The three-day, music-food-drink spectacle that is Outside Lands concluded Sunday, August 7, but long after the last notes from Sunday headliner Post Malone faded into the night, Eater editors Lauren Saria and Dianne de Guzman continue to reflect on their best bites from the weekend.
There was plenty to eat and drink at the festival, which include highlights such as Nyum Bai’s Kampot fried chicken, with its salted, shatteringly crispy exterior, to glasses of cool, tart rose wine from Scribe Winery at Wine Lands, to a restorative boba milk tea from Urban Ritual. But what are the editors still thinking about Monday morning? Read on to find out.
Smashburger and curly fries from Smish Smash
There are many ways to make a burger and even many ways to smash a smashburger. But if you’re going to pick just one approach to rule them all, then the impossibly thin patties and addictively lacy edges found on Smish Smash’s smashburgers make a strong case that this style should, in fact, be the winner. I’d been wanting to try this particular East Bay-based pop-up for many months, but, alas, I am a lazy San Franciscan not often lured across the bridge, even for one of the Bay Area’s best burgers. The beauty of this beefy specimen as a mid-festival lunch came in part from the fact that it made for a meaty, greasy, cheesy meal — all the essential food qualities for a day filled with lots of sun and a decent amount of beer — but also one that didn’t leave you feeling entirely too full or weighed down to keep the party going well into the afternoon. A single layer of melted American cheese and two palm-sized buns were all these patties needed for adornment, so no single ingredient overshadowed the flavor of the meat itself. Plus the curly fries maintained its supreme crispiness through Local Natives' entire set, a crucial factor for a concert snack food. — Lauren Saria
Crispy pork lumpia from Abaca
I’ve been a fan of chef Francis Ang’s breakout Filipino restaurant Abaca since it made its sun-soaked debut in a Fisherman’s Wharf hotel last August. So of course we made a beeline for Abaca’s booth on Friday afternoon, starting our festival weekend with an order of these crispy pork lumpia. They were absolutely everything lumpia should be: wrapped tight, thin, and long and filled with a meat-heavy ratio of filling. But it was the apple ketchup that made this a snack we returned for multiple times throughout the next two days, the fruity sauce giving each bite a pleasant sweetness cut only slightly by a showering of thin sliced green onion. Bonus points for each baton of deep-fried pork being served pre-cut into bite-sized pieces and with handy extra-long toothpicks for sharing. — Lauren Saria
Muffulettas at Sandy’s
I’ve had Sandy’s muffuletta once before, probably over a year ago at Sandy’s former space at Maison Corbeaux. But ever since I wrote about Sandy’s seeking out a new home in San Francisco, I knew I had to look them up at some point during Outside Lands. To be honest, I hadn’t quite gotten Peterson Harter’s version of the muffuletta off my mind since my first trip to New Orleans in March, where I sought out various versions of that olive salad-, mortadella-, provolone-laden sandwich any place I could. With those versions still (mostly) set in my mind, I wanted to re-try Sandy’s to see if it still held the same reverence.
And indeed it remained as good as I remember, surpassing most of the New Orleans versions I tried (shh, please don’t tell my new favorite travel destination!) despite having to jostle for space at the eating stations set up for concertgoers. The sesame bread was nice and pillowy, perfect for sopping up that pickle-y, brine-y goodness of the olives, and nicely set against the deli meats and cheeses inside. It had taken so much time to travel from the East Bay to Golden Gate Park Friday afternoon, but clutching that sandwich and listening to the music floating through the air, the pain of getting to Outside Lands faded away. — Dianne de Guzman
Chashao roast pork ’n rice at El Chino Grande
Although I saw my fair share of Taiwan-style hot dogs carried by people roaming Outside Lands, the big winner of El Chino Grande’s menu was the chashao roast pork — which ultimately sold out by Saturday night. The team quickly pivoted to a pork shoulder marinated in garlic chashao glaze for the crowds on Sunday, but I was thankfully able to snag a bowl Saturday evening. El Chino Grande noted that the pork belly takes “4-5 days to fully prep” and whatever they’re doing, it’s an item to behold. The heritage pork was tender in its sticky-sweet glaze, with bits of charred fat and meat from the grill. Add onto the fact that the fattiness of the pork was cut by nori furikake-topped white rice and crunchy cabbage slaw, it was a nice mix of items to keep me dancing into the night. The Hurricane popcorn is also worth a shout-out, as myself and some friends shared a bag and enjoyed its contents down to the last popped kernel and mochi bit. — Dianne de Guzman
Strawberry Basque cheesecake (and almond macaron) from Oui Oui! Macaron
I was in search of a nice, night-ending sweet when, lo and behold, the siren call of a sign boasting of both Basque cheesecake and macarons lured me in. Behind the sweets was Oui Oui! Macaron, the dessert purveyor whose Emeryville Public Market location shuttered in August 2021. Despite its closure, Oui Oui! is still in good form, as I dove into a strawberry-flavored version of their Basque cheesecake (I will order any dessert involving strawberries, I’ve just come to accept that fact over the years). The cheesecake was nicely chilled — I prefer it that way — with delicate notes of strawberry within the cream cheese. The almond macaron had that nice, particular bite that macarons are wont to have and despite feeling a little sheepish about having a side of dessert with my dessert, seeing as how I don’t know when I’ll next have either item from Oui Oui! it was all perfectly worth it in the end. — Dianne de Guzman