Monthly Archives: April 2013

Garces Trading Company

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The Garces Trading Company

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It’s pronounced “Gar says”

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Bread and cheese and pizza oh my.

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Oozin’ and snoozin’

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Slices for yo’ ass

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“I’m ready for my close up…”

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It’s a fork and knife kinda evening

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Classy caucasian business man seeks delicious, fun loving, deep dish pizza to devour.

The Garces Trading Places
1111 Locust Street

Plichter:

This was an interesting experience to say the least. We pledge allegiance to the thin, east coast style pizza for life. But that’s really only one half of the pie. There’s a whole world of deep dish pizza out there that we typically don’t devour; mostly because of its scarcity, but also because of our preference. Never one to back down from the exotic, our latest review brought us to Garces Trading Company for their deep dish pizza.

Being more of a casserole than a pizza by definition, the deep dish from Garces typically takes about forty minutes to cook. Fortunately for us, Garces has an extensive wine selection and is also BYOB. (I saw nothing wrong with sipping on a glass or two of red while waiting the forty minutes for such an elusive dish.) Forty minutes and a few glasses later, the wait was over. Although it was probably about ten inches in diameter, about three inches of its thickness was nothing but cheese. The buttery crust was baked to perfection, and tasted closer to a legitimate pie crust than a pizza. Atop the freshly piled mozzarella was the oven roasted san marzano tomato confit, which was delightfully acidic in its own way. If I had it my way, the sauce to cheese ratio could’ve been a little more comparable. The dish was probably about 75% cheese, but will keep you cheese lovers coming back for more.

Will I go for the deep dish from now on? Probably not. I’m a thin crust guy and always will be. But that’s not to say that this pie wasn’t delicious. This was more of an overall experience than just grabbing a couple slices. Aside from the pizza, the wine and atmosphere made this a review I won’t soon forget. If you haven’t been to Garces or tried the deep dish pizza, I feel sorry for you. I can assure you that a follow-up review will be coming soon to give their traditional pizzas a try.

Castro:

A few months ago, one of the doughboys’ devoted fans (A Californian at that) posted a link on our facebook wall to an article which highlighted 75 pizza places in America that you absolutely must try. 7 of them were located within the Philadelphia area. The list was nothing new to me. I was more than familiar with them all except for one. The Garces Trading Company. The article went on to describe their pizza as a truly authentic Chicago deep dish style pizza. This immediately got my attention because I’ve always had a hankering to sample the wonder that is Chicago deep dish, but never really had a chance to make it out that way. The closest that I’ve ever gotten were the DDP’s that Pizzeria UNO churns out. Don’t get me wrong. Their DDP’s are quite alright in my book. We actually reviewed them a while back. I mean, they do hold bragging rights for inventing the word “deep dish pizza”. Having said that, I wanna be able to taste what Chi-town residents take for granted every single day of their lives. I want to know what mid-west pizza has that we don’t. I want to be able to savor legit deep dish pizza before I die; and tonight…I may very well get that chance.

As you enter, you’ll take notice that it’s not only a restaurant, but an adorable little market in which you can purchase hunks of imported cheeses and deli meats sliced by the pound. Do you consider yourself a coffee guru? Then scoop a pound of their freshly roasted coffee beans. Oh, you’re one of those weirdos that request that your friends refer to you as an olive oil aficionado? Then grab a plate and dip some of their freshly baked bread in a puddle of their delectable homemade olive oils. The point is, there’s a buttload of different things going on at the GTC than just sitting down for lunch or dinner.

Now, back to the pizza. I came here for one thing and one thing only. To sink my teeth into the deepest of dishes. A little word to the wise: These pies are roughly 3 inches thick, so you’re looking at a minimum bake time of about 45 minutes. I called ahead and placed my order. This way, when I sat down my pie was just about ready, Freddy. As my waitress laid this beast onto my table, I was in complete awe. This thing had to weigh 5 pounds and could easily feed 4 linebackers. The second you separate your first slice with your own personal spatula, you begin to understand the concept of deep dish pizza. A combination of molten, ooey-gooey gruyere and mozzerella cheeses as well as a super chunky, sweet San marzano tomato confit just completely blanket the inside walls of this pie. My favorite part of this experience was taking the crust, smothering it with the fallen puddles of hardened cheese and clumps of sauce. The thickness of this bad boy reminds me of slicing into a freshly baked, double layer birthday cake. I fell in love at first bite. Next time, I want some candles put in it so I can make a wish for world peace and more deep dish pizza joints to pop up around Philly. My expectations of what an authentic Chicago deep dish pie tastes like were easily surpassed with this visit to the Garces Trading Company. Hands down, doughboys approved in this Filipino’s eyes.

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PEACE A PIZZA

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PEACE A PIZZA

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Choose your fate

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The marvelous margherita and the beautiful backyard BBQ

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The classy Mediterranean

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It aint easy bein’ cheesy

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Spicy chicken

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“If eating pizza with a tie on is cool, consider me Miles Davis.”

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That awkward moment when you have to take pictures of yourself in a crowded restaurant

PEACE A PIZZA

4 Station Road, Ardmore PA

Castro:

Every now and again I truly cherish those rare times in this business where I get to depart this filthy city and enjoy a slice of pizza in the suburbs. In this case, I got to watch as the dilapidated row homes of West Philly slowly turned into the luxurious Bruce Wayne style manors of beautiful Ardmore. What better way to cap off such a relaxed drive then to scarf down a few slices at PEACE A PIZZA. Normally, I would gladly pass on the opportunity to review yet another chain restaurant, but word on the street is PEACE A PIZZA has got it goin’ on. Located just steps away from the Septa Train junction in downtown historical Ardmore, PEACE A PIZZA surely has the hungry “9 to 5” commuter monopoly on lock.

I can already tell you that there’s definitely gonna be some haters regarding this particular review. Some of you will compare this place to the likes of a liberal sbarro, serving nothing more than mediocre pre-made slices on-the-go. I did a quick yelp search to see what people were saying about PEACE A PIZZA and the reviews were absolutely horrendous. One thing I’ve learned from doing this is that you can never, EVER, trust Yelp. It’s mostly idiots who want to be assholes because their pizza came out 5 minutes too late, and will stop at nothing to completely trash a place’s reputation just because it’s their only way to get the last laugh. Anyway, from the moment you enter, you can tell that you’re gonna have a tough time deciding on what kind of za’ you’ll want. They have anything and everything under the sun to satisfy your pizza needs. If you can imagine it, they probably will make it. Today was payday, so I figured I would ball out of control and get me 3 slices.

The first on deck was the Margherita, or as they call it, the “Fresh Mozzarella.” A nice way to start my visit. The juicy sliced plum tomatoes complimented their chunky, sweet red sauce. My favorite part were the melted puddles of gooey mozzarella cheese that littered my slice. It definitely lived up to it’s name and left me anticipating my next client.

The second slice of this trip went to the “Backyard BBQ”. Clumps of succulent pulled pork infused with a little smokey BBQ sauce were, without a doubt, the backbone of this backyard wonder. It was smothered in a deadly combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and garnished with a little chopped red onion and fresh cilantro. I was particularly impressed with this slice. Every ingredient worked off the next. The hickory BBQ sauce and the hint of lime that the cilantro gave off were the MVP’s. It was reminiscent of Manayunk’s couch tomato’s pulled pork pie, only a tad bit better.

My third and arguably most delicious slice of the day goes to the “Mediterranean.” A meatless gem that took me by surprise and swept me off my feet. First the stretched dough is sent into the 550 degree oven with a coating of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, ultimately transforming it into somewhat of a cheesy bread of sorts. After it cools down, it’s generously topped with a variety of garden-esque toppings. Baby spinach, diced tomato, red onion, kalamata olives, artichokes, roasted red peppers, feta cheese and a sprinkling of olive oil. Then…it waits. It lies motionless with complete confidence on the counter among the all other pizzas, stalking it’s prey. When an unsuspecting victim chooses this underdog, it’s tossed back into the oven, reactivating the cheeses and breathing life into all of those healthy greens. The first bite explodes with juices from the endless array of fresh vegetables. The garlicky taste from the twice baked cheesy dough is the dominant flavor until you toss your last crust to the wayside. For a split second I felt like one of those people that doesn’t eat meat. What are they called again? Oh yeah, weirdos…

I loved everything about this visit to PEACE A PIZZA. I half expected at least one of my 3 slices to be a complete letdown, but they came out strong and totally killed it. If you’re in the area of St. Joe’s or just want to take a leisurely drive out to Ardmore to see some gorgeous mansions that you’ll never be able to afford, stop in for a quick bite to eat. Decide for yourself if PEACE A PIZZA is the slice king of Montgomery County.

Plichter:

One perk of buying a car on the Mainline is that fact that PEACE A PIZZA is within walking distance. For that matter, having to return to the same dealership for whatever reason becomes less irritating when PEACE A PIZZA is within walking distance. While waiting for my free oil change, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by strolling around the corner and indulging in their interesting pie selection.

For over 15 years, PEACE A PIZZA has been serving up some of the best za right outside Philadelphia. Classic pies are always my favorite, but I thought I’d give their Mac n’ Cheese and Spicy Chicken pizzas a chance. Starting with a layer of crème fraiche, the Mac n’ Cheese pizza is completed with ziti pasta, creamy cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses before being seasoned to mouth-watering perfection. The neon orange of the cheddar was enough to catch this Doughboy’s eye. Five minutes later, and this gooey bastard was ready to be hoisted into my mouth. But I noticed right away that something was missing, and that was the lack of cheddar flavor. Everything else was there, but it seemed a bit bland without that cheddar kick. I’ve almost always steered clear of pies with pasta, and this was exactly why: it just seemed like a pile of mush in my mouth. The crust was impressive enough to save this one, but not by much. In my opinion, I’d avoid this one.

Following that disappointment, I got working on the Spicy Chicken slice. Topped with bell peppers, onions and chunks of chicken, I knew pie would redeem its predecessor. Or so I thought… Again, I was a bit let down with this slice. Not only were the bell peppers dull, but the ratio of chicken to peppers was WAY off. I basically got a mouth full of onion flavor in every bite. Don’t get me wrong, I like red onions. But I also like to taste the other ingredients involved.

I’ve been to PEACE A PIZZA about three times in my lifetime, and this was the most disappointing experience. Considering how hungry I was, I envisioned that this visit would be a slam dunk of deliciousness. However, please do not let my disappointment deter you from visiting and trying their other pies. Before this last visit, I had their Chicken Parm and Chicken Bacon pies and both were outstanding. I’m all about trying new things, but I should’ve stuck to what I knew this time around.