Tuesday, March 4, 2014


On March 29, Beyond the Bull, the first "eat smart" kitchen will celebrate its first year.  We have to thank our guests who keep coming back.  In an earlier blog, I listed ten reasons why they do it.  Since then, there are more---reasons that it is, to keep coming back!

1.       Chef on duty---Where else can you meet and greet the Chef who prepares and serves the food directly to you?  Want to know which items are gluten free?  Ask the Chef!
2.       Real seafood---no imitations or additives (STTP) here.  Real wild caught Icelandic Cod, North Atlantic Haddock, real blue crab, Canadian sea scallops (not the itty bitty flavorless bay scallops), Yellow fin tuna and best tasting mussels around (according to my Northern guests).
3.       Phone in and pick up---now even better with Saturday night take out pricing for early bird ordering (see our new Saturday night take out menu below!)
4.       Convenient location and parking---at the entrance to downtown Central, 5 minutes from thousands of student apartments, just down the road from Issaqueena and parking out front. 
5.       Still NO TIPPING---such big savings that it needs repeating!

Numbers 6 and 7 coming soon---
6.       Open for lunch Thursday and Friday 11 to 1, starting March 13.  Eat in or call in for pick up. 
7.       Outside seating---adding more this month!

                  Eat Smart, Feel Good!
Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Beyond the Bull to join annual fundraiser to benefit Helping Hands of Clemson
In August 1984, an emergency shelter and foster home for abused and neglected children from across the upstate of South Carolina, opened its doors.  Helping Hands of Clemson received their first children into their House that was licensed to care for 16 children. Today the House is licensed to care for 54 children.  To date, they have cared for an estimated 8,000, the majority coming from Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties. 
If you have ever driven through the depot district of downtown Central, there, on Main Street, you will see a thrift store also named Helping Hands.  This retail outlet, staffed by volunteers and stocked with used merchandise donated by generous local citizenry, is the source of much of their funding.   But, the fundraising doesn’t stop there.  In addition to private donations and store revenue, Helping Hands of Clemson hosts an annual pub crawl, an annual Crawl for the Kids.
On Saturday, March 15, the Annual Crawl for the Kids Pub Crawl begins with check-in at 5 PM and will last until approximately,  11:30 PM that night.  Unlike other pub crawls, crawlers can choose to shuttle with a group or go out on their own to the various participants offering drink and food specialties in and around downtown Clemson.  This year, the crawl is expanding to include the newest downtown Central eatery,  Beyond the Bull (BTB), offering free duck chowder and chili to anyone from the Crawl who stops in.  In addition, BTB is donating $ 1.00 to the Helping Hands Building Fund for every entrée sold during that time. Downtown Central is fast becoming a dining destination with six successfully operating restaurants all within walking distance of each other from Mexican to Asian and now BTB, an eat smart kitchen specializing in wild game. 

The price to participate is $25 per person for a crawl tee which guarantees you various specials at each stop along the route.  To reserve your T-shirt, you must pre-register by Tuesday, March 4.  For more details go to Helping Hands.

                 Eat Smart, Feel Good!
Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB

Monday, January 20, 2014

YELP---Public service or big business

Beyond the Bull will no longer support YELP.  The city guide that claims it “helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax, and play, based on the informed opinion of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know” is not in the business of helping people.  It is in the business of advertising. 

YELP claims that an unbiased use of a very secret algorithm filters out reviews they consider to be unrecommended (aka filtered) in an effort to protect their readers from biased reviews that may be solicited or paid for by the business.  Is it true?  Who knows!

What I do know to be is this:

Shortly after Beyond the Bull received its third review (all positive) I received a phone call from an overly aggressive YELP representative who attempted to sell me advertising.  I declined.

The next day, two of the three reviews were moved to filtered status.  In other words, removed from the main page and only accessible if the reader knew enough to click on the filtered icon.  Since that time, Beyond the Bull received ten more highly positive, unsolicited reviews.  All ten were filtered (now designated as unrecommended). 

Recently, a two star (out of five) review was published.  Where do you think YELP’s algorithm placed it?  Yep!  Front and center.  Was it written by a “local in the know?”  No.  This particular reviewer has been registered with YELP since October with a whopping 2 reviews under his belt. 

This is not sour grapes.  I know some of you are thinking that I am just upset that Beyond the Bull received a two star review.  That is not the case.  Having been in the restaurant industry for decades, I know that sometimes good restaurants get bad reviews just like the best of literature, theatre or music.  What I am upset about is a business model that includes extortion, and that YELP uses that business model to unfairly solicit paid advertising from small business.  In my opinion, it is both irresponsible and criminal. 

Beyond the Bull submitted a request according to the YELP guidelines to close the account on 1/17/ 2014.  As of today, YELP has not yet complied.  For more BTB reviews, photos, location and information go to http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/158/1775983/restaurant/Greenville/Beyond-the-Bull-Central or https://www.facebook.com/BeyondTheBull

EAT SMART, America!
Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Themed Dinners Springing To Life In The Upstate

It’s not just here’s the menu, take the order any more.  Themed dinners are making their way across the upstate.  From Greenville to the Golden Corner of South Carolina, restaurateurs are taking on the role of educators 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.

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.  In my establishment there is a menu to which I must adhere, 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 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, we are hoping to lead the way in the Golden Corner with a monthly offering, the third Saturday of every month.  The venue is small, limited to 24, and casual enough so that if a guest wants to take a break and stroll outside to the fire pit 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, the theme of which was the Feast of the Seven Fishes, was a resounding success, so much so that we are already planning our January event, Cabin Fever Food Fest, featuring the best of Maine:  lobster, cod, blueberries and clams to be followed in February with a pairing of game meat and local craft beers.  Other themed dinners planned for later this year will include a fish and game collaboration with another popular restaurant also located in the old Depot District of Central, a New England lobster bake, an homage to the BBC Two Fat Ladies, as well as a collaboration with local farms, the best of the best.  
Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB
Beyond the Bulll (an "eat smart" kitchen)
233 W. Main St., Central, SC 29630

For more information on upcoming events go to www.facebook.com/beyondthebull 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 the entrance to the old Depot District, downtown, Central, SC.  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, December 10, 2013

Please Join Us in Celebrating the Feast of Seven Fishes 

December 23, 2013 one seating only at 6PM. 

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef AngelaB

Sunday, November 3, 2013

To tip or not to tip---NOT at Beyond the Bull

I recently watched an interview with the author of a book, the objective of which was the defense of the argument to raise the tipped minimum wage.  The tipped minimum wage is the hourly wage earned by servers in the food industry and has remained the same for more than twenty years at $ 2.13.  Yes, it sounds low and when all of the arguments for raising it compare that wage to the federal minimum wage which at the time of publication is fixed at $ 7.25, it sounds even more ominous. 

But, what proponents of the increase do not tell you is that the $ 2.13 is just a portion of the server’s wage.  As anyone knows who has ever eaten at a restaurant that has tableside service, the customer is expected to leave a tip.  Nowadays, it is customary for the tip to be at least 20% of the cost of food and beverage.  That means, the total wage is $ 2.13 per hour plus tip.  In other words, the restaurateur guarantees to pay the $ 2.13 per hour (enough to cover taxes) and the remainder comes from the customer.  And since the cost of eating out has kept up with the increase in the cost of living, the server’s tips must therefore, also, have increased accordingly.  After all, 20% of a steak sandwich costing $ 5.00 twenty years ago would have meant a tip of  $ 1.00, but 20% of a steak sandwich costing $ 20.00 today would mean a tip of $ 4.00. 

Yes, there are many servers who are living at or below poverty level, just as many as there are retail clerks, domestic helpers and hotel workers.  But, if they are working in those positions, they are being paid wages in accordance with the skill level required.  In the restaurant industry, tipped workers are truly paid for performance.  A well trained, experienced, knowledgeable server, one who lands a job at a high end fine dining establishment, one who knows how to up-sell and provide first class service, will and should earn more than a server in a short order diner.  Raising the minimum tipped wage might help the server working at the diner.  Or, as many economists believe, raising the minimum tipped wage might just eliminate some of those jobs altogether.

The other “tipping” debate is whether or not to eliminate tipping altogether and replace it with higher hourly wages.  The argument to eliminate tipping is that if servers are paid an hourly wage based on the minimum hourly wage or performance, doing so would bring foodservice workers out of the poverty status.  My years of business experience lead me to believe that performance based compensation is the better choice of the two, in order to ensure that the higher the skill that is required and the better the performance, the higher the wage, as it should be in any industry.    

Chimichurri leg of lamb platter, fresh tomato salsa
and cucumber yogurt dipping sauce
Whatever the outcome of the ever ongoing debate, here in Central at Beyond the Bull, the debate is over.  Our policy is no tipping!  I am often asked why?  My answer is this, for fast and casual counter service, whether the guest is being served a sandwich, burrito, salad, hot dog, burger, pizza or a platter of chimichurri leg of lamb, it is NOT tableside service, and therefore, NO tip should be expected.  If you pick up your order and throw away your disposable dishes, the only tip that we at Beyond the Bull expect is that you tip others off to try us out. 

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef Angela Bell 
Beyond the Bulll (an "eat smart" kitchen)
233 W. Main St., Central, SC 29630

Friday, October 11, 2013

A SMART Thanksgiving

For those of you who have been subscribing to my blog, you know that the subject is worthy of repeating---inflammatory foods are the source of age related chronic disease.  And since the Thanksgiving holiday is all about food, family and friends, which every day is for me, I thought I would help those of you who truly believe in the anti-aging way of eating, to have an anti-aging Thanksgiving feast.  I know you are probably thinking it is a little early for Thanksgiving plans, but I have an ulterior motive.  

To me, Thanksgiving is all about tradition.  At Beyond the Bull, we are about to start a new one, right here in the town of Central where we will hopefully stay for many years to come.  Beyond the Bull has joined with the Marine Corps Reserve in the first annual Thanksgiving Benefit Dinner for Toys for Tots of Pickens
County---a Thanksgiving feast for a small price and a new unwrapped toy (of any value).  I know there are many who can't celebrate with their families and hope those of you who can't will join David and me on that day to dine on fresh, natural turkey breast, our popular butternut squash bread pudding and other BTB favorites.

If you decide you would rather do the cooking yourself, we won't hold it against you.  Here is my version of a tasty but traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Although traditional Thanksgiving foods can be highly acid forming if prepared using ingredients such as stuffing mix from a box, it is possible to have a SMART holiday that mimics those you remember fondly from childhood.  So, grab your potato masher and roasting pan and let’s have the smartest of all holiday dinners whether at the Bull with David and me or at your home with your loved ones.  Happy SMART Thanksgiving to all!

A Smart Thanksgiving Menu

Vegetable cocktail
In a juicer combine celery, parsley, cucumber and apple. 
Pour one ounce of your favorite gin or vodka in a chilled martini glass.  Add the juice and garnish with
cucumber slices.

Asparagus wrapped in thin sliced prosciutto with
horseradish mustard sauce
Vegetarian spring rolls
Seasoned Daikon chips

Butternut and jalapeno with
kale chip garnish

Spinach, red onion and black olive with a blueberry balsamic
vinaigrette and crunchy soy nuts

Roast Turkey with wild rice, parsley, sage and mushroom stuffing
Gravy from pan drippings and stock
Smashed maple sweet and Bliss potatoes
Cranberry chutney made with celery, raisins, vinegar,
black peppercorns, apples, chili peppers and onion
Green beans and almonds
Roasted grapes for garnish

Olive oil pot de crème

Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, 
Chef AngelaB.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Football, bar food and tailgating---have your wings and eat smart too!
The season of our greatest American past time, football, is just around the corner and whether you are an NFL Patriot’s fan or a college Tiger fan, the one thing all of us have in common is bar food and tailgating.  Every year I have the challenge of preparing food that is both smart and comforting, meeting our expectations for finger licking good.  Let’s face it, no one wants to be seen eating a “smart” salad bowl at kickoff.  So, here is my solution to the dilemma for those of you who want to belly up to the bar and still eat smart to feel good.

5.  Add apple cider vinegar, chili peppers and spices. 

BTB original Duck Cakes Caramel
Natural cider vinegar, chilis and spices such as cinnamon, ginger and turmeric are especially anti-inflammatory.  So, whatever your choice for bbq sauce, potato salad, cheese quesadillas, or ribs, add a double dose of each to balance out the bad affects of the sugar, trans fats and refined grains which are surely included as a main ingredient.

4.  Cook from scratch.

Of course, this is the best way to eat smart.  Every food that comes in  a bottle, can, bag or box has either added sugar, salt, trans fats, refined grains or chemicals. 

3.  Make smart menu choices.

BTB Bison Shortribs
 When in a restaurant, choose items that can be served without the pasta, bread or sauce.  Instead of white potato fries, choose sweet potato fries.  Instead of white rice, choose brown.  And remember a plant based diet is the best diet.  

2.   Drink less eat less.

I think this is a no brainer.  But, for those of you who don't know this, drinking alcohol stimulates the appetite and the only foods that seem to quench it are salty, comfort foods such as ice cream and potato chips or foods laden with fat. 

BTB Rabbit Wings in a tangy tomato bbq sauce

1.  Order out or eat in at Beyond the Bull.

Check out the smart food for lunch, dinner and tailgating.  Instead of the a steady diet of hot dogs, pizza, subs and wings, try duck cakes and rabbit wings with BTB special dipping sauces or tangy tomato bbq sauce and spicy salsa.  They pair well with lagers and ales and are not only smarter but taste better too. 

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