Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 30, 2010 08:30 PM

Off the Grid: Getting Bigger and Better

Off the Grid, which was in peril of collapsing under its own weight, has worked out an arrangement for a larger space at the Fort Mason Center. As of tonight, it is operating in a footprint twice as large as previous weeks, with an option to expand even further. The music is being upgraded, too, with a larger variety of groups lined up to avoid the repetitiousness that had beset it.

Happy Dumplings was a welcome new addition to the food lineup, and Kara's cupcakes also made its OTG debut. The only thing needed was a few degrees of heat (and I'm NOT talking about Curry Up Now's tikka masala burrito).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Went for the first time to Off the Grid last night, arriving around 7pm after a very pleasant Riesling tasting / happy hour at The Wine Club. I was worried about the lines but while crowded, it seemed very manageable except for the extremely long lines at Curry Up Now and Chairman Bao.

    Being the lemmings that we are, my husband and I immediately split up and stood in those two long lines. It look me about half hour to get to the front of the Curry Up Now line, just as they announced they had sold out of all samosas -- doh! My husband took about 45 minutes to the front of the Chairman Bao line, by which time they had been out of the pork belly for some time -- double doh! -- and then it was another 20 minute wait to get our food. Since it was so cold we ate in our car, handily parked nearby -- it only cost $2 for two hours of parking.

    The tastiest items we purchased were definitely the steamed buns at Chairman Bao -- we got the red sesame chicken (with scallion and bok choy) and the lion head meatball (with cabbage lightly kimchee'd) ones, both moist and delicious. I really like how Chairman Bao adds a good amount of veggies into each bun, which really gave them a great texture and added flavor. We also ordered a baked bun with crispy garlic tofu with miso greens, and one with chinese spiced duck confit and fresh mango salad. The baked buns were much larger -- about hamburger sized -- but also drier than the steamed buns, though the fillings were still delectable. We would definitely order any of the toppings again, but only in the steamed bun version, and also arrive earlier to try the pork belly.

    While waiting in line I ducked quickly to the Onigilly booth to get two onilligillys, which are a take on the Japanese snack onigiri. The flavors they offered were eggplant, seaweed, and tuna salad -- I ordered two tuna salads and tried one with their miso sauce, and one with their spicy sauce. While moister and more flavorful than onigiris I buy at the grocery store, they didn't knock my socks off.

    The spicy chicken tikka masala burrito at Curry Up Now was definitely spicy and delicious, and the mango lassi was a nice way to cool down my mouth from the spiciness. We finished up with delectable chocolate and pina colada creme brulees from the creme brulee cart. The pina colada was especially interesting with a ring of sliced pineapple on top, and toasted pineapple in between.

    Overall we really enjoyed our sojourn to Off the Grid, except that we wish it weren't as cold, and of course, that the lines were shorter. Looking forward to coming again and trying other carts!

    Wine Club The
    953 Harrison, San Francisco, CA

    Chairman Bao
    San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

    San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

    1. Off The Grid is happening tonight from 5-9 at Fort Mason.