SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A passion for trivia night at Sacramento microbreweries led Angelika Feldman and Christoper Lee to create their own traveling pop-up restaurant.
Feldman said playing trivia was fun, but the typical fried food-truck fare provided at the microbreweries didn’t always play nice with their digestive tracts.
“Every time we would go to trivia, it would either be tacos, pizza or some kind of over-the-top fried crazy food that would just make you feel sick to your stomach after,“ said Feldman. “It was good at the time, but not so good after. “
Feldman, 30, and Lee, 35, met in May 2020 and soon after started selling pasta, crackers and dried pastas at farmers markets. Their business called Flora & Fauna Provisions — think plants and animals in a broad sense — evolved to include selling jams, beer nuts and mustard.
They received their catering license in March of this year, enabling them to cater private parties, weddings, graduations and other events.
On June 28, they held their first microbrewery pop-up restaurant event. Two months later, they have become regulars at a rotating set of microbreweries.
A good response
At a recent pop-up dinner at Nitty’s Cider in Sacramento, Feldman and Lee brought their pots and pans, a portable grill and a fryer, running their whole kitchen under a small tent.
The demand was strong for the menu items. They included house-cured pork-belly sliders with bacon, fried eggs aioli, farmers market tomatoes and butter lettuce on a brioche bun, a cucumber melon salad with feta cheese and bratwurst on a pretzel bun with a choice of housemade toppings.
“We had everything on the menu because it all sounded so amazing and we were really hungry,” said Katrina Lund, a social worker, who dined with her sister and two friends at the pop-up restaurant.” And I think collectively our favorite was the sliders. They were simple in the best way. Every ingredient on the sliders had so much flavor.”
Others eating at the pop-up restaurants were fans of the sausage sandwich.
And probably for good reason. Lee’s day job is as a sausage maker at V. Miller meats, a Sacramento butcher shop.
Respect to local farmers
A point of passion for Feldman is that all the local vegetables served are from local Sacramento area farms, adding to the freshness of the dishes.
She said while Sacramento has been dubbed the farm-to-fork capital of the U.S., the farmers are still in the background.
“Everyone celebrates all these chefs,” she said, “but no one is celebrating the farmer. We wouldn’t have food without the farmer.”
When customers compliment Feldman and Lee about the food at the Nitty’s Cider event, the couple were quick to speak about the local farms contributing to the food experience.
Feldman said she will soon be adding a shout-out board listing the farmers at future events.
Where you will find them
On any given week, the Flora and Fauna Provisions pop-up goes to several different microbreweries.
On Labor Day weekend, the traveling restaurant will be making three Sacramento appearances.
On Friday night, the pop-up restaurant will be at Nitty’s Cider at 3201 Folsom Blvd. from 5 p.m to 9 p.m. On Saturday the restaurant will travel to Porchlight Brewing Co. at 866 57th St. from noon to 6 p.m , and on Sunday, the location will be at Track Seven Brewing Co. at 3747 Pacific Ave. from 1 p.m to 6 p.m.
Feldman, like Lee, works a day job, but hers is not in the food industry. She works as an inpatient aide at Sutter Medical Center.
Feldman said she doesn’t mind the two jobs, and she loves providing patient care, but food is her passion.
She said she fell in love with food as a little girl, watching the food network more than cartoons.
A career in food
Her first job was working at a doughnut shop and deli, and by the time she was 16, she was employed at Nugget Markets, the Sacramento area supermarket chain. By 18, she was working at the market’s specialty cheese department as a cheesemonger.
Her training included visiting dairies and cheese makers, to become an expert in cheese and charcuterie.
Feldman left the food industry in 2017, only to fall in love again with her original passion, when she met Lee in 2020.
Food has been a major love for Lee too.
He started in the culinary world at age 20. He attended the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Natomas and did an externship for several months in Northern Spain. His Spain experience included working as a line cook in a rural restaurant.
While the pair’s immediate goal is to grow their pop-up restaurant business, Feldman and Lee do have a long-term vision.
They want to open, like many chefs, their own brick and mortar restaurant, finding a permanent home for their food.
“Food is a love language all its own,” Lee said, “and once you have fallen in love with food, there is no going back.”©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.