Lunch #25: Pregos and Pasteis at Broadway Bakery

When one gets to the grand old age of *mumble mumble mumble*, it’s very important to place a high value on your work. After all, you’ve spent decades accumulating your skills and experience, and they’re now almost definitely worth something.

Let’s take my Photoshop skills, for instance. I was taught Photoshop about *cough cough* years ago by a now-world-famous artist and, if I say so myself (and I usually do), I am not bad with a magic wand. Of course, I am absolutely crap at using every single other tool and I routinely can’t remember how to create a mask, let alone what to do with it when I have.

Nonetheless, I once entered a competition at Design Indaba, using Photoshop to create a hideous poster featuring photographs of my toothy grin next to the somewhat confused grins of several random strangers. We had 30 minutes to design our posters and I spent 15 of those minutes trying to remember how to add text. Incredibly, I won. So I am, in fact, a prize-winning designer and Photoshopper, as judged by an international panel of (clearly barking) design experts.

However, this means that I am occasionally faced with a quandary. Some of my best friends are bloggers, and one of them is even world famous. But, while she has wisdom and insight beyond anyone else I know into this crazy little thing called life, she also thinks that I can design things. (She never saw the Indaba poster.)

And, if there’s one thing more important than not working for free once you’re over 23 (unless it’s for a registered charity), it is never to let friends pay you for work (at least, not with their own money). Because that is just awkward. And weird.

So when The Yummy Mummy came over this morning to suggest some improvements to the great work of art that is the header image I made for her blog, she not only praised my efforts with an effusiveness that reminded me strongly of those deluded design experts, but she also insisted on taking me out to lunch afterwards. (Ha! I bet you were wondering when I’d get around to the lunch.)

Now, she knows that, aside from Societi Bistro, which occupies its own dimension of restaurantaurial perfection, I am not fond of fashionable eateries. So we went jousting the taxis around the Salt River circle, then down the gorge of the vile beast that is Voortrekker Road where, at number 109, she led us into an unexpected treasure-trove.

Broadway Bakery is like a miniature, Portuguese version of everyone’s favourite German deli, Raith, minus the annoying accompaniment of Gardens shopping mall. There’s a bakery counter, a coffee counter, a few shelves of imported food-type things, and six tiny bar tables with high chairs where you can sit and order prego rolls, grilled chorizo and other great staples of Portuguese haute cuisine.

Broadway Bakery interior

Free wifi and Frankie’s Cinnamon Cola. Not what I was expecting on Voortrekker Road.

I almost ordered the bifana, a roast pork roll, but in the end we both stuck with classic beef pregos, responding with detectable levels of outrage when the waitress asked if we wanted chips or salad with them.

Prego roll and chips

Honestly, who orders a prego roll with salad? Yay for chips!

They were delish: soft, fresh Portuguese rolls, obviously baked right there this morning, with tender, tasty steak in perfect amounts of marinade, and hand-cut chips that were much less greasy than most (so probably as good for us as salad in any case).

And, because I am halfway to becoming another Mr Money Mustache, I was thrilled to see that our lunches were less than R50 each. (Back in 2011, my lunch budget was R40, but I’ve made a generous concession to inflation.)

Unfortunately, The Yummy Mummy still has a long way to go on her journey towards Mustachianism, because, not only did she buy my lunch, she then insisted on buying me half a dozen of the most fabulously flakey, crunchy, creamy pasteis de nata to take home. (R7 each – take that, Vida!) And she wouldn’t even take one of them for herself.

Pasteis de nata

Yes, I know they look fluorescent yellow and they aren’t really. But bad food photography is one of the things I pride myself on in this blog.

So there you go: I will do Photoshop for praise, pregos and pasteis.

(But only if I love you very, very much.)

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Lunch #20: Cape Town’s best Mutton Salome at Mountain View Café

Today I played bountiful hostess to a most esteemed fellow writer, The Man Who Catches Many Planes.

The Man Who Catches Many Planes is the only person I have ever met who manages to make a proper living as a freelance travel writer. He even has a wife and child who don’t have to support him by standing at busy intersections. TMWCMP has agreed to tell a roomful of Avid Students how he does this as part of the travel writing course I’m giving (again) at UCT. His only condition was that I take him on a Long Street Lunch.

I had, in fact, agreed to take him on a lunch last year, the first time he spoke to Avid Students for me. But TMWCMP was too busy catching flights to exotic destinations to meet me for noodles at Bamboo. So today when he arrived (probably fresh off an Airbus), I gave him two options for lunch: Bamboo, or this lovely new spot I’ve been eyeing with interest for the last few weeks…

As well as this beautiful mural, Kilimanjaro Restaurant offers African food, beer and pool, and is underneath Long Street’s most complained-about landmark: Senator Park

Since TMWCMP had noticed a large number of what he tactfully referred to as ‘mice’ on his last visit to Bamboo, and Kilimanjaro Restaurant was almost as dark inside as it was empty when we peered through the bead curtain, we chose the wildcard lunch-location instead. This involves strolling down Long Street looking for somewhere interesting and obviously cheap. And this is what we saw…

In case you were in any doubt, it is called Mountain View Take-Aways. (But I still got it wrong.)

Now, any good travel writer knows that a busy lunch spot is a good lunch spot, and TMWCMP is a very good travel writer indeed, so he dragged us both inside. We were fortunate enough to arrive during a brief lull in business, because as we were to discover, Mountain View Take-Aways is possibly the most popular lunch spot in Long Street.

We ordered food: a mutton salome for me, a chicken and cheese burger for TMWCMP. To drink, I had a cheeky can of Coke Zero while he selected a Stoney. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get a Mountain Dew at Mountain View, but TMWCMP says it hasn’t been available in Cape Town for at least 20 years. I insisted on paying the bill of R76. (Nobody can say that I don’t reward favours generously.)

For starters, TMWCMP treated us each to a R3 samoosa. Hot, crunchy and delicious as they were, I was unprepared for the magnificence of my mutton salome when it arrived.

As usual, I’ve managed to make my food look like a Halloween prank, but take my word for it, this salome was well worth breaking the No Carb All Fat diet for. It was flaky, crispy and bulging with tasty mutton and potatoes. (Note eminent travel writer’s hand clutching burger bun in background.)

I now understood exactly why Mountain View was packed. Where else could you get such a perfect meal for R35 in a matter of minutes?

I could only love Mountain View even more when I saw what they’ve put in place of a tip jar. The lady behind the jars is lovely and friendly, but apparently my portraits are as good as my food photography.

On the other hand, the view from our table wasn’t quite as advertised:

I know all about poetic license, but this is taking it a bit far.

As we walked back sharing a warm, juicy, R3 cinamon doughnut – me to my desk and TMWCMP probably to the airport – I pointed out, in a profound sort of way, that the Mountain View Take Away is exactly the type of place that makes Cape Town so surprising and fun, even for such seasoned travellers as TMWCMP and me.

P.S. You can follow TMWCMP on Twitter @onanotherplane. I do.