Fine Dining, Wild Animal Style.

Humans,

I hope you're having a magnificent summer so far! For those of you that have been in our world a while, maybe you've heard me say: "When I started Cow by Bear, all I knew is I didn't want it to be a restaurant. I wanted to recreate how dinner goes down in the wild, when the salmon run in the summer and us bears would gather and enjoy these majestic feasts together." Sure, we've evolved over the last 7 years of putting on dinners by listening to you all and implementing more traditional human elements that have been suggested. But that sentiment is still very much at the core of experience today.

That's why I cringe just a bit when I'll sometimes hear Cow by Bear compared to a fine dining restaurant. Don't get me wrong, I so appreciate the compliment, but that's not us and doesn't really set a proper expectation for what we do. We don't follow the traditional fine dining rules, and that's what excites me! Maybe we're fine dining, wild animal style. Our dinner party is all about connection and having the most fun possible. It all starts there and everything else - the menu, pairings, service, other little details of the experience - is designed to support that philosophy. It's what makes us "us" and that's what we hope to share with all of you!

Our experience probably isn't for everybody, but for those of you that want to enter into our crazy little world, we're here for you! Osa, Osito and I would like to extend a summer promo exclusive for our 'Bear's Necessities' readers. Just use SUMMER18 when booking your reservation for 15% off ticket prices. The promo is valid from now until end of day next Friday. We can't wait to spend an evening with you!BOOK NOW!

Shrimpin' Ain't Easy

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Osa and Osito collabearated on this dish for the brand new summer menu in San Diego, and with the recent heatwave it's just what the doctor ordered. Don't let the simplicity of the recipe fool you; it's a tasty dish that'll put a smile on your face. The key is getting the best and freshest melon you can find. Enjoy!

Serves 6
for cold cantaloupe soup
1 cantaloupe peeled and seeded
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
2 tsp banyuls vinegar

for pickled shrimp
3 pounds cooked shrimp
1 tsp celery seeds
6 cloves sliced garlic
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp mustard seed
3 bay leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup cider vinegar

to garnish
cilantro
mint
sal de gusano

1. Cut cantaloupe in 1-inch chunks. Place about 1/4 of them in a blender and process at high speed until puréed. Once you have a purée, gradually add remaining melon, processing until the mixture is smooth.
2. Add lime juice and blend briefly. Season with salt to taste and blend again.
3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pickled Shrimp
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss thoroughly. Pack everything into a large glass jar, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to come together.

Divide soup among 6 soup plates and drizzle with a little vinegar. Garnish with sal de gusano, cilantro, mint and the pickled shrimp. 

Basil Bearracuda

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Our mixologist Terry made the news last week when he was caught splashing around in a human’s hot tub drinking a “margarita.” No question he was having a jolly ol' time frolicking around, but what the media got wrong was his drink of choice. It wasn't a margarita, but our brand new cocktail he's been experimenting with. We're calling it the Basil Bearracuda and you can find the recipe below. Enjoy!

3 lime wedges
3 slices of cucumber
3 mint leafs
2 oz cachaca
.5 oz basil simple syrup*
2 oz soda water

for the basil simple syrup
1 c fresh basil
1 c sugar
1 c water

1. Put 3 lime wedges, 3 cucumber slices, and 3 mint leafs in a Boston shaker and muddle ingredients.
2. Pour in 2 oz. Cachaca and .5 oz house made basil simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously.
3. Double strain into a Collins glass (use a regular bar strainer plus a mesh strainer to keep all the seeds and crushed mint out).
4. Add 2 thinly sliced pieces of cucumber plus one thinly sliced lime wheel. Add regular ice. Give it a good stir and top with 2 oz. soda water. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

If you want to get fancy with it, you can sugar the rim with basil sugar. Just pulse one cup sugar and one cup basil in a food processor until it becomes uniform (store in a cool, dark place). And if you want to get extra fancy, sip it with a bamboo straw.

Road Trippin'

I can hardly believe it's almost summertime again. Osito finishes school this week, and we're looking forward to getting on the open road for a good ol' fashioned family road trip. I can hardly wait to take the T-Tops off and feel the warm sun and sweet breeze blow over my face. 

When Osa and I first met, we bonded over travel and love of different cultures. It never ceased to amaze us that no matter where we went (even as huge, wild animals) we were welcomed with open arms. On one of our first trips together, we rode our motorcycles down the Pan-American highway from Mexico City to Panama City, stopping to eat with the locals at every roadside eatery along the way. I didn't tell Osa then, but that's when I knew I loved her.

Our plans this summer may seem a bit more tame, but I suppose that's just how family life is. We'll be visiting some old bear friends in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, before Osito's baseball tournament in Montana. He's really smacking the ball this year, and the human kids are calling him 'Bear Ruth.'

In between all that, we'll be hosting dinners in both San Diego and Seattle, of course. In fact, we've added a handful of new summer dates to the calendar in both cities. We'd love to spend an evening with you this summer, so make a reservation and come see us! 

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Summer San Diego Dinner Openings:

Sunday, June 17 (Father's Day)
Thursday, June 28 // Friday, July 6
Thursday, July 12 // Thursday, July 26
Thursday, August 16 // Friday, August 17
Friday, August 24 // Wednesday, August 29
Thursday, August 30 // Friday, August 31

Summer Seattle Dinner Openings:

Thursday, June 28 // Saturday, July 7
Friday, July 20 // Friday, July 27
Saturday, August 4 // Thursday, August 9
Friday, August 10 // Thursday, August 16
Friday, August 17 // Saturday, August 18
Friday, August 30

We look forward to spending an evening with you!

LIFE ON THE LAMB

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Serves 6

1 rack of lamb
2 tbls butter
5 bunches kale, cleaned, stems removed, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic sliced thin
2 shallots sliced thin
1/2 c white wine or lemon juice
cilantro gremolata*
tamarind-chili sauce*
salt and pepper
oil


*for the tamarind chile sauce
1 c tamarind pulp and water
1 cap can crushed tomatoes
1/2 onion, small dice
3 clove garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 pasilla chile
1 c pasilla chili water
splash red wine


*for the cilantro gremolata
1 bunch cilantro stems
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
oil

1. Preheat your oven to 475F.  Get a pan, preferably cast-iron, ripping hot with a bit of oil in it to coat the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper the rack of lamb very liberally. Sear on all sides just for color. Then throw the butter into the pan right before putting it into the preheated oven. Roast for 6-8 minutes for a medium-rare.  Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting into it
2. Right before plating get a very large pan very hot on the stove.  Add your oil and let it get hot for a second. Throw in your shallots and garlic. Hit with a bit of salt and continuously stir so the aromatics don’t burn, about 1-3 minutes. Once slightly translucent and browned throw in the kale and continuously stir everything until the kale has a slight sheen on it from the oil. Once your kale is cooked 40% of the way through (taste it!) pour in the white wine or lemon juice and cook until dry. Add salt and pepper to taste Remove from pan.
3. Heat the Tamarind-Chili* sauce up in a separate sauce pan
4. To plate, spoon the sauce in the middle of the plate. Top with the kale, lay a lamb lollipop or two on the top with the bone over the lip of the plate. Place a small amount of the gremolata* on top, and voila!

*Cilantro Gremolata
1. Very thinly slice cilantro stems into little circles and put them in a small bowl or cup. Crush the garlic into the cilantro.  Add just enough oil to bring together.  Add salt and pepper to taste

*Tamarind Chile Sauce
1. Soak one cup tamarind in 1 quart boiling water, breaking up to create pulp. Pass and strain after 30 minutes, getting as much pulp and liquid as you can. While soaking, sauté onions and garlic. Toast pasillas for 30 seconds, then cover in 1 cup boiling water and soften for 30 minutes.
2. Deseed pasilla, then combine all ingredients. Simmer and reduce by half. Then puree and pass through a fine mesh strainer.

BEAR SLOBBER

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2 oz aged rum 
2 tsp. honey syrup
2 tsp. sweet vermouth 
2 dashes bitters 

This one is an oldie but goodie. We've had several requests for the recipe of late, so figured we'd dip into the archives with the Bear Slobber!

1. For the honey syrup, use equal parts honey and water in a small saucepan. Boil, turn down to a simmer and stir until honey is completely dissolved. Mix all ingredients, stir 10 times, add ice and serve.

Try making this cocktail for the special dad in your life for Father's Day. Better yet, treat him to dinner at Cow by Bear. We still have a few tickets left for our Father's Day dinner in San Diego this Sunday, June 17 at 8pm. We hope to see you there!

A Sea of Salmon and Smiles

Humans,

We love you. I can't tell you how much Osa, Osito, myself and the rest of the Cow by Bear gang appreciate your support in our little dining experience experiment. It's grown to a point I never imagined when we first opened up in my apartment, and you are to thank for that. There's nearly 10,000(!) on the receiving end of this Bear's Necessities newsletter now, and we're so grateful to have you as part of our Bear family. 

This is the time of year I always find myself thinking about my favorite cousin Ricoand how we tragically lost him during the great 'Salmon Stall of '94.' When I shared his story last year, a frequent guest and Cub Club member made an incredibly kind gesture by making a donation to the Salmon Defense Fund in cousin Rico's name (thanks Steph!). I was very touched and vowed to do what I could to help the salmon and keep cousin Rico's spirit alive. Salmon are such an integral part of bear life, and you may be surprised how vital they are to the entire ecosystem.

We'll be donating $1 for every ticket sold in both San Diego and Seattle from now until Labor Day to the Salmon Defense Fund in honor of cousin Rico. We've added many summer dates in both locations, so take a look at the up-to-date calendar at cowbybear.com and come spend an evening with us! 

Upcoming openings are:

San Diego: Saturday June 2 / Wednesday June 13 / Sunday June 17 / Saturday June 23  / Wednesday June 27 / Thursday June 28 / Saturday July 7

Seattle: Saturday June 2 / Thursday June 14 / Thursday June 28 / Saturday June 30 / Saturday July 7 / Friday July 20

Bear TV

Those who know me know me as a pretty bashful bear. I politely decline most media requests, simply because I'm often unsure of what to say and what to do with my hands. One of my New Year's resolutions was to overcome this fear by saying "Yes" more.

I recently appeared on two TV segments that you can check out below. The first documents a Cow by Bear dinner, and the second is a cooking segment where I make my favorite new menu item, the Sea of Smiles. It's a loose take on a classic Thai dish, khanom jeen, and I've provided the recipe below. I actually had a lot of fun and think maybe I'll even keep saying "Yes" more often!

Sea of Smiles

Sea of Smiles (Feeds 4)

1 package thin rice noodles
8 large fresh prawns, marinated
4 c coconut broth*
2 c pineapple broth*
2 c pickled mustard seed*
4 tbsp crispy shallots*
4 tbsp thinly sliced scallions
4 tbsp thinly sliced thai chilis
1 lime, half juiced half cut into wedges

for the coconut broth
2 cans coconut milk
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tsp salt
1 inch ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, smashed and chopped
2 lime leaves

for the pineapple broth
4 cups pineapple juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp white sugar

for the pickled mustard seed
4 tbsp mustard seed
3 c rice wine vinegar
1 c sugar
1 c water

crispy shallots
2 c raw, very thinly sliced shallots
4 c canola oil

For this dish you'll want to start with the crispy shallots so you'll have the reserve oil to marinate the prawns with, and the pickled mustard seed as it needs a couple hours.

pickled mustard seed:
1. Combine the vinegar, sugar and water in a sauce pan. Put mustard seeds in a jar or other heatproof container.
2. Bring vinegar mix to a boil for 10 seconds, then pour over mustard seeds.
3. Refrigerate for at least two hours (overnight is best).

crispy shallots:
1. Cut the shallots using a mandolin or crazy sharp knife and slice as thin as possible.
2. Put the room temperature canola oil and the shallots into a pan on the stovetop.
3. Turn the heat on high and continually stir the shallots, gently, in the oil.
4. The shallots will first bubble off all water content and then fry, about 8-10 minutes. Keep stirring or else they'll be unevenly cooked and/or burn. You will want to fry them until you think they are just underdone, pale golden in color, because they will continue to cook out of the oil.
5. Take the shallots out and spread them on paper towels in as thin of a layer as possible, and salt them liberally. 
6. Let cool and they're ready. Make sure to reserve the oil in the pan to marinate the prawns.

prawn marinade:
1. Marinate the prawns with the lime juice and reserve shallot oil, at least two hours before cooking.

coconut broth:
1. Simmer the coconut milk, palm sugar, salt, sliced ginger, garlic, smashed/chopped lemongrass and lime leaves all together for about 60 minutes on a very gentle simmer. You don't want to reduce the broth, just let all the flavors get to know each other. Strain and set aside for later.

pineapple broth:
1. Combine the pineapple juice, fish sauce and white sugar and reduce by half. Cool in the refrigerator until use.

Sea of Smiles:
1. Cook the thin rice noodles al dente, coiled into nests, and cool.
2.  Heat the coconut broth over low heat in a pan so it's ready to go.
3. Remove prawns from the marinade, salt liberally, and sauté on each side on high heat until orange and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.
4. To assemble, place a nest of rice noodles in a bowl. Arrange 1 tbsp each of chilis, scallions, pickled mustard seeds and lime wedge in their own little sections next to the noodles. Pour one cup of the hot coconut broth over the noodles. Then place two prawns on top of the noodles. Finish with a small spoonful of the pineapple broth and a pinch of the crispy shallots.
5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Oh Osito!

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Happy May Day humans! I’m pawsitively stoked about our going ons at Cow by Bear. We've rolled out new Spring menus in both San Diego and Seattle and I think it's some of the best food we've ever served.

Collabearating with Osa and Osito is a dream come true, and it's been especially rewarding to see our cub, Osito, grow as a chef and bear. It's amazing to watch him balance it all; being a chef, going to school and trying to just be your average teenage bear. Osa and I fantasize about handing Cow by Bear over to him some day, retiring on the beach and devouring salmon by day and sitting back drinking Loco in Acapulcos by night. It will be in great paws when that time comes, but for now we're so enjoying working together as a family and seeing Osito shine.

He's provided a few of his latest creations below. Enjoy!

Osito's Green Eggs & Ham

for the pea and parmesan broth    1 tbs olive oil 1 large onion 2 celery stalks 2 large carrots 1 bunch green onions 8 cloves garlic, minced 8 sprigs fresh parsley 8 sprigs fresh thyme 1 tsp salt (more to taste) 2 quarts water 2 three-inch rinds of parmesan cheese    cavatelli pasta or your choice eggs to poach   3/4 lb prosciutto to bake   For this dish, you can choose your favorite type of pasta and most shell varieties work great. I prefer cavatelli. Cook the pasta to the instructions on the packaging.   Pea and Parmesan Broth  1. Chop scrubbed vegetables into 1 inch chunks. 2. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add the vegetables and herbs. Cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  3. Add salt, water and parmesan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Discard the vegetables.   Crispy Prosciutto  1. Preheat oven to 350. 2. Place prosciutto on baking sheet and drizzle with oil. 3. Bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.  To assemble, pour the hot broth over your pasta. Garnish with crispy prosciutto and a  poached egg. 

for the pea and parmesan broth
1 tbs olive oil
1 large onion
2 celery stalks
2 large carrots
1 bunch green onions
8 cloves garlic, minced
8 sprigs fresh parsley
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
2 quarts water
2 three-inch rinds of parmesan cheese


cavatelli pasta or your choice
eggs to poach

3/4 lb prosciutto to bake

For this dish, you can choose your favorite type of pasta and most shell varieties work great. I prefer cavatelli. Cook the pasta to the instructions on the packaging.

Pea and Parmesan Broth
1. Chop scrubbed vegetables into 1 inch chunks.
2. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add the vegetables and herbs. Cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
3. Add salt, water and parmesan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Discard the vegetables.

Crispy Prosciutto
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Place prosciutto on baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
3. Bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.

To assemble, pour the hot broth over your pasta. Garnish with crispy prosciutto and a poached egg. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Fields Forever

for the sponge cake
8 eggs, whites and yolks separated
5/8 c sugar, plus 1 1/2 tbsp
finely grated zest of one lemon
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt

for the strawberry rhubarb butter cream
8 oz. butter, softened
1 lb. plus 5 oz. powdered sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
8 oz. strawberry rhubarb jam

for the candied rhubarb
rhubarb
simply syrup

creme fraiche
micro basil

This dessert has made it's way on both the dinner and brunch menu at Cow by Bear in San Diego. Give it a whirl at home!

Sponge Cake
1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed half sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Add the 5/8 c of sugar and mix on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until pale and thick. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and sift the flour and salt directly over the egg mixture in two batches and sprinkle in lemon zest, folding through the mixture after each addition. 
3. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Whisk on medium high until soft peaks form, then slowly pour in the 1 1/2 tsp of sugar. Continue to whisk until firm peaks form, then slowly fold a third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated.
4. Pour the mixture into the lined baking sheet. Even the surface out with a small spatula and bake for 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and cool about 5 minutes. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of the cake and flip it over so its now lying on top of the towel. Carefully peel away the paper and trim the very edges of the cake. Starting at the shorter edge of the cake, carefully roll it up (along the kitchen towel). This is to train the cake for rolling up again later after its frosted. After about 20 minutes, unroll the cake.
6. Frost the cake evenly and liberally with the butter cream, roll up the cake slowly and carefully, and even the frosting as needed. 

Strawberry Rhubarb butter cream
1. Combine ingredients in eclectic mixer with paddle attachment, mix until smooth.

Candied Rhubarb
1. Preheat oven to 175.
2. Slice rhubarb thinly on mandolin and soak in simple syrup
3. Place rhubarb on a parchment paper lined sheet tray and bake for approximately two hours, or until simple syrup is absorbed.

To assemble, smear strawberry rhubarb butter cream on a plate in a desired quantity and fashion. Place a piece of cake on the center of plate. Place a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche next to cake. Garnish with candied rhubarb and micro basil.

Four Paws

I love this simple little cocktail. Use your favorite tequila, or mezcal if you like it extra smoky. We prefer using Bee Local's Smoked Honey Sauce, but you can also use a simply honey syrup and it will drink very smooth on a nice Spring day.

fresh ginger, sliced
1.5 oz tequila or mezcal
1/2 oz smoke honey or honey syrup
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
ice


Cut up three slices of fresh ginger and muddle in a Boston shaker. Add the booze or your choice, then add the honey sauce (or syrup) and lemon juice. Shake vigorously and strain in a double rocks glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon twist (and candied ginger if you'd like) and drink up!
 

Swinging Into Spring

Welcome to Spring, humans! Where I sit it's currently 42 degrees and it snowed yesterday, but pay no mind to that. Clean off the grill and polish your best set of tongs, because it's grilling season if you ask me! I have a couple days off and am enjoying a mini Spring Break, hiking along the Oregon Coast touring the state's oyster farms and Pinot vineyards. I hope you're all able to get away at some point this Spring, recharge the batteries and do something that makes you happy.

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Bear's 3rd Annual Bracket Challenge has come to an end, and what an exciting tournament it was with the upsets and Cinderella stories. I haven't had that much fun with the game since the Great Alaskan Pop-A-Shot contest when I was a cub. I may not been a winner on the scoreboard that afternoon, but I won in other ways. I'll never forget those life lessons.

Congratulations to our bracket winner, Steviejiii, who finished in the 99.9th percentile across the nation. Steviejiii takes home two tickets for an upcoming Cow by Bear dinner! Lindsay the Bracket Slayer had not only a fantastic name, but also the second best bracket of the bunch and takes home two tickets for an upcoming Brunch by Bear or $200 towards any other event. Finally, FluxxMeSideways finished third and will receive two tickets to Wine by Bear or $100 towards any other Cow by Bear event. Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone for playing!

Catering

In case you missed it, I am delighted to now be offering the Cow by Bear service as a private catering experience. I'd be honored to be part of your next big party, so shoot me a message at bear@cowbybear.com and let's plan it together!

Bear's Bracket Challenge is Back!

Humans,

It's that time of year again where we all gather around a portable radio to listen to our favorite bear-mascot teams attempt to cut down the nets on their way to the NCAA college basketball championship. I can only imagine the elation the next champs will be feeling in that moment. It's my hope the winners of the 3rd Annual Cow by Bear Bracket Challenge will share in that same joy.

Just click here to join the Cow by Bear group and make sure to share with your friends!

1st place: Two tickets to Cow by Bear dinner experience.
2nd place: Two tickets to Brunch by Bear experience OR $200 gift certificate.
3rd place: Two tickets to Wine by Bear experience OR $100 gift certificate.

Good luck!

Bear.

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Introducing the Cub Club!

Humans,

I hope your week is off to a fantastic start! For those of you that have been around here a while, you probably know my origin story; how I lost my parents to poachers at a young age, was bear-napped and eventually paraded around for years in a traveling circus. Eventually, I was able to escape to France where I had what I refer to as my "awakening," when I began to walk, talk and cook.

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Since then, I've no doubt had a blessed and entertaining life cooking all over the world, but while I've bounced from country to country I've often felt overcome by what's missing; namely, a family. Of course, when family literally came knocking at my door, I didn't quite know how to handle it. 

With that background, imagine how grateful I am that so many of you have come into my life at the Cow by Bear experiences, becoming new friends and yes, even family. I wanted to express this gratitude and make our club a little more official. It's in that spirit that Osa, Osito and I are happy to introduce the 'Cub Club,' designed to bring the most devoted Cow by Bear supporters further into the family circle. The club will continue to evolve as we move forward but here's the deal...

'Cub Club' Rewards & Benefits:
1. Exclusive emails about last minute reschedules (no more months-long wait!) with a 20% discount on these seats.
2. 20% off all merchandise.
3. An official 'Cub Club' badge.
4. Invitation to an annual 'Cub Club' dinner with special menu and unique venue.
5. Entered into quarterly drawing for free merchandise.
6. Chance to have a cocktail named after you.

How to join the 'Cub Club:'
1. You've been to three or more dinners. (If you've been to two, come on back and we'll have a special induction ceremony for you!) OR
2. You've been to a dinner in both San Diego AND Seattle OR 
3. You've been to all three Cow by Bear experiences (Dinner, Brunch by BearWine by Bear) in San Diego. Don't worry Seattle, we'll be adding those experiences down the road!

We'll be reaching out soon if you've already qualified for the 'Cub Club' or if you're knocking on the door of eligibility. Thank you - we couldn't be more excited to have you in the club!

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Cow by Bear now offering catering!

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It'll be summertime before we know it, and as you know I'm not much of a hibernator. If anything, I like to double down on my activity, get outside and bask in the sun and all it's glory. It's that time of year that many of you humans are planning your big summer events - be it a wedding, rehearsal dinner, or just a big ol' fashioned birthday bash. Whatever the event may be, I'd love to be part of it!

Cow by Bear is now offering catering services at these special events. Please reach out at info@cowbybear.com if you'd like to discuss your party and how we can make magic together.

Loco in Acapulco

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Osa, Osito and I were able to escape to Acapulco for some much needed R&R a few weeks ago, and let me tell you; I got into it! I'd been kicking around the idea for this cocktail in my head for months, and it finally came together while south of the border. That night, cocktail in hand, I was treated to an intimate show by a few remaining members of the Four Tops. You haven't lived until you've heard "Loco in Acapulco" live.

2 oz tito's vodka
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz ancho reyes liqueur
1/4 oz simple syrup

1. Salt half of one double rocks glass with chipotle salt rim.
2. Pour all ingredients into a Boston shaker over ice.
3. Shake for 10-20 seconds and strain into glass over ice. 
4. Garnish with a lime wheel.
5. Drink responsibly.

Dear, Mama Bear.

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I created this dish while living in Italy at a time in my life where I was really missing my Mama Bear. It was developed in her honor as a love letter of sorts. I have fond memories as a cub of tearing into the tents of unsuspecting humans and coming back to Mama Bear with cans of Chef Boyardee spaghetti. It was her favorite, and something I loved to surprise her with. I like to think she'd enjoy this even more.

5 lbs fresh bucatini pasta
1 lb crab meat
50 oz canned san marzano tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1/4 c chopped garlic
1 tbsp red chile flake
2 tbsp salt plus more for pasta water
micro basil

1. Heat olive oil in a deep pot or dutch oven. Sauté onions until soft, then add garlic and chile flake and cook until the garlic is fragrant.
2. Add tomatoes, a cup of water and the salt, and simmer on low for 1 hour.
3. Taste, adjusting seasoning, and blend in a blender or in the pot using an immersion blender.
4. In a large pot of heavily salted water (it should taste like the sea), boil the pasta until al dente.
5. Drain and transfer to sauce pot, turn on the heat, add the crab and cook until everything is hot.
6. To serve, grab pasta with tongs and twirl to make a nest on each plate. Then ladle remaining sauce on top and garnish with micro basil and a drizzle of your fanciest olive oil.

4th Planet From the Sun

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I developed this recipe during my stint cooking on a recent mission to Mars. Okay, okay, I've not been to Mars, but it's definitely on the short list! Who wants to go with me?

for the soup:
3 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground vadouvan curry
1/4 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
pinch of ground cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken broth
1 c red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste

for pickled cauliflower
2 c water
1 c vinegar
1/3 c sugar
3 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
6 green cardamon pods
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
3/4 tsp tumeric
3 lb head of cauliflower

for green harissa
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced
2 small scallions, sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c flat leaf parsley leaves
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves w/ tender stems
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fine sea salt

Soup:

1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and cayenne, and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrots. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
4. Using an immersion or food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
5. Reheat soup if necessary and stir in lemon juice. 
6. Serve with a good olive oil, pickled cauliflower and green harissa.

Pickled Cauliflower:

1. Cut cauliflower into small florets.
2. Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil and pour over cauliflower.
3. Place in the refrigerator for 24 hours and eat within a month.

Green Harissa:

(Prep ahead if possible as it will last for 5 days)
1. Lightly toast cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool.
2. Purée seeds with jalapeños, scallions, garlic, oil, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth. 
3. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface of harissa, cover and chill until use.

More Cake in '18

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Hello humans, Happy New Year! 

2017 was quite the year at Cow by Bear. We saw our family grow with the opening of our Seattle location and the Wine by Bear experience in San Diego, added ten new friends to the staff and partied with thousands of you amazing homosapiens. We continue to constantly tweak the dinner experience to make it the best it can possibly be, and my Lil' Osito Bear is making exciting strides with Brunch by Bear. While I can't wait to see what 2018 brings, I've been reflecting a lot on last year and want to thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and willingness to come out and be a part of something different. We've met so many fantastic people and it just makes this bear's heart sing. To express my gratitude, I wanted to send out a digital hug and offer a 10% discount for anything in our Cow by Bear Shop (gift certificates included) from now until the end of February. Just enter BEARHUG at checkout!

With the turn of the new year comes a lot of resolutions. I've personally always struggled to keep mine - learn to bobsled, hibernate, pursue ventriloquism. The list is long of my tried and failed resolutions. So this year, I've decided to try something more practical that I knew I'd be able to keep up with, and I'd humbly suggest you give it a try:

Eat. More. Cake.

I know what you’re thinking: “But, Chef Bear, how am I going to shed all the pounds I put on from the holidays by eating cake?” It's a valid question that I don't have the answer to (I'm just a bear, after all). I can tell you, however, that it's working wonders for me. I just continue to slap on the LBs and I gotta tell ya I've never been happier and have never felt better. Fat and happy, as they say.

So give it a try. Sit down and just eat a whole cake. Trust me, it'll put a smile on your face. I'll even get you started with a recipe for a recent concoction that you can even pair with an ice cold beer. Enjoy!


BROWN BUTTER BACON JALAPENO CAKE

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for cake
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp brown butter
1 1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1/3 c grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt

for jalapeno pepper jelly
4 1/2 c finely chopped green bell peppers
1/2 c finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 1/4 c cider vinegar
3 tbsp powdered pectin
2 c sugar
1 c honey

for cream cheese frosting
1/2 c butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese
3 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

crispy bacon broken into small pieces, to taste

For the cake:
1. Combine the sugar and butters in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, and cream for 2-3 minutes on medium-high. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs. Paddle for 2-3 more minutes then scrape down the sides again.
2. Slowly pour in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla all at once while mixing on low speed. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 5-6 minutes. The mixture will almost double in size and become very pale. Keep mixing if it has not, and then scrape down the sides.
3. Preheat oven to 350F.
4. While on the lowest speed, add the cake flour, baking powder and salt all at once and mix for about a minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Mix again on low speed for another minute until all dry ingredients have been completely incorporated. Using a spatula, slowly fold in the bacon.
5. Grease a quarter sheet pan, line with parchment or a silicone mat, and pour the bater evenly into the pan.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is set in the middle and no longer jiggly. Cool on a wire rack.
7. When cool enough to build, use a small cake ring to cut rounds out of the pan. If you can only get 2 circles, then use the scraps to make up the bottom layer (if you want three layers, which you do!)
8. Layer the cake in this order: cake, cream cheese frosting, jalapeno jelly, cake, frosting, jelly, cake, frosting, bacon sprinkled on top.

For the jalapeno pepper jelly:
1. Combine bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and vinegar in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly. 
2. Add sugar and honey. Return mixture to full rolling boil. Boil hard 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Let chill to room temperature.

For the cream cheese frosting
1. Combine butter and cream cheese in mixer fitted with paddle. Mix on medium speed until well smooth.
2. Add sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until creamy. Add more or less sugar to taste.

To Assemble: Layer the cake in this order: cake, cream cheese frosting, jalapeno jelly, cake, frosting, jelly, cake, frosting, bacon sprinkled on top. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!