My Big Break

Humans,

I hope your summer is off to a fantastic start! It's been such a pleasure seeing your friendly faces at our Food by Bear: France dinners. France is very special to me. It's not just where I had my awakening but also where I got my first big break. I've shared before of taking over cooking duties for 'Po Bear at a popular Parisian restaurant after his scooter injury. What I haven't shared are the fateful circumstances of the event. Truth is, the timing couldn't have been worse. France's most famous food critic, Anton Ego, was attending dinner that evening. We'd been anticipating his visit for weeks and now lil' ol' hilariously under-qualified me was running the show. I was terrified. I'll never forget 'Po Bear looking me square in the eyes and firmly declaring, "Next. Bear. Up. You're ready." It was exactly what I needed to hear, and I jumped in with all four paws. Below is how the scene played out.

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INT. – KITCHEN – EVENING

Bear flips through ‘Po’s recipe box, finds a certain card and pulls it, showing it to ‘Po.

‘PO BEAR
Ratatouille? It’s a peasant dish.
Are you sure you want to serve this
to Ego?

Bear NODS. INTERCUT: (1) Bear REIMAGINING the ratatouille; re-inventing it step by step -- WITH (2) 'PO BEAR, wheeling around the dining room in a custom wheelchair, a ONE-BEAR WAIT STAFF. MUSIC CRESCENDOS as 'PO BEAR delivers the meal to EGO’S TABLE.

Ego pokes a fork into the vegetables, examines them for a moment, then brings the food to his lips. As Ego’s lips close around the ratatouille, the sound, the restaurant around him is WHISKED AWAY—

FLASHBACK: FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE - A LIFETIME AGO

We are inside a cozy cottage on a golden summer day. The front door is open, a newly crashed BICYCLE lays on the ground outside. Next to it stands a five year old ANTON EGO with a skinned knee, valiantly holding back tears. His young mother turns from her cooking, and gives him a sympathetic smile. Like all mothers, she knows what to do.

MOMENTS LATER
Young EGO, already feeling better, is at a table. His mother touches his cheek and sets a freshly made bowl of ratatouille before him, warm and inviting. The boy takes a spoonful into his mouth---

AND THE PRESENT RUSHES BACK—
Ego is frozen. Astounded. His PEN slips from his hand. It CLATTERS to the floor, breaking the spell. Ego blinks. His eyes fall to his empty fork, which he holds suspended near his mouth. Slowly a long-lost feeling blooms inside him. He smiles. And has another forkful.


Ego's review that followed thrust me into the culinary spotlight and my life has never been the same. For that reason - and a secret bear reason I can't divulge quite yet - I'm extending the Food by Bear: France series for a couple weeks through the end of August. Tickets are available now. We'll then be flipping over to the next chapter starting in September, so please keep your eyes peeled for that announcement in the coming weeks.

NEXT. BEAR. UP. RATATOUILLE

2 japanese eggplants
2 yellow squashes
2 zucchinis
6 roma tomatoes

for the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

for the seasoning:
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp garlic, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Slice the eggplant, squash, zucchini and tomatoes into 1/8 rounds with a mandoline. (Be sure to pick out veggies of approximately the same size). Set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch, oven safe pan (or dutch oven) over medium high fire. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until tender, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add crushed tomatoes and 2 tablespoons basil. Stir until incorporated, then smooth the surface of the sauce with a spatula.

3. Arrange the vegetables in a pattern (tomato, eggplant, squash, zucchini, etc) on top of the sauce. Start from the outer edge of the pan and work in. Season dish with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

4. Mix herb seasoning and spread over the cooked ratatouille.

* For some extra goodness you can add Italian sausage to the sauce, and try topping with Gruyere cheese.

SUZE SPRITZ

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3/4 oz suze
1/4 oz peach syrup
3 oz sparkling wine
lemon peel
floral ice cube

Combine Suze and peach syrup in a champagne flute and stir. Add ice and stir again. Pour sparkling wine on top, then express rim with lemon peel (discard peel). Finish with a floral ice cube.

Années Folles: The Crazy Years

Since returning home last month I've had many humans running up to me on the streets of San Diego. "Bear! Bear!" they say, "What's up with Food by Bear: France? Tell me all about it."

Pretend you could climb into a time machine and be whisked off to Paris for a few hours in the 1920s, I respond. It's evening, and you've landed in a discreet corner of the Montparnasse neighborhood on the left bank. Your clothing has magically altered during this short journey to a century ago, so if you're a woman you're in a straight dress with a dropped waist, a long rope of pearls knotted below the neck and t-strap shoes with small heels. If you're a man you're clad in corduroy pants, dirty white sneakers and a casual and somewhat sloppy jacket. But how shall you spend your time?

You start by making your way to the Select and start with a Pernod or two, catching a glimpse of my old pals Hemingway and Djuna Barnes yucking it up. Then you're off to Le Jockey to see Jimmie the Barman and suck down one of his famous Jimmie Specials. And later you'll certainly want to drop into my old haunt, the Rendezvous-des-Mariniers. I'll fix you up a memorable meal while you eye the young French avant-garde cavort about the dance floor as Cole Porter tickles the ivories.

But certainly you must have the quintessential 1920s Paris experience: onion soup at dawn in Les Halles, the gigantic wholesale produce, seafood and meat market in the center of Paris. It sadly no longer exists, but looms large in the memoirs of the time. Here at dawn came the owners of small food shops, the chefs de cuisine of fine hotels, and the thrifty ménageres. The markets were surrounded by inexpensive restaurants frequented by gangsters, prostitutes and pimps, slumming socialites, and oh so many American expatriates. Les Halles symbolized what it meant to be in Paris in the 1920s: dance ‘til dawn, devour a thick, savory mess of onion soup, then home at last to start the same thing all over again the next evening. It's that magic, I say to my human friends, I hope to capture with Food by Bear: France.

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Father's Day Special

Osa and Osito have a surprise in store for me this weekend for Father's Day and I can hardly wait to know what they have planned. The excitement and anticipation has me wanting to do something for y'all as well so I'm offering 10% off of the remaining Food by Bear: France tickets. There aren't many left, so get 'em while they last. Now through Saturday with the code: GREATOSO at checkout. These will be some of the most fun dinners we've had yet. I hope to see you there! 


Scents of Les Halles

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feeds 4

4 sweet onions, julienned
28 oz beef stock
1/2 cup sherry wine
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
olive oil
salt & pepper
4 slices baguette, buttered and toasted
4 slices gruyere
1 oz shredded parmigiano-reggiano

1. In a heavy bottom sauce pot, pre heat pot for two minutes on high heat. Add a few tablespoons of the best olive oil you have to the hot pan. Then add onions. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are reduced to a dark, caramel color with soft texture. Slow and steady wins the race here. If you ride it out for an hour and half or even two hours you'll be left with the most flavorful soup. Be sure to redistribute throughout so not to burn.

2. Once onions are fully caramelized, deglaze pan with the sherry wine then add beef stock, bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt & pepper. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.

3. Cut baguette into one inch pieces and butter each. Toast baguette pieces on a sheet tray for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

4. Remove herbs. Add soup to just below brim of a crock bowl. Place one or two toasted baguette pieces in the center of the soup, then a slice of gruyere. Add a liberal amount of shredded parmigiano-reggiano on top of all.

5. In a pre-heated broiler, place prepared soup bowls on a sheet tray to melt cheese. Allow parmesan to caramelize slightly.

The Jimmie Special

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Jimmie the Barman was the most legendary bartender in 1920s Paris, hopping around from one new hot spot to the next. His original Jimmie Special can be difficult to replicate today; one of the ingredients can't be found in the states and others are difficult to procure. Below is my take on it. If all else fails and you're unable to locate all the fixings, just grab a bottle of Pernod and sip it straight or with a splash of water. Either way you won't be disappointed.

1 oz. cognac
1/2 oz. pernod
1/2 oz. dry curaçao
1/2 oz. solerno blood orange liqueur
1/2 oz. kirschwasser
soda (to taste)

Combine the cognac, pernod, dry curaçao, blood orange liqueur and kirschwasser in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly. Drink straight, with ice, or top with soda to taste.

I'm Coming Home

Humans,

After an incredibly memorable two year residency in lovely Seattle, I'm tickled to say I'll be returning to San Diego next week to rejoin forces with my dear Osa and Osito. And we have some exciting things in store!

When we announced last year that Cow by Bear would be shutting down to explore new opportunities, it felt like the right decision. So much had changed in the seven years since the experience first started and we were jonesing to try something new. We explored many different options while keeping a small handful of our (un)traditional dinners on the schedule to stay sharp.

Spending the evening with you fine humans is always so inspiring, and these dinners were some of the most fun we've ever had. At the same time, I've been writing the cookbook. It's been an energizing process; pouring through recipes from the past to rewrite them for the book, remembering old characters I'd long forgot...just a joy. The cookbook was intended to be the Cow by Bear experience, in book format. But it began to metamorphosis itself back the other way. I couldn't help but want for guests to experience these recipes and these stories sitting around our dinner table, together.

It all got us thinking more about why we felt  moving on was really the right choice. We took a deep dive into every single aspect of the Cow by Bear dinner experience. We asked ourselves what it would look like in an absolutely perfect world if we were to totally redesign the experience. And that's what we did.

We've come up with something that feels totally authentic to us and addresses some of the things we either knew we could do better or were inspired to do differently. It's an experience that will make us the happiest bears we can be, which ensures we will provide the best experience possible for all of you.

We are so proud and excited to introduce our newest dinner series, Food by Bear!

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Announcing 'Food by Bear: France'

Food by Bear will be a one-year dinner series highlighting chapters from our upcoming cookbook. Each chapter's dinner experience will run for just two months before rotating to an entirely new theme - never to be repeated again. Dinners will be in San Diego on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm and follow our regular format of 1 table, 14 guests, 5 courses and pairings. 

The series begins where it all started for me: France. This is where I had my awakening and learned to walk, talk and cook. Please join us as we go back in time and enjoy some of my favorite French cuisine, wines, stories, music and more! Tickets for the France experience are $195 per person.

Food by Bear: France will run in June and July before changing over to a new region in August. We'll announce each new theme two weeks in advance.

We look forward to spending an evening with you!

Tickets


You’re my Boy, Blue!

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Osa's blue cheese panna cotta is a real showstopper currently on the menu in San Diego. There's a lot going on, so do yourself a favor and prep it in parts rather than all at once. The panna cotta component needs to chill overnight so prep that first along with the bacon fat shortbread, which will stay for two days.

feeds 6

3 ripe heirloom tomatoes
3-4 c frisee, washed & rough chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb bacon, cooked crisp, fat reserved/chilled
*bacon fat rosemary shortbread
*blue cheese panna cotta
*onion marmalade

*for the bacon fat shortbread
3.5 oz rendered bacon fat, room temp
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper

*for the onion marmalade
3 yellow onions, julienned
1/2 c champagne vinegar
1 c sugar
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper (to taste)

*for the panna cotta
1.5 c buttermilk
4 oz blue cheese
1 c cream
2-3/4 tsp gelatin
1 clove roasted garlic
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 sprig rosemary
pinch of celery seed

For the Blue Cheese Panna Cotta: 

  1. Heat cream, blue cheese, herbs and garlic in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Let cheese melt, then steep.

  2. Bloom the gelatin in 1 tbsp cold water.Remove herbs, add gelatin and stir to melt gelatin completely.

  3. Add cold buttermilk and mix well. Pour in container suitable for panna cotta and chill overnight. 

For the Bacon Fat Shortbread: 

  1. Mix bacon fat, sugar, pepper and rosemary with a paddle in a stand mixer on high for approximately two minutes.

  2. Switch speed to low and slowly add flour just until incorporated. Remove dough, wrap in plastic and allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes (can be made up to two days ahead of time if needed).

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into similar shaped pieces to ensure even baking. Note: shortbreads will be crumbled to serve.Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies start to show a bit of browning. Shortbread will continue to cook on the hot pan once removed from the oven.

For the Onion Marmalade:

  1. Put all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot. Cook on medium/high for a few minutes to bring to a simmer, then reduce to low for approximately one hour until liquid has reduced to nearly dry and sugar has caramelized the onions. Chill before serving.

To Plate:

  1. Slice tomatoes into wedges and arrange 1/2 tomato into a circle on the plate. Be sure to season tomatoes

  2. Toss frisee with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and arrange in the center of tomatoes on the plate.

  3. Slice panna cotta into six pieces and place between tomatoes and frisee.

  4. Place onion marmalade on the slice of panna cotta.Sprinkle bacon bits and shortbread over everything, and enjoy!


Peter Panda’s Slow Negroni

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My dear friend Peter Panda Bear has been visiting and we've had a jolly ol' time whipping up some cocktails together. He's one of the best darned bartenders I've ever known and I hope you all have a chance to meet him. We've been serving a white negroni at dinners in San Diego, but the Suze component is really tough to find these days so we wanted to offer up something that is a little easier to obtain all the ingredients. So here is our take on the negroni, using a sloe gin in combination with regular gin for this classic cocktail. It's a sipper, but nothing tastes better on a sunny evening.

1 oz. sloe gin
1 oz. gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. campari
grapefruit twist

  1. Combine the gin, sloe gin, vermouth and campari in a rocks glass. Stir 10 times.

  2. Add ice, preferable one large piece, and stir 10 more times.

A Spring In My Step

Humans,

Happy Spring! I have an extra spring in my step because everywhere I turn it's pure beauty. The sun's out, cherry blossoms are in full force, birds are singing my favorite tunes and we have so much delicious, fresh produce to look forward to. It's also the time of year many of my bear friends come out of hibernation. I've been hearing lots of chatter about bear safety, and while it's true most bears aren't as acclimated to the human world as I am, we're friendly folk at heart. Pro tip: just carry some bear spray. You don't even have to spray it, just give the bear a quick flash and be on your way. If all else fails, tell it you're friends with Chef Bear.

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Food by Bear: Only 1 Week to Go!

Another beautiful thing is the support we've received for the Food by Bear cookbook. Only 1 week remains in our Kickstarter campaign to help bring the book into the world. We've had pledges from not only San Diego, Seattle and Savannah, but also from far away places as Germany, Australia and Nova Scotia. Many of you have already graciously made a pledge, but we still have a good ways to go to reach our goal. With fine humans in the Bear family like you I know we can do this together!

I am humbly asking for your help. This book means so much to me. I'm putting absolutely all of my fuzzy self into it. It's an exciting culmination of my entire journey, and I'm sharing everything I've learned along the way. I can promise it will be special and unlike any other cookbook on your shelf.

I hope you'll take a look at our campaign and consider making a pledge (anything helps!) or sharing the project. It would truly mean the world to me. Thank you from the bottom of my big bear heart!

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Limited Ticket Availability

We have released a small handful of tickets for May in both San Diego and Seattle, as we've continued to hear from gift certificate holders and other special requests that are important for us to accommodate. Click the button for your city below to check availability. We hope to see you!


(No) Spring Chicken

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This is a simple dish to make, but it can take upwards of five hours and you'll want to stick around to keep an eye on the ice melt. You can increase the heat a bit if you're short on time, but the slower you cook the more flavorful it will be. I picked up this ice braising technique during my time in Thailand, and in all my travels I've found no better way to pull out these deep flavors I'm always seeking. You're gonna love it!

feeds 4+
special equipment: 

2 large pots, one of which sits snugly on top of the other


4 chicken quarters (preferably all leg/thigh)
2 inches ginger (sliced)
1 inch galangal (sliced)
1 stalk lemongrass (smashed & rough chopped)
5 kaffir lime leaves
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 shallot (halved)
4 birds eye chilis (chopped)
3 tbsp lime juice
1 red onion (julienned) 
2 c coconut cream
~9 quarts ice cubes
~1 tbsp oil
cilantro (garnish)
fish sauce (to taste)

  1. Toss the chicken, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, lime leaf, garlic, shallot, two of the birds eye chili, fish sauce and oil together, and arrange on the bottom of a large pot. Place the pot over low heat. Take the second (just slightly smaller) pot, add 1/3rd of the ice to it and place directly on top of the other pot.
     

  2. Let the pot cook until the ice is melted and water is no longer cold. Empty the water from the top pot and repeat this step two more times.
     

  3. Once all the ice is gone, discard the top pot. In the chicken pot, add the coconut cream until it comes up to just the side of the chicken. Stir in the lime juice, the rest of the chilis and more fish sauce of desired.
     

  4. To serve, spoon the chicken and sauce into a bowl and top with cilantro and red onion. Other optional but tasty garnishes are: egg noodles or fried egg noodles, pickled cabbage, or chili oil. 

My Friends, The Berenstains

Humans,

I'm ecstatic to have my dear friends, the Berenstain Bears, with us for a guest post. We first met while I was cooking for a short stint at the Bear Country Grill (which remains a fine establishment today). We've remained close friends since then, so I asked them to spill some ink about our first experience together. Take it away Berenstains!

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It was a fine spring day in Bear Country. The bluebirds were singing. The trout were leaping. The air was sparkling clean. Inside our treehouse, however, a storm was brewing. You see, Sister and Brother were acting an ill-mannered mess. "Sillyhead!" called Brother. "Fuzzybrain!" retaliated Sister. "Noodlepuss!" they shouted simultaneously. Mama could hardly believe her ears. She hoped their behavior would be better by that evening. We had reservations at our favorite restaurant, the Bear Country Grill.

"Get it out of your system," said Mama. "I don't want any shenanigans at dinner tonight. There is a new chef and the meal is supposed to be very good." "Dinner tonight?!" cried Brother. "But 'Nutty Bear' is on TV tonight and we'll miss it." "And the 'Bear Stooges' too!" added Sister. "Well, you'll just have to miss them!" said Mama firmly. "What has happened to you kids," she wondered to herself.

We were welcomed at the restaurant door by Chef Bear. He gave us each one of those famous bear hugs he's become known for. At the table, Brother and Sister were a grabbing, food-fighting, kicking-under-the-table super mess. What a commotion! I wouldn't have been surprised had Bear thrown us out.

Everything changed when the first course arrived. As we devoured each dish placed in front of us, the cubs behavior turned from ill-mannered to mannered. We began talking about the food. Then we talked about school. We talked about fun projects for the treehouse. We talked of our summer plans of swimming and boating at the lake. It seemed Chef Bear's dinner experience was bringing us closer together. By the time the main course was served, the Berenstain Bears were having one of the best family meals we'd ever had. And then Bear one-upped himself with Smoke on the Water (recipe below). Simply delicious.

Bear gave us a tour of the kitchen after dinner and we said our goodbyes. We were surprised to hear that he moved out of Bear Country just weeks later, but Bear doesn't stay in the same place long. He was on to his next adventure. And we were on to ours.

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Food by Bear: The Cookbook

Our new cookbook, Food by Bear, is currently live on Kickstarter! This is a book I've wanted to write forever. It's a memoir of sorts, containing everything I've learned during my fabled journey. It will contain around 200 original recipes, food photography and illustrations. I'm truly aiming to make this cookbook like no other on your shelf. Please check out our Kickstarter page to learn more and make a pledge for one of the many rewards we're offering!

Much like Cow by Bear was created outside any restaurant or food experience norm, I decided to create this book outside the traditional publishing world. That's why I turned to Kickstarter as a grass roots approach to the process. For those unfamiliar, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that helps creators "find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality." It's an all or nothing platform, which means you will not be charged unless the funding goal is met. If our goal is met, your card will be charged at the end of the campaign. You'll receive the reward you pledged for as soon as it's ready, and I'll be able to make this book a reality!

I hope you'll be a part of Food by Bear and consider making a pledge if you have the means, and/or sharing the campaign with someone you think will love it. It's your support that will help get this book made, and I appreciate you so much. Thank you!

Bear's Bracket Challenge

Cow by Bear's NCAA Bracket Challenge is back! Make sure to join our group before tipoff Thursday morning for your chance at bragging rights and a few fun prizes. First place will receive 2 tickets to a special 'Food by Bear' dinner ($600 value) we're hosting as part of the cookbook launch. Second place receives two 'I Heart You' dinner plates we use at every Cow by Bear dinner and third place takes home the OG Cow by Bear tee. I hope you'll play along!

Seattle Tickets Available

Due to the February snow storms, our dinner schedule in Seattle was modified to accommodate rescheduling. This has created some available seats in April. Click the button below to book your seats for Saturday April 6, Friday April 12, Saturday April 13 or Saturday April 27. This will conclude the Cow by Bear series in Seattle. Only a handful of tickets are available for each date, so act fast. I hope to see you there!

Smoke on the Water

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serves 6
special equipment: 
smoker

for the pork:
2 lb pork belly (if purchased in slab, freeze remaining)
1/2 c kosher salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp allspice

for the coconut rice:
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
4 + 1/3 c water
1 small can coconut milk (2 c)
1 tbsp dried shrimp
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and smashed flat with a cleaver
1” piece of ginger, peeled and smashed flat
3/4 c jasmine rice, soaked for 2 mins & rinsed well in cold water
2 tbsp peanut oil
5 cloves garlic, minced

for the pork belly:
1. Mix all the seasoning and spice together.
2. Score the fat side of belly and season all around with spice mix.
3. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
4. Cold smoke with mesquite wood chips between 90-120 degrees for 90 minutes.
5. After smoking, braise the pork covered with 1 inch of water in the oven at 325 degrees for two hours, or until tender.
6. Allow to cool completely in refrigerator before slicing portions.

for the coconut rice:
1. In a pot, bring fish sauce, sugar, water, coconut milk, shrimp, ginger & lemongrass to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 10 minutes.
2. Steep for 20 minutes and strain.
3. In a clean pot sweat garlic in peanut oil, add the rinsed rice and toast the rice.
4. Add water and coconut milk, and simmer on low until all liquid is absorbed. Do not stir.

garnish suggestions: 
lime wedge, ngo om, cilantro, very thinly sliced bird chile in fish sauce, peanuts

To assemble:
Reheat the pork in the oven at 350 until hot (about 10 minutes). Plate a spoonful of rice and shingle the sliced belly on top. Drizzle with bird chile and fish sauce, add ngo om, cilantro and peanuts. Squeeze lime on top and enjoy!

Food by Bear: The Cookbook

Humans,

I'm extremely happy to introduce you to our newest project, a cookbook experience experiment called FOOD BY BEAR. Equal parts mouthwatering recipes and amusing memoir, I'm aiming to make this like no other cookbook on your shelf.

I’ve fantasized about writing this book forever, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve had the time and focus for it. Much like Cow by Bear started as a grass roots experiment, I’m creating this book outside the traditional publishing landscape and would love for you to be part of it!

To help bring this cookbook into the world I have decided to run a Kickstarter campaign, which went live this morning with a soft launch. I hope you'll consider making a pledge and/or sharing the campaign with friends. We can't do this without you!

Our (un)traditional Cow by Bear dinners are sold out but we're offering several new experiences for this campaign, including a handful of special 'Food by Bear' dinners. If you're so kind as to make a pledge ($40 or above) for the book by the end of this weekend, you’ll be entered to be one of five people picked to receive 2 tickets for one of these dinners.

Thank you so much for being a friend to Cow by Bear. We never would have made it this long without you, and we can't wait to put this book in your paws!

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The Final Dinners

Humans,

I hope your 2019 is off to a fantastic start! There's nothing to complain about here at Bear HQ. We're enjoying the slower pace created by the scaled back dinner schedule, and are filling the time with fun activities we've been putting off for years. Osa Bear has been perfecting her curling technique in anticipation of the 2022 winter games, while Osito and I have been working through some film classics.

A few nights ago we landed on 'Waterboy,' and laughed and laughed when Bobby Boucher incorrectly asserts that alligators are ornery because, "Mama says they got all them teeth but no toothbrush." Of course the real answer is because of their overgrown medulla oblongata. That got me thinking of my Bobby Boucher-type moment in grade school. When posed, "Why do bears have an enhanced sense of smell," I bravely stood up in front of the class to declare, "Mama Bear says my sense of smell is strong because all the fresh flowers we smell together on our morning walks." I can still hear the roar of laughter from my classmates.

Turns out, us bears have a supercharged olfactory bulb, the area of our brain that manages the sense of smell. Ours are at least five times larger than the same area in human brains. It can be both a blessing and a curse, but you have to score one in the "blessing" column for where it led us last week on our family walk; an orchard as far as the eye could see, gorgeous like a beehive at magic hour. The proprietor was kind enough to share whatever we could take with us (being a bear in a human world: also a blessing and a curse). You're seeing the fruits of that labor on our current menus and the recipes provided below. We hope you enjoy!

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The Final Dinners

There are hardly words to describe our feelings as the Cow by Bear dinners come to a close. It has been an honor to spend so many evenings with you fine human folk. Thank you from the deepest part of our bear bellies.

Dinners are scheduled through the end of March in both San Diego and Seattle, and there are a smattering of seats available in both locations. These dinners will officially put a stamp on the Cow by Bear dinner party experience as we all know it. We're still kicking around ideas for "what's next" and exploring options but nothing is set in stone yet. In the meantime, if you're interested in a private party with us, please do reach out to us at info@cowbybear.com to discuss your event. We've gotta keep our skills sharp somehow and would love to put on a dinner here and there.

For now I have turned to writing - my story and recipes from my journey - and a cookbook may be on the horizon. We hope you'll continue to follow along here on this newsletter as we promise there are exciting things in store. 

See you later alligator!

Book Now


Mango Unchained

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This is one complex dessert, but well worth it! As with all of the recipes here if you give it a go and have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out for help. 

serves approx. 6 with leftover components

for the poached mango jello:
2 mangos peeled & sliced
1/4 bottle riesling
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 c agave
salt
2-3 packets knox gelatin

for the lattice tuille:
1 oz sugar
1oz butter
1 oz corn syrup
1 oz flour

for the foie gras torchon:
hudson valley duck foie gras torchon
1 liter seltzer water
pear each 250 g of cleaned foie gras:

1 t kosher salt
1/16 tsp curing salt (pink salt)
1/8 tsp sugar
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tbsp sweet dessert wine
1/8 tsp finely ground pepper mix (2 part white/1 part black)
kosher salt to cover

 

for the poached mango jello:
1. Simmer all ingredients together for about 35 minutes. Blend until smooth and return to a clean pot. Allow to cool.
2. Sprinkle one packet of knox gelatin per cup of mango purée. Allow gelatin to bloom for five minutes, then turn purée on to medium/low heat until simmer. Whisk until gelatin dissolves completely.
3. Strain mixture through a fine sieve/chinois into a container. Refrigerate for 12 hours before serving.

for the lattice tuille:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Melt sugar, butter and corn syrup together, then whisk in flour.
3. Pour onto a sheet tray-lined with a silpat and bake, turning pan after 5 minutes.
4. Bake 3-5 more minutes, or until golden brown.

for the foie gras torchon:
1. Soak the liver in seltzer at room temperature for one hour.
2. Pull from seltzer and allow to drip dry on a towel for about 10 minutes.
3. Clean foie of veins and any discoloration (discard). Pinch into fingertip sized pieces and transfer cleaned foie to a large bowl. Weigh the foie and adjust ingredients using the recipe ratios to each 250g of foie.
4. Prepare marinade by dissolving salts and sugar in the bourbon and wine, add pepper. 
5. Pour marinade over the foie and toss to ensure even distribution. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to marinate for 4 to 24 hours.
6. On a large piece of parchment paper, mound marinated foie gras chunks together into a neat, even log. Roll in parchment to make a solid tube, then transfer to cheesecloth.
7. Wrap foie gras well, twisting the ends tightly. Tie ends and place in a shallow pan and cover completely with kosher salt.
8. Cure in the refrigerator for 18 hours.
9. Remove from salt, brushing off any excess, and hang in the fridge allowing air to circulate completely around it for 24 hours.
10. Unwrap completely, then wrap and store in plastic wrap in the freezer.

to assemble: 
Shave frozen foie over jello with a microplane. Garnish with lattice tuille.

*You'll have leftover foie that can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the freezer for future fun dishes. Shave it over fruit, cheese, honey or spread on bread. 


Grapefruit-Mango Bearllini

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This is a favorite around the Bear household that Osa and I like to drink on Sunday mornings while Osito sleeps in.

1 c mango chunks 
3 tbsp fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 inch fresh ginger
prosecco

Blend the mango chunks, grapefruit juice* and ginger to make a purée. Pour 2 tbsp or purée into glass and top with Prosecco.

*If you choose to use store bought grapefruit juice, keep in mind it will produce a sweeter drink. The recipe above makes a drier version of this tasty beverage which is my preference.

Enjoy!

Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animals

Humans,

On behalf of the entire Cow by Bear family, I'd like to wish you all the happiest of holidays. We're getting ready for a stacked lineup of dinners and so very excited to see many of you before the new year. These are joyous times for me, but that wasn't always the case.

As a young cub in Alaska, I enjoyed many of the holiday traditions commonly celebrated in forests all over the world. We'd sing and dance and play Caribou Eyesuntil the sun went down. That idyllic world came crashing down when the poachers took my parents, and for decades the holidays proved a particularly painful time for me. I fell into some pretty unhealthy habits, eating hundreds of pounds of junk food per sitting and drinking myself into months-long hibernations.

It was a long, dark period but now the lights shine bright. The love and care of just a few helped me claw out of that depression. It might sound cheesy (I do love cheese) but it does get better. It might sound corny (I do love corn), but go on and tell someone how much they mean to you. It might be just the thing they need to hear today. I know it sure helped me.

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The friendships we've formed over the years at Cow by Bear have been a true blessing and mean the world to me. The outpouring of encouragement when we announced our upcoming plans was so overwhelming that we added a handful of dates into the new year.

You're all very hard to say "No" to, so as the requests have continued to come in we decided to add a few more dates to the calendar running through March.  However, as my dear friends Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald would say, "This is it." These will be the absolute last (un)traditional Cow by Bear dinners offered (we're currently planning a Cub Club exclusive dinner for the end of March and a "new phase" experience in April, so keep your eyes peeled for those announcements). Take a look at cowbybear.com and hopefully there is a date that works for you to come spend an evening with us!

Thank you and we love you!

ROSEBEARY OLD FASHIONED

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This is the cocktail I'll be drinking tonight. If you'd like to join me, mix one up yourself and we'll give each other a virtual clink of the glass. Cheers!

2 oz. rye whiskey
1 to 2 tsp rosemary simple syrup*
3 dashes black walnut bitters
orange twist for garnish

*rosemary simple syrup
1 c water
1 c sugar
1/4 c rosemary leaves

for the rosemary simple syrup:
1. Combine water, sugar and rosemary leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let syrup steep, about 30 minutes.
2. Pour syrup into a sterilized glass jar through a mesh strainer to remove rosemary leaves. Let cool.

for the cocktail:
1. Add the simple syrup, bitters and whiskey to an Old Fashioned glass and stir well.
2. Add a large ice cube or two and stir again to chill. Garnish with an orange twist.