Monday, November 30, 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.

If you love the Thai tom yum, it's time you got some Laotian tom zap. The two soups, like the two cuisines, are kindred spirits that share many traits, as would be expected from the kitchens of neighboring countries. And that's especially true at Sa-Bai-Dee, the Upper Darby BYOB owned by a couple who bridge the border.
This is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: It's been a good week for me, as you can see from this Crumb Tracker Quiz. Name the place I ate these dishes: (1) chu toro nigiri with tofu, ginger and chive; (2) crispy haloumi with poached figs; (3) lamb burger and fries with curry ketchup.

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