Philly Foodies @ Garces Trading Company
Garces Trading Company might just be Jose Garces’ best endeavor yet. The cafe, on Locust between 11th and 12th streets, is both a European style bistro and a fantastic gourmet market.
Also on the premises is a small wine shoppe with reasonably priced and carefully selected wines. I brought a bottle of Root 1 wine as the restaurant is BYO, and it was incredible- and very reasonably priced!
On Tuesday night 17 bloggers and blog readers met at Garces Trading Company for a fantastic dinner, good wine, and lots of laughs. By the end of the evening, we were all friends.
The menu features a wonderful assortment of imported and in house made charcuterie and artisanal cheeses with interesting pairings. My dining companions absolutely loved the roasted garlic dulce de leche, which is quite the unusual combination! The wait staff was very knowledgeable and attentive and answered all questions with lots of details- I love when a staff knows their menu inside and out!
I chose to start with the baby artichokes appetizer, which Leslie and I shared. Tinto, another Jose Garces restaurant, is one of my favorite places in Philadelphia, and my favorite dish there includes baby artichokes and preserved lemon. When I saw a similar but different dish on the menu at Garces Trading Company, I knew I had to try it! The artichokes were fresh and light, and paired with the preserved lemon, honey and nuts, it made a perfect spring appetizer. The sauce was so refreshing and delicious I had to dip some bread in it. It was incredible.
I also had the Insalata Semplice, which literally means simple salad. This salad was simple, and that’s what I love about Jose Garces. He knows that sometimes a well prepared simple dish can be the best, and at the same time he is not afraid to take risks (see: roasted garlic dulce de leche above).
For dinner Dasha and I shared the funghi pizza. I love anything with truffles ,and this pizza did not disappoint me. In fact, the flavor of truffles was surprisingly and happily strong! The pizza was thin and crispy- just the way I like it! I have now tried three different delicious pizzas at 3 different Philadelphia restaurants- I can’t decide which is my favorite between Osteria, Stella, and now Garces Trading Company. Perhaps I need to try them all again? I find it to be no coincidence that my 3 favorite pizzas were created by my three favorite restaurant groups.
When time for dessert came I really didn’t want the night to end. The whole group was so nice, friendly, and fun. It is amazing that most of us had not met before the dinner yet we all got along so well and instantly became friends! To prolong the evening we ordered a dessert to share- the Spring Verrine ($6), which was buttermilk panna cotta and grapefruit curd with pistachio-hazelnut crunch. The flavors were so interesting and delicious, and the panna cotta was so creamy, rather than the standard Jello-like consistency. There was a flavor there that I couldn’t quite place- like passion fruit meets grapefruit meets another exotic fruit I have never tried. I had two amazing bites and was in heaven. I also ordered a cappuccino but it got cold by the time I got to it. It sure was pretty though!
The cafe is so beautiful and rustic with long wooden tables and soft lighting. It was packed on a Tuesday night, and I bet it will be packed every night for years to come. My first experience at Garces Trading Company was amazing and I can’t wait to go back! Thank you so much for accommodating such a large group! We really appreciate it!
Planning the dinner with Leslie was so fun.
We put together a little basket of goodies for one person to win. We put everyone’s name tags in a wine glass (Thanks for the wine glass idea Kelly) and Emily won!
Hopefully she can bring some of the goodies on her honeymoon- she is getting married in a few days!
From start to finish the evening was full of chatter. Among the chatty group?
Leslie of andherlittledogtoo.com (my co-planner!)
Emily of http://goodcleaneating.blogspot.com/
Chrissey of phillygirlruns.blogspot.com
Stephanie of stephtbs.wordpress.com
Jill of bootcampphilly.com
Lauren of http://hellopa.blogspot.com/
Kelly of http://myverbalvomit.wordpress.com
Lisa of lisaathome.wordpress.com
Kelly of runningphoodie.wordpress.com
Lisa of http://www.dsdawgs.org/
Jess of www.upsanddownes.wordpress.com
Garces Trading Company
1111 Locust St.
*Note: Most of these photos were taken by Leslie- thank you!
Boston Meet Up