Friday, February 27, 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.

My wife took a bite of crispy cauliflower, and her eyes opened wide: the glossy red "Manchurian" sauce swirled from a deceptive first hint of sweetness to a sudden sour, then a wicked, swelling chile heat.
Video: Indian Hut
Gallery: Indian Hut
South Africa's Swartland district is best known for sheep, wheat, and a bush that turns black after the rain - inspiration for the name. But its wines are gaining new renown, too, thanks to charismatic winemakers such as Adi Badenhorst of A.A. Badenhorst.

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