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gfron1

Southwest Pop-Up Road Trip (AZ, NM)

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Since my little town has a pretty small customer base, and I have fans around the region, AND because the 1st week in January always sucks for sales...I'm taking my restaurant on the road!

 

I know people who do pop-ups, but what about traveling pop-ups. Has anyone heard of this? I'm thinking I'll rent a van, load it with 10 days of equipment and food and do a new city every night. I've already done some feelers through FB and Instagram, and the response is a bit overwhelming.  Here's where I'm going:

 

Monday, January 5th, Tucson, AZ

Tuesday, January 6th, Scottsdale, AZ

Wednesday, January 7th, Flagstaff, AZ

Thursday and Friday January 8th & 9th, Albuquerque, NM

Saturday, January 10th, Santa Fe, NM

Sunday, January 11th, Truth or Consequences, NM

Monday, January 12th, Las Cruces, NM

 

The plan is 24 guests per night for a 10-course dinner. $100 a head which includes all but the gratuity (don't get me started on that debate). 

 

Looking forward to telling you all about it - lots of crazy logistics for someone who specializes in local foraged fare! 

 

On the side - if anyone is interested in attending, please don't post here, just PM and I'll get you details.

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What sort of permit issues do you expect to run into? I'd heard that foodtruck permitting can be a bit of a mess.

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That's a good question and fortunately there are 2 answers. First, is that we've been told that these will fall under private events since they will be pre-sold and not open at the door. The second is that the licensing is for the kitchen, not the person, so we just have to get into the right space. 

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Wow!  You are a brave man  :laugh:   

 

I hope someone can take pictures!

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I'm exhausted just thinking about it, but moving an entire kitchen and dining room for 8 consecutive nights is much easier than cooking lunch and dinner every day :)

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How many of you will be going?  I can't imagine one person could survive with their sanity intact!  I sense the basis of another

book in all of this if you do. Can't wait to hitchhike with you.

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Wait! I could go to Florida, fix up a food truck, travel I-10 through New Orleans, hit Austin and end up in LA. And I could get a film crew to follow me until I have a huge fan base that's waiting for me in every city! it would make for a great movie!

 

My lead server and I are doing this together. Interestingly, my co-author is coming too to be my 2nd server because she happens to be at a downspot in her life.

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Why wait for a movie?  The trip could become a weekly show so great that you could kick  a certain  "Guy" to the curb.  egullet on the go

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It doesn't look as though you'll have time for foraging, or even the climate. I do hope you'll tell us about your supplies as you go along. Your itinerary looks tiring even for someone who isn't setting up a kitchen and feeding people every night. :-)

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Oh Rob, I've been thinking about you as I cooked for just ONE extra person tonight.  I don't know how you do it.....

 

 

This may be too personal, and don't answer if it is.  But is your partner coming along for this?  

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Shelby, Tyler is being left behind to take care of our foster son...plus I don't think he would enjoy this demanding of a trip. He's more of a wanderer. I'm more of a charger.

 

Smithy, the foraging angle is one I was thinking about. What's the point of a locavore menu if it travels? I've debated if I could do a bit of foraging each morning to add a local flare - I'm sure I could find a few things: prickly pear tuna, cholla fruit, hackberry, maybe some black walnuts, possibly some dried oyster mushrooms and easily juniper. And wouldn't it be amazing if I hunted a deer in the morning and served it that night...but that would be illegal ;)

 

What's fun to me about all this is that we're going from idea to conception in 3 weeks. I've talked about pop-ups in ABQ and just did one in Tucson, but I'm really relying on my supporters to pull this off. In just one day we confirmed ABQ and TorC. Cruces, Scottsdale and Tucson and pretty much secure. Flag and Santa Fe are my challenges, but folks are working on locations for me. I need all of this confirmed and the bulk of the tickets (we're doing a ticketing system for this) sold before I go to Helsinki on Sunday morning for our 10 day vacation. Yow!

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Smithy, the foraging angle is one I was thinking about. What's the point of a locavore menu if it travels? I've debated if I could do a bit of foraging each morning to add a local flare - I'm sure I could find a few things: prickly pear tuna, cholla fruit, hackberry, maybe some black walnuts, possibly some dried oyster mushrooms and easily juniper. And wouldn't it be amazing if I hunted a deer in the morning and served it that night...but that would be illegal ;)

 

Well, I've gotten more than one deer without a license, but I don't recommend it: it's an expensive way to 'hunt' and the auto repair shops aren't always timely. :-D "Prickly pear tuna" = the paddles, or a dish you make from the paddles? I don't know hackberry. I'd love to see some foraging photos if you have time.

What's fun to me about all this is that we're going from idea to conception in 3 weeks. I've talked about pop-ups in ABQ and just did one in Tucson, but I'm really relying on my supporters to pull this off. In just one day we confirmed ABQ and TorC. Cruces, Scottsdale and Tucson and pretty much secure. Flag and Santa Fe are my challenges, but folks are working on locations for me. I need all of this confirmed and the bulk of the tickets (we're doing a ticketing system for this) sold before I go to Helsinki on Sunday morning for our 10 day vacation. Yow!

Excellent! Can you tell more about the venues in general? I'm curious about whether these are being held in someone's back yard, a community center, a park, or...? The parking lot of the Scottsdale Mall seems like it might be a bit...noisy...but you need room.

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The tunas are the magenta fruit on the rim of the paddles (nopales, napolitos). Hackberries are one of my favorite, but one of the most time intensive ingredients that I forage - taste like a sweet date, but theres virtually no meat, so its all about steep and infuse.

 

The sites vary by city. Most are in private homes, but ABQ is in a currently unused restaurant - I'll use that as my base to re-load for the rest of the trip.

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Just drafted this letter to potential guests. Its so big city that its turning my stomach (ok, not really that bad), but we have to get tix sold quickly to lock things down. Any thoughts/revulsions before I start sending?

Thank you for your interest in the Curious Kumquat road trip pop-up tour! We’ve never done this before (and at my age, may never again), so we appreciate your support as we share our food beyond Silver City.

 

Because many of our cities are already showing extremely high demand, we will be using a ticketing system for the meals. What this means is that to have a spot at the table, you will need to buy your ticket(s), which will be non-refundable. If something should come up that makes it impossible for you to attend, you’ll need to sell your tickets to someone else. We aren’t that foofoo of a restaurant to have such practices, but since we’re going to be on the road, we won’t be able to market last minute openings, plus we’re going to be in 8 cities in 9 days, so filling vacant seats is a bit more than we can handle. Thanks for your understanding.

 

All tickets are $100 per person. That includes food and beverages – those wishing non-alcoholic beverages will get specially selected and/or prepared drinks paired with their meals that will rival the wine pairings.

 

Each dinner accommodates 24 guests. Once the 24 tickets are sold the event will be closed. If you submit payment after the 24 seats are sold, we will notify you and immediately refund the money.

 

No dietary restrictions will be accommodated since we’ll be working out of unfamiliar kitchens. Our food is naturally gluten free and leans vegetarian, but there will be meat served. Our meat is all locally raised by 4H youth in the Silver City area. We cannot accommodate vegan, raw or paleo diets – again, just too much for us to handle with a one-person kitchen and without our own pantry. There may be some minor diets that can be accommodated, but check with us before buying your ticket, because once tickets are purchased, no refunds will be given except as noted above for oversells.

 

To purchase your tickets, send payment via PayPal to: Rob@Connoley.com.  In the notes box, please include your name, email and the location and date for which you are paying. You will receive a confirmation by PayPal, followed by the restaurant confirming your ticket. At that point you will receive details about the location and any other specifics.

 

We appreciate your understanding to these big city, big restaurant policies but we’re just trying to herd cats in a very short period of time during a very busy time of year. So thanks.

 

and anticipating the question - we're working with booze distributors in each city to essentially use their license for tastings. Some want us to pay, others are giving the booze to promote their product. In ABQ we are actually using the site's license since its in a closed restaurant.

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gfron - Assuming (is that a bad thing to do here?) that you have avid fans (and therefore contacts in each place on your itinerary - some of whom may at least be familiar with 'foraging' and/or know their local area pretty well), is there a possibility you could enlist some help at each stop to take a morning walk on the day you arrive to forage a few local ingredients for you? Perhaps you could ask them to scout out (in advance) a few things that might be easy for them to pick for you - so you could even plan a bit beforehand what you might be serving - or at the very least they could quickly lead you to where the best foraging specimens might be to save you time and steps?


Edited by Deryn (log)
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Love that idea. Don't know if its feasible. But love it.

 

Btw, I opened up sales on ABQ and it sold out in 7 minutes! Crazy. Just Crazy.

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Wow. 7 minutes. That is amazing .. and wonderful! Hope you have just as great a response at all the locales you plan to pop up.

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Its been almost a month since I've updated this because I've been out of control busy with the cookbook, the trip to Helsinki and keeping up with the holidays. 

 

The latest is that we're sold out in ABQ and Las Cruces; almost sold out in Tucson and Scottsdale. Truth or Consequences is turning out to be a dog. And Santa Fe we still don't have a location. Yesterday I turned to my friends at the various Edible magazines who are now helping, along with my restaurant and wine distributors. Once I have Santa Fe located it should happen fast...I hope so since its coming up in just over a week. TorC may just have to be an intimate affair.

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I'm currently in Taos, then Santa Fe & Abq for a few days. Are you doing any waitlists?

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Just yesterday we locked down a Santa Fe location - a PR director who's trying to sell her home near the plaza. We have plenty of tickets for that since we just opened sales - PM me for details if you don't already know how to get info.

 

Curious Kumquat Pop-Up Series

 

This is starting to feel nuts to me. What the hell was I thinking!  Here's the latest as of this morning:

 

Monday, Jan 5th Tucson – 6 seats left

Tuesday, Jan 6th Scottsdale – SOLD OUT

Thursday, Jan 8th ABQ – SOLD OUT

Friday, Jan 9th ABQ – SOLD OUT

Saturday, Jan 10th Santa Fe – On Sale now!

Sunday, Jan 11th Truth or Consequences – 8 seats left

Monday, Jan 12th Las Cruces – SOLD OUT

 

TorC is the problem child. Today I'm emailing spas, hotels, B&Bs, doctor offices, lawyers...anyone who might be a customer. We've nailed down free housing in each city. We've been loaned a 15 person van to move our stuff around in. Our expense is uber low, profits high, stress astronomical.

 

But as all of my in-town peers shut down for the week or two because there's no money to be made...I'm much more hungry for a profitable business. So seeyalaterzgaterz!

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We're in Tucson getting ready for the first night. Still scrambling through connections and social media to get those last few seats sold. Smartest thing I've ever done was turn of the responsibility of feeding me to my staff...they're out right now getting me something so I can focus. Also, I do a lot of my stocking up here in Tucson (I'm 3 hours away in the mountains), and so I knew right where to go - Lee Lee's Oriental Market on Orange Grove.

 

BTW, here's my almost final menu:

Course 1

Juniper infused butternut squash soup, goat cheese mousse, seeded crackers

 

Course 2

Purple potato gnocchi, 3-year house-aged parmesan sauce, beet balls, boba

 

Course 3

Hackberry broth farro risotto, caramelized amaranth, poured lemon cream

 

Course 4

Thai spiced acorn croquettes, cilantro sauce, lichen

 

Course 5

Elk heart crudo, savory blueberry sauce with popotillo, egg yolk, fresh blueberry, salt-cured blueberry, shaved pecan

 

Course 6

Goat tagine with chocolate couscous, cumin scented mayonnaise, roasted turnip balls

 

Course 7

House cured bacon, celeriac stock, celeriac cubes, roasted Brussels sprouts, yeast syrup, onion ash, raw apple, pickled mustard seed

 

Course 8

Liquid juniper caramel, crème fraiche, milk crunch, pine needle

 

Course 9

Nocino syrup, goat cheese Bavarian

 

Course 10

Bonbons (cinnamon or Mexican vanilla), butter pecan caramel

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We're in Tucson getting ready for the first night. Still scrambling through connections and social media to get those last few seats sold. Smartest thing I've ever done was turn of the responsibility of feeding me to my staff...they're out right now getting me something so I can focus. Also, I do a lot of my stocking up here in Tucson (I'm 3 hours away in the mountains), and so I knew right where to go - Lee Lee's Oriental Market on Orange Grove.

 

BTW, here's my almost final menu:

Course 1

Juniper infused butternut squash soup, goat cheese mousse, seeded crackers

 

Course 2

Purple potato gnocchi, 3-year house-aged parmesan sauce, beet balls, boba

 

Course 3

Hackberry broth farro risotto, caramelized amaranth, poured lemon cream

 

Course 4

Thai spiced acorn croquettes, cilantro sauce, lichen

 

Course 5

Elk heart crudo, savory blueberry sauce with popotillo, egg yolk, fresh blueberry, salt-cured blueberry, shaved pecan

 

Course 6

Goat tagine with chocolate couscous, cumin scented mayonnaise, roasted turnip balls

 

Course 7

House cured bacon, celeriac stock, celeriac cubes, roasted Brussels sprouts, yeast syrup, onion ash, raw apple, pickled mustard seed

 

Course 8

Liquid juniper caramel, crème fraiche, milk crunch, pine needle

 

Course 9

Nocino syrup, goat cheese Bavarian

 

Course 10

Bonbons (cinnamon or Mexican vanilla), butter pecan caramel

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Very impressive!  Looking at that schedule, I can't think why you'd need housing; it looks like you'll be spending all your spare time driving. :blink:   The menu looks delicious and interesting in the best creative sense of the word.  Thanks for keeping us posted, and good luck!

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I hope your first night was a huge success!

 

 

I also hope you're still sleeping because I bet you're exhausted.

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I attended the Tucson dinner last night, along with my husband and another couple. All 24 seats were sold, I believe. It was held at the Tasteful Kitchen on N Stone, which is a small, but pleasant, venue. Colourful, warm, inviting. 

 

Everyone there seemed to have a great time - the mood was light and festive. The wines were varied and enjoyable. The food was fun and delicious, with some creative presentation. 

 

I was just coming off a nasty 2-week bout of flu, so not sure my taste buds were at their best, but I really enjoyed the evening. I did struggle a bit with the elk heart but my dining companions enjoyed it. (They thought it needed a touch of salt and, once added, declared it delicious.)

 

It was a real pleasure to meet Rob, though of course he was very busy throughout the evening. We gifted him with some saguaro syrup, made by the local Tohono O'odham people (they use it in their rain ceremony and sometimes have some left over to sell).  

 

Pics of courses 4 through 9 (two shots of course 6, with the smoke):

 

IMG_20150105_193543.jpg

 

IMG_20150105_195506.jpg

 

IMG_20150105_202245.jpg

 

IMG_20150105_202538.jpg

 

IMG_20150105_204835.jpg

 

IMG_20150105_211238.jpg

 

IMG_20150105_213351.jpg


Edited by FauxPas (log)
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