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What To Eat at Outside Lands This Weekend

Festival food picks — some fried, some not as fried

Outside Lands/Jorgensen Photography

Outside Lands is back: The San Francisco food festival that just so happens to feature music from Lorde, a Tribe Called Quest, and Metallica this year, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The entire dining lineup, as curated by Anna Weinberg of the Big Night restaurant group (Leo’s Oyster Bar, Marlowe, Park Tavern), is basically the SF restaurant scene recreated in miniature for the weekend, with dedicated tent areas like Beer Lands, Wine Lands, and Cocktail Magic to boot. To help navigate the weekend, Eater’s SF staff has these endorsements. For those wondering, yes, you can bring your own food through the gates, as well as empty reusable water bottles or two factory-sealed water bottles.

Outside Lands

Ellen Fort, Eater SF Editor

Big Freedia’s Beignets and Bounce with Brenda’s: This is a personal favorite for the past four years, as it involves twerking and fried dough dusted with powdered sugar. Big Freedia performances are high-energy, so thankfully the crowd will have the chance to refuel with hot beignets from Brenda’s, earned by some showing of their dance skills onstage. Don’t miss this.

Del Popolo pizza: Pizza is the food of champions, providing all food groups in a handy, on-the-go format. Del Popolo’s version is particularly worthy of festival feasting, as it’s wood-fired, thin-crusted, and topped with salami.

Itani Ramen gyoza: Ramen is great, but if you’re about to miss Solange on the Sutro stage, grab these dumplings and head down the hill. They’re panfried and plump, and come filled with minced chicken.

Little Skillet fried chicken and waffles with watermelon: Every year happy festival-goers frolic by with heaping plates of crispy fried chicken quivering atop waffles, and a cute slice of watermelon, inspiring envy. Don’t be envious, just go get your own — it’s perfect food for a picnic in the park with 200,000 of your best friends.

Living Greens young coconut: This weekend is notoriously taxing on one’s body, from traipsing through the woods to eat chocolate to windburn (and even sunburn, if the fog lets up) to overindulgence in food and drink. Try to mitigate the latter with a fresh young coconut to top off electrolyte levels and inspire Instagram envy.

Wise Sons pastrami cheese fries: These fries have several things going for them: They’re fried potatoes, they’re topped with Wise Sons’ smoky pastrami, and they’re easy to share (if you feel so inclined). They’re especially excellent on Sunday, when the weekend’s wear and tear has begun to catch up.

Rich Table

Caleb Pershan, Eater SF Reporter

Alba Ray’s jambalaya: It’s the first time on the Polo Grounds for Alba Ray’s, a cajun restaurant that opened in the Mission District this spring. While I wish they were bringing their beignets and hurricanes to the party, jambalaya might be just the ticket for getting through a cooler evening in Golden Gate Park.

High Water Brewing campfire stout: This smoky, chocolatey stout from Stockton-based High Water Brewing is the closest you can get to roasting s’mores over a fire at Outside Lands without pissing off a park ranger. It’s one of my absolute favorite beers and it couldn’t be more appropriate to the outdoor — and, to reiterate, somewhat chilly — scene on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening.

Johnny’s Doughnuts raised doughnuts: Johnny’s is a pretty magical San Rafael shop with a roving truck and a brick-and-mortar location coming soon to Hayes Valley. For the classic donut sweet spot, try the raised — lightly leavened, a little airy, and topped with seasonal glazes. The secret to theirs is a bit of potato in the dough. For the gluten intolerant, Johnny’s “wheat-free fritter thang” is just what the gastrointestinal doctor ordered.

Rich Table porcini doughnuts: When my time comes, I’d like to be surrounded by friends and family and smothered to death by raclette cheese. Until then, I plan to eat lots and lots of Rich Table’s famous porcini doughnuts, perfectly dusted with porcini powder and dipped liberally in raclette sauce.

Señor Sisig burrito: Large and calorie-dense, these Filipino burritos are delicious and will get you through a busy day romping around the park. While many, maybe even most San Franciscans are hip to the Señor Sisig food truck (it’s permanently stationed at 18th and Valencia with some permanence) if you or someone you’re with this weekend haven’t tried it, you should.

4505 Ed Anderson

Hillary Dixler, Eater National Senior Editor:

4505 Meats best damn cheeseburger: At this point, everyone knows that 4505 makes an outstanding cheeseburger. If you haven't tried it — or if you just haven't tried it recently — Outside Lands is a great excuse to get reacquainted.

Boba Guys boba milk tea: If you like enjoying your bubble tea with premium ingredients and a majorly long line, Boba Guys is for you. All kidding aside, there's a line for reason, and this is seriously delicious boba.

Pacific Catch Hawaiian ahi poke: If you want to get the poke I sometimes order from Caviar when I feel like getting delivery but don't feel like hating myself, go to Pacific Catch's stall at Outside Lands.

Smitten Ice Cream vegan fudge popsicles: The vegan fudge popsicles at Smitten are worth getting, even if you are super into dairy. They are rich and creamy, and eating your ice cream on a stick is probably a good strategy for Outside Lands. But here's the catch: You have to like coconut. I, thankfully, do.

Tartine Manufactory morning bun: Of course you should have a Tartine Manufactory morning bun. If there are Tartine-baked morning buns anywhere near you, at any time, you should eat them.

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