Tag Archives: pizza

Under the Influence Wine Tasting

10 Feb

I write this post with a headache, because I have discovered that you can have too much of a good thing – and an Under the Influence wine tasting is a very good thing. Each tasting has a particular theme, whether it be region, terroir or varietal. The heavenly tasting I attended was “Great Whites” , perfectly up my street as red would give me much more than an innocent headache.

The Cape Town tastings are in one of the most beautiful setting the city has to offer – The Roundhouse lawn. I found myself looking over Camps Bay and the sea on a warm summer night, with friends and delicious wine – it doesn’t get much better. Oh wait it does – there were two potbellied piglets running around! Pancetta and Crackling (hopfeully just a cruel joke and not their fate) run free on the lawn, rooting in the grass and nuzzling offered hands. Just don’t pick them up unless you want the entire veranda to stare at you while they squeal.

Under the Influence tastings are all about learning, not showing off who has read the latest issue of Wine Magazine or knows the most about wine. You are free to make silly suggestions about the smell (sorry, nose!), use the wrong words and actually swallow the wine – all of which made me, an avid quaffer but useless sommelier, really comfortable. The hosts are also relaxed, joking about crib notes and bantering with the guests. While being incredibly knowledgeable about winemakers, wine and regions, they take nothing too seriously.

Each tasting consists of three flights or sets of wines, usually three wines per flight. The “Great White” flights were sauvignon blanc, viognier and chenin blanc blends. Wonderful! Not being a connoisseur, I will just give you my favourite of the evening: Lismore sauvignon blanc (2009), delicious and affordable.

I was eager to line my stomach before the tasting as last time there was only ciabatta to snack on. It wasn’t necessay though as Under the Influence has teamed up with the Rumbullion outdoor restaurant at the Roundhouse to offer not only scrummy ciabatta, but also pizzas (for an added cost). As we had eaten ourselves silly already, my friends and I ordered a simple margarita to share. It was crispy and cheesy – everything a pizza should be and it went excellently with the wine!

As the wine flowed, the inappropriate comments and giggles increased and everyone around the table became acquainted. One of the wonderful things about these tastings is the intimate setting – the tasting groups are normally only about 20 people, seated at a long picnic table. This lends itself to everyone sharing stories and opinions – I discovered that the girl across the table was also my next door neighbour! After the tasting, left over bottles are handed round and you are free to drink a full glass of whatever especially delighted you that evening – the perfect way to get to know your new  freinds. Unfortunately the Lismore was no more, but I refilled on Elgin Heights a few times.

Under the Influence also now does some tastings in Joburg and Durban, but I don’t think these will be able to beat the setting in Cape Town. I can’t wait for the bubbly tasting next week!

Tastings R120 per person (incudes tasted wine and ciabatta). Pizzas from R40. For tastings in your area and upcoming events, visit the website: www.undertheinfluence.co.za You can also buy wine on the website.

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The Woodstock Lounge

10 Aug

The joburg locals are still in town and I decided that pizza would be an excellent meal for a hung over Saturday night. How wrong I was. I can’t believe how many people have recommended the pizza at The Lounge.

To  be fair, the first thing that put me off the place was one of the patrons. I have never enjoyed watching a drunk man yell and then hump his bar stool rather viciously, but who has? Yes, this was the den of iniquity into which I had stumbled.

Once all my friends had arrived I assumed it would all become more pleasant. Wrong again. This is one place that proves that waiters can be the downfall of a restaurant. Mine sported long, greasy black hair and clearly cared as much about his guests as his personal hygiene. Not much, in case I need to spell that out. Besides having to place our order twice and repeating that I will not, repeat will not, eat avocado, our starters and pizzas arrived together (a definite bug bear of mine) and then… yes… avocado on my pizza! This was only made worse by my pizza being whisked away and returned not 2 minutes later with green marks, resembling and tasting like snail trails, all over it. Yuck. Plus the to-ing and fro-ing made it cold. The only time to eat cold pizza is the next day, not where you ordered it!

The final insult was when I finished my pizza before my friend next to me (yes, I know, it was cold and gross, but I was hung over and hungry and went to boarding school). The waiter cleared my board, reaching straight over my friend’s pizza with his arm pit. I could practically see the goebies leaping from his pits onto her food. I had had enough. If it wasn’t the hang over which made me leave early, it was certainly the food.

 The Lounge: Roodebloem Road, Woodstock, 021 448 4448, Pizzas: not worth the money they cost! Service: Appalling