after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Garces Trading Company: Our Wallets Are Scared …

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t says: A few weekends ago on a Saturday, g, her mom, and I were in the mood for an early lunch. There were many available opportunities (no one has wait times at 11am), but we knew that g’s mom is a Garcesophile, so we had to try out his latest venture: Garces Trading Company (GTC for short … cuz I’m lazy). GTC is a combination market, restaurant, and what I’d like to call a “bistro”. Wait – a restaurant and a bistro? That’s weird. I’ll explain [eventually] …

When you first walk in to GTC, the space appears quite open, with the market, prepared foods, and to-be-prepared foods along the left and rear walls and a refrigerated cellar-esque wine room along the right wall. In the center of this massive space are some normal-height tables (like the ones you’d find at a restaurant). This center area was set apart physically from the circumference of the room as well as from other tables that were much taller with stools. What gives with the different tables? Is Garces segregating tall-ies from the shorties? Well, if you opt to go for the short tables, they are fully serviced with wait staff who will take your order and bring out your food [and obligate you to leave a tip] … like a restaurant! Alternatively, you can walk around the circumference of GTC and pick out and order whatever you want and take a seat at one of the taller bistro tables on your own (i.e. without service). But if you go for this option, you have no control over what seats are available or who you may be sitting next to. Regardless of where you want to sit (or whether or not you want to be waited on), the available food options are the same! I like that! You could zip in and get your food and run without feeling like you were missing something, or you could stay and linger (perhaps with a bottle of wine you just bought?). It’s quite an interesting setup.

What about the market? Well, the “market” seemed kind of small for what I was imagining. I guess I was used to something like Talula’s Table that has a lot of random food-centric things that fill up a considerable amount of space. GTC seems like it doesn’t have as much, but in retrospect I think it’s just that the market occupies such a small amount of space versus how much space GTC as a whole takes up. So what do they have? They have a selection of olive oils, which you can [freely] sample right there with the [free] provided bread. These range from “nice olive oils” up to black and white truffle oils … which I tried … which was fantastic, and way too far out of my price range. The black truffle oil tasted just like “truffle”, but the white tasted a little lighter with a bit of spice to it (maybe like black pepper? not sure). It was earthy with a small jab of liveliness. I have no idea what I’d do with it if I had it in the house – maybe just sit there eating it with bread … or maybe d would come over and we could try to make Melograno’s pappardelle tartufate? I later found out that truffle oils are usually synthetic, so I don’t know if GTC’s was the real deal or not, but who cares? It tastes good, right? Before you poo-poo on synthetic truffle oil, I just want to say that if you’re thinking that your favorite truffle dish at XYZ restaurant surely comes from real truffle oil, then I think you should go and ask the chef next time … you might be eating your words …

Back to GTC … they have a selection of meats (including house-cured charcuterie) and cheeses as well, which I know very little about but looked good! And, they have a wine room … I walked into the “cellar”, wanting to flex some CSW muscle (I studied at the Restaurant School) by reading some labels and seeing how much I could recall. Geez – my knowledge of Spain has grown quite rusty, which is a shame because Jose seems to have a few bottles beyond the norm. All-in-all it was nice to browse. The selection wasn’t nearly as extensive as you’d find at a Wine and Spirits Shoppe, rather, it had more medium-to-high priced selections. There were some cheap bottles there in case you just wanted a little pick-me-up in the middle of your weekday to go with your lunch.

So … on to the food:

3/2010, Saturday 11:30am, Party of 3 (Bistro Tables). As we walked around, looking at the foods, I was tempted by the pizzas and the “special” beef burgundy for 2 (made with shortrib). However, I wasn’t in the mood to wait a long time (I was eyeing the Chicago deep dish pizza – which requires waiting 30 mins) or over-eating (I save over-eating for dinnertime). There were lots of things that sounded great – but in the end, I just let g decide for us … We got the lamb sandwich. Lamb sandwich? That’s it? Yep. But it was a damn good lamb sandwich. It featured perfectly cooked lamb loin with eggplant and chickpeas, and a little side of roasted red peppers. The lamb sung, “I am cooked as well as any lamb dish you’ll find in a restaurant”, while the bread chanted, “I’m as good as Tony Luke’s bread, cuz I’m crispy on the outside and soft on the inside”. See? The food was so good, that it started singing to me.

g’s mom went for a salad: Insalata Semplice. She was super-impressed by her meal, between the pomegranate, blood orange, and pistachio. I’m sure if she is so inspired (even though it’s been over two weeks), she’ll leave a comment down below (::hint:hint::nudge:nudge::).

g and I will definitely go back to GTC. It was just too good (and reasonably priced). Between the market and the food, I just don’t understand how anyone who lives or works in the area isn’t completely flat-out broke. Boy am I glad it’s not within walking distance of where we live …

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

5 April 2010 at 10:32am

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