Bonnie from BiteoftheBest.com

/Bonnie Tandy Leblang

About Bonnie Tandy Leblang

Blogger Bonnie Tandy Leblang had 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 full bio go to the about us page.

Cookshop, Chelsea, NYC + Yayoi Kusama

Silly New Yorkers. We stood in line out in the cold to see the immersive “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” free exhibit in Chelsea as it was closing in two days.  It was worth the wait. Afterward, we headed nearby to Cookshop for a quick bite. We each ordered a bowl of soup — white bean, fennel and escarole — to help warm our innards.  Hearty and good, albeit a bit salty. The moist and tender Albacore tuna came atop broccoli, citrus pieces and a mellow castelvetrano olive relish ($25). We were disappointed in the lack of flavor of the herbed goat cheese served with roasted pears, parsnips and pistachio toast [...]

By | February 21st, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

The 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalists

In case you haven't yet heard that the James Beard Foundation has released its list of semifinalists for this year's best chefs and restaurants, her are some of those nominated: Best New Restaurant A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come. The Anchorage, Greenville, SC Annette, Aurora, CO The Blue Hen, Rehoboth Beach, DE Brewery Bhavana, Raleigh, NC The Charter Oak, St. Helena, CA ChiKo, Washington, D.C. Cote, NYC Del Mar, Washington, D.C. Empellón Midtown, NYC Felix Trattoria, Venice, CA Grand Café, Minneapolis [...]

By | February 20th, 2018|City Bites, NYC Best Bites, Other|0 Comments

Lotus Blue, Union Square, NYC

I tried to think of a place to grab a bite as close to my home as possible as one friend was hurting. That's how we ended up at Lotus Blue near Union Square. We each chose one dish. I picked hot and sour soup ($10), which was neither as hot nor as sour as I make at home or enjoy at other Chinese restaurants. I did like that they presented the soup family-style with a ladle for serving. Another selected shrimp with egg foo young ($23). That dish contained six tender, not overcooked, shrimp mixed with eggs.  Think shrimp omelet. We all wanted something green in our final selection, [...]

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

Taboon for Brunch, Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

Taboon is one of my go-to restaurants in Hell's Kitchen as I love their mezza but had never been for brunch. We both started with cocktails, me with a reasonably priced Aperol Spritzer ($12), my friend the Tipsy Brambel ($16) a blend of Ketel One, flavored with sage, lemon juice and blackberries, then topped with club soda. We split their brunch sambusak ($14), Taboon's fabulous bread stuffed with feta cheese, jalapeño peppers, chopped onions and a hard-cooked egg. Unusually delicious. We liked the Turkish shashooka ($19) even more. That came with two eggs cooked in a fresh tomato ragout with ground lamb, Swiss chard and chickpeas. We wiped out every last drop [...]

By | February 17th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

JeJu Noodle Bar, West Village, NYC

Jeju Noodle Bar — named for a Korean island known for their farmed pork and fresh seafood — serves the Korean version of ramen called ramyun plus some appetizers. It's located in the former Nighthawk's space. I must admit, I had to ask my server to explain everything as I hadn't a clue about what the menu offerings were. Since many of their appetizers included raw fish that I do not eat, I was able to narrow down the selections. We shared — and  I do highly recommend — the Gochjank Bokum $9 - a nicely spiced appetizer with slightly spicy chopped beef with shredded lettuce and pickled mustard over [...]

By | February 15th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Li-Lac Chocolates

A publicist asked if he could send me some Li-Lac Chocolates from Manhattan's oldest chocolate house. How could I say no? He mentioned that for nearly 100 years, the company has been handcrafting gourmet, small-batch chocolate and confections using the same old-world cooking methods and time-honored recipes. I luckily had friend visiting when the chocolate arrived  - otherwise would have been a disaster for my waistline. The bark ($36 per pound) had freshly roasted almonds enrobed in white, milk — and my favorite — dark chocolate.   The butter crunch are addictive squares of almond toffee coated in milk chocolate and sprinkled with almond dust ($36 per pound). I sliced the almost [...]

By | February 14th, 2018|Food & Drinks, Products, Recommended|0 Comments

Cafe Frida, Upper West Side, NYC

With both my NYC book groups having discussed Elizabeth Strout's novels (Anything is Possible, My Name is Lucy Barton, Burgess Brothers and Olive Kitteridge that won her the Pulitzer Prize), some of us decided to hear her interviewed at the New York Historical Society. What a waste of time and money. Elizabeth Strout can certainly write, but is a horrid interviewee, giving one-word unrevealing responses. The only good part was her reading excerpts from her books.   A large group of us went out to grab a bite afterward to Cafe Frida about a block away. We sat upstairs unable to hear without shouting. Service was painfully slow. The starter guacamole ($14 [...]

By | February 10th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Café Bilboquet, Upper East Side, NYC

Hospitality shines at Café Bilboquet, a new elegant French cafe on 60th replete with pastries, salads, sandwiches, wines and coffees. The well-trained staff couldn't have been nicer, not only to me but to everyone. Since I was their guest, they wanted me to try almost one of every sandwich offering. I smiled as they brought me the first dish of offerings, each still sporting the price tag. Our server shared that they wanted me to know which was which. Although spelled incorrectly on the tag, my outstanding favorite is the decadent foie gras slider on brioche ($5.50), of course with a glass of Bougogne 2013 ($15) to accompany. The other sliders [...]

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

Boulud Sud, Lincoln Square, NYC + The Post

After seeing Steven Spielberg’s exhilarating drama “The Post,” starring Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham the Washington Post's publisher and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee The Post’s editor in a story about their decision to publish portions of the Pentagon Papers, we looked for a place to get a bite. We walked in and out of restaurants along Broadway and even made a few calls hoping to get in someplace as we hadn't made a res. Since 45 minutes was the least wait, we kept looking. We walked around the corner to 64th, noticed a table in the bar area at Boulud Sud and jumped at it. Wanting only a light bite after the [...]

By | February 5th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Billy Joe’s Ribworks, Newburgh, Hudson Valley

When visiting a friend near the Hudson Valley, we chose BBQ for lunch and headed to Billy Joe's Ribworks in Newburgh. We started with their hearty portion of nachos. The enthusiastic manager shared that the cheese they use drizzled over the nachos is a blend of many types. That dish ($13.99) had a pile of tortillas topped with smoky beans, shredded lettuce, onions, jalapeño peppers, pulled pork, sour cream and the cheese blend. Silly us, not realizing how huge the starter was we ordered Backyard BBQ ($16.99) better known as The Legend -- a burger topped with smoked brisket, pulled pork, smoked andouille, Cheddar cheese, coleslaw and crisp onion rings [...]

By | February 3rd, 2018|USA, USA Restaurants|0 Comments

The Children: Theater Pizzazz

An apocalyptic vision, infused with hope? Hard to imagine – that is, until you see The Children, Lucy Kirkwood’s astonishing new play at the Manhattan Theatre Club. From the moment the play opens – with the ominous image of a woman standing in a kitchen, blood pouring from her nose– you are held in the play’s relentless grip. Though the wound turns out to be harmless, the circumstances are not. From Theater Pizzazz review by Carol Rocamora. Click here for the complete review.

By | February 1st, 2018|General Food Info|0 Comments

The National, Turtle Bay, NYC

I met a couple friends recently for lunch at The National, Geoffrey Zakarian's restaurant in the Benjamin Hotel on Lexington Avenue at 50th Street. Two of us split one of their famous "ugly" burgers with pickled jalapeño, housemade pickles, Bibb lettuce. sliced tomatoes on a bun spread with their own special National sauce. There was  almost no room for the burger! This came with perfectly cooked and seasoned fries ($21). I'd go back for that anytime. We also shared a mixed green salad ($17) with julienne sliced sugar snap peas and Daikon radishes in an Asian inspired sesame lime dressing. Yummy. Another friend had an appetizer portion of their pasta with mushrooms and [...]

By | January 31st, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Santa Fe, Upper West Side, NYC – Mexican

Attending a lecture at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, we needed to find a nearby Upper West Side restaurant, which is how we ended up at Santa Fe, a cozy neighborhood Mexican food place with great margies (only $10.50). I started with their delicious margarita ($10.50) Attending a lecture at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, we needed to find a nearby Upper West Side restaurant, which is how we ended up at Santa Fe, a cozy neighborhood Mexican food place with great margies (only $10.50); I started with one. We took our servers advice when we ordered. I had the two enchiladas suizas ($21.50), one with [...]

By | January 29th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

LOX at Café Bergson, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Battery Park

A friend had purchased admissions to the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Battery Park (36 Battery Pl,) and invited me to join. When we arrived, we learned that our IDNY got us each a year's membership, free admission and a discount at the store and restaurant. The museum is located on Battery Place by the water. The museum "features more than 800 artifacts and 2,000 photographs that illustrate Jewish history and highlight personal experience of global significance." We spent a couple hours but hadn't gotten through the three floors, as there's so much to see. Hunger stuck. We heading to the second-floor restaurant LOX, with wonderful iconic views of both [...]

By | January 27th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

Morning Star Restaurant, Upper West Side, NYC

We had tickets to see Juilliard students perform the "New Dances: Edition 2017" at the Peter Jay Sharp theater and needed to find a place for a quick bite as the performance began at 7:30 pm. That job is usually delegated to me. In addition to proximity, I had to be price conscious. I made a reservation at Morning Star Restaurant in Lincoln Square, a diner-like restaurant that answered both concerns even better than I had anticipated. This restaurant offers simple fare. My expectations weren't very high, leaving the bar low. One friend ordered the ziti with eggplant ($17) that came with a fresh garden salad. Two others ordered the [...]

By | January 25th, 2018|Big Apple Life, Rambling|0 Comments

How to Get Discount Theatre Tickets

Before I became a full-time New Yorker, I would purchase theatre tickets ahead paying full price or come into the city and roll the dice, hoping I could get what I wanted from the TKTS discount ticket booth. Most out-of-towners are also aware of that Times Square booth that sells same-day matinee and evening tickets. TKTS also has outposts at Lincoln Center, at South Street Seaport and in Downtown Brooklyn that sell same-day evening and next-day matinee ones. You can select your seats when you buy them. When I moved to Gotham, I learned of many other ways to get show tickets — both on and off Broadway — without paying full [...]

By | January 23rd, 2018|Big Apple Life, Other happenings, Theatre|0 Comments

Jones Wood Foundry, Upper East Side, NYC

I was invited back to Jones Wood Foundry, a traditional British pub, as they had added a vegan menu they wanted me to sample. I wish this warm inviting pub were in my hood, as I'd frequent it often. I was eager to again indulge in their chicken livers and foie gras mousse served with grape chutney, cornichon and toasted brioche ($16). I oh, so remembered it from last time. It didn't disappoint. Do not miss this ethereal dish. We ordered the woodland mushroom arugula salad ($15) drizzled with truffle oil from the vegan offerings, although we asked for the parmesan offered from the regular version. The "Yorky Pudd Pop-Over" ($6) [...]

By | January 21st, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments

Kingsley, East Village, NYC

I so looked forward to trying the fare of Chef/owner Roxanne Spruance after reading of her culinary past that included Chicago's Blackbird, WD 50, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and much more. We browsed her limited menu, trying to decide what to order. Our server (who was very well trained), provided detailed descriptions of each. The first offering — our amuse bouche — was a fresh oyster from the west coast topped with an apple horseradish. I thought that a strange selection as many people don't eat these mollusks. The service at Kingsley is outstanding; the dishes unique. Our first selection was a hearty amount of perfectly charred octopus ($18) [...]

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

Alice’s Arbor, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NYC

Alice’s Arbor, a farm-to-table concept, invited me to dine in their wood-paneled spacious dining room in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn. General manager Haroun Khalek started our adventure with a delightfully light and well-balanced cocktail. Alice's French 75 is made with St. Germain, fresh lemon juice, splashes of both Tito's and simple syrup, then topped with Prosecco ($12). We switched to wine to accompany the appetizers, having a glass of both Clovis Côtes du Rhône, an organic Grenache, Rhone Valley 2016 ($16/glass)  and the Carignan/Grenache, Domaine Des Vignes Rouges "Clémence" IGP Cévennes, France 2016 ($11) as we couldn't decide between them. Flavorful appetizers included a pan-seared Atlantic salmon cake with [...]

By | January 17th, 2018|NYC Restaurant Reviews|0 Comments