If you’re looking for a way to dodge the predictability of the caf’s menu, Off the Grid is the place to be.
Last Friday, as the sun set into a gradient of purple and orange hues, the sound of Bay Area foodies enjoying their night and the delightful smell of freshly baked pizzas, spicy Indian curry, Mexican pan dulce filled the air. Off the Grid is an organization that hosts various mobile food markets throughout the year at different locations in the Bay Area. They just kicked off their spring season that runs until June at Fort Mason Center, where they will host an event every Friday from 5-10 p.m
Many of the vendors are local, family-run businesses that have either been a part of Off the Grid for a few years, or are new to this specific event. One such vendor is Street Sticks, new to this specific event, which sells Filipino street foods like bulak (fermented duck egg) and kikiam (skewered Filipino meatloaf). “Our family loves Filipino street food, and with the majority of our household unemployed during the pandemic, we saw it as a perfect opportunity to start this business,” said the family. “It’s been such a fun journey so far!”
For anyone 21 and up, the market hosts their own beer and wine gardens for you to enjoy. The market has their own signature cocktails to choose from, like the Market Mule or a North Point Negroni.
Aside from the abundance of food and drink, the market also features live music, with each week hosting a band local to the area. Radio Veloso, an SF-based four-piece instrumental band, was working the stage and filling the space with their unique musical combination of funk, soul, jazz, and psychedelic rock last Friday.
As I made the rounds to see what the food trucks had to offer, I was inspired to look for something new that I’ve never tried before. I bought a spam musubi from Junk Mail Musubi, one of the more popular vendors of the night. They serve classic Japanese-American spam musubis with interesting twists like the addition of Flamin’ Hot Cheeto crumbs. Since the crowd grew even bigger as the night went on, many of the designated eating areas were filled, so I decided to step away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy my meal while looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts.
The crowd that night was filled with families closing out their week by winding down with full bellies and hearts. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m glad I came out here. There’s so many options — I don’t know what to try first,” said SF local Sam Dominguez.
Allison Greene was at the event to show her friends, who are in town from Portland, her favorite San Francisco spring activity. Ever since she moved to the city three years ago, she’s been coming back to see her favorite vendors, and to check out new ones too. “I look forward to springtime for two reasons: longer days and this event,” she said.