Food is an essential part of our lives. It is nourishment to fuel us through our day. It is social as we often seek out friends to dine with. We build our lives around it, from grand traditions to daily routines. And some meals are so enjoyable that we shape our week around them, going out of our way for the unique satisfaction of a well-crafted dish. And then something changes, and that much loved meal is out of reach.
Many readers will remember my love of the original Silver Platter menu, and how my regular visits to that food truck opened a door for me to experience the mobile restaurant scene in Baltimore. I became fixated on the sweet chili baby back ribs and struggled to limit myself to one serving a week.
When The Silver Platter revamped their menu, they also revamped their kitchen staff, and I feared I would never taste those tender, spicy-sweet ribs again. I have dreamed about those ribs during many dull 11:00 meetings, only to recall that they were no longer available, and a dismal despair would set in.
I should have known that those ribs, along with the other original menu items (including Maine Lobster Roll, Lobster Mac and Cheese, and the best pulled pork and pit beef in town) would find another home. A year later, they have.
The Charm City Gourmet food truck is operated by the original chef of The Silver Platter. And he is selling the original menu that we all came to know and love last summer. When he parked outside my office and I realized what he was selling, there was really only one choice - ribs.
Now, sometimes when we are deprived of a favorite food for long enough, the memory of that food becomes such sweet nostalgia that said food item takes on a mythical quality, becoming not just a once loved meal, but The God of All Foods. And I've had a year to ponder those ribs, disdaining all other ribs out of a certainty that they will be sub par at best. So, when I had an order of those ribs that I remembered so well in front of me, did the reality measure up to the recollection?
Yes, and then some. The ribs were the same tender, falling-off-the-bone pork ribs smothered in the same sweet sauce that cuts right through tooth enamel the same way a good butter cream icing does. With just enough red pepper to give things a little kick, these ribs were exactly as I remembered, which made them all the more enjoyable. Still served on a nest of deep fried onion ribbons that catch the sauce, I am quite pleased that my favorite food truck meal is back.
To complete the trip down memory lane, I topped it off with an IcedGem. I chose the vanilla salted caramel, forgetting about the sugar level on those ribs. The caramel filling was the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Alas, the cupcake was just too much sugar after the ribs. While I could not make it through the cupcake, I thoroughly enjoyed what I was able to eat.
The inevitable cupcake