Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Outside Lands, for those who are unaware, is much, much more than a typical music festival. It’s a gourmand’s dream—a one-stop shop where festivalgoers can enjoy great food, wine and performances in one place.
This year’s festival outdid itself and definitely lived up to its hype (it sold out in just 45 minutes!). Outside Lands 2015, which took place last weekend (August 7-9) in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, delivered over 200 menu options, found within six unique experiences: A Taste of the Bay Area, Wine Lands, Beer Lands, Choco Lands, Cheese Lands, and GastroMagic, which was introduced in 2014 as a fully programmed stage devoted to fantastical culinary entertainment with headlining acts like Elton John, Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar and Billy idol providing the musical chops.
Here, we share what you missed this year and luxury tips and tricks for what you can expect to experience next year, if you’re one of the lucky folks able to get that Willy Wonka-esque golden ticket.
Photo Credit: Cal Bingham
A Taste of the Bay Area A Taste of the Bay Area is folded directly into the Outside Lands experience, allowing festival-goers to catch this year’s top performers like Elton John, Mumford and Sons and The Black Keys, while also choosing from 77 restaurants, food trucks and food carts. As curated by San Francisco-based restaurateur Ari Feingold, lined up eateries like Russian Hill hot spot Stones Throw, the Mexico City inspired La Urbana, chef-driven sandwiches from Liza Shaw and Merigan Sub Shop, Sightglass Coffee, and Indian street food devotees Raj + Singh. San Francisco all-star chef and restaurateur Michael Mina curated an area for VIPs only with his Michael Mina’s Tailgate located in a special area in the VIP tent.
Beer Lands A towering beer mug reading “Ye Ole Beer Lands,” beckons brew lovers into Beer Lands, an area, which, as its name implies, serves up craft beer. This year’s area included a food experience courtesy of gastropub The Monk’s Kettle, which served up pretzel knots and sausages in a pretzel bun. Beer Lands curator Dave McLean, owner of San Francisco’s Magnolia Brewing Company and Alembic Bar, chose 32 breweries, hailing from San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Half Moon Bay and Berkeley, that epitomize Northern California’s powerful craft beer culture including HenHouse, Half Moon Bay, Napa Smith and Stone Brewing Co.
Wine Lands Wine Lands is a pretty magnificent experience for the wine aficionado, giving oenophiles the chance to discover 35 top regional winemakers pouring more than 100 wines, as led by the award-wining wine expert, Peter Eastlake. Under Wine Lands’ ornate and opulent tent, complete with chandelier lights inspired by grapevines, guests can pass through for the perfect wine for their next show, or can linger to chat with winemakers about everything from harvest to biodynamic practices to wine pairings. Wine Lands’ outdoor courtyard offers picnic tables and wine barrels to post up at, as well as a 1920s vintage sink with wine on tap.
Choco Lands Since there is nothing better than ending a meal at Outside Lands in an enchanting and decked-out forest full of rich, sugary and locally made desserts, Choco Lands returns. Guittard Chocolate Company, the oldest, continuously family-run chocolate company in the United States, who this year served Melted Chocolate Bars. Other chocolate-centric desserts on site included Sharona’s Chocolate Shop with Chocolate Dipped Brownies, Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cups, and Chocolate Dipped S’mores; Candybar Dessert Lounge with home-made hot chocolate and Epic Cookies with Chocolate Crackled Cookies and White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies.
Cheese Lands The third successful year of newcomer Cheese Lands was curated by Thalassa Skinner of Culture, a magazine for cheese lovers, in partnership with Napa Valley’s Long Meadow Ranch. Cheese Lands featured expansive cheese and charcuterie selections where artisan producers will engage in educational discussions about the best of the Bay Area’s cheese.
GastroMagic GastroMagic is a stage devoted to fantastical entertainment in the way of star personalities, food, cocktails, comedy, improv and music. GastroMagic, which was initially introduced last year, hosted a slew of diverse highlights, such as demonstrations by Iron Chef Morimoto, Chris Cosentino, Humphry Slocombe, Pete Holmes, Dan Deacon, Rich Table, Guittard Chocolate Company and Big Freedia.
THE OUTSIDE LANDS VISITOR’S GUIDE FOR ANGELENOS
WHERE TO STAY
Photo Credit: Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
There isn’t a more luxurious place to stay than the tony Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. The customer service here is on point: whatever it is your heart desires, the dedicated on-site staff will make happen (including an adorable Outside Lands luxury survival kit with everything from Ritz-Carlton water bottles to stain removal wipes). This luxe hotel recently revealed a dramatic renovation of its 336 guest rooms and suites inspired by tailored fashion and the dramatic fog of San Francisco in a color palette of steely blue, grey and silver. A feature wall in an art deco-inspired design is juxtaposed against an oversized upholstered headboard in silver. Window treatments are simplified with Roman shades, opening the room to an abundance of natural light. Furniture pieces with sumptuous fabrics are inspired by contemporary design, and the stylish carpets showcase a crisp blue pattern. Guestroom artwork reflects an unusual take on city scenes and skylines.
The real luxury is staying on the hotel’s new and updated Clubhouse floor (floor 8). The Club Lounge offers guests exclusive and continuous culinary offerings throughout the day, from mimosas and fresh watermelon juice for breakfast to afternoon champagne to caviar tastings on Saturdays and a vintner wine series on weekends. Guests staying here will also have a dedicated concierge at their disposal, complimentary Wi-fi and complimentary garment pressing.
In addition to the lovely fare you’ll find throughout the day as a Club Lounge guest, you will definitely want to take in Parallel 37 or the luxe hotel’s lounge restaurant (both serve fare from former Charlie Trotter trainee Chef Michael Rotondo). You’ll find fresh, seasonal items here in an elegant environment as well as an extensive list of predominantly California-based varietals and custom-made cocktails such as the “Bar Fly”; Templeton rye, Benedictine, poblano pepper, vanilla and lemon. Make sure to try the Dungeness Crab Roll with celery, avocado and old bay potato chips as well as the Steamed BBQ Pork Bun. Upon leaving the hotel, make sure to grab a fortune cookie (always in a jar by reception) which is a nod to the hotel’s Chinatown-adjacent location.
Another option for a hotel stay in San Francisco is the St. Regis. This SoMA-located hotel is decorated in a similar palette to the Ritz-Carlton—think greys, blues and muted tons that perfectly embody the San Francisco Bay fog. The St. Regis luxury San Francisco hotel embodies extraordinary hospitality with modern day sophistication thanks to the traditional St. Regis Butler Service, where a dedicated butler is at the ready to attend to every need with discreet precision. Make sure to take in the St. Regis Aficionado experience on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, where you’ll find a traditional champagne bottle sabering followed by in-lobby apertifs.
Photo Credit:St Regis, San Francisco
WHERE TO BRUNCH
Photo Credit: Marlowe
You may be a little full after all the culinary options you have at Outside Lands, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge in a big old Sunday brunch. You’ll feel like you’re brunching in Paris when you set food in Marlowe, a SoMA neighborhood bistro owned by husband and wife team Anna Weinberg and James Nicholas as well as chef/partner Jennifer Puccio and Emily Luchetti. Check out the Ken Fulk-designed interior (you’ll find riffs on the butcher shop theme with white hexagonal floor tiles, quilted stainless steel walls and renderings of animals marked for cuts) here, as well as a thoughtful menu divided up into three categories: bites, sweets and savories. Start with a half dozen oysters or French toast sliders (with coffee creme Anglais and Mexican chocolate dipping sauce—yum!) before moving on to housemade ricotta toast with blueberries, walnut, thyme and honey, and finishing strong with tomato baked eggs soaked with artichokes, harissa and chickpeas. Make sure not to miss delicious and hangover-reducing cocktails like the Marlowe Reviver: Salerno blood orange, lemon, Fernet Branca, and prosecco.
WHERE TO DRINK POST-FESTIVAL
We feel like we’ve discovered the newest hotspot in Dirty Water, a craft cocktail lounge/den of delight located just adjacent to Twitter’s headquarters. Zach Taylor some of the best cocktails we’ve ever had the pleasure of sipping, from his amazing take on a Hot Toddy for one ailing member of our party, to an ever-expanding menu of custom-made, thoughtfully prepared libations. The Campfire Old-Fashioned is a standout thanks to a surprising ingredient—chocolate mole bitters–while the Bank Exchange—pisco, pineapple gomme, sage, lime and ginger beer—was refreshing and intoxicating (in more ways than one). In addition to Taylor’s new-fangled infusions, expect to find his takes on classics like the Manhattan, a Sidecar and an Old Cuban (you’ll just have to come in to see what he does with them) as well as 52 craft beers on tap and 100 wines available in house. You’ll need some food to soak up these strong yet perfectly prepared cocktails, so make sure to order up innovative bites from Chef Chris Fissel, former Executive Chef at San Francisco’s La Terrase and Chez Nous, like the Axis deer tartare—deemed a revelation by one foodie—with its preparation of horseradish, smoked egg and garden beets and grilled trout as well as cheese and charcuterie plates. As a bonus, the space is absolutely gorgeous. The 6,252 square foot space, designed by architecture and interior design firm, Arcsine, evokes a warm, intimate ambiance. Glazed golden hued glass shields guests from passersby and encases the restaurant’s cozy interior that will be dominated by dark, rich colors and highlighted by fiery accents of bronze, orange and burnt wood. Circular iron chandeliers, exposed bulbs and soft candlelight provide extra ambiance, making this the perfect place to drink with friends post-festival OR a great date spot for someone you met during your musical journey.
WHERE TO RELAX
Photo Credit: St. Regis, San Francisco
There’s no better way to cap Outside Lands weekend then with a relaxing spa treatment at the St. Regis’ lovely two-story Remède Spa. Upon arrival, guests are escorted to luxe locker rooms, appointed with cedar-lined lockers and separate whirlpools, steam rooms and saunas for men and women. While waiting in lounge for their spa therapist, sip chilled champagne and bite into delicate hand-made truffles before enjoying your treatment. Indulge in the 90-minute St. Regis Aficionado Facial, where your skin is treated and pampered with Laboratoire Remède products; while a mask sits on your face, your therapist will give you a hand, arm and foot massage. Bliss! Post-treatment, make sure to take a dip in the hotel’s infinity pool while enjoying gorgeous views of the San Francisco skyline.