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Capetown and the Winelands: PART II

5 Apr

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i.

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viii.

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ix.

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xi.

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I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put into words what this trip meant to me. Even looking back at these photos, over six months later, I cannot believe I was actually able to take a trip like with my Dad. I’m notorious for hating the phrase “a trip of a lifetime” because I believe a person can have several of those. But I will say that this trip was unforgettable, incredibly sacred, and one the greatest adventures yet. Many thanks to my Dad and Felice who let me take the reins on this one. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the arrival of my 30th year on this planet.

i. Penguins at Boulders Beach

ii. Martin Senekal’s booth at the The Old Biscuit Mill

iii. Simply Italian Pizza booth at The Old Biscuit Mill

iv. Butternut and tomato gnocchi, buffalo mozzarella, tomato jam, spring relish at La Motte Estate

v. Rose custard filled doughnut with toffee and guava ice cream at La Motte Estate

vi. View of Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak

vii. The Twelve Apostles

viii. Signal Hill

ix. View from the cable car going up to Table Mountain

x. Breakfast at the Cape Royale Hotel

xi. View of the Franschhoek Wine Valley from La Petite Ferme

  xii. My traveling companions taking it all in

JNB>VFA>DUR: PART I

23 Feb

When my father first proposed the idea of taking me to South Africa for my 30th birthday he only had one condition:

“I don’t want to plan a bit of it.”

How could I resist?

My dad clued me in on the budget and gave me free reign creating an unforgettable 16 day itinerary for our family. In order to do so it was important for me to keep my travel companions in mind. (Sadly, E. Dohrmann had to sit this one out due to a work conflict.) A brief overview: My dad and step-mom are a social, outgoing and fairly active couple in their mid sixties. My dad’s perfect vacation normally involves Disneyland, a cruise ship, and noise cancelling headphones. Felice is a dance teacher who cares deeply for the preforming arts and culture in general. Her ideal vacation normally includes: attending a performance of some kind and a day at the spa. They both love to cook, drink red wine and look to traveling as a way of connecting with the world. It was important for me to create an itinerary that included fun, sun, adventure, culture, good food and enough creature comforts that this trip would feel unique and exciting without being too scary or out of the box.

First let’s get one thing straight: There’s no easy way to get South Africa from Portland, OR. It’s as simple as that. It took multiple flights, 31 hours, and several laps around the plane before we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. And don’t forget about the impromptu airport yoga that happened between layovers (important to keep the blood flowing!), and the constant shuffle of Bob Marley, Paul Simon, the Talking Heads and Nina Simone on the iPod. The first ten days of our trip went something like this: Jo’burg>Victoria Falls>Durban>Hluhluwe. It was a crazy amount of traveling to do in such a short amount of time but I wouldn’t change a thing. After all, how often do you have the opportunity to visit one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, dip your toes in the Indian Ocean, and take in a 6 day safari tour?

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE ( but are not limited to):

01. Hunting and finding the most beautiful seashells alongside the local fishermen in Durban
02. “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh my!” We supplemented elephants for bears and cheetahs for tigers on this trip but “Oh My” is right! I didn’t realize how emotional I’d become being so close to these beautiful beasts. I was simultaneously freaked, elated, nervous and incredibly humbled (and tearing up more often than not!)
03. A visit to a local Zulu Village and neighboring elementary school outside of Hluhluwe
04. Watching adventure junkies putting in rafts just below the towering Rainbow Falls at Victoria Falls
05. Drinking cocktails at sunset, also known as a “sundowner” in these parts
06. Sunsets in general. With or without booze. Absolutely brilliant, full, and breathtaking.

IMG_8793Jo’Burg Airport

IMG_8908Sundowner Cruise on the Zambezi River
(I could get used to this!)

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Victoria Falls

IMG_9057Durban Sunrise

IMG_9065Durban Boardwalk

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Zulu Ancestor’s Hut

IMG_9410Zulu School

IMG_9406  IMG_9454Lion Pride

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IMG_9109 One of many breathtaking sunsets

Stay tuned for PART II: Capetown and the Winelands

Have Passport, Will Travel

6 Jun

Thanks to an extremely generous gift from my dad I will be celebrating my 30th birthday at La Petite Ferme Restaurant, Guest Suites and Winery in Franschhoek, South Africa.

Photo courtesy of La Petite Ferme

To say I’m ready to embrace this new chapter of life is an understatement.

Hello: Los Angeles, CA

24 May

I recently joined E. Dohrmann on a business trip down to Los Angeles. I used to live there but man-oh-man, how things have changed over the last eight years. One of our bestest friends in the entire world recently escaped the Portland rain and moved to Downtown LA. Being in his presence over the week made this large city feel very small and quite familiar. We spent a lot of time up on the roof of his building taking in the sights and marveling at the glorious weather.

We booked at The Standard in Downtown LA. We loved our spacious room and the vibrant hotel scene. (Emphasis on the word scene). While E. tended to business during the day I sipped on rooftop poolside cocktails. The location proved perfect for nighttime bar hopping, catching up with friends, and discovering this blossoming area. Continue reading

Spotted @: Gjelina Take Away (GTA)

9 May

We’re in Los Angeles for work and play. E. Dohrmann suggested we stop at one of his favorite Venice haunts for breakfast. The baked goods hit the spot but in full disclosure, the coffee was “meh.” (I added milk to mine but E. poured his out…because he is a professional coffee snob.)

Mixed Berry and Oatmeal Scone

Granola With Yogurt and Fruit

Making it Count

4 Oct
“Henri” portrait by Susan Monti

In accordance with my new job offer, this past weekend represented my official last weekend off. E. Dohrmann and friends were gracious, patient, and hilarious as ever making sure it was a memorable one.

Highlights include: attending my childhood bff’s mother’s art show {see “Henri” above}, eating said mom’s meatballs for the first time (how is it even possible that I’ve gone 29 years without these?!?!) and receiving the gift of a dance party mix from a friend containing my two latest obsessions: “In the Dark” by Dev:   and “Hello” by Martin Solveig and Dragonette:
Saturday brought a road trip to the coast with pit stops for maple wine salmon jerky, a potluck dinner featuring tacos and pizza, a sleepover at a friend’s cabin in the woods with no cell service and a haunted barn, a power outage caused by “loose insulator caps”(we weren’t buying this excuse), playing darts and “Catch Phrase” by firelight, finding bats upstairs and birds in the wood stove, a potluck breakfast featuring pancakes with spiced applesauce, maple sausage links, pan de tomate, spinach-mushroom scrabble, toasted baguette with spiced plum jam, wine tasting at Sokol Blosser and Dobbes, dog walks along the Siletz river, Stumptown’s Ethiopia Mordecofe brewed in a beehouse pour over, family portraits at Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area, getting reacquainted with Steve Martin’s brilliance in Parenthood. Oh, and the inauguration of the season’s first fire.

I think I’m ready for fall now. Let the nesting begin.

Latest Craving: AQ

21 Sep

I found out about AQ, a new restaurant opening in the SOMA/Mid-Market neighborhood of San Francisco, while browsing through recently funded Kickstarter videos. After watching their video and checking out the incentives I felt compelled to contribute something. A quick search led me to their website, and after browsing through their menu I jumped on the opportunity to become a backer through Kickstarter. I want this restaurant to be a success. If I had an extra $1500 to part with I can tell you exactly where it would go. For now I’ll settle for a brick with our name on it (which is hardly a settlement if you ask me). Seriously, I’ve seen a lot of these videos and read through a bunch of incentives before and I think these guys have got it nailed down. Super cool rewards for an affordable contribution. Perhaps you might want to get involved? You have three more days left to join in on the project.

I strongly suggest you check out the menu on their website. Allow me to entice you. If we went to dinner this fall together we’d have to share:

PUMPKIN SEED TART, pumpkin custard, clove and coffee

AUTUMN VEGETABLES raw & roasted, fuyu persimmon with maple

ROASTED CARROTS, fall spices, hazelnuts, stout beer

CRISPY LAMB BELLY, umbrian lentils, smoked dates, hibiscus onions

TOASTED BARLEY & DUNGENESS CRAB, mushrooms & spruce

MONKFISH ROASTED with HOPS, buttered turnips, fennel sausage, chilies

SUCKLING PIG two ways, honeycrisp apples, fennel pollen & spelt milk

PISTACHIO FINANCIER, caramel meringue, kabocha squash & white chocolate

HACHIYA PERSIMMON PUDDING, brown butter sorbet, warm brandy & sesame

Not to mention lots and lots of bubbles to celebrate the restaurant’s opening. By the way, 9x/10 I’m ALWAYS down to share. If you’re going to eat with me you’re mostly likely going to share. Something to consider…