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Food and Restaurant Digest #26, 15 September 2017 
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Food festivals: the good, the bad, and the ugly


Just as Cape Town gears up to host its very first pizza and pasta festival, it was slightly unnerving to read about a recent pizza festival in Brooklyn, New York, that left attendees feeling rightly cheated of the money they had spent on tickets (up to $69 per person), when instead of an abundance of pies (as they call them over there), they found mostly empty tents and pretty pathetic pizza offerings



(The event has been compared to the Fyre Music Festival, scheduled to be held in the Bahamas earlier this year, which turned out to be a complete disaster when "attendees arrived to discover Fyre had no infrastructure in place to accommodate its guests", and which is now costing its organisers seven class-action lawsuits.) 
 
It doesn’t look like any lawsuits will be coming out of the pizza festival (in fact the organisers have agreed to refund all tickets), but one remarkable part of the story is that a hamburger festival was scheduled for the exact same time and place, and that too, was full of empty tables (and stomachs). Add to that the fact that the same organisers had apparently hosted an “African Food” Festival last year, which turned out to be equally disastrous. You’d think people would learn from their mistakes!

New York foodies probably now have – or should have! – a healthy scepticism towards food festivals, and it sounds like they could do better sticking to the many excellent pizza options already available to them (including a newcomer billed as a "Calabrese" style which purists insist isn't even a pizza, but whatever it is, it looks delicious!). We doubt, however, that Capetonians have anything to worry about for tomorrow's event, and wish organisers and attendees all the best with what’s sure to be a fun day out for the whole family.

(And if you're looking for all the best places to eat pizza around the world, we can recommend Phaidon's Where To Eat Pizza, with contributions from Jean-Pierre on the best spots in SA.)
Bits and Bites
Insta-restaurant: Are you one of those people who loves or hates it when everyone and their aunt has to take pictures of food in restaurants before anyone gets to eat? If the latter, you'll probably want to avoid visiting Dirty Bones in London, staff at which will give any diner who wants it a free Instagram kit that contains “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick”. The website Grub Street reports that "other diners are then obligated to punch them both in the face". 

Tasting blue wine: We've written about blue wine before (which The Guardian described as a "beverage that is a light shade of Toilet Duck"). Here, you can watch what a sommelier makes of it. (Hint: very, very sweet). We'll leave it for the youngsters, then. 

Food stories worth a cup of tea: The Atlantic recently published a list of 100 exceptional pieces of long-form journalism, 11 of which are food-related (including one we've mentioned before, about a spot that fashions itself as the "most exclusive restaurant" in America but is quite possibly operated by another scam artist).  
Latest reviews   

At La Boqueria in Parktown North, Jean-Pierre finds a charming space with some fantastic fried olives to enjoy with a glass of interesting white wine, oxtail marmalade toast (with flavours of coffee, red onion, horseradish and lime), and a poke bowl that "screams good health". If a full meal isn't what you're after, "it's a great place simply for snacks with cocktails, or some of that great wine".



Back in the Cape Winelands, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine continues to deliver top-notch fare with views and wines to match. On this visit, standouts included “honey and soy glazed lamb rib, slightly spicy greens, toasted sesame, crispy garlic and honeyed parsnip”, “confit Joostenberg Vlakte rabbit, roasted potato gnocchi, parsley velouté and crispy pancetta”, “organic carrot and ashed goat’s cheese risotto” (pictured above),
 and a perfectly executed - if poorly timed, at first - hazelnut soufflé with Valhrona chocolate ice cream. (If you're looking for equally delightful plates in the historic centre of Stellenbosch, you won't be disappointed by chef Jardine's eponymous restaurant in that part of town.)

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