The origins of Cow by Bear are rooted in Mexico City.
I'm often asked how Cow by Bear began and have shared bits and pieces of the story along the way. I haven't been completely honest, though, as it's tough for me to talk about the key ingredient to the entire story. Her name was Osa Bear.
Osa and I met in 1999. I had just arrived in Mexico after an intense period in rural Haiti where I'd been cooking up the remains of animals sacrificed during Vodou ceremonies. These rituals are deeply connected to the culture of the people, and the moveable feasts would feed the village for weeks. I often felt like the ancient spirits were speaking to me and I believe it was their guidance that led me on my next journey; to find The Great Oso, spiritual leader of all bears and rumored to be holed up in an abandoned minor league baseball stadium in Mexico City.
When I arrived my eyes focused on something much more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. It was Osa, daughter of The Great Oso, breaking down one of the finest cuts of beef I had ever seen. I knew right then I loved her, although it was months before I could muster up the courage to say it out loud. Osa was the kind of bear that turned heads when she walked in a room, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just because she was a bear. She could ice skate, fence, surf, write poetry, beat Contra on the Nintendo without cheat codes and speak 5 languages (not including Bear).
She taught me so much about life, about being a better bear, and more about cooking than all of my other masters combined. We came up with the idea to start Cow by Bear together and spent countless nights sketching out the plan, before the tragedy - a story for another time. Cow by Bear is hers as much as it is mine and it eats me up that she didn't survive to see our dream come true. But it gives me so much pleasure knowing her heart and soul is in every single dish we make.
Esto es todo para ti, Osa.
Now onto some bizness. After much thought, I've decided to not host a large Halloween dinner party this year. As much fun as last year's event was, the planning that goes into larger parties can risk taking away from the quality of our traditional 14 person events and that's something I'm not comfortable with. I have opened up the October 26-28 dinner seats that were previously on hold, and they can be purchased here: https://cowbybear.tocktix.com. These tickets are currently the soonest we have available for dinner for two, so if grab them before they're gone!
If you're interested in joining us for a Cow by Bear experience and can't wait that long, remember we also offer Brunch by Bear on Sundays and Wine by Bear every other Tuesday. We currently have availability for brunch as soon as July 2 and Wine as soon as June 20. I hope to see you at one of these events!
And, of course, some recipes:
I've just introduced a dueling tacos appetizer to the upcoming menu and have been experimenting with this delicious duck taco. Pro tip: Get that skin crazy crispy so it's almost like a chicharrones. I feel so sad for my bear brethren, they just have no idea what they're missing out on when it comes to tacos!
Duck Tacos with Cherry Chipotle Salsa
Duck Taco Ingredients
1 lb. duck breast
2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 tsp. cumin, toasted & grounded
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c chipotle cherry salsa (see below)
12 small corn tortillas, lightly toasted
2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced and tossed in 2 tbsp. sour cream
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups cherries, pitted
1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
1/4 c red onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 handful basil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
For the Tacos:
1. Score the skin and fat of the duck breast with a knife trying to cut all the through the fat without cutting into the meat.
2. Mix the chipotle chili powder, cumin and salt and rub it into the skin side of the duck breast then cover it and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes up to over night.
3. Start the duck breast, skin side down, in a cold, oven-proof pan. Place over medium heat and slowly cook until the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy, 10-15 minutes.
4. Place the pan into a preheated 400 F oven for 8 minutes, or until duck registers 132 F with thermometer.
5. Remove and set the duck breast aside and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
6. Drain the excess fat from the pan, add the salsa, deglaze the pan and simmer to remove any excess liquid.
7. Assemble the tacos and enjoy.
For the Chipotle Cherry Salsa:
1. Puree everything in a food processor until smooth. (Puree less if you prefer a salsa with a little more texture).
Can I confess something to you? Promise? Ok, this recipe is just one of many ways to make a Pimms Cup, a cocktail that's been around since the 1800s. I simply gave it a fun name after my favorite female, British tennis player. I first came across this drink at Wimbledon in 1984, sucking them down in the stands with John McEnroe while we watched Annabel Croft take on Chris Evert. It's been one of my favorite summer drinks ever since.
The Annabear Croft
4 cucumber slices
1.5 oz. Pimms No. 1
1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
4 oz. ginger beer
Slice 3 cucumbers and muddle in a Boston shaker. Add ice to the shaker, followed by the Pimms and lime juice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass, over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a cucumber slice.