CONCERT CUISINE: Back in the day, oh, a few decades ago, give or take, the food at an out-sized concert or music festival was typically of the hamburger, hot dog, fill-'em-up variety. Oh, we're not saying it wasn't good -- it often was, very much so, and it hit the spot after a day of rocking out, hard -- but you could count on the same menu staples to be written on the whiteboard as were on the whiteboard at the last show you saw. Which means that when your friend stood up from the grass, stretched, and said they were going for food, you said "I'll have whatever you have" knowing that the choices didn't necessarily number in the dozens. Those days are long gone, however. The sustenance side of a sound spectacular is rivaling the stage for superstars, both in dishes and the big-name chefs behind the grills. Look to Outside Lands, the early-part-of-August extravaganza that takes up a sizable chunk of Golden Gate Park. It's the queen among cuisine + concert happenings, and its reign looks strong: Some 78 restaurants were just announced for the 2015 festival, which rocks and noshes out from Friday, August 7 through August 9.
LET'S START WITH CHOCOLANDS... because that's a sweet eatliner -- which is like a headliner, of course -- of the event. Guittard Chocolate Company and Sharona's Chocolate Shop will be desserting up the lives of concert goers (along with several other sugar shops). A Taste of the Bay Area is another dining dimension of the weekend, and Delfina, La Urbana, and Raj + Singh are set to show. The Monk's Kettle joins Beer Lands (yep, there's a Beer Lands, which goes a bit beyond a short row of taps under a single tent) and Bluxome Street Winery and Buena Vista Winery and Vineyards will line up the glasses over at Wine Lands. And will Cheese Lands be back? Oh, it will be, with Long Meadow Ranch and more creamy favorites in tow.
SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: Will one day soon, not far in the future, foodies start attending concerts strictly for the eats? We probably don't need to wonder about that. When one of the top-notch-iest of taste festivals shows up in tandem with a famous music show, you can bet the reasons why people are there are plentiful and, quite often, plate-focused.