Thursday, January 29, 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.

Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: I'm curious to hear about your holiday table traditions. I got a chance to pop into our neighborhood Israeli place, Hamifgash (800 block of Sansom), where the cooks were frying up fresh doughnuts for Hanukkah – both sugar-dusted Moroccan-style rings, and some luscious yeasted rounds, ready to be filled with jelly. Who doesn't love holiday foods?
Fresh off his election victory but rolling toward the "fiscal cliff," President Obama knew just the right token to offer his Republican adversary, Speaker of the House John Boehner: a pricey birthday bottle of Brunello di Montalcino ('97 Poggio Antico.)

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