Obsessions

My regularly updated roster of favorites from Cape Town and beyond – from food to shopping to hidden gems and more.

Cape Town: Mariam’s Kitchen A local halal takeaway with irresistible Cape Malay fast food: try a steak salomie (beef curry wrapped in a flaky paratha) or a Gatsby (huge hoagie stuffed with meat and french fries — it feeds five).

South Africa: Simba chips I fancy myself a junk-food connoisseur, hygiene and I’m disappointed most people don’t seem to agree with me that Simba’s smoked-beef flavored chips are to die for. But maybe Simba’s chutney chips will be more to your liking?

Cape Town: Vineyard Hotel & Spa So winter is upon is in the nether-hemisphere, hospital but I spent what was perhaps one of Cape Town’s last glorious fall weekends having brunch on the patio of the Vineyard Hotel in the Newlands suburb. The food was good, otolaryngologist but the setting was sublime – sprawling impeccably manicured gardens edging a river, views of Table Mountain, and a few friendly tortoises ambling by to say hello — like this little guy.

Cape Town: Steak pies at Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill Flaky pastry, savory beef, need I say more? Oh wait, I did — here.

Dubai: At.Mosphere I’m usually of the school of thought that a restaurant that gains fame for its perch up in a tower is riding off its vistas, not its food. This is definitely not the case high up in the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, where the food at At.Mosphere (the steaks in particular) is perhaps even better than the view.

Dubai: Meena Bazaar While all the buzz in Dubai is at the dazzling supersized malls, I had more fun roaming around the Indian/Pakistani-centric Meena Bazaar area in old Dubai, haggling with shopkeepers for blinged-out abayas.

Malé, Maldives: The Friday Mosque This 17th-century mosque is made entirely from coral, and the unique Islamic calligraphy on the wooden-beamed ceiling is really worth a look, I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Boston: Flour A bakery by local cheff Joanne Chang (of Meyers + Chang) that’s become a local institution. The homemade oreos and the raspberry crumb cake are amazing. See what I mean here.

New York City: GreenAcre Park. My favorite little spot in the city; it seems like a nondescript office plaza if you’re strolling by, but closer inspection reveals a huge waterfall. Sitting there for an hour listening to the sound of the water rushing down, you’ll forget you’re in the heart of Midtown. See it to believe it.

Hyderabad: Paigah Tombs. Serene and hauntingly atmospheric. Historic tombs of the city’s Paigah nobility class, beautifully preserved. Get a glimpse here.