Off the Grid has become one of California’s largest and most popular street food events, currently operating 19 weekly markets around the Bay Area. It’s been at Fort Mason on spring and summer Friday evenings since 2010, drawing bigger and bigger crowds to a foodie’s paradise of offerings from established and new restaurants and food trucks. And, after debuting for six weeks last year, Off the Grid: Picnic at the Presidio has returned to the lawn at the Main Post on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for six months through Oct. 27.
The concept behind Off the Grid is simple: It’s a way to gather together San Francisco street-food vendors and restaurateurs to allow neighbors and families to connect and enjoy great food and drink. Picnic at the Presidio features mainly offerings from some of the City’s favorite restaurants including Nopalito, Haven and Rosamunde Sausage Grill as well as “blanket bar service,” where patrons can purchase a cocktail such as a Bloody Mary or mimosa right from their picnic blanket.
In addition to noshing on treats and beverages, Presidio picnickers can shop for fresh local produce, prepared food, and flowers from Blue House Farm, Hidden Star Orchards, Winters Fruit Tree, and several others. You can also purchase products from Bay Area retailers such as Achadina Cheese Company, Dandelion Chocolate and Sports Basement.
The atmosphere at Picnic at the Presidio is relaxed and full of family fun, with onsite supplies available to play horseshoes, bocce ball, fly kites, and even picnic blankets to borrow to ward off the chill of those foggy summer afternoons. A D.J. spinning old-school Motown classics adds ambiance, and there’s yoga for those who want to work up an appetite.
In its fourth season, Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center has introduced more than 13 new vendors, with a total of 32 food and beverage purveyors. You can sample cocktails from Alembic and beer from Magnolia along with favorite bites from Curry Up Now, Belly Burgers, Taco Guys, and many more. And a new feature at Fort Mason is the Prix Fixe Dining Service, where guests can enjoy a more sophisticated mix of restaurant specials and street stall staples in a limited number of seats in a heated area that includes a specialty lounge from Derby Cocktail Co., a new mobile bar. Featured drinks include barrel-aged cocktails, wine on tap and local microbrews. Reservations are required.
Though San Francisco summers don’t often bring what you’d call picnic weather, it’s worth it to layer up and head to one of Off the Grid’s nearby outdoor offerings. Where else can you enjoy food from around the world with a bay view, music al fresco and a mellow mix of hipsters and families gathered together in perfect harmony?
Off the Grid: Presidio Picnic: Sundays through Oct. 27, 11 a.m.– 4 p.m., offthegridsf.com