Off the Grid, Belmont CA
Monday + holiday = impossible to find an open restaurant. Thankfully we have Off the Grid, where tonight in Belmont, we got to try the fare of four new trucks. Off the Grid provides space, seating, music, and waste services for food trucks to have an area to congregate, and with so many people staying home on this Monday holiday, we breezed through the event with tiny-to-no lines.
Cheese Gone Wild serves exactly what the name describes. The Alcatraz Island Melt looked most tempting to us: grilled flank steak with homemade balsamic steak sauce, caramelized grilled onions and mushrooms, imported Gruyere and Swiss cheeses, on organic shepherd-style white bread. The tender beef had a nice acidity from the balsamic glaze, and the sweet onions balanced the palate so it didn’t go too far into savory. There was just the right amount of cheese so as not to overpower the other ingredients. Held together between slices of buttery grilled bread, this was sumptuous but far from greasy. All sandwiches come with kettle chips and cole slaw, which we thought was very fresh and crunchy with a creamy mayonnaise base. The lemonade with real strawberries had some pulp, not just blended juice. With more strawberry than lemon flavor, there was little citrus to make your lips pucker, so it was more like a strawberrade.
Roli Roti has spread across the Bay Area and can be found at farmers’ markets all over, but it was our first time bumping into the mobile rotisserie van. “Serving only sustainably-farmed meats and organic produce at their seasonal best,” as per the website, Roli Roti has secured its spot honorably among those markets.
We got a half of a chicken to split between us, because it doesn’t take much food to be satisfied when it’s quality. The meat was supremely moist and juicy with a flavorful herbed skin. To go with it, we ordered a small batch of fingerling potatoes. These were soft and salted just right with sea salt, but the nicely caramelized skins with rosemary put them a step above.
Providing a few specialties tonight as a detour from their standard menu, Little Green Cyclo impressed us with their Vietnamese treatment of meats. Locally sourced, all natural, or organic when possible, we appreciate those who put thought into real food. While Zach enjoyed the first few bites of the wagyu beef and rice vermicelli without the sweet vinegar sauce, it was the sauce that made all the difference in enhancing the noodles, vegetables, and beef itself. The beef was lean and tender, clearly high quality, and though it was seasoned well, that vinegar sauce was magical. The duck confit spring rolls had the same vermicelli that was firm but gummy (in a good way). The fresh veggies provided crispness, but the salty duck gave the spring rolls some meaty crunchiness. The peanut sauce on the side was smooth and sweet, making for an all-around refreshing and light item.
We didn’t have any savory, but we loaded up on sweet from the Pacific Puffs Puff Truck. There’s regular size and mini size, but we couldn’t resist – go big or go home, right? Well, we were going to go home after this stop, so we went big and then went home. The “classic” was filled with a rich vanilla cream and dipped in chocolate ganache that was dark and almost fudge-like. The “chocolatier sugar” had a mild chocolate cream filling and light dusting of powdered sugar. With the same chocolate dip as the “classic,” the special “smores” also had marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs pushed into the top with marshmallow cream inside. The marshmallow cream had a texture somewhat looser than whipped cream and a delicate marshmallow flavor that didn’t overwhelm the pastry.
With the Bay Bridge closure until tomorrow morning we anticipated much more traffic, but getting to and exploring Off the Grid was easy and fun. Twice we’ve visited the Belmont location, and twice we’ve left happy and satisfied.