Monday, December 22, 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.

Gooey perfection There is a fine line between gooey and runny. "I've battled with it for 15 years," says Laini Fondiller, standing on the picturesque hillside of Lazy Lady Farm, the "off-the-grid" goat cheese farm she's owned for three decades on Vermont's northern edge. "But I've finally perfected it this year."
In Agatha Christie's crime-fiction world of "After the Funeral," Mr. Goby is the "refreshingly nondescript" detective who "was not looking at Mr. [Hercule] Poirot because Mr. Goby never looked at anybody." In Bess Gulliver's

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