Friday, July 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

Among the antidotes to summer's swelter, cold beer and watermelon surely rank high. Morgan's Pier general manager Joe Crouse has ratcheted that equation to a new level of quench with his Watermelon Ricky. I'm guessing the 900 or so revelers who slurped them down one recent Saturday night care little that it's an extremely liberal twist on the (properly spelled) Rickey, a fizzy lime highball classic with gin or bourbon (the original) dating to the 1880s.
"Excuse me," said a sweaty dude in shorts appearing with paddle in hand and suddenly burrowing beneath our picnic table. "That's my ping-pong ball!"
Gallery: Morgan's Pier
Oh, Ricky, you're so fine
LaBan chat: Jersey fresh fish; when to review a new spot

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