First off, thanks to everyone for the get-well wishes over the past month. It’s really great to feel human again after being ill for so long. I decided that I needed to get out of the house and into the sunshine yesterday and my husband took us for lunch at La Rustica. I have long wanted to try this restaurant, which has popped up on the top-10 lists of Johannesburg restaurants often.
I had looked at their menu on their website and had made up my mind that I would order Fegato a la Veneziana Calf’s liver sauteéd with caramelised onion, white wine and sage, served on polenta wedges. (R92-00.)
Our table was booked for 12.30 and we arrived to a jam-packed venue. We waited a long time for service and eventually had to call a waiter to ask for menus; he informed us that Sunday’s were buffet-only. I feel that we should have been told this when I called to make the reservation, or when we arrived and were shown to our table.

I have revisited their website and there is no mention of this.
While the buffet selection was impressive and extensive (no calf’s liver!), buffet dining is not my cup of tea. My husband had all three courses, but I only had a plate of antipasti starters, as did my step-daughter. And my daughter only had 3 slices of roast pork and 2 roast potatoes from the carvery. At R195-00 per head, this was quite a preposterous and disappointing rip-off.

Now, on to more fun things; I did Celia’s (Fig jam and lime cordial) ‘In my kitchen’ challenge for the first time in June. This month, because I’ve been man-down for most of the time, I have little of interest to offer. But I do love peeking into kitchens around the world, so I have decided to share a few pictures anyway.

These little jars were the first ‘kitchen things’ I ever bought. I was about 14 at the time and they have travelled all over the world with me and are always the first items I unpack when I move into a new kitchen.

My reading material during my stay in bed. The Appetizers and Part Recipes book (by Bridget Jones; not she of the blue soup though) is handy for giving me ideas for bite-sized food to make when I cater for the crews on film shoots.

First up on my culinary to-do list for the week is Tandy’s challenge to bake something using dried fruit. This is going to be easy, as I know my husband loves dried fruit tarts. My apricots and prunes are ready and waiting for me.

This little chest of drawers is one of my most treasured things. Measuring just 20cm x 18cm, I keep 4 different types of salt in the ceramic drawers. I was given to me by a very close friend on my first wedding anniversary.

In closing, the food trivia for today in history (from
1936 The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is invented. It is a giant hot dog on wheels. Invented by Carl Mayer, nephew of Oscar Mayer, it was built by General Body Company at Chicago, Illinois. There are now a fleet of six. Astonishing!


84 Comments Add yours

  1. Tes says:

    Oh Cindy! That chest drawers is the cutest thing 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s sweet, hey Tes?

  2. The chest of drawers are super cute and I love the jars, very retro cool. Such a good buy! Glad your feeling better. Although the stories of famous hotties visiting you were wonderful. :)))

    1. theonlycin says:

      I often dream of steamy things, I shall try to keep you entertained with hotties 😉

  3. Tandy says:

    I love your salt drawers! Now I know what to bring with to our braai. As for La Rustica – they should indeed have informed you beforehand! What a rip off. Have a good day my friend xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Tandy, I am considering sending the review to them so that they don’t make a mistake in future; it was clear that most of the diners were regulars, so perhaps they simply think everyone knows about the buffet?

  4. Leeswammes says:

    Glad you’re better, Cindy! I LOVE your little chest of drawers, how beautiful.

    The meal sounds like a real rip-off. On holiday, we had buffet food all the time, but we knew that in advance and it makes that you can choose whatever you like (very extensive choices) but last year I also went to a restaurant where it was “buffet night” when we didn’t expect it and it’s just not nice!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Especially as I had read all the hype about it being a ‘fine dining’ experience, a buffet was a real let-down. In hindsight, we should have got up and left and returned on a day when the a la carte menu was in place.

      1. Pseu says:

        Next week, perhaps?

        A letter or email in between about your disappointment may encourage generosity on their behalf, especially if they thought you may be doing an on-line review? !

      2. theonlycin says:

        They were full to the rafters with happy campers, Pseu, I doubt they would take any notice of one unhappy person … It’s just the nature of business, I guess.

  5. Tilly Bud says:

    So glad to have you back with us and feeling better.

    I love your jars and your salt drawer is so unusual.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Tilly, hope things are going well with your cycling?

      1. Tilly Bud says:

        Well, they’re going… 🙂

  6. dearrosie says:

    Very glad to hear you’re feeling better! Good lord you were sick for a whole month yet you still managed to write your blog and leave comments on all of ours? How on earth do you do it?

    I agree that R195 for 3 slices of meat and two potatoes is verrrrrry expensive. If they’d mentioned buffet only on sundays you would’ve gone somewhere else. I think you should let the manager know!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I think so too, Rosie.

  7. sue chef says:

    So pleased you are feeling better, R195 a head! I’m guessing you won’t be going there again.

    1. theonlycin says:

      No, I don’t think so, Sue.

    2. Rachelle says:

      Sue and Dear friend Cindy,

      I live around the corner from la Rustica and have had many meals there. Needless to say, have been disappointed on many, many occassions. The food is generally good, but one day they have a liqour license, the next not. The menu sounds stunning, but when you sit down to order, half the food on the menu is not available. the service is SHOCKING to say the very least. Nobody has ever mastered the art of smiling, which could sometimes smooth over some rough edges. La Rustica – nope, not again!!

      1. theonlycin says:

        We have too many available choices to make the same mistake twice, eh?

  8. SidevieW says:

    welcome back to the land of the eating, drinking and being merry

    Brian and I used to go to la Rustica for long lunches, and the food was generally great, but I have to admit I never have tried the Sunday crush.

    1. theonlycin says:

      And lots and lots of small screaming children 😦

  9. leigh says:

    Avoid La Rustica on weekends 😦

    1. theonlycin says:

      I think I’ll just a void it. period.

  10. Yay for feeling better.
    I can imagine a day in your kitchen would be a wonderful adventure with stories to go with all your wonderful treasures.
    I won’t tell you what Pete would say to the R195 a head…
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. theonlycin says:

      And that was without the drinks … 🙂

  11. I also had an unexpected buffet lunch yesterday 😦

    (Glad you feel better!)

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sory Leon 😦 I am becoming more and more inclined to eat at home …

  12. Brenda says:

    Glad you are feeling better but sorry about the lunch disappointment. We also avoid buffets – even now with sprog son having a large appetite. The price just doesn’t justify the amount one is able to consume.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I wanted to leave when they told us, but am too worried about bad manners 😦

  13. MaanKind says:

    So glad you are better again. Have a great week.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Maankind, you too 🙂

  14. earlybird says:

    I’m glad to read you are feeling better. Grrr for the restaurant. There’s a place you won’t be going back to. Love the things from your kitchen. You were clearly a very discerning 14 year old!!

  15. MissChris says:

    Welcome back and happy you are better!!
    Hope the Bunn had a special birthday – even though she deserted you!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Never mind, I wasn’t very good company 😉

  16. Cindy, thanks for playing! I love the little chest of drawers too – how perfect for salts!

    I’m glad you’re on the mend, but annoyed that you’ve been ripped off on the buffet – made doubly worse by the fact that you were looking forward to it!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh well, no lesson learned is a wasted one, eh Celia?

  17. Sparky says:

    I say email them and see what happens. The lady at my work canteen is now not talking to me because I told her the pie I bought from her canteen was uncooked at the bottom, hehe! She obviously doesn’t know what feedback means. I would be happy to get any feedback if I was a service provider.
    Glad you are well and good, the cute drawers don’t they dry out the salt?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sparky, when I cater, I call the client the next morning and ask for feedback, specifically anything negative. I also WANT to know.
      No, salt doesn’t dry out, but the salt would get damp if I tried to store it like this at the coast.

  18. SuziCate says:

    Love the chest of drawers and so glad you’re better!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, SuziCate, it was a long haul.

  19. heidi says:

    Hi- I’m sorry you weren’t feeling well- I tend to hole up and not stick my head out until I feel human again. 🙂
    I, too, join the long list of your salt drawer admirers! I have about 10 different salts in my kitchen, stashed in all sorts of places- I should look for an organizing chest of some sort. Although yours looks quite original- so I might have to find something like containers inside a chest.
    Thanks for the comment on my blog- I do enjoy a peek into kitchens around the world!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Perhaps something from a hardware store would work, Heidi, like those compartmentalised containers for storing nails, nuts,bolts etc?

  20. johnlmalone says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, Cindy; we’re all going out tonight for my son’s birthday but it’s to a place he knows well so there should be no unpleasant surprises 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Happy birthday to your son, John, I hope your have a very festive time.

  21. slpmartin says:

    To my way of thinking “buffet dining” is an oxymoron. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      i’m with you 100%, Charlie!

  22. Glad to know your mending has come – far too long to feel crappy (and I don’t mean the fish. . .oh, wait – do you have the fish called “crappy” over there? It’s generally pronounced “croppy,” and is considered one of the best tasting fresh water fish in these here parts – better even than cat fish!)

    I love your salt chest. I have coveted for as long as I can remember either of two things that are now antiques: one is an apothecary’s chest (similar to yours, but up to three dozen drawers or more, each with a little label holder on the front. Perfect for all my spices and so decorative and interesting-looking as well!). The other is an old library card chest. It has legs and would stand on the floor, and lots of drawers (larger than the apothecary’s chest) that used to hold the location and info on all the books in the library.) I could use that for spices a well – the little jars and bottles would fit in those drawers, or perhaps lots of other little things that should be put away. Like my measuring spoons, which always seem to be lost at the bottom of my utensil drawer!

    The ones I have seen and were of the style I want would cost me in excess of $300.00. Any of your readers know where I can find one or both for under $100?

    XOXO – Glad you’re back! (Leave off the prunes-yuck – but the apricots! Yum!)

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ve no idea, I think mine comes from either Indonesia or Thailand, it is not an antique.

  23. nrhatch says:

    I find that I am often disappointed when I go out to eat . . . and rarely disappointed when I eat at home.
    Buffets are not a good value for us either.

    But . . . glad that you felt well enough to venture out.

    I LOVE your kitchen jars ~ what do you store in them? Tea? Sugar? Flour? Jam?

    1. theonlycin says:

      I store things I find that seem important enough to keep in case anyone asks for them: bits of wood, buttons, screws, bolts, nuts … and other things I can’t identify 😉

  24. Linda says:

    Welcome back. So glad to hear that you feel better.

  25. souldipper says:

    Bet your calf livers would be far superior, Cin! A woman coming out of a month of “druthers” needs to be waited on hand and foot!

    I’m not only impressed that you continued blogging – you also cooked. You cooked! Mon Dieu!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I can’t cook calf’s liver at home, nobody else eats it ;(

      1. You can make calf’s liver for me too – somebody else will eat it with you! (See my comment on Tuesday’s – today’s post). It must be served medium rare (at the most), with onions and a hint of bacon. It is a cholesterol lover’s dream, but it also offer some terrific vitamin supplement – esp. iron.

  26. Those collector’s items are so sweet! It is true: the things we own tells a little story of our life journey and the people that was part of it. Glad you’re feeling better, but sorry for your rip off dining experience. I would have been rather disappointed too! Only other thing I would do – in the name of second chances – would be to try it on a day when they served off the menu, then I would call it quits if it was another disappointment.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Maybe I’ll do that, Lee, how goes it Sate-side? Happy?

      1. So far, so good, Cin! Still sleeping off some jet lag, but unpacked, eating and sleeping good, catching up on some blogs and e-mails, went for a ride this morning and looking forward to writing my own blog again 🙂

      2. theonlycin says:

        You enjoy yourself, say hello to G 🙂

  27. I’m not much of a buffet person myself. I could see how disappointing it would be, especially after waiting so long!

    Your little chest of drawers is darling. Four kinds of salt. I have only two kinds of salt, and one of them I keep forgetting to use. And it’s delicious salt. I’m glad that you are feeling better. Blessings to you, Cindy…

    1. theonlycin says:

      I have many kinds of salt I also forget to use, Carol, because they’re stuck in the back of the pantry 🙂

  28. bluebee says:

    I love these kitchen details, Cin – great that you are back to normal (as it were 😉 )

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hehe … normal eh? 😉

  29. Kathy says:

    Hi Cindy, so glad to hear that you’re up and back to par. The little tidbits and pictures about you are charming — I love the little cabinet you keep for salt! I (sigh) just keep mine on the counter in the containers I buy them in. Will have to look for something lovely, now.
    I am with you on not being particularly fond of buffets — my husband likes them because he can go for secondsies and thirdsies (we’re re-watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy at the moment) but I’m just not that keen on the idea of selecting food that dozens of others have pawed through. And, God knows how long it’s sat there over steam trays or under heat lamps. Yuck!
    Stay well, Kathy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yuck indeed, Kathy 🙂

  30. lifeinarecipe says:

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. It took me two months to get over the bug I had…nasty thing! I loved seeing things in your kitchen. Now that my life is somewhat in order, I hope to take Celia up on her kitchen challenge too. I always love to read your posts!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh I do look forward to seeing your kitchen, Cindy 🙂

  31. Now that is what I call trivia.

    1. theonlycin says:

      And there’s so much more where that came from 😉

  32. Sally says:

    Sorry to hear you’ve been ill Cin – glad to hear you are up and about again. Amused to hear you were reading cookbooks in bed – it’s a habit of mine too! Thanks for the peep into your kitchen. I’m in someone else’s this month.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hi Sally, hope the someone else’s kitchen yields blog fodder 🙂

  33. Tokeloshe says:

    It’s good to hear that you are feeling better 😉

    Thank you for sharing more of your kitchen, I love the little chest of drawers.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I enjoyed peeping into your kitchen too, Tok 🙂

  34. libraryscene says:

    Glad you are better… seen the Wienermobile on the road, crazy funny to behold in traffic ~

    1. theonlycin says:

      I think it’s quite bizarre 😉

  35. I thought I’d repay the visit and come and see whats in your your kitchen ! So sweet that your two little jars have traveled with you around the world and are the first thing you unpack when you move into a new kitchen. An instant feeling of making you feel at home. Love it. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks so much for popping in 🙂

  36. So glad you’re fully restored, Cindy…that chest of drawers is DARLING!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m glad too, it was perfectly dreadful!

  37. Jamie Dedes says:

    I love the jars. Delightful! … as is the entire post.

    Wow! I hadn’t realized that once again I missed a lot of your posts. Having fun here though. The Only Cin and a good cuppa’ Joe. Nice!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Glad you’re enjoying it, this ‘post a day’ malarkey is hard work :O

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