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Preview: Inquirer Columnist - Craig LaBan

Dining Critic Craig LaBan

The Inquirer's Dining Critic

Published: Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:50:29 GMT2016-09-08T14:50:29Z

Copyright: Philadelphia Media Network

Meet the Clanger: Two delicious pies in one

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:50:29 GMT2016-09-08T14:50:29Z

My first reaction to the Bedfordshire Clanger at Stargazy was that it was one of the most delicious bizarre foods I'd eaten in a long time. I've never eaten anything ever quite like this.

South Helm in Pennsport carries the spirit of the original Kensington BYOB

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 14:49:43 GMT2016-09-08T14:49:43Z

As I drove beside the elevated stretch of I-95 that leads to Pennsport's heart, I had stuffed burrata on my brain. And I wondered: Could the Helm effect strike twice?

Drink: Piña colada for two

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 22:38:14 GMT2016-09-05T22:38:14Z

Philly's artisan spirit scene continues to steam along with another worthy new player. Red Brick Craft Distillery opened to the public in January in a rehabbed former widget factory in Kensington. But its more creative and aged spirits are only just debut

Another legit pizza contender in Fishtown

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 14:27:53 GMT2016-09-01T14:27:53Z

In a city of pizza riches, Fishtown already serves some of the best, from Wm. Mulherin's Sons to Pizzeria Beddia. Now there is Medusa.

Drink: Charles Gonnet Chignin

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 03:45:02 GMT2016-08-28T03:45:02Z

A long time ago, I went to work at a restaurant in Chambéry, France, and along the way discovered an entire class of refreshing alpine wines I'd never heard of before. Chignin? Roussette? These regional curiosities were hardly ever seen then, even in cosm

LaBan review: Fishtown's Root joins the foray into adventurous wines

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 16:14:36 GMT2016-08-26T16:14:36Z

The popularity of Fishtown and Kensington was initially built on gastropubs and beer. But as those neighborhoods north of Girard continue to evolve into one of the city's hottest dining zones, the area has suddenly become the epicenter of Philly's increasingly adventurous thirst for wine.

Chatting With Craig LaBan: New Philly players get national nods

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 02:37:22 GMT2016-08-25T02:37:22Z

Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: Congrats to all the Philly restaurants that got a shout-out from Bon Appétit's Andrew Knowlton in the magazine's recent best-of-America restaurant issue, including best new restaurant nods to South Philly Barbacoa (No. 5!?), Wm. Mulherin's (T

Beyond Pat's and Geno's: Straight-up advice on where to eat in Philly

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:36:05 GMT2016-08-24T14:36:05Z

You just ate a faux-colonial pot pie at City Tavern. You're trying to decide between Pat's and Geno's for your first cheesesteak. And where is that Bookbinder's place?

The Dutch, the latest addition to "Breakfast Street"

Sun, 14 Aug 2016 14:06:28 GMT2016-08-14T14:06:28Z

We might as well start calling it Breakfast Street. Because if there's a road in Philadelphia that does the morning meal better than Fourth Street, I haven't found it.

Drink: Off the Coast of Florida, at Townsend

Sun, 14 Aug 2016 12:50:11 GMT2016-08-14T12:50:11Z

There's never been a question as to whether I'll be drinking something interesting when I go to Townsend for dinner.

Drink: Cooper River Rye Whiskey, made in Camden

Sat, 06 Aug 2016 19:18:51 GMT2016-08-06T19:18:51Z

The growth in local rye has been inspiring for those who see the spicy grain as the pride of Pennsylvania's spirit heritage. Dad's Hat in Bristol and Pittsburgh's Wigle led the charge, followed by Pipersville's Hewn Spirits, Thistle Finch in Lancaster, and the newly revived Kinsey brand in Kensington. And now comes rye from South Jersey.

At Café Lutecia, Tuesday dinners capture the flavors of Basque-French tapas culture

Sat, 06 Aug 2016 01:22:58 GMT2016-08-06T01:22:58Z

For the last 26 years, Café Lutecia has thrived by the light of day. Its blue-awning-fringed corner has always been a beacon of toasty baguette morning rituals, homey French lunches sparked by Valérie Blum's secret vinegar, and the ultimate in tomato soup comfort, as well as its enduring draw as a community hub for longtime residents of Fitler Square.

Good Taste

Thu, 04 Aug 2016 05:34:10 GMT2016-08-04T05:34:10Z

Sbraga does dibi The good news from Kevin Sbraga-land is that his namesake perch on Broad Street continues to improve. My recent meal at Sbraga offered that welcome reminder, considering how rough this period has been for the onetime Top Chef champ (and a

Drink: Turis Barbera 2015 from Jersey Shore

Mon, 01 Aug 2016 02:42:11 GMT2016-08-01T02:42:11Z

I just drank a bottle of improbably impressive barbera wine from . . . the Jersey Shore?! Yes, I did. And just so we can move on to the important details, let's get the snickering out of the way ASAP, both for the provenance and name of this North Cape May winery - Turdo Vineyards - which landed as a gag mention not once, but twice, by comedian Jay Leno.

Fountain vet David Jansen turns out classic fine dining in Mount Airy

Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:57:48 GMT2016-07-29T16:57:48Z

'I fell in love with the brigade," said David Jansen. That's a sentiment I don't hear much anymore, or, actually, ever. And no, he didn't say that he loves a parade.

Food delights on East Passyunk

Thu, 28 Jul 2016 14:33:31 GMT2016-07-28T14:33:31Z

East Passyunk - the locals say "Pash-yunk" - is serving up a rare combination of new restaurant energy and serious quality.

Crumb Tracker: Where did Craig LaBan eat this week?

Thu, 28 Jul 2016 02:12:00 GMT2016-07-28T02:12:00Z

Guess from these photos where Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan ate this week. (Answers below.) 1. Cheesesteak with grilled tomato, onions, provolone and a long hot

Chinatown today: Sleek, modern new spots for sushi, Taiwanese, ramen, and more

Sat, 23 Jul 2016 18:53:34 GMT2016-07-23T18:53:34Z

Iron Man wants your attention: Chinatown is changing fast! In case you haven't yet noticed the wok-fired pace of new and suddenly stylish restaurants opening in the old neighborhood, the huge red "Hulkbuster" suit set behind glass at the entrance to Yamitsuki, Chinatown's sleek new ramen hall, should do the trick.