Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio

Picnic at the Presidio

Picnic at the Presidio

The Presidio lawn near the Golden Gate Bridge is a great setting for an Off the Grid food truck event every Sunday from 11-4 from April until late October.  There were about 18 food truck vendors and similar number of farmer’s market stands.  There is a beautiful lawn in the Presidio that makes for a very laid-back, fun, family- and pet-friendly atmosphere.  Sports Basement had hoops, balls, and frisbees for loan for free with deposit of a driver’s license.  Definitely a different, more open feeling than Friday nights at Fort Mason or StrEAT food park.  With so much competition in the food truck realm, the vendors are stepping up their game in terms of food offerings.  I am a big fan of The Whole Beast, ever since trying their Lamb Poutine at the Eat Real Fest in Oakland in 2012.  They offered some succulent, smoky ribs on top of Japanese noodles that were quite delicious.  The lemon and ricotta doughnuts tossed with fresh lemon zest and powdered sugar at Streatery were also outstanding and a relative bargain at $3 for 5 or 6.  Other creative offerings from Streatery included their pea crepe salad.  Tataki had a special of 4 items for $15 – the hand rolls and croquettes were good.  Definitely worth checking out for a nice Sunday picnic.

Link to Picnic at the Presidio here.

Eat Real Fest Oakland

The Eat Real Fest is an annual food festival held at Jack London Square in Oakland, CA, on the waterfront in the East Bay near the container port of Oakland.  The festival showcased many of the great food purveyors in the East Bay and the whole Bay Area.  There were prepared food stands and trucks, and everything was limited to $5 or less.  One of the highlights was The Whole Beast, which had a butchering demonstration on perfectly roasted whole lamb and sold lamb gyros and meatballs.  I tried their great lamb poutine, thick-cut seasoned fries topped with a rich gravy with lamb cheeks and cheese curds.  Whole animal butchery was also on display at the Chop Bar, which offered delicious barbecue pork and cornbread.  One of my favorites, 4505 Meats, had a ridiculously good sandwich called The Fat Bastard, which was a buttery toasted English muffin, honey mustard ranch, chicharrones, pickled jalepenos, market greens, melted aged Gruyere, juicy pork and beer sausage, and house made sauerkraut, all on one sandwich!

It was fun to see all of the local start-ups at the marketplace: there were local chocolates, tempeh, sauerkraut, southeast Asian jerky, pastas, jams, cheese, and baked goods.  Starter Bakery in Oakland had Kouign Amann, a flaky, sticky, buttery pastry with different fillings such as cherry pistachio, which sold out, necessitating a second afternoon delivery that many waited for.  I also really liked the cool t-shirt designs representing the 510 from loakal.

There were classes and demonstrations on pickling, butchering, and other topics that really fit in with the DIY culture emphasized by the Eat Real Fest.  Sour Flour had several bread-making demonstrations.  I went to the bread starter class, where they taught participants how to feed a sourdough starter.  I got a sample and can’t wait to try it to make sourdough bread at home (watch for a future post).  We’re lucky in the Bay Area to have great food events like SF Street Food and Eat Real.

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