, because you never know what else the year is going to include.

The simple things

One of my simplest pleasures, now that I’m all moved in to my house with its tennis-court sized (while completely un-landscaped) garden is to simply… just be in my house.

When we were in the flat, we always had somewhere we needed to go. We were always on our way out somewhere or for a weekend away. Now, my favourite thing to do is come home. And to be at home. And to just, walk around my home. It’s a very simple pleasure, but I think I’ve just spent the last two hours doing exactly that. Pottering. 

It really is the simple things in life that can make you happy.

(I acknowledge that this post was in no way helpful, informative or grammatically correct. But sometimes you need to just say what’s on your mind)