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Apr 5, 2011 04:55 PM

Off The grid

I am coming to visit SF in April would love to know is Off the Grid worth a visit???

Off the Grid
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

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  1. I've only been to one of their events and realized it wasn't for me. I don't like big crowds, waiting in long lines for food and then being told they've run out of nearly everything, etc. Just because they're food carts doesn't make them inexpensive either. I would rather go into an establishment where I can sit down, be comfortable, wash my hands before I eat, and enjoy attentive service and a full spread meal for about the same price.
    Still, if you do want to experience the mobile vending excitement, I recommend going to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's market on Thursdays or Saturdays. Some really good food cart options are based there, especially Thursdays.

    3 Replies
    1. re: scarmoza

      I'm with Scarmoza. I REALLY don't like crowds and trying to balance my food on my knees whilst stooped on a curb.

      1. re: CarrieWas218

        All the OTG events now have chairs, a few have tables also. And on rainy days they provide a tent for cover. It's not as crowded as in the past. The largest OTG is at Fort Mason, so far it hasn't been crazy. The 2nd largest OTG is on Upper Haight (Golden Gate Park), never crowded because not much parking is available.

      2. re: scarmoza

        That's sort of how I feel about the whole food truck craze as well. It seems like at events like Off the Grid you have all of the inconveniences (no place to eat, hit-and-miss offerings) and few of the benefits (quick, cheap) of street food.

        The Ferry Building on Thursday is a whole different story. The lines aren't as long, there are places to sit (not enough, but some), most of the offerings are more meal-sized, and you have the option of supplementing from other purveyors.

        That said, a lot of people seem to enjoy it, so it's really up to you. I'd say go more for the experience than the food.

        Off the Grid
        Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

      3. It has its charms. It's a "been there, done that" event after 1 or 2 visits.

        I like the idea of a mobile food community gathering in one place. It's kinda neat. Wide range of flavors, but most of the time it seems like you've had it before. Maybe because they mix ethnic Asian & Latin flavors in either a taco, bun, burrito, or rice plate.

        I will repeat the inconveniences other posters have mentioned. It is crowded, very crowded. They provide chairs now, but of course they're all claimed for after 30 minutes of the opening time. We've brought our own BBQ chairs and set up camp. It was fun... brought our own booze in a bag. Lines are long and by the time you order, some of the popular items are sold out.

        As a tourist who may not have food trucks in your own town, I'd say check it out. It's a total scene, which could be a bad or good thing. Depends what you want out of SF.

        I haven't been to the Haight location on Thursday, but I'd imagine it to be somewhat less hectic as Friday's Fort Mason location. Fort Mason has the full roster, while the other weekday ones are smaller. For reviews on which food truck/cart to hit up, do a search for "Off The Grid".

        1 Reply
        1. re: Keesey

          I agree with the 'been there, done that'...

          I usually went with a bunch of friends, so we could try stuff from multiple vendors...

          And we went to the OtG at Fort Mason... To maximize the experience...

          May still go again, since they're rotating in new truck/vendors... And best to go early!

        2. The Upper Haight location on Thursdays is smaller, though the day I went there were 12 trucks with enough variety to please most people. I thought it was a lot of fun, not cheap, and I would go again.

          1. if you go in a large group and have each person stand in line for each truck separately all at once, and then share together after, it can be a bit more manageable.

            1. Similar in style and happening on April 23 is the SF Underground Market, which I found was a lot more manageable.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nicedragonboy

                April's event will happen at public works which was the march venue. the evening event packs people in like sardines. there's a people counter at the door to keep the crowd within fire department regs. no doubt it's here cuz public works has a on sale liquor license.

                at the undergroun market, there are talented amateurs, bakeries who already have a storefront, and some goods that are just half baked. the calibre of some of the vendors here are below that of off the gird vendors...