Vagabond: Sacramento’s Newest Pop-Up Dining Event

By Mary McCune

Mary McCune
Mary McCune

As America’s farm-to-fork capitol, Sacramento is increasingly becoming a more exciting place to live – and eat – with each passing month.  Our Facebook newsfeeds seem to be flooded with exciting events every night from art shows to photography classes.  As such, it might be hard to decide which events to go to.  

However, as your resident GOTG foodie, I strongly recommend clearing your calendar to attend Chef Matthew Flores’ pop-up dining experience, Vagabond.  

Having the privilege to attend his premier dinner in October at Chief Piercing, I ate through a six-course dinner chock full of seasonal, sustainable, and local foods.  The menu included cheese plates, sous vide pork, sautéed gnocchi, and rich buttery cake infused with orange. Each plate was beautifully composed and delicately assembled, however, don’t take my word for it…check out the pics here!

Flores’ next dining experience will be hosted at Mraz Brewing Company in El Dorado Hills and will be well-worth the drive off the grid.  It will feature a Latin culinary landscape, beer pairings, and an opportunity to meet other adventurous Sactown foodies!  Vagabond’s first dinner was a quick sellout, so make sure to grab your tickets here before they are gone!

I took some time to get to know the chef behind Vagabond:

Mary McCune: How long have you been cooking, how did you get into it?

Matthew Flores: I’ve been cooking for the past 12 years, what got me into it was the creative outlet that it provides.  I used to work in an office, and I remember wanting to have the creative freedom to bring something new to the world.  I wanted to look back and say, “I did that.” Food was what excited me, so I decided to take a chance and make that my career.  Hopefully, when I’m old, I’ll have made an impact!

MM:  What is the backstory behind Vagabond?  Is there a meaning behind the name?  What do you hope to achieve with these pop-up dinners?  What culinary experience are you hoping to create?

MF: Vagabond means one who wanders. I like the idea of that, not only because pop-up dining events are wandering dinner parties, but also because vagabonds, in a sense, are explorers who are not afraid to push the limits outside of their comfort zone.  I think that metaphor works well for food, where there are many ways to explore new ideas, and experiment to create something fun, exciting, and memorable. In fact, good food is a tool that can be used to bring people together.  Most of my favorite memories are being with the people I care about around the dinner table.  What I hope to create is an opportunity for people to have a memorable experience. 

MM: What should guests expect at a Vagabond pop-up dinner?

MF: When I’m planning a menu, I don’t adhere to strict guidelines as far as a theme goes.  I like to do seasonal, sustainable, and local food, but I think that there has been such a craze for “local” that it is easy to forget that there are foreign foods that should be experienced. I think it is important to be open to new foods because it facilitates growth.  Every food has a story and culture behind it. I like to keep all that in mind when I make decisions on what food to serve.

I hope to serve food that is not only delicious, but is also expressive of my views and experiences. 

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