Where do you go for a graduation luncheon in honor of a girl whose favorite channel is the Food Network? An Iron Chef’s restaurant of course! Last Thursday, we celebrated Tori’s graduation from University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medical Laboratory Science with lunch at Garces Trading Company. We knew we wanted to have lunch at some place that would have awesome food that was within a few blocks of Pennsylvania Hospital and had reservations available for 13 people plus a high chair. Garces Trading Company turned out to be the perfect choice. The staff was very helpful when my mom called to make the reservation and we were pleasantly surprised to find out when we arrived that we were in our own room which made it much easier when our nephew decided he wanted to wander around!
So on to the important part, the food. Most people at our table ended up going with the Santa Maria Express lunch special which is two courses, appetizer or soup and sandwich or pizza for the amazing price of $14.50. This is definitely one of the best deals I’ve ever seen, especially since the portion size was the same as if you had purchased them separately!
Tori and I decided to order different things and split them so we could try as much of the menu as possible. For my first course I went with the Bonita del Norte which was a mixture of marinated Spanish tuna and white beans and Tori went with the Roasted Red Peppers which came with whipped eggplant and anchovies.
While both were good, we definitely like the Roasted Red Peppers the most, especially when we ate them with the delicious warm bread on the table! We also had a chance to try a bit of the House Made Mozzarella that our Aunt got and that also was very tasty.
We were intrigued by their pizzas which had a foccacia bread type crust and so we decided Tori would order the Funghi pizza as her 2nd course. It came out on a hot skillet and it turned out it was a white pizza (aka no sauce) full of delicious cheese and mushrooms.
For my 2nd course, I went with the Pane Panella since Tori and I are both fans of falafels this looked like a really interesting take on one. The sandwich had a large chickpea square patty with a really great flavor along with red pepper confit, basil aïoli, and arugula. I highly recommend it whether you are a vegetarian or not!
Since we had such a large party, I’m pretty sure we tried almost the whole lunch menu. Both the vichyssoise and French onion soup got high praise and everyone had great things to say about their sandwiches and pizzas. Shown above is their Croque Madame which our Aunt said was very delicious. Overall we would definitely recommend coming here whether your group is large or small. We can’t wait to try out their happy hour specials next time we’re in the area!