I've never heard of taking the middle part out.
I love garlic. To get the smell out, I brush my teeth and scrape my tongue. Tongue scraping is the important part because bad breath lingers on the tongue. If I won't be home for awhile, I try to eat something sour (vinegar or lemon based foods) or a couple of Altoid mints.
I hear mint leaves are good. Mint tea (using real leaves) seems like a good alternative. The only place I remember having any is the Moroccan restaruant I visited 3x.