Fort Mason Off the Grid Kicks Off 2014 Season

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Lou Bustamante
The arrival of spring marks the time of year when birds and bees get busy, but also the yearly migration of colorful food trucks back to Fort Mason.

This past Friday, the biggest food truck rally of them all, Off the Grid Fort Mason, kicked off its 2014 season with a brand new theme: carnival, as in the county fair. The ranks of vendors include 19 returning crowd favorites like Bacon Bacon, and premiered 14 new ones, along with games like shuffleboard and skeeball.

See also: Food Truck Bite of the Week: Finding Home with Laksa at Azalina's Malaysian
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Plenty of Bling Without the Grillz at Casey's
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Turkey Momos from Bini's Kitchen

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Food Truck Bite of the Week: Falkor at Adam's Grub Truck

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Lou Bustamante

Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

The Truck: Adam's Grub Truck
The Cuisine: Over-the-top sandwiches with an Asian kick
Specialty Items: Anything fried between two buns
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 7 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.

Today's food truck review marks the last one for the season until we return back in action in March. Between the demand of the holidays, the slow down in new trucks at this time of year, and my doctor's threats, it's time to hibernate from the food truck reviews for a bit.

For the last one we go possibly the most embellished sandwich of all -- the Falkor ($9.50, spiced panko crusted fried chicken, pepper jack cheese, bacon, jumbo fried egg, Asian slaw, hot sauce) from Adam's Grub Truck.

See also: Food Truck Bite of the Week: Kickin' It Old World
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Headbanging to Fryin' Maiden at Brass Knuckle
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Fryway to Heaven at Architect's Kitchen

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Food Truck Bite of the Week: Potato Pizza at Del Popolo

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Lou Bustamante
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

The Truck: Del Popolo
The Cuisine: Italian
Specialty Items: Wood fired pizzas
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 20 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.

One of the big heavies of the food truck realm, Del Popolo, has been on my list to cover since I started this column. When they first hit the street, there was so much breathless chatter about it (mostly due to the truck itself) that I decided to wait and cover them once things had settled in. After months of comically disparate schedules, the truck and I met again at a few different locations.

See also: Best-Looking Food Truck - Del Popolo
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Plenty of Bling Without the Grillz at Casey's
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Northern Mexico Style Burritos at Burr-Eatery


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Food Truck Bite of the Week: Northern Mexico Style Burritos at Burr-Eatery

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Lou Bustamante
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

The Truck: Burr-Eatery
The Cuisine: Sonoran style cuisine
Specialty Items: Anything wrapped in their homemade flour tortillas
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 10 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.

I grew up eating home-cooked Mexican food, and while I'll never claim that it made me an expert in Mexican cuisine, it did give me a different perspective on what people considered "Mexican Food," even in San Francisco.

My family moved to the states from rural central Mexico. There, burritos were small things, usually filled with just one thing, like beans refried with chorizo. I remember my mom packing me a couple of tightly wrapped burritos in my Dukes of Hazzard thermos for school lunches, and the wonder it created among my classmates.

It wasn't until I was in middle school that my older cousin Alfonso made me aware of the massive burritos being made in the Mission. "They're as big as my arm!" he'd tell me, equally amused and excited by how different they were from what we were used to. My first trip to El Farolito was when I became aware that there was more to eat than what I knew, and that was exhilarating.

These were some of the memories and emotions that flooded my brain as I finished eating my first Chile-Colorado Burrito ($4, red chile braised pork wrapped in a lard tortilla) from Burr-Eatery.

See Also:- Food Truck Bite of the Week: Braised Pork Shoulder Bowl at Fuki
- Food Truck Bite of the Week: Meatball Sandwich at Red Sauce
- Food Truck Bite of the Week: Four Great Food Trucks for Vegetarians

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Food Truck Bite of the Week: Braised Pork Shoulder Bowl at Fuki

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Lou Bustamante
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

The Truck: Fuki
The Cuisine: World cuisine with a focus on spices and healthy meals
Specialty Items: Bowls and sliders
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total seven minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.

Don't let the name fool you -- Fuki isn't really Japanaese. And it's not really Middle Eastern, African, South American, or Asian either. Although it borrows from all of them, Fuki places all of these cuisines on a culinary palette, and dabs some garam masala here, some chipotle pepper there.

See also: Food Truck Bite of the Week: Flatbread Sandwiches at Vesta
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Meatball Sandwich at Red Sauce
Making a Lunch Pit Stop at Truck Stop SF


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Food Truck Bite of the Week: Meatball Sandwich at Red Sauce

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Lou Bustamante

Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

The Truck: Red Sauce Meatballs
The Cuisine: Meat. Also veggies. In ball form.
Specialty Items: Meatball sandwich
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 8 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.

"Everyone we talk to about this project says, 'I love meatballs,'" says Adam Zolot, owner of Red Sauce Meatballs. And indeed, people love the truck, and the truth is that the meatballs from Red Sauce are very good and are bringing us a new perspective to classic American-Italian food previously only available in the North Beach tourist joints and from Tony Gemignani's pair of restaurants.

See also: Making a Lunch Pit Stop at Truck Stop SF
Emmy's Spaghetti Shack: Boozy With a Chance of Meatballs
Turns Out a Giant Meatball Topped With Burrata Is 100 Percent Delicious

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Making a Lunch Pit Stop at Truck Stop SF

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Lou Bustamante
Our monthly review explores the city's food trucks gatherings, one at a time, breaking down each one with statistics, descriptions of the scene, and vital info to help you plan a trip there.

Location: 450 Mission, in the alley
Schedule: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Market Info Website: Facebook (has the most updates)
Approximate Number of Trucks: 2-3 each day
Parking/Public Transit: Parking is tough, Market street transit makes it easier
Music: No
Booze: No
Seating: Outside in the courtyard of the Fremont Center that connects to the alley
Best for: Quick lunch bite on sunny days
Other notes: Lines get long fast; take an early lunch for best service

Easily one of the hidden gems in the food truck rallies is Truck Stop SF. Tucked away in a small alley barely big enough for the trucks and lines of patrons, this rally hosts a great selection of food trucks, like Hapa SF, KoJA Kitchen, Phat Thai, and the ever-popular Chairman. While it doesn't offer any seating in the alley, it has an unexpected advanced of having access to the courtyard of Fremont Center at 50 1st Street. On a nice day, large groups of co-workers share tables or bench space underneath trees.

See also: Food Truck Bite of the Week: Four Great Food Trucks for Vegetarians
Revisiting Thursday's Ferry Plaza Market, the OG Food Truck Rally
How S.F. Food Vendors Prepare For an Event Like Outside Lands


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Food Truck Bite of the Week: Four Great Food Trucks for Vegetarians

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Lou Bustamante
Liba Falafel's salad
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

A few weeks ago, I met up with some friends at the Fort Mason Off the Grid. At this and other food truck rallies, my brain is wired to beeline it to the meaty goodies: pork belly burgers, roasted meat nachos, sisig tacos, and burritos. This time around I was offered a special challenge: since half of our group was vegetarian, it was my task to show that yes, it is possible to eat well without meat from a food truck.

See also: Five Things I Learned Eating at Food Trucks Every Week in 2012
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Going Back to Cali
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Porchetta Nachos at The Whole Beast

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Food Truck Bite of the Week: Shandong-Style Dumplings at Happy Dumplings

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Lou Bustamante
Vegi dumpling
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

The Truck: Happy Dumplings
The Cuisine: Traditional and house style dumplings from the Shandong Province in China
Specialty Items: Dumplings
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak time, a total 3 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.

You've gotta love the simplicity of the concept of Happy Dumplings, which serves nothing but fat little dumplings, crisp fried on a few sides and pan-steamed everywhere else.

The handmade dumplings may remind you of pot stickers because of the cooking method, but that's where the similarities end. The handmade dough is based on a low-gluten wheat flour that rises in the pan, giving it a puffy exterior rather than chew.

See also:-Food Truck Bite of the Week: Going Sur for the Empanadas
Revisiting Thursday's Ferry Plaza Market, the OG Food Truck Rally
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Turkey Momos from Bini's Kitchen


More »

Food Truck Bite of the Week: Going Sur for the Empanadas

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Lou Bustamante
The Traditional Empanada
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.

The Truck: El Sur
The Cuisine: Peruvian and Argentine style empanadas
Specialty Items: Traditional and seasonally inspired empanadas
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 5 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.

The empanada is the perfect street food: small enough that you can eat one as a snack or two to forge a meal, shaped in a way to comfortably hold with one hand while you nosh, and with enough filling variations to keep things interesting. Add to that regional styles, from Spain and Portugal, to Argentina, Chile, and even Brazil, and you have an endless number of choices.

At the adorable El Sur Truck (a 1970 Citroen H-Van purchased in France that was retrofitted with a kitchen), Marianne Despres bakes up a unique blend of Argentine and Peruvian family influences wrapped up in French technique.

See also: Food Truck Bite of the Week: Turkey Momos from Bini's Kitchen
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Rolling in the Kati at Kasa Eatery
Food Truck Bite of the Week: Doing it Mission Style at Frozen Kuhsterd


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