after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

GTC: A Flammenkuche by Any Other Name …

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t says: g has “summer Fridays”. Basically, every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor day is a half day at her workplace (the idea is that you work a little extra Mon-Thurs, and then earn the ability to cut out early on Friday). Crazy, right? Well, wanting to never look a gift horse in the mouth, we decided that it would be good to go out of our way to celebrate!

Today, I had first suggested going to Tweed – it was new and offered small plates of roasted chicken and a wild boar pasta (these have g’s name written all over them) as well as a variety of burgers (i.e. hamburger, lamburger, duckburger) that I thought held great promise. I made the reservation and was all set to go. Then I noticed that opentable said it was “business casual”. Wondering what this meant, I called them up to inquire more …

t: “Hi, what’s your dress code?”

tweed: “We’re casual … jeans are ok -”

t: “Oh, great … that’s -”

tweed: “with dress shoes and a blazer …”

t: “Ummm … ok … see you later tonight …”

Not more than 10 minutes later, I cancelled our reservation. Who in their right mind is going to wear dress shoes and a blazer to dinner consisting of a burger, pasta, and chicken on a night like this? Yea, we’ll go to Tweed … in the fall … Instead, we wanted comfort (I wanted to wear shorts). We wanted BYO, so we could bring a bottle of chilled grenache gris. We wanted to not break the bank – we were considering eating burgers for crying out loud! Where to go? Vic Sushi? Nah, too hard to linger there. Melograno? Nah, we needed to go to someplace new … or maybe someplace kinda-new.

We chose to go to Garces Trading Company. Yes, we went there for lunch once, and they have been in the news lately, but today we were in the mood to try out some of the more substantive dishes. Dinner was going to be new … to us.

So, we put our wine into the neoprene sling, grabbed our keys, wallets, and cellphones, and headed out the door. About 25 minutes of walking in the beautiful weather (with the not-so-beautiful angry traffic on Locust), we were finally there. Having just come off a dinner at Distrito, it was time to test Iron Chef Garces’s more casual dishes …

6/2010, 5pm, Party of 2. We were seated immediately – 5pm is a great time to go on a Friday. Trust us. At 6pm, it was completely full. As we stared at the menu, we were faced with major problems. Everything sounded good. The only way to make a decision was to promise ourselves that we’d be back tomorrow (whether or not this actually happens, we’ll see). So we chose what we felt were warm-weather foods (and would go well with our white wine). We ordered the Tarte Flambee pizza and the linguine and clams.

Our first dish was the pizza, which sounded very similar to Flammekuche we had at Cochon. When it arrived, it turned out that indeed it was very similar, but there were some noticeable differences. The cippolini onions weren’t caramelized, rather, they looked like they were sweated. There was no mysterious orange sauce, but there was more bacon and parsley. It was also shaped more in an oval (it reminded me of a super-sized flatbread at Amada). The crust was thin with a nice balance between crust and give. And it tasted … the same, but different. Yes, you get sweet onion, creaminess, and salty bacon, but it tasted more “subtle” than Cochon’s. It was creamier, the bacon had a milder taste, and the parsley worked beautifully to brighten up the dish. It was a more mature version of the pizza. But then, it came down to the critical question …

t: “So … someone tells you you’re going to die tomorrow, and you have to have pizza between now and then … which would you choose?”

g: “Hmmmmmmm … I think it’d be Cochon … but it’s really close …”

Our second dish was the linguine and clams. The clams were tiny, but there was an additional plop of crabmeat atop a bed of pasta, peas, and bacon. Another delicious dish. To me, it tasted a bit creamier than what I think of when I think of “linguine and clams” – it was also far more buttery – unctuous even. g loved it. I thought some aspects were great (I’ll be adding bacon and peas to the next time we make spaghetti and clams), but I felt the dish to be a bit heavier than I’m used to – kind of like a carbonara. g felt the lemon added enough zip to make it feel light and summery. This was interesting because normally I’m the one with the higher tolerance for rich foods – I guess you’ll have to go and try it yourself!

I do want to mention, however, that after we demolished our pasta (we shared the large order), I then found the perfect use for all of that buttery sauce … the table bread!!! I sopped it up and it added a nice creaminess to the sourdough that they gave us when we first sat down. Beautiful.

For dessert, we went for their chocolate peanut butter mousse “bomb”. The chocolate ganache shell was divine, and the chocolate cake was moist and delicious. The peanut butter mousse was very light and tasted only faintly of peanut butter. I kind of wanted a big peanut butter punch like in Tastykake Kandy Kakes, but this was still very good, because that ganache easily carried the dessert to awesomeness.

As we finished up our bottle of wine (one of our “missions” for the night), we realized that the meal, in its entirety, was great! In the end, it cost us a bit more than eating at Melograno, but the same as eating at Melograno and Capogiro (for dessert). As we walked/hobbled home, we were full … and happy … and looking forward to tomorrow …

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 June 2010 at 10:59pm

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