The Rancho Project’s Festival Cuisine Will Satisfy Your Taste Buds At Upcoming Camping Events
Your mind is ready to keep partying days into your favorite festival, but your body…not so much. The fuel of hot Coors Lights and mediocre hot dogs heated up on your buddy’s camping grill is barely enough to get you by following the past 72 hours of dancing and trekking miles from stage to stage. You’ve nearly forgotten what “real” food tastes like and, realistically, $18 vegan breakfast burritos don’t fill you up.
Sound familiar, festival-goers? Because we’ve all been there.
Thankfully there’s a festival-hopping project waiting to come to your rescue the next time you find yourself hangry at a camping event. For a small price, The Rancho Project will provide you with a five-course sit down meal prepared freshly on site.
The cooks accommodate to vegan, gluten free, and omnivorous guests alike and provide a shaded, pinterest-esque dining room with live entertainment and interactive opportunities. The Rancho is a reservation-only experience, and spots can be reserved beforehand on Eventbrite or in-person at the festival. The project blossomed as an extension of chef Luca Crostella’s Giggle Juice Cafe, a West Coast festival juice vendor.
To carry on the same consecutive vibe at each event the project attends, The Rancho has a traveling pop-up 20 x 50 foot structure made out of refurbished wood. The structure holds an open air kitchen, communal tables, rustic lighting structures and colorful wall art. At given events, a 40 x 50 foot exterior patio can be attached to the indoor structure.
I discovered the project this past weekend at Lightning in a Bottle because my camping neighbor was working as a chef, big ups to Elliot! He was a super friendly dude who explained the concept of The Rancho to my group, and told us he had worked for the project at events like What The Festival and Oregon Eclipse.
Being that my boyfriend and I both work in sit-down restaurants, the thought of having hosts and servers at a festival really struck our interests. We easily made the decision to sign ourselves up for the $75-per-person experience for Sunday evening, when we knew that we’d be craving something of nutritional value.
When our reservation time came, a man suited up in slacks and a professional vest greeted us and showed us our spot at the communal table. We would share our huge portions with the two guys who were assigned to sit next to us, which was a fun social aspect to the experience and great opportunity to make friends.
The meal began as servers provided us with iced fruit-infused water that felt amazingly refreshing compared to the hot gallon bottle I had been chugging back at camp. Our appetizer— intricately sliced zucchini strips with feta cheese, olive oil, sesame seeds, and a lemon wedge— was quickly presented and hit the spot.
For our second course, we had a garden salad with a vegan Strawberry dressing, and while we ate it we were serenaded by a woman who seemed to be singing to the beats we could hear coming from the nearby thunder stage. Another woman made circles around the dining area, teaching guests how to tell their future with a pendulum, while we dug into course number three: a quinoa salad with carrots and grilled onions.
The main course came next, and for the night The Rancho was serving a grilled fish. I personally hate fish and asked if they had any other options, and the crew satisfied my request with two grilled tomatoes stuffed with portobello mushrooms and zucchinis. Talk about genuine hospitality!
For dessert they whipped up a vegan strawberry mousse served between dark chocolate. I forgot to mention, the project is in BYOB fashion, so the BF and I happily brought along our Franzia.
Talk about the coolest date ever! We walked out of The Rancho as the sun was setting, drunk off wine with huge smiles on our faces. It was the cherry on top of the best Lightning in a Bottle I have been to yet, and I just had to share the experience here on here.
Look out for The Rancho at your next event, I believe they are preparing to set up at Burning Man this August. For more information, visit www.theranchoproject.com
Featured Photo from theranchoproject.com