Saturday, November 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

Exotic Italian ales are the hottest new trend in craft beer. Turns out it's actually an old one, too - about 2,800 years old. That's the age of drinking vessels unearthed from Etruscan tombs and analyzed for trace ingredients by Pat McGovern, the molecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum who's been a frequent collaborator on reimagining such "Ancient Ales" with Dogfish Head Brewery's Sam Calagione.
Sparkling wine producers would pop their corks with joy if we embraced the notion that Champagne and its other bubbly brethren can be drunk all year, not just on New Year's Eve.

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