Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Panarotti's, Cresta

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Service: * * 1/2
Food: * * 1/2
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * * 1/2

I've got no food in my house, and I'm in dire need of nutrition. I've just been to gym, where I had a wonderful session on the rowing machine. As a consequence, my t-shirt is clinging to my unbelievably sculpted chest. And it's been carefully pulled away from my somewhat unsculpted stomach. Which needs at least nine months of work to get it to acceptable levels of tautness.

This girl was wearing a cunning dress, which carelessly accentuated her curves. A most delightful model to study.I prefer not to shower at the Cresta gym, cos of some unwelcome attention I've had from one or two guys touching their hardons in the showers. I kinda prefer not being leered at when I'm showering. I'd prefer people to respect my sexuality. And heck, surely there are more polite ways for men to hit on other men? When I hit on women, I really hope I don't come on so strong. Sheesh.

So that's why I'm in Panarotti's unshowered, sweaty, gym-stricken. But it's okay. I'm not a stinky sweater. I seem to have inherited sweet perspiration glands from my dad. He could do a hundred pushups on command, even when he was 70 years old. Last time I could do one hundred pushups was when I vice-captained the St Martin's School 2nd rugby team to a 55-0 defeat against the St John's College 5th team.

I'm all nostalgic. I'm sitting on the cusp of new things and remembering old times. Antoinette and I used to order the Panarotti's Greek salad often. We'd get the big one and share it, and it was a wonderful meal, with the most impressive feta cheese available in restaurants.

So I've ordered the small size, and a foccacia with three cheeses on it. I've asked for a small foccacia, but they don't seem to understand such things, and it's the size of a normal pizza. And maybe it's the absence of Antoinette, or my frustration at not yet having met Heidi, but the salad just doesn't taste as good as it used to.

Hmm. On reflection, I think it's to do with the salad dressing. I think they've changed the recipe. Yup. That's it. The old dressing had that same feta in it, and it was rich and creamy and delicious. The dressing I've splashed over my salad tonight is just plain boring.

I wonder if there's a Panarotti's in Somerset West? I wonder how Heidi and I will deal with change if we decide that we're gunna be an item beyond cyberspace? I wonder what feta cheese will taste like with her?

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Cafe TriBeCa, Rosebank

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Service: * * * *
Food: *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

There are some occupational hazards involved with driving a convertible. On my way to the Rosebank Mall this evening, I arrive at a robot, looking left and right and back and front, being hyper vigilant about Johannesburg's finest -- the hijackers.

I'm listening to Pulp on the sound system, singing along. Suddenly this Bohemian white boy lurches across the road. He's running towards me, and one hand is in his belt. He could be about to pull a knife, or he's making sure his dagga stompie or his crack rocks won't fall out as he stumbles towards me.

I'm checking the robots, trying to gauge exactly when I can pull off safely without getting rammed. I'm in first gear, and I'm revving hard. I've unclipped my seatbelt, and I'm ready for violence. I will apply my tai chi training if the robot doesn't change.

"Hey!" says the dude, slurring, "Gimme a fuckin' lift you poes!" and he tries to hop into my passenger seat. The robot's changing, and I dance the car out from under him.

But I digress. I'm sitting here in TriBeCa with my famous Afrikaans actor buddy, Andre Stoltz. (I have to mention that he's famous, otherwise noone would know it.) Since my last bad experience at TriBeCa, I've decided never to waste my time attempting to eat anything here.

Andre is none the wiser. So he orders a toasted chicken mayo sandwich on brown. "Don't do it to yourself," I say. But he smiles charmingly at Zahra, our extremely gorgeous young waitress with alluring dimples, and orders it anyway.

"Do you have any Snapple?" I say, doing my charming bit.

Zahra says, "Uhm... We've got Smirnoff Ice."

"No! Not alcohol! Fruit juice. Snapple. Made from the best thing on earth!"

She blushes, and apologises. It's clear that in the world of TriBeCa, people who don't automatically order alcohol are a rarity. I'm not entirely sure, but I think this wins me a few brownie points with her. I order strawberry juice.

Andre says, "Roy, she wants you, my boy."

Which makes me think of Warren Zevon, the singer dying of lung cancer as I type. One of his lyrics goes, "I went home with a waitress... the way I always do... how was I to know... she was with the Russians too."

Which makes me think of me. I've never successfully gone home with a waitress. Once in Melville a waitress actually hit on me, but we didn't have sex. She didn't do sex on the first night. And another time in Parkhurst, a few months after I broke up with Antoinette, I took this babe waitress to Hartebeespoort Dam in my car, but we ended up not having sex either. So my batting average with waitresses is zero.

"Here's your strawberry juice," Zahra says.

"And you're ABSOLUTELY SURE there's no alcohol in this? You didn't maybe slip me that date rape drug, did you?"

She blushes, and her dimples get seriously pronounced, and for a moment I think it would be great if I could sit there till midnight and wait for her to get off work, and then be like Warren Zevon just once. But I'm saving myself for Heidi in Somerset West.

Andre's so-called food arrives. It's a limp, lightly toasted sandwich made from regulation government brown bread. There's MUCH too much mayonnaise. There are two small shreds of lettuce on the side, with an onion ring slapped on top. And there are FIVE rather over-sized potato chips. Five. I counted.

It's not Zahra's fault that the food's so cruddy here. So, despite the food, if things don't work out with Heidi in Somerset West, I'll have to come back to TriBeCa to order more Snapples. And maybe next time, if I have a waitress in my passenger seat, I won't have anyone attempting to jump in. Although, looking at Zahra's good looks, maybe there'll be MORE people trying to get in.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Mezza Luna, Melville

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Service: * * * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * *

I've just arrived in Melville from Parkmore, where I've been eating Alfred and Gowrie's chicken samoosas. In my boot is an amazing gift. Alfred has painted an exceptionally perceptive portrait of me. In return, I've given him the last remaining print in my first rubber stamp edition. I'm still going to give him his pick of a charcoal drawing.

Damon has SMSed me. "We're at Mezza Luna!" it says. I get there and sit down.

Karl Kikillus is sitting at the next table, flexing his gym-built shirt sleeves. "Classic biceptual," I say. The word rhymes with 'bisexual', and refers to a class of guy in love with his own upper-body strength. And yes. It's a word I coined. So please use it, and make it find a place in the Oxford Dictionary.

I'm with Damon Berry, filmmaker extraordinaire and puppeteer for Takalane Sesame Street, and his girlfriend, Wendy New, singer songwriter with New York edge.

Wendy and I start singing the happy birthday song to Damon.

He blushes, stands up, and does a big-voiced, "I love you both!" and we all hug. It's starting to feel like a threesome until my innate mischievousness kicks in.

"Hey," I say in a stage whisper, pretending not to look at Karl Kikillus, once a tv star, hero of Popshop, the music video program that ran on South African television in the eighties. "Isn't that Martin Locke???" Martin Locke was also once a tv star.

Damon and Wendy break down into giggles, and I'm saved.

Maria, our Bulgarian waitress who also happens to be a fully qualified dermatologist by day, brings a surprise -- an enormous chocolate brownie in melted chocolate sauce, with scoops of vanilla icecream. One lone candle sways in the breeze. "Wish!!!" says Wendy, and Damon blows. We all eat the cake. Me especially.

Now I have to break to explain something here... Heidi, the babe I'm falling for in Somerset West, has sent me an email telling me that I must focus more on the waitresses in my Coffee-Shop Schmuck columns. She fears that readers will be bored hearing exclusively about her. So...

Maria is short, has long, frizzy/wavy dark brown hair, and brown eyes. She's really very shapely, with a neat, protruding bum, and pert breasts. Her nose is slightly bulbous in a cute, eastern European way. "I came from Bulgaria when I was twenty-two," she says.

"So you became a dermatologist here then?" asks Wendy.

"No, there. I finish school when was sixteen. I study. My father not pay. He say I must pay. When I am fifteen, I come back from swimming trip with school, and I see bags packed in flat. I say, 'Are we going somewhere?' They say, 'No. We are leaving. You old enough now to make living.' They leave. I work. Now I am in South Africa. Work four nights here. And have practice in daytime."

Phshew. What a... uhm... uh... progressive family she came from.

When Maria flits back to the kitchen to bring me my roast vegetable pasta (which, by the way, turns out to be rich, nicely cooked, heavily loaded with olive oil, tasty, tangy, enjoyable), Damon says, "The Somerset West girl sounds like a better bet."