Mambo Italiano


Food by Bear: Italy began with a roar last weekend, and I'm raring to go at it again this Friday night! Italy holds a special place in my heart. If France is where I learned to cook, Italy was where I learned to create an experience and throw my dinner party.

After releasing the Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine we set our sites on a proper restaurant to tease out the ideas on actual humans. The opening of Holy Palate was announced all over Italy (see original flyer below). "The first human way of eating is born!" I was quoted in one newspaper. The dinner experience itself was pretty outlandish. We started at midnight and ran until 4am. No knives or forks allowed. Absolutely no pasta permitted on the menu. Lambrusco wine served in gas cans. And of utmost importance was the requirement to use all five senses while eating; touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.


To accompany taste for the dish below we activated each of the other senses. Guests were instructed to taste the food directly from hand to mouth with their right hand, while caressing a series of tactile materials like sandpaper or velvet with their left hand. Then we'd hit them with a shot of perfume, all whilst Wagner's Parsifal quietly scored the scene. It was all so silly, but oh so fun. Most importantly, it was my first taste of what a dining experience could and should be.

Food by Bear: Italy is sold out in September but a small pawful of seats remain for October. Let's spend an evening together!


serves 6

6 slices italian bread
3 4oz. pieces burrata cheese
white truffle oil (to garnish)
trapani sea salt & pepper (to garnish)

for the mushrooms:
12 oz. oyster mushrooms (cleaned & halved lengthwise)
1 shallot (small dice)
2 oz. champagne vinegar

for the caponata:
1 large eggplant (medium diced, salted and spread on sheet tray with paper towels)
1 small yellow onion (small dice)
1 red pepper (small dice)
1 yellow pepper (small dice)
1 tbsp garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 c basil (chiffonade)

1. Preheat oven to 385. Slice bread into one-inch slices and drizzle with olive oil. Align slices on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Done when golden brown.

2. While baking bread, heat a pan on medium-high heat with olive oil. Sauté mushrooms and shallots. When mushrooms are tender (about five minutes), remove pan from heat and deglaze pan with champagne vinegar. Set mushrooms and shallots aside.

3. Wring eggplant well in kitchen towel to rid of any excess moisture. In a different pan, heat on high with olive oil until very hot. Sauté eggplant until browned and tender. Remove eggplant from pan, then add peppers, onions, garlic and celery seed. Cook, stirring, approximately seven minutes. Remove from heat, add back the eggplant and allow to cool. Once cooled, fold in the basil.

4. Spread the caponata on slice of toast. Then place 1/2 piece of burrata cheese and mushrooms on top. Drizzle with truffle oil and garnish with salt and pepper. Dig in!



I came across the Italian Gentleman a while back and fell in love. Here's just a slight variation using lavender and honey.

1.5 oz bourbon
1.5 oz campari
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz honey syrup*
1/4 oz lavender simple syrup*
lavender and sage leaves (to garnish)

for the honey syrup:
1 c water
1 c honey

for the lavender simple syrup:
1 c water
1 c white sugar
1 tbsp fresh lavender blossoms

For the honey syrup:

1. Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until combined and a liquid.

For the lavender simple syrup:

1. Combine water, sugar and lavender blossoms in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let simmer for about one minute. Remove from heat and steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain into glass container.

For the cocktail:

1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Garnish with lavender or lemon twist. Strain into a coupe glass. Enjoy!