Among the many food trends right now (cupcakes, speakeasys/mixology, grilled cheese, pop up restaurants, just to name a few) food trucks are one thing that I hadn’t yet experienced. That is, up until this weekend. I went to Off the Grid with a friend to check out the hype and magic that is supposed to come out of these tiny kitchens. In case you aren’t familiar, Off the Grid is gathering of local food trucks, that occurs on Friday nights at Fort Mason Center and at other locations throughout the week. It draws quite the crowd and is a great way to try some new things, and sample restaurants you may not otherwise dine at.
Creme Brulee, The Creme Brulee Man:
The first and best thing I tried was a Chocolate Grand Marnier Creme Brulee. I’m normally a traditionalist and would have gone vanilla, but my friend insisted on this variation and I’m glad she did. It was creamy and luscious with a palatable, but not overwhelming Grand Marnier flavor that paired well with the chocolate that wasn’t too strong. Definitely worth trying again, and perhaps making on my own!
Korean Tacos, Namu:
Seaweed. That’s really all I have to say about this one. While the components had flavor when tasted individually, as a whole they were all suppressed by the overwhelming flavor of seaweed taco ‘shell’. It was also difficult to eat as the wrapper was hard to bite through and sent the insides falling all over. Not terrible, but also probably not something I will order again.
Fried Dumplings and Chinese ‘Pancake’, Happy Dumplings:
This was my first venture back to Chinese food since my trip, save for some cheap chow mein a couple weeks ago. I had such a GREAT dumpling experience in China, I was very excited to give it a go back here in the U.S.
Dumplings in China from Nanxiang Mantou Dian
The dumplings I had in China were light and airy with a tasty pork filling that created a flavorful broth as it steamed. So I guess my bar was a little high for what I was about to try. Granted, these were fried potstickers and wouldn’t be exactly the same, but overall I was not too impressed. The potstickers/dumplings were way too doughy and didn’t have enough filling – the dough was thick and I don’t think it was cooked enough either. We tried pork, chicken (way too much cilantro) and veggie – so I feel like we gave them a fair shot. We also tried this Chinese pancake with green onions that was fried and while I did like the fried crispy texture, they also only had a fried flavor that canceled out any spring onion essence.
Happy Dumplings potstickers and pancake
Chicken Satay is one of my favorite Thai appetizers, but I’ll be brief about this, because there’s not a ton to say – If it weren’t for the peanut sauce I don’t know that this would really be worth eating. The sauce as good and left a bit of lingering spice, but the meat was slightly questionable and the fact that I paid $3.00 for a stick of meat was a little appalling.
Summing it all up, it was quite the experience. Despite the long lines and strong winds we had a good time and I enjoyed being able to fill up on little tastes here and there. I think the key is to go with friends, strategize about waiting in lines, and share everything. I don’t know that I’ll be standing in any of these specific lines again (aside from the creme brulee) but the list of vendors for Off the Grid is extensive and I’m sure that there is more food to be enjoyed by other mini mobile kitchens.