Monday, January 26, 2009

Lunch at The Cradle (of Humankind)

I went to lunch on Sunday with some friends from work to a place called The Cradle, which is on a terrace overlooking a valley in the Cradle of Humankind. It's a 500 sq km area about 45 minutes from Jo'burg where they've found tons of fossils of humans and human ancestors and is regularly crawling with paleontologists. Not the cool kind though.

The restaurant was great - we took 3 hours to eat lunch, overlooking the valleys on a rather pleasant summer day. Johannesburg is on a plateau and is at a decent elevation, so it's not the sweltering 90+ degrees you would associate with an African summer. It's normally around 75-80 during the day - basically LA weather. There is the occasional torrential thunderstorm, but they don't last very long.

The Cradle of Humankind is also a nature preserve, so we were hopeful of seeing some kind of animals, but the only ones we saw were on our plates. I had a venison carpaccio to start, which was probably not from the standard Bambi-style deer. For an entree I had a kudu loin, adventurously cooked medium rare, which was great.

Also, it stands to mention that we really tried hard to spend a lot of money here. We all had appetizers, entrees, dessert, coffee, water / soda, and wine, and took 3 hours to do it all - and the bill came to... $30 / person. For all the financial pains I had as an American in the UK and Europe over the past few years, I'm a big fan of exchange rates right now.

The view to the right of where I sat

The restaurant

Our table

Flowery bush thing next to our table

View from the parking lot

More of the view from the parking lot

Yet more of the view from the parking lot

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