Friday, July 31, 2015

Craig LaBan

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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.

What can you do with a piece of toast? There are few ingredients more elemental. But for Gregory Vernick, a slice of sourdough from Metropolitan Bakery lightly grilled over hot lava rocks is the ultimate canvas, an invitation to capture a season or a whimsy, and a crunchy window into this young chef's soul.
It says a lot about the irrepressible progress of our local beer scene, not to mention burgeoning Ambler, when the young owners of a quirky new brewpub tucked into an old house just off the borough's downtown decide - in an effort to slow the crowds - to start serving their best-selling beer as warm and flat as possible.

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