Lion stories

The meals in the hotels, lodges and camps of South Africa generally come as something of a revelation to our American visitors.  They are fresh, healthy, colorful and simply delicious.  What is more surprising to them, and many are world travelers, is that they are delightfully “normal” looking to their western eyes.  Of course this is not always the case and one should always be prepared to be more adventurous in culinary pursuits when visiting new cultures and lands.

Ngomo SL buffet stretchSuch was the case recently when I was leading  a Corporate Group in South Africa.  A carefully selected meal of hot and cold canapés of South African delicacies crafted to appeal to the North American palate had been prepared.  And this had been thoughtfully paired with the appropriate world-class South African wine.  It was a charming evening and perfect introduction to the delights that lay before them as they traveled exotic South Africa.

As hostess I did the rounds talking to the guests and enquired after their comfort and enjoyment.  I was greeted enthusiastically by several of the groups as they raved over their experiences thus far.  One group told me how delicious the food was, however “they didn’t care much for the lion!”  I laughed and replied that they must be mistaken as there was certainly no lion on the menu.  They assured me that was what they had eaten.  Thinking perhaps too much good SA wine had been enjoyed, I smiled and moved on, only to be told at the next table as they too raved about the delicious spread, that they had “loved the lion”!  More than puzzled, I decided I had better find this particular hors d’oeuvre and try it for myself in order to clear up this misunderstanding.  It was clearly small bites of something meaty.  As every delicacy was thoughtfully labeled, I leant over to peer at this label in the somewhat dim cocktail lighting, to see



The next day, I was at pains to point out that my guests were not to go back to America and tell wild stories about their gourmet African experience and eating lion all because of some dyslexic typist!  That Lion they thought they were eating was really Springbok Loin –  and yes, I had to agree it was truly delicious!

A ‘disgusted’ male lion strides into the sunset and away from any mention of Springbok and Lion in the same sentence!

St Martin in the Fields

I love classical music!  And whenever I hear a piece introduced which includes the words “St Martin in the Fields”, I am immediately transported to London, England.  St Martin in the Fields is a church and famous for its contribution to the world of classical music lovers.  This landmark church in London has been holding free concerts since the end of the Second World War.

St Martin in the Fields stands next to the English National Gallery and overlooks Trafalgar Square, with fountain and pond, huge lion statues and iconic Nelson’s Column.  It offers a wonderful spot to relax, sit a while, visit and, if you pick the time correctly, a musical treat.  The church is in fact, famous for its music.  The acoustics are special and to listen to a live performance or even a rehearsal during the noon time lunch hour, is definitely worth working into your London itinerary.  When the concert  is over, wander downstairs into the church crypt to the Café for a tasty sandwich or soup in the ancient underground of this London landmark.  It’s a good place to get warm and filled – physically and spiritually.  Both fascination and satisfaction together.  There are not many places you can get that at the same time!

I read somewhere that the reason that the famous façade of the St Martin in the Fields is so familiar to American visitors is that it is repeated hundreds of times over in churches this side of the Atlantic.  The huge portico held by Corinthian pillars, the wide flight of stairs leading up to it and the soaring white steeple piercing the sky above the church and figuratively pointing the way to God.  A comforting, beloved sight while at the same time awe inspiring and dominating.  A church has been on this site in London since the 13th Century and this particular building of such pleasing architectural proportions was designed by James Gibb and completed in 1726.  It predates the Square itself.  It remains a bustling, working church to this day.

A 10 minute walk from the Charing Cross tube station and standing quietly overlooking Trafalgar Square, St Martin in the Fields is the place to aim for at lunch time on your next London trip.  You don’t need to book, just turn up and enjoy.  You won’t regret it.

101 Painted Fall Way, Cary, NC 27513 | email: or | tel: (919) 463-8009
website design by LeGa Design Group