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The Outside Lands experience offers not only an eclectic array of musical talent, but culinary talent, too, with 75 chefs, restaurant carts and food trucks serving up Bay Area tastes in Golden Gate Park. Some of the specifics change each year, as new restaurants are added or seasoned chefs take a breather, but here are some of the festival’s best bites in recent years.
One might think mushroom doughnuts would be a dicey proposition — and one would be wrong. Dusted with dried porcini powder, Rich Table’s airy, savory doughnuts have wowed the crowds ever since they made their festival debut five years ago. These doughnuts practically ooze umami, especially when dipped into melty raclette.
There are food trucks … and then there is this food truck: an Italian wood-burning pizza operation run out of a retrofitted 20-foot transatlantic shipping container, with giant windows in lieu of a wall. It’s the brainchild of former Flour + Water pizzaiolo Jon Darsky — and his Neapolitan-style pizzas are fantastic.
Ramen and Outside Lands? Life does not get better than that. Kyle Itani’s slurp-worthy ramen — pork or veggie — is exactly the thing to warm you when San Francisco’s famous fog wreathes Golden Gate Park in chilly moisture. Itani, who also owns Oakland’s Hopscotch, opened his ramen shop in 2016, the same year he made his festival debut.
Forget Mao. This Chairman is all about bao, an Asian street food-meets-California ingredients bun filled with bold, wonderful flavors. Join the long line at the bright red truck. You can use the time spent waiting to ponder those big existential questions: What is the meaning of life? And do I want that bao baked or steamed? Filled with pork belly, spicy chicken or miso tofu? (Psst, steamed, pork belly.)
The Outside Lands experience always includes extra “lands”, from Wine Lands and Beer Lands tents to specialty offerings, such as Michael Mina’s Outside Lambs in 2012 and Woodhouse Fish Co.’s Outside Clams last summer. Dessert fiends should head directly for the Guittard confectionery booth for its signature liquid chocolate bars.
5 must-try food carts at Outside Lands