Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dinner at Zambi's

Will and I are in Maputo - woo woo!

I wanted to blog about our dinner last night as it was simply amazing and full of things I've never had before and would like to re-create!
After a delayed flight, we made it to Maputo around noon. We went to an ATM, enjoyed a light lunch (a small order of garlic prawns and Laurentina black beer), and just enjoyed the warm, beach weather after a super cold week (read: BELOW FREEZING) in South Africa.

Enjoying a Laurentina at lunch on the beach

Based on numerous great recommendations, we decided to go to dinner at Zambi's, a trendy seafood spot in Maputo. We took a cab (200 MT, about $5) and got to dinner at an odd hour of 5:30. We wanted to sit outside, but after the sun set, the wind blew in and it became quite cold.

Picture of us on the patio at Zambi's - very windy and chilly!

View of the street in front of Zambi's - the streets of Maputo are lined with tall palms

I tried Zambi's cocktail, which was a blend of mango juice and who knows what else. Sweet, but refreshing after a warm day. We looked at the menu and were simply overwhelmed by the amount of seafood. Every dish on the menu was seafood or meat - there were only 3 vegetarian options! Once we realized this, we knew we were in a fantastic place to eat as our friend Heidi, a strict vegetarian, had just raved and raved about Zambi's - and if she only had 3 things to pick from, its gotta be good.

Inside of Zambi's - crazy art and really neat booths!

I absolutely adore seafood. In the US, Will and I regularly grilled up fish and shrimp for dinner. Here, its rare to get fresh seafood in Pretoria so we don't eat it often at all. It also makes finding good sushi practically impossible (I've learned to enjoy salmon rolls as the salmon always seems to be fresher than the tuna, which is usually a dark purple color - gross!). When I get seafood, I usually get it at Ritrovo, which serves up killer Prawns Diablo (the picture is the first one after scrolling down). It is absolutely impossible to find crab or scallops in South Africa and I miss them terribly. I can't wait to come home and have seared scallops, she-crab soup, and more.

All of this is to say - once we started looking at the menu, we were absolutely overwhelmed by the seafood choices and wanted to order everything! The fish of the day was Red Snapper, an absolute fave of mine, but at the end of the day, Mozambique is known for its prawns and we knew we had to have them!

We settled on the seafood ravioli and garlic bread appetizers (combined total: about $5). The seafood ravioli were absolute HEAVEN. I adore crab and its impossible to find in South Africa. In fact, I haven't had crab since our holiday in Ireland when I had amazing crab claws with Erin in Dingle (so good, we ordered a second helping). Needless to say, I was so shocked when I took a bite of ravioli and was presented with the rich taste of fresh crab. The raviolis were very delicate and I really couldn't say that there was more filling in the ravioli than straight-up crab (maybe garlic?). The sauce was a bechamel sauce that was a golden color - it tasted like it had sherry and nutmeg in it. Very light, very tasty, and resulted in me feeling like I was in absolute heaven.

The garlic bread turned up to be fresh Portuguese bread that was baked on the top and bottom. Our waiter cut it for us at the table, revealing that the inside had been cooked with butter, garlic, and fresh parsley. Honestly - what's better than homemade bread?

Fresh garlic bread - yum!

After the apps, Will and I ordered a bottle of Vinho Verde, one of our favorite wines. Its made in Portugal and translates to "Green Wine" except that its actually a white wine with a slight sparkle to it. Its absolutely perfect with seafood.

We ordered the grilled seafood platter to share and were so pleased with the results. I wish I had taken a picture and if we go back there before we leave, I will take a pic.

The platter was huge - grilled calamari rings, massive prawns, langoustines, and spiny lobster. The seafood was grilled and seasoned with lemon, garlic, butter, and green chiles. I've never had seafood grilled with green chiles before and it lended such a fantastic flavor to the food that I will definitely try it again. Surprisingly, it wasn't spicy at all - just flavorful!

I wish I had taken more pics of the food, but as people started filling the restaurant, I felt a little awkward as the flash was so bright and I couldn't turn it off (we're borrowing Adam & Beth's camera while mine is being repaired).

After a wonderful al fresco breakfast, we're now headed to the Maputo Fish Market, where we can pick out our fresh seafood as it comes off the boat and have it prepared to our liking. Kind of a crazy opportunity and I can't wait!
View from our table at breakfast - infinity pool, the ocean, and palm trees!

Will enjoying a cup of cafe at breakfast - yum!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Two more months and change...

We have two+ months left in lovely South Africa! I can't believe I've officially been here for over two years and haven't been back in my homeland since Obama became President.

Our friend Alex with his Obama fan pre-USA vs. Algeria!

World Cup was an amazing adventure and I apologize for my complete lack of blogging about how much fun we had. It was fantastic to see South Africa become this vibrant, friendly city with everyone cheering everyone else on. I soon found myself loving the sound of the vuvuzela and even learned to play it myself. Will and I were lucky enough to cheer on USA at multiple games, and essentially had a front row seat to Donovan's game winning goal against Algeria. We were truly plagued with World Cup fever!
Meeting up with some New Yorkers prior to the USA vs. England game - fun!

Right after the winning goal at the USA vs. Algeria game! YAY!!!

July was spent saying goodbye to a bunch of our friends. I've been told to say, "So long for now..." but believe me - its hard. I really miss all the great friends we made here. There's something to be said for having folks to commiserate about the life we've happened to share in SA. The only bonus in saying goodbye is that now I have friends posted all over the world that I can go visit! Ha!

Will and I have mega travel plans over the next two weeks. I want to take advantage of our remaining time here as much as possible, which for me means one word: SAFARI. We're headed to a rustic bush camp this weekend (no electricity! no running water!) and to be honest, I'm really looking forward to the experience. Fingers crossed for lots of game sightings!

The following week I'm headed back to Mozambique for work and Will is coming with me. Its actually the most under-planned trip I've ever had. We have no idea what we'll be doing or where we'll go while we're there, but its exciting - here's hoping for beach time!!! Not to lay out or swim, but just to relax and watch the sunset. Nice. Will says we may snorkel, which I've never done!

After these two trips, we still blessedly have 3 trips left, with a 4th pending:
-- Tiger fishing in KZN
-- A final (romantic!) Kruger adventure to two camps: Kapama Buffalo Camp and Sabi Sabi Little Bush camp - high hopes for leopard sightings!
-- One last trip to Cape Town - winery stays, Kalk Bay (fourth time = the charm!), and lots and lots of dining out at the top restaurants in South Africa such as Rust en Vrede and Grande Provence (maybe even Nobu again!)

I will try to be better at posting between now and our return home in October. Stay tuned!