In Japan they call it Kaki Gori ( ka-key-gore-ree ). In Bolivia Shakashaka, Pueto rico Pirgua (your guess is as good as mine) apparently it comes in the shape of a pyramid. In most other parts of the USA and Canada people call it “Snow Cone”. Here in Carmel, California, we call it “Bowdees Shave Ice”. Bowdees' is brought to the Monterey Peninsular by the gorgeous, energetic, fun lovin' Oregon transplant Sally Larsen, a girl after my own heart, dog lover, Mom and Project Manager.
Oregon transplant Larsen
I was curious to know how Bowdee’s Shave Ice began. The venture started with one Mr. Bowdee. A “Been around the block more than once” Jack Russell Larsen rescued and an idea to write an entertaining cultural children’s book. Whilst one story “Bowdee’s Hawaiian Vacation” was being shot, Larsen had an epiphany. “The set was designed for the shave ice” tells Larsen “I saw the set and asked myself why this wasn't a real thing, why couldn't the book pop off the page and become reality? A week after the set was born we were offered an event at a car show, and we haven't stopped shaving ice at mobile events since.”
Bowdee & Larsen
Like all good things Bowdee’s started in a small way. A friend in Molokai, Hawaii sent a hand crank shave ice machine which got the gig rolling. Larsen and daughter Elle would set up at neighborhood parties where “It was always a huge hit” nods Larsen still evidently in awe. Since Bowdee’s had to adapt, the hand crank was replaced by The Swan, which shaves circa 200 portions of ice per hour.
Larsen, daughter Elle & The Swan!
Larsen knows how important it is to go with the flow, stay relevant, and also bring something new and different to the table. She has a keen sense of what consumers are looking for and is creative in keeping the appeal, adding flavors and different food to the platform.
Five years on Larsen’s energy continues to brim over. Catering at private parties and at annual events. I learnt “Bowdees Bespoke Shave Ice” is a thing too. Aside regular flavors, custom flavors for those who only want organic are available or Larsen develops custom blends. One example she sited was for a “Johnny Appleseeds Birthday Celebration" for which she created 10 different apple syrups, and reports “Braeburn, Pink Lady and Caramel Apple were the favorites”.
Que @ Bowdee's Shave Ice
So catch her if you can. Book before her calendar is crammed, Bowdee’s Shave ice is very much on the move. Larsen explained “I choose a different location every summer. Last year I was on Long Island, NY in the Hamptons', Hood River, Oregon for the Columbia River Gorge Stand-Up Paddle Board Challenge. I was in Prescott, Arizona the summer before that for the Oldest Rodeo in the World. Always an adventure and we have a busy September to November here in Carmel.”
For more on Bowdee’s Shave Ice & booking information see below.
Bowdee’s Hot Line: 831 235 6282
Photo Credit Bart Keagy Image #5 " Que @ Bowdee's Shave Ice"
Old Man Bowdee.
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