Local Adventure: Off the Grid, On the Grill

Two of the most popular trucks side-by-side

Apparently my watch is off. Either that or people have learned that to get on line for Off the Grid you’ve got to be early; I showed up just minutes past 5 and the place was already bouncing. Off the Grid is a weekly eat-in organized by SF Cart Project and La Cocina and, though it has not even been two months, I’ve already heard about it more than the latest LiLo dramas.

Food lovers will tell you that we’d always rather eat communally, so I met up with a few other food people to try the trucks du jour down at SF’s historic Fort Mason. It’s been a big week of eating but I still managed to hold my own.

Lining up at the Sissig truck

All the food at the Fort Mason OtG is Latin or Asian themed so the trucks all serve up those flavors, including Hapa SF, Chairman Bao, Kung Fu tacos, Curry Up Now, Happy Dumplings, Onigilly, Seoul on Wheels, Chaac Mool, Azalina’s Malaysian, El Huareche Loco, and El Porteño Empanadas. I’d heard from many to try Adobo Hobo and Calidog, but they were no-gos this week — all the more reason to return, I guess. So we started things off at the Hapa SF truck as it’s been talked up a lot and, well, the line was much shorter than the crazed Chairman Bao truck.

Sissig tacos with lime, radish, and lots of cilantro

You know the Mexican taco, and the Korean taco has taken over, so it was only a matter of time until other cuisines joined in to make their own street food-friendly taco — the sisig taco from Hapa SF would be a great contender in the Filipino division. With earthy, nutty, porky flavor, the sisig was nicely seasoned, moist, and a great deal. Though I’m apparently not a fast enough eater because a gale-force wind knocked my taco over before I could finish it — perhaps that was God telling me I’d had my fill.

Vegetarian and Pork and Chive Dumpling

Signs from God aside, I forged on and checked out the dumplings. At 3 for $2, it’s a recession-appropriate deal that I was jazzed to jump in on. We opted for the pork and chive dumplings as well as the vegetarian dumplings and while they had a nice browned exterior, they were too doughy for my taste. We headed back to see if the lines at the ever-popular Chairman Bao or Curry Up Now trucks had thinned, but it seemed there was an direct relationship of time to line length as it seemed to have grown exponentially.

Toasted S’more from Kika’s Treats

While deciding what to eat next, a S’more caught my eye. Now, I’m actually not that into them as too often S’mores are made with second-rate marshamllows, but these weren’t ordinary S’mores. They’re made with ingredients crafted by Cristina of Kika’s Treats whom, if you’re tuning in to Cooking Channel, you’ll recall we covered on FoodCrafters a few weeks ago.

OtG is just getting it start but the founder, Matt, told me that he is an official go from the city to roll them out across San Francisco with each location having a different food theme. Hopefully they’re all on Friday nights as I could get used to making this my regular end of the week ritual — it’d make for the happiest of happy hours for this food lover.

Local Adventure Restaurants