Strange, mystery, delicious and hilarious. Those are just a few words used to describe 'Cow by Bear', a dinner party experience truly like no other.
When I saw a picture of a giant, fluffy, silly-looking bear cooking on Facebook - I knew I wanted in. Run by an anonymous chef known only as Bear, the Cow by Bear events treat intimate groups of diners to five-course meals with wine pairings at undisclosed locations around the city all while the chef is literally dressed in a giant bear suit.
I had no idea what to expect and ladies and gentlemen - it was pure magic. Here's how it works. You make a reservation on-line, there are only 14 seats available, every Friday and Saturday (and some Thursdays) at 8:00 pm. Tickets cost $195 (gratuity included.) The location of the dinner remains a secret until one day prior the address is sent to your email.
The dinner my husband and I attended was at a building in SODO. Our group of 14 all gathered outside the door. Every single person was going into this blindly. We chatted about where we heard about Bear - most people saying social media and one said Craigslist (that's still a thing?) A blonde woman opens the door, dressed to impress and announces that she will be our hostess for the night or in her words "Bear's translator."
From the outside, it looked like a basic building and then when you walk in - mind blown. Its a gorgeous venue with a rustic feel, modern art and the perfect amount of flowers and dim lighting. As we check our coats and start the adventure - Bear comes out to greet us and a series of high-fives, bear hugs and selfies ensue. It's GAME TIME. You can feel the excitement!
You seat yourself at a farm style table with a cocktail in hand and next thing you know you're exchanging contact info with the girls sitting next to you and laughing ALL NIGHT LONG. Everyone was there to have a good time and we all got along great. True story - I made a handful of new besties. Bear makes sure everyone feels extra special and takes a picture with you. My husband and I opted for a happy, smiling pose while some threw their hands in the air and one lady just went for a bid old bear kiss!
Course after course Bear continues to serve jaw dropping dishes that only got yummier and yummier. A cheese plate to die for, fresh salad, smoked salmon, country style lamb ragout and the main entree - a 50 day dry aged ribeye roast. SOOOOO good. Best ever. Still drooling. And if that wasn't enough - a seasonally inspired dessert to follow and all of this paired with fine wine throughout the evening. With every new course, our hostess translates Bears masterpieces for us and without fail, one bite in and the group erupts with cheer. I'm not evening kidding, There's just something about a human wearing a giant, somewhat creepy bear suit that makes everything better. If it was socially acceptable to lick my plate - I just might have.
Cow by Bear started in 2011 when the unnamed Bear chef began hosting dinner parties out of his (its?) San Diego apartment. Apparently, there’s now more than one “Bear,” as ongoing events in San Diego and Seattle take place on the same nights. And guess what guys? Bear's identity is never revealed. All throughout dinner there's a giant white sheet only feet away that separates Bear from the guests. You can feast your eyes on Bear's silhouette - but that's it. No big reveal.
Cow by Bear is not just a dinner. It is a dinner party experience like no other, where you can expect to not only eat a world class meal cooked by a Bear, but leave with new friends, a full belly and a slight buzz.