On Sunday, after a lovely long bike ride along the Schuylkill, I checked out the brand new Garces Trading Company at 11th and Locust.
It's a beautiful, clean space and our table was immediately greeted with a basket of warm sourdough bread, baked in-house. The bread was perfect for dipping in a dish of olive oil, dotted with sea salt from the tiny bowl our waiter brought us. The menu is large but surprisingly focused—sandwiches, salads, pizzas, pastas and a smorgasbord of cheeses and charcuterie.
We were only in for a snack, and went with a chef's selection of cheeses. Each came with an accompaniment. Our favorite was the downright magical truffled lavendar honey, paired with a blue cheese. The truffle hits your nose before the bite even reaches your lips. Really spectacular.
Now that I've finished gushing, I'll express some disappointment with our resident Iron Chef. The cheese menu has an extensive domestic section, yet nothing remotely local made the cut. There's Oregon, Virginia, New York and Wisconsin, but no PA. As he told Grid in his 2010 Sustainability Resolution, Garces has plans for a farm-to-table restaurant. He obviously gets it.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I find it hard to believe that there's not a single local producer who would fit in on Garces' list. And what a boon it would be for that farm! Any suggestions for who should have made the cut?