Outside Lands where music, food & drink all take center stage

San Francisco knows how to throw a party and Outside Lands is no exception. Every August for three days Golden Gate Park becomes a big playground for adults with music, food, drinks and fun. The organizers bring in a broad spectrum of musical acts spanning many genres including folk, hip hop, country and rock to appeal to an audience of all ages. This year’s music highlights for were Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson & The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Each band was phenomenal and really engaged the crowd.

Although Outside Lands is a music festival, the food and drink choices are quite remarkable and noteworthy in ther own right. Beerland offers a large selection of mirocbrewed beers while Wineland offers a diverse selection of wines from around the world for festival growers to sample curated by Peter Eastlake. Cocktailand is a section with specially made high end cocktails The food is festival food but with a gourmet twist and also includes lots of ethnic options. French fries abounded but they were elevated to gastronomic goodness by Nojo who added Spicy Sauce & Bonito flakes and Straw who made sweet potato tater tots with a blackberry barbeque sauce that was tasty and brought back memories of childhood. Earthly Delights made a classic Philly Cheesesteak that was moist and flavorful. There were Korean Tacos from Namu with spicy Korean Beef wrapped in seaweed and classic Mexican tacos served by Chipotle but this years food highlights in my opinion were the following:

1. Areaps from Pica Pica Kitchen run by Venezuelan Monica Varela. An arepa is a grilled corn pocket that’s crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and comes stuffed with slow cooked beef, pork or veggies. I tried a beef arepa and it was super tasty with unique South American flavors and a perfect pairing with their coconut lime drink

2. Tamales from Alicias Tamales Los Mayas were amazing. Alicia is from Mazatlan Mexico and got her start with help from food incubator La Cocina. Alicia makes pork, beef, cheese and veggie tamales that are moist with great flavor and topped with mouthwatering avocado salsa, green salsa and red jalapeno salsa. She makes them with love using her grandmothers recipes.

3. Sardine Chips & Porcini Doughnuts from Evan Rich of Rich Table. The sardine chips were thin homemade potato chips threaded with sardines and then deep fried and served with a tangy horseradish-spiked cr me fraîche. The porcini doughnuts were deep fried pillows of dough covered with porcini mushroom dust and served with a dipping sauce of whipped raclette cheese decadently rich and a nice contrast to the porcini flavor.

What a great weekend of food, drink and music. I can’t wait to see who the musical acts are next year and of course to sample more of the delicious food and drink options! Fortunately many of those listed above are available year round so if you have the chance go try them at their respective restaurants, you’ll definitely be glad you did. And, if you have a favorite food or drink of your own that you tried at Outside Lands that was not mentioned, please share it here!




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