Tag Archives: Cape Cod

South African Cuisine at Karoo Restaurant on Cape Cod

29 Nov

I love visiting Cape Cod in the fall and winter – it’s a family tradition that has taught me how to enjoy travel during all seasons. As nice as it is to wander through the Provincetown crowds and lay on the beach in the summer, the colder months represent a slower and more subdued side of the Cape that I appreciate just as much.

Interior of Karoo Restaurant in Eastham Massachusetts

My parents had been to Karoo once before and had a great experience, so I was excited to try South African food for the first time. There are two Karoo locations on the Cape: the seasonal Karoo Kafe in Provincetown (opened in 2002) and the year-round Karoo Restaurant in Eastham (opened this year). In both locations, Chef Sanette Groenewald brings flavors from the Western Cape in South Africa where she grew up,  while incorporating extensive vegan and gluten-free options.

South African cuisine is very multicultural as a result of colonization and immigration. As in all areas where people have experienced racial injustice, it is difficult to celebrate unique combinations of food that result without recognizing that people have been discriminated against or worse for decades. However, I always feel that people can appreciate and respect fusion cuisines if they understand the history that contributed to those flavors. Enjoying South African food at Karoo inspires me to better understand the history of the region.

Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer Stout

Karoo in Eastham has a great beer selection, including many local breweries on tap and imported bottles. One of their weekly draft specials was Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer Smoked Imperial Stout from Ipswich. I enjoyed the strong coffee and molasses tastes that are smoothed by a hint of sweet brown sugar  – all of these deep flavors were a nice complement to the light curry of my meal. I liked the glass that it was served in as well – a mini goblet of sorts.

Peanut Soup

The West African Peanut Soup has a pumpkin-carrot base with hints of peanut. The clean peanut taste reminds me of fresh peanuts, which I really enjoyed. This was a great appetizer, particularly for the rainy and blustery day that we visited.

Snail Rangoon

Inside the snail rangoon at Karoo

I love trying new-to-me food and I am slowly adding to my list of ingredients and dishes that I’ve tried and cooked with. One food that I had never tried until Karoo was snails! I know, I can’t believe it either. The Fried Snail Rangoons served with a soy, ginger and honey sauce are not your typical escargot. Each of the five pieces that come in the appetizer are unfortunately mostly wanton wrapper, but the creamy snail inside the middle is very pleasant. I look forward to trying more snail dishes in the future, although I probably wouldn’t order this dish again.

Peri Peri Wings

These Peri-Peri Wings, however, I will absolutely order again. The Karoo website describes Peri-Peri sauce as an “African Portuguese sauce is made from tomato, chilies, onions, ginger, and a variety of different herbs and spices. Spicy, not hot.” It is SO good and my perfect kind of heat for wings. The grilled chicken wing meat is extremely tender and it is served with the perfect amount of sauce. There are a must-try and I can’t wait to make my own.

For my meal I ordered Bobotie, the national dish of South Africa, which is a beef meatloaf (my second meatloaf after the Painted Burro Yucatan Meatloaf!). This bobotie is a very soft texture, gently flavored with curry, and completely melts in your mouth. It is topped with a thin layer of egg, baked, and served with rice, chutney, and a few banana slices. The picture I have from the meal does not do the dish justice  (it’s really not that pretty of a dish in general), so just trust me that you need to try bobotie.

The atmosphere was very easy-going and welcoming. Our server was fantastic – he seemed to really enjoyed working there and was happy to answer all of our questions. The bartender was also very friendly and knowledgeable – Karoo would be a great place for drinks (their cocktail list has some fun local flavors)  and appetizers at the bar if you are looking for something lighter.

I’m so glad Karoo was my first experience with South African cuisine and I hope to return soon.

Karoo Restaurant, 3 Main Street, Unit 32B, Eastham, MA


The Month on Instagram

29 Nov

If you follow my personal Twitter account @lizlooker, you’ve probably seen a few Instagram photos. I’m careful about cross-posting social media, because I get annoyed as a consumer when I see the same content five times, so many images are exclusively for the Instagram community. By the way, if we’re not already connected, feel free to leave me your account name in the comments – I’d love to connect.

My account has its fair share of food images (obviously), but very few of them ever make it over to EatingPlaces. So here’s a round-up of Instagram highlights from the last few weeks:

Homemade Cranberry Chutney on a cracker
Cranberry chutney on a cracker (but shortly after this photo I just skipped the cracker and used a spoon)

Raw Oysters from Napi's in Provincetown, Cape Cod

I spent a weekend in Provincetown and enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Napi’s (more on that coming soon), which started with these oysters

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Salad

Pan-roasted brussels sprouts; huge Liz-style salad (lettuce, cucumber, carrots, avocado, daikon, onion, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, black sesame seeds…)

Homemade Steamed Veggie Dumplings

Vegetable dumplings (filling: carrots, daikon, kale, onion, garlic, black sesame seeds)

Hand Rolled Sushi - nori, carrots, and rice

Make-it-as-you-go sushi for lunch

Phish Food ice cream from Ben & Jerry's

Phish Food ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s

Chai Tea with vanilla coconut milk in my Equal Exchange mug

Chai tea with vanilla coconut milk in my Equal Exchange mug

Latte and grilled cheese from Cafenation in Brighton

Latte & grilled cheese at Cafenation in Brighton

Staying passionate as a working professional

25 Jul

As I write this I’m overlooking the ocean at Nauset Light Beach on Cape Cod. There was a storm last night so the waves are fiercely crashing against the sand and the wind is relentlessly steady. Surfers have already come and gone to avoid the crowds and tourists are slowly cycling in and out.

I recently finished Ian Sanders’ Juggle!: Rethink work, reclaim your life. The book provides an adaptable guideline for people who love working on multiple projects simultaneously (not necessarily jobs in the traditional sense, but passions). Sanders calls these people Jugglers and gives examples including Kevin Roberts (CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi) and Roxanne Darling (speaker, video blogger, new media advisor).

I’ve been out of college for fourteen months, which is enough time to recognize the routines I’ve developed post-school. The thought of being as flexible and varied in my interests as I was while in school is difficult to comprehend (and remember that I’ve only been out of school for a year). Even as workforce trends shift to more short-term or contract-based positions, it’s still easy to develop tunnel-vision.

In the time I spent serving in AmeriCorps (12 months), I would have done the following at school:

  • participated in ten classes ranging from dance history to psychoanalysis for children
  • had three days each week (Friday-Sunday) to pursue independent projects
  • tapped into a huge network of enthusiastically passionate students, professors, and staff

For me, pursuing challenging and collaborative projects outside of academia needed to be more intentional once I left school.

Writing by the ocean. A weekly yoga class. Whatever your inspiration, pursuing projects outside of a 40-hour workweek job description can keep you grounded. What Juggle made me realize is that there are ways to cross between interests and develop your skills, even if they seem to be unrelated. For example, I love research, writing, and food, so blogging is a great way to connect these interests and connect with others. From this blog, which led to other marketing roles: now I could be a Social Media Manager.

What are your passions and how are you following them? How would you like to follow them?

Chatham Pier Fish Market

29 Jul

Many spots on Cape Cod have mediocre fresh and fried seafood: the Chatham Pier Fish Market is, by far, the best for both quality and proximity to the ocean (so good, in fact, that in my four days on the Cape, we visited twice).

In the case are fish and shellfish by the pound. There is also a small menu of fried food that includes whole and strip clams, sea and bay scallops, shrimp,and fish, and all are served with the most delicious french fries (crispy outside, soft inside, seasoned perfectly). Fresh, local oysters are $0.95 each, will be prepared for you over ice with lemon and cocktail sauce (I’m a purist, they’re best with just a squeeze of lemon), and are delicious.

Picnic tables are across the small parking lot for eating, but when you’re finished, be sure not to miss the deck where you can watch fishermen bring in their daily catch. We must have seen a ton of flounder coming off the boat.

The staff of the fish market (mostly teens) is upbeat, friendly, and still learning, but the owner is extremely knowledgeable. During one of our visits, a guy who opened my oysters cut himself and then let the iced oysters sit on the counter while the rest of our food was being prepared, but don’t let that change your mind (I would imagine this was a very rare occurence)! $1 very fresh oysters right on the ocean is a great find and everyone is very friendly/helpful.

Parking is limited – there are a few places to the left of the market for pick-up, but if you plan to stay at the pier, park in the lot above next to the road.

Keep in mind that this is a seasonal business! In 2011, they open the first week in May.

Chatham Pier Fish Market, 45 Barcliff Ave, Chatham, MA

Chatham Pier Fish Market on Urbanspoon

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