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Preview: Inquirer Columnist - Craig LaBan

Dining Critic Craig LaBan

The Inquirer's Dining Critic

Published: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:49:38 GMT2017-01-20T16:49:38Z

Copyright: Philadelphia Media Network

Another Pa. apple farm joins the growing cider trend

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 16:49:38 GMT2017-01-20T16:49:38Z

LaBan reviews La Mula Terca's updated Mexican fare in South Philadelphia

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:48:08 GMT2017-01-20T15:48:08Z

There's much more to Mexican food than tacos. That becomes clear when you consider the menu at La Mula Terca - brimming with soulful caldos and huitlacoche-sauced steak - and realize there are none.

LaBan reviews La Mula Terca's Updated Mexican fare in South Philadelphia

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 18:40:51 GMT2017-01-19T18:40:51Z

Cream of mushroom soup gets a High Street revamp

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 04:30:24 GMT2017-01-19T04:30:24Z

Le Coucou: Stephen Starr's smashing New York success and surprising evolution

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:21:25 GMT2017-01-16T04:21:25Z

NEW YORK - The slender tapers are glowing bright over tables draped with linens laid upon linens. The impeccable service staff appears table-side to whisk away the crumbs and ladle a magical bouillon from a shiny copper pot over rabbit loins that were already near-perfect. The chef has been channeling - and updating - the legendary French master Escoffier.

Glossy Scarpetta is eager to please but serves fine ingredients with little finesse

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:18:43 GMT2017-01-16T04:18:43Z

I spin through the revolving door into Scarpetta and land with a thud in a knot of patrons all dressed in black. This was a corporate posse in stilettos and mock turtlenecks, ready to spend big at Philly's latest name-brand Italian import from New York. But they were clogging the door near the bar, oblivious to others as they rattled cue ball-size ice cubes in cocktails and waited for a slinky, catsuit-clad hostess to lead them to the dining room upstairs.

From 'stellar' to 'awkward': Craig LaBan looks back at his year in eating

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 20:20:11 GMT2017-01-13T20:20:11Z

Philadelphians learned to share their meals like family in 2016, and, in the process, they often feasted on a United Nations of skewers, from Cypriot sausages to Afghan kebabs, Malaysian saté and robatayaki-grilled Japanese scallops. Sometimes, as was the case at Filipino-themed Perla, they even ate with their hands.

Wm. Mulherin's Sons is the grown-up restaurant Fishtown has been waiting for

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 20:19:35 GMT2017-01-13T20:19:35Z

In 1887, the immigrant Irish family known as the Mulherins were best known for their rye whiskey - not pig's head tortelloni or a wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza called the "Spicy Jawn."

Drink: Italian spirit meets a bar's whiskey roots

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 20:19:13 GMT2017-01-13T20:19:13Z

Between its big amaro collection and its building's history as a whiskey rectifier, I expected the cocktails at Wm. Mulherin's Sons to be more broodingly brown-spirited than they are.

Drink: Domaine Gardien Frères Reserve du Domaine St. Pourcain 2014

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:15:51 GMT2017-01-13T17:15:51Z

The wines of Saint-Pourcain are ancient, dating to the Roman conquest of France and noted in the Saumur cellars of King St. Louis in 1241. They're little-known in the modern era since the AOC was granted only in 2009, recognizing an appellation officially

LaBan: Bait & Switch, a new fish house in Port Richmond, is a fresh take on an old tradition

Sun, 08 Jan 2017 15:03:20 GMT2017-01-08T15:03:20Z

As owner Joe Beckham sees it, Bait & Switch is more than just another renovated old tavern with a nifty fish fry. It's a statement restaurant, both about Port Richmond's sudden resurgence and the flagging state of the region's fish house genre: "We felt we had something to say about seafood in Philadelphia that wasn't being said."

LaBan review: At Jaxon - cozy and grown-up all at once - it's personal

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 05:57:21 GMT2017-01-06T05:57:21Z

Restaurants are often a reflection of our times - not simply as a city or a dining scene, but sometimes also as individuals.

Where to get good vegetarian at nonvegetarian restaurants

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 05:46:39 GMT2017-01-06T05:46:39Z

Drink: I-95 traffic jams stir up a cocktail

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 04:55:05 GMT2017-01-06T04:55:05Z

As drink trends go, I've heard of "farm-to-glass" cocktails. But freeway-to-tumbler? Bait & Switch has something novel in what I suspect is the first-ever cocktail inspired by a highway headache. The "95 Project" is one of four fine pu


Fri, 06 Jan 2017 02:43:12 GMT2017-01-06T02:43:12Z

BAIT & SWITCH 2537 E. Somerset St., 267-639-5041; It smells like a summer vacation at this casual fish house and gastropub in Port Richmond, where chef Joe Hunt draws on inspirations from North Philly to South Carolina for quality seafood updates that are fresh and affordable. Perhaps even more intriguin

Craig LaBan's favorite bar food in Fishtown

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 17:02:58 GMT2017-01-05T17:02:58Z

Here's a sparkling wine to try all year long

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 14:38:03 GMT2017-01-03T14:38:03Z

Among my many New Year's resolutions, here are two: to drink sparkling wine all year long (not just during the holidays), and to begin buying wine from some of the independent merchants now allowed to sell vino retail due to recent changes in state law wi

Craig LaBan's best new restaurant of 2016

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 05:35:07 GMT2016-12-30T05:35:07Z

The 12 best things Craig LaBan ate in 2016

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 05:33:28 GMT2016-12-30T05:33:28Z

Craig LaBan's favorite restaurants in Philly's Chinatown

Sat, 24 Dec 2016 17:50:07 GMT2016-12-24T17:50:07Z