Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Craig LaBan

Email claban@phillynews.com   Follow on Twitter

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.

 
05/22/2013
Cold caffeine comfort Watered-down iced coffee has been unnecessary since La Colombe issued Pure Black a couple of years ago. Now Philadelphians have a West Coast option, too, with these fist-sized, Cold Brew "stubbies" from Portland's Stumptown. Made from toddy-style coffee (steeped at room temperature for 16 hours, then strained), this ready-to-drink brew has the pronounced acidity typical of Stumptown's coffee - a brightness that cuts nicely through a splash of milk and sweetness.
 
Not quite authentic Pa. Dutch
 
Jump on this bargain California red
 
Three bells for Fitler Dining Room
05/19/2013
Every so often, Pennsylvania gets a steep Chairman's Selection discount on a California red that might not be compelling enough to merit a list price approaching $48 - but is totally worth jumping on for $19.99. The 2010 Sonnette from Bell Wine Cellars in
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