Saturday, August 1, 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.

Is cider the new beer? Commonwealth Ciders, spun off recently from the Philadelphia Brewing Co., is evidence it just might be. These traditionally dry hard ciders ("Exported from Kensington") are different from many new American ciders.
'I'm not a huge ramen eater," is the kind of thing I hear more often lately. Some Philadelphians, finally presented with their long-awaited ramen renaissance, simply get timid upon discovering that the more authentic bowls of noodle soup being served at NomNom or Terakawa are far more intense than the "Oriental Flavor" insta-noodles they subsisted on in college for 50 cents a pack.

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