Bonnie from BiteoftheBest.com

/Bonnie Tandy Leblang

About Bonnie Tandy Leblang

Blogger Bonnie Tandy Leblang has been covering food since before it was hip to do so! She’s penned magazine, newspaper and syndicated food columns in addition to cookbooks. Follow her on twitter @BonnieBOTB and on Instagram@BiteoftheBest and at @BonnieBOTB "I eat for a living!” is her mantra, sharing what she’s sampled so you’ll know where (or where not) to go, plus what food products and gadgets to try. For her full bio go to the about us page.

Miznon, Chelsea, NYC

Miznon — also in Tel Aviv, Vienna and Paris — specializes in putting things into a big fat thick amazing pita bread.  When they recently opened inside Chelsea Market, I was invited with many other writers to sample their goodies. While sipping on an Arak Mojito ($11), I sampled a variety of their filled pitas. Arak, BTW, is a distilled spirit with an anise flavor, somewhat similar to absinthe. Back to the main happenings: my two favorites in pita included a blend of wild mushrooms ($11) with scallions and a soupçon of sour cream and, of course, the large deep-fried falafel ($11). Also good are the tender grass-fed minute steak [...]

By | April 20th, 2018|Big Apple Life|0 Comments

Aunt Jakes, Greenwich Village, NYC

Like the old Chinese menus, you select one from column A and one from column B. In Aunt Jake's case, you select your pasta (housemade) and then your sauce. Sort of a DIY pasta in a bowl.  You can choose from pastas that include squid ink (black) fettuccine, beet pappardelle (red), cavatelli, and even gluten-free rigatoni, and then select the sauce from 10 different ones including marinara, broken meatball, puttanesca and carbonara. The hearty portions are served in a bowl garnished with fresh basil and slices of Italian bread.  We sampled the Sunday sauce (+$4; sausage, veal and shredded short ribs in a flavorful tomato sauce) over tagliatelle ($14) and the arribiata [...]

By | April 19th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Chez Denise, The Marais, Paris, France

Chez Denise in the Marais area of Paris gives new meaning to the stereotypical French attitude. Don't even think about going there unless you want a big serving of attitude. This restaurant was recommended by a friend who frequents Paris and it was nearby where we were. I had thought it would have been a good recommendation. Not. First we were lambasted about our coats, then about asking to share. No matter what we asked, the waiter scuffed. We thought it was the waiter who was being rude, but then the owner came by and his attitude was even worse. Let me back up. Five of us wanted to be together [...]

By | April 17th, 2018|World, World Restaurants|0 Comments

The Greek, Tribeca, NYC

Recently attended a dinner at The Greek in Tribeca, featuring the wines from Naoussa from the northwest region of Macedonia, Greece. I was introduced to the Xinomavro (tzsee-NOH-mah-vro) varietal, a red wine with great aging potential as it's high in both acid and tannins. Since it's a food friendly-wine (I enjoyed this red wine much better with food!), we sampled the Xinomavro from many vineyards and some cooperatives along with various offerings from The Greek. Those included: Naoussa Kokkinos Winery Mavro Elinos Winery Damascenos Co-op Vaeni Naoussa Argatia Winery Naoussa Reserve Tsantali Winery Grande Reserve Co-op Vaeni Grande Reserve Boutari Winery Naoussa 2000 Co-op Vaeni Food-wise, I'd recommend the tyrokafteri [...]

By | April 15th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Lot 12 Public House, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

When I decide to accept the invitation to judge the Berkeley Springs (WV) International Water Tasting, the friend who invited me mentioned that we'd be dining together that weekend at Lot 12 Public House. It's chef Damian Heath had been selected as a semifinalist in the James Beard Foundation Awards for the southeast region many times. I looked forward to experiencing his cooking. Lot 12 Public House is in a beautifully restored 1913 house, where dining on the Victorian porch is an option, weather permitting. We dined inside in the homey atmosphere one rainy evening and noticed the artwork of Damian's folks lining the walls. Our group of eleven was too [...]

Almayass, Gramercy-Flatiron, NYC

Had to laugh that I learned about Almayass, a Lebanese-Armenian restaurant in the heart of the Gramercy-Flatiron area AKA my hood, from my sister who only lives in the big apple a short time each year. She discovered it when looking for a place for my brother-in-law's big birthday that offered a meze. We went together for a tasting. Everything was so delicious that we had difficulty narrowing the menu for the party. I went back to have lunch one afternoon after visiting the birthplace of Teddy Roosevelt, a National Historic Site literally around the corner on 20th t0 write about it. The restaurant has an inviting atmosphere with super [...]

By | April 12th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

JAX B-B-Q, Hells Kitchen, NYC + Come From Away

We stopped in at JAX BBQ before heading to see the amazing musical,  Come From Away, that takes place following the September 11 attacks telling a true story of the people on the planes that landed unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. For a complete review of the show, click here. As their guest, we sampled as much of JAX offerings as feasible. Realize that some food photos contain only a partial portion. Starters include southern delicacies like Bayou alligator fritters ($14.95), that are not to be missed. Having eaten alligator many times before, I knew how good these fritters were - as the meat was not rubbery at all [...]

By | April 10th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

The Palm Too, Midtown East, NYC

It wasn't for the food that we headed to Palm Too for lunch; instead, it was to see the new caricature of my friend's late husband on the wall of the restaurant he often frequented. Her daughter-in-law had made the arrangements. I arrived first and was greeted warmly as I walked in, which is Palm Too's MO as they treat guests like family. I mentioned how I was looking for a new face on their wall; the manager walked me through a couple dining rooms to the back one not being used that day for lunch right to the wall. When my friend arrived, I took some photos to capture [...]

By | April 8th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Bono Organic Blood Orange Marmalade

Returning to Sicily this month, I had a special interest in tasting Bono's organic Blood Orange Marmalade made from only fresh Sicilian blood oranges. It's not too sweet with the flavor of the eponymous citrus fruit. One tablespoon of this Sicilian blood orange marmalade with rind contains 30 calories; a 12.4-ounce jar sells for $4.99 to $5.99. To find a store near you that sells it, click here for a product locator.

By | April 6th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products|0 Comments

Tudor City Steakhouse, Midtown East, NYC

Walking east on the north side of 42nd Street from Second Avenue, look for the stairs to walk up to Tudor City Steakhouse. I had been to this location in one of its previous incarnations, specifically L'Impero. Weather permitting, this new bi-level restaurant will also have al fresco dining. As guests of the steakhouse, we tried to sample many items often asking for small portions so not to waste. When you look at my photos realize that many are half portions! My friend requested the sizzling strip of extra thick bacon ($6.95/slice) to start along with the not-to-be-missed yellow corn Venezuelan open tamale ($11.95) with roasted diced corn and zucchini. For [...]

By | April 5th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Mani in Pasta, Gramercy, NYC

After learning Mani in Pasta didn't yet have a liquor license, I stopped in at Trader Joe's wine shop across 14th Street before heading to the second location of this Roman-style pizza and Cucina restaurant, which had a soft opening in December. This little gem is easy to miss if you're not looking. As their guests, we were greeted by chef  Giuseppe Manco and his partner Pietro Toscano as if we arrived at their home. We were told to sit back and relax and they would feed us. We started with a medley of lightly coated then deep-fat fried zucchini flower, potato croquette, mozzarella cheese, frittatina (fried pasta with ham [...]

By | April 3rd, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Feinstein’s 54 Below, Theatre District, NYC

Earlier this year, I accompanied my friend from Theater Pizzazz to Feinstein's 54 Below, an intimate supper club offering dinner and drinks, to see Ben Vereen. The food had been so remarkable that I requested my return to sample more for a real review of the food of Executive Chef Lynn Bound. They invited me when Linda and Laura Benanti — mother and daughter — performed. Laura is a Tony Award-winning actress who began her Broadway career at the age of 18, starring opposite Richard Chamberlain in The Sound of Music; this show, The Story Goes On marks Linda’s return to the stage. We arrived at 5:15 when they opened the [...]

By | April 1st, 2018|NYC Best Bites, Theatre|0 Comments

The Best (and Simplest) Chocolate Birthday Cake!

My daughter-in-law asked me to bake and decorate my granddaughter's first birthday cake; she sent me a photo of what she'd like with the end result to be: a colorful butterfly. I couldn't say no. I had multiple worries as I would be baking in France with unfamiliar flour, butter and sugars. The kids had minimal equipment in their brand new Parisian home after being on the road for two years seeing the Best World Yet. That and I had given away all my decorating pastes, bags and tips when I downsized and moved to New York City. I borrowed decorating tools and focused on minimalism. I decide to bake my [...]

By | March 30th, 2018|Endings, Recipes|5 Comments

Piccola Strada, East Village, NYC + Rosemary and Time

Piccola Strada a tiny Genovese restaurant across from the theatre where we were attending a performance of Rosemary and Time came highly recommended by more than one friend. It's a BYOB place with a mere $5 corkage fee. Our waiter offered suggestions. We might have been better off if we hadn't listened to him. We started with the Carciofini Al Forno, artichokes hearts sprinkled with parmesan cheese and olive oil then baked ($11). Nicely done, but nothing special. Same goes for their Ossobuco Di Manzo of very tender beef shank braised in red wine accompanied by tender gnocchi all in in a bolognese sauce ($22). My least favorite was one of the specials [...]

By | March 28th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|Comments Off on Piccola Strada, East Village, NYC + Rosemary and Time

Red Farm, Upper West Side, NYC + Admissions

Red Farm's chef Joe Ng had just been nominated by the James Beard Foundation as this year's "Best Chef in New York City" making me even more excited to head to the UWS location of this Chinese restaurant. We got to the 77th Street location early as we had ticket to see a Jessica Hecht ensemble performance at Lincoln Center. It wasn't until after we arrived that I learned that my dining partner was a dear friend of owner Ed Schoenfeld, who then proceeded to send us out some goodies. My favorite of the evening was the first dish that Ed sent. They call it a bruschetta, but there's no bread. [...]

By | March 26th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Fig & Olive Uptown, Upper East Side, NYC

After shopping at Saks for two mother-of-the-groom dresses for my friends from CT, both of whose sons were getting married, we looked for something nearby to grab a bite. I made a reservation at the uptown location of Fig & Olive as we were walking there. Our meal and libations were just what we were looking for. One friend began with the tart and sweet Rossellini ($15) made with passion fruit vodka and blood orange and lime juices; the El Matador ($14) made with tequila and rum, plus lime juice, a cilantro syrup and muddled jalapeños that I had packed a potent punch! The refreshingly healthy quinoa salad ($15) topped [...]

By | March 24th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Kubeh, West Village, NYC + Relevance

Kubeh refers to a Middle Eastern dumpling that I had read about being offered in my hood at a restaurant by the same name. We stopped by on the way to the Lucille Lortel to see one of our favorite actresses Jayne Houdyshell (who had won a Tony nomination forDolls House 2, and a Tony for her Humans performance). This time she was an angry feminist in Relevance. The noise level at Kubeh was deafening once we past the bar and into the dining room. We ordered some drinks and a couple of items from the meze part of their menu. The chunks of chilled roasted eggplant, pomegranate arils and fresh mint leaves [...]

By | March 22nd, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews, Theatre|0 Comments

Sorbillo, Bowery, NYC

Word has it Italians stand in hour-plus lines at Sorbillo's Naples and Milan locations, like New Haveners wait for Pepe's. Sorbillo pizza, that arrived in NYC just before the new year, has gotten rave reviews for it's soupy, very wet in the middle pies. New Yorkers can't pick up and fold these slices, they may need a knife and fork! I was invited to sample their fare. While our pizzas were cooking, we started with their tender potato gnocchi I had heard so much about. This one in the style of Sorrentino ($19) with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. We also sampled the garlicky escarole with olives and a smidgen of chili [...]

By | March 20th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Black Ant, East Village, NYC

The Black Ant is not like most other Mexican restaurants, except Temerario another one of Jorge Guzman Hospitality's fabulous places. They had invited me to try their outstandingly unusual and delicious offerings with matching cocktails. I started with perfectly balanced Mexican clover with reposado tequila, jalapeño agave with pineapple and lime juices in a Tajin (chile peppers, lime and salt) rimmed glass ($13), my dining partner tried the smoky jalapeño margarita made from silver infused tequila, Cointreau, lime and orange juices with a rim of Black Ant salt ($12). Don't miss the unusual Black Ant guacamole ($14), traditional guac with green apple, sesame seeds, lots of fleshy pomegranate arils and [...]

By | March 18th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Loi Dips

My friend and fellow Dame — a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier — Chef Maria Loi has created a line of four fresh ready-to-serve dips, ones that she serves as starters at Loi Estiatorio (her NYC restaurant NYC on west 58th) and that follow the principals of her book, The Greek Diet. I put these out at a brunch recently with veggies for dipping and asked my guests to choose their favorite. The top choice was the pougi with feta, a dip made with Greek yogurt, feta, olive oil, and a little bit of spice. A 2-tablespoon serving contains 70 calories, 7 grams fat (of which 3 are saturated) and 170 mg sodium. Tied [...]

By | March 16th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products|0 Comments