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Food & Drink

Best Food Truck Gatherings 

By Lou Bustamante

With last year's new food truck zoning regulation changes, the food truck landscape in San Francisco has slowly been changing. While the number of trucks on city streets has seen a decline, the number of venues where the you can get a truck meal has increased. Here are our top five places to go and grab a bite.

The OG of the food truck rallies, Off the Grid (offthegridsf.com) at Fort Mason brings together the largest number of vendors in the Bay Area, and features venue-specific bites you won't find anywhere else along with beer, wine, and carnival games. Its new but equally excellent daytime gathering in the Presidio offers a unique lineup of food, brunch drinks, and music on the plushest patch of grass in the city. And the fact that the weekly event is kid-, dog-, and hungover-friendly makes it an instant success.

The permanent nature of SOMA StrEat Food Park (428 11th St., somastreatfoodpark.com) offers great perks: real seating including an enclosed barn and converted bus, heaters, TVs, and a fresh selection of food trucks twice a day. The crowd favorites often stop by here, but more importantly, this is the place were most new vendors cut their teeth, making it the best place to try the next generation of trucks.

For sheer number and quality of vendors — from tiny streetside businesses to full on restaurants and out-of-town mobile food celebrities — La Cocina's August San Francisco Street Food Festival (sfstreetfoodfest.com) is hard to beat. The event takes over five city blocks, filling the Mission with irresistible smells, music, and cocktails. And the food tastes even better with the knowledge that the event benefits San Francisco's favorite culinary charity.

While August's Outside Lands (sfoutsidelands.com/taste) is primarily a music festival, organizers have upped the ante by creating a ticket-worthy showcase of local mobile food vendors and trucks. From Outside Lambs, featuring the amazing handiwork of The Whole Beast, to the small collections of vendors distributed through the grounds, chances are you'll spend as much time planning meals as your musical acts to see.

Nestled on Oakland's Jack London Square waterfront and focused on celebrating the East Bay and local scene, the three-day Eat Real Festival (eatrealfest.com) draws huge crowds every September. The $5 bites offered from each vendor, proximity to the ferry, and large schedule of free demos makes this worth the trek over.

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