Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Off The Grid Fort Mason, 2014

Off The Grid
I’ve been going to Off The Grid, the street food event at Fort Mason since it first began, five years ago. Each year the event grows and evolves. Early on there was a mostly Asian theme that linked all the vendors and there were just a handful of food trucks relegated to a small section of the parking lot, now it’s really spreading its wings. 

So what’s new this year? There is no theme as there has been in some previous years, and the food is a little more approachable, perhaps a little less adventurous. But it’s still pretty darn delicious. Also this year? A DJ before and after the live music begins, arcade style games and extended hours (5-11pm). Here’s an inside tip, if you can’t deal with crowds, arrive between 5 and 6:30 pm before it gets too jam-packed. 

I got a chance to check out a number of the new vendors and some of the new food from returning vendors. Here are some my top picks:

Nora Spanish Cuisine paella

Nora Spanish Cuisine featured a savory paella with pancetta, bacon and chicken. It's a great dish for sharing. 

The Taco Guys shrimp taco

This is just a sample of the shrimp taco done nacho style from The Taco Guys. Plump juicy perfectly cooked spicy shrimp are offset by cool and creamy avocado. If the taco tastes like the nachos, I’m in! 

Il Pipila nopales sope

From Il Pipila, Guadalupe Guerrero’s nopales sope was bright a fresh tasting, very herbal and earthy. This is a specialty from Guanajuato, by the way.
Drewski’s fried macaroni and cheese bacon balls
Drewski’s fried macaroni and cheese bacon balls were ooey gooey comfort food, reimagined. 

Jeepney Guy’s deep fried kettle pork

While sadly the Hapa SF truck has ceased operation, Jeepney Guy’s deep fried kettle pork is destined to become a new classic. It’s basically a riff on Filipino lechon. 

Casey's pepperoni pizza

I’m a big fan of Casey’s Pizza. While normally I would never choose pepperoni, Casey’s is made by Zoe’s Meats in Petaluma and is outstanding. It's spicy and dry and makes this pizza something special. 

Magnolia beer cart

New this year is a roaming beer cart from Magnolia. I recommend the Oysterhead Stout. 

The Boneyard bbq

The Boneyard is offering Texas style brisket and pulled pork. I wrote about The Boneyard for 7x7 last year. 

Sugar and Spun matcha green tea cotton candy

Looking for something sweet to nibble on while waiting for your turn at skeeball or shuffleboard? You might want to try some Sugar and Spun cotton candy in flavors such as li hing or matcha green tea. A little too sweet for me! 

Johnny Doughnuts crodo
Another sweet treat that’s messy but not a bad choice if you’re willing to share, is the Johnny Doughnuts version of a Cronut, the CroDo with layers of flaky dough and a pastry cream filling. Next time I think I’ll try the lime mascarpone bismark….