There are A LOT of coffee shops in Cape Town, but if you really love your java, “Origin” in Waterkant (right next to Bo Kaap) is head and shoulders above the rest.
The coffee is roasted on site, which means you can smell it from before you even walk through the door. The ambiance is relaxed and welcoming enough that you can easily spend a few hours in the place.
The menu is diverse and some breakfast items are available all day, my favorite marker for any restaurant as I absolutely love my breakfast.
I had the Banting Eggs Benedict, which comes with asparagus and Parmesan shavings. Yummmy. Washed it all down with a Vietnamese Iced Coffee which was to die for with its perfect mix of coffee and just enough sweetness to make it the perfect summer drink.
Not too long ago the story of a man who has opened a library in his garage to cater to the underdeveloped community he lives in went viral. I’m a reader. My mom taught me how to read before I went to school, just because she could. That’s one of the reasons she’s my superhero, as a primary care nurse, she understood implicitly the pivotal role played by accelerated early childhood development.
That passion and vision is very clearly a part of Mr. John Nicholson and his wife Gail. Every afternoon they open their modest home in Hillview, next to the Lavender Hill Flats, to young children from the 4 surrounding informal settlements. I drove there on Monday and was depressed to see so many young and able bodied people aimlessly walking the streets. Unemployment is a stark reality here, and so are the ancillary problems that come as a result.
I had an embarrassingly large consignment of old Magazines from when I was editor that I had apparently been keeping for posterity. I also culled my library of books that I read years ago and that I know I will never read again.
Please support Mr and Mrs Nicholson, and their two sons to make their dream a reality. They need help in building a better structure for the library. They need books, magazines, and its now matric dance season and they need dresses and make up for the girls, and suits for the boys. If you’ve ever been a pimply teenager in high school, you know how important these dances are.
The other problem the Nicholson’s face is that people have goods for them, but no transport. So if u have a bakkie/truck they can really use the help to collect donations.
This family is ridiculously special, humble, and friendly to anyone who comes through their doors. They also feed the kids after school, when they can.
Right next to the shopping Mecca known as The Waterfront comes a new and fabulous Saturday morning market to give us a much needed alternative to The Bisquit Mill in Woodstock.
The market features many local urban farmers from the successful, non profit gardening experiment called the Oranjezicht City Farm (http://www.ozcf.co.za), started by former Cape Town Tourism head Sheryl Ozinsky who was driven by the basic belief that people need access to land in order to feed themselves. The land used is a former bowling green which has now transformed into an urban food basket.
The results get sold at the market fresh from the gardens. My basket was full of healthy fruit and veg for a very good price, considering the quality and varieties available.
There are myriad artisanal food makers including bread, desserts, meat, jams and many other small industry items from innovative, independent entrepreneurs. The food choices are plentiful and a gourmand’s dream. Best feature: there’s plenty space for sitting and the views of the ocean are unbeatable.
My favorite food here is the Eggs Benedict combo on flourless Rossi from “Lunchworks”. It’s in a tantalizing combo of bacon, spinach and mushrooms, as delightful to the eye and as it is delicious in flavor.
I also enjoy the lamb wrap from Lamb Wraps, started a year ago by Jaco, a former advertising executive who now has four branches in Cape Town. When the desk job started to feel like a drag and he didn’t have enough time for the things he really wanted to do, he recreated his future and is now coining it.
But, like many spots in Cape Town, it’s disconcertingly, overwhelmingly white – both the traders and shoppers alike. But until the city become more accessible to most, this picture will not change.
Most people who work in the City Bowl and the centers of commerce and tourism in the city have to interact with the station, either as a central place to connect for transport or to walk to the next destination, or as a place to leave the city entirely.
The newly renovated station is a permanent set for permanent “Love, Actually” moments, catering for local, national & regional destinations, and as a bonus, it’s a source of cheap but trendy clothing and food. Here you can get your hair braided just after you pick up your car which might have just been put on the train from Jo’burg. Cape Town Station is where trains meet automobiles, where taxis and buses rumble in syncopated rhythms, and and a celebration of everyday working class life.
You don’t get to see too many tourists here, which is too bad because the station is one of the most demographically and economically representative environments you can experience in the city. There’s no pretense here, just practical pragmatism and an optimistic sense of purpose.
Like any major bus, taxi and train station, it’s bustling with constant activity, and you can hear diverse languages from all corners of the continent. It’s a also a great source of food from the diaspora, particularly from West Africa and Zimbabwe. And the fruit and vegetables are fresh and cheap.