In recent years, the most significant culinary development in the Columbia area, in my opinion, was the emergence of Heather's Artisan Bakery. With the appearance of this baker, Columbians could suddenly buy freshly made, high quality bread. Before, there was no one in the area providing this service. Heather brought good bread to those who craved it and at the same time educated a number of people about what good bread could be, thus raising the culinary standards of the community.
We now have the emergence of a similar culinary force that may be even more significant. This is the Bone-In Artisan BBQ Truck. I have dined at the truck a number of times and I am here to tell you that on multiple fronts this truck represents another opportunity to raise culinary standards in Columbia.
Folks, we are beyond the petty regionalisms of vinegar vs. mustard vs. tomato. When there is hoisin-hickory brisket on homemade foccacia on the menu, we know this is no longer your grandfather's barbecue. And thank goodness for that. Slow-cooked and smoky meats deserve more attention and more creativity, and this truck delivers the goods.
So the first front is BBQ itself. Scott Hall, the proprietor of the truck, is challenging traditional conceptions of barbecue, incorporating innovation, fusion, and plain old good taste to render some delicious creations.
The second front is about food trucks. The city of Columbia hasn't been all that friendly to food trucks, which is a shame. In other large cities the trucks add to the healthy culinary diversity of the community. This fancy food truck will pave the way for more, I believe (and hope), and that will be good for all of us. The Bone-In truck also gets us over the old-style thinking about food trucks as boring luncheonettes on wheels. There is nothing boring about the occasionally changing menu on the Bone-In truck.
The third is about food more generally. While others at fancier Columbia restaurants have introduced their clientele to more contemporary cooking, at lower price points things remain stupidly boring. (Nothing about Groucho's, except your memories as a teen there, is any good, people, and you can't eat memories.) Here we have a food truck bringing carefully prepared and interesting food to the masses. It is a couple of bucks more than your standard deli sandwich, that is true, but it is so worth it.
Apart from the brisket sandwich, mentioned above, I've had: the pork bbq sandwich, made with a kind of vinegar (and Hall is now making his own vinegars) and served on the homemade foccacia (of which I was quite skeptical, but it works really well); the "ripper," which is a deep fried, smoky and delicious hotdog, topped with brisket chili and pimento cheese; his freshly made potato chips, still warm and seasoned with salt and dill; "burnt-end baked beans," which are beans baked with the crispy bits of the pork bbq and brisket; and the goat cheese, rosemary, and roasted-garlic pound cake (yes, pound cake) topped with bacon jam made from local Caw Caw Creek bacon. I hear that he has served souffles made from grits and Caw Caw Creek chorizo, as well as a cornbread-topped lobster pot pie. And flavored lemonades. I've had blackberry lemonade and the spicy giner-cayenne lemonade. Delicious, and all out of a truck.
You can find out where the truck will be by following it on twitter or facebook. This is certainly a venture worth supporting.
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