In case you’ve been living on Mars and haven’t heard about Off the Grid, it’s a “roaming mobile food extravaganza that travels to different locations daily to serve delicious food […] bringing all your favorite gourmet food vendors together to create a market like you’ve never seen before”. The first one, at Fort Mason Center, has been all the rage since it started a few weeks ago. Every Friday, when I look at the pictures of street food dishes people upload on Flickr or Twitpic, my mouth just melts. So, naturally, when it was announced they would be doing a similar event at other locations, including the Civic Center plaza, we were filled with excitement yet hollow with the hunger of anticipation. It’s taken a while (permit processes as like super freakin’ awesome in SF), but the time to enjoy street food in our neck of the woods has finally come: today was the first Off the Grid event from 11am to 3pm, right in front of City Hall:

I have to admit that when I heard about it yesterday on various local blogs and food websites, I was a bit skeptical. They announced “up to 5 vendors”, which seemed like not much considering we already enjoy a few food trucks at Civic Center during the Farmers’ Market days (there are usually trucks selling waffles, tamales and falafels, sometimes even other stuff). Also, Liba is already a frequent vendor in front of City Hall. And, I’m assuming because of all the government buildings, this event happens during lunchtime instead of in the evening.

However, my expectations were surpassed. First, the food carts there were some of the tastiest, and hippest. Namely, El Tonayense, Senor Sisig, Ebbett’s Good To Go, Hapa SF, Slow City Cafe, and the aforementioned Liba. I also I loved the outdoor seating in the park, under the trees.

The weather was beautiful, and a trumpeter was playing jazz music in the background, with the smell of grilled meats and fresh coffee in the air. It was the perfect meal. And this is what I ate, from the truly awesome Senor Sisig:

Guys, don’t miss it next Friday. Trust me. And I overheard a woman from the 51st State truck saying they’ll be there next time, as today their engine blew (or something). And I’m hoping that the vendors will come ready to “serve it” all the way until 3 next time, because I showed up at 2 and most had run out of food. I can only assume this is due to their having no idea as to what the turn out would be like, which appears to be good. Anyways, for the next one, be there.