Sunday, August 29, 2010

Supper and Garces Trading Company, Philadelphia PA

Described as “upscale modern American” I had it on good word that the setting and food at Supper were worth the trip at any time of day, but especially at brunch. Browsing the online space and the menu I had to admit I liked the sound of it, but I’d be torn as to what to orders as there were so many divine options. Per usual I figured it never hurts to ask if half orders could be accommodated and I e-mailed the restaurant… surprisingly Mitch Prensky answers his own e-mails…he allows half orders…and he also makes an excellent brunch in his own kitchen…dinner too, I’d gather.

Arriving shortly after my 11:00am reservation and a morning wandering around the Italian Market and Philadelphia’s Magic Garden I was greeted pleasantly by a hostess who noted my reservation and led me promptly to a nice seat directly next to the kitchen – a quick glance over my shoulder gave me full view of the chef’s and action. Minimally crowded at the early hour I smiled at the minimalist exposed brick and wood design, playful overhead music, and folks sitting at the bar with their daily libations.

Water filled I assented to coffee – a smooth and mild morning brew and was asked if I needed to see a menu since Chef Prensky had already noted the item’s I’d inquired about. Figuring it never hurts to look I again browsed the menu and although the Lamb French Dip, Supper Dog, and Johnny Cakes sounded tempting I stuck to my original order and added a side dish. Stating I’d made a “great choice” my server left me to coffee and the tunes overhead. As the place was empty aside from two other tables the service was predictably spot on and my server stopped by to chat a couple of times – mostly about the collapsing Phillies.

Waiting and watching as the chefs prepared my items the kitchen was spotless and calm – quite large as well. After approximately 15 minutes my server would appear with my first course – the side dish of Cornbread Hush Puppies. Steaming hot – too hot to eat at first, actually, I allowed the little orbs to cool before taking a bite. Perfectly described by the golf-ball sized pieces were crisp outside and moist inside with plenty of corn flavor and hints of what I believe were honey and bacon renderings. Nicely done and enough to share if dining with a group.

Shortly following the hush puppies – actually, arriving after I’d only eaten one due to the temperature – would be my two half-mains. Beginning with the “good,” and then moving to the “amazing,” the first item was Red Velvet Waffles with sweet cream cheese mousse, toasted pecans and bourbon cherries. A small square, mildly crisp outside and fluffy within, the waffle was tasty with hints of cocoa. What made the dish shine, however, was the whipped and airy cream cheese mousse and boozy bourbon cherries.

While the waffles were good, the Key Lime French Toast with graham cracker crust, key lime cream, warm blueberries and coconut marshmallow were amongst the top 5 breakfast concoctions I’ve had in 2010. Dainty but custard laden within the French Toast itself was good, especially coated with a crisp and crunchy layer of Graham crackers. Pairing the toast with torch bruleed marshmallows topped with shredded coconut, sour key lime mousse/cream, and sweetened fresh blueberries provided a nearly tropical experience and a dish that is entirely too time consuming to be prepared at home – and an excellent reason to visit Supper.

Settling the extremely modest tab and thanking the chef as well as my servers I made my way to the street, past the “old school cereal bar” and toward the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. Invariably impressive from the customer service to the space to the food I wholeheartedly recommend everyone check out Supper’s brunch for a change-up to the long lines at other Philly “institutes,” it was the best breakfast I’ve had since May in Baltimore.

En route to the Cathedral I made a point of stopping by Garces Trading Company to pick up a few pounds of coffee and snacks to enjoy while awaiting my plane at the airport. Arriving early in their brunch hour the place was crowded and loud – so much so that it took me nearly 20 minutes to purchase two pounds of coffee, a cannele, and two Macarons.

While I will say that the coffee was excellent (I’m actually drinking some of the mildly cinnamon kissed GTC Reserva while writing this) the pastries did not fare as well…and although I cannot be sure, I’d venture to say that they were baked in advance and refrigerated – or at least the canele was as it lacked any crunch or nuance, instead almost marshmallow in texture and far too sweet. While the Macarons fared better – particularly the Caramel Butter cream, the shell lacked the characteristic crackle.


All in all I’d give the Trading Co another shot – the cured meats selection and cheeses looked fantastic and the people enjoying their brunch seemed happy and boisterous – but I really don’t like when traditional French pastries come out soggy, limp, and overly sweet...but perhaps I shouldn’t expect traditional French from a man whose history is Spanish and Latino fusion? Too bad really, better pastries would make an excellent pairing for the outstanding coffee.


Northern Cyprus Flights said...

Food looks Awesome and mouth washering

Anonymous said...

Dear uhocky,

I couldn't find another way to contact you, so I wanted to just leave a message. Sorry for deviating off topic from your blog post.

I want to say that as a medical student, I agree with you 100% on the topic re: salt on chowhound. Salt intake to me is like the association between smoking and lung cancer--you can't point at a person and tell them that their cancer was because of smoking, but on a population level, you can see a predisposition.

I come from a different healthcare system, but it's a bit unfortunate to see culinary professionals not recognize the importance of preventive medicine.


uhockey said...

Cheers - I can be reached at uhockey (at) y-a-h-o-o. com for future reference.

I'm really not sure it is an issue with "culinary professionals" - especially when you consider the high end of fine dining. Those individuals are experts with preparation, plating, and seasoning - they want their produce to shine, not to be buried with a mountain of salt.

The issue at hand is the more common food - quick casual, processed, and "fast food." The chefs are unskilled, the produce and proteins are cheap, and the use of spice is meant to make the ingredients taste better than they naturally would.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your schooling.