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Preview: Inquirer Columnist - Craig LaBan

Dining Critic Craig LaBan



The Inquirer's Dining Critic



Published: Sun, 19 Nov 2017 15:26:47 GMT2017-11-19T15:26:47Z

Copyright: Philadelphia Media Network
 



Latest new chef at a.kitchen gives Rittenhouse wine bistro a compelling French flair

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 15:26:47 GMT2017-11-19T15:26:47Z

a.kitchen is one of those places that, despite maintaining a consistent record of excellence and a reputation as one of Philly's most essential wine restaurants, has never quite acquired enough real buzz.



EXCELLENT

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 03:26:03 GMT2017-11-17T03:26:03Z

A.KITCHEN + BAR 135 S. 18th St., 215-825-7030; akitchenandbar.com The chefs keep changing and the menu keeps transforming, but a.kitchen somehow remains one of Philly's best, and perhaps most undervalued, destinations for a great meal with world-class wine in a sleek modern setting. Ex-Pub & Kitchen chef Eli Collins is



This Thanksgiving wine offers a reason to give thanks

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:56:45 GMT2017-11-16T18:56:45Z

Serve Sonoma wines on Thanksgiving to support the region still recovering from the devastation of recent wildfires.



Dinner at Angelina's is like eating in Nonna's living room

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:02:40 GMT2017-11-16T15:02:40Z

Franco and Angela Iovino are serving up the comfort of homey southern Italian cooking.



Buffalo milk mozzarella with a South American accent

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 23:40:52 GMT2017-11-14T23:40:52Z

This relatively new product is making buffalo's milk mozzarella more accessible and comes from an unlikely source: Colombia.



Sikora returns to Kennett Square at wood-fired Hearth Kitchen

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:07:29 GMT2017-11-13T17:07:29Z

Chef Bryan Sikora's Italian-themed return to Kennett Square is strong on pastas and rustic entrees, but the service lags behind.



Stylish Spanish chain Barcelona brings tapas, wine, buzz and angst to indie-minded East Passyunk

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:04:45 GMT2017-11-13T17:04:45Z

If this hot new restaurant doesn't feel like a chain - it is - is that good or bad for the homegrown energy of East Passyunk Avenue?



VERY GOOD

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 05:05:19 GMT2017-11-10T05:05:19Z

ANGELINA'S 743 S. Eighth St., 215-922-1349; angelinasbyob.com After decades of serving Center City with Girasole's trademark Italian glitz, Angela and Franco Iovino have gone back to basics in a tiny corner BYOB in South Philly that feels like eating in an Italian grandma's living room. The decor is minimal, but the



The "extra" in this O'Reilly's stout is a Jameson whiskey kiss

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 21:29:40 GMT2017-11-09T21:29:40Z

A special "Extra" edition of the classic O'Reilly's stout from Sly Fox Brewery gains complexity and heft from aging in Irish whiskey barrels.



Cheu grows up to its best funky self in new Fishtown location

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 22:04:43 GMT2017-11-06T22:04:43Z

The new version of Cheu Noodle is an expression of a genuine American experience: The inventive dishes resonate at full volume, evoking many places but harmonizing as something fresh that feels perfectly at home at a counter in Fishtown.



EXCELLENT

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 02:52:12 GMT2017-11-03T02:52:12Z

CHEU FISHTOWN 1416 Frankford Ave., 267-758-2269; cheufishtown.com The hipster noodle fusion works of chef Ben Puchowitz and partner Shawn Darragh has stepped up to the next level with their latest creation, an energetic Fishtown hybrid of their original concepts (Cheu Noodle Bar and Bing Bing Dim Sum) set in a 19th-cent



Drink: Barolo's more affordable little brother offers a fresh taste of Piedmont nebbiolo

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 18:09:19 GMT2017-11-02T18:09:19Z

Nebbiolo culled from young vines just outside the Barolo appelation make for a more affordable taste of Piedmont's noble grape.



VERY GOOD

Fri, 27 Oct 2017 03:18:14 GMT2017-10-27T03:18:14Z

BARCELONA WINE BAR 1709 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-515-7900; barcelonawinebar.com Spanish tapas have landed in a big way on this pointy East Passyunk corner, a former clothing store that has been converted into a deceptively large, wedge-shaped space done-up with industrial chic bare wood, a U-shaped marble bar and fold-up windows besi



Honey plus whiskey equals a sweet draw to Manatawny Still Works' new city tasting room

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 21:33:31 GMT2017-10-26T21:33:31Z

A new tasting room on East Passyunk brings the latest spirits from a Pottstown distiller, including an excellent honey whiskey, to an audience in the city.



Time for a little TFC (Taiwanese fried chicken )

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:06:41 GMT2017-10-26T11:06:41Z

Taiwanese fried chicken is the new crispy bird on Chinatown's hot list.



Best places to drink in the suburbs: A sneak peek at Craig LaBan's new Ultimate Dining Guide

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:25:11 GMT2017-10-20T17:25:11Z

Here are three of most notable destinations beyond Philly city limits for a stellar sip (or three), not to mention a great meal, excerpted from this year's suburban edition of the Ultimate Dining guide.



VERY GOOD

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 03:37:04 GMT2017-10-20T03:37:04Z

HEARTH KITCHEN Shoppes at Longwood Gardens, 847 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square; 484-732-8320; hearthkennettsquare.com After several years away opening successful restaurants in Wilmington, chef Bryan Sikora has returned to Kennett Square (where he helped create Talula's Table) and opened an intriguing Italian-centric concept in an updated strip-mall space outfitted with



Oaklyn's Tonewood brewpub on fire with hazy Fuego IPA

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:21:36 GMT2017-10-19T21:21:36Z

This lively South Jersey brewery has a hazy IPA hit with Fuego.



Watch Craig LaBan sing an ode to cheeseburgers

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:50:01 GMT2017-10-19T19:50:01Z

LaBan wrote the song and plays guitar and sings in the video



From 'deli guy' to business guru, Ari Weinzweig spreads the 'lapsed anarchist' gospel of Zingerman's success

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:38:00 GMT2017-10-19T13:38:00Z

"If you create a positive place that's serving delicious food where people are surrounded by positive people with good energy, they want to go back."