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Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Best Things We're Eating and Drinking at Outside Lands 2014: Day 1

Posted By , , , and on Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Outside Lands! Golden Gate Park's massive annual food, beer, wine, and chef spectacular with a few musical acts thrown in. Join us as we eat our way through this year's more than 100 food and drink booths. Check out our music coverage here.

The bacon flight, from top to bottom: Benton’s Hickory Smoked Bacon (Madisonville, Tennessee), Wellshire Farms Peppered (Swedesboro, New Jersey), Vande Rose Farms Brown Sugar Cured (Iowa Falls, Iowa), Burger’s Smokehouse Applewood Smoked (California, Missouri), Fatted Calf Fruitwood Smoked (San Francisco) - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • The bacon flight, from top to bottom: Benton’s Hickory Smoked Bacon (Madisonville, Tennessee), Wellshire Farms Peppered (Swedesboro, New Jersey), Vande Rose Farms Brown Sugar Cured (Iowa Falls, Iowa), Burger’s Smokehouse Applewood Smoked (California, Missouri), Fatted Calf Fruitwood Smoked (San Francisco)

BaconLand

I love bacon, and there was no question about where my first food stop would be when I got into Outside Lands: BaconLand. First, heeding Dave McLean’s advice, I stopped by Beer Lands for a cup of Linden Street Brewing’s Burning Oak Black Lager ($8), that he rightfully suggested pairing with the flight. While BaconLand turned out to be merely a stall, the bacon flight ($10) turn out to be truth in advertising. It consists of five strips of bacon laced through two skewers, each slice from a different producer. There’s something satisfyingly silly about the presentation, making it hard not to smile while carrying one around.

The study in contrast was fascinating, with smoke, salt, and sweetness levels making each slice different. Benton’s was assertive with salt and smoke, yet the Wellshire Farms piece was mild, even with the black pepper rub. The slice from Vande Rose Farms was the sweetest of the bunch, while the Burger’s Smokehouse bacon almost had a dry country ham chew. Of the five, the slice from Fatted Calf was the best, with just the right amount of salt and smoke, great fat-to-meat ratio, and pieces that cooked up crisp and yet didn’t get chewy. -Lou Bustamante

click to enlarge 4505's chimichurri fries. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • 4505's chimichurri fries.

4505 Meats

I was crushed that there was no poutine at Outside Lands this year, but not for long. 4505 Meats’ chimichurri fries were a most delicious substitute, crisp and tangy without being gooey and greasy like poutine. (You don’t want to enter a food coma in the middle of Disclosure’s set.) Surprisingly, parsley is no longer that afterthought garnish, or the thing-your-friends-picked-up-when-you-specifically-gave-them-one-job-and-that-was-to-get-cilantro. It’s almost the star of the show. If you’re a fast food purist, there’s a perfectly cooked beef burger to be had, too — and because Ryan Farr is one fancy gent, it’s got gruyere. -Pete Kane

click to enlarge Cheese Lands has been expanded and moved to a more prominent spot this year. - ANNA ROTH
  • Anna Roth
  • Cheese Lands has been expanded and moved to a more prominent spot this year.
click to enlarge Truffle burrata (left) and the white wine plate (right) at Cheese Lands. - ANNA ROTH
  • Anna Roth
  • Truffle burrata (left) and the white wine plate (right) at Cheese Lands.

Cheese Lands

Eating a cheese plate chased with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at a music festival seems too bougie to even contemplate, but you know what? A little cheese snack as you make the long trek from the Polo Field to the Twin Peaks stage really hits the spot — especially with cheese this good. The list is curated by Culture magazine co-founder and cheesemonger Lassa Skinner, and her picks for the four plates served ($9-$14) are as well-balanced as they are unique. Don't miss the dreamy truffle burrata from BelGioioso in Wisconsin, which isn't even on the market yet, and the soft, white Foggy Morning from Nicasio Valley Cheese Company beautifully paired with Effie's rye crackers on the Cheesemonger's Plate. The best part? Cheese Lands has expanded this year and moved to a prominent spot in front of Wine Lands, so there's plenty of space to enjoy your time with the wine and cheese crowd. -Anna Roth

click to enlarge Pastrami fries from Wise Sons Deli. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • Pastrami fries from Wise Sons Deli.

Wise Sons Deli

Because you can never eat too many permutations of fried potatoes, Wise Sons Deli took things in an entirely different direction with their pastrami fries. These truly channeled the poutine spirit, with generous helpings of lean meat, cheese, relish, and especially, Russian dressing, plus chives. You’re almost going to want to stir the entire thing together before eating it. With a line approximately one-eighth that of nearby Señor Sisig’s, a pit-stop for Jewish food is a shrewd move when you’re in a hurry, and more is more. -Pete Kane

click to enlarge Rich Table's worthy porcini doughnuts. - OMAR MAMOON
  • Omar Mamoon
  • Rich Table's worthy porcini doughnuts.

Rich Table

There’s very little wrong with the concept of fried bread dipped in a cheese sauce, especially when it comes from Rich Table. The Hayes Valley hotspot served their delicious porcini doughnuts with a raclette dipping sauce. The salty and savory elements of the porcini powder coupled with the cheese sauce make this the perfect festival snack to wash down with an cold beer. That it comes with five or six large doughnuts also makes it easily sharable if you can manage to not inhale them all yourself. -Omar Mamoon

click to enlarge Spicy cheddar bratwurst from The Butcher's Daughter. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • Spicy cheddar bratwurst from The Butcher's Daughter.

The Butcher's Daughter

“Hello, my name is Klaus,” the dude at The Butcher’s Daughter said in a Teutonic accent, barely able to keep a straight face. “And here is your kraut.” More specifically, here was my spicy cheddar bratwurst, a perfectly decent $8 snack in the woodsy limbo between stages. Slightly hard to pin down, the Butcher’s Daughter is a meat cart without a permanent address that’s always worth patronizing. Do you ever find yourself having eaten the meat part of a sausage or hot dog, with a portion suddenly unappetizing bun leftover? This brat was indeed spicy enough to warrant gobbling it down. -Pete Kane

click to enlarge Bacon Bacon's porky fries. - JENN PRIES
  • Jenn Pries
  • Bacon Bacon's porky fries.

Bacon Bacon

There's obviously no shortage of french fries at Outside Lands, but Bacon Bacon's are a personal favorite. Topped with bacon, pork belly trimmings, Parmesan cheese, Momma Lil's peppers, and herbs, the fries are the perfect blend of traditional and festival. The fat melts into the fries a bit and the peppers deliver a nice kick of heat. Plus, the eatery has two locations this year — their tent is near the Sutro stage and the truck is near the Barbary — so there's double the bacon from Bacon Bacon. -Jenn Pries

click to enlarge Cobbler from Three Babes Bakeshop - ANNA ROTH
  • Anna Roth
  • Cobbler from Three Babes Bakeshop

Three Babes Bakeshop

It's no secret that the Lenore Estrada and Anna Derivi-Castellanos, the two babes behind Three Babes Bakeshop, know how to make a damn fine pie. Get your fill of President Obama's favorite dessert at their booth near Eco Lands, where they're peddling slices of apple and chocolate-pecan. But I went a different route to try their festival-special cobbler ($8), a gloppy-in-a-good-way, sweet-tart blend of Frog Hollow peaches and Yerena Farms blackberries and raspberries, topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The biscuit on top was a little hard to cut with a plastic spoon, but once it got a dunk in the fruit filling it softened right up. -Anna Roth



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Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Bio:
Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40
Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Bio:
Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.

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