A view of the Presidio Picnic (Vansh A. Gupta/Siliconeer)
@Siliconeer #Siliconeer @offthegridmarkets @presidiopicnic @sfbayarea #offthegridmarkets @Dum #DumTruck – Imagine a large grassy field overlooking the Bay. The Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Add food trucks serving delicious ethnic cuisine, large, spirited crowd, music, and now, an App, writes Siliconeer youth editor Vansh A. Gupta, feeling refreshed at the Presidio Picnic.
On a dry Sunday afternoon the family decides to go on a picnic. Being a teen, I fancied the picnic to be a repetition of last year’s monotonous outing. The same grub packed from home that we would go and eat for lunch near a secluded lake, where finding some civilization would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Reality check.
Fast forward to 2017, suddenly it’s time to redefine the picnic experience for us, SF Bay Area residents.
San Francisco and Silicon Valley have been the hub of innovation be it in tech or any other business since the genesis of the Golden State.
Apple, Google, Facebook, and Tesla, are all symbolic milestones in tech, and they all have one common element in their ecosystems that is profoundly important and extremely difficult to maintain. Humans.
It is no secret, or I should say, the worst kept secret, that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Go ahead, ask an HR manager in the Valley.
Meet Matt Cohen, founder of Off The Grid Markets. His vision – recreating the environment of a bustling Asian night market complete with various street food vendors, right here in San Francisco.
Matt is credited with reviving and keeping street food alive in San Francisco, and this is evident at the Presidio Picnic event that happens every Sunday beginning in spring and runs through fall.
His genuine love for creating the perfect mix of a social environment with food entrepreneurship has all the makes of an entrepreneur’s perfect picnic.
“The Presidio Picnic event was inspired by the site itself – acres and acres of flat grass overlooking the bay. The Presidio truly offers us an opportunity for a one of a kind Picnic experience. 30 total vendors participate in Presidio Picnic including 19 tents, 10 trucks, and 1 bar,” said Matt Cohen, founder of Off the Grid Markets.
“The event started with 20 vendors. Over time we’ve added amazing new vendors like Bi-Rite and Nopalito. We’ve also added free activities like our weekly Yoga classes. Most recently, we improved the experience by allowing people to pre-order for large group so they can enjoy spending time with each other rather than waiting in lines,” he added.
For our Silicon Valley readers, Matt says “We have a great event right in the heart of Silicon Valley: OTG Mountain View at the Computer History Museum. It happens every Friday from 5-9pm and the Museum has activities and special activities that are open to the public.”
The Presidio was indeed the perfect site for the picnic as its grassy field is as massive as a football stadium overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the bay. That crosses off “perfect location” on the planning list. However, where will the food come from?
In a conventional picnic, people would pack their own food, but Off The Grid and the Presidio Trust had that covered. They assembled a whole buffet for all ethnicities. The 30 vendors currently part of the event comprise of flavors found in streets around the world. There were enough to satisfy every stomach to the brim. From pizzas to tacos, bakery goods to coconut water, Asian skewers to Paneer wraps, and more. Yep, you read it correctly; even Paneer wraps were part of the menu!
The familiar smell of spices led us to the Indian food truck, where owner Rupam Bhagat was super busy serving the long line of eager and hungry customers at his DUM truck.
We tried some of the offerings at the truck. The food was so good it sent my dad on a nostalgia trip as he remembered the Chicken Kathi Rolls served on the streets of Kolkata, India. My little brother decided to go for the milder biryani and he enjoyed that as well. My mom had the vegetarian Paneer Kathi Roll and claims it was heavenly.
I tasted all the dishes and I can say this with conviction, in the SF Bay Area only a handful of restaurants actually serve authentic Indian cuisine and DUM is definitely one of those.
“Indian soul food to us is food that reminds us of (back) home, food that we grew up with, satisfies your soul not just your appetite. All our items are locally sourced and are seasonal, utilizing the abundance that California has to offer. We have adapted our cuisine and flavors to the local products and resources,” said Rupam Bhagat, a Mumbai-native and Culinary Institute of America alumni.
He added, “The most important lesson from CIA was how important it is to have strong knowledge of basic cooking before we venture out experimenting with new techniques. It laid a strong foundation for a career in culinary.
“The cuisine is not focused on any city or region. We focus on flavors rather than region. It is combination of my experiences working in different places also how my Mom used to cook and food I grew up eating.”
“My biggest inspiration has been my parents, they have taught me that with dedication and hard work anything can be achieved,” concludes Rupam.
With the fresh breeze from the Bay, an open grassy field, a playful party-like environment, and the numerous choice of delicious, authentic, ethnic and local food vendors, the Presidio Picnic has all the makes of the “perfect” picnic.
Wait, there’s more.
For those intimidated by long lines for your favorite cuisine, now there’s an app for that. Download the “Off the Grid” app from the Apple or Android app store and you can pre-order your food. Skip the line and gusto!
We urge you to join in. Pack your cell phones, chairs, mats, credit card or cash, and join the party every Sunday, from 11 am to 4 pm, until October of this year. Don’t worry about the food; there’s plenty for all!
Event Details: https://offthegrid.com/event/presidio-picnic/2017-4-2-11am