cape winelands

On Saturday we explored the Cape Winelands.  We tasted fresh-roasted coffee and chocolate truffles and homemade cheese while we drank our way through Sommerset West, Stellenbosch, Franschoek and back.  The wine and the weather and the views of the mountains and valleys and vineyards made for an incredible day, even if I didn't realize that in an olive oil tasting you actually sip it (I don't care how tacky it is, next time I'm asking for bread).

That night we had dinner reservations at La Colombe (French, not Spanish, pronunciation), ranked #12 on the 2010 San Pellegrino list of best restaurants in the world.  Our reservations were for 8:00, and GoogleMaps quoted the trip to the restaurant from the hotel at half an hour.  We left at 7:00, figuring we'd get a drink at the bar before our meal.

And GoogleMaps wins again.  I swear to God they write directions just to mess with people.  We got so freaking lost.  While much of Cape Town is fabulous, there are parts of town one shouldn't visit, and I'm pretty sure we found those parts.  So of course I freaked out on Joey because he wasn't freaking out.  An hour later, barely speaking to each other, we found a gas station that seemed safe and went inside for directions.

We got back on track and made it to Constantia, the town of the winery/restaurant, and got lost again.  We drove around and around and around, literally in circles through the same strip mall complex parking lot, until we could finally get a hold of the restaurant (via our hotel, who was incredibly helpful during this ordeal.  Truly, if you visit Cape Town, I'd highly recommend Villa Zest), who finally directed us to our seat by the fireplace at the romantic, French-country themed restaurant.

After a glass of sparkling wine, Joey and I were back on speaking terms.  We splurged on the six-course tasting menu with wine pairings, and because I saw the tray of goodies served to the table next of us, we ordered espresso for the sole purpose of tasting the petits fours.  Everything was divine.  Truly one of the best meals I've ever eaten.

L'amuse bouche: I don't remember what was on either side, but the middle was a Tom Ka Gai shooter out of an egg and it was ah. may. zing.

First Course: Alaskan king crab, yuzu dressing, miso orange crema dusted with a coriander and black forest ham crumble, daikon mousse and mirin dashy jelly (I stole a menu).  Paired with 2010 Reyneke Sauvingnon Blanc.

Second Course: Pan fried foie gras, seared quail breast, confit quail leg, rhubarb puree, parsnip crisps, quail and rhubarb jus.  Paired with 2011 Cederberg Bukettraube.

Third Course: Scallops and confit pork belly, smoked parsnip puree, black forest ham veloute, crisp pork crackling, lemon and pea dressing.  Paired with 2010 Sequillo White.

Fourth course: Grannysmith granite, warm Calvados foam.  O. M. G.

Fifth course: Sous vide of veal, warm ballotine of morel mushrooms and sweet breads, steamed langoustine, buttered pomme puree, pea and black forest ham salad, mustard beurre blanc.  Paired with 2006 Vriesenhof Pinotage.

Sixth course: Rose and coconut panna cotta, lime syllabub, cashew pebbles and a basil seed and orange blossom dressing.  Paired with Constantia Uitsig Muscat D'Alexandrie

And of course, the petit fours, from left: coconut marshmallows, chocolate truffles, lemon cookies, meringe and rose Turkish delight. 
 Don't worry - we got directions from the waiter for the drive back.