Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garces Trading Company

1111 Locust Street
Philadelphia, Pa

When I heard about Jose Garces' new cafe/market/wine store, I knew I needed go check it out as soon as possible. Well, that being said, I have been slacking - the Trading Co. has been open for a couple of months now. What do you want me to say? Anyway, I recently had the opportunity for lunch there, and I was not disappointed.
The market is open 8am-1opm EVERY DAY. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars there in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, I don't have hundreds of dollars to spend. That's okay though, because you can get a seriously good deal and do some sampling, simply by having a meal in the cafe.

Almost immediately after being seated, the server came by and chatted about the menu, the wine store, and food in general. A big plus right there. Following that conversation, a box consisting of about half of a loaf of sliced artisan bread and a dish of house olive oil were brought to the table, accompanied by a pepper grinder, and some seriously tasty coarse salt. What's more, you can sneak up to the olive oil and vinegar bar and sample some expensive, aged, aromatic dipping liquids. They apparently have bread out to sample them when you are in the market section sometimes, but this was not the case on the Friday afternoon when I was there.

After much deliberation, it was decided that the "Spaniard" and the "Italian" were the sandwiches to try. An order of the "chef's choice olives" rounded out the order. I LOVE the olives at all of the Garces' places, and these were equally delicious.

The Spaniard was served on a crisp, crunchy baguette with grilled chicken, bacon, almond romesco aioli, manchego cheese, romaine and tomato. The bacon was thick and smoky, the chicken nicely charred, and the aioli was nutty and rich, bringing the flavor profile full circle. I absolutely loved this sandwich, however my dining partner was much more impressed with the Italian.

The Italian housed bresaola, hot coppa, melted taleggio, arugula, and lemon confit inside of soft brioche. The bread was light, airy and soft, a perfect delivery vehicle for the salty, savory meats, and the refreshing citrus dressing on the peppery arugula. I had never eaten bresaola before, and I must admit I was quite impressed. This sandwich really stuck out, because it started with a soft bite of bread that was followed by a generous portion of salty, warm, delicious meat and melted cheese. All sandwiches are also served with a spicy roasted pepper bruschetta, that goes perfectly with the remaining bread in your basket (assuming any survived that long).

Overall, I was VERY impressed with the food, atmosphere and prices at the Trading Co. I cannot wait to go back, and next time I plan on grabbing a bottle of wine to indulge in with the delicious food available at the cafe.

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