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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Off the Grid Goes On the Grass for a Picnic at the Presidio

Sundays from now until October will be much tastier at The Presidio thanks to the season opener of Off The Grid that will end every week with an outdoor gathering of food purveyors. Their massive lawn area is covered with picnickers, lined by food trucks, booths and now even features a farmer's market. I was fortunate to be invited again by Wagstaff Worldwide who handles the promotion for Off the Grid. Last month I posted about their first Friday at Fort Mason event of the season.

For starters here is the view as you nosh on some of the best street food ever.
Under the center canopy a DJ keeps the picnic grooving to a great variety of tunes.
As with any Off the Grid event beverages are not overlooked and we kicked things off nicely with a variety of cold beers and the Sunday morning classic Bloody Mary.

A bucket o' beverages that instantly said "Picnic" on our blanket.

We opened with fantastic fish tacos from Cholita Linda. These Baja style beauties hit all the bases on texture and flavors. I could have had a couple of more and then just called it quits in the warm sunshine.

Cholita Linda was also featuring fresh squeezed juices at their booth which were greatly appreciated on this unseasonably warm Spring day.


Next we dove into some fresh donuts from the Go Streatery food truck. They had a nice crisp on the outside, super light inside and totally lived up to their claim of "Glorious Peasant Food."

Donuts from Go Streatery Food Truck
Before we knew it Miyagi Oysters from Hog and Rocks showed up with a light red wine vinaigrette. These oysters from Summerset, Washington sell for $3.00 each at the Hog and Rocks' truck.

Hog and Rocks in the Mission District is a unique bar for Oyster, Ham and whiskey lovers.
Next we sampled some more traditional foods you'd be likely to find in a picnic basket like turkey sandwiches, potato salad and open faced salmon sandwiches. These offerings were all courtesy of another Off The Grid regular truck, The Whole Beast.

Smoked Turkey, Avocado and Bacon Sandwich
Classic Picnic Potato Salad
Lox and cream cheese on a fresh bagel
Another unique feature at the picnic is a mobile bar service that delivers craft cocktails, beer and wine directly to your blanket. We tried both a traditional Mimosa and this one with the surprise addition of cucumber adding another whole layer of flavor.

Campagne, Orange Juice plus Cucumber Mimosa
Among the participating farms is Hidden Star Orchards offering apples, blueberries, cherries and several tasty extracts for cooking and beverages.

Cherry, Pomegranate and Blueberry Extracts from Hidden Star Orchards near Stockton, CA
We enjoyed snacking on their healthy dehydrated apple chips all afternoon.
We broke bread and cheese with the offerings of Marla Bakery and Achadinha Cheese Company.
Marla's loaf was a 70/30 blend of rye and pumpernickel with a natural starter. Inside it was bursting with millet, flax, sesame and pepitas seeds. Our cheese cravings were easily covered by the combination of goat and cow curds flavored with herbs/spices called Herbie Curd. It is all part of the really fun California Crazy Curd line made by Achadinha locally in Petaluma, CA.

Fun goat and cow blends from Achadinha Cheese Company.
All afternoon we enjoyed the goodness of Albion strawberries from Blue House Farm in Pescadero. Blue House repertoire of crops also include a variety of chards, greens, tomatoes, and vegetables.
Fresh Albion Strawberries from Blue House Farm
As I mentioned new to this year's OTG Presidio Picnics is a farmer's market so goers can get a jump on their weekly grocery shopping as well. The farmer's market lines one side of the lawn while the prepared foods row is on the opposite side. Kicking off the season were the following farms:

County Line Harvest – Roots, cucumbers, lettuces, berries, specialty greens
Blossom Bluff – Stone fruits, dried fruits, mandarins, cherries
Blue House Farms – Chards, greens, tomatoes, strawberries, flowers
Herr's Family Farm – Asian vegetables
Hidden Star Orchards – Apples, blueberries, cherries, cider, ice wine
Tomatero – Organic vegetables
Winter's Fruit Tree – Dried fruits, eggs, nuts
Yerena Farms – Blueberries, strawberries and cherries

The new farmer's market at the Sunday Presidio Picnic
These retailers also made their debut at the opening Pesidio Picnic:

Achadinha Cheese Company – Local artisan cheeses from Petaluma
Dandelion Chocolates – Free chocolate tasting from their small batch recipes
Jarred – All things brined
Marla Bakery – Fresh baked goods
The Brooklyn Circus – Picnic supplies and apparel
Sports Basement – Featuring free use of the gear for lawn games at the picnic

Sports Basement turns the Presidio Picnic into serious family fun with free gear for lawn games
Obviously, it's impossible to sample every taste available at any Off the Grid event because there are so many vendors. This pizza truck from Del Popolo was one stop I regretfully did not make. I saw the beautiful pizzas everywhere and will put it at the top of my list for the next time I go Off the Grid.

All glass sides let you watch them make fresh pies from Del Popolo's mobile pizzeria
Del Popolo's truck brings a real Italian made wood fired pizza oven to you. 
On a Presidio side note the lawn area where all this great Sunday picnicking takes place is adjacent to the Disney Family Museum. I must confess to dropping off my family at the museum while I noshed my way around the picnic. However, doing both in one day is not out of the question. So between the food, lawn games and museum you could easily make The Presidio a destination for a major family fun day in San Francisco.

Walt, Me and Mice
My parting shot is from the lookout point high above The Presidio. It is a special place rich in history and a perfect setting for a picnic. Thanks to Off the Grid for making what's in your basket available from some of San Francisco's finest foodies. Grab a blanket and enjoy it Sundays through October.

Sweeping view of the bay from high above The Presidio