Outside Lands 2014: Munching & Music

Outside Lands is a three-day festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park causing a mass invasion of festival-goers, policemen, music-lovers, and food trucks and stalls.

As my friend GP pointed out, Outside Lands is not just a festival of music but a festival of music and art – and the art of food most definitely plays a significant part. Apparently there were more than 2000 “food items” at the festival, though we couldn’t quite decide what counts as a separate food item.

The three-day weekend was a great way to get in all of my SF/American food fixes after China and before I leave for school again.

And so it goes…IMG_6810What better way to start out the weekend than with free Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food? 

IMG_6815Straw’s Donut Cheeseburger. I did not eat this entire thing – just one bite – which was enough to 1) make me realize that it actually was quite tasty and 2) clog 50% of one of my arteries.

IMG_6819Namu’s Korean Quesadilla. Nice idea, poor execution (granted, they were working with minimal space). The cheese was not fully melted, which is always a game-changer in a quesadilla.

IMG_6825Suite Foods Waffle Shop. We searched everywhere for these waffles which were featured on The Bold Italic’s Must Eats at Outside Lands. We finally found their small cart. Waffles were great.

IMG_6832Suite Foods Waffle Shop’s Maple Liège Waffle with Poached Egg and Smoked Sea Salt.

The one major problem with this waffle was that a good poached egg to waffle distribution was quite difficult, maybe impossible, given the differences in their sizes and shapes.

IMG_6921The Chairman Truck’s Steamed Bun with Pork Belly, Tumeric Pickled Daikon, and Shiso. 

I have had hundreds (okay, maybe not hundreds but up there) of Chairman Bao’s buns and loved them every single time. It is my favorite food truck in San Francisco. I had to get one for my visiting friend Alicia so that she would also love San Francisco.

IMG_6841Del Popolo’s Neopolitan Pizza with Pork Salami. (Nice try, Alicia.)

IMG_6945Nombe’s Ramenburger. The line was incredibly long for these ramenburgers every single day of the festival. Our ramenburger was sub-par. The actual burger was dry, and, well, I have very strong feelings about overcooked meat.

IMG_6977Rich Table’s Dried Porcini Doughnuts with Raclette. No visible Porcini in these doughnuts, but the rich flavor of the mushrooms was there. The raclette was incredible fluffy and delicious. Awesome.

IMG_6976Il Cane Rosso’s Griddled French Toast.

Best French Toast I’ve Ever Had. That’s saying a lot. It was really more like a huge chunk of rich bread pudding with maple syrup and whip cream. To. die. for. But actually, I might consider an earlier death by morbid obesity because of this dish.

IMG_6988Pork Arepa from Pica Pica. Always solid.

IMG_7056Charles Chocolates Gourmet S’more.

IMG_6999Hot Thai Tea from Charles Chocolates.

IMG_7040American Grilled Cheese Kitchen’s Crispy-Sweet Maple Brussel Sprouts. Bomb.

IMG_7045American Grilled Cheese Kitchen with Eggs and Green Chiles.

IMG_7055Kara’s Meyer Lemon Cupcake.

IMG_7065Sharona’s Chocolate Shop S’more. I was watching Ben Howard, it was National S’mores Day, it was free, it was in front of me. Can’t go wrong.

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Sataysfied’s mik tek tek fried noodles and dumplings. The noodles tasted like Cup Noodles. Not worth it.

IMG_7052A HUGE shout-out to my main eating partner, Alicia. She tried to get in most of the food photos. Alicia is the Waldo of Where’s Waldo: The Lowe Down Version.

By the way – we did listen to music, too. 

Until next year, Outside Lands.

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Outside Lands: Festival for the Foodie

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To assume that Outside Lands is simply a music concert would be a grave mistake. Don’t get me wrong – listening to the performances is the main attraction, but Outside Lands has plenty to offer to the other senses.

The smell of the weekend? The nice wafting smell of weed that comes in intense waves but doesn’t fully depart until you leave Golden Gate Park.

The sights of the weekend? The people of course – while you can find your fair share of expected San Francisco hippies and yuppies, Outside Lands attracts everything from entire families to eccentrics in costume to shrieking teenage girls.

And the food – oh, the food.

Outside Lands collects a wonderful variety of good food from all around San Francisco on one plot of land. Think Off The Grid, but you’ve got food trucks and fancy restaurants and street carts and a whole lot of other food vendors.

On Saturday, the Grizzly Bear front man called out into the crowd: “You guys have the bougiest food stands of any music festival I’ve ever seen.” Bougie. And proud. And delicious.

As my friend Maddie commented:Image

There were two main planning struggles for me this past weekend: 1) how to see all the bands I wanted to see (sometimes sacrifices are necessary because of simultaneous scheduling), and 2) how to eat all the food I wanted to eat (no excuses, the stomach expands). The only excuse that stands in terms of food is the pricing – the prices (although it’s not unexpected, it still surprises me) are a bit outrageous for all of the food and drinks at Outside Lands.

And so, I shall commence with the records of what I consumed.

Charles’ Chocolates Gourmet S’more. Yes, please. A definite crowd favorite.

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American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Grilled Cheese with a whole lot of bacon:IMG_2015

I had a bite of the Breakfast Grilled Cheese as well (with fried egg and bacon). Also delicious.

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This photograph does not do it justice, but the Artichoke & Ricotta Sandwich from Luella was wonderfully simplistic.

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I can guarantee you that these Tater Tots from Q were better than Napoleon Dynamite’s. I get it now though, I did not realize how scarily addicting tater tots are. Another crowd favorite.

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Wild mushroom grits from 1300 on Fillmore:IMG_1977

Gilroy Garlic Mac N Cheese. The SECOND best mac n cheese at OSL.

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The BEST Mac and Cheese at Outside Lands. The Crispy Mac and Cheese from Andalu. Whoever thought of frying mac and cheese was genius. The Mac and Cheese from Andalu almost had a grilled cheese texture to it (the outside breading of the mac and cheese was substantial). Perfectly crispy on the outside, perfectly soft and cheesy on the inside. The Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette was also key.

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To add on to the wonderfully healthy food I had at Outside Lands, I also had a huge slice of sausage pizza from Spicy Pie. I was starving, and it was gone in a few minutes.

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Last but not least, the beef and pork arepas from Pica Pica. Although my sister was excited to try Pica Pica’s arepas, I had no clue what they were. They were a delightful surprise and the best dish I had at Outside Lands.

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Until next year, Outside Lands.

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