Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Craig LaBan

Email claban@phillynews.com   Follow on Twitter

I joined the Inquirer as its restaurant critic in 1998, after a stint covering the food beat for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Having eaten about 500 restaurant meals a year here ever since, I never cease to be amazed by the diversity and sophistication of Philadelphia's kitchens. To travel from its many authentic ethnic neighborhoods to the gastronomic temples of Walnut Street to its beery gastropubs, cozy BYOBs and multitude of greasy-but-great steak joints, is to know this town delivers satisfaction at every level of the food chain. Including online dish.

Live chat: Join Craig at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays in the chatroom.

Book: The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide is available through our online store.

4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.

 
01/14/2015
Over the last few months, Craig LaBan has been souping it up in Pho-ladelphia. Home to the third largest Vietnamese population on the East Coast, this city has long been a destination for many great renditions of the deeply warming and aromatic noodle soup. Few meals in the world deliver more satisfaction for $10 or less. And since the winter chill settled in, slurping through a steamy pool of exotic broth, rice noodles, Thai basil, and sundry cuts of meat has been the equivalent of hitting the "defrost" button.
 
Vietnamese street food in Northern Liberties
 
Opening soon: Bonchon Chicken
01/22/2015
In beer, as in whiskey, rye is on the rise. But the best versions, as with most trends centered on big personalities, capture that boisterous character in a delicate balance. In the case of rye's signature kick, too many I've tasted let the grain's edgy s
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