The "Zazous," like author-poet and songwriter Boris Vian, were the flamboyant young jazz fans of France who used the freewheeling, escapist swing of American music as a form of rebellion against the conformity of Nazi-occupied France. What it ha
By Craig LaBan Philadelphia's kitchens stepped up big this year, fueled by live fires, a return to French cuisine, and an influx of exciting new talent.
You have to be one hungry caterpillar to be a restaurant critic. By conservative calculations, I ate 300 meals out this year for Sunday reviews, Good Taste features, Crumb Tracker clue-hunting missions and other stories. That means I tasted somewhere around 2,200 different dishes over the past 365 days, so imagine trying whittle all those great (and some not-so-great) food memories down to the 15 best bites. Yeah, yeah, I know…tough work. But it’s really hard! It was such a great chapter for Philly restaurants (food carts, cafes, bakeries and cheese shops), that these ultimate favorites from 2014 – arranged in no particular order - reflect one of my best-fed years ever. I guess that means it’s time for “one green leaf” before I rest and start again.
Back when I held the keys to a French chateau's cellar - more than two decades ago, as a stagiaire at a cooking school in Burgundy - I had my first real wine obsession: a 1989 Premier Cru Givry from Joblot. That's not to be confused with the more prestigi
Philadelphia's coffee culture has brewed an identity all its own, framed by reclaimed materials that reflect its historic region, and an increasingly sophisticated sensibility for what makes a good cup.
One key to a great bourbon cocktail is the ability to embellish the spirit at its core - the whiskey - without burying it beneath too many flourishes. I'd have natural concerns about oversweetening any concoction, especially one with a name like Honey Bea
Tequila, like many of Hollywood's leading men, does not necessarily improve with age. The brash and youthful swagger of fresh agave I love so much in a laser-bright blanco tequila can simply get flabby and boring after too long in the barrel.
What a difference a little oak can make. The Nihilist already made one serious splash in May when Sly Fox Brewing Co.'s Russian Imperial Stout won the title of "Best New Beer" in The Inquirer's 2014 Brew-vitational competition for local beers. &
When quenching the burn of Indian or Asian spice, acidic whites like sauvignon blanc can just add fuel to the fire. Softer chenin blanc, on the one hand, is a "noncombatant," says Ken Forrester. "It's soothing." Expect such praise from
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat:
Reader: Went to Abe Fisher with family for a big celebration, had big plans to get the short rib family style. They were out. Huge letdown, but the rest of the dishes were very good, including the kasha varnishkes and pastrami egg shrimp fried rice. Meal overall was very tasty, but I felt let down with the short rib. I know Fednuts and Dizengoff run out daily, but wasn't expecting it from Abe Fisher.
Are you "good," or are you "bad?" The possibility we may be both is a tension that always hangs in the air - and even in the cocktails - at Charlie was a sinner. You can be virtuous with a creamy green shot of fresh-squeezed wheatgrass
Live chat: Join Craig at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays in the chatroom.
Book: The Philadelphia Inquirer Restaurant Guide
4 Bells: According to Craig, the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area.