One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that I get to travel to some really interesting places. My duties include supporting 24 countries in Central and West Africa and back in April I had the chance spend a week in our office in Dakar, Senegal. While work trips are always quite busy, I try and make sure I take at least a little time to get out and see a bit of the place I am visiting. I had visited Senegal once before back in September 2001, arriving just 2 days after the World Trade Center attacks. It was an interesting time to visit for sure, and I have very fond memories of that trip. Even though this trip would be limited to Dakar, I was really looking forward to visiting again.
Terrou-Bi Hotel, views from breakfast
Update 24 March 2016: Salsa now takes reservations and it is highly recommended to make them at least a week in advance.
Salsa Mexican Grill is the newest addition to the Jozi Northern Suburbs dining scene, just officially opening this past Thursday. They are located in the Pineslopes Shopping Centre at the corner of Witkoppen and The Straight, right next to the Beerhouse. The really great news for me is that this is really close to home and I couldn’t wait to try this place out.
Thursday evening I rang the restaurant to try and make reservations for Friday night and was told they aren’t currently taking any reservations, they are doing walk-ins only for the moment. A bit skeptical about getting in, we rocked up a bit early (for us) for dinner around 7 pm on Friday. We were warmly welcomed and had no trouble getting a table at that time though things were starting to pick up later as we were leaving.
The dining area features attractive wooden tables and chairs and an open plan kitchen. I felt the décor was a bit subdued for a Mexican restaurant and I would love to see just a bit more color added. There is a large outdoor patio area which I am sure will be great fun once it warms up a bit.
Open Plan Kitchen
At the end of November last year, I had the opportunity to spend 3 nights on Zanzibar for a work trip. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous island within the United Republic of Tanzania and located about 25 miles off the mainland. It is about 60 miles long and 20 miles wide. Zanzibaris predominately speak Swahili (though English is widely spoken, at least in the tourist areas) and more than 99% of the population is Muslim. We were based in the historic Stone Town and while most of the time was spent on work, we did get a bit of free time to get out and explore.
During the past 2-3 months the subject of finding some authentic Chinese food has come up in conversations between the Frenchie and me several times as the strip mall/take out places you find all over Joburg just don’t cut it. I knew we needed to get over to explore Cyrildene, the neighborhood which is now considered to be the new Chinatown in Jozi (with the orignal one in Newtown though it is mostly abandoned these days). We have driven past many times and just never got around to actually stopping to check things out. Earlier this week, I read the new Johannesburg Travel Guide on Trip Advisor and the feature Best Food in Johannesburg from blogger 2summers. In the article she recommends Shun De Chinese Restaurant in Cyrildene (23 Derrick Street) and I immediately knew where I wanted to have lunch on Saturday.
Shun De Chinese Restaurant
If you have already been following my blog, you probably know that I am a big fan of Ishvara Dhyan’s Ancient Secrets walks. As still a relative newcomer to Joburg, I really enjoy getting to know the fascinating neighborhoods that Ishvara has chosen for his walking tours. This has given me the opportunity to learn about many places that I probably previously would never have thought to step foot in. Doornfontein was the third walk we have done with Ishvara after the Troyeville Walk and the Jeppestown Walk.
What I find especially captivating about these walks is that each neighborhood is packed with a varied history and Ishvara is a master at relating the path of evolution these neighborhoods have taken through the years. It is often said that Johannesburg is a city that is constantly reinventing itself and I found this to be particularily true of the Doornfontein neighborhood.