Outside Lands is coming up this weekend, and I can’t believe I’m actually seeing some sun in the forecast for Friday. I’ll believe it when I see it (and feel impelled to have an iced drink in my hand). But that’s what’ll be nice about Cocktail Magic: even if you’re hot or cold, a drink from Rye, Benjamin Cooper, The Beehive, Blackbird, Horsefeather, or True Laurel will not be a wrong answer (especially with Poolside supplying music).
As far as the vittles on offer, there are always some festival classic dishes to try, but the lineup of food and restaurant partners this year is especially hunger-inducing. Here are the top spots I have on my munchies wish list:
Feeling a little blergh from the night before? Wise Sons already have a fan club for their pastrami fries, but this year, they’re also making a pastrami breakfast burrito. Yes, with cheese. It should bring you life!
I’m felice to see A16 will be there, rocking their mobile pizza oven, and they’ll be making their Vesuvio pizza, with spicy soppressata, garlic, smoked mozzarella, chile, and tomato sauce. It’ll be a flavor blast. Har.
Did someone say dumplings? Dumpling Time will be slinging their steamed char siu pork belly bao and shrimp and pork siu mai dumplings. Mmmmmm, dumplings.
Have you ever had a tamale from Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas? You should fix that. They’re fantastico.
I know some fellow fans of Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers are sad they closed up shop in SoMa, but they are still at OSL this year with their pork belly burgers, surprise!
I’m just here to tell you from firsthand experience that the glazed BBQ pork ribs from Cassava will make you happy you’re a carnivore. And my curiosity is piqued with their sweet potato and rosemary cornbread. Must investigate.
Man oh man, Fiorella is making hand-held fennel sausage calzones, which sound like the Hot Pockets of my dreams. There’s one with broccoli rabe, garlic, mozzarella, and provolone, and another with pepperoni, mozz, and ricotta. And then there’s fennel sausage, hot peppers, and smoked mozzarella—I just hope you aren’t drinking beer and standing close to people with that one. Also: there are arancini (rice balls) and cannoli. Madonn’!
Need something portable and tasty? Hit up Peaches Patties, the first time Jamaican patties will be at OSL (they’re like a meat-filled Hot Pocket). Take your pick of chicken curry or beef.
You high? Time for some chorizo fries from Son’s Addition. They’re using their housemade Oaxacan-style chorizo that they turn into a gravy, topped with cotija cheese, green onions, and cilantro. Diggity.
Speaking of high, when I was at the Emerald Cup in Sonoma last fall, I remember enjoying my grilled cheese from The Farmer’s Wife immensely. They’re making all kinds of melts at OSL this year, from pole-caught albacore tuna melts to The Works: lamb merguez, heirloom tomato, avocado, chimichurri, and turmeric-carrot sauerkraut.
You cold? Khao soi spicy tamarind and pork egg drop noodle soup from Hawker Fare will warm you right up.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup from Tartine Manufactory, where do I sign?
Get crabby! Be sure to visit Fine & Rare, who are making crab rolls. And fried shrimp. And BLTs, because they’re covering all the bases.
You’ll find all kinds of excellent pairings at Wine Lands (with 41 Northern California wineries to choose from) and Beer Lands (with 30 Northern California breweries), check out the always-stellar lineup of partners. A visit to Cheese Lands, also a good call.
Time for something sweet?
Check out the FK Frozen Custard bars, and Powder will be offering their Taiwanese-style shaved snows (if they’re serving their Vietnamese coffee snow, get it). And then the crew at Humphry Slocombe are serving bourbon Coke floats (yes) and cold-brew floats. And Elvis (The Fat Years) sundaes!
Feel like something caffeinated? The Boba Guys will be pouring a variety of their milk teas (classic and jasmine, hot or cold) plus mango rice milk. Steap Tea Bar is slanging matcha lattes with boba. And Dabba will have nitro chai.
Want more food and entertainment? Swing by Gastromagic this year, for stage visits from Eddie Huang, Bill Nye dropping some science with Matty Matheson, a sure-to-be-sassy segment with Tiffani Faison and Shangela (from RuPaul’s Drag Race), a rare visit from Shake Shack (a custom custard), and, of course, Beignets and Bounce, this year with Katey Red, Big Freedia’s bounce bestie.
You’ll also want to pay a visit to this year’s Grass Lands: even though on-site cannabis consumption and sales aren’t allowed, there will be education, experiences, and (unmedicated) food from Cannaisseur Series, featuring recipes from the upcoming Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen cookbook from Cannaisseur’s Coreen Carroll and Steph Hua of Mellows. They’ll be serving dishes like beet hummus and five-spice duck meatball sliders and ginger floats. Say high.
Also, did you know that you aren’t allowed to bring in backpacks or totes this year unless they are clear? Fanny packs, however, are allowed (up to 6” x 8”) and don’t have to be clear/plastic. Over at mymilligram, I launched an SF “summer” festival party pack! And look at that, it happens to include low-dose and festival-ready cannabis goods in a mighty cute neon fanny pack.
If you just want to get a fanny pack without the cannabis goodies, I’m selling them here, and shipping nationwide, so mwah. Have fun out there!
Beer Lands is a happy place. Photo: Tom Tomkinson.