Mermaids & Cowboys is an independent total-company cafe in the coronary heart of La Jolla, California. The 3,200 square-foot notion slid into a person of Prospect Street’s most coveted vacancies in the wake of the pandemic in Drop of 2020.
Owner Michael Matthews named the restaurant as an homage to San Diego’s wealthy record of land and sea— a nod to La Jolla’s historic cattle ranchers and the “Ama” pearl-diving mermaids of Japan.
The restaurant tells a visible tale by using pearl chandeliers, saddle-leather-based booths, teak home furnishings, and a pearlescent fish-scaled bar. With an ocean-oriented eating space and flooring to ceiling accordion doors that give way to a trellised 40-seat patio, Mermaids & Cowboys is a contender amid the city’s finest out of doors dining.
The Powerhouse Duo at Mermaids & Cowboys
Becoming a member of Mermaids & Cowboys’ workforce to spearhead the laidback, surf and turf-encouraged idea is Executive Chef ERIK FRESHLEY. A celebrated Pitmaster, barbeque environment winner, hunter and accredited forager, Erik’s storied occupation led him on an inspiring culinary journey across the U.S. before settling into his to start with formal govt chef position at Mermaids & Cowboys.
To mirror the creativity of the kitchen area, Mermaids & Cowboys has tapped cocktail curator PRAVEEN DAS, a self-taught bartending behemoth from India who followed an not likely path to a job in cocktails.
Collectively, the duo is functioning to make their mark in San Diego’s evolving hospitality landscape, and their lately produced menus are representative of untapped talent emerging in downtown La Jolla. Surpassing the “farm to table” maxim, Chef Freshley’s menu prioritizes environmental effect, compact producers, and traceable sourcing, although hinting at his soulful and southern influences.
Praveen is evolving Mermaids & Cowboys’ sustainably minded bar program with homemade cordials, fermentations, tinctures, and syrups. His menus offer you a nod to cross-cultural influences and deliver a bridge for discovering for staff members and attendees alike.
ERIK FRESHLEY, Govt Chef & Pitmaster
Chef Erik’s childhood was marked by looking, fishing, and farming on his grandparent’s land exterior of Chicago, Illinois. Expanding and canning considerably of what they ate, butchering their individual game, and barbequing complete hog on the weekends aided shape Erik’s work ethic and culinary ethos.
His initially restaurant task was at a spouse and children friend’s soul food stuff kitchen when he was 19 many years outdated. In excess of the following 20 years, the self-taught chef cooked for dignitaries on-base at Fort Eustis in Virginia, sharpened his higher-volume expertise in the luxury cruise industry, and put in time in the corporate kitchens of Marriott lodges in Miami, Tampa Bay, and Richmond.
Within just the aggressive barbeque circuit, Erik created a identify for himself at prestigious competitions these as Kansas City’s American Royal Environment Collection (1st place) and Houston’s World’s Championship (2nd area).
He created a cult-like following in Southeast Virginia for his local community barbeque pop-ups concentrating on stay hearth cooking and schooling. Once he arrived in San Diego, he speedily labored his way into the culinary teams for lauded hotels and eating places including The Grand Del Mar, a AAA 5 Diamond lodge, La Valencia Hotel, Dolce, and Grand Ole BBQ.
Nowadays, Erik resides in San Diego, California and helms the kitchen area as Executive Chef of Mermaids & Cowboys. He frequently offers his passionate perspective and time to organizations dedicated to reducing poverty and rising inclusion. Erik pays his good results ahead with normal donations to Father Joe’s Villages and Rachel’s Women’s Shelter in San Diego, and he proudly qualified prospects an annual group-oriented Juneteenth celebration in which he donates barbeque to hundreds of locals in require.
Bone Marrow Crab Cake | sourdough toasts, charred lemon
Signature dish: Crab meat coated in a housemade bone marrow butter is remedied overnight in advance of becoming blended with toasted breadcrumbs, clean basil, spices, eggs, and a housemade aioli. The crab cake receives baked again into a hollowed-out beef bone and is served drizzled in bone marrow butter alongside sourdough toasts and charred lemon.
Portuguese Stew | clams, shrimp, calamari, seasonal fish, andouille, crostini
Chef Erik’s ode to his Portuguese grandmother’s original recipe: In line with the kitchen’s zero-waste attempts, chef boils down seafood byproduct (heads, fins, tails, carcasses) to develop a flavorful broth even though a 12-hour simmer of pink wine cooked San Marzano tomatoes results in a good base. Grilled veggies and andouille sausage are extra to the stew with smoked white fish from Lake Michigan, little neck clams from Cedar Creek Florida, bone marrow butter poached CenSea shrimp, fresh calamari, and additional. *seafood modifications seasonally.
Lamb Chops | pearled barley asparagus succotash, roasted beet, burnt carrot, and mint-spinach purees – served medium uncommon
A labor of adore, the dish will take 72-several hours from creation to plate: A half rack of New Zealand Lamb Chops is coated in Chef’s signature rub, grilled medium unusual, and served atop a barley asparagus succotash. The lamb chops are served with a range of elaborate, housemade purees. For instance, beets are soaked in wine for 24 several hours, cooked for an additional 12 hours in lemon, orange, and grapefruit pulp prior to remaining pressed in smoked sea salt. The puree rests for 12 hours in advance of plating.
10-Hour Braised Pork Roast | yellow wax beans, wild rice, caramelized minted greens, gravy
Greatest-seller: Chef sources pork from small producers in Northern California. A 24-hour brine prepares the roast, which cooks on the grill for around 6 hrs. A housemade marinade is extra just before being finished in the oven for an additional 10 several hours. Caramelized mint greens are Chef’s ode to his southern roots, and the dish is complimented by yellow wax beans and wild rice.
The Vegan Butcher | white and forbidden rice, pearled barley and asparagus succotash, roasted mushrooms, roasted beet, burnt carrot, and spinach mint purees
Grilled veggies dusted in leek ash attain a deep protein-design and style flavor soon after getting soaked in grapeseed oil and grilled with smoked sea salt to carry out the sugar and give the dish a robust char.
PRAVEEN DAS, Cocktail Curator
Born in India, Praveen Das’ enthusiasm for foreign flavors was nurtured as a result of extensive journey. By the age of 30, he experienced lived in 18 countries and had designed a potent perception of adaptability and cultural competence—qualities which have experienced a profound influence on his culinary point of view.
In his late-20s, Praveen’s interest in hospitality prompted him to swap impending occupation burnout as the CEO of a civil engineering company in Dubai for a two-year journey—exploring towns and cultures by cocktails and cuisine. In Paris, he put in 4 months immersing himself in bartending courses. He ventured to Prague to sign up for one particular of the city’s best rum bars at Bartida Degustation Bar & Store, and in London, he concluded a six-week bar stage at Oriole (Spirited Awards “Best Global Cocktail Bar,” Worlds 50 Best).
Returning to Dubai in 2008, Praveen prevailed in his newfound job as a bartender for a perfectly-known non-public occasions company, and his entrepreneurial spirit led him to broaden the company’s subsidiaries as a spouse/model ambassador, representing spirits and luxury items in the Center East.
By 2012, Praveen had mellowed in his strategy to organization, and he established out on a further worldwide journey to feed his curiosity for new substances and procedures of planning that characterize global cuisines. In 2014, Praveen moved to the U.S. He worked on little spot farms in northern California and realized about sustainable agriculture.
Going to San Diego in 2018, he started his have cocktail consultancy, Mixology Vida. During the worldwide pandemic, Praveen supported the city’s best behind the bar, doing the job at Born & Raised, Lion Share, and Hyatt Hotel’s Red Marlin, in advance of he was tapped by Mermaids & Cowboys to enable guide the cocktail system.
Tonto’s | 4 Roses bourbon, brandy, darkish rum, eco-friendly chartreuse, lemon, ginge
Praveen’s personalized preferred and the menu’s hidden gem: Tonto’s is advanced and deliberately grows in taste. This heady mix involves virtually 2 oz of four various liquors and is well balanced with notes of lemon honey, ginger, vanilla, and cinnamon to create a amazingly effectively-rounded, straightforward sipper.
Seasonal Margarita | Transforming weekly, a menu staple that complements the bar’s zero-squander initiatives
Praveen collects kitchen area scraps, ordinarily deliver from local growers, and is now doing work to ferment purple carrots with spices into a traditional Indian Kanji, an age-old healthful probiotic drink. In about two weeks’ time, he’ll use his newest batch to produce his spin on a tequila bitter with a deep red Kanji float.
Gunsmoke | Ilegal Joven mezcal, Maker’s Mark, lemon, rosemary
Finest-seller: Whisky and mezcal are smoky soulmates in this 1950s American Western film-motivated cocktail. Stirred with lemon juice, rosemary syrup, black walnut, and orange bitters, Gunsmoke is Praveen’s spin on an outdated fashioned and is garnished with a smoldering rosemary sprig.
The Aztec | Mr. Black coffee liqueur, El Tesoro Added Anejo Tequila, Cointreau, cinnamon, chocolate
Mermaid & Cowboys’ response to the espresso martini fad: Praveen identified inspiration in a Oaxacan Champurrado (scorching chocolate), which is usually served heat and frothy. With The Aztec, he works by using a coffee liqueur and best shelf tequila shaken with an egg white and served chilled. The final result, a Mexican espresso martini with hints of cinnamon and chocolate.
Cordalis | Gin, Italicus bergamot liqueur, lime, prosecco
Impressed by the depths of the ocean, Cordalis is a layered cocktail with coloration switching deep blue and purple hues. A twist on an Aperol Spritz, Praveen takes advantage of bergamot liqueur for a a lot more subtle citrus profile, a all-natural blue pea syrup for coloration, and tops with a splash of prosecco for a pleasant fizz.
See you there
Mermaids & Cowboys Several hours:
- Supper | 4–9PM Every day
- Reside Songs | 6PM Tuesday–Thursday
- Pleased Hour | 4–6PM Each day
50% off all fresh shucked oysters, wine by the glass and by the bottle, and all draft and bottled beer
1251 Prospect Road, La Jolla, CA 92037 | 858.999.0205 | www.mermaidscowboys.com
See you there, San Diego!