After producing two successful, temporary "pop up" restaurants in 2011, chef Alex Pope and writer and event planner Jenny Vergara kick off the year 2012 with a culinary journey to Morocco for six nights this month: January 19-21 and 26-28. There will be no Sunday-night seatings for this version of Vagabond, a combination dining experience and art-installation event that Pope and Vergara first mounted last August. Keeping the tradition of hosting the dinners in an unusual setting, Pope and Vergara turn the Terrace on Grand event space in the Power & Light District into "Saffron Street: A Moroccan Bazaar" (instead of the Road to Morocco). Instead of two scheduled seatings with carefully timed courses, as in the past, this new Vagabond will be more of a gathering with no assigned seating. And instead of individual courses, patrons can serve themselves from food stations in an area called the Marketplace and take their plates into another room — the theatrical setting created by James Pillatzke of Pinkie Couture — with tables of various sizes.
"We want this to be a communal experience," Vergara says, "where it's encouraged to sit at a table with people you don't know. We're not seating large parties together. People can sit wherever they like."
Pope's menu for each night of "Saffron Street" will feature an array of exotic dishes to sample as well as three Moroccan-style cocktails. The $50 ticket price includes the meal (and taxes and gratuity) and all three cocktails.
Pope's culinary Marketplace for Vagabond will include roasted lamb with baba ghanoush and fried capers; spice-rubbed game hen with figs; beef ribs and couscous with braised peppers; a meze table laden with dolmas, stuffed dates and chickpeas; and for a sweet finale, baklava-style panna cotta with accompaniments.
The featured cocktails will be a mint tea julep, a pomegranate and red wine punch, and a citrus vodka flavored with honey and ginger. Each ticket will include three tokens for the featured cocktails. "There will be a cash bar for guests who would like something else," Vergara says.
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to Brown Paper Tickets.