Figuring out my food lineup at Outside Lands is equally as exciting and important to me as mapping out when I’ll see my favorite performers. It’s the perfect place to “treat yo’ self,” but after paying that infamously steep San Francisco rent and handing over a chunk of money for a 3-day pass, I’m careful to put my dollars towards only the best, most deliciously satisfying food.
1) Homeroom – Gilroy Garlic Mac & Cheese
Even if you eat nothing else all weekend, I insist you make a stop at Homeroom’s food stand to grab a bowl of their Gilroy Garlic Mac & Cheese. They’ve elevated a classic dish by incorporating the mild sweetness of roasted garlic into the creamiest, cheesiest sauce I dare say you will ever find. The pasta has just enough chew to it and every bite delivers a rich taste of gouda and pecorino cheese with the irresistible aroma and flavor of garlic. Hours later, you’ll probably still be thinking about it and wondering if there’s such a thing as a mac & cheese diet (there should be).
2) Del Popolo – Margerhita Pizza
On your trek through Hellman Hollow between the Twin Peaks and Lands End stages, you will no doubt run into a line stretching almost all the way back from the Del Popolo truck to Wine Lands. Possibly one of the longer waits you’ll experience due to its popularity, when you finally get their wood-fired margherita pizza you’ll understand the hype. The uncomplicated, fresh flavors of tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil are perfect on this light, made to order Neapolitan-style pie. My favorite part? It’s a toss up between the crunch of the slightly charred bits of crust and watching my pizza being pulled straight out of the oven.
3) Nojo – Spicy Tater Tots
Speaking of crunch, you will have your choice of many a deep fried food at the festival but Nojo’s Spicy Tater Tots are not to be missed. First tossed in a bit of salt and nori, the tots are then piled on to a plate and topped with aioli, sriracha and green onions. The sweetness of the nori is balanced with the tang of the aoili and heat of the sriracha, while the green onions offer a fresh type of crunch. Not at all heavy or greasy, the spicy tater tots are perfect for sharing with your homies at Outside Lands…if you don’t devour them all first.
4) Suite Foods Waffle Shop – Traditional Waffle with Pesto & Mozzarella
One of my favorite things in the world is when one food is the serving vessel for another–think stuffed mushrooms, ice cream cones, even hotdog buns–and the waffle sandwiches from Suite Foods Waffle Shop are so brilliant I wish I’d thought of them first. They split open their thick Liege waffles like a pita pocket or arepa and provide you with a small selection of fillings. You can go sweet or savory, but I recommend having the best of both worlds by ordering a lightly sweet Traditional Waffle with the savory pesto & mozzarella. Be sure to add a poached egg with smoked sea salt for additional flavor, because almost everything is better with an egg on it.
5) Humphry Slocombe – Outside Lands Chocolate Gold Rush Ice Cream
It’s easy to miss things when migrating from one stage to the next, but if you venture into the areas tucked away by the trees you will stumble upon Choco Lands and one of the most decadent ice cream flavors offered by Humphry Slocombe. Outside Lands Chocolate Gold Rush beckons to all chocoholics with its chocolate covered cones swirled into dark chocolate ice cream. Everything about it from the crunch of the cones to the luscious, rich cocoa flavor of the ice cream is just so right.
As can be expected, it’s tough to narrow down just five delectable vegetarian foods when there are so many choices available, but a few other great options are the Fake “BBQ Tofu” Sandwich from Proposition Chicken as well as the Vegetarian Ramen Burger and Avocado Fries from Nombe. No matter what stands, trucks or carts you end up at be sure to sample as much of the festival fare while you can!
Words by: Jessica Murella, Photos by: Fabian Molina