Eating Our Way Through Outside Lands, Day 1

Michelle Polzine (20th Century Kitchen), Sophina Uong (Calavera), and Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine) battle it out on the GastroMagic stage at CUESA’s Trash Talk. (Peter Lawrence Kane)

With 100-and-something vendors, Outside Lands’s food side has never been bigger. There are mainstays that become an obligatory pilgrimage year after year — hello, porcini mushrooms from Rich Table — but this year, there’s lots of new stuff that will make you want to hold your hands palms outward and wiggle all 10 fingers like a cartoon villain, surveying your domain. I didn’t get through half my planned eating list on Day 1, but luckily, there’s two more days. Here’s what Tamara Palmer and I feasted upon on Friday.

TAMARA PALMER
(Tamara Palmer)

Fine & Rare’s Dungeness Crab Roll
At $18, the Dungeness crab roll from Fine & Rare is one of the festival’s priciest snacks, but it’s one to beeline to for sure. Forget the stunty crap like the donut cheeseburgers and get with this fluffy pillow of crab on toasty brioche with crunchy romaine lettuce and peak season heirloom tomato. If it sounds tempting but you miss it on the field, head to the Fine & Rare restaurant on Golden Gate Avenue, where you can order a more elaborate crab sandwich with the additions of asparagus and soft-boiled egg. — Tamara Palmer

PETER LAWRENCE KANE

(Peter Lawrence Kane)

4505’s Best Damn Cheeseburger
With advertising that subliminal, who could possibly resist its siren song? I am really not a fan of waiting in line for commonly available foodstuffs, but then again, I’m no ideologue, either, so my boyfriend and I waited almost 20 minutes during Grimes’ set for 4505‘s Best Damn Cheeseburger. Aside from its merits qua burger — great bun, thin patty cooked to medium, crispy lettuce, condiments with — it’s an ideal size for a festival. It’s neither too large nor too rich, fortifying without making you sluggish. I would definitely make this your lunch instead of your dinner, though, if you’re on a tight schedule and don’t have time to waste. — Peter Lawrence Kane

TAMARA PALMER

(Tamara Palmer)

Il Morso’s S’Morso
For those who are too lazy to drink a cup of coffee but crave the buzz, Il Morso offers edible discs called coffee bites that looks like a piece of candy, which the vendor will have to explain to confused customers ad nauseum this weekend. They’re sold in individual packets or as part of a s’mores creation (called S’Morso) named after the Outside Lands stages and mascot Ranger Dave. We opted for a Twin Peaks, a matcha tea bite paired with coconut marshmallows and graham crackers. They were overwhelmed and busy on Friday, so as you can see the marshmallows didn’t get torched properly, but it was still a good combination of flavors and a fun pick-me-up for the middle of the day. Be forewarned that, instead of your name, you may be asked to give your favorite spirit animal for when your order is called. Don’t be stupid and flustered and say “swan” like I did. — TP

PETER LAWRENCE KANE

(Peter Lawrence Kane)

Bini’s Kitchen’s Burrito
Please bear with me while I trot out a real warhorse here, the I-really-wanted-to-like-this-but. Bini’s Kitchen serves Nepalese food with fresh ingredients, and I’ve always loved their momos, those Tibetan-Nepalese dumplings that made them famous. I gave the burrito my freakin’ all, but I made a giant mess trying to remove this thing from its aluminum chrysalis and wound up with a pile of foil shards that looked like a Frank Gehry building covered in grease. It needed hot sauce, too. Throw in the fact that it’s “zoned,” with poor distribution of its component parts, and this burrito was not my favorite. Shoulda just stuck with the turkey momos! — PLK

PETER LAWRENCE KANE

(Peter Lawrence Kane)

Rosamunde’s Poutine
Although best known for their sausages, Rosamunde is serving a gut-busting $13 poutine that isn’t on their regular menu and which I can’t recommend enough. Beyond the gravy, fries, and cheese curds, this one comes with chicken habanero sausage with a kielbasa-like texture that made me flip. (The hot peppers come gratis, and at a festival known for charging top dollar for everything, that’s a nice touch.) It made me so full that I got a little worried that I might not be hungry again, so if you’re trying to skimp on food so you can spend more money on drugs and alcohol, this is a great choice. The one down side is that this is a dish gets cold quickly, and Rosamunde’s location in the Polo Field is windy even by Outside Lands standards, so arm a buddy or two with forks, huddle in a circle, and chow down. — PLK

View Comments