Monday, May 25, 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.

 
Quick quiz: Name the restaurant couple who have transformed 13th Street in recent years. If you came up with the power duo of Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, that's understandable. The creators of Lolita, Barbuzzo, and Jamonera have certainly been the engine behind the metamorphosis of 13th and Sansom into the buzzy corner of "Midtown Village."
Cold caffeine comfort Watered-down iced coffee has been unnecessary since La Colombe issued Pure Black a couple of years ago. Now Philadelphians have a West Coast option, too, with these fist-sized, Cold Brew "stubbies" from Portland's Stumptown. Made from toddy-style coffee (steeped at room temperature for 16 hours, then strained), this ready-to-drink brew has the pronounced acidity typical of Stumptown's coffee - a brightness that cuts nicely through a splash of milk and sweetness.
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