Monday, February 8, 2016

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.

'The Kulps kept Thanksgiving simple," says Eli Kulp. It's a hard thing to imagine, little Eli eagerly anticipating his childhood holiday table laden with boxed stuffing, green bean casserole topped with crunchy canned onions, and jellied cranberries jiggled out of a can. Even the sweet potatoes were canned.
Like many Americans, my first bites in France were washed down with the fruity, gentle kiss of lightly sweet Beaujolais Nouveau. Years later, I've come to prize the tarter, unvarnished earthiness of more natural, aged renditions of Gamay - a finicky grape

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