Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's live chat of May 9, 2017:

Craig LaBan: What is going on in your dining worlds? Lots of exciting food news to follow up on, including the afterglow of Philly's big wins at the James Beard Awards, as well as Michael Klein's preview of some anticipated projects from big names like Peter Serpico and Wiz Kid (from the V Street/Vedge duo).

Reader: I had a great time at Vernick last week congratulating the team before Greg, Julie, and Ryan returned victorious from Chicago :) They do have the best Negroni in Philadelphia. Thanks to you and Rick Nichols for that tip!

C.L.: Vernick has always had a stellar bar, one of the best of any restaurant in Philly. I also love their seasonal cocktails, like the rhubarb cocktail I featured last May. But the Negroni is a classic, and, basically, Rick turned us all on to that. I also love them at Brigantessa. I wouldn't be surprised if Wm. Mulherin's Sons did a fine one, too.

Reader: Had a pretty stellar food day Friday. Celebrated my birthday at Abe Fisher, where I was able to congratulate Michael Solomonov himself on his JB award. Managed to get both the Montreal short ribs and the Hungarian duck on the table, along with a pretty crazy amount of the tasting menu. I'm usually not a big fan of schnitzel or veal, but their veal schnitzel tacos had me singing a different tune!

C.L.: Wow, that sounds like quite the feast! You had all of Abe's greatest hits, though I can't imagine eating the short rib and the Hungarian duck both at the same sitting. For some reason, I get the feeling that Abe Fisher is too often the forgotten restaurant in the Cook-n-Solo empire. The Eastern Euro Ashkenazi inspirations perhaps don't resonate with today's public quite as much as the exotic Israeli flavors of Zahav, Dizengoff, and now Goldie, the falafel shop above Rooster Soup Co. (the popular diner I'm reviewing Sunday). That's just my perception in terms of buzz, not an indictment of the menu - I think chef Yehuda Sichel is one of the city's great young culinary talents. Rugelach can be sexy, too. Especially when they're made with schmaltz. . . .

I really should pay a visit to Alyan's. We have too little good Middle Eastern food in Philly, and it's been a very, very long time since I visited that South Street standby.

Reader: Any recommendations for solid BBQ outside the normal chains?

C.L.: Fette Sau is still probably the best in town right now - and I was just there in March, when I devoured one of those sublime short ribs. A revisit to Sweet Lucy's for my recent Northeast Package was very worthwhile - it's easily still one of the best all-around BBQ destinations in the city, a bright and expansive space that's casual and fun for a crowd. The chicken and pulled pork are the best of their meats. But also, Henri's Hotts near Hammonton off the Black Horse Pike is a worthy place to stop on the way to or from the Shore - especially during one of their weekend buffets, which is an amazing bargain and an epic ode to soul food, not just BBQ. Also, I really enjoyed the smoked meats from Uncle B's in Phoenixville, which I just wrote about. Great barbecue, though, remains one of our weakest genres. Still plenty of room for improvement there.