This season, the Fort Mason edition of Off the Grid is featuring a market exclusive item from 32 vendors. The items range from the simple and comforting to the exotic and extreme. In this first part of five we attempt to taste all of them -- one bite at a time.
If you love pork, then chances are you have a favorite food truck containing that magical animal's parts. Carnitas, sisig, bacon, pork belly, and pulled pork are staples of many food truck menus, but this week I explore the porky items available on the Fort Mason exclusive menu. Here are six Off the Grid Fort Mason specialty items that will have you oinking in delight.
See also: Truck Stop: Food Truck World Tour
Bacon Bacon: Triple "B" Sando ($9)
This rolling temple of swine asks, "if one kind of pork in a sandwich is good, wouldn't three kinds be better?" The answer is yes. Stuffed into a toasted brioche bun are braised pork belly, pulled pork shoulder, and two crisp slices of bacon all dressed with barbecue sauce and a small mound of purple cabbage slaw. It sounds like overload, but it works remarkably well, the contrast of the perfectly crisp bacon adding texture, the slaw a brief respite to the pork fat richness, and sauce a nice sweet-tanginess. Grab a fork and 15 napkins for this.
Casey's Pizza: Bacon Kale Pizza ($18 Whole pie; $10 half)
I might like kale a lot more if I was able to have it like this all the time. Chopped kale rests on a wonderfully crisp-yet-chewy crust with mozzarella, red onion, garlic, Zoe's bacon, chile flakes, and a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice. The kale picks up a little char in the oven, but most of it stays crisp in a nice contrast to the batons of crispy bacon.
Drewski's: Deep Fried Mac Balls ($5)
These surprising light fritters are not as pork-intense as some of the other items on the list, but still a fun snack. Chopped bacon gets mixed into homemade mac & cheese with a white cheesy sauce, rolled, battered, and then fried. Pro tip: Split these bad boys with a fork and let them cool for a second before racing in for the kill.
Jeepney Guy: Kettle Pork ($6)
This dish is for people who just want to get straight to the porky point. Pieces of braised pork belly get deep fried until the fat gets crisp, and served with a sweet-salty Filipino style sauce. The flavors are pure pork, straight and pure: fatty and meaty with no bun, rice, or vegetables of any kind to get in the way. A great value for those looking to enjoy some swine with a glass of wine.
KoJa Kitchen: Umami Fries ($6)
Much like KoJa's famed Kamikaze Fries, this dish is built upon a foundation of waffle-cut fries topped with miso-braised pork, crispy fried onions, masago (like tobiko, but not quite as crunchy), green onions, and drizzled with red sauce and garlic aioli. These were fantastically textured, interesting, and delicious, with just enough brininess from the masago to enhance the earthy richness of the pork.
Señor Sisig: Poutine Palabok Fries ($6)
A play on Pancit Palabok, a traditional Filipino noodle dish topped with a ground pork sauce, here turned into a poutine. Thin cut fries get topped with a pork and tofu based gravy, crushed chicharron chunks, fried garlic, hard-boiled egg, and green onion. Wonderfully rich, it also has some great textural contrast between the super crunchy chicharron pieces and the hot and saucy gravy. Purists may argue that the lack of cheese (in curd or other form) disqualifies it from being a poutine, but the whole mix works very well, especially with a little sriracha sauce drizzle.