What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago this week, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby were still relatively unknown niche players in the wider Philadelphia dining scene when they moved Horizons Cafe, a vegan destination known for grilled seitan "wings" in a far-flung suburban strip mall, to an ambitious new location in Center City. The word vegan - and its animal-free promise of Vegenaise and copious fake meats - still struck fear in the hearts of many mainstream diners.
When do I need to head north for a taste of South? It happens when Paul Martin's Cajun gumbo has my compass spinning toward his latest kitchen post on North Broad Street, where an epic pork porterhouse for two is slow-roasting in the oven and renowned local bassist Gerald Veasley is heating up for one of his Thursday-night jazz jam sessions.
Aside from redefining the quality possibilities for the mass-market burger, Shake Shack was among the first fast-food chains to feature local craft beers (not to mention good wine) behind a cash register. Its latest offering, in collaboration with Philly
Philadelphia's chefs looked to nostalgia for new inspirations in 2015. They took whole-animal cooking to new heights. They turned on some bright lights in emerging neighborhoods and brought modern riffs on traditional Asian flavors to more established dining zones. And many of them also headed south, as more than a quarter of the restaurants I reviewed this year were in South Philadelphia.
Is there any moment more hopeful than that first pour of sparkling wine splashing into your glass? The swirl of tiny bubbles, doubling back in a creamy rush of foam, blooms to the surface beneath our noses as the wine world's most emphatic offering of something glittery and gorgeous to come.
The international headlines on Nov. 13 were horrific as I headed out to my first meal at Restaurant Neuf. As someone who had lived in Paris for a couple of years, my mind couldn't help but linger over the scenes of Boulevard Voltaire, where terror that night had transfixed the globe.
One of the true pleasures of dining at a New Jersey restaurant with a great wines and a top-notch sommelier to match its tasting menu is the chance to sip a wide array of unfamiliar wines. And somm Carl Rohrbach did a stellar job of just that at elements
Is the dining world ready to pluck wrinkled brown mushrooms off a mossy branch? How about a crispy chip of fried poultry skin (dabbed with two-year-old fermented mole) perched on a wiry mesh of chicken wire? Or maybe a premeal quail egg, cured in wine lees and smoked, then brought tableside nestled inside a baby bird's nest?
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Book: The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide
4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.