Want a little Michael Mina with your Metallica?
When Outside Lands arrives in San Francisco next week, it won't be just amps and strats filling Golden Gate Park. More than 60 street food trucks and swanky restaurant carts will cover the meadows, too.
So the only question more pressing than what to hear during the three-day music fest -- the extravaganza, which features Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Jack White and more than 80 other acts, runs Aug. 10 to 12 -- will be what to eat between sets.
Once upon a time, music festivals were all about the bands. If you were lucky, you could find an exhausted vendor or two spritzing nearly flat soda into paper cups or hawking Frito pies and limp hot dogs. That no longer cuts the mustard.
These days, you can't throw a respectable rock concert without some epic eats, thanks in large part to Outside Lands, the festival that, since its inception five years ago, has sought to make the gourmet element as big a deal as the headliners. It makes total sense in an age when the Foo Fighters -- who will be playing at 6 p.m. on Aug. 10 on the Lands End Stage -- and other bands do guest gigs on "Top Chef," and even the youngest alt-rock, rap, blues and indie music fans enjoy sushi and shawarmas in the school cafeteria.
This year, music lovers can traverse the park's meadows from the stages of Outside Lands to Outside Lambs, Wine Lands, Beer Lands, Choco Lands, Farm Lands and "A Taste of the Bay Area,"
Suffice it to say, whatever your penchant, there's a food or drink cart to slake that hunger or thirst. Here's an overview:
The Whole Beast chef John Fink has teamed up with Michael Mina and his staff from RN74 and Bourbon Steak for the festival's first-ever lamb-centric dining tent. With a name this irresistible, Outside Lambs should be the first stop on any hungry rocker's itinerary.
Whole Beast is known for bringing in, well, whole beasts sourced from local farms and roasted outdoors in a Hawaiian pit or over an open flame as the centerpiece of large-scale events. Here, he'll be doing lamb from Dixon's Superior Farms and serving it in a Moroccan-inspired stew, for example, or tucked into gyros. Mina's team will be doing kefta lamb sliders, lamb sausages and other ovine dishes.
Looking for something to wash down all that gourmet splendor? Some 55 wineries and breweries will be pouring whites, reds and rosés, amber ales, black porters and every other color libation. You'll find plenty of water, soda, milk shakes, agua frescas and other nonalcoholic drinks at the food booths, too.
Taste of the Bay Area
With 65 food booths, some strategy is in order, lest you end up too bloated to enjoy Big Boi or too sated for Skrillex. The food cart lineup includes Off the Grid stalwarts, such as Azalina's, Bacon Bacon, Hapa SF and Senor Sisig, but the booths run by restaurants -- such as San Francisco supper club 1300 on Fillmore and trendy Tacolicious -- are every bit as enticing.
When the temperatures drop, try the creative macaroni-and-cheese combinations from Oakland's Homeroom or a tomato soup shooter and grilled cheese from San Francisco's American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. When the mercury rises, head straight for Milk Shake Werks, the Redwood City ice creamery. When energy flags: iced coffee from Philz, the java house with cafes in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Berkeley.
And if the sheer sight of that much fried chicken (Farmerbrown's Little Skillet), classic cheeseburgers (4505 Meats) and cupcakes (Kara's) induces guilt (as well as longing), you can grab fresh fruit and apple juice at Full Belly Farms over in, yes, Farm Lands.