As of last Friday, Off The Grid's flagship gathering at Fort Mason is back for the season, with more bells, whistles, and food trucks than ever. The Alembic andMagnolia are still keeping thirsts quenched, but where the food was once heavily Latin- and Asian-inspired, this year's theme is shifting towards "innovative cuisine." The event's organizers put out a call in January for more experimental fare, and ended up with 13 new food vendors looking to push the mobile-food envelope, from the likes of Fins on the Hoof (offering a lamb burger with salsa verde, feta, and spicy mayo), Sticks (honey-battered corn dogs made with Oakland's Taylor's Sausages), and Old World Food Truck(Jewish soul food, like savory rye bread pudding), all the way to a Sons & Daughters alum making "modern alta California-Mexican cuisine" atCalifornios. The clear plastic orb pictured in the gallery above contains coriander-cured hamachi, candied kumquat, citrus agua, and billowy smoke trapped under a layer of cellophane; needless to say, things are changing in the food-truck world.
Fine dining has also insinuated itself into Off the Grid with a new outdoor, heated prix-fixe lounge in the northwest corner. Here, diners can avoid the cold and lines by reserving tables for a prix-fixe menu from Azalina's Malaysian, Californios, Hapa SF, or Stag Dining Group ($30-$50 per person; seatings available here). Derby Cocktail Co., a new enterprise from the Stag Dining folks headed by Long Bar alum and Chron bar star Reza Esmaili, is sellingcocktails like rosewater wine coolers and boozy snow cones in the lounge, whileBrewTruc is on hand to provide craft beer.