February 14, 2013 |
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: Happy Mardi Gras!! I always get that gumbo feeling this time of year. Where do you plan to get into your Mardi Gras mood? Reader: I vote Khyber Pass all the way! Reader: I was at Khyber last week and they had a Walker's style cochon de lait po' boy on special. It was like being in NOLA from the first bite. Reader: What do YOU recommend? C.L.: Well, I like some of the other contenders pretty much - Rex was a nice surprise for South Street, and Cajun Kate's is such a fun hidden gem to come across in the Booth's Corner Farmer's Market . . . but no one in town right now is nailing the true NOLA flavors quite like Khyber Pass.
November 29, 2012
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat from Nov. 27, 2012: Craig LaBan: Went to New York Bagel Bakery, the oldie off City Avenue that sits just behind the McDonald's (7555 Haverford Ave.), and found these bagel sticks. This place is often recommended to me by old-timers who make regular pilgrimages there. This is a classic bagel as it should be - perfect combo of light crunch on the exterior followed by a persistent central chew, then a lingering malty sweetness.
December 6, 2012
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: What have been your highlight flavors from the past week? I've had many, including this wood-fired pizza with brussels sprouts, rosemary ham, and balsamic from In Riva in East Falls - very Stella-like in setup. Some really nice wood-fired pies (even if those heat blisters can flake a bit too much char for my tastes. ...) But the flavors are great, thoughtful, and well-prepared. It's really settled into becoming the neighborhood anchor - casual, affordable, tasty - that I think East Falls really needs.
February 7, 2013
Here is an excerpt of Craig LaBan's online chat from Feb. 5: Craig LaBan: Chef Marc Vetri, one of the most influential culinary figures in Philadelphia, with his namesake original, plus Osteria, Amis, and Alla Spina, is joining us for the chat. We're looking to see what's next: Vetri's vision for a suburban outpost of Osteria this fall at the Moorestown Mall. Today I'm snacking on tortellini pie - one of the latest creations between you and your Vetri chef, the talented Adam Leonti.
March 15, 2013
DEAR HARRY: Some time ago, you advised an older reader not to transfer ownership of her home to her child. I don't remember the reason, or even if it was a son or daughter. I thought: "What does he know about family relations? He's a money guy. " Then I had a similar situation. In 2009, I transferred my home to my only child, a son, primarily to save the Pennsylvania inheritance tax. My estate is not big enough to meet the federal minimum. I even protected my interest by getting a long-term lease at $10 a year.
March 18, 2010
Reader: Craig, it seems that in the last six months, the judges on the food shows I watch ( Top Chef, Iron Chef America ) have united in their opinion that serving fish with cheese is a high culinary crime. How did this opinion originate? Craig LaBan: Thanks for asking; I know it came up when I recently balked at the cheese-on-seafood pasta dish at Gemelli. I'm not sure exactly where this aversion originated - certainly somewhere in Italy - but it makes sense to me in this context: Fistfuls of grated sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano can overwhelm something delicate like a seafood pasta.
December 20, 2012
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: Good afternoon, my hungry friends, and welcome to our final food chat of 2012! What an amazing year it has been for restaurants in Philly. I can hardly believe it's over. I'm in the midst of putting together my annual Year in Bells review, which I'll be sharing on Dec. 30. But why not open the chat-room floor to your favorite chefs, restaurants, dishes, and moments from 2012? To get this going, we're doing a poll: Who was the breakout chef of 2012?
May 20, 2010
Reader: Just wondering if you've been back to Table 31 since your original 3-bell review. Seems like there's a lot of (deservedly) negative buzz over there with all the menu and management changes. It seems like you're quick to pile on a chain (Del Frisco's) that doesn't live up to the hype, but if it's a Philly guy whose work may have been respectable in the past (Scarduzio) he's given a free pass. Craig LaBan: I'm not a "free pass" kind of critic, and there are plenty of chefs, chained and local alike, who will tell you that past successes do not guarantee future bells.
June 28, 2012 |
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: Craig LaBan: Anyone visit Sunday's Head House farmer's market? We bought amazing cherries, sweet corn, fresh onions, and zucchini, as well as the tiniest artichokes I've ever seen. I love summer produce! Cobblers, crisps, and grilled veggies galore. The goods from Three Springs Fruit Farm were the stars of our table this week. Reader: Went to Il Pittore and was prepared to disagree with your review because I'm skeptical of Starr producing really great food.
August 24, 1991
A reader called to say he wanted to make a donation to the campaign to get guns off the streets of Philadelphia by offering a $20 bounty for each one turned in, but couldn't figure out where to send his money. We checked, and it's not easy. The Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network is an adjunct of the Urban Coalition, and isn't listed separately. Its address is 121 N. Broad St., Philadelphia 19107, and the phone number is 977-7980. At present it is about $11,000 in the hole.