Friday, December 19, 2014

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.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself down a country road in Chapel Hill, N.C., waiting for lunch amid the taxidermy and ice-cold jugs of sweet tea at Allen & Son Bar-B-Que. Old smoke shacks sometimes don't live up to their legends. But my first taste of this torchbearer of the East Carolina pit - its finely chopped hog sauced with a spicy vinegar tang - was akin to finding religion.
Video: Fette Sau
Gallery: Fette Sau
A cool grocery-restaurant in the works
America's destiny for the Rhône's famous red grape will ultimately be crafting wines that land between the earthy French version known as "syrah" and the luscious Aussie fruit bomb dubbed "shiraz." The perfect compromise should probabl

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