burning man...they also had food there
I just got back from Burning Man and.....wait, did I forget to tell you that? Well, I can't say this was really high on my bucket list, maybe somewhere between going to Bora Bora and getting another tattoo, but there non the least. Me and the SO had a chance to go this year and we jumped on it because, why not.
Once you get there they hand you a little booklet with all the events listed for the week and beyond the music, art, fire and that other stuff, there were quite a few food happenings. Now I didn't go there expecting to be on the lookout for culinary adventures, and for the most part, they weren't. Still, it was interesting to see what folks were offering up free food. Free? Why yes Virginia, the food was free. It's part of the "ten principles of Burning Man" where gifting of some sort is encouraged. In the scheme of things, food seems like a popular way to go. (camps were also giving booze, lots and lots of booze) My gift was to let people hug me. Considering people were covered in dust, hadn't bathed in days and were total strangers, it was a lot of effort on my part.
Anyway, we decided to hit up of the food things either looking for a specific one or whatever we pedaled by while cycling through the grounds. Below is a wrap up of some of what we noshed on.
This is one I wanted to go to when I saw the listing. Pancakes and soft rock at Pancake Playhouse. They serve up fresh made pancakes while you get to listen to soft rock hits of the 80's! Like I'm passing that up?! It was the morning of our second full day there and a great way to kick the week off. Pancakes were good, though they only had syrup, no butter. I'll looked past it since it was hot and we were in the desert, you just can't sit butter out in those conditions. Pancakes also happened to be one of the more popular options for breakfast for those just getting up or those who stayed up all night.
Here's one we rolled by at camp WeScream where you can make ice cream using super cold liquid nitrogen. The line was long when we stopped but we found out if you want to make a bowl, you get moved to the front of the line. We were all over it since the SO is a fan of the science of cooking. Just add milk, flavor and nitrogen then stir and stir and stir till it forms ice cream. It was cool, like a boiling cauldron, plus, the smoke was a cool respite on a hot day. The final product was also tasty and cold, perfectly hitting the spot.
Who brings a wood fired pizza oven to the playa? Evidently, camp Porta Party does. We lucked out when we got there, the line was rather short and we snagged to slices to satisfy a mid-afternoon hunger. For the most part it was good. Probably could have used a few more minutes in the oven to get the bottom crispier, but it's pizza! And it was free! Good enough.
What better way to celebrate tutu Tuesday on the playa than with a grilled cheese sandwich. They were serving up a pizza and a Cubano version. One had sauce and mozzarella the other sharp cheddar and a pickle. No meat, but lots of butter, crispy bread and gooey cheese. Another nice late day snack.
One way to snag free food is to volunteer to help out a group or event. The SO played a few times with the Playa Pops orchestra and we got invited to a dinner they were having for the group at the Frozen Oasis camp. Coconut curry chicken on jasmine rice with a side of roasted vegetables. It was really good. Of course, it helps to have a chef and a catering kitchen to create the meal. They were also serving up frozen margaritas and daiquiris that had a real punch to them. This was the best meal we had all week.
Another way to get fed is make friends with other camps or neighbors. If you strike up a bond, you just might get invited over for a meal and be treated to a fresh green salad and some perfectly cooked shrimp and pasta. This might not always be the case, but sometimes you get lucky and a filling tasty meal.
Not everything being offered will be fancy, hotdogs were another popular option around the city. These we just happened to come upon at camp Wiener Zoo. We got there at the right time as the line was short and the hotdogs were in great supply. Classic old-school with dog, bun and ketchup and mustard. The bun might have been better had it been heated, but as a snack, it really hit the spot.
Couple things I learned will making my food journey around Black Rock City. 1--if the offering is unusual, show up early and get in line. Like an hour early. I tried to hit up camp Preservation Society's pig roast, but when we got there at just a bit past their 9pm start time, folks had been in line since 8pm. Even though they were roasting 2 pigs, we totally missed out on getting any. Kind of a bummer. 2--Just because it is listed as an event, doesn't mean it is going to happen. There were a number of bacon themed events we tried going to but it was either not happening or the camp had already packed up. Funny, now that I think about it, I missed all the pork stuff. Should I take that as a sign? Nah, never gonna give up on the bacon.
Overall, a pretty interesting and surprising experience getting to know different camps and the food on offer. Keep in mind, if you get the chance to go it isn't always about the music, dancing, art, fire and other stuff, there is food too. And maybe, if you get lucky, you'll come across a place where you can get all of them at the same time, they call that playa magic. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to decompress.