Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mano's Italian Restaurant ,Green Point ,S.A. Mar. 16th, 2009 Luncheon With Artist Friends Of John Morrison : Palate In Flowing Bright White Service

I want to apologize for the pictures that come out with the tinted palates of grays in these photos sometimes making people's skin and lips look gray. They were anything but and my " new " camera was playing tricks on me. I am not a camera expert by any means and so I am disturbed and intrigued for the results. Please anyone photographed here do not take offense to this : I certainly mean none at all.

This was my second full day in South Africa ( in Mano's Italian restaurant in Green Point, Cape Town, South Africa to be exact ) and I was relaxing, having the time of my life and snapping away like a madman trying to capture the mood of this wonderful luncheon with John Morrison and his two artist friends. To say I was not also captivated by the lovely young ladies wrapped nicely in bleached-white tops and aprons would be dishonest : all you have to do is look at the pictures and how I framed them to know this.

When we got to the restaurant after looking at John's friends' artwork at their studio we immediately walked into the bar where Mano the owner was standing. John Morrison has known Mano for a very long time and they immediately said " hello " and he introduced us all. Mano was charming , signed a menu for me and came over to our table to chat while I snapped away and took pictures. He had an engagement and had to leave so we only saw him briefly.

We proceeded to have a wonderful time. We ordered wine, appetizers and our main dish and so for the next two hours we were wined and dined and served well by waitress Amy-Lee ( the blond here that I think I heard her say wants to be an actress here in South Africa ). Others also brought us plates. And others like Robin served others. Together a staff of perhaps five or six beautiful waitresses moved quickly, effortlessly through this big, open space and both their lithe bodies, beauty and bright white made a wonderful contrast to the pale pastel color of the restaurant. It was like a light pastel sea filled with moving islands of bright, sun-dazzling, flashing white that criss-crossed, cut, sped, zipped and popped in undulating yet young, youthful female beauty and efficiency that occasionally smiled, too and had me an artist enthralled and captivated perhaps more than I should have been as John's artist friends were so warm and animated and equally amazing in conversation, expression and stories that I loved hearing.

This was quite the luncheon and one I will not soon forget. I was having a feast to engage completely all my five senses. I was almost on overload, about to explode at any minute. Look at the pictures and I believe you will get just a glimmer and an inkling of all of this. I am happy to have them to share anyway. There are many more as well and perhaps I will share those later. In the meantime enjoy these.

The food was delicious, too. Everyone commented on it. I enjoyed the line fish ( catch of the day ) which is called Kabeliou I believe : a white fish that I loved. The grilled calamari with chilli was excellent as well. We enjoyed two white South African wines, neither of which John and Theresa Morrison represent. The first was an older Chardonnay that everyone found a bit tired and the second was a lovely dry, crisp Sauvignon Blanc that everyone loved. I will have to ask John which they both were an include them here later.

Mano wrote : " I hope your experience is memorable. Regards " signed Mano. The menu says under Mano's : This restaurant is dedicated to friends. I like that a lot. It sure was memorable. Thank you Mano, thank you John Morrison and Peter, Lilian, Amy-Lee, Robin and the other diners, servers and of course chefs and personnel in the kitchen that indeed made this luncheon inflowing brilliant motions of whites come to life and into full focus for us.

Three other great comments written were : " A man in space ! " P. Webber and " Love from Lady Cadillac " L. Webber and " A small vision of Green Point .., cheers " John Morrison. I like all of this.

I wrote : " Great to meet you Peter and Lilian. Cheers, TONY

John Morrison & I Visit Briefly THELEMA Vineyards In Stellenbosch, S.A. Friday, March 20th, 2009 And Meet Owner Thomas Webb /Taste, THanks Andrea!

It was all too brief a visit to THELEMA and yet John Morrison and I had a grand time, really we did. We got to drive on a beautiful day and see some of this mountain. I got it in the pictures out back just past the tasting room and reflected in the floor-to-celing glass doors of the tasting room. It's really quite a beautiful space to taste wines to have nature come in and yet keep it enough at bay as to not disturb the wines. I liked it.

The weather was wonderful and we tasted the heartier styled 2009 " Sutherland " Sauvignon Blanc and the flavorful yet nicely-balanced 2006 " The Mint " Cabernet Sauvignon. I liked the Cab better than I did the Sauvignon Blanc which was just a tad too big for my palate. I was lucky to taste these as I promised John that we would not taste any wines while there because we were on such a tight schedule. But there you were John talking to Thomas and Andrea offered me first one taste and then I accepted another, tasting and then passing the glass to you John so that you might taste quickly, too. I'm proud of myself : I almost kept my word : and we were not late because we stayed and tasted all the wines. Oh well, we'll do that next time, won't we John? I've got a rain check to do that with you, don't I ?!?

I took lots of pictures and got Theresa Morrison's WINELANDS book signed for both John & Theresa and one for me. Marci Weinstein our sales rep fro Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 sales@clevelandparkwine.com www.clevelandparkwine.com ) knows Thomas' son. They both were in wine school together in Adelaide, South Australia.

We saw Thomas Webb walking over to the winery and tasting room when we arrived. We did not know it was him. I was much more caught up in watching the turkeys I believe as they walked together in a group to our left : the direction that Thomas Webb was coming from. That's when we noticed you John , we just did not know it was you. Why weren't you with us Marci? You would have known and we would have met immediately.

As it was we got a lay of the the land and I got some fun photos before we met Thomas. I am sorry that I did not get a chance to meet your son that was not there as well as taste more of your excellent wines that I have carried at Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits ( 3423 Connecticut Avenue N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 Tel : 202-363-4265 sales@clevelandparkwine.com www.clevelandparkwine.com ) for years now, buying them from Cape Classics that sells them through Country Vintner imports.

John and I were at the winery in Stellenbosch Friday, March 20th, 2009 in the early afternoon before we drove over to the Elgin Valley to meet owner Ian Corder of ELGIN VALLEY Vineyards.

For more info on THELEMA go To : Thelema Mountain Vineyards ( Pty ) LTD, P O Box 2234 , Stellenbosch 7601 Tel : (27 ) 021 8851924 www.thelema@thelema.co.za thomas@thelema.co.za Fax : (27 ) 021 885 1800 ).

Here are some of my usual artsy photos that I like to take to catch a fun story in interesting, intriguing images. Did I succeed? Let me know. I loved the bouquet of Hydrangeas up on the left corner to the back of the tasting table. I also liked the ornamental grasses and flowers that greeted us as we walked into the tasting room. It was also a treat to see some of the grape vine leaves turning to beautiful reds and yellows in an otherwise ocean of green, dark grape leaves. I noticed this especially as we drove away but was unnable to get a good picture of it. Oh well, I missed the turkeys, too!

Thanks Thomas and thanks Andrea Rossouw for the two tastes. Cheers, and I hope you like this entry. I will probably add to it over time. Come see us next time that you visit the U.S. and spend any time in Washington D.C. Thomas, Marci tells me that you are a great guy and that she has wonderful memories while there. TONY