Wheeling Around Cape Peninsula

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Penguins…they could truly be anywhere!

Our first full day in Cape Town. The reason we rented a car was so we could go at our own pace to explore the Cape Peninsula. Even though we hadn’t seen much of Cape Town proper yet, we wanted to explore the expansive peninsula outstretching the southwest of Cape Town. Here, we could visit the penguin colony, hit up the Cape of Good Hope, and see the beaches at our leisure. We set off on the east coast of the peninsula, where we passed charming seaside towns like Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town. Shortly after Simon’s Town, we stopped at Boulder’s Beach, which was a protected conservation area for the African Penguin. Not too dissimilar to the Magellanic Penguins we saw in Argentina, the African Penguin is a smaller breed of penguin, only 2 feet tall, and officially endangered. Here at Boulder’s Beach, their colonies thrived in the absence of their natural and manmade threats. We walked to a viewing point where we saw these guys in masses, and also walked along a walkway where many were nesting, to an accessible beach where we could dip our feet in and watch the penguins swim.

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The picturesque Simon’s Town
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Here at Boulder’s Beach, penguins thrived in an area protected from natural and environmental predators
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Tracking penguins!
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Scary looking hyrax lurking
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Hundreds of penguins
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Sleepy penguin, molting

Since Simon’s Town was so close by, we stopped back into town to look for a bite and found a really cute spot called The Lighthouse Cafe, where Doug had what he termed the best burger he’s ever had. Then we were off again, driving to Cape Point to visit the southwesternmost point on the continent. Located near the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, Cape Point was notorious for jutting far out into the seas and catching numerous sailors off-guard in bad weather and causing numerous shipwrecks. We hiked up to the lighthouse for some spectacular views, drove around a bit to look for wildlife (none found, sadly), and visited a market displaying a number of local homemade wares.

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Fish & chips and burger. Simple but delicious.
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Welcome to the southwesternmost point in Africa…
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Hiking trail along Cape Point
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Infamous spot where many ships have wrecked, not too far from where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet
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Cape Point Lighthouse

On our way out of the park, we continued in the same direction, driving along the Atlantic coastline to see some really crazy waves crashing along the beach. We drove past Noordhoek and Kommetjie, two fishing villages, taking quick stops for a few photos, but wanted to hurry along so we could drive the famous Chapman’s Peak Drive before it got dark. Spanning roughly 5 miles along the western side of Cape Peninsula, Chapman’s Peak Drive is famed for being one of the most scenic drives in the world, and it turned out to also be one of the craziest drives, too. We were literally driving on the edge of a cliff, with no guardrails, under rocky overhangs held back only by flimsy wire netting. Thank goodness Doug drove, because the scenery was so beautiful I would’ve likely driven off the road from being distracted looking out the window. Not only were we right at the edge of the cliff, but the roads were extremely narrow and twisted at every turn with 114 curves in all!

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Wild waves in Noordhoek along the western coast of Cape Peninsula
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Don’t look down…it is a long and steep drop! But a stunning view…
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Dusk from Chapman’s Peak Drive…gorgeous
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Sunset from Camps Bay
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We loved the sunsets in Greece but man, African sunsets gave them a run for their money!

Since we didn’t want to be caught driving those crazy hairpin turns in the dark, we kept going and pulled over right outside of Camps Bay to watch the sunset over the beach. By this point, it was close to dinner time, so we set back to the hotel before taking an Uber to another one of Luke Dale-Roberts’ restaurants, since we loved Test Kitchen so much. Located right next door in the Old Biscuit Mill warehouse area, Pot Luck Club was a more casual, a la carte restaurant whose menu was centered around five flavor profiles: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami, all inspired by global flavors. We picked more dishes than we needed to sample, and wrote them on a pad of paper reminiscent to dim sum sheets:

  • Parmesan and buffalo mozzarella arancini, smoked garlic and apple mayo, aged balsamic and burnt leek (umami)
  • Crispy calamari, yuzu compressed watermelon, black sesame emulsion, and fermented peanut chili dressing (umami)
  • Smoked beef filet with black pepper and truffle cafe au lait (umami)
  • Burrata cheese, braaied nectarine, rose petal dukkah, and vanilla oaked honey (sweet)
  • Beef tataki, hoisin dressing, coriander dressing, coriander pesto, and ponzu mayo with crispy sweet potato (sweet)
  • Pot luck club fish tacos, fresh ceviche, black bean puree, avocado and sour cream (sour)
  • Pork belly pho (sour)
  • Heaven’s bacon: almond and apple tart, burnt peanut butter, popcorn ice cream, apple gummies, and maple glazed bacon

For as much as we loved Test Kitchen last night, I actually liked Pot Luck Club even more. I thought the flavors were more unique and I always prefer shareable small plates.  There was nothing we didn’t like, but I would say my favorites were the calamari, beef tataki, and fish tacos since they had such unique flavor combinations.  Definitely a place I’d recommend and the Old Biscuit Mill is such a cool area!

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Arancini Balls
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Calamari with watermelon and yuzu, very flavorful
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Delicious burrata with nectarines and unique spices
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Beef Tataki…I still dream about this dish
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Fish Tacos, presented in a whole new way
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Pork Belly, before we poured in the pho broth
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A sweet ending with hints of savory featuring almond, apple, peanut butter, maple, and popcorn flavor profiles

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