Finding a good eatery
BUT it's really hard to eat good when you're travelling because you see fast food and you want to go to this restaurant and that restaurant - American celebrity Nicole Polizzi was once quoted as saying.
The underlying sentiment in that quotation highlights a travelling diner's happy predicament.
But then this problem is not solely confined to travellers. It is as universal as the art of cooking. When in familiar terrain, we tend to repeatedly go to the same restaurants because they consistently offer sublime service, cuisine, wine or ambience.
Talking about ambience, American stand-up comedian George Carlin illustrated the issue of personal - sometimes quirky - choice when liking or disliking a particular eatery.
"The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going," he quipped.
For others, factors such as food, service and the quality of the wine list is singularly more important than the ambience.
In unfamiliar territory, making a choice as to which restaurant to visit may be a daunting task.
But the idea of choosing a restaurant on blind faith can have its own hazards, such as being disappointed by one thing or other right in the middle of one's dining experience.
Fortunately, restaurant guides - just like their wine counterparts - can come in handy when it comes to selecting an eating place. Through reconnaissance, they are a useful tool to guide us through the maze without being subjected to the hazards of being guinea pigs.
Locally, Rossouw's Restaurants guide has established itself as a credible source over the past decade.
In his editor's note, publisher Jean-Pierre Roussow vouches for his guide's independence by adding that "the reviews (in the guide) are conducted by an anonymous team of reviewers who always pay their bills."
Restaurants are graded by stars (out of three) while categorised as casual, smart casual or sophisticated. Only those that have achieved at least one star are published in the print guide with an additional 4000 restaurants listed on Rossouw's website. The print guide focuses on eateries in the Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
"One star indicates that the menu is above average for its type; two stars indicate the food is very good and that the restaurant excels in a number of other aspects, like service and perhaps the wine list," Rossouw says.
"Three stars are reserved for restaurants where you can expect an exceptional experience ... usually also these establishments have a track record of consistent excellence."
The annual Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank wine festival takes place at the luxurious Summer Place, Sandhurst on Monday and Tuesday.
Among cellars to be featured on the show are Asara, Avondale, Beau Joubert, Bellingham - The Bernard Series, Bosman Family Vineyards, Bouchard Finlayson, Creation Wines and Darling Cellars.
International wines will also be tasted from the Great Domaines, Concha Y Torro, Domaine Grier and Wines of the World. Visitors will also sample delicacies to pair with the wines.
Tickets cost R130 per person if booked online, and R150 at the door. The show starts at 5.30pm.