Inside the Food of Outside Lands

Check out what festival-goers drank and ate (hint: oysters are involved) at San Francisco's Outside Lands
Jane Bruce

Nate Ruess of fun. performs at Outside Lands.

This past weekend, hippies, hipsters, and stoners alike gathered in Golden Gate Park for San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. While music may have been the main draw of the festival, there was plenty of time to eat and plenty of enticing options to choose from — local vendors were set up in all areas of the festival, in sections such as Taste of the Bay Area, Beer Lands, Wine Lands, and Choco Lands.

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San Francisco's culinary culture focuses heavily on sustainability. Bay Area staple 4505 Meats, which had two stands set up in the park, is no exception. By using the entire animal in their butchery, owner Ryan Farr says, "We like to make meaty dreams come true." Their cheeseburger was among the most talked about dishes at the festival, and 4505 Meats also provided the sausage and chorizo for Michael Mina’s booth in Outside Lambs.

But what’s good food without good drinks to wash it down with? For the first time this year, the festival had an entire area devoted to California craft breweries. Showcasing 15 breweries, Beer Lands was a popular place to gather and enjoy quality pale ales, IPAs, and even a saison brewed by Sierra Nevada exclusively for Outside Lands. Sierra Nevada brewmaster Terrence Sullivan called the beer "really crisp [and] very refreshing" with "peppery notes."

Wine Lands was a returning attraction at the festival. This year, there were 49 local wineries in the tent, along with wine on tap from Free Flow Wines, and wine in a pouch from House Band Wines.

There’s only one thing left to finish off the meal: dessert at Choco Lands, tucked in the woods behind Outside Lambs. There, cupcakes, cookies, and chocolates were offered from Epic Cookies, Kara’s Cupcakes, and Guittard Chocolate Company. When the fog settled in at night, many festival-goers found warmth in a cup of Candybar’s hot chocolate. Gary Guittard put it best when he said, "We’re here to listen to great music for the ears, and there’s also great music for the mouth."

(All photos by Jane Bruce)