I was recently invited to a press lunch at Garces Trading Company, hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, Philly Homegrown and Center City District to kick off Restaurant Week in Philadelphia. I was so incredibly excited for this opportunity for a number of reasons. I have been neglecting my blog lately, mostly because I’m either busy or sleeping, and I haven’t had much time to explore or eat (out). I also had never been to Garces Trading Company and welcomed the occasion to share a meal there with some fellow foodies.
Garces Trading Company is mostly known nationally through Chef Jose Garces, now Iron Chef Garces (he was a Philadelphia restaurateur before he was an Iron Chef, TYVM). The menu was filled with local flares and flavors, which created the perfect atmosphere for our group of locavores to chat and trade food knowledge and passions.
The austere front of the restaurant somewhat misrepresents the warm feel on the inside.
Unfortunately, there was some unsightly construction blocking my shot of the entire restaurant that day, but you get the idea.
The interior is inviting, with a variety of seating options.
I chose the cheese plate as my first course. It was a cow’s milk cheese from Stoudt’s Brewery called Ferdinand, served with a lemon balm “faux miel” or “fake honey.” The cheese was nutty and the sweet and citrusy side was a wonderful complement.
The funghi pizza came as a second course (the dough was made with duck lard–how could you not?) and the citrusy theme continued with just a dash of lemon zest on top. What a genius idea–somehow it was the perfect fresh taste to go with the earthy shrooms.
The dessert course I chose was a pumpkin cake with cranberry gelee. The layers provided a variety of textures and flavors that just worked.
Also in the restaurant is a chance to take the food goodness home with you. Breads, meats, cheeses and desserts tempt you here:
Olive oils and vinegars tempt you further here:
And just when you thought you’d had enough, the wine store tempts you here:
I was so pleasantly surprised by the wine shop. The purveyor knew her stuff and actually wanted to talk to you about wine (unlike PLCB employees at other locations) and most selections were under $20.
Just one more temptation before I go:
Yes, I bought some, among other goodies. That’s another post.