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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Best Things We Ate at Outside Lands: Day One

Posted By and on Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

There are definitely a few drawbacks to Outside Lands. It's pricey, it's almost always foggy, you basically have to choose between Billy Idol and Toro Y Moi, and even drunk extroverts can get tired of crowds after awhile. But unless you're a joy-intolerant health nut with a fries allergy and a phobia of eating under a eucalyptus tree, there's something good for you to eat.

And speaking of fog, there wasn't even any on Day One. Well, there kind of was around 6-ish, but it somehow evaporated and for the maybe the second time in the five years that I've been going to OSL, you could actually see the sun go down as D'Angelo and the Vanguard owned the Sutro Stage. It's, uh, decidedly overcast as of press time, so let's keep our expectations low and our hopes up. But Day One was a good one, as judged by how photogenic food looks in good weather!

click to enlarge Bacon Bacon - JENN PRIES
  • Jenn Pries
  • Bacon Bacon

Bacon Bacon

Bacon Bacon has double the locations this year. The truck is located by Wine Lands, while the tent is near the Sutro stage. Their California BBQ Bacon Burrito is filled with pork shoulder, crispy belly, bacon, french fries and chili peppers, while the grill seems to be pushing out endless bacon cheeseburgers that can chase away even the nastiest Mumford-sized hangover. The bacon corn salad is bright and has a Latin American touch, with queso fresco sprinkled liberally on top and charred chunks of bacon bringing smokiness to match the sweet corn. Added bonus: Festival-goers who order three dishes get a free pair of Bacon Bacon sunglasses, while they last. Jenn Pries

click to enlarge Probably the most surreal pic of the day. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Probably the most surreal pic of the day.

Late afternoon, Evan and Sarah Rich of Rich Table lobbing "unknown donuts" straight from the fryer and into the crowd — and, judging by their occasional grimaces, pelting people by accident — as Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem spun some beats. I eventually got my hands on a porcini donut, which was one of the very best thing I ate at the festival last year, and can confidently report that nothing changed. I was also close enough to the front to see Evan Rich offer Mahoney some deep-fried goodness, which he turned down. "I have Celiac disease," Mahoney said.

Later in the evening, I stopped by to catch a couple minutes of the Breakdown Breakdance with Avedano Meats and Belcampo Meat Co. I was too transfixed by the pig head on a board, such that I barely remember what was being said even though I love both Avedano and Belcampo. I just wanted someone to put branded Bacon Bacon sunglasses on it. Peter Lawrence Kane

click to enlarge img_9271.jpg


The Chinese food version of Tacolicious has had a rough couple of weeks (haven't we all) and is scheduled to reopen this Monday, Aug. 10, with a new concept, menu, and staff. So I was curious to see if they'd even be here this year. Lo and behold, they are, and the kimchi fried rice is as good as I remembered. Not quite the fatty greasebomb of a certain other hipster Chinese restaurant elsewhere in the Mission, this dish is flavorful (and the portion size is solid). If you want something quick and filing, skip the skimpy $5 tacos (my festival archnemeses) and head to Chino. PLK

click to enlarge Merigan - JENN PRIES
  • Jenn Pries
  • Merigan
Merigan Sub Shop

Merigan's eggplant parm is a saucy beast held together in a soft roll. The sandwich is filled with Aiello soft mozzarella loaf cheese, perfectly cooked eggplant, and tomato sauce studded with Italian herbs. It’s delightfully messy and satisfying. Pair the savory sandwich with a house-made Kosher pickle and finish it off with a tangy Meyer lemon Italian ice. JP

click to enlarge Humphry Slocombe - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Humphry Slocombe
Humphry Slocombe

Usually when people run up to me with big smiles on their faces hoping I'll try something, I flash my eye spots and hiss until they back away — but not when ice cream is involved. Humphry Slocombe has rolled out a new flavor (jalapeño cornbread), just for Outside Lands. It's toasted just shy of being burnt, so that the bread doesn't get soggy, and the jalapeño is only two-alarm and easily matched by the cooling creaminess. Plus, now that the Polo Field is looking to be a windswept moor for the rest of the weekend, I'm betting the ice cream lines may be refreshingly short. (Full disclosure for the billionth time: I used to work there, way back when.) PLK

click to enlarge Sababa - JENN PRIES
  • Jenn Pries
  • Sababa

Sababa is an expression that means "it's good" in Hebrew, and the falafel sandwiches here most certainly are. The warm pita is loaded with onion, cabbage, cucumber, pickles, tomato, tahini and falafel. The pitas are easy to cruise around the festival with, cardamom coffee slushy in hand (which is an especially popular drink this so-far sunny weekend). Chef-owner Guy Eshel learned to make pita and falafel while growing up outside of Tel Aviv and now he and his girlfriend, sous chef and pita-maker Melissa Davidson, offer a hearty and healthy addition to Outside Lands’ festival food. JP

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About The Authors

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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