1/25/2013 11:30:00 AM

SF Weekend Planner: The Freebie and Cheapo Edition

It may be cold and gray out there but there are enough free and cheap events taking place this weekend throughout the Bay Area to drag us out of our houses.

Don’t miss the debut of Off the Grid Lake Merritt OMCA, which starts up this Friday at the Oakland Museum of California. The family-friendly weekly winter evening market will feature the usual OFG trappings—food trucks, beer and live music- but tonight’s opening night will include some bonuses such as pop-up Blue Oak beer and wine garden, a puppet-making workshop, free films and half price tickets to the museum (admission is free for 18 and under). The market will run every week and showcase different vendors, live bands, art making workshops and discounted museum entry (Every Friday starting tonight, 5-9 PM, 1000 Oak St, Oakland).

Pick a new phone charger and a bite to eat this Friday afternoon at Fry’s Electronics in Sunnyvale, which will be its inaugural lunchtime food truck convergence. Rolling in for the occasion, dubbed Fry's SF Foodie Truck Friday, will some of the city’s finest including Roli Roti, Pizza Politana, Curry Up Now, Le Truck. Take note: the early bird gets the worm.  The first 250 customers who spend $10 or more at Fry’s will receive free lunch items (valued up to $10) at one of the participating trucks (Friday 11:30 AM-2 PM, 1077 E Arques Ave, Sunnyvale).

Spanish is so hot at the moment but here’s another reason to consider embracing the Iberian diet. New York City-based chef Seamus Mullen (Tertulia) will be in town this weekend to share his inspiring story of how he healed himself of rheumatoid arthritis through a Spanish-inspired holistic diet. He’ll be speaking and signing copies of his new book “Hero Foods” at Omnivore Books tonight (Friday 6-7 PM, free, 3885 Cesar Chavez).

CatHead's BBQ will be giving away free slides and prizes all day on Saturday as part of its one-year anniversary customer appreciation party. In addition to the free food, they’ll be hosting a biscuit-eating contest at 3 PM, but beware, those signature biscuits are billed as being the size of a cat’s head. Guests can stop in for free during the day but need to sign up online to participate in the BBQ Biscuit Challenge (Saturday, 1665 Folsom St, noon to 5 PM).

The Treasure Island Flea Market is a treasure trove of antiques, up-cycled goods and one of kind finds and this week they’ll be upping the ante with an indoor event that will host a slew of retail and food vendors (Chairman Bao, Sam’s Chowdermobile, An the Go etc.), California wineries, live music and a museum exhibit on the history of the island itself. The market is moving indoors for the winter, so the event is on rain or shine. Admission is $3 (kids are free), but the market is offering a special $18 package, available through advance purchase online only, that gets adults two admission, two chef specials from any participating food truck, two glasses of wine from WinerySF (poured on site) and 2 for 1 wine tasting (Every Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM- 4PM)

Herb Caen would have loved this. Elixir in the Mission is hosting its weekly Vodka Salad Bar Weekend Brunch. From noon to 6 PM, DIY drinkers can make their own Bloody Mary elixir from the bar’s buffet of fresh ingredients. Additional brunch cocktails will be served and all four of the HDTVs will be on screening your favorite sports events. On Sunday, they’ll also be rolling out their free weekly Tailgate Spread of hot dogs, chili and more, hosted by Newcastle Beer, with $5 suggested donation going to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign (Every Saturday and Sunday, noon –6 PM).

Slurp your share of hogs, raw or barbecued, at Piccino in Dogpatch this Sunday when it will be hosting its annual Oyster Day festival, hawking raw and BBQed oysters ($2.75 and $3.25 respectively). The shucking begins at 12 PM and we’re told they sold through a stash of 1,000 Tomales Bay oysters last year, so this is definitely a case of the early bird gets the worm (Sunday, 1001 Minnesota St, noon 'til supplies last).

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