Under a Tree

 

Since a week ago, I swapped my healthy eating habits for just eating. Why? Because the equation traveling with Paul and Andy equals eating non-stop is becoming sort of a pattern. In the end, Paul always complains: “We eat too much… We spend too much in food…” Needless to say he is the first to say “let’s” when the opportunity comes.

 

The owner of the place where we stayed suggested the first restaurant. We had stopped on the road for lunch and, as the meat portions in South Africa are gigantic, we weren’t really hungry. We craved fish to level the appetite.

 

The restaurant was a small, unpretentious place, yet the chef keeps the tables busy. We all ordered fish. I found the grilled sole I picked very okay, yet far from extraordinaire.

 

The next day we had beef fillet with spinach mash (Andy actual favorite food) and fries. We usually select the same mid-shopping place: nice, busy, but not extraordinaire.

 

Thursday night we went to an emblematic seafront restaurant where we regularly eat when in Duban. Finally, we had an almost extraordinaire moment. Extraordinaire was discovering that the main chef and manager is, in reality, a Mozambican character named Luís (Louis, as he is called). He cooks and performs. To be precise, he performs while cooking Japanese. Between other things, he can joggle pepper and salt mills, he can build an egg tower or make hearts out of fried rice.

 

The next day we had just a light meal before heading back to Maputo, a 560km ride. Saturday we returned to Tieta’s diet, whose highlight was a peanut curry.

 

Sunday I backed a honey cake, a recipe I really wanted to try and couldn’t just because there’s no honey available here. I brought it from South Africa, evidently. The cake is good, but not extraordinaire. Cakes involving liquid ingredients are a bit tricky to bake. I suppose it’s due to the existing high level of humidity.

 

We have an agreement in terms of Sunday lunch. The weeks we manage to visit a beach, we stay home. The remaining weeks we lunch out. No beach this week, so we went out for lunch.

 

The hotel where Jo once worked as a chef has occupied one of the too many beautiful and neglected areas of this town. It’s now a café, a small garden, an event space and a very small open theater. The food is simple, nothing extraordinaire about it, but the weather has been fantastic and we had lunch under a very old acacia tree. And that is, admittedly, extraordinaire.

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