Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

Sweet ghee The clarified, shelf-stable version of butter, ghee, is a staple of Indian cooking and the preferred spread of lactose-intolerant foodies. Lancaster County's Simply Ghee puts a sweet twist on the pantry staple by mixing the organic butter from grass-fed cows with pure-wildflower honey.
Sweet and spicy The granola bar gets a savory twist in the form of the new Strong & Kind bar, which comes in flavors like Thai Sweet Chili, made with almonds, pumpkin seeds, peas, hemp, and a mix of spices. One gluten-free bar packs 10 grams of protein.

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