Here is an excerpt of Craig LaBan's online chat:
Reader: Have you ever considered a brunch roundup? We had brunch at Capofitto and were surprised how good it was. Curious what other spots not quite as brunch-focused as the better-known Sabrina's, Morning Glory, Honey's, etc.?
Reader: Would also be interested to hear your take on the upscale brunch scene - my favorite being Lacroix.
Craig LaBan: I eat out for work so much during the week that by the weekend, brunch is not high on my list. But I recently had a fantastic brunch at Noord. Also, went back to Lacroix for a beautiful and lavish brunch for Christmas day. And it reaffirmed for me that brunch, in fact, is Lacroix's best course. Lots of other good options - from Kanella to Green Eggs, Sabrina's.
Reader: Read your review of Juniper Commons. Had heard from foodie friends it wasn't as good as hoped. Haven't been, but every Sunday I see fresh bread made in their open kitchen on South Street. Was the bread program on point or were there concerns there?
C.L.: Actually, baking was one of the better aspects. Great pumpernickel for the "corned beef special" and the Reuben itself, an excellent seeded roll for the beef sandwich (though the sandwich was nothing special). I loved the zucchini bread one night (flashback!). Found it pretty oily on my return visit. The chocolate cake was really excellent.
Reader: Mike Klein reported Mike Giammarino's plan at East Passyunk. Grace & Pat's. Judging from how Gennaro's Tomato Pie does the meatballs and many Italian American old schools right, I'm looking forward to it. Hope they do a more refined Italian American.
C.L.: I agree. I like what Mike Giammarino cooks at Gennaro's beyond the pizzas (which I love, too) - great meatballs , a fine antipasto platter, basic family Italian home cooking. I'm looking forward to what he brings to the new space beside the Singing Fountain.
Reader: My fiancee has celiac [disease], and we love to go out to eat but have to be careful (cross-contamination can be an issue). The Starr places have been good to us, as well as Zahav and recently Lo Spiedo. I was wondering if you or anyone here has a must-do place that can accommodate us?
C.L.: Many fun new Mexican places are a natural fit for celiac diners. La Calaca Feliz (and the whole Feliz chain) is very tuned into that. Also, nearly the entire tasting menu at Marigold Kitchen is GF.
Reader: Vetri does an excellent GF menu at Vetri. And, Giorgio on Pine has GF pastas and pizzas that are pretty good. Last rec is Agno which is all GF.
Reader: Made it to opening night of Jose Garces Buena Onda last night. It's not going to wow anyone, but it is going to be very successful in that location. Lots of young people living nearby without a ton of eating options. Simple menu, fresh ingredients, and a free 3-ounce pour of whatever is on tap (something from Yards last night) is a nice touch. Service running out the food to tables by numbers was a bit chaotic as expected with a large opening night crowd so there are some kinks to work out there, but that wasn't a surprise.