REVIEW w/ pics: Food Trucks, Stands and Carts at Off the Grid
- pleasurepalate Oct 16, 2011 04:16 PM
If you are a food truck and food cart lover in the Bay Area, then more than likely, you've been to Off The Grid. Off The Grid consists of 50 food truck and food stands/carts vendors. What's their calling? Why, to feed the hungry masses in Northern California of course. From Monday through Saturday, from Berkley to San Mateo to San Francisco, 15 to 20 food trucks and stands at a time will come together. So instead of chasing them, you can experience their delicious eats all in one location.
I got to check out Off the Grid at Fort Mason, a few hours after our road trip from LA to SF. As my friends and I were talking towards the trucks, what I found interesting was the formation. I've been to my share of food truck festivals/gatherings, but this is the first time I've ever seen both trucks and carts positioned in a circle where attendees were basically coralled in the middle.
I actually liked how that was done. It allows you to make a circuit of all the trucks so that you can first see what's available or you can just go ahead and make your rounds and not have to worry about missing or skipping over one. The one concern I did have was that it might be too crowded in the middle, but there were enough places to sit and eat outside of that corral that the crowd control was quite manageable.
Once inside, the first truck we saw happened to be Senor Sisig and that became our first stop. Our first bite at Off the Grid was the "Senor" Sisig Burrito with with pork, adobo rice, pinto beans, lettuce, salsa and cilantro cream sauce. It was definitely a hefty burrito and thankfully, 3 of us shared it. It was pretty tasty, but I did feel that there was just too much rice and would have liked more meat to balance it out more.
From Senor Sisig, we made our way to the Namu Food Cart. Namu is actually a brick and mortar restaurant, but they do have a food stand presence both at Off the Grid and also at the Ferry Building during the weekend.
At Namu, we tried three different things with the first being the Gamju French Fries, which are hand cut potatoes with kimchee relish, gochujang, kewpie mayo, teriyaki, chopped short ribs and green onions. The French fries had a nice crispiness to them considering that they were thicker cut and I really enjoyed the Korean flavors of both this dish and the tacos mentioned below.
Their Korean Tacos consisted of seasoned rice, daikon and kimchee salsa, kimchee remoulade, housemade teriyaki folded into japanese and korean toasted seaweeds with your choice of meat. Our meats of choice were chicken and short ribs. I loved the use of the seaweed as an alternative to tortillas; however, these tacos need to be eaten right away or else the nori will get too chewy.
Our little food journey went from Korea to Vietnam in the form of the Vietnamese food truck, Little Green Cyclo. At the Little Green Cyclo, while the Lemon Grass Grilled Pork over Spicy Garlic Noodles really wasn't spicy, their was enough garlicky goodness to satisfy and the pork had a nice caramelization to it. The second dish we tried was the Shaking Beef with Garlic Rice Cooked in Organic Chicken Broth, Tomatoes, Lettuce and Onions. The Shaking Beef was solid, if not very memorable.
I also got to try an arepa for the first time via the Pica Pica Kitchen food stand. For this arepa, we actually added the pulled pork to their Caribe arepa which usually is a vegetarian option with just black beans and cheese. Unfortunately, I wasn't that impressed. The bread tasted a little undercooked and fell apart and the pulled pork didn't really have much flavor to it.
After some savory dishes, it was time for dessert, so we checked out the Banana Fritters with Coconut Jam and Powdered Sugar from a Malaysian food stand called Azalina's. I was really looking forward to this dish because at first glance, it looked yummy; however, the banana fritters were too doughy. Also, the coconut jam along with the powdered sugar made this dessert way too sweet.
Luckily, we also made a stop at the Creme Brulee Cart and their Strawberry Nutella Creme Brulee was phenomenal. The caramelized crunch on the surface and a lovely creaminess below it made it a pleasure to eat.
By this time, we were full and ready to hit the road, but on the way out, we shared a Watermelon, Basil and Ginger Mint Lemonade from the 3-Sums Eats Food Truck. What a nice refreshing way to end our food truck crawl.
Overall, our first night in San Francisco was definitely a hit and the next morning, we hit the Ferry Building for another food crawl. Isn't life good?
To learn more about Off the Grid, go to:
To see complete blog post with photos, go to:
439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
Creme Brulee Cart
San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, CA
San Mateo, San Mateo, CA
Little Green Cyclo
San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Off the Grid
Stanyan Street at Waller Street, San Francisco, CA