Sunday, November 8, 2015

Feast of Seven Fishes Menu --- 

an annual event at Beyond the Bull

Please join us in celebrating a long time family tradition and dine with us on the eve of Christmas eve ---

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB
Beyond the Bulll (an "eat smart" kitchen)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Eat Smart Designation

What is an eat smart kitchen?

I am often asked by my guests what it means to eat smart and I have covered that topic in a recent post.  But, a few days ago I was asked, not to explain the meaning of eat smart, but rather, how does a restaurant earn the designation of eat smart kitchen.  The question stumped me.  It never occurred to me that marketing the Bull as an eat smart kitchen, the first in the upstate, might lead someone to believe that there are others.  There are not --- not yet!

The development of Beyond the Bull, an eat smart kitchen, took years of preparation that included a long and very detailed business plan.  As part of the marketing plan to differentiate the Bull from other restaurants,  I decided to market it as an eat smart kitchen, a kitchen that produced food which promotes wellness.  To me, that is eating smart.  Consequently, the kitchen at the Bull does not look like most restaurant kitchens.  There is limited shelving for canned goods, boxes or bottles, little freezer space for frozen foods, no storage for sugar or flour and no deep fryer or microwave.  As an eat smart kitchen, the Bull eliminates refined grains, added sugar and bad fats, the three most harmful ingredients in the American diet.  As an eat smart kitchen, we choose our proteins from those that are hunted, harvested, caught or farmed (if fed their natural diet, not pellets of soy, corn and chicken by-products).   As an
eat smart kitchen, we offer menu items that consist of 60% or more of plant based food in our sides, with the center of the plate, and in our salsas and sauces.  

This is not an easy feat for a restaurant, especially for one that is independent and still in the start up mode.  We restaurateurs are handicapped by the broadliners, the Syscos, the US Foods, the Performance Food Groups who supply us.  If the menu does not consist of the ingredients used by all the other restaurants in the territory, you are just NOT going to get what you want, only what THEY want you to have.  You need shrimp?  Sure, they have it, every size, every color, all farmed (and fed who knows what), and all imported from countries without adequate food safety systems.  You need American raised duck meat?  Sorry, special order --- grrrrrrr!  

But, with perserverance and a lot of legwork over the past three years, Beyond the Bull has been able to find alternatives by going direct to producers such as Dean's Rabbits in Fountain Inn, Carolina Bison in Asheville, Broken Arrow in Texas and the Portland Wharf in Maine.  And in a few cases, with the cooperation of a broadliner who can occasionally be convinced to accept a special order, it can be done! 

The customer who asked me that question was on to something.  How does one earn the designation and what if there were others?  What if chefs joined together and participated in more eat smart kitchens?  If more chefs demanded real food ingredients, wouldn't the suppliers follow?  So, as of the publication of this post, I am making it official.  I am creating a universal designation for eat smart kitchens---restaurant kitchens qualify if devoid of refined grains, added sugar and bad fats, avoid additives of any kind, source proteins that eat a natural diet and serve menu items that consist of at least 50 percent unadulterated plant foods .  

Now, all we have to do is come up with a universal logo which when exhibited, conveys to consumers that behind this door, inside these four walls, lies an eat smart kitchen.   

Any ideas?  If so, send me your concept design for the eat smart kitchen logo, one that is easy to see from a distance or drive by, original and identifiable.  In the meantime, eat smart, feel good!

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB
Beyond the Bulll (an "eat smart" kitchen)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Now you can Eat Smart and Feel Good on Sundays as Well ---

Beyond the Bull is expanding hours to include a Sunday Supper menu serving from 5:30 to 9:00 on Sundays beginning Sunday, November 1.  The menu will include dishes not seen on the regular menu --- chicken, shrimp, lobster stuffed white fish, and quail for starters.  That's Sunday Supper at the Bull!

Eat Smart, Feel Good!

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Beyond the Bull not for the average person looking for a “retirement” meal --- restaurant reviews not for the faint of heart

As a chef educator and a restaurateur, I have been bombarded over the past several decades with reviews of my food, wine, service, d├ęcor, uniform, restroom cleanliness, and even choice of radio stations, not to mention parking facilities, lighting and level of noise.  Some reviews have been stellar, some not.  But, I have never been subjected to the level of inaccurate, inexperienced, uneducated and irresponsible restaurant reviews such as those that have occurred over the past several days for my newest restaurant known as Beyond the Bull in Seneca, SC.

I wouldn’t normally speak out about this sort of thing because, reviews, whether good or bad, don’t make or break a restaurant in terms of profitability.  And I doubt that they will have a long term impact on the success of Beyond the Bull.  But, they do have an effect on the morale of the people who work at those restaurants, those who are dedicated to providing the best service, ambience, and food possible to their guests.  Yes, I use the word “guest”, because that is what you are in our eyes.  It is our home, and we want to provide you with the most hospitable experience we can while you are there.  After all, we are in the business of hospitality. 

Beyond the Bull is not an ordinary restaurant.  We serve alternative proteins with original dipping sauces.  Our sides are preferred to be served at room temperature, not hot and overcooked.  We use lime, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cider vinegar, lemon, herbs and seasonings that are unfamiliar to many.  We do not serve fried foods, nor do we use packaged ingredients from bottles, cans, bags or boxes, sugar, flour or heaps of salt.  If you are looking for a cheap retirement meal, like the latest reviewer, go to one of the other 79 restaurants in the Golden Corner.  

Please consider that when you decide to write a restaurant review, we read them, and yes, we do take them personally.  There are bussers, cooks, dishwashers, hostesses, servers, chefs, bartenders, and owners who work at a very, very difficult job, most often for minimum wage, doing what they love --- trying to make each guest feel at home.   Hmmm, maybe it is time for someone to build a platform to post guest reviews.  You know, guest difficulty, number of allergies in the party, drunkenness and level of vulgarity, big tipper, no tipper, the perfect guest, the wannabe chef, how many ways to split a check, how many “on the sides”, how many "off menu" requests  --- just thinking! 

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB

P.S.  If you really like a restaurant experience, please take the time to put it in a review.  Everyone needs to hear how good they are once in a while.  


Sunday, July 12, 2015

What’s new at Beyond the Bull, Seneca (Keowee) ---

Blueberry bbq lamb spare ribs, cucumber coolers, cooking classes to begin July 20, and a celebration of the “plant” as in plant based diet --- a six course fixed price dinner for our vegan friends, a once in a lifetime event to take place on Sunday, July 26 beginning at 5:00 PM.  Call 864 508 1254  to reserve a seat at our vegan table or a place in the class, an introduction to preparing "smart" food.    

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Themed Dinners Continue to Spring To Life In The Upstate

It’s not just here’s the menu, take the order any more.  Themed dinners have been making their way across the upstate from Greenville to Central and now to the Golden Corner of South Carolina with the recent reopening of Beyond the Bull (Tableside) which moved from downtown Central to an abandoned property on Rte. 188 in Seneca, nearby the Lake Keowee communities.   If you are a Facebook follower of Beyond the Bull, then you already know of the trials and tribulations encountered while taking over an abandoned nursery and vacant restaurant---taking it back from the most recent occupants, a family of skunks, termites, spiders, rats, mice, beavers and grease, lots of grease.  But, after 87 days of renovations, cleaning, painting and disaster clean up (a failed fire suppression system), Beyond the Bull is back and continuing its tradition of monthly themed dinners which previously sparked a wave of similar venues in nearby Anderson and Pickens counties.

Chef Bell, executive chef and owner of Beyond the Bull, like other forward thinking restaurateurs, is now taking on the role of educator in today’s restaurant environment, offering new dining experiences to a more savvy and diverse diner as well as the home cook enthusiast.  Dinners pairing wine with classic Italian and French cuisine are being replaced with whiskey, cigar, craft beer and farm to table pairings as well as multi-course dinners with single food themes such as a five course feast starring several varieties of in-season tomatoes at their peak or regional themes showcasing foods that are not necessarily local, such as Texas Dorper lamb and wild boar or Maine lobster, blueberries and clams.

Although it is absolutely essential to the success and longevity of local food producers, and to our long term health, from a fine dining point of view, serving farm to table severely limits dining choices.  “As a chef and restaurant owner, I feel like I am short changing my guests if I do not stretch their palates and give them a taste of something out of the ordinary”,   says Bell.  “In my establishment there is a menu to which I must adhere, a standard menu on which my guests can rely to be consistent time and again, so breaking out a themed dinner now and then fuels my artistry and satisfies my desire to educate my guests.” 

Diners and home cook food enthusiasts are generally limited to ingredients that are available at the local grocers or online.  It takes a great leap of faith or fortitude for a nonprofessional cook to order a pound of baby octopus, a whole rabbit or sea cucumbers without ever having eaten them.  Even though there are videos galore available on the internet that show how to prepare everything from an antipasto to zucchini flowers, the world wide web  will never provide them with the aroma, flavor or texture of the ingredients properly prepared by a professional chef.  The themed dinner provides the opportunity for guests to expand their food and beverage experience as well as a chance for chefs to prove they are multi-dimensional.

Themed dinners in the upstate are generally pairings of five courses ranging from $ 45 to $ 150 depending on the venue and ingredients, and most are small, intimate gatherings.  At Beyond the Bull, Chef Bell is leading the way in the Golden Corner with a monthly offering, the third or fourth Sunday of every month.  The venue is small, limited to 40, and casual enough so that if a guest wants to take a break and stroll outside to the fire pit, explore the grounds or just sit on the deck and sip some wine for a breather, he can.  And, he just might meet the chef out there, taking a break as well. 

Will they catch on?  “Our first dinner held on December 23, 2012, the theme of which was the Feast of the Seven Fishes, was a resounding success”, says Bell, “so now we are already planning for our third Feast of Seven Fishes in Seneca, on December 23, 2015”.  Other more recent dinners are planned for June 28, Bison, Boar and Beer No. 3 (a six course pairing of wild game and craft beer beginning with a limited edition IPA from Anderson’s Carolina Bauernhaus Ales) and July 25, a celebration of Maine, which of course stars 
Homerus Americanus, popularly known as the Maine “lobstuh”.    Other themed dinners planned for later this year will include an homage to the BBC Two Fat Ladies, as well as a collaboration with local farms, the best of the best.   

For more information on upcoming events go to or call Chef Bell at 864 508 1254.  Chef Angela Bell is the chef owner of Beyond the Bull, an eat smart kitchen located at 8095 Keowee School Rd., Seneca.  In addition to her culinary duties at The Bull, she is a culinary instructor and food writer.  Her latest book, GOOD FOOD BAD FOOD, a how-to of anti-aging gastronomy is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Here we go again --- bison, boar and beer no. 3

Just because we moved, doesn’t mean we can’t continue with old traditions.  On June 28 we are offering our third wild game and craft beer dinner pairing. 

What’s the same --- same chef, same owners, same eclectic, smart and well prepared food.

What’s different --- happy servers to bring you the food, china, glassware, linens, stainless flatware, outside deck dining, nursery surroundings, ponds, onsite parking, an awesome AC system and a lot more seating. 

But, because we like to keep these dinners small, casual and intimate, we will continue to limit the seating.  Details are on the menu.

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB